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Rima the Jungle Girl (DC Comics Green Mansions adaptation)

Rima the jungle girl


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Forest was a popular romance/adventure novel by W.H. Hudson. Though many of its environmentalist and back-to-pristine nature sound very late 1960s, it was actually published in… 1904 (so yes, it’s a smidgen dated in many respects).

There have been various adaptations across the decades, including a movie staring Audrey Hepburn. DC Comics also pitched in in 1974/75 with a short-lived series. However, this version of Rima the Jungle Girl was firmly shoved into being more of a typical “queen of the jungle” comic book future, even though this archetype was getting markedly less popular than in previous decades.

This profile is based on the DC Comics version of the character who differs in several regards from Hudson’s heroine. It was done years before another version of Rima was seen at DC, in First Wave (and she was even more different anyway).

The profile also includes an array of animal stats, since these are important in Rima’s stories.


Background

  • Real Name: Unrevealed
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Old Nuflo (Adopted Grandfather), Unnamed Mother (referred to as “The Didi” or “evil one” by Rima’s Indian neighbors ; deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: None (Superfriends ?).
  • Base Of Operations: The Venezuelan Rainforest (Late 1870’s).
  • Height: 5’4” Weight: 100lbs Age: Late Teens (16-17 ?).
  • Eyes: Blue-Gray Hair: White-Blonde


Powers and Abilities

Rima, the jungle girl, has a rare connection to the creatures that populate her forest home. By singing and trilling in her bird-like way, Rima may communicate with these animals who she refers to as “forest people”. She explains this communication as an “understanding of sounds more than words”.

In DC Heroes RPG terms, she often uses this ability to allow for Charisma (Persuasion) attempts on her animal friends. Rima is equally adept at sensing the emotional state of the “forest people” and the high regard with which they hold her ensures that they will always answer any call she sends out.

Rima’s abilities aren’t technically super-powers. Just as Tarzan’s ability to converse with the great apes of his African home is not a super-power, but a skill learned by being raised in their society.

Rima is also graced with a number of skills that allow her to flourish in her jungle home. She can climb like an agile monkey, track like a relentless jaguar, and disappear into the foliage like a camouflaged serpent.

Woman gave names to all the animals

The depth of the love that the animals of the forest feel for Rima cannot be emphasized enough. On several occasions, the “forest people” have moved to protect Rima without express instructions from the jungle girl herself.

For example, a venomous bushmaster mistakes Abel’s lunge at Rima as an attack and bites him. When Rima is grazed by a bullet and left unconscious, a mantle of tropical birds descends in a futile attempt to protect her from harm.

In addition, the “forest people” will ignore their own natural instincts and work together, boa and bird, jaguar and monkey, to aid her. The gamemaster should role-play the actions of any animals in Rima’s vicinity, even those who she has not used her Charisma (Persuasion) on, and react accordingly if Rima seems endangered.


Video

The trailer to the 1959 movie. It odesn’t have that much in common with the DC version but it has Audrey Hepburn so heh, just roll with it. Beside, the alternative was Enya’s Orinoco Flow as a soundtrack.


History

The story of Rima, the jungle girl, begins with her adopted grandfather, Old Nuflo, as a young revolutionary. Lacking the strength to strike directly against the Venezuelan government, Nuflo’s band of fellow revolutionaries descended into barbarism. They became little more than armed bandits, murderers, and rapists.

They justified their barbaric behavior as vengeance against their oppressors. But Nuflo saw it for the senseless cruelty it was. However, his comrades frightened him. Though he withdrew from their company when possible, he felt sure they would kill him if he tried to leave the group.

Raiders

In approximately 1858, Nuflo’s band spotted a small village from their lair high atop the Riolama Mountain. The group chose the village as their next target and began the long journey there.

The first night of their trek, they made camp in a small cave. As they unrolled their bed-rolls, they were surprised by the appearance in the cave entrance of a beautiful woman. Realizing her plight, the woman ran, the bandits in hot pursuit.

