Here are some details on the Lost City of D'Abo, setting for our next 5-6 sessions of DF.
The Lost City of D'Abo isn't "lost" in the "Where is it?" sense but in the "We don't have it anymore" sense. It was once the secure capitol of a mid-sized southern theocratic state, before a disaster struck. Those who should have known better convinced themselves they were beyond failure, and tried and failed to do something epic but foolish. Those who survived the disaster fled.
In the centuries that have passed since, the locals have broken up into small clans. They use the "Lost City" as a "Trial by Ordeal" or to prove right of rule in cases of succession, or just as a trip to really impress their friends. Not all make it back. Those that do report that all sorts of unpleasant animals, monsters, and man-like creatures live there.
Legends claim the last princess of the city, Princess Aivilo, didn't die but still lives in some fashion in the city. Others claim she's gone but can be called back to save the city.
Legends also claim there are two golden bells of "inestimable worth" in the city, along with treasures left behind when the population fled.
That's the background so far (well, I have a lot more, chunked up into actionable rumors!)
Setting - Looks like "jungle" and "woodlands" are tied, and I'm the deciding vote if there is a tie. As much as I'd love to re-purpose the map I have to be a "cold mist-shrouded woods" from "hot mist-shrouded jungle," the latter is easier than the former.
I told the players "Jungle" meant heavy armor is going to mean much slower travel and more FP loss to heat, but equally enemies are less likely to be armored. "Woodlands" means when it gets cold here it gets cold in game, and they'll need blankets, bedrolls, tents, etc. to stay warm . . . and both they and the bad guys will have more DR from armor and winter clothes. Basically it's dire apes and blowguns and loincloths or trolls and crossbows and scale armor. Whichever.
If it changes, just swap in "dark forest" for "jungle" and I'll set this in the woody, tangled forests near the Cold Fens. Getting home if they stay too long will be easier (they can walk) but more dangerous (many more trolls.)
Caravan - the PCs arrive as part of a semi-sprawling caravan of pilgrims heading to a shrine off to the west. This is part of a once-every-three-years trip to the site of the Third Martyrdom of Saint-in-Waiting Buyya Duad, a truly obscure eventually-to-be-sainted holy man of the Good God. The site is only visited once every three years - pilgrims visit the other two matyrdom sites on the other years. This year is the 100th anniversary of the Third Martyrdom, so a large pilgrimage has been organize to make the dangerous journey down the jungle-choked River Dracon and then overland to the site.
Town will be a temporary trading camp set up by the locals to interact with the traders and pilgrims from the big caravan. A small base camp is set up, complete with a ramshackle palm-frond topped bar, a tinker's, a local wizard who can teach any spells (he's got Teaching and Wild Talent!) and recharge power items and brew up Paut and Minor Healing potions and do some minor healing (Cleric lens) etc. He's greedy, though, so spells cost $80/each! Locals will come and go, providing rumors.
Jungle Love - It will be a 3-day trip to the city across the jungle, assuming the players leave at dawn and aren't too heavily encumbered. If they are, it'll take more days to get there. The jungle will be dangerous but at least for the first trip they'll get guided to the city so getting lost will be less of an issue. The wilderness is basically profitless encounters, although there will be some little benefits they can pick up if they look for them.
Showing the Map - once the players get to the city itself, I have a player handout map for them. No time wasted mapping!
Time Limit - the main body of pilgrims will come back in a couple months, and at the end of session 5 the last of them will leave for the east and then north. The players can stay as late as session 6, but town will have dropped into "rest place only" and "local services only" and they'll need to make a lot of rolls to cut across the dangerous wilderness to catch up with the tail end of the caravan. Otherwise, they'll literally miss the boat and have to stay in the area.
Target-Rich Environment - the Lost City is a target-rich environment. There is much more than can be done than time to do it. That's on purpose so the players don't get stuck in a "let's not play until everyone is here because we need them all for that one thing left" situation. There is always going to be something to do.
Active Environment - there is a fair amount going on in the area. The players can camp out and rest and all of that within the city if they want, but there will be risks (i.e. wandering monsters, active retaliation, hungry critters) to doing so.
I'm hoping the target-rich environment plus the time limit means the players push a little harder to get loot, avoid game-session devouring debate, and try to resolve things quickly. The active environment should push them to keep on their toes. I'll happily fritter away sessions resolving fights with wandering monsters - it's cutting out looting time.
It also means I'll have a only partly-looted partly-interacted with area the players can come back to in the future, either with more starting characters or with their experienced vets to finish some puzzle they only figure out a year from now.