Fauna & Flora
The Void is not an entirely sterile vacuum. On the more stable atolls with the proper concentration of matter, life can grow and adapt. The forms of life seem as eccentric and mysterious as The Void itself. Many are clearly adapted to survive and thrive under the unique challenges that The Void brings, yet there are also many species that make no rational sense to have evolved under current circumstances. Perhaps this region once looked very different, or perhaps these creatures and plants came from elsewhere?
The world of Verdict and all of its planes are host to thousands of types and subtypes of flora to explore, discover, and make use of. Most of these plants can be ignored or not bothered with, generally, but a few stand out as particularly useful implements of both crafting and magic alike.
|Some herbs are known only to grow well in wild, untamed conditions. These are most often related to weeds or other garden invaders, but a few benevolent plants simply cannot be grown in a controlled setting easily.
|Nightseeker is an exceptionally uncommon and warped relative of Spriteseeker. It's known to only grow from the victims of a fatal Spirit encounter, though the infrequency of ordinary Spirit encounters- let alone lethal ones- further exemplifies Nightseeker's rarity.
|Starglow is a fascinating herb that's only been seen a handful of times throughout history. Its growth conditions are thus completely unknown, but rumor has it that a Starglow's petals reflect the light of unseen galaxies- hence the moniker.
|Medical fields wouldn't be anywhere close to "modern" without the aid of the Corpus Fruit. While very rare, the Corpus Fruit is an invaluable clotting and numbing agent. Its extract is borderline necessary for even rudimentary surgeries.
|Most low-tier (and even high-tier) mages rely on outside sources of mana at times for their rituals and spells. Praecantio flowers are well-known as one of the primary methods of obtaining this "outside source of mana", as they are naturally very magical.
|A rarer sight than most, Bloodroot is notorious for cutting the untrained with its unusually razor-sharp leaves. Whether this admittedly mundane trait or something more nefarious earned the herb its name, one couldn't easily say.
|Churchbells are famed among nomads as an exceptional "pick-me-up". Their flesh is juicy and nourishing, and they're even relatively magical, too.
|Similar to a more traditional melon in function, the Crystal Melon is a luscious fruit with dozens of edible red sugar-crystals hidden within its rocky green rind. Whether there are consequences to eating these crystals can't yet be said. But they taste great.
|Named for its propensity for growing near Spirits, Spriteseeker is a type of fungus-like bulb that sprouts on ground traversed by especially magical beings. It typically dies within a few hours of its spawning.
|Moss itself isn't particularly special. However, there exists a specific brand of moss that can take inexperienced adventurers by surprise; Creeping Moss, usually bluer than ordinary moss, is a potent poison when introduced into a source of water, and typically grows in areas with an abundance of mana.
|Herbs don't need to be rare to be useful. Thistleleaf is a great demonstration of that fact, as alchemists anywhere would know; Thistleleaf is a must-have stabilizer or "base" for a good chunk of brews and potions.
|A fairly mundane looking tree with gray bark. Under the first layer of bark is a section of wood as hard as solid stone. Conventional axes may blunt or shatter against this inner shell. At the center is a very porous, light, yet strong wood like balsa. While extremely difficult to cut down en-masse, if used in construction, a Rock Knot palisade properly built would stand as sturdy as stone walls. Tend to grow together in forests, which at times become thick and near impassable.
|Large, bulbous berries that grow on a low bush. Look like a cross between a blue tomato and a strawberry. Extremely delicious and sweet, but highly addictive if too many are consumed. Next to zero nutritional properties. Extended use likely to result in malnourishment or death as the body shuts down from lack of needed vitamins and minerals. Safe as a minor additive to food and can be distilled for regular sugar.
|A rare flower with golden petals arranged in a five-pointed star shape. Grows only in deep groves in perpetual darkness. Stamen can be ground up and concentrated to serve as a highly effective tranquilizer, painkiller, and anesthetic. Petals can be pressed for a paste with anti-microbial and wound-knitting properties. Extremely difficult to cultivate artificially.