Nuflo, stunned by the exquisite beauty of the strange woman, could not move. Once Nuflo was able to make his legs work, he made his way to the cave entrance. There awaited a ghastly sight : the dead bodies of the bandits lay strewn about the landscape. Investigating a strange bird-like cry, Nuflo found the beautiful woman had injured herself in her flight from the cave.

He carried her back to the cave and cared for her as best he could. Before long, the strange woman gave birth to a daughter. The identity of the child’s father is not revealed. None of the bandits lived long enough to defile the mysterious woman. And Nuflo himself declares that he cared for her “as if she were my own daughter.”

Rima the orphan girl

While little Rima grew strong, her mother’s condition worsened. When Rima was 4 or 5 years old, her mother died. Nuflo buried the woman he began to think of as his own family. He vowed to raise Rima as his granddaughter. The pair left Riolama but Rima was unhappy and withdrawn whenever Nuflo brought them to a town.

The man and girl wandered the forest for weeks. They finally came to a huge old tree. The birds in the tree flew down to greet the pair. Then Rima insisted that they make their home there. Nuflo built a hut and Rima, using the strange bird-like language of her mother, made friends of all the animals of her new forest home.

The Indians of a nearby village, however, feared Rima. They called her the Daughter of the Didi (evil one). Rima, for her part, detested the Indians because they hunted and killed her animal friends.

One day, the Indians pursued Rima through her forest home. They cornered her in the old tree. They fired their blowguns at her but something strange happened. In Nuflo’s words: “[t]o this day the Indians swear that she plucked the barbed dart in flight — and flung it back with lethal accuracy.”

From that day forward, the Indians considered Rima’s forest taboo and would not hunt there. Rima and her grandfather lived alone and safe in their forest home.

Years later

The story resumes years later with another revolutionary, known simply as Abel. Fleeing the consequences of his failed revolution, Abel escaped into the jungle. He reached the Orinoco and began following it upstream in the hopes that the rumors regarding gold-adorned Indian tribesmen were true.

Before long, Abel found himself in the company of Rima’s Indian neighbors. He enjoyed his stay with the Indians but felt drawn to a mysterious land beyond a rise that bordered his new hosts’ territory. His Indian friend Runi warned Abel against traveling there as “a powerful evil spirit” haunted the place.

Abel could not resist the magnetic pull the place had for him. Late one night, he stole away from the sleeping Indian village to investigate. Over the rise, he discovered the lush forest home of Rima. It wasn’t until his second visit to the taboo land, however, that he would encounter Rima herself.

On this second visit, as he stood before the gnarled old tree that Rima had fallen in love with some 10 years before, the jungle girl appeared to Abel. She quickly disappeared but the sight of her intrigued him and he ran after her. She led him on a merry chase ; showing a brief glimpse of herself or trilling a bird-like note when he seemed to lose the trail.

Finally, she stood revealed in an open field and waited for his approach.

Let the Orinoco flow

As Abel closed the distance between them, his heart froze ; there at her feet slithered a deadly bushmaster! Abel, having no way to know that Rima was not in danger, pushed her away from the snake. The snake, sensing an attack on its friend, bit Abel on the leg. In shock, Abel ran from the girl for what seemed like an eternity.

Hopelessly lost in the forest, Abel passed out, the venom coursing through his system.

Abel awoke in the hut of Old Nuflo and his two dogs. Rima had saved his life and brought him there to rest and regain his strength.

Over the next few days, the jungle girl explained the friendship that existed between her and the animals of her forest home. Abel gained further information about the girl’s origin from Old Nuflo. All the while, Abel and Rima were falling in love. But Rima wished to know more about her mother’s people. Thus, she left Abel and Nuflo to travel beyond Riolama.

To the lands I’ve never seen

In her absence, Abel was attacked and captured by Malagar Indians. These were not only enemies of Runi’s tribe but also sought to kill the Daughter of the Didi ! Abel escaped his captors. He fled to Nuflo’s hut where he found the old man and his dogs dead at the Malagars’ hands.

