Forest Lord
Woodfaring Adventures
Forest Lords are the true masters of the wild world, for they have become so much a part of the forest that it treats them as one of its own. Rather than battle the forest for control, the Forest Lord knows that submission is the path to power, and revels in the might of the forest as a cleric might revel in the power of their god.

Alignment: Any Chaotic

Hit Dice: d6


To qualify to become a forest lord, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

  • Caster Level: 5 (w/ nature sphere)
  • Magic Talents: Nature sphere (plant package)
  • Skills: Acrobatics 5 ranks, Knowledge (nature) 5 ranks, Survival 5 ranks
  • Special: Must be a member of a druidic group.

Class Skills: The forest lord’s class skills are Climb, Handle Animal, Knowledge (geography), Knowledge (nature), Perception, Ride, Spellcraft, Survival, Swim, and Use Magic Device.

Skill Ranks at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features

Table: Forest Lord
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Reflex Save Will Save Special Caster Level Magic Talents
1st +0 +1 +1 +1 Cryptwood connection, favored terrain, master leaper +1 1
2nd +1 +1 +1 +1 Forest’s strength +2 2
3rd +1 +2 +2 +2 Master geomancer +3 3
4th +2 +2 +2 +2 Forest’s strength +4 4
5th +2 +3 +3 +3 Favored terrain, forest heart +5 5

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

A forest lord gains the Tribal Training martial talent.

Tribal Training: You gain proficiency with the atlatl dart, battle poi, boomerang, greatclub, hunga munga, klar, knobkerrie, rhomphaia, tepoztopilli, terbutje, and the wahaika. You may treat each of these weapons as if they possessed the fragile weapon special feature for the purpose of feats or talents you possess. Whenever you roll a critical hit with a fragile weapon, you may give it the broken condition to automatically confirm the critical hit. Associated Feat: Disposable Weapon.


A forest lord may combine spheres and talents to create magical effects. A forest lord is considered a High-Caster and uses Wisdom as her casting modifier. (Note: All casters gain 2 bonus talents and may select a casting tradition the first time they gain the casting class feature).

Spell Pool

A forest lord gains a small reservoir of energy she can call on to create truly wondrous effects, called a spell pool. This pool contains a number of spell points equal to her class level + her casting ability modifier (minimum: 1). This pool replenishes once per day after roughly 8 hours of rest.

Magic Talents

A forest lord gains 1 magic talent every time she gains a caster level, according to Table: Forest Lord. This does not stack with caster levels gained from other sources.

Cryptwood Connection

The forest lord gains DR equal to his level as well as a bonus to saving throws equal to his level against damage and effects that originate from cryptwood effects.

Favored Terrain

The forest lord gains a favored terrain, as the Ranger class feature. However, the forest lord can only choose either forest, jungle, or swamp as a favored terrain, unless she already possesses all three. At 5th level, the forest lord gains a second favored terrain, and may increase the bonuses associated with one terrain by +2. The forest lord’s class levels count as ranger levels for the purpose of gaining additional favored terrains if the forest lord gains them from another source.

Master Leaper

The forest lord gains the Talented Leaper feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites. If she already possesses this feat, she may immediately retrain it. In addition, the forest lord gains a bonus to Acrobatics checks made to jump equal to twice her forest lord level.

Forest’s Strength

At 2nd level the forest lord gains a +2 inherent bonus to Strength and a climb speed of 20 ft. At 4th level, the inherent bonus increases to +4 and the Climb speed increases to 30 ft. If the forest lord already has a Climb speed, add these Climb speeds together.

Master Geomancer

The distance at which the forest lord can use geomancing increases by one step: Close range becomes medium range, medium range becomes long range, and long range becomes extreme range (1000 ft. +100 ft. per level). If using the Rapid Growth advanced talent, double its area.

Forest Heart

At 5th level the forest lord’s inherent bonus to Strength increases to +6 and their Climb speed increases to 40 ft. The forest lord is considered a native inhabitant of any cryptwood he enters; he does not suffer adverse effects and instead gains any templates or bonuses granted to animals within the area.


