Poison Thorn Woods

Send comments and/or criticism to Simon E. Phipp
Created On 1 October 1997
Last Updated On 1 October 1997
Copyright (c) Simon E. Phipp 1997

Deep within the Plant Age, Aldrya’s friends carried her seeds far and wide. One of those planted was in the Poison Thorn Woods in Dorastor. Her children the Aldraymi filled the wood with song and dance as they tended their brothers and sisters. Then came the Darkness when the Forests withered. Then came Death to the Aldryami.

High King Elf took Death and used it to cut down Mostal, his enemy. He also cut down many other enemies before Zorak Zoran took the Axe and used it to slay Flamal. Many of the Adryami foreswore using the Axe from then onwards, preferring to use other forms of Death, thus they became proficient in Spear and Bow. One of the High King Elf’s followers, however, took his share of Death and bound it into a plant. Thus was made the first of the Death Plants.

This Elf found the way to make the plants grow and to spread the power of Death amongst their children. With the aid of the Dryads of Poison Thorn Wood, the Death Plants were encouraged and bred until there was a prolific number of them growing among the Safe Plants. These Death Plants caused Death in many ways. Some punished those who ate them, others killed those who broke their branches, yet others were nasty and hurt those who had not hurt them first. When Chaos came to Poison Thorn, the Death Plants fought long and hard, driving the Chaos away. When Trolls came to eat the Forest, their bellies swelled and they burst from their greed. The Death Plants repelled all comers, except the Broos who were not harmed by this form of Death, but the Marching Aldryami could fight them.

Once, the Elves of the Forest aided a Dwarf from the Rockwoods. In return, he built for them a mighty fortress above the Forest where they could retreat to in times of hardship. This was the Bloodstone Fort, so-called because it was made from the Red Crystal spilled when a Godling was slain in the Mountains.

When the Dawn came, Poison Thorn stood safe, a bastion against the Darkness. As it had survived alone, it did not welcome intruders and resisted all attempts at friendship. Thos who managed to survive the horrors of the Death Plans were turned away from the mighty Bloodstone Fort.

When the First Council came to Dorastor and became the Second Council, the Elves of Bloodstone played little part in their politics, staying aloof and hiding in their woods and Fort. When Nysalor was born he showed kinship with the Elves and with their friend Yelmalio but even these efforts were resisted. The Poison Thorn Elves wanted no part in the affairs of strangers.

At the height of the Gbaji Wars many Elves fought on the side of Gbaji, including some wanderers from Poison Thorn and Hellwood, although it was not called HellWood then. The main force of the Poison Thorn Wood stayed neutral, neither aiding nor opposing Nysalor. When Arkat came to Dorastor, the Poison Thorn Elves gave him aid, killing all of Nysalor’s army that sheltered in the Woods waiting to ambush the Dark Conqueror. For this deed, and because he had been raised by Elves and felt kin with them, Arkat did not destroy the Poison Thorn Woods but let it live as guardians of Dorastor. He gave the elves of Poison Thorn a Jar containing a Grisly Portion, one of the pieces of Gbaji. This was buried beneath the ground and guarded by the most powerful of the Death Plants.

Since that time, the Poison Thorn Elves have kept aloof, neither aiding nor resisting those around them, but vigorously defending the Woods from all-comers. Recently, the Krjalki Elves of Hellwood have fought many battles with Poison Thorn but have never defeated them within the Poisoned Woods. Unknown to most outsiders, the PoisonThorn Aldryami have been helping the True Elves in Hell Wood to take the Forest from the Krjalki.

I generally see the Poison Thorn Elves as master breeders, using their knowledge of plant breeding techniques to breed new and more deadly varieties of plant. These are then set loose in the Forest to grow and breed. A good 30% of all plants in the Poison Thorn Woods are poisonous in some way. Even some of the Elves and Dryads are poisonous, having poisonous bites, touch or breath. Some feel that this is Krjalki power, but they are mistaken.

There are many types of poisonous plants in Poison Thorn Wood, from plants with poisonous sap, bad berries, poisonous leaves, pollen which causes more than Hay Fever, porcupine plants and more. Possibly the most dangerous is the Dorastoran Death Weed which has every part poisonous expect for the single fruit it bears in the centre of the plant which will heal the eater of all poison, disease and damage, making them immune to poison and disease for a year afterwards. However, the Fruit is guarded by pollen showers, contact poison, needle weapons, leaves which burn the skin and moving roots and tendrils. Anyone who can get through this arsenal probably does not need to use the fruit anyway.

The Death Plants are used by the Elves in many different ways. Hedgerows guard all elven villages and cause those who push through them to die in agonising spasms. Trees are milked of their sap to provide poison for arrows and spears. Traps are made with pollen-filled bags which cause all nearby to choke to death, drowning in their own saliva.

Most of the elves are immune or resistant to most of the poisons, but there are many Death Plants which even kill Aldryami. These are avoided by the locals but act as guardians against the Krjalki invaders. Sometimes a new plant will appear and the Elves have to find out whether it is safe for them. This is a tricky manoeuvre made by the most powerful of the Gardeners.

Most of the creatures of the Woods are either resistant to the Poisons or know which plants to avoid. Having said this, there are fewer animals and birds in Poison Thorn Wood than in any other comparable Elven Forest. The Elves do not mourn this as they see other creatures as intruders.

Those fortunate enough to be invited to Bloodstone Fort will find a massive garden, tended by hundred of elven workers. There are many herb gardens here and many small plots of trees, painstakingly grown. All of the plants here are poisonous to some extent. When a plant has been shown to breed true, the Elves will release it into the Poison Thorn Wood and will grow new plants in its place. Beware here, for there are many Warriors of Wood and Dryads lurking in the stands of trees. All have many dangerous poisons at their beck and call. All are deadly in combat. Do not eat of things unless you are invited - sometimes even Food Song will not negate the Poison of these plants.

In my campaign, Poison Thorn Woods played only a small role, as the Elves would not deal with the Players. Even when the PCs tried to ally with them, they had nothing to offer. The only person who got close was Solarus when he tried to ally the Yelmalions of the Marching Alrdyami to aid in Hellwood but even he was tuned away. I had no real interest in Poison Thorn Wood as it was not Chaotic and would quite happily sit and watch the rest of Dorastor fall apart as Chaos erupted, as long as it was left unharmed.