Hoping that Rima might have returned from her journey, Abel ran to the old tree only to discover it burnt by Malagar torches. Certainly this meant that Rima had been killed, he imagined.

In a rage, Abel returned to Runi and led his people against the Malagar, slaying their leader. The following day, much to Abel’s surprise, Rima reappeared. Though scorched by the Malagar torches, she had survived their attack. The reunited pair professed their love for each other.

We can steer, we can near

Rima and Abel had several other recorded adventures, usually involving the jungle girl’s efforts to protect her animal friends from outsiders.


Description

With alabaster skin, white-blond hair, and deep blue-gray eyes, Rima possesses an almost otherworldly beauty. Her only garment is a gray sarong-like dress with one strap over her right shoulder. Rima has fashioned this wrap from the fine silk of the spiders of the Venezuelan jungle. Small gold hoop earrings dangle from her ears.


Personality

The main motivating factor behind Rima’s every action is a deep love and respect for all her animal neighbors. She dislikes humans who eat meat (she herself is a vegetarian) and positively hates those who hunt for sport.

In fact, apart from the fascination she feels for Abel, which eventually evolves into love, she treats humans, even Old Nuflo, with a combination of bemused detachment and barely concealed disdain.

This is not to say Rima won’t risk her life to protect visitors to her jungle home. She understands the dangers the “forest people” can pose to the unprepared. But she will never harm an animal in order to protect human life, regardless of the circumstances.

Rima has, on more than one occasion, allowed those who seek to deliberately harm her animal friends to suffer the forest’s vengeance.


Quotes

“All life is of one spirit, Abel ! And each living thing is created to help the other if we allow it!”

“[The beautiful song of some unknown bird.]”


DC Universe History

The story is set in South America in the late 1800’s, a time and place left unexplored by current DC continuity. Thus, there is no reason why Rima’s adventures with her animal friends cannot have taken place in the DC Universe. As with any historical setting, Rima’s Venezuelan jungle home is an unexpected destination for a group of time-lost PCs.

During one season of the Super Friends animated program a Rima character appeared who possessed the ability to command animal life. This modern era appearance could translate to a membership in the Global Guardians. Perhaps the modern era jungle girl is Rima’s great, great, great granddaughter who inherited knowledge of the language of the “forest people”.

Or she might be the original Rima who has somehow survived, untouched by the ages, in her jungle home.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Rima

Dex: 05 Str: 02 Bod: 04 Motivation: Responsibility of Power
Int: 04 Wil: 05 Min: 05 Occupation: Jungle Girl
Inf: 06 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 000
Init: 015 HP: 040

Powers:
Animal Summoning: 08, Empathy: 05, Speak with Animals: 08

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Animal Summoning can summon any type of animal.
  • Empathy is only usable on animals.
  • Using Speak with Animals, Rima may attempt Character Interaction Attempts on animals.
  • All Powers are Skilled Powers.

Skills:
Acrobatics (Climbing, Dodging): 06, Animal Handling: 09, Charisma (Intimidation, Persuasion): 06, Military Science (Tracking): 06, Thief (Stealth): 07

Advantages:
Attractive, Area Knowledge (The Venezuelan Jungle), Scholar (Venezuelan Flora and Fauna), Miscellaneous: Animal Friendship: The attitude of the animal inhabitants of Rima’s jungle home to Rima herself is never less than Friendly (and more often Awestruck / Enamored) on the Attitude Adjustment Table.

Drawbacks:
SIA toward Protecting the “forest people”, SIH toward Sport Hunters.

●●●


Rima’s animal friends

Rima’s forest homeland boasts a rich variety of animal life. Below are some common animals that Rima might encounter and interact with. She has also protected and been protected by bears and boa constrictors.

You can find many more game stats for animals in our Animals File. For we have binders full of beasties.