|A marsh-growing reed. Reed portion has interesting acoustic properties naturally during high winds or when cut and dried. Sound passing through reed becomes slightly amplified and harsh tones become soothed. Excellent in producing wind instruments as notes come out clean and crisp very easily. Frond portion can be milled into a fiber for strings with similar acoustic properties. Strings always seem to be 'in tune' no matter what, though still require tuning when using more than one. Tones produced when the plant is alive seem to attract pollinating insects.
|A beet-red mushroom found near carrion. Commonly grows alongside Hangman's Noose or near the lairs of predators. Soaks up blood from offal from which it grows larger and redder as it feasts. Acts as an excellent meat-substitute as the flesh is very similar and is an amazing source of iron and minerals. Smells like rotting meat unless vigorously washed before cooking. Edible after washing, but tastes like uncooked flesh.
|Blue-tinted moss that can show up almost anywhere. Grows at a normal rate until it comes into contact with a source of magic, whereupon it grows rapidly, increasing up to ten square meters in a single hour at peak growth. Lack of soil can slow growth by up to ninety-percent, but will spread over even solid rock and water if not contained. Releases poisonous spores in water, tainting whatever water supply comes into contact with. Burns easily with fire. If contained and farmed, can provide an excellent agricultural base, though risks breaking containment through spores and accelerated growth. Tastes absolutely bland, but can be tolerable once steamed, salted, and buttered.
|Less fecund sub-species of Creeping Moss. Green-hued and spreads at a far slower rate. Only grows on exposed rock or soils. It breaks down stone into mineral-rich soil but propagates slower without exposure to sheer rock. Generally found growing in shallow caves.
|A metallic-appearing fibrous root easy enough to spot from its luster. Notable for absorbing mercury in the soil to ward away wild animals. Otherwise unremarkable beyond being a source for the silvery alchemical fluid.
|Wheat-colored broad-leafs that grow in large numbers together. Often slick to the touch in a dark glossy coating of oil that it produces. While the fern itself is extremely temperature and flame resistant, the oil itself is highly flammable and has a fairly low ignition point. Burns out competing plants around itself to spread. Oil is easily extractable and serves as an excellent substitute for lamp-oil. An excellent lubricant, but not advised for machinery that produces large amounts of heat at risk of auto-ignition. Oil breaks down into harmless composing elements when exposed to water or excessive moisture.
|A tear-drop shaped flower that grows like a lily pad on water sources. Feeds off many 'pollutants' in stagnant such as invasive algae, hydrocarbons, bacteria, and parasites. Absorbs up to half a liter of purified filtered water which is stored in its massive bulb. Can rapidly spread across water sources and cause major temporary droughts if their population is not kept in check until they break down due to lack of nutrients and expel their water contents.
|A tall and thin tree patterned like an Old World birch. Leaves appear normal save for a distinct white dappling around the edges. Aggressively consumes carbon dioxide around it and stores the converted oxygen within itself. At regular intervals, it expels this oxygen in massive bursts roughly every hour like clockwork. Though not a lethal danger, standing too close during a gust without protection can cause ringing in the ear, or even burst eardrums along with getting knocked off your feet.
|A violet-tinged weed that looks like a seeding dandelion. If physically disturbed or an excessive amount of magic is discharged nearby, the seedlings will break off and float towards the nearest source of magical energies to embed themselves in. While a few seedlings won't even be noticed, they often appear in large swarms that dig into the body. With so many pods leeching off a person's mana, fatigue and potentially even death can result. While naturally resistant to magical attacks, with patience the seedlings can be removed by hand before they do serious damage.
A small and flightless bird which scavenges seeds and plants from the earth. Though basically defenseless, it survives by burying its upper body in the ground while its tail changes to reflect any nearby plants in order to blend in. Though cowardly, they possess a fairly intelligent animal mind and are harmless to Humans.
These tiny crustaceans form a rock-hard shell around themselves for protection. Hardy enough to survive up to 250kg of pressure. Feeds primarily on algae and moss. Harmless.
