Black brambles and vines hinder your journey through the grey forest, where no birdsong is heard. If you pause to get your bearings, you start to hear music, or perhaps the wailing of a child. Small totems, bones and other trinkets, sway from branches even without wind.
These woods, close to the borders of both the Lichfields and the Northern Badlands, are a strange and dangerous place. The area is a planar canker, a contained zone of supernormal evil, the effects of which pervade the flora, fauna and even the atmosphere of the forest. The undergrowth within clings to and constricts travellers, direction and distance can be difficult to judge underneath the canopy, and magical direction-finding is generally non-functional within the woods. Magical light fades at night, regardless of the number of times it is re-cast. No shelter can be erected in the boundaries of the woods; regardless of shape, strength or design, anything constructed will disappear overnight. The sole, inexplicable exception to this rule was the Witches' Cottage, located at the heart of the forest. Moreover, there is a chance that any person staying too long within the woods may simply cease to exist.
The woods are home to wildlife that would generally be found roaming the forest, but the creatures have all been warped to adapt to the evil of the place: meat-eating deer, giant vultures, blood-sucking gargantuan moths, stone-swallowing elk and toads who are active during the winter. More dangerous than any creature was the shadowy being who stalked the trees from dusk till morn: an unidentifiable horror whose very appearance can scare a person to literal death.
This last creature, however, has been banished along with the defeat of the Night Hag covey that ruled the woods. This covey used their cottage as a base for dark rituals, drawing on the Witch Woods as a source of power, eating any travellers within the woods and trapping their souls within black sapphires. With the destruction of their cottage the hags were weakened, and the Pathfinders were able to destroy them in combat. This released the forest from its current residing evil, though the planar canker could not be removed by mortal power and a new evil will likely overtake the woods in time.
When the Pathfinders first entered the woods, they discovered dolls that were made to look like themselves placed carefully underneath several trees in a clearing. After this, they were haunted by crude, faceless dolls that appeared suddenly and mysteriously throughout the woods. Even after they left, one of these dolls suddenly appeared at their campsite some distance away. They also discovered a few strange huts, containing cooking pots filled with humanoid remains.
A second exploration found an abandoned campsite where strange dolls were burning in the embers of a fire, and a small clearing with the corpses of a city lawman and a white horse. The horse's corpse had a unidentified creature growing inside of it which was not further investigated.
A third exploration destroyed both the witches' cottage and the hags themselves.
Points of InterestEdit
- Witches' Cottage - This pile of rubble was once the home of a covey of hags, and the only permanent feature in the woods.
- Beware Shadows - Complete