The Wilds

Stay on the path. Do not leave it for any reason.


  • Large areas of England are still wild.
  • You or someone you are working with will need the Wilderness Lore quirk to successfully traverse these areas.
  • The wilds conceal a large number of dangerous creatures twisted by or created from fae magicks. No one knows where they come from.
  • The wilds are also a popular location for heathen cults, outlaw bands and other ne'er-do-wells.


England may have been conquered, its people bent of knee before Norman dynasties, its people prostate before the new God of Rome. But it is far from civilised, it has not been fully subdued. The invaders' laws and judgement extends only so far as they can reach with sword and crosier. In the corners of the world lie those forces that give their allegiance to neither King nor Pope, and beyond the bounds of normal society they are joined by legend and myth in their terrifying reality.

The Wilds are not any one place, but instead the sum total of those where the rule of State and Church do not reach. In addition to the major areas detailed below, many corners of more civilised lands give way to the wilds here and there, where no normal man would venture. To navigate these areas without getting horrendously lost (or worse), you will want to travel with someone familiar with the hazards (represented by the Wilderness Lore quirk).

The Wilds are well known as havens of bandits, heathens and worse. Strange tales of creatures that attack the unwary traveller abound, though many put such disappearances down to mere robbery. Yet there are also those men who make their living from such places. The huntsmen of the great forests, the fishermen of the fens and the shepherds of the high passes. They have clearly come to some understanding of such places.

Major areas of wilderness

The Fens

CC-BY-SA https://www.flickr.com/photos/bknittle/ Whilst the fens abundance of fish, game, osier and sedge help support the large cities such as Ely, Lincoln, King's Lynn and Boston, they are very much islands amongst a sea of ever shifting waterways. Ely itself was used as a base of operations by the outlaw Hereward the Wake as recently as 1072.

Ancient tales tell of the ritual drowning of human sacrifices to appease Arausio, the local God of the marsh. Among those who live nearby it is said that the recent return of the devil hound Black Schuck is due to the old God's anger at the lack of recent sacrifice. Yet others claim that the spate of recent disappearances are due not to a demon dog, but instead the return to old heathen practices by some local cult.

The main dangers of life in the fens are twofold. The first is mere navigation amongst the ever shifting waterways and the rare but powerful currents that can quickly see the unprepared far from their desired path, or even irresistibly drawn out to the sea. The second and more insidious is the wildlife, with the many biting insects causing many a deadly fever.

The Moors

CC-BY-ND https://www.flickr.com/photos/jwhitesmith/ The Moorlands of Britain conceal many things that seek to hide, protected by a maze of peat bogs and trackless wilderness. Exmoor and Dartmoor are said to be used as the bases for Cornish nationalists, whilst the bogs atop the Pennines are said to be home to many beasts of myth and legend and formed by a patchwork of local deities born of the dramatic landscape. The residents of the Scottish highlands have always been a law unto themselves, their villages hard to find even if you know where to look.

For those not raised to navigating the bogs common to these environments, an unfortunate and sticky end is the likely result of any unguided expedition into these areas. Often far from civilization, any injuries incurred in these wilds normally doom the victim to death by exposure.

The Royal Forests

CC-BY https://www.flickr.com/photos/davidgsteadman/ The Royal Forests were created by order of the Norman Kings, evicting many peasants from their homes to make way for royal hunting preserves. Hunting without licence from the crown is forbidden and punishable by death, however this does not stop many outlaws, or those same displaced peasants from inhabiting the lands. Contrary to images evoked by the name, these areas were not necessarily heavily wooded, but also contained large glades and some wetlands. A classic example is the New Forest created by William I in 1079.

Most recently Henry II afforested the entire former county of Huntingdonshire. As with other royal forests it is now subject to forest law, with trespass against vert or venison now seeing former and current residents brought up before the Justice in Eyre by the Warden and his woodwards.

In addition to the natural hazards of boar and wolf, many bandits also take the role of predator in these areas.

The Ancient Forests

CC-BY-NC-ND https://www.flickr.com/photos/highwater/ In contrast to the Royal Forests, the deepest woodlands of England are its ancient forests, exemplified by the great Sherwood forest near the city of Nottingham. Said to be sacred to several of the pagan faiths, these forests conceal many hidden caves, hollow oaks and hidden vales.

Whilst they carry many similar hazards to the Royal Forests, the tyranny of Norman forest law is instead replaced by the unfathomable local beliefs in pagan deities. Crossing these heathen beliefs should not be done lightly, for should the locals take exception it is unlikely your body should ever be found.

The Isles

CC-BY-NC-ND https://www.flickr.com/photos/adrian_kingsley-hughes/ Off the west coast of Scotland lies The Kingdom of the Isles, and whilst the monarch technically rules over the entire region, in practice their power is invested in the major inhabited islands. This leaves a multitude of smaller islands among which those who swear him no allegiance can hide, and should one disappear among the isles noone will ever find your watery grave, much less divine your cause of death.

It is said the sea is a great danger even in kinder waters than those of the western isles. The tides amongst the partially submerged rocks can quickly wreck the boat of even an experienced sailor. Add in actual malfeasance and the silence of a thick sea fog can cover a multitude of sins and the creatures that lurk beneathe. Sailors tell many stories of those who wind up eaten by sea serpents or lured to their deaths by beautiful visions in the mists.

Dangers of the wild

Many tales exist warning one against the dangers of the wilds. Some even say that with their fairer Seelie kin now walking openly among men that the darker side of the fairie are emboldened to play out in the Wilds. Regardless, many myths and legends are spread by the travelling minstrels, and travellers often take great heed of their warnings lest they find the truth the hard way. The list presented here is far from complete, and every day brings new tales of things which lurk in the wilderness.

For more information on local myths and legends, see the relevant country pages.


