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A vallorn seems to be a malignant hostile magical ecosystem.


The vallorn appeared as part of the disaster that overthrew the cities of a nation named as 'Terunael' in Navarr legends, which may have covered much of the land which is now Empire. From the hearts of those cities, abundant greenery spread, a sick, infectious wave of life that cracked and crumbled stone, shot great trees up through streets and buildings, and warped, twisted and destroyed most of the inhabitants of those cities, scattering the others to the wind.

As the refugees attempted to claim back their lands, they discovered that around the core of each city, areas of superabundant, warped life had appeared, resistant to all efforts to destroy them. These were named vallorn.

A vallorn seems to be a malignant hostile magical ecosystem -- an area deep in the heart of a forest where even the Navarr fear to tread. Inside them are monstrous plants, the spores of which mutate living creatures that are exposed over many months. Even the air is different within the vallorn, weakening those who enter as if they were breathing mild poison. The plants that grow there often have supernatural capabilities; chaos fruit are an example of vegetation that has been infused both with vallorn essence and powerful Spring magic but there are many others. Some of the plants are even predators in their own right.

The Vallorn... nothing less than the vile offspring spewed out from the mating of a Great White Shark and a rampant fungal infection.

Zietel van Temeschwar, Mountebank

There is no clear guiding intelligence behind the vallorn - they are not believed to be self-aware. However, they will strike back if damaged or hurt, much as a beehive or ant's nest will use its footsoldiers to drive off the invader. It is believed that there is one vallorn around each of the fallen cities of Terunael. Sometimes, however, vallornspawn and even vallorn plants show up in locations with no clear connection to Terunael; there is no clear explanation for how this happens.

We welcomed the night; in the darkness we could not bear witness to the vallorn’s appetite. By day… by day all Its wants, Its passions, Its yearnings were laid out in their visceral horrors. Synod forgive me for I know the Law cannot; but when darling Arturo came back to me – mud in his veins and thorns in his mouth – and he gestured me to embrace him… I ran, and I ran, and I ran.

Cai, Thorn of the Conclave, after the reconquest of Miaren prior to his execution for desertion

As far as it is known, the vallorn have not spread far after the initial rush of growth in the fall of the ancient cities. This is at least in part due to the watchfulness of the folk of the steadings, who take great pains to ensure vallorn areas are not disturbed and the vallorn roused. The forests of the vallorn are sick with life, greenery regenerating so fast that axe or fire only serves to enrage them. Attempts to cull these areas have been made time and time again, using both magical and mundane means, and have always met with failure.

No complete catalogue has ever been made of the strange monstrosities within the vallorn's domain - some appear simply to be diseased, misshapen forest creatures, or mutated humans and orcs. Some seem to be plants, sporting a mass of tangled thorns or possessing abilities that make them dangerous to travellers. A common threat to those who venture into those areas where the vallorn is strong are the vallornspawn husks. Some threats extend beyond the infested forests, however; from time to time, the monstrous insect horrors that prosper in the miasma swarm out of the woods and voraciously destroy crops and communities that lie in their path.

The Navarr have long believed that the Empire is still weak, and any attacks on the vallorn would be disastrous. So they build their strength, and the strength of Empire, and learn what they can of the foe.

Attacking The Vallorn

Attacking the vallorn is generally fruitless - the effulgent Spring energy that roils through the land infected by the vallorn sustains the vegetation and the creatures that live there. Most things regenerate with ferocious speed, but even when trees are felled and creatures slain they are replaced impossibly quickly. Attacking a vallorn directly while it remains sustained by Spring magic is a recipe for disaster.

Instead the Navarr use the magic of the trods, to drain the Spring energy from the vallorn, tapping the life of the trees and plants and allowing the Navarr to carry that energy away as they travel. This is a painfully slow and deeply unpredictable process, but eventually a region will be sufficiently drained that there is no longer enough Spring magic to allow the vallorn to regenerate. At that point it is possible to attack and defeat the vallorn, if the Empire has sufficient armies to defeat the abominations that dwell within.

It is extremely dangerous to scout lands controlled by the vallorn, but it can be done and can provide the Empire with an estimate of the effective army strength of the vallorn in that territory. If a region were to become vulnerable - by years of draining its magic or because of some opportunity arose - then that strength is what the Empire would need to overcome to defeat the vallorn and claim a region. The number would also be relevant if the vallorn suddenly expanded - it shows the size of the potential threat that might boil forth from the vallorn heart and need to be stopped.