Of all the places to be found on the planet’s surface, none are more terrible than the cryptwoods. ‘Cryptwood’ is not a type of terrain, but is instead an augmentation of terrain; cryptwoods can be found dotting the world, and mark locations where the normal rules of reality don’t apply.

Cryptwoods are born when the primordial energies that birthed the forest encounter locations of powerful magic, combining to create something new. Examples of such places of powerful magic include the resting places of artifacts, ancient holy sites, powerful magical laboratories, leyline nexus, the demiplanes of unseen divine beings, particularly powerful haunts, or any number of other locations where some source of powerful magic can be found. Cryptwoods are usually found in forest, swamps, jungle, or grassland terrains, as these are the areas most filled with life, but it is theoretically possible for a cryptwood to be found anywhere and in any terrain.

Cryptwoods are only created when the forest has had time to tap into a power source, and can take years to form (and disappear within 1d4 hours when their power source is removed).

Simply having a powerful source of magic (such as an artifact in the possession of a wandering PC) is not enough to cause the surrounding area to become a cryptwood.

Cryptwoods vary greatly from one to another. They can have a diameter of a few miles or a few hundred miles, and no two cryptwoods are exactly alike. Sometimes a cryptwood might not even be identifiable from the outside as anything of note, but other times a cryptwood might bear a unique or frightening visage. Cryptwoods can be dark and sinister, light and domineering, or even bear the unmistakable signs of sentience; it all depends on what power source gave birth to it, and how that power manifests in the surrounding terrain.

Conquering a cryptwood is the dream of many delvers, but few make the attempt, and even fewer return alive. Those who do, however, often come home bearing treasures the likes of which gives birth to legends, spurring still more delvers to dream of one day conquering a cryptwood for themselves.

Creating a Cryptwood

Cryptwoods are rare, and almost never discovered by accident; if the players encounter a cryptwood, odds are it is because they or a patron first did research to discover an ancient site of power. For example, if the campaign requires the PCs to discover the resting place of an ancient divine artifact, if that resting place is found in the Forest, then it would be a cryptwood, which would have manifestations determined by the power source and the divine portfolio of the divinity in question. If a GM truly desires to determine cryptwoods by random chance, every hex has a 0.1 percent chance of being a cryptwood (a 100 roll on a d100 roll, followed by a 10 roll on a d10).

Power Source

A cryptwood’s power is derived from a particular power source, such as an artifact or ancient holy site, which the Forest taps into and uses to fuel its growth. As such, the more powerful the source, the larger and more frightening the cryptwood. For more information, see Table: Cryptwood Power Sources

Table: Cryptwood Power Sources
d1001 Strength of Power Source Diameter of Cryptwood Number of Manifestations Example Power Sources
1-30 weak 1 mile 1 Haunt, powerful magical laboratory
31-55 moderate 5 miles 1 Minor artifact, ancient temples
56-75 strong 20 miles 2 Major artifact, leyline nexus
76-90 powerful 100 miles 2 Divine sites
91-100 overwhelming 500 miles 3 Deific manifestation

1: Cryptwoods are almost always created only when and where the plot demands, but random chance percentage is included here as a GM aid, for when such randomness is desired.


Cryptwoods are places where the usual rules of reality are altered; through the strength of the power source, the Forest is bent in strange and frightening ways that would otherwise be impossible in the normal world.

Every cryptwood possesses at least one means by which these alterations are manifested, known as a manifestation. While it would not be incorrect to call these manifestations ‘magical effects’, these effects go far beyond magic and are more akin to planar traits that have a limited reach; no amount of dispel magic spells or anti-magic wards can hold back the manifestations of a cryptwood.

Depending on the strength of a cryptwood, a cryptwood might have 1, 2, or even 3 manifestations. These manifestations are usually chosen by the GM depending on which best match with a cryptwood’s power source, but the GM may roll randomly if they so choose.

