Woods

Beetle Palm: Beetle palm trees, named for their black bark, which looks like a beetle’s carapace, are found mainly in the midwood of the great forest Cormanthor. On average, they grow to 70 feet in height, but a few grow to heights of 100 feet or more. Clusters of spindly, spiky fronds often mistaken for leafless branches crown their otherwise smooth trunks, and a small cluster56 of soft-rinded, smooth, black, bitter-tasting nuts the size and general shape of plums grow under the fronds, dropping off once a year after the first snowfall. Beetle palm wood is a dull brown and lightens as it dries, becoming a mellow tan. Beetle palm wood contains oily deposits that make it exceptionally flammable, but long-burning rather than volatile; it burns nearly three times as long as other types of wood and produces about half the amount of smoke. The wood is sturdy, but not outstanding, and it has a tendency to snap in sections from 2 to 3 feet long after it has dried, so it is not often used in making buildings or carts. Beetle palm wood conveys no special properties to items made from it or spells cast when using it as a material component. Beetle palm nuts, however, are exceptionally effective if used as a substitute material component in the goodberry priest spell.57 When so used, they enable up to a huge (size H), hungry creature to eat the soft outer rind and be as well-nourished as if a full normal meal were eaten or cure 1d2+2 points of physical damage from wounds or other similar cases. The curative properties of goodberryaffected beetle palm nuts do not have a daily maximum, and such nuts remain magical and do not rot for one year. It is considered poor form by most nature religions not to try and plant the inner, hard-cased kernel nuts left over from such an enchanted nut, though few so planted seeds have ever been noted to grow.

BLACK CYPRESS Aside from the Goldwood, the Black Cypress is the largest evergreen in southeastern Endor. It has a black trunk and dark green, overlapping, scalelike leaves, They grow throughout the Western Dominions of the Metharn. Standing up to 200’ in height, these huge trees produce some of the finest shipbuilding lumber in Middle-earth. The wood is hard to work, but anything fashioned from it will be exceptionally strong (e.g., the equivalent of -5 iron).

BLUE PINE The Blue Pine is the most common of evergreen tree of the Rhudaur, and its wood has a bluish-silver hue. Wood from the Blue Pine is valued because its high tannic acid content acts as a natural preservative: structures of Blue Pine boards can last twice as long as those of other woods. It is also notable for its large cones, which carry especially large, edible seeds.

Calantra: This species is found south and east of Mosstone in the Forest of Tethir and in all the woodlands south and east of there as far as northern Chult and the Shaar. One of the favorite carving woods of Calimshan and the Tashalar thanks to its durability and ability to absorb human oils and moisture for years after being cut so as to avoid decaying, drying, out, or splitting, calantra is the heartwood of the calan tree. Calans are stout, red-barked trees with deep brown wood that grow to no more than 11 feet in height and consist of thick trunks with no side-branches that rise up into a gnarly crown of many small, interwoven branches. Most humans can traverse calan stands only in a hunched-over posture, making such travelers easy prey for shorter creatures who can move at will among the trees below the canopy. Calan trees are as hardy alive as they are dead, withstanding most frosts, fires (even red dragon breath), and floods. Much used in the making of furniture, travel chests, and walking sticks, calantra is prized by those who craft magical items because of this hardiness: It makes all item saving throws with +2 bonus over other woods. This increases to a +3 bonus if an item composed at least 20% of calantra bears any sort of enchantment, but strong or multiple enchantments cannot augment this bonus beyond +3. Calantra does not have any special properties when used as a spell component and may be used with safety and normal results whenever any nonspecific type of wood, leaf, stick, sawdust, or similar wood product is called for.

