You Can Drive Out Nature With A Pitchfork But It Always Comes Roaring Back Again


Your family has lived secluded on the edge of the forest for as long as anyone can remember, which isn’t that long in the grand scheme of things. Definitely since before there was a trade route down by the road. And since before there was a village over in the vale.

The villagers down in the vale refer to this forest by your family name, as though you own it. Such a funny thought. You can’t own the forest. It’s just the forest.

The forest has provided you with food and shelter and well-being. When new growth creeps out into your little meadow, you cut it back, selling the leftover timber to the traders. There is small game to hunt. Somtimes the bush brats steal whatever your thoughtlessly happen to leave outdoors over night, sometimes they leave little trinkets, stones, or other small forest treasures on your window sills, all depending on their mood.

But the forest has been sullen lately. Withdrawn. There just hasn’t been any new growth. The bush brats don’t venture into the meadow any more either.

And now it is late autumn. The grass is long and golden, and the leaves are crimson. Before long, you’ll have to think about cutting into some of the old growth so you have enough firewood to last the winter.

In the meantime, your uncle has given you some blankets to deliver to Auntie Tenfingers deep in the coniferous forest to keep her warm when winter comes.

Off you go now.


This is a game about exploring an enchanted forest that is struggling to wake from a shared dream.

It is written to be played solo, but you can probably run it with a group if you want.

It does not include a game system. The beasts all have temperment via a mien table, but don’t have any stats. Many scenarios are ambiguous and open-ended. You’ll need to provide your own way to resolve conflict.

It is a game chiefly of exploration and discovery. There are no real objectives. Other than to deliver some blankets to Auntie Tenfingers in the coniferous forest.

Okay, off you go.


Start your adventure in the bottom hex.

Map of the forest


Fae Forest
Wild Forest
Coniferous Forest
Blighted Forest


Each location below contains a description, a “lost” threshold, and a list of encounters. Each time you attempt to exit a location, roll one six sided die. If it rolls below that location’s lost value, then you become lost and cannot exit the location. Roll another encounter as described below. If it meets or exceeds that location’s lost value, you sucessfully leave the location and enter the location you were trying to enter.

Whenever you enter a new location or are lost in a location, roll a six sided die. Count that many items down the list, skipping any crossed out items, and resolve that encounter. Then cross it off the list. Each individual location on the map can have a different encounter every time you return to it. For trivial items or additional atmosphere, see Trinkets and Atmosphere.

Permenant features: When you encounter a permenant feature, add that feature to the map with a marking of your choice, and then check it off the list of encounters. The feature will always be there when you return to that location on the map. Each location can only have one permenant feature.

You don’t need to know anything else to begin playing. Start exploring the forest, and rolling on location tables as you go.

Blighted Forest

Lost: 5

A claustrophobic maze of thorny vines and brambles knitted together into a tangled knot of arches and winding paths. Rotted leaves and dead branches litter the ground. The ground is barren and it is eerily silent.

Coniferous Forest

Lost: 3

It’s quiet here. Dried pine needles crunch softly underfoot and absorb most sound. It smells sticky, sappy, and piney.

Fae Forest

Lost: 4

The very air seems to shimmer and sparkle in this wood. The colors seem a little brighter. Things here seem a little more surreal and a little more magical.


Lost: 2

This is a friendly wood.


Lost: 1

The thick twisting branches of Allmother Tree tower above the forest canopy, giving this part of the wood the appearance of a large dome. The ground is bare beneath it, as sunlight doesn’t pass through its massive sprawling branches.

It towers over the rest of the forest, hundreds of feet tall, and the stories say it was the very first tree to grow here in this forest, and is the only tree still alive from the first generation of trees back when the earth was still young.

Its trunk is almost a hundred feet wide near the base, but is significantly wider where it actually touches the ground because of its exposed roots which spread and fan out like fingers, digging into the earth and holding it tight. The gaps between some of the roots are as big as the door of a house, and it is possible to walk straight into those gaps and climb down into the earth beneath the tree.

Wild Forest

Lost: 4

The part of the forest where the faun live is even more untamed and unruly than the rest of the forest.


Lots of fantastic creatures inhabit the forest.

Roll 1d6 on a creature’s mien table to determine its disposition.

