Return of the Godspell
Once a haven for many dragons and dragon-kin, Worm’s Wood is a forest, larger than the Noon Woods and the forests of Bainland but much smaller than the Agrabathor Jungle and the Zalphan Forest. Worm’s Wood stretches from the south of the Wyrmspine Hills and merges into the Agrabathor Jungle to the south, just north of the Agragrabala River. Worm’s Wood’s western boundaries once stretched into the Bainland peninsula and some scholars believe that the Krine Forest and the Great Green Wood are separated parts of Worm’s Wood; since the settlement of Valdeze, the official western boundary of Worm’s Wood is along the Wynding River, thereby including Reddenwood Forest. The eastern boundary disperses into the Endall Plains. There are many Humen settlements and ruins in Worm’s Wood. Most existing towns and cities lie on the perimeter of the Wood while most of the ruins are located in what is called the Boundary. Beyond the Boundary is the Heart of the Worm where many ancient and not-so-ancient sites can be found and where rumors persist about powerful and dreadful creatures.
Most of Worm’s Wood supports a temperate climate. In the height of summer, it is not unusual for Worm’s Wood’s temperatures to reach into the low 90s and for the trees covered in dark green leaves. In the fall, the temperatures decline slowly, averaging in the mid 70s. Although some of the trees in Worm’s Wood are evergreen, the majority do undergo dramatic and almost beautiful seasonal changes throughout autumn. By winter, Worm’s Wood appears to be a dreadful place; most of the trees are leafless and gray and the winds cut through the woods freely, making it appear to be much colder than the average temperature of 40. As spring takes hold, Worm’s Wood slowly awakens, with temperatures in the mid 70s again. Precipitation occurs regularly, although snow is limited to the late fall and all of winter in the northern regions of the Woods. The southern portions of the Wood, just north of the Agragrabala, are almost sub-tropical, experiencing little snow and the seasonal metamorphosis is not as noticeable.
Worm’s Wood is dominated by huge trees, the best known being the fabulous reddenwoods, massive pines that can grow well over 100 feet in the Heart of Worm’s Wood. Hickory, walnut, and elm follow closely after pines for dominance in Worm’s Wood. In the past, there may have been sentient trees related to Treants but these creatures no longer exist. Special fungi and slimes are still found, however, and on occasion are known to find their way into small cities and towns. Will o’wisps are a serious threat to towns that lie near the Boundary of the Wood and most people are wise enough to avoid groves in this are at night. A sentient race of fungi, Myconids are found throughout the Boundary. The floor of the woods is covered in rich tree fall; very little grass grows in the heart of the Worm’s Wood but bushes and wildflowers are prevalent. Numerous lakes, rivers, and streams flow throughout Worm’s Wood. Dragon Bile Lake feeds the majority of small streams and rivers that flow through the Wood. Lying at the far north of the Wood, Dragon Bile is created from the ice flows from Wyrmspine Hills. It earns it name from the blackness of its fresh water, a color drawn from the soil and dirt in the crater that holds the Lake.
Worm’s Wood is home to wide variety of forest creatures. Foxes, rabbit, all manner of rodent and bats, possum, doves, quail, geese, turkey, deer, cougars, bears, wildcats, hawks, and the like are extremely common. Snakes and lizards are the primary reptile species, although alligators are found in the larger streams and small lakes. Trout, carp, and cod are the fish most likely found in Worm’s Wood’s streams and rivers. Wolves are by far the most prevalent predator species in the Wood. There are numerous subspecies, the most common being gray wolves, followed closely by the dire variety. Other, supernatural Wolf species tend to keep near the Boundary of the Wood and into the Heart along with most of the more dangerous monstrous beasts. These include ankhegs, basilisks, blink dogs, carrion crawlers, cockatrice, displacer beasts, drakes, giant eagles and owls, peryton, owlbears, varieties of giant insects, wyvern, yeth hounds. Over the years, there have been more and more sightings and deaths from giant Spider attacks, suggesting that there may be some kind of infestation occurring. Although not entirely common, Stirge Swarms are known to form every six years or so, spilling from the Heart of the Worm and randomly assaulting nearby towns and settlements. There are persistent rumors that more powerful creatures like behirs, basilisks, dragonne, and manticores as well.
Although they are rarely seen, fairies and other sentient beings are said to dwell within and below the depths of the Wood. Sylvan creatures, particularly Dryads, haunt the interior of Worms Wood, protecting the trees. Many of these spirits are said to be allied to the worshippers of Ganlarid. Other fairy like Gremlins, Sprites, and Sylphs are seen near the southern reaches of the Wood. Aside from Humen, the Woods have been the historical home of Goblins, Trolls, Ogres, and Hill Giants. In the past, these creatures controlled much of the Wood despite the efforts of the Duruban and their empires. It was not until the Sixth Age that Elves and Sapien began to assume a dominant position at the expense of these creatures. To this day, Goblin Tribes in Worm’s Wood are extremely powerful and a few towns and settlements have found it to their benefit to work with, rather than against, the more cosmopolitan Tribes. Many of the Tribes have found the means to manipulate some Troll and Ogre groups, although the vast majority of Trolls and Ogres tend to roam the Boundary freely, hoping to chance upon foolish and unsuspecting Humen. Hill Giants are the other prevalent non-Human race in the Wood. These Giants once controlled most of the Wyrmspine Hills were in perpetual war with the Green Dragons and Beholders until Duruban, Elven, and Sapien invaders drove them out. They now dwell in small enclaves throughout the Wood. Other Goblinoid races common to Worm’s Wood include Bugbears and Kobolds.
Although there is little evidence of their continued existence in Worm’s Wood, many people continue to tell tales of powerful Aulspawn that live in the Heart of the Worm. In the past, Worm’s Wood was known to be a haven of Green Dragons and Beholders while Wyrmspine Hills was populated with Copper Dragons. One dragon, Chorisalis, even ruled much of Worm’s Wood for a time during the Fifth Age. Beholders, allied to Duruban Priests of Arcanu, were said to have participated in the construction of a number of currently ruined sites in the Heart of the Worm, the greatest being the Cavern of Eyes. When the Demon Wars erupted, many of these Beholders were killed along with their divine allies while most of the Dragons in Drm were annihilated during the Dragonhold. It is arguable that if these two events did not occur that there would be fewer Elven, Gnomish, and Sapien settlements in Worm’s Wood today. Regardless, there are many who still believe that both Beholders and Dragons still live deep in the Woods, awaiting an opportunity to return to power. It is known that Named Ones like Hallucimain the Deceiver and Staunch the Covetous have roamed Worm’s Wood in the past and that, during The Darkhold, the Heroes of Noon battled a contingency of Beholders. Many hope that these rumors are nothing more.
What are not rumors are the tales of lycanthropes and undead in Worm’s Wood. For millennia, these two cursed groups have threatened all of the Human and Goblinoid races in the Wood. Most scholars believe that there is something in the Wood divinely connected to the gods Ostensis and/or Terranolyn, two gods associated with both undeath and lycanthropy, which has perpetuated the existence of such creatures. While skeletons and zombies tend to be encountered with alarming regularity in towns near the Boundary, werewolf attacks have occurred in towns and cities throughout Worm’s Wood for centuries. Indeed, many wolves are attacked on sight for fear that they may be connected to werewolves.