CHAP-BEECH The Chap-beech, though at first glance beautiful, is considered by many to be a haunted tree. Its ___ bark gleams an unearthly white color, pare .: ! ticularly under the phase of the new moon. Its papery leaves grow so close together that the slightest ruffle of wind causes a chain reaction of endless hissing, produced by leaf rubbing against leaf. In midsummer, Chap beechnuts tumble down. Numerous and nutritious, they mature in spiky seed pods, : and when touched by bare skin, they ?oli1t a stinging venom which can immobilize the victim. “Walls” of these trees guard the path to Dol Guldur. If one finds a way to remove the stinging husks, a traveller can enjoy the pleasant flavor of Chap-b eechnuts. Only the Beijabar (and Radagast) make use of this harvest, sending out their raccoons, creatures whose leathery paws are immune to the Chap-beech venom. The raccoons bring home sacks full of nuts, which the Beijabar roast by the side of their great fires. Fire cracks open the stinging husks, and the toasted kernels inside are easy to pick out wtthout danger. The nuts are small but nutritious: twenty-five nuts make up a meal.

Chime Oak: Chime oak trees are a very rare type of tree that thrives in the northern sections of the east starwood, a section of the great forest Cormanthor. They resemble normal oak trees made of transparent glass, though the leaves often carry a slight greenish tinge. Aside from their appearance, chime oaks are indistinguishable from other oaks; birds nest in their branches, they sprout and grow from seedlings, their limbs can be cut and burned for firewood. Unlike normal oaks, however, chime oaks do not lose their leaves in the autumn. Instead, the leaves freeze solid, remaining frozen throughout the autumn and winter until they thaw in the spring. Light breezes cause the frozen leaves to tinkle like wind chimes, producing a soothing, pleasant sound especially attractive to basilisks. These creatures can often found curled up near the trunks, eyes closed, completely relaxed. Chime oak wood gradually loses its transparent quality as it dries (as do chime oak leaves), becoming a silvery-white hue when fully dry. It can be used in manufacturing magical items in the same way that oak is. However, when used in the manufacture of magical musical instruments, it gives the instruments a very sweet and pure sound. Chime oak wood is impervious to cold, whether of a magical or natural nature, and items made primarily of chime oak retain this quality, automatically succeeding at all item saving throws vs. cold. Items containing less than 45% chime oak wood (by volume) than other types of material retain a residual bonus of this resistance as a +1 bonus to their item saving throws vs. cold. Chime oak wood and leaves can be substituted for normal oak wood and leaves interchangeably in spells, but they otherwise have no special properties when used as a material component.

Blueleaf: This species is found north of Amn from the Sword Coast to Impiltur, although a rare few blueleaf trees have been seen growing in Chessenta, Turmish, and the Border Kingdoms. Blueleafs (not “blueleaves”) grow close together in thick stands and reach 40 feet in height, but rarely attain trunk diameters of over 8 inches. Blueleaf trees have many small branches that begin about halfway up their trunks; branches grow in spiderweblike swirls around the trunks. These delicately built, but supple, trees are instantly recognizable when in leaf because of the eerie, gleaming blue color of their many-pointed leaves. 58 Blueleafs bend in high winds or under heavy ice loads rather than breaking, and when curved entirely around like hoops, they form snow tunnels that provide ready shelter for winter travelers—and hungry hunting predators. They yield beautiful leaping blue flames when burned and are thus prized in many inns and taverns, where their light provides moody illumination for taletellers and minstrels in the late evenings. Their sap and crushed leaves yield a vivid blue dye which captures almost all of the glow of the living leaves and is much favored in the making of cloaks in the North. Blueleaf is a durable, neutral wood popular for use in magical items, which it neither aids nor hampers the enchantment of, and as a material component. If it is the sole consumed material component in a spell (that is, not counting a holy symbol or item to be altered but not used up by the casting), it can reduce the casting time by 1 to a minimum of 1.

DÍRWOOD A conifer growing in the extreme northern latitudes of Endor, the tree’s wood is darkest black in color and, when cured properly, as hard as the toughest steel, holding an edge as well or better than this metal. A different curing process yields a springy material suitable for creating bows from its laminated strips that possess a range far outstrip ping those made of any other material. Dirwood focuses the Essence while growing in the wild and thus is particu larly suited to Alchemical use.