Swarming insects reminiscent of fire flies, save that they don't seem limited in their range of colors. They grow brightly at night to attract mates. Feeds primarily on leaves. Harmless.
Moderately sized birds with a white underside and prismatic "armor" reminiscent of crystal on the top side of their feathers. Flashing light confuses potential predators above. Razor-sharp talons, but not dangerous to anything larger than a house cat.
Finger width worms that tend to swarm areas of death. Feeds on carrion and minerals. Though hardly a threat on their own, a swarm might strip an unprotected person down to bones within minutes if feeling ravenous. Use great caution.
Bulbous squirrel-like creature. Feeds exclusively on Sun Fern oil. Extremely hot at all times and even faster than it first appears. May cause a decent sized explosion if its stomach is ruptured.
Amphibious cattle. Gentle giants that graze on lake flora such as Dew Bulbs. Mostly harmless except in mating season or when the herd becomes startled. Milk tastes very watery but can be concentrated through careful boiling to taste closer to that of common Old World cow milk. Copper based blood which bleeds blue, so their milk and meat are not an excellent source of iron.
Found in colder climates, these ursine predators hibernate in the open after covering itself with a thin layer of snow near where prey might travel. Ambush predator. Looks very similar to the Old World Polar Bear.
A large predatory bird that nests in small islands off the main atoll. Glides high above the land in search of prey. When food is found, it dives down with extreme speed and either slashes it with razor sharp claws, or grabs it in order to take it high into the sky before dropping it down below.
Can pull out of dives and make lightning-quick maneuvers at supernatural speed. Often when it completes a dive, it will immediately jerk upwards and recover seamlessly. Sometimes, the sheer speed of the redirection will produce a small sonic boom.
Bones are very strong against sudden shock and light as a feather, making armors and blunt weapons fashioned from it very good for their light weight.
Prefers targets smaller than the average human - attacking children and Aiphe with greater frequency.
Carnage Worm Queen
Many hundred times larger than her smaller children and kin, a Queen is responsible for laying the numerous eggs in underground nests which birth new waves of the vermin. Far too large to be satisfied with mere carrion scraps, Queens will lay dormant under the earth for years or even decades before awakening to gorge on large creatures. Burrows upwards in an extremely quick manner to try and swallow prey whole or rip them apart with a maw of fangs.
Rather than simple digging, a Queen will seem to almost 'swim' through the earth, leaving behind no massive bore-holes in its wake, but rather a softer earth that it has quickly passed through itself.
Solid rock and weaker material tends to be quickly dissolved in its excessively corrosive digestive tract. Several rarer metals seem to stay behind in its guts, making harvesting their stomachs a potentially lucrative enterprise if the beast can be felled. An excessively rare material, found only in minute quantities in certain rock which is almost impossible to gather using normal methods is found in relatively large amounts there, making this one of the few reliable methods of obtaining it.
Attracted to the vibrations of creatures moving about on the surface. For unknown reasons, the acoustic qualities of Hysen footsteps seem to alert it far beyond that of other comparably sized Humans.
Dwelling in all sources of water, the Gatordile is a massive predator that seems at home in fresh, stagnant, or salt water. It also seems to have no particular preference for above or below ground sources of water.
Though called a Gatordile, one would be hard pressed to believe it to be a creature of The Old World. It's scaled hide is several times harder and more flexible than steel. It also has the full capability of breathing water and slumbering in murky depths for weeks at a time until prey crosses its path.
In nature it feasts primarily on Aquarochs and fish, yet it seems to have a preference for harder and scalier prey. Esche travelling nearby when it begins a feeding frenzy may find themselves targeted by the monster, even over easier and larger prey.
Once deceased, its scales can be harvested from its body. While they are extraordinarily heavy for their size, they are also very flexible and tough and serve as excellent armor for the troops capable of lifting it.
Unlike the other 'Elemental Predators', a Thermal Siphon is neither very large, nor a conventional predator. Operating in swarms, these beetle-sized flying insects float around searching for a suitable host. Once found, they swarm their target, scorching it with an insane amount of heat stored around it. Then, the Siphons will somehow absorb the creature's body heat until it expires, dying of a combination of hyper-and-hypothermia.
