The Black Shroud (黒シュラウド, Kuro shuraudo?) is a region in Final Fantasy XIV. It is the forest region surrounding the city-state of Gridania. The forest itself is known to take the lives of anyone who does not heed the Elementals, a danger often referred to as the "woodwrath". This makes it a natural filter against those would would bear arms against Gridania, though that hasn't stopped Garlemald from trying.
The region contains the dungeon areas of The Mun-Tuy Cellars, The Tam-Tara Deepcroft, and the Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak. It is connected to Thanalan to the south, Mor Dhona to the south west, and Coerthas to the north west. It is also connected to two inaccessible regions: Xelphatol and Gyr Abania.
- Bentbranch (34, 32)
- Emerald Moss (20, 20)
- Tranquil (38, 49)
- Crimson Bark (15, 32)
- Nine Ivies (48, 29)
Hamlets and CabinsEdit
Quarrymill is located at grid reference (44, 47), east of Tranquil. It is the destination for the Tranquil Caravan as well as a location used in several quests.
Hyrstmill is located at grid reference (24, 13), north east of Treespeak in the North Shroud. It is the destination for the Treespeak Caravan, and the location of Black Shroud's Hamlet Defense. It also contains an Achievement NPC.
Hyrstmill was used during the winter holiday events. Players would be rewarded after throwing snowballs (using a seasonal emote) at a snowman named Father Frost to help usher in the snow, the absence of which was considered a sign of the impending Seventh Umbral Era. Later, during the New Years event, the gigantic snowman mysteriously vanished. It was later revealed to be an Ice Elemental Incarnate (the form of a Goobbue) trapped in a gem called the "Heart of Winter".
Buscarron's Fold is located at grid reference (35, 43) along the Furline, the path connecting the Central and South Shroud. Here stands the Achievement NPC Milith Ironheart, in charge of Dungeon Achievements.
The Hawthorne HutEdit
The Hawthorne Hut is located at grid reference (50, 32), southeast of Camp Nine Ivies.
Even now, remnants of that forgotten civilization lie deep beneath the Black Shroud, waiting to be discovered. And that is precisely what I mean to do.
Milith Ironheart, the NPC in charge of Dungeon Achievements, mentions an ancient subterranean civilization called "Gelmorra", which existed before Gridania "when man feared the wrath of the elementals and lived in the shadow of the Ixal". They were responsible for constructing the dungeons beneath the Black Shroud.
The Mun-Tuy Cellars can be accessed from a tunnel near Camp Emerald Moss towards the north-west of the map. In-game the player will find it at grid reference (24, 18), and also at (20, 13). The Mun-Tuy cellars are a subterranean winery, with yeast beds and cellars for aging, pressing, ripening, running, blending, fining, and wizening, as well as two -priming wells in the middle. The monsters in the area are all below Level 40, ranging from squirrels to yarzons.
The Tam-Tara Deepcroft is located near Camp Bent Branch towards to center of the map at grid reference (34, 35). It is a necropolis infested with puks in nearly every hall. Boars, floating eyes, gnats, and imps have also made it their home, and the undead roam the tombs. All monsters here are below Level 50.
The Thousand Maws of Toto-RakEdit
The Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak is an instanced dungeon located near Camp Tranquil at grid reference (39, 44). It is restricted to parties of two to four Disciples of War or Magic level 25 or greater. It is thick with Aether, and adventurers will be teleported safely outside if their stay reaches 30 minutes.
The Garlean Empire have placed magitek devices throughout the dungeon that create barriers to block off paths. Each device can be turned off after finding four hidden photocells. There are also notes scattered throughout detailing the unfortunate fate of an investigation team.
It is used in the optional quest "Imperial Devices", but can be entered again for unique challenges, achievements, and rewards which can be redeemed for Grand Company seals. The quest does not require the party to defeat any of the three diremite bosses, but the rewards for defeating the strongest boss can be worthwhile. A level 50 adventurer, particularly a Black Mage, can complete the dungeon's speed challenge by them self, though a second party member is required to enter.
There are several hidden landmarks throughout Eorzea, many of which are found in the Black Shroud. Many of these landmarks are indicated on the map in Eorzean, but otherwise go unmarked and in many cases unused.
