Gnarley Forest

Ecology

The Gnarley Forest is an ancient woodland, and its trees grow to immense size. The canopy blocks most of the light so that there is little brush throughout the forest, and it seems to lie in perpetual twilight. Much of the forest floor is easy to walk. These areas are almost like parkland, save for the presence of rotted timber and occasional trees felled by age or storm scattered across the ground.

To the west approaching Verbobonc, a great central swath of the forest consists of wooded hill land, where the eastern spur of the Kron Hills enters the Gnarley. Tree cover here is rather less dense and there are many secluded, fertile glades and valleys. The hills rise gently, with long, stretching undulations growing steeper as they rise into the hills to the west. The Gnarley’s hills have fairly poor mineral resources in the area, although a handful of mines within 20 miles or so of Namburil yield chrysoberyls and peridots, together with some fine quartz and tiger eye agates. Most of the superior gems are found in the west.

The forest is dominated by oak and ipp trees, with intermittent groves of dekla and yarpick trees. Thick ferns are found along the Jewel and Serault rivers. Flowering plants are rare, except in the less wooded highlands where bluebells and crocuses abound, but the beautiful ivoryblossom (a white-petalled, orchidlike plant) can be found throughout the rest of the forest. The Gnarley teems with small mammals and birds. Giant spiders are found in the northern spur of the forest, while bears and wolves prowl the rest. The most dangerous threats in the forest are owlbears, giant beetles, and marauding humanoids.

Inhabitants

The fringes of this legendary forest are variously claimed and occasionally patrolled by Verbobonc in the northwest, Dyvers and Greyhawk in the north and east, and Celene in the south. However, the inhabitants of these woodlands are free-spirited folk, so no formal government is ever likely to hold much sway as long as there are deep woods to shelter resisters. The interior is home to many isolated communities of independent woodsmen and elvenkind. The forest is home to many fierce creatures as well, and many humanoid bands rove about seeking to murder and loot. These invaders work their way up from the Pomarj, through the Suss and Welkwood. Some come via the mountains and hills from the north.

In the deepest and oldest parts of the forest, treants and lyrannikin repel all trespassers. There is an almost tangible aura of magic in such places, and the faerie folk and elves here do not welcome intruders, no matter what their intentions. Likewise, some buried secrets in the Gnarley are of great antiquity, and rife with the history of the Flanaess; not rarely, redolent of its greatest evils as well.

Gnarley Forest

The Wild Coast Anatexis mikeandheath71