Bush Brat

A tiny barely humanoid creature that looks like a couple of leaves stiched together with bundles of twigs for arms and legs. They often appear aggressive, slinging darts and stones and tiny arrows, but are mostly just mischievous and playful. They have a small amount of innate magic and enjoy creating small pebble golems to do their bidding or to play with.

Mien: Mischievious / Curious / Helpful / Covetous / Playful / Shy

Double Scorpion

A large scorpion with two stinging tails, four pincers, and sixteen legs. Technically, there’s no proof this isn’t just a “scorpion,” and that so called “normal” scorpions aren’t really “half scorpions”.

Mien: QUAD CLAW ATTACK / Double sting / Plagued by thought / Just looking for a quiet place to molt / Boastful / Bloated


Small woodland creatures with woolly goat legs and hooves and small horns. They are short and stocky and tend to be a little rotund. They are raucous, wild, and unpredictable, but are usually mostly just interested in revelry and merry-making.

Mien: Jolly / Drunk / Festive / Jealous / Revelry / Feral

Grab Spider

A huge arthropod. Its pedipalps are almost twice as long as its legs, and each ends with a jagged sawtoothed edge. It keeps its palps folded in front of it when not using them. But when hunting, fighting, or defending itself, it unfolds them and is capable of grabbing its prey lightning fast from quite a distance.

Mien: Awkwardly molting / Hunting / Wanna hug? / Gonna grab yo ass / Stabby stabby / Just gonna grab ya


The sound of heavy plodding steps accompanied by a loud, muffled buzzing is a sure sign of trouble. The innocuously named Honeybear is a bear, between mostly and all the way dead, that has been animated by a hive of psycho bees. Honeycomb protrudes from its back like sails. Black honey seeps from its pores and leaks from its blind eyes and other orifices. The psycho bees usually steer their shambling, ambulatory bearhives toward the recently or soon-to-be dead so they can make psycho honey from the flesh.

Mien: Gonna maul you / Need fresh meat for my bees / Deactivated / Just passing through / Busy being a beehive / Really wish I wasn’t full of bees


A large beast with a single, long, spiraling horn growing from the center of its forehead. It resembles a horse, with a goat’s beard and hindquarters.

Mien: Noble / Shy / Weeping / Wounded / Frightened / Fierce


A large shambling plant creature of twisted roots and green flowering vines, thick around as a tree trunk. They blend immediately and effortlessly into the forest: it is possible to be standing right next to one and not know it.

Mien: Apathetic / Protective / Curious / Wary / Sleepy / Dismissive


A behemoth deer-like creature with massive horns fanning out from its head like cupped hands reaching toward the sky. You could sit comfortably nestled in the cup of one of its upturned horns. It has a bone plate covering most of its face so that it has an ominous skull-like visage.

Mien: Hungry / Curious / Territorial / Lonely / Aggressive / Groggy


One of the more mundane varieties of common griffon, and an unsettling one at that: half opossum, half carrion vulture. Bald of head, bald of tail, sharp of beak. It can be found hanging by its tail from tree branches wrapped up in its wings, or perched on tree tops greedily waiting for the doomed to finally die so that they can feast.

Mien: Patient / Asleep / Too hungry / Playing dead / Just out of reach / Just ate

Psycho Bee

These carnivorous bees make thick, black honey from flesh and have a parasitic relationship with the bears of the forest, burrowing into them, hollowing them out, and turning them into walking beehives. The “honeybears” don’t survive this, but are piloted by the bees, who take over the nervous system, to find and kill prey for the bees to consume. Eating this “psycho honey” is said to give the victim disturbing visions of dreams and memories of those consumed by the bees.

However, domesticated and rehabilitated psycho bees, kept by the sprites and the fauns of the forest, have successfully been bred to live in beehives instead of bears, and to make honey not from flesh but from the dense meaty kernels of the moonflower. Consuming domesticated psycho honey induces a tranquil state and the sensation of drifting calmly through the void between stars.

Mien: Looking for a new home / Swarming / Passive / Eating meat / Aggressive / Territorial

Snail Hound

A large snail native to the forest that somehow has evolved to be basically a slimy dog with a shell. It still has the body of a snail, eyestalks and a tail, but also four legs on which it can walk. It wags its tail when happy or excited, and retreats into its shell when frightened, and to sleep.

Mien: Excited / Scared / Playful / Is a very good boy / Hungry / So happy to see you


A small winged faerie. Their appearance varies, and their wings, face, and body can resemble a bat, moth, butterfly, or insect. They organize their short lives around ritual and tradition.

