A carnival of brightly-colored birds hop and flutter upon an ancient stone stage.
Hello again! I have decided to leap from desert-themed maps to the other end of the spectrum and tackle some vibrant jungle maps this month, beginning with this Jungle Podium.
Below you will find my short blog post, preview images, and some immersive writing by Troy. Alternatively, you may skip straight to the downloads.
Though jungles are generally overgrown and thick with plant life, someone or something has been cutting it back in order to expose the podium to the sky. Could it be the moon-worshipping axolotl-folk? Perhaps the legendary white ape? Now that I think about it, the Screamers have been heard in this direction the last fortnight…
I’d love to hear what encounters or story threads come to your mind when your eyes wander over this map. Be sure to share in the comments below!
A big thanks to all of you for funding this map. I have a fortified jungle camp coming up next, and you can see a multitude of WIP pictures and offer your feedback on them in our Discord. See you there!
Alyssa gingerly ascended the first steps, her eyes locked on the podium’s apex. Atop the ruin floated the planar rift, spilling with shimmering green. Her fist was clenched around the sword that carved her passage through the jungle. She had cut down miles of the rift’s effects, finally reaching its throne.
The mercenary climbed another flight. Her eyes flicked to either side, scanning for any movement in the surrounding plant life. She did not trust this place. It had only been a month since the opening to another plane had formed. Since then, the arid land around it had filled with verdant growth and dangerous, otherworldly beasts. It would be days before the biome began swallowing towns and villages, and it seemed to have no limit or intention of slowing. The knowledge of this alone could distract less experienced warriors. Fortunately, Alyssa was confident that she could not be caught off-guard.
She was wrong. Her careful observations of the ruins and jungle edges had taken her attention away from the most obvious threat: the rift itself. She quickly realigned her focus when a colossal fist of matted, writhing vines sent her clattering back down the steps.
The plates and leathers of Alyssa’s armor absorbed much of the physical impact but did nothing for the damage to her pride. She pushed herself from the ground, grunting expletives and summoning her blade back to her hand. Before her, an entire arm had forced its way out of the breach. It extended some ten feet, bending and reaching for a point of leverage with its three-fingered hand. Finding the edge of the podium, it cracked the stone in its grip as it began to pull.
Alyssa charged forward. She gripped a small metal symbol at her waist and spoke an incantation. Answering her call, a larger copy of her sword formed in a burst of spitting purple flames. It lunged down at the behemoth’s arm, piercing through its form and deep into the stone below. Its summoner spotted her opening, leaping at the arm with a cry of rage.
The longsword cleaved through several layers of vines, coming to a stop in the center of the arm’s mass. A response came from the breach. It was not a voice, nor a pained groan, but a low rumbling that rose and fell as if imitating speech. From the edges of the torn veil, a second appendage slipped through. The mound of green connected to the creature’s shoulder. Whipping to face Alyssa, the vines opened into a maw of jagged thorns and constricting tendrils. The rumbling became deafening, hissing violently at its opponent.
In a painful flash, the legion of vines dispersed and reformed around Alyssa. Its arm split around her blazing sword, one half continuing to pull while the other enveloped her torso. Its head, if one could call it that, opened into individual vines and wrapped around her limbs and throat. They began to tighten, digging and raking the barbed thorns into her skin.
She yelled in frantic wrath, commanding the enormous weapon down through the monster’s chest. It seemed to ignore the blow, vines parting to avoid the heat. Alyssa attacked again, this time thrusting forward towards the rift. The plants shifted again. But, through the smallest opening, Alyssa could see the breach. She cast her hand forward, the last of her anguished breath spitting another incantation. The plants at her belt sizzled as her symbol ignited with magic.
The spell pulsed outward, washing over the rift. After a momentary silence, the energy began to recede. The breach’s borders loudly crackled and sparked. It wanted to fight back. The sparks became more violent, growing into flames that faded from green to purple.
Then, in a flash of burning color, it closed. The opening vanished, severing the vine entity in purple embers that caught and ignited on its body. Its grip loosened and released Alyssa as flames consumed the last of its life.
– by Troy McConnell
More content by Troy
Download the Jungle Podium Maps & Assets
Here is a quick break down of all the map variants and where you can find them…
The FREE Jungle Podium and night-time version
The $5 Jungle Podium Pack’s variants & assets
The free map bundle above is also included in this Pack.
Get even more on Patreon
Alternatively, you might support us on Patreon. With a pledge of $2/map you can download the assets, and a pledge of $5/map grants you access to the map variants plus night-time versions (that’s 8 maps in total)!
At the very least, please enjoy the base maps for free below! We will deliver the download links to your email address, including printable PDFs and digital files.
The Jungle Podium maps & assets are free to download thanks to Patrons such as:
For exclusive map variants and even the PSD files, consider joining the amazing community that makes these maps possible: