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    The High Forest

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    The Storyteller
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    Join date : 2016-03-17

    The High Forest

    Post by The Storyteller on Fri May 13, 2016 8:26 pm

    The High Forest

    Map:

    Capital: None
    Population: 29,088 (elves 52%, gnolls 12%, centaurs 10%, orcs 10%, humans 6%, half-elves 4%, half-orcs 3%, halflings 2%)
    Government: Many competing forces
    Religions: Corellon Larethian, Eilistraee, Malar, Mielikki, Shiallia, Silvanus, Vhaeraun
    Imports: Adventurers, armor, food, weapons
    Exports: Ancient artifacts
    Alignments: All neutral and chaotic


    The High Forest is a holdover from the early days of the world, when elves, giants, and dragons ruled a continent covered in green. The forest is home to all the woodlands races, including aarakocras, centaurs, drow (including Vhaeraun- and Eilistraee-worshiping surface-dwellers and Lolth-worshiping Underdark marauders), gnolls, gnomes, hybsils, moon elves, pixies, satyrs, treants, and wild elves.

    The few humans who live or travel within the forest are usually druids, rangers, members of the Harpers, or adventurers used to surviving in environments in which they are not entirely welcome. Druids say that the forest is under the protection of the deities Eldath and Mielikki. If true, that explains how the High Forest has survived the woodcutter’s axe unscathed.

    The forest is too large for any one group to rule completely. At present, the greatest powers within the forest are the treants, the wood elves, and the centaurs.

    Life and Society

    The nonhumans, druids, rangers, and adventurers of the High Forest live in a self-contained and self-sufficient world. Merchant caravans from Waterdeep or the Moonsea travel to Loudwater or Secomber of Everlund, human cities on the edge of the great wood, but the forest itself needs nothing that the outside world has to offer.

    The denizens of the High Forest live by hunting. Some cultivate herbs, mushrooms, and other plants that can be grown under the trees or in natural clearings. The various races hunt different animals and harvest different plants--slow nomadic shuffling of the various clans and tribes keeps the forest’s resources from being exhausted in the same manner that crop rotation keeps farmers’ lands healthy.

    Many races and factions of opposed alignment and interests occupy the forest. Small-scale skirmishes between them are frequent. Large-scale conflicts only occur when one side or the other cares enough to track its enemy through difficult terrain and expend valuable magic and lives pursuing battle. The different races have zones of influence within the forest, but few attempt to exert complete control over a given territory for long.

    At the moment, the most combative groups active in the forest are the wood elves who seek to exterminate the orcs who flow in steadily from the Spine of the World and know no other way than violence, and treants who dominate the north tip of the forest.

    Major Geographical Features

    The High Forest covers a span of nearly three hundred miles from east to west, and about the same distance from north to south.

    Dire Wood: A ring of complete albino oak trees surrounds these mysterious hills in the eastern High Forest. Inside the outer ring of pale oaks stands a thicker ring of blackened and petrified trees. Within the rings, normal trees and heavy undergrowth are mixed with petrified trees, all sprouting from reddish soil.

    Those who pace around the outside of the Dire Wood find that it measures only four miles in circumference. Those who enter the Wood find that it expands as they travel deeper inside the rings, seemingly going on for miles of broken hills.

    “Wizard weather,” the Dire Wood’s major supernatural effect, occasionally roars out of the Wood and into the rest of the forest, blasting the forest and its inhabitants with weird magical phenomena ranging from red snow that smells like blood to rains of fireballs.

    Grandfather Tree: The Uthgardt barbarians, druids, wood elves, and other nonevil denizens of the High Forest hold this stupendous oak tree sacred. Members of the Tree Ghost Uthgardt tribe guard the tree, though the Grandfather is defended by its own powerful magic.

    Lost Peaks: These two small mountains at the northwest corner of the forest are home to centaurs, satyrs, and other fey. The Fountains of Memory located on the high plateaus reflect views of the past instead of their normal surroundings. As far as anyone can tell, beings who enter the pools in an attempt to return to those past times instead teleport to random destinations.