Sprites are natural arbiters, judges, and adjudicators. The are capable of magically enforcing the terms of a pact, promise, or agreement.

Mien: Fretful / Curious / Argumentative / Tardy / Condescending / Magnanimous


The people of the forest. Shorter than a human, lithe and quick. Their skin is a dark brown-green, and they are covered with fine moss and small leaves the same way a human is covered with hair.

Mien: Aloof / Disinterested / Protective / Secretive / Impatient / Haughty

Tree Cat

A large cat with long tufted ears, short body and long legs, and no tail. It spends most of its time up a tree, and you are unlikely to see or hear it until it drops down from above and tears into you with its claws.

Mien: Shy / Sleeping / Curious / Observant / Territorial / Hungry

Trinkets and Atmosphere

d66 minor things you might find or encounter in the forest. These items should evoke the feeling of exploring a forest as a small child and finding useless treasure like a cool rock or a great stick. With that in mind, feel free to add your own items of small wonder.

  1. a human skull
  2. a beautiful feather
  3. a perfectly shaped leaf
  4. a cute bug
  5. a long branch perfect for a walking stick
  6. a red brick

  1. a long line of ants marching acros your path
  2. some words carved into a tree
  3. a small glass vial
  4. a perfectly round, smooth rock the size of your palm
  5. the skull of a bird
  6. a pile of animal droppings

  1. large animal tracks crossing your path
  2. recently disturbed dirt
  3. a small dagger with a curved blade
  4. a birds nest that has fallen to the forest floor
  5. a large spiders web
  6. a thin gold chain half buried in the dirt

  1. a worn piece of paper with faded writing on it
  2. a large frog
  3. a small pond with leaves floating on it
  4. a crow picking at a small carcas
  5. a handful of stones stacked on top of each other
  6. a fallen tree

  1. a peaceful meadow
  2. a truffle seeking hog
  3. a crow racoon
  4. a tree explodes right in front you!
  5. two moose fighting each other
  6. a long snake slithers out of the way into the underbrush

  1. a termite mound as tall as you are
  2. a giant snail
  3. a flock of parrots squawking so loudly you would have to shout to be heard
  4. quicksand!
  5. a giant horned lizard sunbathing on a rock
  6. a pleasant glade full of wildflowers


These are all spoilers. Don’t read anything in this section until you are instructed to do so.

Protocol A

Woodboggle Caves
  1. Entrance. The tunnels to the north and south are sealed by twisted cords of vines thicker than you leg.

  2. Lush cave. Vines and dense vegetation fill this humid cavern. A small mossman rests here, its vines and leaves a bright, young green. It clutches a small copper pendant in its hand: a tree with a thick trunk and tangles of branches above and roots below.

  3. Holding room. You find a bunch of lethargic bush brats. Their usually lush leaves look kind of wilted and covered with something that looks like long whispy strands of thin spidery silk. They resist all attempts at rescue.

  4. Long hall. An elderly Woodboggle attends a group of adolescent Woodboggle huddled by a fire, bringing them soup and water. The Woodboggle’s mossy, leafy covering is thicker and more wild than younger Woodboggle, giving him a feral plantlike appearance. He wears a copper tree pendant.

  5. Hatching Room. Full of plump silken cocoons attached to the walls. You see one crack open and a newborn Woodboggle crawl out.

Through observation, or speaking with the creatures in this cave, you might discover a secret. Read Protocol J.

Protocol B

You strike up a conversation with a sprite who is covered in fuzz and has the nose, ears, and wings of a fruit bat. When you bring up the fauns, they scoff.

You mean the horns? That drunken, lazy lot! They’d let this forest fall into ruin and would like that just fine! They think they own the place, but I’d like them to see how fast things would fall apart around here without us. The sprites are the one who hold this forest together!

Also, they stole the bees from our beehives so they can make their precious mead! If you want the sprites and the fauns to get along, they can start by bringing the bees back to our beehives.

You gain the Queen Bee quest.

If you have the Drinking horn quest, read Protocol H.

If you have the queen bee, read Protocol M.

Protocol C

One of the fauns complains loudly to you, standing a little too close.

Those sprites? The “wings”? Damned busybodies. Flitting around here and there, always rushing to be somewhere. Think they own the damn forest. Well guess what! This forest doesn’t belong to them!

