Lanterns in the Mist
Flora and Fauna of Ustalav
An excerpt from the Doomed Gazeteer penned by S-
Ustalav is dominated by fir, spruce, and pine trees. Copses of these trees can be found throughout the land, regardless of altitude, and make up the majority of the Shudderwood. The Forest of Veils includes some cypress, laurel, and alder, and there are also patches of hardwood trees, such as cherry,hazelnut, beech, oak. Farmers readily grow flax and beans, while the floodplains are used for rice, mustard,and cotton. Ustalav has predictable seasonal precipitation. The orchards of Varno produce plums, cherries, apricots, and apples. There are also a number of vineyards in the region, typically producing white and rosé grapes. There is regular rain in the spring and flooding after the heavy winter snows that fills the wide flood plains along the mountain streams. There are short droughts during the summer and fall that are easily anticipated and farmers are adept at preparing for dry stretches.
- Specific Plants-
The forests and plains of Ustalav are rife with deer, elk, wild boar, and bears. There are a number of local animals hunted for their pelts, including badgers, weasels, and foxes. The rivers and lakes have an abundance of fish, with catfish, stickleback, anglers, and eels being common. Ustalav has myriad varieties of snakes, which can be found in the forests, marshes, plains, and lakes. A number of serpents are found in the sewers of Ustalavic cities, and have been known to swim up the plumbing. Most serpents are not venomous and relatively harmless. However, there are a number of deadly species that look deceptively like harmless breeds, so all snakes should be considered dangerous. Predatory animals are frequently encountered in rural areas. While most avoid groups of humans, lone, unwary travelers can easily fall victim to hungry beasts. Wolves are common in the woods – especially Shudderwood – and cougars can be found in the mountains. Ustalav has its share of monstrous predators. The Shudderwood is home to all manner of unnatural beasts, and is rumored to be the hunting grounds of several rival packs of werewolves. I have also heard tales of hideous man-spider creatures that command arachnids the size of large dogs. The Virlych region is home to roving undead. Twisted vampire creatures and crazed ghouls roam that wasteland. There are also tales of large packs of ghouls lurking beneath the Hungry Mountains, with some claiming there is an entire subterranean city ruled by ghouls. I am uncertain of the truth of these legends, as it seems incompatible with logic and most likely old wive but despite their cannibalistic nature, ghouls are surprisingly intelligent, so it is not impossible.