Life on Altorr
A healthy respect for Nature, red in tooth and claw, is instilled by life in Altorr. Here animals are sometimes deadly as warriors in battlelust. The recurring presence of dire animals speaks of strange magics. Plants often display cunning and formidable might. The influence of Faerie and giants also tells.
Some animals are domesticated of course. Dogs, sheep, cattle and aurochs are abundant. Horses are a sign of wealth for noble and merchant-prince. Some dwarven clans prefer boar steeds. Hawks and falcons are bred for courtly hunting. Owls are favoured by academician wizards almost exclusively.
Predator and prey co-exist. Roc (and visiting shantak) hunt mastodon in mountain valleys. Boar, elk and deer are found in the forests alongside bear, tiger, wolf and wolverine. Unusual specimens including dire boar and great elk (megaloceros) are uncommon rather than unknown. The druids keep watch over certain beasts.
Rivers teem with carp, salmon and trout. Grizzly bear and giant pike keep fishermen moving. The Sea of Stones is equally prolific. Fish and turtle teem and feed shark, squid and giant snapping turtles. Whales sound and battle giant squid in the deeps.
Plants are equally prolific. The forests bloom until mid-autumn and harvest brings a profusion of fruits for heroes to enjoy. Not everything is benign. Archer bushes and yellow musk creepers proliferate at Clune and Negraglo, fed by battle-enriched soil. Quickwood, shambling mound and treant are seldom seen yet nobody denies their influence.
The touch of faerie is evident. Apart from talking beasts there are other signs. Enigmatic 'forest god' animals with antlers and human-like faces, intellect and druidic powers are sung of. Elves consider them an auspicious omen. Those who speak Sylvan may be amazed at what speaks to them and what is said.
Giants may also affect animals, making giants of them. The dire curse has led to conflict between giants and druids alarmed by giant cave lions and other horrors. The giants do not understand but respond with violence. Consequently animals around Jotunfell are exempt from druidic bans. Foolhardy hunters had best beware.
Life on Bellotra
There are few normal animals on Bellotra. Many make suitable familiars for magic users. Bats, cats, civet, frog, gibbon, lizards, mongoose, rats, snakes and weasels all serve. Mouse deer, silk moths, muntjac and tigers are evident. The majority of Bellotran wildlife is more esoteric, the product of centuries of magical experimentation. Predators like amphisbaena, aurumvorax, bulette, hydra, krenshar, owlbear, stirge, winter wolf and worg keep hunting lively. Almost any magical beast has appeared in Bellotra equally spurred by arrogant experiment and jaded appetite.
In the canals, hippocampus sport. In the Rotten Burgs, catoblepas wander like sacred cattle until a mob with ranged weapons mobilises. Prevaling wind is often the deciding factor. Hunters seek out dragonne, leucrotta and peryton. The destructive impulses of all three motivate concerned parties.
Domesticated beasts are all about the status they bring and implied power of the owner. Griffon, hippogriff and pegasus are steeds. Shocker lizards are dangerous pets. Al-miraj, carbuncle and zoog are sometimes bound as familiars. Those Bellotrans aligned with the Ten Thousand Worlds have stranger pets still, celestial and fiendish beasts are just the beginning.
Out in the Chill Sea, there are monsters in the deeps. The Chill Sea's fish resemble medieval bestiary images of what fish look like. Leviathans, mottled worms, sea serpents, and shoggoths keep the oceans quiet. Tritons keep watch over the Chill Sea. Of the denizens of the Ten Thousand Worlds, the tritons are most trusted by Bellotran sailors.
Plants are limited. Herbs of assorted kinds, merillia, mulberry, oak, pitcher plant, rice and roses are grown. A few invader species have come over. Archer bushes, shrieker (including breeds with beguiling song), tendriculos and yellow musk creeper are cultivated by decadent nobles.
Life in Carcetus
In the sunless world of Carcetus, it's eat or be eaten and the ecology reflects that. Insects and vermin grow to monstrous proportion. Oozes creep silently after prey. Fungi and lichen replace the plants denied sunlight. Residents of Carcetus guard their few animals fiercely. Cave pigs (eyeless, albino pigs with sharp smell and hearing) and rothe are primary sources of meat. Cave fish and swiftlets are bred. The latter warn of poison gas. Insects and arthropods are sometimes domesticated. Giant cockroaches, fire beetles, house centipedes and giant isopods have all served as pets and familiars. Tunnels rarely allow steeds yet some races use spiders.
Insects and arthropoda of various sizes make up a significant share of the ecology of Carcetus. Centipedes, spiders and scorpions form a common foundation. The further down you go, the larger and more deadly they become to delvers and explorers. Giant ants are a common competitor.
Oozes are the ultimate clean-up crew. In Carcetus, ooze-spoor is a portent of opportunity. In battle tunnels, gelatinous cubes are utterly impartial. Others, like slithering trackers or shoggoths have more malign intentions.
Aberrations are the last fauna group in Carcetus. Their bizarre natures limit easy comprehension and more cause raving insanity. Simpler aberrations display surprising diversity. Choker, decapus, gibbering mouther, grick, rust monster and vampiric mist showcase this diversity.
Fungi and lichen replace plants. The lack of sun makes for exotic colours among the latter while the former run riot. Shriekers are cultivated not just for food but also serving as security systems for the tunnels. Amblers, a mute shrieker are another source of food. Prolific fungus provides food and in some cases light.