First, here's a map:
click to embiggen
The scale is six miles to a hex. The farmland hexes represent only those areas that are heavily cultivated, and isolated homesteads can be found throughout the less dangerous areas shown on this map.
The Western settlements on this map are...
0513 Road’s End
0715 Blackleg Mine
0815 Blackleg (Town)
0816 Blackleg Castle (Fortress)
1002 Lychgate (City)
1112 Frogguts (Village)
1303 The Ruins of Hommlet (Former Village)
1309 Knightpath (Village)
1503 The Witchfort (Fortress)
1506 Nightwick Village (Village)
1607 Nightwick Abbey (Ruin)
Road's End, Blackleg, Frogguts, and Knightpath have all been in the throes of a peasant rebellion for the past few months, while the farmland around Lychgate has been subjected to beast-men raiding out of the Witchwood. These raids have destroyed Hommlet and have also prevented the bishop from being able to stamp out the revolt. The Oriental Adventures event charts have determined that 1988 AF is a shitty year for the people of the Dark Country.
Below are descriptions of the different wilderness regions of the southeastern portion of the Dark Country. Some of these have been mentioned in previous posts, while some are wholly new.
The Fog-Bound Forest is a conifer forest that lies in the southeastern portion of the Dark Country, just before the foothills of the Nameless Mountains. As its name suggests, it is perpetually shrouded in a blanket of thick fog. While it is rich in game, it is also exceedingly dangerous - being home to large packs of direwolves, bands of goblins, tribes of beast-men, and even a few pagan resistance groups. Loggers brave enough to enter also believe their to be a small village inhabited entirely by werewolves somewhere deep within the forest. Much of the forest products sold in the West are produced here.
The Forest of Nooses lies in a small valley in the southern portion of the Nameless Mountains. It is not as teeming with dangers as its fog-bound cousin, but this is not to say it is safe. Loggers, trappers, and hunters from Road’s End enter the woods to ply their trade. The goods are then moved up the Long Road to Lychgate, before traveling down the Dark River. The forest is named for the strange, hanging moss-like plant that grows in its trees. Aside from the more typical sorts of dangers one might find in a Dark Country forest, the Forest of Nooses also houses a species of man-eating plant the same color and texture as the aforementioned moss. These will strangle unwary woodsmen who pass too near them.
The Great Swamp lies just west of Lychgate and is formed by the merging of the River Deep with the Little Dark to make the Dark River. While the rivers are well traveled, the Great Swamp is often used as a hiding place by those who seek to avoid the prying eye of the law or the Church. Bandits and pirates patrol the rivers, and there are at least a few daub huts that serve as homes for witches. During the winter, the wet ground of the swamp typically freezes allowing armies to cross, and occasionally the Bishop Notker the Unshaven will send out troops to deal particularly troublesome brigands.
The Little Heath is a small area east of the Great Swamp but west of the Long Road that was once used by the pagans for farming and pastureland. Isolated farms and houses may still be found here, though many were destroyed by beast-men during the recent incursion by the forces of the White Lady.
The Mire of Princes is a haunted bog that has been the site of several battles. According to legend, it was originally the site of a battle between two great pagan armies and so much blood was spilled that the ground as sumed its current, marshy state. Since then, it has seen a statistically improbable number of battles - including one between the Sword Brothers and the crusading forces of the West. The Mire is avoided by most sane men and is purported to prowled by all manner of undead. Those who have traveled near it during the day report seeing no signs of any animal life whatsoever.
The Nameless Mountains encircle almost the entire Dark Country. Their foothills are dotted occasionally with small copses of evergreens, but their peaks are high and bare. They are typically only snowcapped in the Winter, but their summits are notoriously cold. A few pagans are believed to still live among the foothills.
The Stretch is a small area of pastureland that lies to the east of the Witchwood. It was once used by pagan shepherds and farmers, but Western colonization of the area has proven difficult due to raiders from the Witchwood. It is believed that their remain a number of pagan farmsteads that go unmolested by the beast-men.
The Stony Wood lies in the shadow of the Bald Mountains and seems to have been at one time a major center for pagan worship. It is named for the large number of carved stones that dot the forest - shrines to tree spirits and deities long forgotten by the men of the West. Very little logging is done here, but a few trappers have semi permanent camps along the edges of the Stony Wood. Those living in the Seven Cities believe a number of pagans still reside here as well, due to its comparative remoteness.
The Witchwood lies just north of the Witchfort and is a thick tangle of large oaks and thick brambles. Regardless of the season, the trees of the Witchwood are dry and their leaves are either crimson or their branches bare. It is the most famous haunt of groans, but far worse is the mistress of the forest: the White Lady. It is the only forest in the Dark Country that neither hunters noor loggers will enter, and it is shunned by all decent folk. Even in pagan days few but druids dedicated to the White Lady would enter the forest, and even they would sometimes fail to leave.
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