Flora and Fauna of Dragon Pass

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Flora

During the Inhuman Occupation, much of Sartar was dotted with clumps of elf woods. These were mainly yellow pine forests with stands of beech, cedar, Douglas fir, oak, and white spruce, and even a few carefully guarded redwood groves. Remnants of these pine forests still survive around the base of the Quivin and Storm Mountains, near the Indigo Mountains, and in the Lost Man Thickets. Tarndisi’s Grove is an isolated stand of this older forest.Before human settlement, the valley floors were mostly grassland with scattered copses of oak. Much of this land is now heavily cultivated with wheat, barley, grapes, and orchards. Tall, leafed trees like aspens, cottonwoods and sycamores line the riparian zones, and on the stream banks, bayberries (used for both healing purposes and candlemaking) grow profusely. North of the Creek in the Donalf Flats there are still broad expanses of grasslands with scattered stands of oaks and pines. The hills of Sartar have mixed oak and pine woodland and savanna, where oaks and pines are the dominant trees, and open grassland, filled with wildflowers in late Sea Season. Jang is a common flower, used also as a healing plant. Brush fires are common during late Fire Season and early Earth Season, marking the presence of Oakfed. Above 900 meters, the oak woodlands give way to stands of yellow pine, white firs, spruce, and incense cedars. In the eastern Guardian Hills, the oaks and pine savannah gives way to low-stunted conifers and the thickets of dark-leafed shrubs, sagebrush, and bunchgrass of Prax.

Fauna

Dragon Pass is famed for its draconic inhabitants. Dream dragons, wyrms, and wyverns are rare but hardly unknown. More commonly seen are the herds of dinosaurs that can be found around the Moaning Valley or along the outskirts of the Upland Marsh, including ankylosaurs, brontosaurs, hadrosaurs, and triceratops. Less common are carnivorous dinosaurs such as allosaurs, deinonychus, pteranodons, and the occasional spinosaur or tyrannosaur. Dinosaurs are sacred to the Earth goddesses, particularly Maran Gor.

Of the larger mammals, bighorn sheep, bison, boar, deer, elk, impala, and sables are common. The occasional sky bull or mammoth herd can be found in the high elevations, and a few mastodon herds dwell in the wooded areas. Pig dogs are also occasionally seen. Carnivorous mammals include grizzlies, the more commonly seen black bears, and the rare white bear. Sightings of badgers, coyote, foxes, otters, rubble runners, shadowcats, and wolves are common; cougars and saber-toothed cats are present but less frequently seen. Jaguars are occasionally seen in the lower elevation areas of southern Sartar. Smaller mammals include chipmunks, jackrabbits, martens, porcupines, red squirrels, ringtail cats, and skunks.

The area is rich in reptile life, including corn snakes, kingsnakes, and rattlesnakes. The diamondback rattlesnake is the largest snake regularly seen. Cliff toads and rock lizards are not uncommon, especially in the Guardian Hills. Giant turtles can be found in riparian areas. There are countless species of birds, including bluebirds, blue jays, crows, hummingbirds, ravens, redbirds, swans, wild turkeys, and woodpecker. Although the area is famed for the little anthropomorphic duck people, there are also normal ducks. There are golden eagles and other birds of prey such as the osprey, red-tailed hawk, falcons, and many types of owls. Vultures and condors are common, particularly in the Guardian Hills.Giant insects are common, particularly near the Troll Woods or the Indigo Mountains. The giant wasps of the Wasps Nest range throughout southern Sartar, and giant bees are frequently seen near the Vale of Flowers.

Art by Cory Trego-Erdner!


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