[Malatra] Size controversy.

Soaring above the jungles of southern Kara-Tur, the Malatran Plateau has been invisible to the natives of Abeir-Toril for thousands of years. Most sages consider the area nothing more than an uninteresting wilderness.

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apotheot
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[Malatra] Size controversy.

Post by apotheot »

Here is a capture from the Interactive Atlas showing the Canonical Placement of Malatra within Kara-Tur.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... =3&theater

One of the former Campagin Coordinators is quoted as saying the plateau was: "Somewhere between 2500 and 3500 miles in length (east/west) by 1500-1800 miles north/south. Or about twice the size of Geographic North America."

As you can see the picture does not support that assertion, however the (non-canon) Map and placement done by Markustay is much closer (as well as my prefered placement of the plateau), but even that falls short.
http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/for ... 0506011722

I imagine the issue came about due to the RPGA having been given the region to develop the Living Jungle, but later WotC deciding to take it back. As I understand it, the entire sub-continent was originally supposed to be for the setting. Unfortunately, the region was never given a good canonical reference in a TSR/WotC product. Since, prior to the Atlas, no maps were made of the region the creators without knowledge of events/locations there or of the original agreement they were virtually able to ignore the Living Jungle.
-Apotheot


The larger size creates some problems, as it means that All of the playable tribes are VERY close to each other relatively speaking. Travel times also become an issue, as walking (the only means of transportation) from one tribe to the farthest is do-able in about 5 days. Travel times in several of the adventures are mentioned which support this.

Please compare with the official map from the setting in Polyhedron shown in this thread. viewtopic.php?f=38&t=11078

Relative sizes of tribes also become an issue, as the Saiyama (Big Chief Bagoomba) would now have a size roughly the size of Nevada.

In fact, the entire Tribe/village dynamic is a little messed up, with some single villages being referred to as 'tribe' while many other tribes are said to have multiple villages (such as the Koshiva and Huroola). This is confusing when you realize that Bagoomba's Tribe is supposed to be the largest (in the immediate region) and only have about 500 people in it. If a tribe of 500 was spread out throughout a region the size of Nevada even in small villages, no one would ever see each other. Guessing from the distance between some tribes and others and the travel time mentioned, I would think that with a larger Jungle would fit the intent.

On the other hand, there is a good reason for tribes to be so spread out. The Jungle not only has the normal dangers of Snakes, Lions, Tigers, Leopards, and Hyena; but also the dinosaurs (called garuda in reference to the Hindu/Buddhist mythological bird creature which in turn was likely created as a way of explaining fossilized dinosaur bones). Any creature in an area needs at least 200 of the same creature in order for the species to stay viable over a protracted time. Having greater distance for those predators to spread out is one way of ensuring that ordinary animals such as hedgehogs, impala, and sloths are not extinct.

I am inclined to believe in a smaller Jungle, if for the ease of adventuring parties. But there is something to be said for having a huge area of unexplored wilderness that only your neighbors know their neighbors. Think pre-Colombian Native American tribes. It is doubtful that the tribes in what is now Southern Florida knew much if anything about the tribes what is now Washington state. (Lewis and Clark took a year and a half to reach the Pacific and for much of that they had horses or traveled the river. Currently the estimate for walking from one coast to the other is about 12 months provided 15 mile per day average.)

Reducing its size to what it is in the atlas (Not quite the size of Texas) works best, but also means that there is likely very little unexplored territory. Even Taboo areas would likely have been visited by some other race that does not hold that taboo at some point. That would fit with the travel times and make the journey from one side of Malatra to the other (just under 1000 miles) approximately a month-and-a-half long. Of course much of this would be considered difficult or impassable terrain. In this case the area controlled by the Saiyama (Bagoomba) would be about the size of the city of Houston within Texas still a huge region for only 500 people but much more manageable.

This would suggest the tribes act like city-states, most villages or solitary hermits in a claimed area are considered part of the tribe for purposes of trade and defense, but could become tribes on their own if they got big/powerful enough. Essentially, a tribe claims as much territory as they think they can handle, then that territory is used as hunting/gathering lands. If they claim an area where another tribe is located, they would have to work that out. The Huroola did so by conquest many generations ago, and the new villages have remained a part of them ever since. Since the Koshiva seem to be friendly, amicable, and somewhat political I would suggest that they negotiated the admittance of the other villages into their tribe at some point. For practical purposes, the vast areas of land claimed by each tribe though would then have to be symbolic at best.
Anyway, my thoughts on the subject.

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Re: [Malatra] Size controversy.

Post by apotheot »

Here is a quote i just found from "Marcustay" who created the second larger jungle map i used above.

"In the case of Malatra, I went in a different direction (quite literally). The canon LJ Malatra maps showed the plateau to be around 1000 miles, but when the FRIA guys went to place it, they couldn't fit that over where the canon K-T maps said Malatra was. Problem is, the guys who worked on those maps didn't really read the material, and the word 'Malatra' was squeezed in where it was, even though 'Malatra' was what everything south of K-T was called (by the Shou). So they didn't need to put it where the label was on the K-T box set maps - they could have put it anywhere 'down south', which is what I did - it fit perfectly in the large jungle area (just north of the region I named Jambu-Dweepam)."

-Apotheot

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Re: [Malatra] Size controversy.

Post by apotheot »

So here is a thought that just occurred to me. I wonder if the entire region is somehow under the affects of the 2nd ed spell Distance Distortion. It might solve a lot of problems. I know ottomh one of the prerequisites for the spell is an earth elemental...

-Apotheot

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Re: [Malatra] Size controversy.

Post by night_druid »

Another take, if you use 4e and forward Realms, is that Malatra is actually on Aebir, and the small plateau in Kara-Tur acts as a gateway between the two worlds. In effect, its a place where both worlds overlap.
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Re: [Malatra] Size controversy.

Post by thorr-kan »

night_druid wrote:
Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:22 pm
Another take, if you use 4e and forward Realms, is that Malatra is actually on Aebir, and the small plateau in Kara-Tur acts as a gateway between the two worlds. In effect, its a place where both worlds overlap.
Plateau of Leng-like?

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Re: [Malatra] Size controversy.

Post by apotheot »

thorr-kan wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:39 pm
night_druid wrote:
Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:22 pm
Another take, if you use 4e and forward Realms, is that Malatra is actually on Aebir, and the small plateau in Kara-Tur acts as a gateway between the two worlds. In effect, its a place where both worlds overlap.
Plateau of Leng-like?
Amusingly, I am aware that there was some discussions about making a few adventures with more Mythos-like elements, but these never made it too far, as they were partially constrained by the RPGA....and didn't want to step on the toes of Living Death.
There is an excellent Lamentations of the Flame Princess setting called World of the Lost, which embodies some of those similar themes.

But I like Night Druid's idea that there is more of an Abier connection to be explored.

Apotheot

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