Return to Karak Goranthal
Shadow Fen. Before the Chaos Incursions and the Wizard Wars, the great caverns known as the Worlds Throat were clear passages for the great rivers of the entire West continent to slide beneath the Pole and join the oceans. The clear, clean water rushed, unimpeded by man or marsh. As the continent flourished with civilizations, more and more detritus began to flow downriver. The refuse of numerous races began to accumulate and the caves slowly choked on broken boats and lumbered trees, on sewage and trash, and many a body was discarded in the rivers to find it’s way under the mountains. Slowly the area around the Throat filled with murky water as the caverns became more and more blocked with refuse. When first the ground became soft, the Dwarves of the Pole attempted to destroy any blockages as they were found but the water pressure building up behind the dams of flotsam made this a hazardous choice. The resulting waves of pent up water destroyed many Dwarven tunnels. They attempted to build runoff chutes to allow the water free access to the main run by going around the worst of the jams. But these too became clogged over the years. The surface around the base of Pole Stag continued to soften and turned marshy. The water level increased more each year. The native flora and fauna were chased out while amphibious and reptilian life flourished. Swamp plants and creatures sprouted and thrived and the cities and villages that traded with the Dwarves were overrun with mud and slowly seeping water. Some few small settlements attempted to build earthworks and dams but they were lost over time. The swamp claimed them all. The swamp is a pestilent blight on the earth, full of creatures inimical to settlement. A series of ancient battlefields are full of bloated corpses that cause bubbles of poison gas to erupt periodically. The evil taint of the quagmire has even given some of these creatures a semblance of life and various types of undead roam the waterlogged landscape seeking relief from undeath along with fresh meat. There are some very odd forms of fauna that have evolved here.
The Umbrella trees grow weeping willow-like canopy that melds together to form near-solid walls. Where the trees meet and in the center of the canopy blown earth and water gathers for other umbrella trees to grow on. Multiple generations later, these trees have grown to form astounding towers, each new layer growing on the previous. Some of these formations have become the nesting places of monsters. Others offer safe resting places for wet and weary travelers.
Fan Blades are a type of fern that have evolved to survive on the poisonous gasses of the swamp. An outer layer of fronds is constantly in motion, slowly swaying back and forth to capture as much of the gas as possible to sustain it’s life. Cautious explorers have learned that a Fan Blade that is immobile means that the gas is so concentrated that the Fan blade doesn’t need to move. The faster the blades move, the less gas is available for them to gather. Fan blades provide one other service in addition to monitoring the poison levels and that is that there is a hollow in the middle of the fan blade where a single person can curl up and be protected from any swamp gasses for an extended period. Since the Fan Blade absorbs the poison, the visitor is secure in the hollow. It usually isn’t very comfortable but it is safe. Of course other creatures in the swamp know this as well…