The Infestation, sometimes called the Infested Lands, comprise a large section of western central Lados. By most accounts it extends from 40°N, 70°E to 10°N, 100°E.
The Infestation began in 2540 NA, Heroes. It sprang up first along the coast of central Lados and spread without warning. Nothing and no one could stop its progress. Eventually it seemed to lose interest in expanding, or perhaps all of the invaders had finally come through whatever portal was opened to bring them here, as one theory posits.
Since then it has remained mostly untouched. Many forays have been made to try and reclaim pieces of the land, but all were eventually wiped out utterly. Only two safe places within the Infested Lands exist: the yautja camp, and a camp of huge, mighty warriors from the plane of Ysgard that have recently carved their way to and reclaimed a small keep. Some scholars believe that the Infestation is the single greatest threat that Torar has ever faced. Given the turbulent nature of the world's deities, that makes this a truly frightening concept to consider.
Most of the surface of the Infestation looks as it has: wild growing plains and thin copses of trees, with thicker forests toward the coastal region. However, dotting the landscape are conical mounds that act as the entrances to hives of one of the Infestation's most feared inhabitants: the xenos. These hive entrances extend deep into the ground like massive ant colonies, with the tunnel walls being completely covered in their expelled resin. In the winter these hive mouths seem to 'breathe.' This is due to the resin's ability to retain a jungle-like heat at all times within the hive, thus the 'breathing' of the hive mouths is simply the expelling of warm, most air into the colder winter air.
Additionally, nearly every town, village, and castle has become overrun by colonies of enormous ant and wasp colonies. While dangerously large, these gigantic insects act like their more normally-sized counterparts do, while the xenos are rarely seen aboveground unless on a raid.
The Infestation covers most of what used to be the breadbox of Lados. The loss of this pristine fieldland has damaged the world's grain markets. Macabre as it may seem, this makes it fortunate that the Infestation killed so many people when it happened. As it is, it is a regular sight in many cities to see poor and homeless begging for bread. The value of arable land in Lados has also dramatically increased since the Infestation began. The grainlands that remain in Lados have benefitted from this increase in global demand and reduction in global supply of wheat, corn, and other grains.
The inhabitants of areas bordering the Infestation have become cautious and hardened, and many communities have become far more insular. Overall martial skill has risen in these areas, and it is rare to find under-defended groups outside of village walls.
The Infestation has also stopped nearly all ocean traffic on the western coast of Lados, and has made it a lucrative place for pirates and other criminals to set up permanent bases from which to strike out at the remaining shipping lanes. This has increased demand for escort vessels and mercenaries willing to help fight off such raiders.
There are three primary inhabitants of the Infestation: the xenos, the vermin, and the yautja. For some reason, the xenos and the insects seem uninterested in each other, and have never been known to fight against one another.
The xenos are a race of hideous monsters. They are covered in a dark-colored exoskeleton that is impervious to most normal weapons, though adamantium and magical weapons seem capable of piercing their hide. Their heads are enlongated and smooth, lacking eyes or other sensory organs, and it is assumed they 'see' by smell or by some other means. Their mouths are filled with long, sharp teeth, and inside there is a smaller, inner mouth, also filled with sharp teeth, that the xeno can shoot out like a chameleon's tongue. This mouth serves as both a close range weapon as well as the primary means of consumption, while the larger mouth seems to serve mainly to protect the inner one and to excrete the resin they use to build their hives and coccoon their captives. They have long, agile tails as long as the rest of their bodies that are tipped with a wicked, envenomed barb that they use as a long range weapon. Their hands are equipped with vicious claws capable of ripping through a fully armored warrior without slowing down. Their blood is highly acidic, and even magical protection against acid is useless against it. Adamantium seems able to resist the acid, though for how long is unknown.
Xenos live in a caste system within their hives. The drones are the majority of the hive, and also the weakest and smallest, standing only about 6 or 7 feet tall. The warrior caste are an average of two feet taller than the drones, have longer tails, and thicker exoskeletons. The praetorian caste are several feet taller than the warriors, and appear to be evolved warriors who act as protectors of the queen, or of other important areas of the hive. Finally, the queen of the hive is even larger than the praetorians, often standing more then 16 feet tall, and possesses superior strength, speed, and intelligence.
While a xeno is typically as intelligent as an average primate, they excel at observational learning, and rapidly adapt to almost any situation. The queen seems capable of some form of telepathic communication with others of her hive, and can direct them in complex military maneuvers.
Xenos hunt primarily at night, and seek to capture rather than kill. Those that are captured are taken back to the hive to either be consumed or used as hosts for more xenos, who must be implanted into a host's body in order to mature. A xeno's physical form seems to vary based on the host. For example, a canine host results in a smaller, primarily quadrupedal, much swifter version of the typical humanoid hosted xenos.
The Infestation is home to a number of gigantic insect life, primarily including ants and wasps, though other insects have also been noted, such as praying mantises, beetles, and even some arachnids like spiders and scorpions. Though extremely large and aggressive, they seem otherwise to act identically to their normal counterparts.
Rumors indicate that there are some examples of each vermin species of legendary proportions... beetles larger than cities and the like... that roam or hibernate within the Infestation, though there are no eye witness accounts of these colossal monstrosities.
The yautja appeared several years after the Infestation began. They appear to be an extraplanar race of highly advanced warriors with magical weapons and a ready source of adamantium. Most wear smooth magical masks over their faces which are believed to help them breathe and see in the Prime Material Plane. Their true faces are vaguely crab-like with a pronounced forehead, small, beady eyes, and four arthropod-like mandibles that surround their central mouth. The yautja can manipulate these mandibles to form expressions. Their hair is uniformly black and is pleated into thick dreadlocks in a painful, public months-long ritual when a juvenile seeks to enter adulthood, wherein they are not allowed to show any sign of pain or they must start over from the beginning. Yautja are larger and heavier than humans, with proportions more closely related to ogres or trolls than humans or elves. Their skin is resistent to damage, and is usually brown and tan splotched, almost like natural camoflage.
Yautja live in a structured clan with a clear hierarchy. Only males may become hunters, though females are larger and more powerful than the males, and are seen as equals in their society and mentality. Yautja are mammals, and reproduce like most other races on Torar.
A typical yautja hunter is equipped with a magical shoulder cannon that fires off extremely potent versions of magic missles, an extendable javelin, a magical razor-edged discus of returning, wristbands with extendable claws, and a magically shrinking net to capture prey. All of their equipment is made of adamantium. Addtionally the yautja hunters seem capable of seeing by heat emissions, and can become invisible at will.
For the yautja, hunting is everything, and they exist to hunt the greatest and most challenging prey in order to win the greatest honor. They will hunt the races of Torar just as easily as they hunt the xenos, which seems to be their primary purpose. Yautja hunters always take trophies from worthy kills, and they will never kill helpless prey unless attacked.