O.S.M. and Friends
Threats and Dangers of the Wilderness
Mountain orcs make their lair in the forest and caves of the Hawkwalls south of the Fillian. A hundred years ago tribes ran rampart of the area, but the Grey Legion routed out the orcs and put most to the sword. Small clutches of orcs still exist, though their numbers have been kept in check by the increase of activity in the mountains and the kill on sight mentality of both miners, legionaries, and the mountain tribes.
These pests make their homes in the abandoned mines and like rats or bugs they survive by quick breeding and presenting more of a nuisance than a threat. Most goblins are smart enough to scavenge and steal what they need and avoid attacks on anything but the easiest of pickings.
The Thaetens conquered the Hawkwalls to put a stop to the giant raiding parties and their near genocide of the giants reduced populations to such low levels they have never recovered. Still giants do live in the mountains usually far from civilization as not to invite Knights looking for a trophy.
Hunting goats, deer, and two legged game the crested mountain wyverns of the Hawkwells are fortunately isolated to the peaks further from the civilized path. Occasionally a younger wyvern will try and move north, but a single predator proves little match for heavy crossbows fired in volley by militia men or legionaries.
Quick to anger and fearless in combat the Owlbears of the Hawkwells are avoided by all but the bravest of trappers. The feathered hide of an Owlbear can fetch as much as 500 GP and live cubs even more.
These creatures are rarely encountered in the Hawkwells as the favor the lowland forests.
Hunting keeps these predators away from the civilized lands, but a harsh winter will drive them out of the woods and closer to civilization. The Witch Zaga has breed generations of wolves larger, fiercer, and more cunning to guard her forest and these are called worgs. Inevitably some of these creatures escaped the Witch Wood and pose a threat to any they encounter, often dominating tribes of normal wolves and breading more of their foul kind.
Thaeten legends tell the tale of a young prince and his journey to the top of Thrones Peak to slay a great dragon with skin the color ant thickness of granite who’s great roar shattered metal and bone. The mountain tribes speak of small white wyrms that lair in the tall peaks and hunt elk and the dwarves whisper of wingless dragons that prowl the caverns deep in the earth, but no dragons of note lair near Mornford.
Brown bears are common in the low forests, but once higher elevations are reach they are displaced by the larger grey brown cave bears. Lord Trihammer is said to keep a pair of cave bears rasied from cubs in the silver vaults under Hammer Hold.
Only two snakes that have venom that poise a threat to humans live in the area. The black ringed rock snake has large grey bands with small black bands and is found in rocky areas above the tree line, but will nest in mines or caverns. The green river snake is a dark green and grey patterned snake found near water and are adapt swimmers.
Not surprisingly Hawks are a common sight in the Hawkwell mountains, the largest species are the blood hawks that are fiercely protective of their territory and will attack any creature that they feel is too close to their nest, often with no warning. Trappers have also reported stings of abnormally large crows of late in the western part of the Hawwells.
This native species of large nocturnal predator cats hunt for deer, rabbits, and even solitary wolves but will gladly attack two legged prey as well. The Shadow cats use their special pheromones to confuse and disorient their prey before they attack or to aid in their escape. The hide of a shadow cat can fetch upwards of 800 GP if it is in good condition.
The long limbed green forest trolls are rare in the mountains, but the squat large eyed darkskinned cave trolls are present. These lumbering brutes are fond of throwing rocks to ambush their prey, though they rarely hunt until after the dark. Cave trolls are usually after a quick meal and a smart traveler will let that meal be a mule or a pony.
deep in the subterranean depths of the rock under the mountains, degenerate blind gibbering orcs, giant cave fishers, red backed hook horrors, flightless albino vampire bats, great purple worms, legless slithering basilisk, poisons centipedes a yard long, and countless other horrors dwell.