The Scratchwood is an expansive forest located in southern Utheriath, just north of the province of Atherdale. The Scratchwood is a haven for wild and lawless activity, relatively safe from the Bronze Aegis of the Kalhastian Empire. However, fleeing to the Scratchwood is generally a last resort, as it is filled to the brim with all manner of wild dangers and terrifying creatures. Still, legends of great treasures and forgotten temples are whispered among those living among its borders, prompting those seeking fame and glory to brave its thorns.
The Scratchwood was named after the twisting, thorny vines that crawl across the forest floor, which locals claim do not subsist on sunlight, but a diet of blood.
It is believed that at some point, the ancient Khazra once inhabited the forest, though it is unknown whether it even existed at that point. Various Khazran temples and artifacts have been uncovered throughout the forest, many of which have now been repurposed by wildlife and raiders. Additionally, a large number of demonic artifacts have been uncovered throughout the forest.
The road from Nightrook to Reedenford is heavily traveled for trade, and is one of the few areas of the forest patrolled by the Bronze Aegis. Even still, the road is a terrible risk, braved only those with enough promise of profit or those rich enough to hire competent help. While it is possible to reach Reedenford through the Devil's Flats by going around the edge of the forest, this presents an ever greater danger from bandit raids, so the forest road is generally preferred.
Stretching far across the width of Utheriath, the plant and wildlife encountered throughout the forest are primarily consistent across its area. The forest itself is composed of deciduous trees, which root together densely with high foliage, creating a canopy that ranges from roughly 40 to 80 feet from the ground, depending on the area. While the majority of the forest is relatively flat, areas to the east and west are sloped slightly by long, tall hills. Prevalent throughout the entirety of the forest are the eponymous scratchvines, dark brown vines with thick thorns that grow across open ground.
A variety of both mundane and dangerous animals and beasts make their home in the Scratchwood. The forest is home to a notable amount of bears.
A list of more exotic creatures and entities that can be found in the woods is listed below:
- Valfithers (Witherers)
- Banshees (rare)
- Hags (mostly western forest)
- Cursed beasts (lycanthropes, etc.)
- Umber hulks (rare)