Thursday, May 8, 2008

Tethys: Derew Tree Forests

The great Dia Anu forest of central Aphrodite is a living testament to the majesty of nature, as well as a symbol of its ferocity. The mighty Derew tree is related to the Gaian Oak tree, but much taller and of stronger limb, averaging around 500ft in height with many specimens reaching much greater heights.

The great forest of Dia Anu if over 2 1/2 thousand miles across, and sports many trees over a thousand years old. The forest itself is home to an enormously diverse ecosystem of dinosaurs, insects, tree-dwelling mammals, and several human civilizations. Much trade goes up and down the many rivers of this region, though these are monster haunted (see Plesiosaurus).

To survive, human civilization must dwell in treetop villages, in buries towns or in fortified cities, lest they fall prey to the many ground dwelling predators. The dark beneath the boughs are home to a great many light hating predators and spirits, and thus the folk of the treetops are a tough and superstitious lot indeed!

To traverse the treetops, the locals have constructed a vast network of catwalks and hidden ladders, as well as the domestication of a great many arboreal species to act as beasts of burden such as the Derew Cricket below:

Derew Cricket
Large Vermin
Hit Dice: 4d8+8 (26)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 60 ft, Climb 40ft.
Armor Class: 15 (-1 size, +1 Dex, +5 natural)
Attacks: Bite +5 melee,
Damage: Bite 1d6+3,
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 10 ft./5 ft.
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60ft, Jump
Saves: Fort +6, Ref +2, Will +2
Abilities: Str 17, Dex 13, Con 14, Int -, Wis 12, Cha 4
Skills: Climb +11, Jump +36*, Spot +8
Climate/Terrain: Temperate and warm land
Organization: Solitary or colony (2-5)
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: None.
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 5-15 HD (Large)
These creatres are a common sight in the Dia-Anu forests and the Plains of Thunder regions of Tethys. Derew Crickets are horse-sized creatures that resemble grasshoppers, though covered in a green, black and yellow colored fur. They dwell primarily amongst the branches of the Derew tree, where they graze upon leaves and bark.
Though remarkable stupid, these creatures make excellent beasts of burden if trained from birth. They make excellent mounts for use by the tree dweling peoples of the derew forests, though a would-be rider requires a special saddle (masterwork cost) that properly anchors her to the cricket.
Derew Crickets would rather flee than fight, though if pressed they will bite.
Leap (Ex): A Derew Cricket is a natural jumper. It gains a +30 racial bonus to all Jump checks, and its maximum jumping distance is not limited by its height.
Vermin: Vermin are immune to mind-affecting effects.
Carrying Capacity: A light load for a derew cricket is up to 200 pounds; a medium load, 201-400 pounds; a heavy load, 401-600 pounds. A derew cricket can drag 3,000 pounds.

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I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light
-- Henry Vaughan