Along the River of Woe near the coast of the Cackling Sea lies an unusual forest unlike any other on the continent of mankind. The trees alone are of an unnatural species and their peculiarity is what gives the forest its name. They stand far taller than the tallest pines and are thicker than the thickest oaks. Their wood is neither brown nor gray but instead an unearthly, metallic green that glimmers under direct light but appears black in its absence. The bark is gnarled and twisted with many large, barb-like thorns sticking out both from the tree trunk itself and emerging up through the ground from the roots creating a deadly landscape where a single trip could mean certain death. All along the exterior of the forest one can find the skeletal remains of people who, in their haste, did not recognize the forest for what it was and ended up impaled for their folly. These weirdwood trees are not the only horror that lurks in the depths of this forest though. There are a multitude of strange, carnivorous plants that feed on the flesh of small animals and even people who find themselves lost in the briar-like tangle of the deep woods. The animals as well are wholly unnatural compared to what is native to the continent. The fauna is mainly reptilian though a few scavenging mammals seem to make their homes here as well. Large sections of the forest are flooded by the river and have long been swampland and bogs. What lurks inside the water is unknown even to those few humans who manage to make this nightmare realm their home, but whatever it is its carnivorous and exceedingly deadly. Even the native people will not approach the water without several spears pointing at the water’s edge just in case. The people who live here tend to be highly paranoid, and for good reason. It isn’t hyperbole to say near everything in the forest is hostile to human survival. Yet the same dangers that threaten them also threatens their enemies. Very few raiders, even among the Metal Eater tribes, are willing to attack the Weirdwood and potentially earn the ire of its fabled ruler. In the heart of the forest is a massive, black pyramid that rises so high its tip is visible from every corner of the woodlands if one were to look up and find a gap in the tangled mess that is the forest canopy. Native residents of the Weirdwood Village, named for the forest within which it resigns, claim that the pyramid belongs to an especially old and especially frightful demigod known as the Master of Shapes. Other titles include Shaper of Groves and Father of Monsters. It is the last name that he is most well known by. Little else is known about him or his ways. Only that he sits in his black pyramid concocting new and terrible creatures with which to populate the forest. Indeed the Weirdwood itself is often said to be a creation of his. A means to defending his facilities from rival demigods. According to the natives the Master of Shapes does not ask much of them. Only that one of their number be offered as an assistant every few years. It is an honored position surrounded by suspicion and paranoia as whenever a new assistant is requested the previous one is never seen again. Even more concerning is that Master of Shapes is seemingly unknown to many of the demigods that inhabit that part of the continent. None recall his birth nor how he came by his artifact; The Staff of Change. Theories abound as to where he came from with most legends suggesting he hails from another one of the continents within the Churning World. Others say he may be from another world entirely. One of the realms beyond this one also set up by the gods. Whatever his origin he has become something of a boogeyman figure in the folklore of surrounding villages. A sinister being that sends his monsters into homes in the dead of night to make off with naughty children so he can feed his beasts or, worse still, transform them into his monstrous children. The truth may not be terribly far off the mark. On certain nights a menagerie of horrible mutant creations can be seen emerging from the forest. Where they are going and what they do is unknown, but it is assumed they go on some journey to see the will of their divine father done.