A shapeshifting fae which never looks the same twice. Do not approach if spotted. For more information, see Northern England.


A gigantic three headed bird, capable of breathing fire from each beak. Bad news.

Am Fear Liath Mor

A tall, shadowy figure which strikes fear into the hearts of those who see it. For more information, see Scotland.


Prone to biting. Beware also of pyewackets in disguise.

Bean Sidhe (Banshee)

The term merely means “a female fairy.” Covens of these apparitions are said to cluster at the homes of the dying, particularly those who have been hastened to an untimely or horrible death. Others say that they attach themselves to various lineages and warn them of danger. A bit of a two-edged sword, as if you hear them, you're said to go mad for a time—not exactly useful if you're trying to repel invaders or what have you.


Whilst hunted to extinction in many parts of the country, Bears are still found in the most remote parts. Whilst bears are indeed formidable adversaries in and of themselves, the priesthood of Artio are perhaps the greater threat. Given the scarcity of bears, they do not take well to those who hurt or kill them.

Black Hound

Many tales tell of sinister dark hounds that hunt their prey through night on moors or through other wilderness areas. Should you hear one howl, the best course of action is said to be locking yourself inside a stout building.


A race of strange beings with no head, but ears in their shoulders and a face in the middle of their chests. Said to have a taste for human flesh.


Seen as benevolent in some parts of the country, where they are enticed into homes through gifts of milk soaked bread, this has been known to calamity when they turn to bite the hand that feeds them. For more information, see Southern England.


An immense bird capable of crushing a human to death under its feet. For more information, see Scotland.


Giant cats known to prowl the mountains - and seas - of Wales. Has a taste for children.


Giant flying lizards that breath fire. Hard to kill, and with a penchant for fair maidens. Like an Aillen, only many many times worse.


Like the Kelpie, these creatures appear as a normal horse. However, their nature is only revealed when they suddenly vanish, leaving their rider stranded sitting in a muddy puddle far from home.


None has ever seen more of a Grindylow save for its long and sinuous arms – at least, none who have lived to tell the tale. They inhabit the marshlands, seeking to pull the unwary who stray to close to the water to their doom.


The hedgehog is a low creature, and only the poor will eat it, which they do by cooking it in clay. You have nothing to fear from a hedgehog unless you grow vines, for a hedgehog will rattle a vine until the grapes drop, then roll on the grapes till they are stuck on its spines, and so carry the food to its young.


See Brownie.


See Brownie.


In the waters of the greatest rivers there lives the hydrus. Those who are bitten by it swell up; this is often called “ox-sickness” because it can be cured by cattle dung. The hydrus is the enemy of the crocodile, and will get itself eaten, only to eat its way out of the crocodile, killing it.


Small fae which take extreme interest in human corpses. For more information, see Southern England.


At first sight, the Kelpie appears to be no more or less than a mundane horse. However, should one touch or attempt to mount a kelpie, their true nature will be revealed as they are dragged into water and drowned.


Small, colourful birds with surprisingly sharp beaks.

Lou Carcolch

A giant mollusc that uses tentacles to drag its prey into caves and shadowed pools.

Llamhigyn Y Dwr

Half-frog, half-bat, all mean. Whilst it normally preys on livestock, they have been known to attack humans from time to time.


The size of an ass, it has the hindquarters of a stag, the chest and legs of a lion, cloven hooves, and a mouth that stretches from ear to ear. Instead of teeth, it has one continuous, shining white bone. It can imitate speech.


A large feline with enormous furred feet and tufted ears, lynx are reclusive and prey on ground birds.

Man-eating Fish

Whilst most fish obey the natural order of things, some small fishing communities have been terrorised by exceptionally large and vicious fish.


Head of a man, body of a lion, tail of a scorpion. Reputation to die for. Literally.


Beautiful body above the waves, hideous fish monster below, these creatures are known for luring the unwary to their doom. For more information, see Venice.

Old Woman Willow

To some, a healer. To others, a bringer of bloodshed and death. For more information, see Ireland.


A small furry shape shifter, said to act as a familiar for some more powerful evil. Often the harbinger of doom for a village.


A small and vicious humanoid, Redcaps are named for their hats that are stained with the blood of their victims, and seem driven to refresh it whenever the chance arises.


Part human, part seal, these creatures are rumoured to walk the land at night to seduce maidens back to a watery doom.


The Sluagh takes physical form as a black mass of rats, crows or insects. It is said that the souls of those killed by the Sluagh are imprisoned within it, unable to find rest until the monster itself is destroyed.


Has the form of a horse with a single spiraled horn emerging from the centre of its forehead, and is pure white. It is said that Unicorns are drawn to those with a certain quality in the world, that such a connection can be boon or curse, and that it is somehow sacred. Unicorns are claimed to run faster than any normal horse, and have the ability to pierce any armour with their horns.

Washerwoman at the Ford

Only seen since the fey came to Europe, this silent woman says nothing, but washes and washes the blood out of a shirt at fords in rivers. If you recognise your shirt, it's said you have a week to live.


It is disputed if this is actually a creature, or merely a natural hazard. Regardless, these glowing lights have been blamed for leading many a traveller to their doom.


On the night of the full moon, men who transform into hideous monsters. Said to be twice the size of a normal wolf and with no fear of man or fire. It is said that silver is effective against them, though all that is normally found of those they encounter is the bloody gnawed remains.

Wode Worm

A giant worm said to lurk beneath the Scottish countryside. Tremors are the sign of its passing, as are hints of its acrid breathe that is said to poison even the most hearty up close.


Wolves present a significant menace to crofters, picking off their livestock and even attacking men directly during harsh winters. Easily kept at bay by a large campfire.

the_wilds.txt · Last modified: 2015/10/09 20:03 by gm_agata
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