The Phostwood is a mid-sized forest almost wholly within the land of Tenh, although that nation has never claimed sovereignty over the woodland. Its borders are roughly given by the Artonsamay and Yol Rivers on the south, east and west, and by the remains of the Gleaming Spire keeps in the north, built to guard Tenh from the denizens of the wood, and most of which were razed by Iuz during his occupation of the country. South across the Yol is the Nutherwood, which many travellers assume is just part of the Phostwood; however, they are quite different – no phost trees grow in the Nutherwood. The Phostwood does extend approximately 2 miles across the Artonsamay, but the forest is thin there.
The Phostwood, despite its size, is only home to small groups of poorly organized and competing races and factions. Around a thousand feral wood elves, including a handful of grugach, the same number of ogres, marauding Fists, fifteen hundred or more Tenha exiles desperately trying to stay alive, a few Nyrondese patrols and some Theocracy spy patrols can be found in the leafy glades of the wood, but there are no fixed settlements of any size and the poor quality of the wood and hunting here has never encouraged any race or group to proclaim dominion over the woodlands.
The Phostwood is distinguishable from other woods by the plethora of phost trees, and the dull glow generated by the rotting wood on the forest floor. The disconcerting, eerie nighttime light of the phosphorescent dead wood here is said to attract spectral undead, will-o’-the-wisps, and other deadly but diverse monsters into the deepest forest recesses, but few bother to explore them.
HIstory: The truth of the wood’s history is considerably less exciting than that recited by its neighbors. It was originally inhabited by a number of the xenophobic grugach. These elves took in a number of wood elves during the period after the Rain of Colorless Fire and the Invoked Devastation. As these wood elves had been driven from the woods of Ferrond and Veluna by the Suel and Oeridians, they were not particularly fond of humans, and even disliked the native Flannae who lived near the wood, and adopted much the same attitude towards humans that the grugach held.
As the Suel and Oeridian peoples moved east, they heard the stories and tales of the Flannae, and took some stock in the Flan fear of the Phostwood. The Suel Houses of Pursuit, who later became the Thillonrian barbarians, fearing magic after the Final Act of Slerotin in 5094 SD, attempted to pass through the Phostwood on their flight north. The elves, in an attempt to protect their lands from the invaders, used powerful illusions of eldritch forest fires, creatures of flame, and other arcane deceptions to ward them off. The magic-fearing barbarians, thinking the fire and poisonous plants were a sign from Pyremius, the Suel deity of fire and murder, bypassed the Phostwood and moved north through the Griffs.
In later years, a mysterious being moved into the wood, and took up residence under the forest. The area it occupies can be found by going to a place the elves refer to as Astigulia, or the “land where trees will not grow”. It is a land where the plants have been poisoned, and only dead trees point lifelessly at the sky.
Recently, the Fists moved into the wood during the Wars, chasing the refugees of Tenh. Due to stiff opposition from the elves and ogres who live here, and the easier targets in Tenh, many of the Fists returned to that nation. However, some remain, perhaps numbering a few hundred, and they hunt the remaining Tenhas.
Denizens of the Phostwood
The Phostwood is home to seven significant factions, and a few other interesting individuals.
- The Elves of the Phostwood
- The Ogres of the Phostwood
- The Druids of the Phostwood
- The Men of Stonefist within the Phostwood
- The Tenhas within the Phostwood
- The Nyrondese army within the Phostwood
- Agents of the Pale within the Phostwood
- The Minions of Iuz within the Phostwood