The High Moors

The High Moor is the largest moor region on the continent of Faerūn and perhaps the largest such area in the world. The majority of the High Moor sits on a large plateau composed mainly of limestone. To the east, south, and west, the plateau.s edges slope rather gently to the level of the surrounding area. though in the southeast, the land slopes down only a short dis- tance before rising again into the Serpent Hills. On the north, the plateau is bordered by cliffs of pink granite. Granite also protrudes through the limestone in various places, especially in the northern part of the moor, so various crags dot the otherwise flat highland here and there. I have an acquaintance, Vincin, the Gray Druid of the High Moor, who claims this arrangement is unnatural. Like most other gray druids, he lives in caverns. In his case the caverns spread out beneath the broad plateau of the High Moor. (I never really understood wanting to live in a cave instead of a forest, but I suppose fungus and lichen might occasionally need druidic protection, too.) Having lived in a cave for most of his life, he knows a little about rocks. According to him, limestone results from sediments collecting in oceans, while granite is produced by pressures within the earth. Vincin says the granite might have been formed beneath an ocean. After the granite formed, the limestone might have formed above it on the ocean floor, and then geological pressures could have caused both types of rock to rise. But according to Vincin, this would be unusual, and besides, a lot of odd things have formed from time to time beneath the High Moor.like rivers that flow upward. Vincin suspects one of the ancient magical civilizations in the area is responsible for the odd mixture of rock types. I don.t really know. If you have a question about animals, I can answer it, but if you want to know rocks, ask Vincin.

The Rivers
As I mentioned, the southernmost tributary of the River Shining, the Hark River, runs from Highstar Lake through the High Moor and down the Red Cliffs. It then follows the base of the Red Cliffs until it joins with the River Shining near the northwest corner of the High Moor plateau. The River Shining (also called the Delimbiyr) flows several more miles along the base of the Red Cliffs until it is joined by the Unicorn Run from the north.

The Serpent Hills

The terrain of the Serpent Hills is, not surprisingly, composed mostly of hills. These are ancient precipices worn with age until they now only reach a height of under a thousand feet; most average about 500 feet. At the eastern edge of the range, the ground rolls and gathers into foothills. A few rougher features, such as an occasional cliff, ravine, or rock formation, dot the rolling terrain, but for the most part, the land is composed of gentle slopes. As one moves farther west toward the center of the Serpent Hills, the land forms itself into rounded heights that are almost mountains. Past the high center, the general altitude drops, only to rise again into the great plateau of the High Moor. The land, in fact, is quite beautiful if one forgets the types of animals that are found in it. It receives good moisture and is reasonably fertile; it is quite lush when compared to the utter desolation of the High Moor. Small copses dot the Serpent Hills, and grasses and shrubs fill most of the land between. Only the rockiest portions of the hills remain devoid of greenery, and even those areas are often decorated with lichen or vines or some hardy weed.

The formations of the land itself are also very beautiful. In some of the badlands areas, the wind and water of centuries have carved the stone into incredible shapes that seem to defy gravity. Even the more gentle slopes lead one to new vistas as they overlook the misty valleys between the hills. Small springs create tiny freshwater ponds in numerous places, and quiet grottoes can be found in abundance. Many of these small waterholes empty into brooks that babble gently to larger bodies of water. Most of these eventually connect with the Serpent.s Tail Stream, which drains most of the hill range. A handful of beautiful waterfalls also lie hidden among the Serpent Hills. The tallest falls almost 60 feet to the surface of the pool that receives its water.

Most of the hills are geologically very solid, with granite and other hard rocks being quite common. A few ores, notably iron ore, can be found in several places in the Serpent Hills as well. The color of the rock in the hills tends toward a red or sometimes a red-orange. The large deposits of granite are mostly gray, though one can find some startling deep red areas.

 

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