Darkmoon Vale is an infamously fey-haunted, dangerous forest located in southeastern Borael, on the edge of Hadurk-Sur and on the Hadurk River. The Vale presents a constant threat to those who live nearby, but also serves as a persistent temptation to adventurers eager to make names for themselves.
The dense forest, which stretches approximately forty-two miles wide and around fifteen miles tall, contains at its heart a small lake which runs into the nearby Hadurk River. Lumber camps can be found throughout the outer edges of the Vale, a reminder that the dangers of the woods are not enough to stop the expansion of the greedy Lumber Consortium. The nearest permanent settlement is the logging town of Falcon’s Hollow, which rests about twelve miles from the forest’s southern edge.
Darkmoon Vale is home to a wide variety of plants and animals beyond its more dangerous intelligent residents, such as the fey of the forest or the kobolds of its subterranean reaches. In most cases this flora and fauna remains neutral, existing solely to survive. That said, if a visitor to the Vale crosses one or threatens its survival, the results are often unpleasant.
Most creatures in Darkmoon Vale are simply animals or vermin, with no darker agendas than mere survival. The following are some of the most common creatures of the region.
Firefoot Fennec: These red-footed foxes are common throughout southern Borael and northern Yulania. Their pelts are popular in Ebongate.
Dusk Spider: These foot-diameter spiders inhabit the forest in large communities that weave immense webs covering several acres. Dusk spider venom, when properly milked from a living creature, makes for a potent alcoholic additive.
Giant Mosquito: These pests are as large as small birds, but they tend to (thankfully) travel alone. Female giant mosquitoes (like their normal-sized cousins) drink the blood of warm-blooded animals.
Giant Moorsnake: These ophidian predators are active mostly at night. As constrictors, they prefer to sneak up on their victims while their potential meals are sleeping.
Slurks: The slurk is the disgusting result of ill-advised dwarven efforts at breeding underground frogs. Kobolds prize the foul-smelling and slime-covered creatures as pets and mounts. Slurks live underground in damp caverns where the fungi and lichens they prefer to eat grow in abundance.
Many varieties of unique and rare plants live in Darkmoon Vale. The following are those of greatest interest to residents and visitors of the region.
Appleleaf: These low-growing plants have leaves that grow in groups of four and taste of slightly bitter apples when eaten. Appleleaf grows all over within the forests of Darkmoon Vale and southern Borael.
Blackscour: A black-headed fungus that tastes hard, bitter, and sharp. It grows in the water and causes blackscour taint if any part of it, including its spores, are consumed (usually by drinking contaminated water). Blackscour is not native to the region and was only recently introduced to Darkmoon Vale.
Elderwood Moss: This semi-magical moss only grows on the oldest tree in a forest. Elderwood moss, when prepared correctly, acts as a strong decongestant. Some people claim that, when prepared incorrectly, elderwood moss causes premature aging.
Glowmold: As its name implies, glowmold glows. Rather brightly, in fact. Glowmold grows very slowly on the undersides of igneous rocks, and the largest concentrations of this useful mold live for centuries under stones too large to easily flip or roll over. Smaller finds provide as much light as a torch. Regardless of the size of the moss colony, picked glowmold glows for 3 days once picked.
Ironbloom Mushrooms: These stunty fungi only grow in dark places thick with metal. The diets of dwarves consist heavily of ironbloom mushrooms, mainly because the plants grow naturally in and around dwarven forges. Protein-rich ironbloom mushrooms bear a slight salty taste but otherwise contain no flavor of their own, making them excellent additions to many dwarven meals.
Rat’s Tail: When pickled, this exceedingly salty root acts as a mild analgesic. Used raw, rat’s tail gives a strong salty flavor to whatever dish it is added to. Many of the poor residents in Darkmoon Vale use rat’s tail to flavor their food, as salt remains out of the price range of most.