Monday, 19 December 2011

The Salty Forest

Formerly known as the Urdusberg Forest, the Salty Forest was partially submerged in the Summoning as the rest of the Urdus isthmus sank. Interestingly, it was not simply tilted with one end dipping into the seas and the other end high and dry - the whole forest was shifted downwards to about 2-4ft below the high tide mark. Many of the trees have died from too much salt around their roots, and these are dead trees, rotting where they stand or have fallen. A number have actually survived, turning the Salty Forest into a temperate quasi-mangrove swamp. 

The tides come and go, and at low tide a lot more soil and roots are exposed to the air but the vegetation both live and dead tend to stop the water from flowing back to sea easily, turning the Salty Forest into a swamp with many pools of standing brackish water.

There are islands where the forest floor pokes above the waters even at high tide - these islands are sought-after by creatures both intelligent and instinctive that do not like spending much time wading through the water that for humans is typically waist deep. Some of the original forest inhabitants that survived the initial flooding have moved to these islands. None of the islands are larger than a mile across, and many are only a hundred yards or so in diameter, but they are important refuges from the salt water. 

Although eerie and apparently deathly with half of its trees dead and rotting from salt poisoning, the swamp is actually full of life. Fish that can cope with shallow salt water, amphibians that don't mind sea salt and many types of bird (especially coastal birds and waders), reptile and insect can all be found here. In between the surviving trees (which are now putting out seeds and saplings of their own) there are reeds and sea grasses. Some folk assume that swamps are full of undead creatures - for the Salty Forest this is untrue as there have been no human disasters or battles in the forest that would result in undead rising from their graves. 

During the Toutus Empire, the Urdusberg Forest was reserved for hunting by noblemen - peasants and common folk were not allowed in (though poachers would often defy these rules). Since the Summoning and the flooding of the forest no human, halfling or other civilized race has paid much attention to the forest - it has been abandoned. Some creatures from the Chaos portals in the ruined cities of Aerisport and Maquosmouth have found themselves here, but not many. For the most-part, the Salty Forest is wilderness, left alone in the battle between Law and Chaos. 
Notable inhabitants include:

  • A company of 30 men from the Traitor Legion have set up a fort on an island. Their intentions are unknown but unlikely to be good. 
  • A band of lizardmen have become nomads within the forest, moving around from one island to another. They are known to be led by a particularly vicious and powerful lizardman who calls himself the Lizard King. 
  • Rostorros the Treant is known to wander the Salty Forest. Although he mourns the death of many of his trees, he accepts that the nature of the forest has changed, and that his new trees need to be salt-tolerant.  
  • A network of dryads has been decimated as over half of them died with their trees during the initial flooding. Those that survived have made contact with each other and watch out for each other. 
  • A number of small juvenile black dragons have roosted in the swamp. They probably have not gathered much treasure yet, but at least one has been flying back and forth to Maquosmouth, a ruined city with plenty of abandoned wealth. 

Random Encounters in the Salty Forest - Roll 1d8+1d12

Roll   Result
2         Gorgon or Catoblepas (DMs choice)
3         Treant (1 in 6 chance of being Rostorros himself)
4         Dryad
5         Snake, Pit Viper
6         Spider, Giant Black Widow
7         Lizardman
8         Placodont
9         Giant Seagull
10      Boar, Giant
11      Herd Animal (Swamp Deer, 2HD or Swamp Stag 3 HD)
12      Toad, Giant
13      Scarlet Crab
14      Normal Crocodile
15     Ogre (if more than 5, one will be a leader type)
16     Giant Crab
17     Troll
18     Traitor Legion Patrol (1d4+1 chaotic human fighters level 3-5)
19     Snake, Rock Python
20    Black Dragon

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