Duskwood: This tree species grows widely all over Faerûn, and The wood of these trees, also called simply “hiexel,” is brittle, the trees get their name from the dark, eerie appearance of the green, and waxy. It succumbs to rot easily, and produces profuse closely clustered stands they grow in. Duskwoods grow arrow- amounts of thick, oily smoke when ignited. This brings it frequent straight and can reach up to 60 feet in height. They have smooth, use in signal beacon fires, in the smoking of meat or fish, or in bare, nontapering trunks, a crown of tiny, lacy branches at the top, driving beasts or foes out of an enclosed area. and black bark, which turns silvery-gray when newly broken or peeled. The wood beneath the bark is always smoky gray and as hard as iron. Their wood’s strength helps them survive the axes of woodcutters who come seeking firewood. Most mast spars and building roof beams in Faerûn are made of duskwood spars. Duskwood is also very resistant to fire, smoldering rather than blazing, and because of this, duskwood trees tend to survive forest fires. Duskwood is suitable for use in the making of staves and rods, but should be avoided in the fashioning of items, where it forces the caster of every eternal flame spell involved to make a saving throw vs. spell at -2 or have the spell fail, destroying any previous enchantments successfully cast on or into the item. Its use should also be avoided in the casting of spells that involve fire, where it adds a 20% chance of total spell failure, applied after casting, wherein all material components except the duskwood are consumed. The sole exception to this caveat is items and spells of fire resistance; duskwood augments these by increasing their protection by 1 point per die of fiery damage they are forced to ward (operate) against.

Felsul: This tree seems to favor cold and poor soil, and in many rocky places in the North and in those parts of northern Anauroch not cloaked in ice, felsuls provide the only tree cover to be seen. Felsuls grow on crags, cliff edges, and clefts where few other trees can find purchase. They are gnarled, twisted trees whose wood crumbles to the touch and is of a dusty cinnamon brown to deep brown hue. Felsuls grow slowly, maturing only after about 10 years, at which point they are around 3 feet high. At around a decade in age, the soft green, fuzzy-barked straight saplings, which resemble many shrubs, darken and begin to twist and curve as their roots deepen, their upper reaches dry out, and winds begin to shape their frail trunks. Mature felsuls constantly shed flakes of rotting bark, and their wood is prone to split and crack, being too weak and misshapen for use in building or the making of furniture. Felsul wood also burns poorly, but felsul root is favored for use in the carving of small things such as holy symbols, figurines, and toys. Early each spring, felsuls burst briefly into flower, sprouting vivid, yellow-and-purple blossoms whose crushed petals yield a perfume prized by ladies of high rank throughout the Realms. A sack of these flowers can bring as much as 3 gp in years when these blossoms are scarce. Felsul is unsuitable for magical use except as a material component in spells designed to hasten withering or decay or increase damage caused by something else. For such magics, this wood serves as a universal replacement, with one chip of felsul wood, bark, or root sufficing per spell as a substitute for the normal material components (provided they need not be specially constructed).

FURRY OAK Despite the dampening effect it has on a forest, the Furry Oak is a benign and valuable tree. Related to the White Oak, its round-lobed leaves, deep red throughout the summer, have a quarter-inch of soft fuzz on their undersides. A bed of these leaves is comforting and warm. Furry Oaks grow very large acorns, fat and round and big as plums, their caps growing fuzz as the leaves do. They ripen in late autumn and often all fall on the very same day. Squirrels and the Woodman-wives scramble to gather the harvest each year. The Elves of Lórien frequently send sorties across the river to gather acorns sweet enough to eat, even raw. Baked into bread or dumplings, they taste even better. If harvested quickly, they can be stored for excellent food value lasting indefinitely. Occasionally hollows and burrows of furry acorns can be found throughout southern Mirkwood, and as long as they stayed dry after burial, they offer sustenance equal to a fresh harvest.