Templates: Many manifestations add a template to creatures encountered within the cryptwood. These templates are the result of the cryptwood’s power, and as such are not traditionally gained (thus, if a manifestation calls for all creatures to gain the half-dragon template, this does not mean that the creatures do, in fact, have a dragon for a parent). These templates are only gained by creatures the Forest considers to be a part of itself (thus wild animals would as well as chaotic creatures who have made the cryptwood a permanent home, but not visiting PCs or their tame animals or animal companions).

These templates are gained when the creature enters the cryptwood, and lost if and when the creature leaves.

Table: Cryptwood Manifestations
d1001 Manifestation
1-8 fire
9-16 ice
17-24 acid
25-32 electricity
33-39 illusion
40-46 healing
47-53 shadow
54-60 gravity
61-67 time
68-75 sentience
76-84 necromancy
85-92 good
93-100 evil

1: Cryptwoods are almost always created only when and where the plot demands, but random chance percentage is included here as a GM aid, for when such randomness is desired.


The cryptwood is bathed in flames that somehow don’t consume the plants and trees. The cryptwood has a heat severity level of 6 on the outskirts, which increases to level 7 when on the inner-half of the cryptwood. All creatures found naturally within this area gain the half-dragon template (red).

Heat severity level 6: 1d6 fire damage every round (no save), and a Fortitude save every round (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take 1d4 nonlethal damage.

Heat severity level 7: 3d6 fire damage every round.


The cryptwood is bathed in ice that never seems to disrupt the greenery. The cryptwood has a cold severity level of 6 on the outskirts, which increases to level 7 when on the inner-half of the cryptwood. All creatures found naturally within this area gain the half-dragon template (white).

Cold severity level 6: 1d6 frost damage every round (no save), and a Fortitude save every round (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take 1d4 nonlethal damage.

Cold severity level 7: 3d6 frost damage every round.


The ground and the trees of this cryptwood burns to the touch like acid. Touching the ground or the trees deals 3d6 acid damage per round to the creature (no save). All creatures found naturally within this area gain the half-dragon template (green).


The air within the cryptwood crackles with electricity. All creatures who enter this cryptwood, regardless of where they are, suffer 2d6 electricity damage per round. All creatures found naturally within this area gain the half-dragon template (blue).


The cryptwood is filled with objects that are not really there, despite looking and feeling real. At any given time, illusionary building, ruins, or creatures can appear within this area, often with the express purpose of hiding the cryptwood’s secrets and throwing off visitors (Will DC determined by the strength of the power source: weak DC 25, moderate DC 27, strong DC 29, powerful DC 32, overwhelming DC 35).

For every creature found as part of an encounter within this cryptwood, 2 illusionary doubles appear as well. These doubles are considered a form of shadow conjuration and are quasi- real; They possess half the hit points of the original creature, and deal only half damage to creatures that recognize them as illusionary (Will save DC same as above).


This cryptwood appears to be bathed in bright colors. The area is strongly connected with positive energy; creatures damaged by positive energy suffer a -4 penalty to all ability scores while within this area. Creatures encountered within this cryptwood gain the advanced simple template, as well as regeneration 20 (fire or acid).


The cryptwood is filled with unnatural, palpable darkness, which doesn’t seem to impede its growth. The entire area is filled with darkness, light sources only shed light in a 5 ft. area, and darkvision is cut in half (maximum: 90 ft.). However, all creatures encountered naturally within this area can see through this darkness perfectly. Searching or traveling through this cryptwood takes 4 times as much time, or only twice as long for creatures with darkvision. Searching from the skies is impossible.


Gravity is twice as strong as it should be within this cryptwood. All Acrobatics, Climb, Ride, and Swim checks incur a –2 circumstance penalty, as do all attack rolls. All item weights are effectively doubled, which might affect a character’s speed. Weapon ranges are halved. Falling damage is calculated with d10’s rather than d6’s.

