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I used to GM Earthdawn (1st edition) a lot, quite a while ago. However, I'm still rather doubtful about what Barsaive's jungles are like (and, for this reason, all my stories took place in non-jungle environments: coastal cities, mountains, badlands, kaers etc. I avoided the jungles.) So, help me out:

What do Barsaive's jungles look like? What "real world" jungle are they most similar to?

In other words: what images and biomes should I google (for which Barsaivian jungle)? And which ED books do I have to look up for help on imagining them? :)

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

A short description from the Earthdawn Gamemaster’s Guide, 3rd ed. (pp. 60-61)

On the Jungles and Forests

Records show that before the Scourge, tall trees with broad leaves shut out the sunlight from the floor of Barsaive’s jungles and forests and so kept them clear of underbrush. In our time, through some combination of magic, intent, circumstance, and natural growth, jungles and forests grow thick with low vegetation that weaves between the tall trees, thriving with or without sunlight. Perhaps in reaction to the barrenness of the Scourge, Barsaive’s jungles and forests now teem with animal and plant life. ...

... The variety of plant life in these jungles is astounding; questors of Jaspree estimate that thousands of varieties of plants and trees grow within a single day’s ride in any direction.

... As soon as a traveler cuts a passage and leaves it behind, the trees and growth begin crowding in again. Splashes of sunlight, beams of light so startlingly bright that they look like fire burning its way through the dimness, sometimes illuminate remnants of other explorers’ trails. The dense plant life makes the jungle a dangerous place for Namegivers and all manner of mundane creatures. Large predators often await their prey in branches high above the jungle paths or in the shadow of underbrush. Often, more vulnerable creatures use the abundant flora to hide. The air echoes with bird song, the hum of insects, and the occasional roar of larger animals challenging trespassers or warning off scavengers hoping to share their kill. The temperature is the only comfortable part of traveling through Barsaive’s forests and jungles; it is rarely hot, and may even be cold during the rainy season. Among the great trees, travelers can always find a dry spot to wait out the weather.

It continues with descriptions of the Servos Jungle, the Poison Forest and the Liaj Jungle (pp. 61-62), the Mist Swamps (pp. 72-73) and the Blood Wood (pp. 77-79).

If you are interested in Eartdawn 1st ed., the books that have info on Barsaive's jungles are the following:

  • An Explorer's Guide to Barsaive in the Barsaive Campaign Set (1st ed.) has a general description on jungles and forests (pp. 91-92), and specific info (pp. 99-103) on Bloodwood, the Liaj Jungle, the Mist Swamps, the Poison Forest and the Servos Jungle.

  • Eartdawn Survival Guide has both info on jungles and forests (pp. 31-45) and rules for survival therein.

  • Dragons has info on great dragons' lairs, and among these the Mist Swamps for Aban (pp. 63-64) and the Liaj for Usun (p. 102).

  • The Serpent River has info on the Servos (pp. 27-31).

  • The Blood Wood has info on the Blood Wood (who would have thought?).

  • The Ork Nation of Cara Fahd has info on the deep jungle around the ancient city of Cara Fahd (pp. 17, 91-92).

As for pictures and visuals, I'd search mixed forests for Blood Wood (with many thorny plants), dead forests of high trees for the Poison Forest, jungles for the Liaj and the Servos, and deep swamps for the Mist Swamps. Remember that though Barsaive corresponds to Ukraine, its southern reaches have warmer climates than their real-world counterparts, due probably to the proximity of Death's Sea and the Scarlet Sea. This would support the presence of jungles in this area.

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I'm a little uncomfortable with this quantity of text copied word for word from a published book. Anyone else? –  Phil Apr 13 '13 at 15:16
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@Xabei: Thank you, that was really in-depth and excellent. I've accepted your answer. :) As for Phil's point, I think he's probably right. It would be good to hear a mod's opinion, though. As far as I'm concerned: Xabei, feel free to cut back the quotation to a paragraph or three, at most. The reference to the source is there, so we (those interested in the question and the answer) can find it. Thanks! –  OpaCitiZen Apr 13 '13 at 15:35
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Point taken. Reduced quoted texts. Thanks! –  Xabei Apr 13 '13 at 16:19
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@OpaCitiZen - Try to look for pictures of disturbed rainforest or interface zones. Because they have more light, they're usually much more dense like the Barsaive rainforest is supposed to be like. –  Ichoran Apr 13 '13 at 17:29
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