GOLDWOOD Goldwood trees reach heights of 300’ and are up to 60’ in girth. Ancient, rare, and exceedingly tough, they are used by the Fumar of Valagalen as homesites. The Elves carefully carve rooms inside the larger trees without endangering the trunk. They grow in the southwest of Endor, around the Bay of DreL

GRAPE-LEAF MAGNOLIA The most abundant of the broadleaf evergreens growing in Mirkwood is called the Grape-leaf Magnolia. Its bark is soft and pitted, its growing shape slender, but not as tall as the oak and beech. It does not compete with the larger trees, but forms its own pockets in the forest. Its leaves grow dark green and leathery, almost as if a holly leaf had been expanded five times in size. Its flowers open up in summertime with blood-red petals, blooms hanging downwards. At the peak of their blooming through the month of July groves of Grape-leaf Magnolia are unapproachable, so swarming are they with the bees raised by the Beij abar. Honey made from Grape-leaf Magnolia nectar is col. ored dark red. Not only is it sweet and nutritious; it can also have an intoxicating effect if eaten to excess. The Beijabar make Magnolia Mead from this honey and drink it only at the most solemn or most festive of their feasts.

GREDDON This is one of the three types of trees found in the Gaj (Har. “The Grove”) of Far Harad, and serves the Men of the distant south with its strong, sinuous wood.

GUMUMITI (7? “Teak’) A tall, tropical hardwood, the Gumurniti is known for its resinous, yellow-brown wood. Gumumitivi grow to heights of 120’ and are common throughout Tathom, Taur Galen, and in the rainforest called Thunderwood. Shorter trees of the same species grow in the Yellow Mountains, as well as Valagalen. The Gummiti’s small, dark green leaves are ingested as an herb (q.v.), but the wood itself is used for rich inlays and for the manufacture of furniture, saddles, even shields. Gumu.miti requires fairly frequent reoiling, however, or it loses its luster and cracks.

Hiexel: This species is very common in the Dales, growing in thickets in ravines and on hillsides. It averages about 30 feet in height, but can grow to reach 70 feet or more in a sheltered spot. Hiexel have gently curved, sparse branches that give the whole tree an upright oval foliage shape. The wood of these trees, also called simply “hiexel,” is brittle, green, and waxy. It succumbs to rot easily, and produces profuse amounts of thick, oily smoke when ignited. This brings it frequent use in signal beacon fires, in the smoking of meat or fish, or in driving beasts or foes out of an enclosed area.Hiexel bark is silver-green and neither easily burned nor easily rotted. It has seen use as a binding material for books, including spell tomes, and—stuck down with wooden pegs and sealed with mud and clumps of moss—as a facing material for the outside walls of wooden buildings located in damp locations such as forest glades. Windstorms often fell old or large hiexel, because over time or as they grow big, portions of their wood dry out unevenly. This makes them topple easily and also renders them unsuitable for use Hiexel is unsuitable as a material component for any magic involving water or other liquids. It can serve as a universal replacement component for any spells whose effects involve mists or other vapors, and when so used, it increases the casting time of the spell by 1, but has no affect on other spell particulars. Hiexel should not be used in the making of magical items, as its unstable nature causes such an item to break after ld2 years of service—at most.

JUHA The Juha tree is a great tower of the forests of the south, and its trunk provides the masts of the tallest ships of Umbar and other regions. They are not uncommon, and their great, straight height results from their growth pattern. The tree grows for years as a tiny shoot, and the first leaves sprout from branches already many feet above the ground. By the time the trunk is sturdy enough to climb, the lowest branches are about one hundred feet above the forest floor. Soon after this, the tree can be harvested to make spars, and given a few more years it is suitable for masts. In addition, the pasty poison known as Karfar is produced from its leaves.

LAINIMIT (2? “Mahogany’9 Reddish-brown or tan, hard Lainimit lumber is both beautiful and highly useful. Lainimitivi are common and quite tall (up to 90’ in height), and serve as a major source of revenue in the Eastern Dominions where they grow. The tree also produces medicinal leaves called ‘Welwal.

LEBETHRON Many consider Lebethron to be Lebinnin’s most noble tree. Common in Gonclor and growing in the Ered Nimrais, it produces a dark hardwood valued by carpen ters, wheelwrights, and particularly shipwrights. Re nowned for its beauty and durability, the black wood is used to make the masts ofGondor’s finest vessels. (In fact, a Lebethron box houses the Silver Crown of the realm.) High Knights often wield Lebethron lances and Gondorian Rangers use Lebethron staffs. (Faramir gave Sam and Frodo two such staves.)