Siphons don't seem attracted to non-living sources of heat such as fire, steam, or magma. Hardy and stinging as a single insect, these organisms become a deadly force in a sizable swarm. Also avoids Oil Breakers, which have evolved an explosive defense against the creatures.
If crushed carefully, their juices can serve as an excellent tonic with a great number of potential uses. It can serve as a binding and stabilizing agent for more experimental tinctures, energize even the weariest bodies, and if mixed with Sun Fern oil, it coagulates into a long-lasting poison which can be applied to a weapon and last decades of frequent use, or indefinitely if stored properly.
Preferring warmer targets, the bulkier and warmer builds of the Vaien will likely prove to be their favored prey.
Denizens of The Void and the invading monstrosities which destroyed The Old World. They vary greatly in shape and size, but all share a few common traits.
All Crystal entities share a symbiotic link with corrupted crystals which are present in their bodies to an extensive amount. These crystals used in such a way give them increased strength beyond that of even their large forms suggest. Some sub-species even show the ability to manipulate their own crystals for deadly magical or physical attacks, striking at enemies with charged mana or shards of razor-sharp crystal.
Crystal creatures are far calmer in instances where they are only among their own kind. However, there are many incidents of the entities attacking and consuming each other, even among the same sub-variant when left on their own. They seem particularly fond of consuming the crystals of their own when they do so.
By some means, Crystal creatures seem to subsist off the energy granted from the parasitic crystals to at least some extent. While some varieties are observed consuming food, others do not, and even appear to lack the means for conventional consumption.
All Crystal entities show extreme aggression in the presence of non-crystalline entities beyond plant life. Swarm behavior is also observed, with hordes of different kinds of the creatures forming before attacking fortified opposition. How or why they act this way remains a mystery.
A creature forming a great deal of the weaker substrata of Crystal Entity populations. Being observed in a pacified state, Void Tapirs appear to subsist on a diet of plant life, prey, and smaller crystals. In some situations, they also display a symbiotic relationship with Crystal Golems, consuming the remains of any damage or wear to their bodies in addition to any parasites which might seek to siphon the natural energies stored in the automaton's crystal body. A large portion of the crystals they consume are redirected to their already naturally thick hides, making it an incredibly sturdy armor to all but the most devastating attacks.
In the presence of Humans, however, this otherwise fairly docile creature flies into a frenzy. It abandons most rational cunning, seeking to destroy its found prey even at the cost of its own life. If it survives the encounter, it spends however long is necessary to gorge itself on the Human remains, ignoring all else unless it sights more Human prey. The exact reasoning for this behavior remains unknown.
Small by the standards of most void creatures, void tapirs are formidable to most people, standing at around five to six feet tall and eight to nine feet long.
Few creatures better embody what people may reflexively think of the denizens of The Void than what most refer to as a Crystal Golem. These creatures were among the first sighted invaders during the initial stages of The Void Crisis.
Initially thought by many to be advanced magical war machines created by some faction to bolster their armies, this hypothesis was soon discarded when the rapidly growing number of them disqualified any single group from being capable of constructing so many destructive arcane monsters with available magical abilities. An effort to study and understand the monsters was put together to learn how to combat them.
Sadly, while it was initially hoped that as a magical construct it would have some sort of linchpin to deactivate it as a safety mechanism, this was not the case. While it appears entirely fashioned of rock, this isn't true. At the very core of the creature there exists a primitive nervous system of sorts. Lacking traditional muscles or organs, the 'true body' of the creature instead is composed almost solely of nerves and a rough analogue to blood vessels.
Due to this, the mana contained in the entity is nearly as stable as that contained in any other living creature, which also resists almost any direct manipulation by magical means. Even the most accomplished Old World Earth Weavers found themselves nearly incapable of directly interacting with the rock Crystal Golems use as armor. However, it is possible that with a power currently unheard of, a Weaver might be able to overcome this barrier.