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Friday, November 14, 2014
Trouble in the Enchanted Wood
Rumors of poachers in the Enchanted Wood north of Castle Machine in the Country of Yanth have lured a band of adventurers (my 5e game's PCs) to investigate--and to hopefully gain some reward money. Hunting has been prohibited in the Wood since the time of King Smalt I, the Nigh Great, of Azurth, owing to the peculiarity of much of its plant and animal life having the capacity for speech. It is supposed that this is exactly the reason the current hunters are in the Wood: they are (or they serve) a cabal of jaded gourmands seeking to dine on meals they can converse with beforehand.
This strange property of the flora and fauna arises from the magical waters of the Babbling Brook that meanders through the wood and its source, the Spouting Spring. The brook itself (as the name suggests) is vocal, and even at its susurrating volume, it can impair the concentration of spellcasters and unnerve those who are around it for long periods. The spring is even worse. Its ceaseless chorus of nonsensical orations are taken as oracular glossolalia by some and tormenting, demonic cacophony by others.
The waters enhance the linguistic abilities of any who drink from it. For adults, the effect in temporary, lasting at most a day and most likely only a few hours, without repeated ingestion (1d4 x 1d6 hrs.). Immature creatures raised on it retain the enhancement indefinitely.
Few members of mannish races live in the Wood, though their may be a few hermits. Fulvus, the eremite whose teachings touched off the War of the Purpure and Or. lived near the brook. There is said to be a somewhat eccentric druid that makes his home somewhere in the forest, but if so he has been unable to stop the poachers.
Travelers and those living nearby report strange sounds coming from the wood at night. It is a sound all to exultant and cruel to be the baying of wild dogs, yet all too guttural and animalistic to be the laughter of men.