Witchwood

General: The Witchwood is the largest forest in the Devil’s Dawn Valley. While not as thick as the Old Hollows or as oppressive as the Durkwood or with as black a reputation as the Cold Tooth Forest, the Witchwood is rather infamous both for the number of strange ruins located beneath its boughs and for the supernatural occurrences that have plagued its history.

The Witchwood was once thought to be the home of an empire of Wood Elves. While none are exactly sure what happened to that empire, the ancient ruins dotting its expanse (such as the mysterious Serpent Mound) are proof enough of its existence. After the disappearance of the elves, dwarves from the nearby kingdom of Azankalla began to build outposts within the valley and along the outskirts of the wood. When Azankalla collapsed, these outposts were the first to fall and now the Devil’s Spine Mountains and Barrier Peaks near the Witchwood are peppered with these abandoned dwarven fortresses.

With the fall of the dwarven empire, the wood become home to a revolving door of tribes of savage humanoids; goblins, gnolls, orcs, ogres, and even human barbarians. The only remnants of these brief residents are the many barrows of the human barbarians that lie deep within the wood.

Now, most of the Witchwood lies unclaimed and returned to nature. Human settlers have established logging communities all along its border, but after the tragedy at Hardeem have been unwilling to venture any further into the woods. Sages, explorers, and adventurers regularly plumb its depths

Creatures: Many types of animals call the Witchwood home; bears, wolves, owlbears, feral dogs, spiders, and even wyverns roost in the foothills of the Barrier Peaks and sometimes swoop down to hunt within western edge of the wood. Travelers have also reported seeing satyrs and the occasional pixie or sprite, but such fey creatures mostly avoid contact with the more ‘civilized’ folk.

Gnoll tribes haunt the northern reaches of the forest though they rarely venture out to harass the nearby logging communities. They spend most of their time fighting with each other over territory or attacking the occasional goblinoid or orc raiding parties that come out of the mountains.

The southern portion of the Witchwood, especially around the Bramblewood Marsh, is said to be the wildest and most dangerous part of the wood. The land there is hillier and the woods frequently gives way to sucking, festering swamps full of poisonous snakes, shambling mounds, ettercaps, and (rumored) black and/or green dragons. Few game trails wind through this part of the forest and hidden patches of quicksand are a very real danger.

Witchwood

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