The Sylvan Falls (5e Environment)
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The Sylvan Falls
|One such falls. Photo by Greg Harlow
|Don't, and I repeat, DO NOT eat or drink anything here... It all seems wrong. Snow which is not cold, a desert above an oasis... The colors are like that of nausea, and the water makes one spout gibberish. Some of it is brilliant, as though from the spring from the hoof of Pegasus. Other times, I think madness has possessed them. It is not the violence that scares me, but the utter lack of it here in such a wild seeming land... And so many of these feykind... They make one uneasy with the looks they give. I think they want us to stay.
|—Journal of Jornel Strovvskind, lost dwarven explorer
These falls are dotted around the world where the energies of the Feywild seep through most. Embodying that chaotic plane, these areas have the strangest mishmash of topography and weather. The terrain is very arid and dry at a high altitude. It tends to be hot there too, resembling a desert in climate. A cloud of what one can believe to be snow surrounds these areas in the wintry months. That is actually pale volcanic ash, as the wind currents of the world blow from eruption sites here, and congregate in billowing masses above, dispersing the material. At the edge of the desert-like areas, untainted by the snowing ash, water flows out in tons out of cliffsides. These waterfalls often have rainbow hues as they descend and spray their mist onto valleys below. These rainbow falls and their mist are the only colors in this area, as everything else, from the stones to the sand, is usually a drab grey. In the valley near the waterfall basin is some sylvan surroundings, like sturdy trees.
With a mix of hot and cold, these waterfalls are fascinating biomes of impossible ecosystems.
Only hardy plants can survive the shifts of weather here. Down below the falls, it can be frigid and horribly damp, fostering many fungi and lichens in the caverns and basins carved by erosion. Above, cacti stand in the arid place and gather ashes on their lobes. There is known to be the occasional rare bloom from the Feywilds that has its seeds carried over by accident. Cultivated correctly, these plants serve as attractive lures for curious herbalists.
A good deal of the minor feykind live here, perhaps deposited by the occasional opening to the Feywild. Creatures like pixies, fairies, and satyrs dwell there, usually at the bottom, where the moisture from the falls creates some possibility for plants to grow. Some believe them to be exiles of their home plane. There is definitely something odd about them, in that they cannot leave the proximity of the falls. They form small, loose, and rudimentary communities within the forests and come out to party on nights of the full moon. These falls also sometimes function as estuaries for the passing pegasi or migratory birds.
Within the caverns formed by the waters of the falls, creatures preferring the wet and dark spaces lurk. As the water has carved out deeper basins, they are free to swim there and drag the occasional unwary traveler to their doom. Not all of them are predatory, since a meal can be hard to come by.
Above the falls, the desert sometimes hosts an unsavory dao genie, who conjures sandstorms. Other creatures, like reptilian humanoids, carve homes out within sandstone to escape the heat, coming out during the night to hunt. They are joined by some other dwellers of the desert, like scorpion or spider peoples.