Sure, giant mudbats can be scary if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, but by far the most dangerous thing in this picture is that massive green shrub, the sweetberry bush.
As the name would imply, the bush produces a delectable fruit. It’s quite edible and nutritious! Some enterprising soul who encountered the bush in its native habitat thought, “Why don’t I bring this lovely, innocent little plant back to Pocalo with me, that I may cultivate its delicious produce?”
Well, it turns out birds took a liking to the berries and cheerfully dispersed the seeds in their poop, and the sweetberry bush really, REALLY took a liking to the province of Muru in particular. It spread explosively, and has choked out countless native species in its rampage across the landscape.
Economic and Social Effects
Muru’s economy has long been heavily dependent on the collection and sale of the various rare medicinal plants that grow throughout the province. Runners who specialized in a particular species found themselves out of work after the sweetberry bush showed up in their region and destroyed the indigenous flora.
The resulting economic instability has led to a significant increase in crime throughout Muru, with many former runners becoming bandits. Meanwhile, the extinction of numerous medically beneficial species has caused a resurgence in various previously-treatable diseases, resulting in waves of epidemics throughout Pocalo as supplies of medicines have run out. Social services are stretched thin dealing with both the crime and the epidemics.
The Poison Marsh
Attempts to control the bush have ranged from the ineffective to the utterly disastrous. The worst of these was an experiment with an herbicide whose runoff collected into a low-lying area, rendering a whole region dangerously toxic. This area is now simply known as the Poison Marsh.
Worst of all, the herbicide not only failed to kill the bush, but destroyed various other plants, opening up even more of the landscape to colonization by … THE DREADED SWEETBERRY BUSH.