Laspar: This evergreen species grows everywhere north of mid-Tethyr and west of Thay and has a distinctive olive-green to copper hue. Laspars look like squat cedars, rarely topping 30 feet in height, and have thick foliage that foils most searching eyes seeking to see under a single tree, let alone a stand of them. Laspar needles are flat and smooth-pointed, and they grow in spherical clusters (known as “shags”) at the ends of a cloak of delicate branches that swirl around a straight, strong central trunk. Those trunks have dusty green bark that tends to form a surface of many small, interlocked, concave plates. Under the bark is a goldenhued wood that is easily worked, like pine, but is also pitchy like pine, spitting too many sparks for safe burning. Boiled laspar needles are an effective laxative well known to the lore of the North, and crushed needles are used in the making of certain scents, such as those worked into torches and candles of superior quality. The sharp, distinctive laspar smell seems to attract laspar moths, which lair only in laspar trees. They are gray furry-winged, but only fearsome-looking, things that have wingspans as large as 8 inches and a body length of up to 4 inches. Laspar is unsuitable for use in magical items or any other permanent magic, but for spells involving transformations of shape or state, a handful of laspar needles are a universal replacement component, decreasing the casting time of the spell by 1.

MALLORN (S «Gold-tree» pL Mellyrn) The most outstanding and unique feature ofLórien is, of course, the mallorn trees. Hardy and strong, able to grow to great heights and with branches seemingly bred to accommodate the platforms and structures of the Silvan Elves, the mellyrn have no equal in beauty in Middle— earth. Their trunks and branches are covered by a smooth silver-white or grey bark. In the summer, the trees grow long leaves, pale green on top and silver unthrneath. In late autumn, these leaves turn pure gold, and remain on the trees until spring, when pale gold blossoms sprout. Thus, in the spring Lórien is roofed and carpeted with gold. Mellyrn do not die of old age and are immune to all forms of disease and plague which other trees might suffer. They grow quickly ¡n their early life, and their main branches grow perpendicular to the trunk, providing ideal foundations for the flets (or telain), arboreal plate forms which are the preferred lodging-place of the Golden Wood s inhabitants (thus their name Galadrim or Tree— dwellers”). The trunk of the mallorn also divides into a crown near the top, and here the Galadrim build. The mellyrn are not native to Middle-earth; they originated in the Undying Lands and are probably related to Laurelin, one of the original Two Trees (thus one of the earlier names for the Golden Wood: Laurelindórean or “Land of the Valley of Singing Gold.”) Galadriel was given a few mallorn seeds by Gil-galad, who had in turn been given a number as a gift from the Númenórean King Tar-Aldarion. (The mallorn trees prospered in Númenor, carried there from Eressëa). The trees would not grow in Lindon, but by the power of Galadriel they flourished in Lórinand -. though not to the height they achieved in Valinor. The second Party Tree in the Shire was a mallorn (the only one in Eriador), and there were mellyrn in Aman.

OIOLAIRE A glossy, sweet-scented evergreen that once grew around Fornost Erain, this cherished tree was lost forever when the invaders from Angmar put the torch to the lands of Arthedain.

SHADAMABO (2? “Rosewoo&9 Heavy, hard and reddish, Shadmabo is used to produce sturdy furniture and durable spears. The tree itself is a tropical hardwood that reaches up to TOO’ in height.

SLIRD A short citrus tree, the Slird produces a fine orange- yellow wood that always retains a fresh scent. For this reason, it is used in southern Middle-earth for chests and wardrobes to leave clothes smelling pleasant each morn ing and to discourage moths and other insects. The Slird is also known for the poisonous properties of its bright red fruit (see Section 6.2).

SORGLASORA (Du. “Gold-pine”; S. “Carlorthon”)The tall Sorgiasora is considered less valuable than Lebethron, although Dunmen prize it as part of their heritage. A rare, red-leaved conifer, it is now found only in a few isolated mountain valleys in Lebennin, hidden among stands of common pine. Sorglasora is the princi pal ingredient in the manufacture of Cranorcran but, despite the Dunnish love for the tree, these conifers were once cut and girdled to the point of extinction.

