Saturday, 16 April 2011

The Shorgan Forest

While there are some parts of the Kingdom of Teiglin that are not quite settled and civilised, they are for the most-part tamed. The Shorgan Forest is not one of those - it is wilderness, untamed since humans first settled the Teiglin Peninsula hundreds of years ago. There have been dangerous animals and monsters dwelling in the Shorgan Forest long before the Wars between the Empires or the Summoning made other areas desolate or monster-infested.
The Shorgan Forest fills the southern half of the Island of Teiglin, and covers perhaps 12,000 square miles. It overlaps with the elven barony of Glensor, and borders on the lands now overrun by creatures of chaos such as the former capital, Erkhart. The denser, virgin forest is inland and to the south - the closer to the coast and the closer to civilised lands, the thinner the forest due to demands for timber.

There are a number of sites of interest within the Shorgan Forest, most of them close to the coast.
- Haven
- Blackfox Village
- Quasquerton
- White Stag Keep
- Delvia's Harbour
The first three on the list are described here, along with other adventure sites.

White Stag Keep was the home of an order of clerics of Vought, but it has been abandoned and left in ruins for centuries now after being attacked by water elementals. Although the accepted story is that the clerics somehow disappointed their volatile goddess, the truth is somewhat different. The order was infiltrated by cultists of Havok, who emphasised the sea's destructive, deadly nature. The chaotic cultists started to sacrifice humanoids (forest orcs who nobody civilised would miss). Vought ordered her faithful clerics in the keep to either expel or else kill the offenders. The cultists were prepared, and had conjured a number of water elementals that they unleashed on the devout followers of Vought.
After the battle, the followers of Havok were triumphant and they finished off any remaining followers of Vought. They then sent their own messengers to Erkhart (which was still the capital at the time) to spread the false stories of unfaithful clerics and an angry goddess sending elemental vengeance. Some clerics of Vought have never accepted this story, and would pay adventurers good money to investigate the truth and find out what happened.

Delvia's Harbour was a trading post between the humans of Teiglin and the elves of the southern Shorgan Forest. Ships and boats would regularly travel from Delvia's Harbour to Erkhart. During the Wars between the Empires Delvia's Harbour was attacked and occupied by troops from Bellenos.
When the wars ended Delvia's Habour was forgotten about, particularly with the collapse of the Empires, the loss of Erkhart and eastern Teiglin. The occupiers turned into colonists as they realised there was not much homeland to return to.
Today Delvia's Harbour has 230 inhabitants, mostly humans but some (70) elves and a handful of centaurs. The port facility is mostly abandoned, but if someone were to make contact from another town, there is no reason why trade could not resume.

Just because the Shorgan Forest is wilderness, it doesn't mean it is uninhabited. There are four races of note within the Shorgan Forest.

The Elves are the oldest inhabitants, and have been around for thousands of years, well before the rise of the Toutus Empire. While the elves of Glensor are happy to deal with the humans of Teiglin, these elves further south are far more cautious and withdrawn. Although they are unlikely to attack with lethal force, the elves of the Shorgan Forest will try to deter intruders (even well-intentioned ones) and will deal with other civilised races as little as possible. They believe their isolation has kept them safe for centuries, and they want to keep that situation going. The two areas where they are willing to talk to humans and other races is Glensor and Delvia's Harbour.

The Centaurs are unpredictable allies of the elves. There are several tribes, each with about 4-8 bands of 20-60 individuals. Like the elves of the Shorgan Forest they do not deal with other races unless necessary. They can call on some of the rarer sylvan folk for assistance - while the centaurs are quite capable of brute force, for magic and subtlety they will turn to sprites and pixies.

The Kobolds did not come through the Chaos Portal in Erkhart - they have been in the Shorgan Forest for at least as long as humans have been in Teiglin - an interesting reminder that not all chaotic creatures are recent arrivals. The kobold tribes in the Shorgan Forest have become adept at living in the forest rather than their normal underground tunnels. They excavate homes underneath the roots of great trees such as oaks and elms. Before the Summoning the kobods had settled into an uneasy truce with the other races - although they did not like the elves, centaurs or fey (and vice versa) they left each other alone. Even humans of Teiglin admitted that the kobolds weren't too much trouble if left alone. The coming of a new wave of chaotic monsters and humanoids from the Chaos Portal in Erkhart has unsettled this.

The Gnolls are the newcomers and are proving disruptive and destructive. They emerged from the Chaos Portal in Erkhart, and seem to be from the same tribe. Much to the elves' horror, the gnolls are voracious deforesters and will bully slaves to cut down areas of forest for timber. The slaves will then build the gnolls new strongholds. These strongholds will typically be in a clearing stripped of vegetation for hundreds of yards around. Humans formerly living in Erkhart, orcs and goblins who came through the portal with the gnolls and more recently kobolds from the Shorgan Forest are all among the slaves.

Random Encounters within the Shorgan Forest
2  Green Dragon
3 Hippogriff
4 Spider, Giant Crab
5 Centaur
6 Elf
7 Gnoll
8 Wolf
9  Stag (2HD herd animal) (1-2 in 6 chance of Giant Elk)
10 Boar, Wild (1-2 in 6 chance of Giant Boar)
11 Cattle, Wild (3HD  herd animal) (1-2 in 6 chance of Auroch)
12  Bear, Black
13 Kobold
14 Human
15 Snake, Pit Viper
16 Centipede, Giant
17 Beetle, Giant Fire
18 Sprite or Pixie (DM's choice)
19 Gray Worm
20 Treant

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