Hello! Yes, I am still alive and well. I know that you haven’t heard much from me this month, but I have a flurry of maps to share with you over the next few days, starting with this frog-themed Jungle Temple.
Expedition to the Jungle Temple of Azurn-Khar
Journals of Lord Bernard Islington-Wellerby
Today marked our arrival at the jungle temple. The journey was long and arduous, but my leadership has prevailed in cutting through this gods-forsaken jungle. We’ve lost three guides to local fauna, and one to flora, but eight more remain to recover my prize. I had hoped that the loss of manpower might represent an economic advantage, but it seems that the locals I hired do in fact understand the concept and value of currency. They demand that their pay be increased with the wages meant for the deceased. I am undecided.
The temple itself is a strange locale. I will never understand ancient civilizations’ obsession with animal-themed architecture. One of my guides claims that his ancestors worshipped frogs as symbols of wealth and prosperity. I do not see the relation.
Multiple efforts to reach the temple by climbing proved unsuccessful. One might have thought 40 gold worth of rope to be enough, but my hired guides have managed to use it all in their attempts. Three more have died. Two fell to deaths in the water below, and one seems to have been taken during the night. Tracks indicate a wild animal, so we have assumed he will not be returning.
Fortunately, we did manage to reach the entrance. It was locked.
After some meditation over historic texts, I masterfully deduced that the temple requires some sort of key. One of my hired helpers, a younger boy native to the village from which we departed, aided in mentioning two similar ruins close by. I believe they may hold clues.
The boy shows promise, so I have decided that I will take him as an apprentice. I have not given him the good news yet, as I would rather he remain focused on the task at hand. That shall be his first lesson.
I have dispatched a pair to each of these nearby ruins. They have been given two days to investigate and return. In the meantime, I shall begin my apprentice’s education.
A week late, but the men I sent off have returned. What took them so long, they are having difficulty telling me. The translator was lost in their expedition, along with his partner’s right arm. Fortunately for the sake of the expedition, my literary aptitude means I have learned pieces of their primitive language. I have most recently learned their word for ‘crocodile’.
The men returned with two large orbs. Their tardiness gave me ample time for my apprentice’s training. He is a good lad and proves promising. Together, we were able to ascertain that these orbs must be the missing eyes to the frog facsimile. We shall try them tomorrow.
We were correct, as expected. Implanting the eyes both unsealed the jungle temple and extended a bridge for easier access. Somewhat insulting after all my efforts reaching the door, but appreciated nonetheless.
Unfortunately, the temple’s entryway was further outfitted with an impressive number of spear traps. For such primitive technology, their accuracy was extraordinary. I counted over twenty of them in what was left of my apprentice. I would leave a memorial for him, but it was not clear which word in our conversations was his name.
We will be returning to town in order to hire more men. I will inform the others once they have moved away from the spears. They seem perturbed by the events to date, and I would rather they not be armed when discussing business.
I have assured them a 5% increase in pay as compensation. It did not appear to help.
– by Troy McConnell
More content by Troy
This map was born of a rough draft sent to me by Marc-Antoine Arseneault. I didn’t precisely follow his clever plans, but instead took it as loose inspiration to create this lush green temple in the jungle.
The entirety of this map’s creation was streamed on Twitch, where I narrated my train of thought and incorporated ideas presented by the chat – thanks all! If that sounds like fun to you, please follow me on Twitch, and you’ll be notified next time I start streaming.
The encounter we came up with was for your intrepid players to collect two McGuffins in order to unlock the gate. One McGuffin would be on the northern (grassy) path, and the other on the southern (cobbled) path. The first would require Acrobatics to cross the roots, and the second Athletics to leap the gaps and to push the boulder out of the way. Placing the McGuffins in the frog’s eye-pedestals will open the stone door and extend the tongue-bridge. Of course, some sort of flying enemy will also be present to make things difficult!
Of course, you are welcome to run any sort of encounter that you wish. In fact, I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments! Enjoy.
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