TORDI The Tordi is common among the Gaj (H. “The Grove”) of Far Harad and yields a strong, flexible wood. The tree itself is fairly short (up to 80’) with broad, faintly reddish leaves spreading out more horizontally than vertically. Its wood bends easily when steamed and holds its shape well. It is used for ribs in shipbuilding and other purposes where both strength and give are valued.

USAMITI (P. “Ebony”) Hard, dense, and often jet black in color, the Usamiti produces wood which is often as prized as jade or gold. It is tropical and rather rare, even in the Eastern Dominions where it is most commonly found.

YELLOW HEMLOCK A graceful pyramidal evergreen, the Yellow Hemlock reaches heights of 75’. It produces a yellowish cone, thus its name. Its wood is fairly soft for an evergreen, making it useful for carvings, amulets, grills, necklace beads and other decorative uses. In addition, the wood can be glued together to form layers, and huge statues and totems are carved from these laminates among some southern tribes of Men. Its resin finds uses among healers and herbalists (q.v.). The Yellow Hemlock grows in the Western Dominions on the Metharn and in the region around Far Harad.

Phandar: This type of tree seldom grows north of about the midpoint of the High Forest and is now rare all across Faerûn due to heavy cutting. It grows to about 60 feet in height with terrifically strong, springy curving boughs sprouting in great numbers from a massive, knobby central trunk, which greatly resembles the feared monster known as a roper, though the trunk, at 20 feet or so in height, is much taller than a roper. Its leaves of mottled, varicolored green are shaped roughly like an egg laid horizontally. Their long axes point in the direction the wind is blowing, so a stand of phandars all seem to be pointing in one direction. Phandar wood is greenish-brown and striped with thin black grain lines throughout. When the wood is cut for use in the making of jewelry or coffers, the grain forms striking waves of curling parallel lines. Tool and weapon handles, bows, and the musical instruments known as tocken are often fashioned of phandar wood, though its curving nature makes it unsuitable for spears, wands, staves, and other forms where straightness is desirable. Phandars are very hardy; many leafy sprigs are carried for many miles and long days before being simply thrust into the earth or let fall onto it—and have subsequently grown, without attention, into towering trees. A phandar stump often grows a new tree, and even waste boughs tossed into a heap have been known to root and sprout. This has probably saved the tree from total extinction at the hands of loggers, who prize the central trunks of phandar trees because they are strong enough to support heavy roofs and can be chiseled to accept crossbeams without cracking or splitting. Phandar wood is ideal for the making of durable magical items that need not be straight and as an ingredient in all healing potions and enchanted unguents. When used in a magical item, phandar wood requires no purification magics and prolongs all wondrous web or holy vesting spells cast upon items even partially made from it for one additional round.

Roseneedle Pine: Roseneedle pines grow in Faerûn’s temperate forests along riverbanks and are most plentiful in Cormanthor, where they thrive along the banks of the Ashaba, growing there the year round. They are miniature evergreens that resembles yews and seldom exceed 3 feet tall, with trunks that grow no bigger than 4 inches in diameter. A roselike blossom, pink or white, sprouts from the end of each of their tiny needles during the late spring and early summer. A roseneedle’s roots extend into the ground and then spread out in a wide circle often in excess of feet in radius around the tree trunk. The roots end in fat tubers the size of a potato. Chunks of the tubers make excellent fishing bait; fisherfolk can easily double their day’s catch when using them. Roseneedle wood is pitchy, like other pine woods, and burns with a great many sparks, though not with any special degree of heat or amount of smoke. It is gnarled and unsuitable to being crafted into many items other than small figurines, but it is soft enough that a great deal of detail can be easily imparted to any small items carved from it. Tinctures made from roseneedle tubers or flowers are often used in the preparation of magical items made to control or summon aquatic life, especially fish, and roseneedle pine needles can be used as a universal replacement component for any sort of fish or piece of a fish required as a material component for a spell.

