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FRM1: The Jungles of Chult (2e)
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FRM1: The Jungles of Chult (2e)

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Come, all ye seekers after treasure beyond your ken and adventure greater than any you can dream!

Come, all ye mighty warriors, seekers after prey worthy of your peerless skills, and stalk the Children of Ubtao. Walk th streets of the city of Mezro, of the Maze of Life. Meet the barae, the holy warriors of Ubtao, those men and women who will live forever sustained by their wisdom and their faith.

Wizards, be prepared for new magical spells and new methods of magic use based on gemstones.

Seach the jungles of Chult for the fabled emerald mines, for the Heart of the Jungle, a single gem as large as a man's head.

Also within these pages are new monsters and new character kits: Mage hunters, specialty priests of Ubtao, and spiritlords.

This adventure is designed for 6 to 8 characters of levels 5 to 8.

Product History

FRM1: "The Jungles of Chult" (1993), by James Lowder and Jean Rabe, is a sourcebook and adventure for the Forgotten Realms. It was published in May 1993.

About the Cover. "The Jungles of Chult" is the first Realms sourcebook to obviously abandon the line's old trade dress, which previously featured a primary color frame around the cover illustration. "Jungles" removes the frame, allowing the illustration to go full page. This would be the style moving forward, and probably was an early change to accommodate the upcoming release of the revised Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (1993).

Origins (I): Another Realms Adventure. In the early '90s, TSR confusingly cycled through "A", "E", "M", and "Q" codes for their adventure books; they're assumed to stand for Adventure, Epic, Mission (or Module), and Quest. Thus, when FRM1: "The Jungles of Chult" (1993) followed FRQ2: "Hordes of Dragonspear" (1992), it seemed like TSR had reset their adventure code for the Realms — something they were then doing across all their lines, on a yearly basis.

It was thus a bit of a surprise when FRQ3: "Doom of Daggerdale" (1993) followed. It might be that "Doom" was just a late bloomer, but it's also possible that TSR intended the "FRM" modules to be something different — to be a line of books that mixed comprehensive setting information with adventuring in a way that TSR's modules typically didn't. But, there were no more "FRM" or "FRQ" modules to verify this hypothesis, because shortly afterward TSR stopped using module codes entirely.

"The Jungles of Chult" was the last Forgotten Realms book produced by TSR before the release of the revised Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting.

Origins (II): Welcome to Chult. Author James Lowder first wrote about Chult in The Ring of Winter (1992), the fifth book in the line of Harpers novels. There, adventurer Artus Cimber travels to the Jungles of Chult searching after the eponymous Ring of Winter.

At the time, there was a strong connection between TSR's fiction and game departments, so a supplement naturally followed. Lowder was contracted for The Ring of Winter in June 1991, then received another contract for "The Jungles of Chult" in July 1992, months before The Ring of Winter's release.

Origins (III): Varied Sources. Much of the sourcebook material in "The Jungles of Chult" is derived from The Ring of Winter (or Lowder's notes from working on the book); this includes the sections on Mezro, its Barae, and Ubtao. Other material in "Jungles", such as the section on gem magic and the information on life outside of Mezro, expands upon material just lightly touched upon in the novel, while still other details are totally new.

Lowder also pulled from some more varied sources, including articles on "The Dark Continent" by David Howery and "Arms & Armors of Africa" by Michael J. Varhola, both in Dragon #189 (January 1993). Finally, Jeff Grubb's Al-Qadim: Arabian Adventures (1992) provided rules for dehydration and survival.

Origins (IV): Adventurous Evolution. When Lowder received the contract for "The Jungles of Chult" he was given a suggested plotline for its adventure: "An elder power uncoils and threatens the Realms from its ancient city in the Jungles of Chult. A party of adventurers, spurred by a tale told by a dying man's ghost, sails to Chult to search for, among other things, fabulous riches, lost treasure, and/or a cure for the incurable disease ravaging Amn. They are shipwrecked and find instead an eldritch horror. Be sure that dinosaurs play a major part in the storyline."

These were just general guidelines, so when Lowder plotted out his adventure, "The Devourer of Honor", it became about rescuing a nobleman lost in Chult; the story would have involved Ras Nsi, the Cult of Frost, the pteramen, and lots of dinosaurs. Lowder ran part of the adventure for his local gaming group, and his introduction to the story can still be found in the boxed introduction on page two of "Jungles".

Unfortunately, Lowder became very sick while working on "Jungles" and ended up in the hospital for a month(!). Jean Rabe was thus brought in to actually write the adventure. Her adventure, "Heart of the Jungle", involves a more freeform wander through the Jungles of Chult.

Genre Tropes: Pulp. Authors like David "Zeb" Cook and Tom Moldvay imbued early D&D adventures with numerous pulp tropes, with X1: "The Isle of Dread" (1981) being the best-known example. However, TSR's new core setting, the Realms, didn't have much room for pulp because it was so civilized and cultured … until "The Jungles of Chult". Lowder lists pulp inspirations such as the Allan Quartermain tales (1885-1927) of H. Rider Haggard and the Professor Challenger stories (1912-1929) of Arthur Conan Doyle. It was a nice return to one of D&D's core genres.

Exploring the Realms. "The Jungles of Chult" is the major source for Chult, part of a peninsula in southwestern Faerûn. The sourcebook includes details on the land, on the city of Muzro, and on the rural Tabaxi.

NPCs of Note. Lord Onovan of the Dales, the unfortunate noble found in the introduction, is named after TSR editor Dale Donovan. He was eaten by a dinosaur.

About the Creators. Lowder is primarily a fiction writer and editor. Though he contributed to FR7: "Hall of Heroes" (1989), some of the early Monstrous Compendiums, and other group works, this was his first starring role in a D&D supplement.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons — a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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Product Information
Silver seller
Author(s)
Rules Edition(s)
Pages
64
Edition
1.0
ISBN
1-56076-605-0
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9389
File Size:
63 MB
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File Last Updated:
November 21, 2016
This title was added to our catalog on November 22, 2016.