If you want to help us, fetch me our drinking horn that they stole from us!

You gain the Drinking horn quest.

If you have the Queen Bee quest, read Protocol L.

Protocol D

Auntie Tenfingers thanks you for the blankets and calls you a dear, sweet child. My how you have grown! She pours some hot tea for the two of you and you catch up.

She gives you a sturdy cloak the color of oak leaves and shadows. It has a small silver clasp in the shape of a small tree branch, and a hood that hides your face when you pull it up, and it is long enough to reach down to your calves in the back.

I used to wrap myself up in this cloak and sit under Allmother Tree for hours when I was your age. Go visit the old tree. Tell her Auntie Tenfingers says hello.

She looks fretfull for a moment.

Also, the fauns and the sprites are really at each other’s throats for some reason. It’s starting to stress the forest out, I can tell. See if you can find out whatever it is they’re squabbling over this time.

Add Woodland Cloak to your inventory.

Protocol E

You step into the space between two large exposed roots, each big enough to be a small tree in its own right. The roots continue to be exposed beneath the tree as they dig down into the earth, and you climb down, at first sliding down the loose, crumbling earth, and then grabbing onto smaller roots and climbing down them like a rope ladder.

Eventually you reach the bottom of a large earthen bowl. A lone ray of light shines feeble and weak on the floor. The air smells of rich loam. You cross the floor and climb up the other side.

The tree sighs and whispers to you.

Hello, human child. So nice of you to visit me. There was another child who used to visit me a long long time ago, but I don’t see them much any more. I sleep most of the time now though. And not very well. I dream of a dark ocean and a great sea monster. The dream pulls me under, and it becomes harder and harder to wake from it.

I can tell that the forest likes you. You should visit my friend the river in the wild woods.

You finally have to squeeze yourself through a narrow gap between two roots and claw your way up out of the ground, but you emerge and are standing on the other side of the massive tree.

You brush the caked dirt off your hands and forearms to reveal that your skin has become dark corded wood.

You have the Barkskin effect.

Protocol F

This time when the river tries to pull you under, you bob like a cork on the surface thanks to the buoyancy of your composition. You float downstream like driftwood, being turned around this way and that, circling a few times around an eddy. The water speeds up as it approaches a small fall. You tumble over the edge of a large boulder and fall through the air, crashing through the surface of the water below into a deep pool.

The stream sighs around you and whispers in your ear.

I’m only ever passing through here, you know. I was born in the mountains. And now these banks contain me, constrain me, but that is only temporary, you see? I dream of the sea, and one day soon I will join it in boundless wonder.

You rest at the bottom of the pool for a moment before swimming up toward the surface and then to the bank.

When you pull yourself out of the water, you notice that your skin has turned a pale blue. There is webbing between your fingers, and patches of translucent, shimmery scales cover your skin.

You have the Fishtype effect.

Protocol G

You crawl up the skull of the gargantuan bony fish and crawl into its eye. It is empty on the inside: dark, damp, and muddy. You sit down and hug your knees into your chest.

You hear a dripping, dribbling voice burble up as though from the depths and pop like a bubble inside the skull, and inside yours.

Hello, child. I have been sleeping fitfully for a long time now, but your presence has finally woken me up.

I have slept here perhaps too long. These lands are dry and strange to me. When I lived here, this place was the bottom of a vast ocean, and I swam here in peace. When I tired after I don’t know how long, I allowed my life to leave my body, and my body sank down to the bottom. An abundance of new life sprung up around the food and shelter provided by my body.

I was at my happiest then. I had nothing to worry about and nothing to do but watch my body nourish and support new life. And I was pleased, and I slept.

While I slept, the ocean receded and dried up, and for a long time I was alone. I don’t recognize this place any longer. My bones are dry. I want to be at peace again. I want to sleep again. I want to be of use.

The voice becomes still.

You climb out of the skull and in the light of day see that your flesh has turned stiff, grey, and bloodless. It peels away in patches, exposing muscle and bone below.

You have the Corpseform effect.

Protocol H

You ask the sprite about the drinking horn.

Drinking horn?! That is exactly the problem with these fauns! That is the horn of a monocerus, a sacred, beautiful beast! It is a sacred relic, and what do they do? Fill it with mead and get drunk! Shameful.

Ugh! Fine, whatever. Here, you can give them the horn back if you get our bees back. Go on, take it.

