Thieves & Kings : Between the Shadows (Talisman)
Fools venture lightly into the Grave Wood
Due west of the Darkfort Hills lies the Grave Wood. The towering trees of this timberland create an uneasy sense of the power of trees, as they tend to be of prodigious height, dwarfing even the tallest giant. The woods stand strong against the winds that rush in from the northern grasslands, exhibiting their vitality and strength against such odds. Their thickly interlaced leaves allow little sunlight to filter through, though what does tends to be tinted to a deep green aura, and there is little undergrowth.
Within the forest all is dark and gloomy. The remnants of past efforts to tame the woodlands lie scattered underneath, thoroughly decayed and smashed, as though by some great creature. The shells of these smashed stone steadings offer little shelter from the inclement weather of the region. Although the trees themselves provide some degree of cover from the initial storms, the sheer weight of the rainfall eventually pours to the ground in torrents, drenching everything.
Many of the trees of the Grave Wood are rent by huge claw marks, and massive boulders are split and broken into pieces, further evidence of why humans do not live in the woodlands. There are trails worn in the earth of great footsteps, and indications of brawls between giant beings that no one has lived to tell about. Grave Wood is a dangerous place to visit.
All reports by scouts indicate that ogres are the dominant monster of the Grave Wood, their numbers easily exceeding a couple dozen. The sundered boulders and splintered trees attest to their ferocity, and they seem quite willing to vent their aggressiveness upon any who deign enter their territory.
Strangely, the ogres have never ventured forth from the woodlands in recent memory, and the fact they haven’t devastated the lands around the woods hints at the truth to the rumor. Many speculate it is not because they protect anyone from entering, but that they rather keep anything from leaving the woodland confines. Legends are, alas, quite silent on the topic.
Other creatures include the fierce owlbear, who prove very dangerous to heedless travelers. Their rending beak and claws can tear a grown hunter to shreds in a minute, and they are constantly on the prowl for food. For this reason alone, no farmer would willingly establish a farm near to the woods.
The owlbears and ogres do not exist in peaceful coexistence. The sounds of their battles often pierce the night air, with shrieks, howls and smashing terrain ruining any chance of a peaceful slumber. Since both seem to roam the woodlands quite freely, their clashes can occur anywhere, and it is possible to stumble upon such a fight, only to have them both turn and rend the interloper.