    The Star Mounts: These soaring mountains at the heart of the High Forest have been landmarks and mysterious places of legend to humans of the North for centuries. They rise high above the trees, their heights usually cloaked in clouds, and minstrels and woods folk have been spinning tales about the mountains for as long as humans have stared at their distant slopes and wondered who-or what-lairs there.

    The Star Mounts were named for stars in the northern heavens by the elves of fallen Eaerlann. The names Y’tellarien, or “Far Peak” to humans; Y’landrothiel, or “Mount Journey”; and N’landorshien, or “Shadowpeak,” survive today, accompanied by later human names for the other outer peaks: Bard’s Hill, Hunterhorn, and Mount Vision. These names hint at some lost and forgotten elven understanding of the peaks.

    The thickly forested lands north of the Star Mounts are flat and smooth, whereas the lands to the south are gnarled, broken by ridges and gullies. The Unicorn Run and the Hartblood River both spring from these peaks, and high valleys hide in the heart of the Star Mounts. The fierce winds prevent all creatures less powerful than dragons from flying to the peaks, except that aarakocras seem to do so with ease.

    Elven adventurers report that huge crystals (some the size of human cottages) sprout on the Star Mount slopes. These could be dwellings or fortresses, though none look inhabited. All of these crystals create webworks of reflected light when moonlight strikes them. When the moon is full, a certain small central peak (hidden from observers outside the Star Mounts) is covered by patterns of light. These full-moon radiances are said to either open a portal to another plane, or to have the power to resurrect any creature laid within the spire-shaped ring of standing stones at the top of this hidden peak.

    Unicorn Run: Flowing down from the Star Mounts in the High Forest to the valley of the River Delimbiyr, the Unicorn Run is known for its hundreds of waterfalls, its whitewater rapids, the fey communities that migrate along its banks, and occasional sightings of the creatures that gave the river its name.


    Important Sites

    Humans unacquainted with the High Forest could easily wander for weeks in its shaded ways, perishing of starvation or thirst before they find any particular site within its borders.

    Hellgate Keep: In the days of Eaerlann, the city of Ascalhorn was a moon elf citadel. Human refugees occupied it after the fall of Netheril. Later the baatezu infiltrated Ascalhorn, secretly gaining control over ruling figures and the populace until 882 DR, when a number of wizards realized what had happened and summoned demons to destroy the baatezu. The warring fiends tore the city apart, and the victorious demons turned the city into the dreaded Hellgate Keep. For nearly five hundred years, Hellgate Keep gave the north end of the High Forest a bad name.

    Olostin’s Hold (Village, 800): This fortified keep between Everlund and Yartar shelters some two hundred permanent inhabitants and extends protection to another six hundred human farmers and ranchers. The only permanent human settlement of significant size in the High Forest, it survives thanks to the inhabitants’ properly respectful attitude for the deities of the wood.


    Regional History

    Long ago, when the elves truly ruled Faerûn, the kingdom of Eaerlann held sway in the High Forest. Eaerlann fell in 882 DR when Ascalhorn became Hellgate Keep. Soon after the elves began to slip away from the High Forest, embarking on their Retreat.

    As the elves slowly vanished, the great treant Turlang carefully gathered his strength and took control of much of the northern High Forest, the area most threatened both by orcs and by the demons and devils that once resided in Hellgate Keep. Turlang’s treants have gradually pushed the boundaries of the wood, moving the tall trees up the side of the Hellgate crater, miles past the former boundaries of the High Forest proper. Simultaneously, the High Forest near Everlund has crept several miles to the north, coming within a hero’s bowshot of the walls of Everlund.

    In recent years, many wood elves who moved to Evermeet in the Retreat returned to Faerûn through portals into Evereska, then skipped northwest to join the wild elves of the High Forest. They seek nothing less than the reestablishment of the kingdom of Eaerlann. Thus far, the effort to retake their forest consists of a determination to handle problems with elven skills and elven magic, and to drive the orcs and gnolls from the woods.

    - Source: Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting

      Current date/time is Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:49 am