Shadowtop: These trees are the soaring giants of the forests of Faerûn. They grow as quickly as 2 feet a year if the weather is warm and damp enough, can exist in all except arctic climates, and can reach 90 feet or more in height if undisturbed. A fullgrown shadowtop flares out to 20 feet or more in diameter at base, and its trunk is textured all around with many pleatlike ridges. Shadowtops only sprout branches from the uppermost dozen feet or so of their trunks, and the trees are named for the dense clusters of feathery leaves that grow from these spreading branches at the tops of their trunks. Shadowtop leaves are irregular in shape, with many fingers, and have copper-colored undersides and deep green upper surfaces. In autumn, the tops change hue to match the underneath sides before the leaves drop. Shadow wood is fibrous and tough, but unsuitable for carving or structural work because it tends to split down its length under stress into a splayed mass of fibers. The fibers are valued in ropemaking, and a few at a time added to the twist adds considerably to the strength and durability of a completed coil. Shadow wood burns slowly but cleanly, generating a very hot fire with little smoke, though it typically does not ignite at all unless held in the leaping flames of an already-established fire. The wood’s qualities as a fuel make it ideal for use when cooking. If a woodcutter with fewer than five wagons fells a mature shadowtop, wood is always left over that cannot be carried away in a single trip; by tradition, travelers are free to cut enough from this remainder for one night’s fire. Shadow wood is much used in the making of magical staves, rods, and wands. Crown melds are never necessary when an item contains shadow wood; Merald’s meld joins automatically succeed at their saving throws and other die rolls when covering a join with shadow wood. (Treat the item as if it has the benefits of a crown meld.) Because of an innate quality of shadow wood, the wood is also always considered to have been harvested in a manner related to the enchantment it will receive or bathed in an appropriate substance, whatever the actual manner of its procurement and preparation was.

Silverbark: This species flourishes in wet ground throughout Faerûn, generally near bogs and swamps, but sometimes in deep, flooded ravines in the depths of large forests. Silverbarks are thin and straight, seldom growing more than a 15 feet tall or more than 4 inches in diameter. They are plentiful, and grow in thickets, from which they are easily cut. Silverbark wood is reddish and dries out thoroughly after it is cut, becoming very light but also very brittle after a year or so. The deep red leaves are large and oval with pointed tips, tiny saw-toothed edges, and purple bases. They are waxy and strong and are sometimes used to wrap game in—or even to carry kindling—in the wilds. The silver bark for which the tree is named is loose and can be easily torn away (whereupon it crumbles). Silverbark trunks serve the poor as staves, poles, and as defensive stakes (once points have been whittled and hardened in a slow fire). The weakness of the wood makes it unsuitable for lance shafts, fence rails, or structural work, but its sap is an essential ingredient in poison antidotes and sweet water potions. It can be used as a universal replacement component in all purification and antitoxin magics, taking nothing from the effectiveness of such spells but reducing casting time by 1 and replacing all other normally necessary components (unless they must be specially constructed).

Suth: The name of this tree may be a corruption of the word “south.” These tangled trees with olive-green leaves are found along the edges of the Shaar, in the woods of Chondath, and farther south in Faerûn. They grow almost horizontally and then double back over themselves to angle back in another direction.59 If a few suth trees grow together, their branches intertwine, lock around each other, and then double back until they are inextricably entangled and form a visual screen and wall barring passage to all things that cannot fly over the tangled trees or scuttle under their lowest branches. Suth leaves are long, soft, and fluffy, but the ends form spikes. They grow in bunches at the end of each branch and in a ring around the trunk wherever tree limbs branch out or the growing tree changes direction. Suth wood is very hard and durable. It is so hard that it is difficult to work unless one has the finest tools. Thin sheets of this wood retain astonishing strength for decades and so are favored for use in book covers. Suth is also the preferred wood for shields; it never shatters and does not catch fire as long as it is soaked in water before battle. A crushing blow might crack a suth wood shield, but it would not fly apart if cracked. Items made primarily of suth wood gain a +2 bonus to item saving throws vs. crushing blow and fall. Provided the components need not be specially constructed, suth wood slivers or bark chips can replace all components used in barkskin, armor, and similar spells, and spells that toughen the nature of inorganic components or items, such as Veladar’s vambrace and holy might. Suth sap is an essential ingredient in the oil used to anoint metal armor and shields before they are enchanted to improve their Armor Class.