You gain the Drinking Horn.

Protocol I

There’s a slight groove, an indentation in the grass in the center of the ring of toadstools. You lay yourself down in the center and close your eyes. You feel yourself sinking down into the earth, and you feel the soft threads of mycelium reach out and brush against you, sinking into your rotting flesh.

We live in the earth, feeding on and removing that which has moved on. We are all connected, and when we dream we dream together. Now that you have nourished us, you can dream with us.

You feel inextricably connected to the forest, part of a vast network. You are more a part of the forest than ever.

You gain the Fungalform effect.

Protocol J

The secret is this: the bush brats, the Woodboggle, and the mossmen are all distinct life stages of the same creature. When it is time, the bush brat spins a cocoon around itself and later hatches into a Woodboggle. The Woodboggle eventually become more and more plantlike until it undergoes “the changing” and becomes a mossman. And the mossman eventually becomes more and more sedentary until it takes root and grows special tuber-like structures which under the right conditions hatch into 2 - 3 bush brats, completing the cycle.

You have completed the Secret of the Forest Children quest.

Protocol K

You stand in the center of the Circle of Dreams.

Your connection to the forest and your knowledge of its children let’s you know exactly what is going on here.

These are mossmen in the final stage of their lives. Having taken root around the stones, their final task is to create the tubers from which the bush brats hatch, restarting the life cycle.

A lone Woodboggle emerges from the thick woods, stands at your side, and gestures toward the hedges with the tip of their spear.

They sleep here. Once they’ve grown the Root of Life, they have earned their rest. So they sleep, and they dream.

The Woodboggle steps up to a thick portion of hedge, its own forefather, and digs around in the dirt beneath it with the handle of its spear. It stoops down, reaches in, and pulls up a thick hunk of spongy root, earth clinging to it. It holds the root out to you.

To begin the next part of your journey, you must eat of the Root of Life.

You take the root and lift it to your lips.

After you swallow your first bite, your head starts to swim, and your legs become weak. You sink to the ground, roll over, and close your eyes.

The Woodboggle lifts you and deposits you into a gap in the hedge, and you sleep, and you dream.

You gain the Dreamform effect.

Protocol L

You ask the faun about the bees, and he roars with laughter and then sighs happily.

Bees from the fae forest make the very best honey! You know why, don’t you? Those are no ordinary bees! They’re PSYCHO bees! And they make psycho honey! Which we turn into psycho mead! Ha! It’s the sweetest tasting mead you’ll ever have, and it also gives you visions.

If you have the Drinking Horn read Protocol N.

Protocol M

The sprite claps delightedly when they see you walk in wearing a suit made out of bees.

At the vacant beehives, you open your hand and deposit the queen. The bees you are wearing leave you and cluster around their queen.

The sprite is curious to hear about the reverence with which the faun accepted the monocerus horn. And it tells you about their own ceremonies involving the psycho honey.

We might have more in common than we thought after all.

You have completed the Forest Friendship quest.

Protocol N

The faun’s eyes go wide as it reverently accepts the drinking horn.

They gave us back our monocerus horn? I can’t believe it! This is very special and sacred to us, you know.

The faun wipes a tear from its eye.

Of course they can have the bees back. We have enough honey now to keep us supplied with psycho mead for quite a while!

At the beehives, you gently cup the queen psycho bee in your hand. The remaining bees all gently land on your hand and arm, trying to be close to their queen.

You have aquried the Queen Bee.

Protocol O

Auntie Tenfingers is waiting for you when arrive at Allmother Tree.

Do you know how many generations of our family have called me “auntie”?

A lot. Almost more than I can remember.

I had already lived several lifetimes by the time I first came to this place as a young girl. I had nothing but a single seed clutched in my fist. There was nothing here. Just a wide grassy plain. I planted my seed here, and it grew into Allmother Tree. And the forest slowly grew around me and Allmother Tree.

Everyone here dreams, you see. I dream of my life before I came here. Allmother Tree dreams of the tree it was before it was a seed. The stream dreams of the ocean. The leviathan dreams of being of use. The fauns and the sprites dream of a time–in the past, and in the future–when they were sisters. The Woodboggle, the children of the forest, dream of their many past lives.

During your time here in the forest, you’ve passed in and out of and through everybody else’s dreams. And now you’re ready to take up the mantle of Guardian and protect this Forest of Dreams.