The Haunted Wood
The Haunted Wood is a triangular patch of woods coming down off the Broken Spine Mountains in the Arborvast east of Ettinston, in the Wild Wastelands. Notable as the site plundered for fortress pickets and battering rams during the months-long encirclement of forces leading up to the bloodbath of the Battle of Seki Gahan, it is the rumored home of an ancient tomb called Sylvanwroth, and an ancient undead presence that was said by seers to be greatly strengthened by the mountains of slaughtered prisoners and unburied dead after that battle. The creatures of the Haunted Wood are all fae touched to some extent, boosting the effects of magic like Speak with Animals, Conjure Woodland Beings, and Awakening when cast inside the wood on natural creatures and objects; it is as if a similar spell was cast on a massive scale in antiquity, and vestiges of it remain in the wood today. As the name implies, the woods are also rife with undead, and of unusual sorts; not simply wandering zombies left over from the battle, but wily vampires playing at being bandits, or bandit victims, and worse, as well as dreadful Kelpies, Harpies, Perytons and other cunning tricksters that lead good creatures to their deaths. Due to its many dangers, only the most vicious people and humanoids take shelter there, and these fall into two categories: Exiles on the run from what passes for authority in the Wild Wastes, and raiders organized and strong enough to stand up to the constant threats to be found in the dark shadows and black creeks of the wood. The best known of these are the Blood Raiders, a quasi-religious bandit horde that practices foul blood-based necromancy and that is known to drink the blood of their victims.