The island is garrisoned by an oversize Cohort of veteran soldiers (1000 men), all trained in forest and marine combat. The tours of duty are long - a full year, and 1/2 the cohort is rotated out every six months. The troops are brought to the island via a long and convoluted route, and are kept below-decks the entire voyage.
The Garrison is based in a secure walled compound large enough to be partially self supporting with farms and livestock. The walls serve to protect the garrison from the various creatures wandering the island.
Patrols generally consist of no less then 20 well equipped soldiers with additional spell casters. Go to Comment
The trees on Mastwood island are the sole surviving product from trade that existed between the Empire and the strange and dangerous people known as The Rephatians.
The Rephatians are a strange and little known people, with a powerful affinity for the workings of life. They will be the subject of further submissions in the not-so-distant future.
They grow at an incredible rate and produce a strong, tall and straight tree. They do have a huge impact on the soil and require significant fertilizer to maintain growth. If sufficient nutrients or water are not provided for an extended period - 3-6 months, the trees will turn inwards for nutrients and the strength of the wood will be greatly decreased. For this reason, these trees cannot occur naturally.
Depending on the desired size, the trees reach full growth within 10-20 years. After reaching full growth, they must be harvested quickly or they eventually will grow too high. At some point, the weight of the tree will exceed it's own ability to support its weight and the tree will snap.
The Mastwood trees occasionally suffer from a growth defect which causes severe internal stress to build up within the trunk. This will continue until the stress reaches the breaking point and the trunk explodes - sending sharp splinters in all directions. This can be detected by careful examination of the trunk, but touching a stressed area is liable to trigger the burst. Go to Comment
In addition to the military garrison, the island is defended by the Necromancer Kazarad the 3rd and his entourage of undead. The Empire normally does not sanction the use of necromancy, but the unique requirements and high secrecy of Mastwood has allowed for special permission. The use of undead and dealing with the Necromancer is a closely held secret within the Imperial council.
Due to the gradual degradation of his undead, the corpses of executed prisoners, disaster victims and others are occasionally shipped to the island along with the vast amounts of fertilizer needed to supply the trees. Kazarad makes use of these corpses to increase and replace the undead patrolling the island. The undead are commanded not to attack those in Imperial livery, but they do not always obey - which makes life interesting for the human garrison of the island. Go to Comment
A giant variety of common nettle, it has arrow-head shaped leaves, greyish varagated foliage and is covered in razor sharp, poisonous spines. The poison causes severe pain as well as violent muscle spasams which could cause a victim to fall, possibily into more nettle. Since large doses will disrupt breathing, falling into the patch is not a good outcome.
The toxin (which is a neurotoxin) biodegrades rapidly and will not keep well if harvested from the plant. Go to Comment
A brightly colored flower with tall spires similar to foxglove. The Rapacious version is both very much larger then normal snapdragons, and far more active. The spires are very tall - 12-14' in height, and the spires are studded by very large flowers, each about 1 foot across. The flowers appear in many brilliant colors, but hide a secret. They are equipped with fang-like thorns that will be used to bite anyone coming close to the plant. A victim will be subject to 2-4 bite attacks at a time but an individual plant can only attack one target at a time.
The plant is non-toxic, but the razor-sharp thorns can cause serious damage. Go to Comment
Miremoss appears as a fine green carpet and is otherwise not very different from other common mosses. What makes it dangerous is that it is very very tough, and exudes a very strong adhesive if damaged. This adhesive has a short setting period - usually 1-2 minutes after contact with the moss. When it sets, it does so suddenly and will hold fast most materials with a bond strength of magical intensity. Since the moss can occur in large patches, a victim could be stuck on the moss. Removing footware is a good solution if the victim is no longer on the moss or can fly, but if they are still on the moss, they will still have a serious problem.
The moss is quite tough and requires signficant hacking to cut through. Generally it will take longer to cut a significant patch then it will take for the adhesive to cure, possibly sticking weapons to the ground.
The adhesive is soluble in alcohol. It could be harvested, but since it begins curing on exposure to air that would be a difficult process. Go to Comment
This bush is generally low key and resembles an oversized (4' height) common Euphorbia (Light green foliage, many small leaves, spherical overall shape). It is, however, somewhat intelligent and of a rather dour disposition. It has a caustic, milky sap that it can project up to 20'. This sap is very caustic and will inflict serious burns to organic materials. It is easily upset by sudden movement, sound, or light and will spurt sap until whatever disturbs it is gone, or it depletes its supply (usually 10-12 discharges per day).
If somehow subdued, it could be harvested for its sap that can then be used as-is as a weapon, or for use in alchemical work. Go to Comment
It is animated, capable of movement, and it is infused with elemental fire. When disturbed by intruders, it will envelop its flowers with flame and attempt to strike intruders in range. Strangely, the flames do not hurt the flower itself. Though capable of movement, they will not move further then 10' from their original rooting site.
The elemental energy is tied to the plant's life force, so if ripped up or otherwise killed, the energy will dissipate. Magic which works with elemental fire will apply to the plant. Go to Comment
This grass appears as normal, overgrown grass - standing about 18" high with the occasional even taller spire covered with seeds. Some of these spires are different, containing a very strong, stiff core and ending in a barbed thorn. The thorn is quite toxic and sharp enough to easily pierce leather or find it's way through chain links. The spire is also capable of moving and will slash or stab at anything warm which comes within 18" of the plant. Go to Comment
Yep, if you can somehow harvest the 'epoxy' before it hardens (under water, perhaps) it would make excellent glue. It is, of course, biodegradable, but over a timeline too long to assist escape. Go to Comment
"I'm not a boozehound, I just want to be prepared!"
Locals aware of the plant's properties might wear large planks of wood on their feet, similar to snowshoes, to spread their weight evenly enough to avoid damaging the plants. Alternatively, they might coat their shoes heavily with beeswax, to keep them from adhering.
I could see people cultivating this plant for its useful adhesive properties. Go to Comment
A well-done selection of nasty foliage. Alert travelers could be warned of the presence of these plants by the signs they leave behind (scattered animal bones near Scorpion Grass, damage to nearby plants from spitting euphorbia or singeweed, etc.).
They are too obviously magical to occur naturally; only a truly irresponsible wizard would create such nasty plants. All it would take is a few patches of Scorpion Grass near a village to wreak havok on local livestock. Hopefuilly, such plants can't effectively compete naturally with more normal flora, or they could render entire regions almost uninhabitable. Go to Comment
Tarot Cards are used by Magic folks to predict the future (cartomancy). Since the present becomes the future through the interplay of elementally alligned forces, the tumble of cards can give clues to the way the pattern of elements will be in the future.
This means a wizard will have a deck of cards with them. Since cards were used to train wizards in legerdemain, Since they have cards with them, they frequently know how to use them. Guild magic users often have a knack for fancy shuffles, palming cards, and a variety of card tricks and games.