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 Creatures, Climate & Culture

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Naveen Greyjoy
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PostSubject: Creatures, Climate & Culture   Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:38 am

UNIQUE CREATURES:

Many species of creatures from humans to chickens, dogs, dolphin, and more still exist in this universe. However, Westeros and Essos claim a few unique creatures to this world.

SENTIENT SPECIES
• Giants - huge, shaggy humanoids of slightly below human intelligence, vaguely resembling bipedal apes. Giants are a dwindling species found only in the lands to the extreme north, beyond the Wall. They ride mammoths into battle, wielding crude clubs that are little more than logs. They speak the Old Tongue of the First Men.

• Children of the forest - the original inhabitants of Westeros are frequently mentioned, but have not been seen in thousands of years. They are thought to be diminutive humanoid creatures; dark and beautiful, with mysterious powers over dreams and nature. They are said to have used obsidian weapons and weirbows in battle. Little of their legacy exists at present beyond their worship of nameless nature gods still practiced by some in the North, and the remaining Weirwoods.

• The White Walkers - a mysterious and apparently malevolent race of creatures found beyond the Wall. They have only been seen at night, and seem to bring unnatural cold with them. They appear as tall, gaunt humanoids with eyes of blue so deep it burns like fire. They wear armor that shifts in color with every step, and wield thin crystal swords that are so cold they can shatter iron. Others move silently, but their voices sound like cracking ice. Creatures they kill reanimate as wights, undead zombies with glowing blue eyes. The Others exhibit a weakness to weapons made of dragonglass or obsidian, which will pierce their armour easily. In death, they seem to melt into a pool of extremely cold liquid.

ANIMALS
• Aurochs - large relatives of the bull. They are frequently used as a symbol of size, strength, and stupidity. An aurochs was used as a mount by the mythical Clarence Crabb as a display of his prowess.

• Direwolves - relatives of the wolf, but more like their extinct real-world equivalent they are much larger and stronger than regular wolves, reaching the size of a pony when fully grown. They are almost never seen south of the Wall. They are extremely rare south of the wall, but it has been known that a few members of the Stark family have kept some as pets.

• Lizard-lions - Massive, swamp-dwelling reptiles found in the Neck, with teeth like daggers. They resemble partially submerged logs floating still in the water. They live in the water, in slow streams and deep swamps.

• Mammoths - Inhabitants of the far north and apparently the only pachyderm in Westeros. They are used as mounts by Giants.

• Krakens - Huge squids said to be able to pull down whaling ships. They are largely considered a myth.

• Manticores - Small creatures that look like scarabs when folded up. Their faces are malign and vaguely human. They have a poisonous sting that is fatal to humans. Manticores are from across the narrow sea.

• Ravens - Physically similar to common ravens of Earth, ravens in Westeros are used to carry messages between castles. The maester of each castle usually tends to its stock of ravens. Maesters raise a breed of large, white ravens at the Citadel that are said to be more intelligent. Ravens sometimes imitate human speech like parrots.

• Shadowcats - Large predatory cats with black fur and white stripes who seem to be native to mountainous regions. Their pelts are prized.

• Zorses - Black and white-striped horses from Essos, brought over and used as mounts by some foreigners in Westeros. There is no understanding so far of any Dothraki riding a zorse.

• Dragons - Ferocious, magical creatures, dragons are not native to Westeros, but were brought to the continent by the Targaryens. They died out over one hundred years ago, and are thought to be extinct by the people of Westeros. Possibly able to speak an old Valyrian language understood by very little.

• Unicorns - Large goatlike animals, with a long single horn on its head. Believed to live on Skagos in the Bay of Seals on the northern coast of Westeros.

GEOGRAPHY/CULTURE & CLIMATE:

In Westeros and Essos, seasons vary and are usually a couple of years long in length. Typically, the longer one season lasts, the harsher the upcoming seasons will be.

Beyond The Wall
The northernmost region of Westeros, stretching from the Wall north to the lands beyond the edge of the known map, known as the Land of Always Winter. For the most part it is covered by the haunted forest and comprised of many lakes and rivers, and shelters strange beasts among the mountains of the Frostfangs. The far north presents an extremely harsh climate, allowing only small numbers of inhabitants in small villages, in those primarily wild and uncharted lands.