An airship landing ramp that may have been built for use by Ishgard in their trade with Gridania, located around grid reference (19, 16). There are other landings like it in Coerthas, and an NPC mentions that Ishgardian airships stop at them on their way to Gridania. There are no such ramps in either Thanalan or La Noscea. They currently serve no purpose to players apart from adding to the scenery.
The White Willow is easily found at grid reference (23,19), in the middle of the clearing on the way from Emerald Moss to the Mun-Tuy Cellars. Though easy to miss at night or in bad weather, it glows an angelic white in the sunlight.
Lifemend Stump is a marked clearing just off the main road on the way to Camp Emerald Moss. It is a giant flat stump, the top having been cut cleanly and horizontally, with a primitive pattern made of stones on top. Gridanians will sometimes journey here to leave broken items for the Moogles to mend. It is used in one of the Conjurer class quests, as well as the main scenario for Gridania.
Stump of BirthsEdit
Often overlooked at grid reference (21, 13), the trees here have been cut down. Such blatant deforestation of Black Shroud is considered a travesty by Elementals and Gridanians alike.
Moonspore Grove is located at grid reference (53, 20). It is the nesting ground of the Sylphs. While the Grove is entirely blocked off by boulders, players can peek in to see white plants that glow red, and propped-up triangular tarps shelters.
On the way to the Grove one can encounter, and even fight, many Sylphs leveled in the low 40s. Their houses also make worthy sights, glowing from the tree trunks in small clusters. The plants in the area are noticeably different, almost luminous.
The Honey YardEdit
Located at grid reference (55, 21), Goldleaf Dais is another structure built by the Sylphs. It is a wooden platform with a leaf-shaped table and an elongate altar. Above the altar is a lightning bolt emblem. The Dais is entered via the stairs in front, but a decorative chain bars passage at the top of the stairs. These stairs are indicative of their good relations with other beast tribes and humans, as the Sylphs are able to levitate without ever landing.
While the Aetherial Gate is pretty easy to spot, just southwest at grid reference (27, 38) is a giant tree now used for the White Mage Level 50 climax.
The Oak Tree is located at grid reference (10,28), just southwest of Lichenweed. It is unique in that it has lost all of its leaves. It spikes high upward in wicked branches.
The Gelmorra Ruins are located at grid reference (21, 8). It is a large circular altar with dilapidated columns surrounding it and dotted with glowing stones protruding from the bricks at regular intervals. As mentioned above, the Gelmorrans lived primarily underground, and this may be their only above-ground structure.
This is one of the most heavily-guarded parts of the world, as most of the monsters in the area are above Level 70 and some will detect by scent, meaning anyone who goes near will be slaughtered. Nevertheless, they are one of the most thought-provoking sights outside the common adventuring territories.
Located at grid reference (14, 40), like most of the Turning Leaf area it is guarded by notorious monster trees called Guardians of the Grove. The hog Buata can be fought for a key item related to the Good King Moggle Mog XII quest. This location subtly alludes to the Knights of the Round and their namesake from Arthurian Lore.
"Emerald Labyrinth" played in all of the Black Shroud areas.
The battle theme of this area is "The Forest's Pulse".
Criticism & ReceptionEdit
In Legacy, the Black Shroud was generally the single most-criticized and least-liked zone in the entire game; not only did the vast majority of the map consist of narrow, twisting paths, making navigation tremendously cumbersome (doubly so in the early days before chocobos were available) but this same zone design made it clear, more than any other zone in the game, just how extensive and pervasive the developers' use of "copy-pasted" terrain features was. Unlike other maps, where it was marginally better-concealed, even an untrained user can discern all of the repeated terrain and map elements of the Shroud, without the need for a visual aid. This made the Shroud something of a symbol for the game's failings, and while it still saw traffic, generally it was only used if a player absolutely needed to go there. Later patches added very little content to the Shroud; the only notable pieces of content for the area were the Gridanian versions of Hamlet Defense and Caravan Security and the entrance for the Good King Moggle Mog encounter, as the developers were aware of the players' general dislike for the area (and the design of the zone made it difficult to add any content).
This all resulted in the Shroud being by far the most altered zone in the Realm Reborn version. While other zones are somewhat recognizable and flow in roughly a similar manner, the Shroud was reworked from the bottom-up: the "central" area was expanded, the "west" area was made completely inaccessible (as a result of the Calamity), the narrow paths were removed entirely in favor of free-range fields broken up by large trees, and large parts of the landscape were completely redesigned to facilitate better gameplay flow and potential for content expansion.