These numbers are very much a snapshot of the situation at the time they are discovered; the vallorn is nothing if not volatile. For example, a recent assessment of the strength of the Liathaven vallorn looked at a vallorn under the influence of Wither the Seed which had recently suffered a major setback (the liberation of Westwood). It is entirely possible for that vallorn to gain greater strength as it recovers from its earlier defeat, or if it is freed from the effect of the Winter curse.

Attacking the vallorn in this way assumes that the campaign is taking place in a region that is no longer infused with the power of Spring magic. At that point the Empire has a chance to fight the vallorn on an equal footing - before that point there is no chance to defeat the vallorn using armies.

The miasma is a threat to anyone who lives too near a vallorn.
The miasma is often visible in the air, often as a green mist.

Vallorn Miasma

The deeper one travels into an area claimed by the vallorn, the more likely one is to encounter the "vallorn miasma." It is as if the air itself is infected with dangerous toxins or spores, or perhaps an aura given off by the slumbering vallorn itself. The miasma seeps into the lungs and through the skin. It is sometimes visible in the air as tendrils of mist, often tinged green or yellow. It is impossible to avoid the miasma, and while some travellers claim that exposure can be avoided by tying wet cloth over the mouth there is little evidence that this tactic actually works.

Humans and orcs exposed to the miasma rapidly develop symptoms of nausea or mild feverishness. A critically injured individual is quickly - and fatally - overwhelmed by the miasma. Explorers in an area of miasma are advised to employ precautions such as the Vitality of Rushing Water ritual, or the use of an Abraxus Stone; to ensure they are accompanied by competent healers and well-prepared physicks; and to avoid violent confrontation wherever possible ... although this latter rarely proves practical. Even if they have avoided being injured, explorers who spend any period of time in an area of vallorn miasma will need medical attention when they return to remove its lingering effects - rituals such as Ascetic Star of Atun are ideal for this purpose. Extended periods of time exposed to the miasma - even in its most dilute form - is also known to cause the sickness known by the Navarr as green lung. While a wet cloth is of little use against the miasma itself, there is some evidence that a wet cloth over the nose and mouth will reduce the likelihood of contracting this sickness, at least in the short term.

The miasma is somewhat inimical to unliving material - corpses exposed to the miasma quickly rot away to mulch. The miasma speeds the process of decay in most unliving material - which has made the recovery of fragile artefacts from Terunael ruins especially challenging.

The strength of the miasma can only be permanently reduced in an area by reducing the power of the vallorn that spawns it. Miasma powerful enough to harm a mortal may be found in small "pools" outside the immediate area of vallorn infestation, especially if there are vallornspawn plants in the area. It is much more common to find it across large expanses of vallorn claimed regions like a toxic sea (OOC Note: regions with the Vallorn keyword are likely to be heavily invested with vallorn miasma.) Exotic, alien and unique plants prosper in areas thick with miasma, and the monstrous insects associated with the vallorn thrive in these areas.

The miasma itself is not restricted to areas of vallorn infestation. Like a cloud of smoke, strong winds can blow the miasma into nearby areas. Without the support of an active vallorn, however, the miasma dissipates quite quickly. For the hours or (rarely) days it remains, however, it supports the presence of vallornspawn husks or ettercaps in unexpected areas.

OOC Note: Unless protected by a specific effect, any human or orc exposed to vallorn miasma is immediately subject to VENOM. This condition cannot be removed as long as they remain in the miasma. It persists once they leave the area, exactly as if they had been struck by the VENOM call.

Further Reading

Related Topics


Winds of War and Fortune

  • A thousand years of longing - Winter 385YE wind of fortune about the findings of the Great Library of Hacynian
  • Rain king - 385YE Spring Wind of Fortune detailing aid offered against the vallorn by the eternal Ossegrahn
  • The bones of what you believe - 384YE Autumn Wind of Fortune detailing the opportunity to expand the Great Library at Hacynian
  • One last song - 385YE Winter Wind of Fortune detailing the adventure into Brocéliande
  • The city asleep - 384YE Autumn Wind of Fortune introducing the adventure into Brocélieande
  • Whither the seed - 383YE Winter Wind of Fortune about the use of Wither the Seed on Brocéliande and Liathaven
  • Rise of Terunael - 383YE Autumn Wind of Fortune regarding the plans of the Heirs of Terunael
  • Comes a time - 383YE Summer Solstice wind of fortune relating to the future of Seren
  • Blood for poppies - 382YE Summer Wind of War detailing the victory over the Liathaven vallorn
  • Immolation - 382YE Spring Wind of War detailing the fight against the Liathaven vallorn

Click Expand to see a summary of the important pages related to the vallorn.