Southwood Geographic Location in The Sundered Worlds | World Anvil
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Southwood

The gilded viridian

Like gold flecks sprinkled over polished emeralds, the larch and pine forest along the southernmost coast is a brilliant bangle decorating the Tangran Foot. Largely uninhabited, the quiet wood serves as a buffer between the Scrublanders of the Grass and their urban cousins in Port Diyli. It holds a brightness found in few forests, golden light filtering between boughs and needles to banish the settling shadows.

Of Green and Gold

Unlike its deep green sisters through the Mythic Hinterlands, Southwood is home to a wider variety of conifers and their autumn colors give the region its signature gold-flecked style. An unofficial nature preserve, the Scrublander tribes and foresters of Port Diyli work together to regulate logging, tapping, trapping, hunting, foraging, and seasonal burns. The pliant pine timber is used for buildings and yurt frames across the steppe, and pine tar comes from the trees along Southwood Pass.
Off the pass, the wood is left to its own devices. It's a cheerful place, full of birdsong and baby animals in the spring and curious rodents in the autumn. Local children play between the trunks, and pleasant afternoon strolls are a common pasttime.

Field Guide to Southwood

Most famously, Southwood is home to the golden-needled Scrubland larch. It grows between the evergreen Scrubland cedars, white and black spruces, and jack and hillside pines. A surprising variety of fungi sprout in the shade, the majority of them edible. Various mosses and lichens can be found covering rocks and climbing flakey trunks.
The wood is a birder's delight, full of hazel grouse, black-billed capercaillies, southern capercaillies, ring-necked pheasants, chukars, common quail, white-throated needletails, common swifts, black-bellied plovers, little ringed plovers, tangran scops owls, boreal owsl, tangran half owls, tangran wrynecks, greater and lesser spotted woodpeckers, steppe jays, common magpies, rooks, horned larks, southern short-toed larks, crested skylarks, black larks, bough swallows, southern martins, wood warblers, larch warblers, and hundreds of others either nesting or on migration paths. Pollinators are uncommon, but beetles and decomposers of all varieties are found underneath rocks and among the needles.
On the ground or in the branches of the trees, hog badgers, grey stoats, long-eared hedgehogs, southern pikas, red squirrels, Scrubland flying squirrels, Scrubland gerbils, southern larch mouse, needle face hares, common weasels, sables, scrubland wild boars, red deer, roe deer, red foxes, and steppe foxes provide some game to the people of Port Diyli, but are mostly left to their own devices.
Several dryads were stranded in Southwood when a Feywild portal opened and closed without warning. Though many have offered to return them to their home, they've bonded with the wood and aid the Scrublanders in protecting its bounty. Over the last few years, the dryads have awakened a few of the trees to act as ambassadors. These benevolent treants travel the wood, guarding their bretheren.

Sunlight on the Treetops

The stories like to frighten children with tales of dark, forbidding forests filled with nightmares and sharp-toothed creatures seeking to steal them away. Southwood is nothing like these stories. It feels almost too good to be true, with its streams of golden sunlight, frolicking animals, and avian symphony. The Southwood wanderer might wonder if they've stepped into a utopian children's tale, expecting mice dining on mushrooms and foxes dancing with hares. Until, of course, they walk face first into a spiderweb while trying to pet a deer, or get pooped on by one of those wonderful songbirds. The magic of Southwood is just as subtle and understated as the rest of the Scrublands, shining like sunbeams in the moments in between. Reality is never far away in Southwood, but for a few, brief moments, you can leave it behind.
Type
Forest, Boreal (Coniferous)
Associated Cultures
Scrublanders visit Southwood whenever they need lumber for their yurts, wagons, or weapons and stay only long enough to make the necessary repairs. The people of Port Diyli use the Scrublander statistics. Instead of the Mounted Archery trait, they have the following trait:

Mercantilism. Your society built up around the creation, trade, and sale of goods and services. You have advantage on any checks made to haggle over the price of trade goods and services, as well as on checks to determine the quality of trade goods.


The Southwood Traveller

The Southwood Traveller is most often on their way to or from Port Diyli, the largest settlement in the Scrublands. The bustling port draws merchants, traders, and artisans from across Tangra and {NEAREST CONTINENT}, all of them seeking profits, quality goods, and connections. Like most everywhere on Tangra, the traveller will have access to Mythalenairran traders in Port Diyli as well as along any established routes.

Lodging can be found every ten or so miles along Southwood Pass, but the traveller leaving Southwood will note that the road ends abruptly at the Grass. For the traveller managing their own stay, the wood itself is on the boreal side of temperate with cold winter nights and harsh snows. In the warmer months, both foraging and game are abundant.

Both visitors and locals answer to the Harbormaster of Port Diyli, or else the local Scrublander tribes near the border of Southwood and the Grass. While there is technically no authority in the depths of the wood, logging is strictly regulated within the various Scrublander groups, and their patrols are more than equipped to handle other varieties of disrespect.


Cover image: by LisáYakurím via Pixabay

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