All creatures encountered naturally within this area are unaffected by this increased gravity, and instead experience the effects of weakened gravity. These creatures gain a +2 circumstance bonus on attack rolls and on Acrobatics and Ride checks. All items weigh half as much, and weapon ranges double. Falling damage is calculated with d4’s instead of d6’s.


Time moves at different speeds within this cryptwood. Visitors to the cryptwood are affected as if under the effects of a permanent slow spell, while creatures encountered naturally in the area are treated as if under the effects of a permanent haste spell. These effects can be suppressed by their counterpart (for example, using slow on a hasted target suppresses both effects) but not dispelled.


This area of the Forest is ruled by a malignant intelligence which infuses the flora and fauna, and is keenly aware of any visitors who enter. Stealth of any form is impossible for visitors to this cryptwood, and all creatures encountered naturally within this area possess the forest-touched template. Additionally, encounters within this cryptwood are rolled 3 times more often.


Colors are dimmer in this area, and everything has a dead appearance. The area is filled with negative energy, and creatures who are damaged by negative energy (other than those encountered naturally within the cryptwood) suffer a -4 penalty to all ability scores when within this area. All creatures encountered naturally within this area gain the vampire template.


This area is strongly associated with goodness, and appears vibrant and filled with light. All creatures encountered here naturally possess the half-celestial template. Any visiting creature who opens their eyes within this area must pass a Fortitude DC 15 saving throw each round or be blinded for 10 rounds. Traveling through or exploring this cryptwood takes 4 times as long.


This area is strongly associated with evil, and appears dead and full of a malignant presence. All creatures encountered here naturally possess the half-fiend template. All visitors to this cryptwood must pass a Will DC 15 saving throw each round or be frightened for 5 rounds. Traveling through or exploring this cryptwood takes 4 times as long.

Sample Cryptwoods

Wizards’ Lair

Strength weak; Manifestation acid

After a wizard was forced to abandon his magical study, they left many valuable magical tools behind, which were quickly consumed by the forest and gave birth to a small cryptwood. The small ruined hut at the center contains 30,000 gp in raw magical materials that can still be repurposed for use in magic item creation, but so far the hut has remained undetected, as the cryptwood’s acid makes it difficult to approach.

Chapel of Evil

Strength powerful; Manifestation evil, fire

Once, many centuries ago, the Chapel of Evil had been home to a small but powerful group of infernal cultists. The temple was abandoned and would have floundered in obscurity, but the forest unearthed this ancient site and transformed the surrounding area into a cryptwood. The ruins now sit near the center of the cryptwood, buried underground except for a hole in the roof opened by a tree root, and containing an unknown amount of ancient wealth and magic items for whoever can overcome its many trials.

The Forest of Illusions

Strength overwhelming; Manifestation sentience, illusion, necromancy

The Forest of Illusions is one of the world’s great mysteries, as no one truly knows what its power source is nor why it behaves the way that it does. The Forest of Illusions is ruled by someone or something; either an intelligence inside of the forest or a creature who commands the cryptwood to do its bidding. The isle contains several Lawful settlements and sends merchants to trade with outside cities, but accepts no unsolicited visitors. The cryptwood, it seems, does not bother those who have permission to enter so long as they obey all rules, but visitors who enter without permission or delve too deeply into the isle’s secrets are soon found dead or driven insane by horrors both real and imagined.

The Heart

Strength overwhelming; Manifestation sentience, gravity, healing

The Heart is the cryptwood that has grown up around the birthplace of the forest itself. Visible from miles around for its trees (at over 1,000 ft. high, they are giants even by forest standards), the Heart is held by druids who allow none but their own arch druids to enter the cryptwood’s central grove.

As the resting place of the valley, the broken walkways, the birthplace of adamantine, and the palace of an ancient empire, countless legends and theories abound as to what treasures of knowledge and power the druids' leadership might be hiding within the Heart, and many beings (including wizards, adventurers, and the rivals of the druids) dream of one day claiming the area as their own. However, with more than one army of chaotic creatures as well as arch druids guarding the area, such a venture seems entirely impossible.

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