Vundwood: This species of tree is short and scrubby. It thrives on poor ground and grows in small stands in the Tunland and in even more profusion south of Iriaebor in the rolling, seemingly endless hills and plains that separate the Sword Coast from the Dragon Reach lands. The tree is named for the Vunds, an infamous nomadic tribe who lived long ago in what is now considered the Western Heartlands and the Green Fields. These brigands’ persistent caravan raids only ended when they were wiped out long ago by folk who lived in what are now Cormyr and Sembia. Vundwood trees rarely top 15 feet and lack a central trunk; instead, they have many small, radiating branches, which in turn split into smaller branches, and so on. The trees have smooth, thin, dark red bark and pale green leaves edged with white that lighten to yellow when winter is nigh or when a tree is dying. The wood itself is reddish-brown and smells rather like cinnamon. Vundwood is used as firewood or felled intact and then dragged into tangled lines to form rough paddock enclosures. When used in the making of wands and other magical items that use charges, it exhibits a peculiar echo property, causing an item made of it to spontaneously gain 1d4 charges out of nowhere once every 1d12 months unless the item is totally exhausted. In spellcasting, vundwood serves as a universal replacement material component—replacing all consumed components—for all priest and wizard spells that involve recalling an already-cast spell for the use of the caster or augmenting or altering the spellcaster’s capacity for spells (such as Rary’s mnemonic enhancer).

Weirwood: Weir trees are now rare and highly prized. Most that survive are deep in the larger forests of Faerûn and actively protected by dryads, treants, druids, and rangers. If undisturbed, weir trees grow into huge, many-branched forest giants. They resemble oaks in appearance, only with leaves that are brown with a silver sheen on the upper surfaces and velvety black on the undersides. Weir wood does not burn in normal (nonmagical) fire and is resilient and durable. It is favored for the making of lutes, harps, birdpipes, and longhorns because of the unmistakable warm, clear sound it gives to such instruments. Any magically generated radiance (such as dancing lights) that is brought into contact with cut or living weirwood lingers around the wood for 1d4+1 rounds after its source expires or is removed—unless the weirwood has any active enchantment upon itself, which negates this property. Weirwood serves as a replacement component for all spells that normally use oak or holly (bark, leaves, berries, or the wood) and can replace any one consumed component that does not need to be specially constructed in spells that create magical radiance or that provide some protection against, or resistance to, normal or magical fire. If used as an extra material component in spells that create or mend objects (such as mending, wondrous web, awakening, enchant an item, holy vesting, or ritual of transference), it confers a bonus of +1 to all saving throws and ability checks involved in the spellcasting.

Zalantar: This subtropical species is rarely seen north of the Shaar. It is plentiful along the shores of Chult and the southern coasts of Faerûn and seems to grow in any terrain short of mountainous. The leaves of zalantar trees range from white through beige, and the bark and wood of the tree are black—hence its Northern name: “blackwood.” Zalantar trees have a central root and eight or more trunks branching out from the root at ground level like the splayed fingers of a hand. The trees may reach 80 feet in height, but they average half that. Zalantar wood is strong, yet easily worked, and sees much use in southern buildings and the making of wagons, litters, and wheels. Southern sorcerers use zalantar almost exclusively in the making of rods, staves, and wands. It is durable and handsome, and it aids magics cast upon it, providing a +2 bonus to the saving throws associated with a priest or wizard awakening spell or a wizard’s enchant an item spell. When an enchanted or nonmagical item that is wholly or partially made of zalantar is in use, the wood aids all item saving throws with a +1 bonus. It also glows with a very faint mauve radiance when undead beings are within a 70- foot spherical radius.

Woods

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