[ Freelance Traveller Home Page | Search Freelance Traveller | Site Index ]

*Freelance Traveller

The Electronic Fan-Supported Traveller® Resource

Four From the Jungle

This article originally appeared in the April 2013 issue.


Behaviour and Diet Preferred Habitat Movement Mode(s) Strength Dexterity Endurance Intelligence Instinct Pack
Chaser, Carnivore Jungle Walker 2 5 5 1 10 18
Skills: Recon 1, Athletics 0, Survival 0
Attacks: Teeth (1d6) Armour: None Number Encountered: 5d6

The Ata-Ata are small flightless birds weighing on average around 3kg and usually found in ‘packs’ of two dozen or so. They chase down their prey on the ground, and although they’re small, their beaks are sharp and in sufficient numbers they can bring down quite sizeable creatures. Their intelligence and instinct allows them to work together, circling their target before bringing it down. Sharp eyes allow them to see prey at quite a distance if the terrain permits. Their long legs allow considerable speed over the ground.

Their preferred diet consists of small rodents and some reptiles, but they’ve been known to catch amphibians and even other birds foolish enough to rest on the jungle floor for too long. If hungry or cornered they can be tempted to attack prey much larger themselves.

Attacker Plants

Behaviour and Diet Preferred Habitat Movement Mode(s) Strength Dexterity Endurance Intelligence Instinct Pack
Siren, Carnivore Jungle Mainly immobile 2 12 13 0 11 0
Skills: Athletics 0, Recon 0, Stealth 0, Survival 0
Attacks: Claws (1d6+1), plus aerosol hypnotic (Stealth, Deception DM+4) Armour: Hide (4) Number Encountered: 1

The Attacker Plant is something of a misnomer in that it is neither a true plant nor attacks in the strictest sense. This fungal has a frying pan shaped body which usually remains stationary but can move to a limited extent in the glades which it favours to better catch its prey. It emits a mist when it detects a food source which confuses its prey and enables it to move to the ideal spot. Once the unwary creature steps onto the pan like structure, it is enveloped and tiny barbs spring up on the inside surface making escape difficult and eventually incapacitating the unfortunate victim.

A particular favourite food source is the Ata-Ata bird (q.v.) which can stumble into an Attacker Plant when a pack moves through a glade. Some naturalists have surmised that it is in fact a corrupted form of the name of this part of its diet which has given rise to ‘attacker’ in colloquial speech.


Behaviour and Diet Preferred Habitat Movement Mode(s) Strength Dexterity Endurance Intelligence Instinct Pack
Siren, Omnivore Jungle Flier 1 6 1 0 7 11
Skills: Melee (natural weapons) 2, Athletics 0, Recon 0, Survival 0
Attacks: Stinger (1d6+2) Armour: Chitin (4) Number Encountered: (3d6)x3

Krasnakley are flying insects with a nasty sting in the tail. Swarms of 40 or 50 may be encountered at one time making them a danger to anything that gets in their path. Their high metabolic rate requires them to eat far more than their size might indicate and they’ll eat anything from plant matter to quite large animals.

In addition to their stinging tails, they also have a hypnotic drone that is caused by a combination of their wings and rearmost legs rubbing together. Animals hearing it are lured to the Krasnakley swarm and devoured. Travellers are advised to steer clear of areas where there are known infestations and to carry anti-venom kits if there is any possibility of an encounter.

Locals, however, value the krasnakley for the byuur they produce. Produced from the pollen of plants, this honey-like substance is used by the insects as a means of storing food for their young. Harvested at just the right time, it comes in a liquid form that makes an invigorating drink; harvested a little later in the process and it comes in a solid form that isn’t as sweet as honey but can be stored for months without going off and provides a valuable source of nourishment.

Vee Sok Kee

Behaviour and Diet Preferred Habitat Movement Mode(s) Strength Dexterity Endurance Intelligence Instinct Pack
Reducer & Siren, Omnivore Jungle Walker 14 6 16 1 7 12
Skills: Recon 1, Athletics 0, Survival 0
Attacks: Teeth (2d6) Armour: Hide (5) Number Encountered: 4d6

Vee Sok Kee (emphasis on the ‘Kee’) are very tall (18-20m) amphibians inhabiting jungles and in particular riverine areas running through them. They can weigh as much as 800kg. These creatures may be mistaken for trees by the unwary traveller. Typically standing in ‘groves’ of up to two dozen, the first sign of them is an apparently denser part of the jungle. Their bottom two metres or so are comprised of 6-8 jointed legs depending on subspecies. These legs have ‘feet’ (more like hooves) which have within them mechanisms for drawing up water and nutrients from the environment. If found in river margins containing mangrove-like trees, the legs may be spread out imitating their roots rather than clustered together like a trunk which is more usual.

Further up their bodies is a band encompassing the entire circumference of the body which is light and heat sensitive. Their top three metres split into several thick frond-like structures, three of which carry eyes, three of which carry ears, and the remainder carry organs that produce a pheromone highly attractive to insects which are in turn attractive to birds. The Vee Sok Kee feed on the excrement and detritus of these visitors via an orifice situated centrally at the point where the fronds diverge. This orifice, perhaps 20cm in diameter, can inflict damage on any traveller unwary enough to place a limb or other body part in its vicinity.

The legs and body of the Vee Sok Kee are flexible enough that the creature may be encountered lying prone on the jungle floor or floating on jungle rivers using currents and a limited ability to swim for locomotion.

The Vee Sok Kee are believed to mate via organs in their fronds possibly connected to the pheromone producing structures. They lay spherical eggs of up to 10cm diameter with clutches of up to 100 in standing pools of water or occasionally very sheltered riverbanks out of the mainstream. Young Vee Sok Kee hatch within three weeks and are left to fend for themselves although they’re very vulnerable to predators for at least another month. They are better swimmers than the adults and are most likely encountered in the water.