Bushmaster

“Hisssssss !”

Dex: 02 Str: 00 Bod: 02
Int: 00 Wil: 01 Min: 01
Inf: 02 Aur: 00 Spi: 01
Init: 04

Powers:
Analytical Smell / Tracking Scent: 04, Hypersensitive Touch: 03, Poison Touch: 04, Shrinking: 02, Thermal Vision: 02, Ultra Vision: 03

Description:
A member of the Pit Viper family, the bushmaster is brown, tan, and gold and ranges in size from 9 to 12 feet (0 APs) in length. It can sense the approach of prey through variations in temperature or vibrations traveling through the ground.

Note:
The bushmaster’s APs of Shrinking represent the difficulty involved in striking its slender body.

Orinoco Crocodile

“[Bellow !]”

Dex: 02 Str: 04 Bod: 05
Int: 00 Wil: 01 Min: 01
Inf: 02 Aur: 00 Spi: 02
Init: 04 [06]

Powers:
Claws: 04, Swimming:02, Water Freedom: 04

Description:
The crocodiles of the Orinoco may reach up to 20 feet (1 AP) in length. Though not completely amphibious, large adults may stay submerged for up to one hour (10 APs in time). Younger individuals are deep green but gradually grow to a more grayish color as they age.

Note: For purposes of character interaction, the Orinoco crocodiles have an attitude of Neutral to Rima.

Jaguar

“[Growl !]”

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 03
Int: 01 Wil: 02 Min: 02
Inf: 02 Aur: 00 Spi: 02
Init: 09

Powers:
Analytical Smell / Tracking Scent: 03, Claws: 04, Extended Hearing: 03, Running: 04, Ultra Vision: 04

Skills:
Acrobatics (Climbing): 04, Thief (Stealth): 04

Description:
Bearing a superficial similarity to the leopard, the jaguar is heavier and more powerful than its African cousin. A nocturnal hunter, it is an excellent climber and often attacks its prey by leaping on it from above earning it its name, which in Indian means “the hunter who kills in one pounce.” As with leopards, melanistic individuals are referred to as black panthers.

Note: In one recorded adventure, Rima protects a rare white jaguar from a big game hunter.

Monkey

“Eeee…eeee ! eeee !”

Dex: 03 Str: 01 Bod: 01
Int: 01 Wil: 01 Min: 01
Inf: 02 Aur: 00 Spi: 01
Init: 06

Powers:
Extra Limb [X1]: 01, Shrinking: 05

Skills:
Acrobatics: 06

Description:
Distinguished from the great apes by their prehensile tails, monkeys of the American continent may range in size from the large Howler monkey to the tiny Marmoset. They can be brown, black, tan, gray, or metallic gold.

Note:
Rima encounters a number of monkey species in her adventures. Some appear to be relatively large Howler monkeys while others might be smaller species like the Capuchin or Marmoset. Shrinking may range from 02 to 06 with the smaller individuals possessing both a Str: 00 and Extra Limb [X1]: 00.

Tusker (Wild Boar)

“Grunt !”

Dex: 02 Str: 03 Bod: 04
Int: 01 Wil: 02 Min: 02
Inf: 02 Aur: 00 Spi: 02
Init: 05

Powers:
Analytical Smell/Tracking Scent: 03, Claws: 03, Running: 04

Description:
Dangerous when cornered, the wild boar or feral pig is an omnivore with viscous tusks and a sour disposition. Much leaner than their domesticated cousins, the wild boar bristles with gray fur.

Note:
In one adventure, Rima stops a charging tusker from goring a child with one trilling note.

By Vincent P. Bartilucci

Source of Character: Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Rain-Forest by W. H. Hudson. Adapted to Rima, The Jungle Girl comic series. Published by DC Comics (circa 1974).

Helper(s): Dr. Sean MacDonald, John Colagioia, Nick Yankovec, Sébastien Andrivet for comments and insight on another one of my obscure write-ups.

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