The North
The North is the largest region, nearly as large as the rest of the regions combined. It is sparsely populated, with vast wilderness, forests, pine-covered hills and snowcapped mountains. The Northern climate is cold and harsh in the winter, and occasionally it snows even in the summer. Its southern frontier lies along the Neck, a marshy isthmus separating it from the southron kingdoms. The narrowness of the region and the difficulty of the terrain make it a natural border for the North, protecting it from invasion. It is colder and much less populated than the south part of Westeros. Most of its residents still follow the old gods, but some, mainly around the area of White Harbor, have taken the Faith of the Seven. Bastards in the North are given the surname Snow.

The Iron Islands
The Iron Islands are a group of islands lying off the western coast of Westeros in Ironman's Bay. There are seven main islands, including Pyke, Great Wyk, Old Wyk, and Harlaw. The soil is infertile, but mines of several types, including iron and lead, exist. The inhabitants of these harsh isles are known as ironmen in the rest of Westeros, and the ironborn among themselves. Bastards in the Iron Islands are given the surname Pyke.

The Riverlands
The Riverlands are the fertile areas between the forks of the Trident. They are the domain of the Tullys of Riverrun. At the time of the Conquest, the Riverlands were ruled by House Hoare of the Iron Islands, and thus the Tullys were never kings of the Riverlands, but were rebel riverlords who left Harren the Black in favor of Aegon the Conqueror. Bastards in the Riverlands are given the surname Rivers.

The Vale of Arryn
The Vale lies to the east of the Riverlands, surrounded almost completely by the Mountains of the Moon. It consists of vast mountain ranges with the people living in valleys between them and along the coast. The Vale is under the rulership of House Arryn, one of the oldest lines of Andal nobility who once were called King of Mountain and Vale. Their seat, the Eyrie, is a castle high in the mountains, small but unassailable. The only way to the top is a treacherous goat path. Due to the Vale's harsh winters, travel is only possible through the mountains during certain seasons. Rebellious mountain clans make travel even more dangerous. Bastards born in the Vale are given the surname Stone.

The Westerlands
The Westerlands are the lands to the west of the Riverlands and north of the Reach. It is a small region, but is home to some of the richest gold and silver mines on the continent. The Westerlands are ruled by House Lannister of Casterly Rock, formerly the Kings of the Rock. People of this region are often called "Westermen". Lannisport, lying hard by Casterly Rock, is the chief town of the region and one of the great ports and cities of Westeros. Bastards in the Westerlands are given the surname Hill.

The Crownlands
The Crownlands are lands ruled directly by the king on the Iron Throne. These lands include King's Landing and the surrounding areas, including the town of Rosby. Going north, one finds Crackclaw Point and several islands in the Narrow Sea, including Dragonstone. The Crownlands are south of the Vale, southeast of the Riverlands, east of the Westlands, and north of the Reach and Stormlands. Bastards in the Crownlands are given the surname Waters.

The Reach
The Reach is the largest region except for the North; it encompasses a region of the most fertile part of Westeros and numerous well-populated villages and towns. Bannermen of the Tyrells frequently fight with the Dornishmen of the south. The borderlands between the two regions, called the Dornish Marches, are populated on the north side by marcher lords loyal to the Tyrells. The most prominent city in the Reach is Oldtown. It is the oldest city in Westeros, home to the maesters' Citadel, and the previous seat of the Faith. Bastards in the Reach are given the surname Flowers.

The Stormlands
The Stormlands, located south of King's Landing, stretch down to the Sea of Dorne, bordered by Shipbreaker Bay in the east and the Reach in the west. It is one of the smaller regions of Westeros, a land of harsh mountains, stony shores, and verdant forests. The Dornish Marches are located within this region, having been conquered by the Storm Kings, and are ruled by House Caron and lesser marcher lords. The marches were common battlegrounds between the Stormlands, the Reach and Dorne until the last century, when Dorne joined the Seven Kingdoms. Bastards in the Stormlands are given the surname Storm.

Dorne
Dorne, the southernmost region of Westeros. It stretches from the Red Mountains of the Dornish marches to the southern coast of the continent. It is the hottest kingdom in Westeros and features the only desert on the continent. Dornishmen have a reputation for hot-bloodedness as well. They differ both culturally and ethnically from other Westerosi due to the historical invasion of Rhoynish people. Their food, appearance, and architecture resemble those of Mediterranean cultures such as Greece and Turkey more than the Western European feel of the other kingdoms. They have adopted many Rhoynish customs as well, including equal primogeniture. Lords of the ruling House Martell still style themselves "Prince" and "Princess" in the Rhoynish fashion. Bastards in Dorne are given the surname Sand.
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