Raiders of the Lost Tomb
Tavern tales have it that the jungles of Chult are the deadliest places on Toril. Every bush and vine is a strangling, poisonous, flesh-eating, or blood-sucking horror—and under every bush lurks a scaled, taloned, fanged monster. Poisonous flora and fauna riddle the jungles, but some still brave the dangers to seek their fortunes. Adventuring in Chult's treasure-rich and dinosaur-filled jungles can be profitable, but it's never easy. The locals inevitably have a taste for explorer stew, the flora and fauna try to eat your guide at every other turn, you must contend with strange diseases and parasites like mad monkey fever and throat leeches, and the dinosaurs react badly to your intrusion upon their turf.
The vast, choking jungles of Chult hide what many believe to be great mineral wealth, including large gemstones and veins of ore. Some of the exotic plants that grow only in Chult fetch high prices in mainland markets. Ruined Mezro stands across the sea from Calimshan, waiting for explorers and its displaced people to cleanse the city of its undead inhabitants and uncover the treasures that lie hidden there.
Terrain and Climate
Chult is a varied land, but it is hot and humid nearly everywhere. The rainforest, which covers much of the country, roughly follows the drainage of large river basins, like the Olung and the Tath. The soil in the rainforest is poor for northern-style farming, since the daily rainfall leaches away most of the nutrients.
Travel in the heart of the rainforest is easier than one might expect. The tall trees stretch hundreds of feet overhead, barren of branches or leaves, save for the huge canopies that spread wide in search of light and rain. A thin carpet of fallen leaves, pale vines, and hearty fungus covers the hard ground. The biggest obstacle to travel are the trees themselves, which sport huge, buttressed boles.
The rainforest is bordered on the west and south by low mountains, hills, and lakes. Traveling here is much more difficult, as the towering trees give way to smaller copses. Low shrubs and tangles of vines block movement on every side, often hiding small pools and narrow streams from sight. Since snakes, crocodiles, and other dangerous creatures often lurk in these waters, inattentive wandering in these areas can prove deadly. To the southeast of the rainforest, the thick trees gradually give way to scrub and, eventually, wide Savannah. These tropical plains are
broad and level, broken by numerous hilly ranges, plateaus, and gullies. Though water can be scarce at times, animals of all sorts roam these seas of grass in vast herds.
While the rivers may provide easy transport by boat for some miles, sooner or later every river comes to a waterfall, sometimes multiple. Boats must then be ported down difficult stretches of cliff face, to where the river starts again, often having to repeat this every few miles.
Water and Dehydration
Like Zakhara, the Great Glacier, or any other land of extremes, the jungles of Chult present a challenge to the average explorer braving their depths for the first time. Not only does the terrain often make travel slow and tedious, but the heat and humidity exact a toll on those unprepared for their severity.
In any part of the jungle, an average person must drink at least one gallon of fresh water each day to survive. Someone remaining inactive can cut that requirement to a half-gallon. Because the oppressive humidity affects a person in the shade as much as the sun, no further reductions in water requirements can be gained by hiding in the shade or traveling only at night. Failure to meet this water requirement results in dehydration, which in turn is reflected by levels of exhaustion.