Plaguesap Treants

   
Plaguesap Treants

THE PLAGUESAP TREANT

In the great steppes that lie between the Dwarf Peaks and Cadocia, there is a small copse of trees, each a twisted and blasted ruin, split to the core and petrified by some ancient curse. There being no reason to visit this place, or to linger there should a traveler pass through by accident, the artificial caverns below have remained undiscovered since before the ages of men.

It was here that the Dweller began certain blasphemous experiments that have only recently come to fruition, long having been distracted by the sudden existence of the Book of Seven, only returning to them when the artifact was claimed. Infusions of power - sometimes hellish, sometimes abyssal - into the revived roots of the dead trees above resulted in the spawning of seeds.

The treants that grew from these seeds were visibly different from their pure cousins elsewhere in the world, as twisted and blasted as the lifeless trees from which they were spawned. The Dweller would harvest them, refining and perfecting the transformation as their slow generations passed. By the time the last of the Lords of Sin was appointed, the Dweller had decided there was no more to be done and, with predictable callousness, released the treants into the surface world.

Though few in number, the abominations are difficult to eradicate. Even if slain, their sap will enter the soil and thence into nearby plants, or be sprayed across the bodies of their foes, infecting them with the pollution therein. In time, this insidious plague will reach a tree or even a treant, invading its seeds and changing them so that they will grow into more of these corrupted, plaguesap treants.

Their spread outside of the steppes has been slow. But a treant, after all, has no need to hurry...

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Pending review, minor tweaks and so forth, further information will follow on individual plaguesap treants - including the necrotic foulness that is Betula of the Asphodels, the towering Carya the Unassailable and the legend-shrouded Olneya First-Seeded.

Awesome! I love the concept. Let me check the stats/numbers for balance but so far, so good.

Thanks for the present, and Merry christmas!

Right, since I really need to finish one project before starting another, let's carry on with this one. As ever, reviews and criticism necessary before this goes live.

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BETULA OF THE ASPHODELS

Despite her relative youth, having sprouted a paltry six hundred years ago, Betula is one of the most far-ranging of the plaguesap treants, having outpaced nearly all of them in even reaching the Dwarf Peaks, never mind passing over them and through the Deadlands. Following the sympathetic magical resonances to which she was peculiarly attuned, Betula reached the secluded Proudfellow hame of Flowers-of-Bone on the southern shores of Ghost Lake.

Over the course of the next three years, she would gradually defile the totems that warded the area against malevolent magic, until eventually the hame was overrun by undead and other, fouler beings drawn by the ever-increasing energies of corruption. Betula was patient, ensuring the last of the hositan was dead before subjugating the monsters present among the ruins. If she was to make this place her own, dissent from any source would be unacceptable.

Betula is, in no uncertain terms, a mutant. Unlike the rest of her kind, she is sterile, a byproduct of her exceptionally deadly sap that simply cannot sustain the transformative toxins to allow reproduction. She developed latent connections to the powers of death and decay, using them to fuel the deeper perversion of the natural order that she made of Flowers-of-Bone. Once a ward against evil, the hame is now a ghastly arboretum wherein Betula cultivates abominable mutations and hybrids, usually fed on the mindless undead still drawn there, but with an occasional treat of the living thrown in.

For some unknown reason, Betula developed a pathological hatred of harpies during her crossing of the Deadlands. Unwilling to let their natural absence from this part of the world deter her, she spent a considerable amount of effort and time, even by treant standards, to acquire enough of them to maintain a breeding population in Flowers-of-Bone. Betula clips their wings and plucks their talons as they age, making it clear that the harpies will be unable to survive outside of her domain, then holding their eggs and chicks hostage to ensure further compliance from her unusual slaves.





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The idea with Betula is that she is a type of Barrier Boss, acting as something to be overcome in order to pass through the Ghoul's Cleft (either way, for whatever reason) or to acquire something that she has acquired from one of her victims and is now somewhere within her territory. Depending on party composition and where she is encountered, combat against her may be relatively painless for a level-appropriate encounter...or not. This, in a sense, also makes her a Puzzle Boss of a sort, ideally requiring a reasonable level of research and observation to suss out how best to overcome her.

Finding out how to kill her permanently is a task probably more suited to an adventure involving the restoration of the lost shires and hames of the hositan, rather than as a side mission for a more typical quest. At least the option to avoid her entirely and wander through her considerable domain without ever encountering her allows for a lower-level party to try for an infiltration plotline.

Just saying.

This is getting added to my list for publication in either March or April. Thanks!

You're welcome.

You may notice a fair few of the DCs, for the Lair Actions in particular, are lower than could be considered challenging to a mid-level party. That's basically because I felt getting hit with some of those significantly nasty and slightly-later-game effects would be more fair if they were easier to resist.

More to the point, the sheer spread of Betula's territory means that individual DMs can generate their own maps of portions of each major area, as well as the random forest nature of everywhere else. Which was something I hadn't thought about doing until right before I posted this, so I cut out the original distances involved and just specified that the willows, the vineyards etc were more concentrated in compass directions.

I think it worked out OK, all things considered.

Maybe consider making a Farland adventure starring Betula as the BBEG...

...crap, that would mean I'd need to be inventive, wouldn't it? I mean, it's doable sure, but, painful on the mem-brain. Let's see how the rest of this project turns out first I think.

Haha no pressure.

My AdChoices selection at the top of this page just now? Dark Souls 3...and Christmas Trees. That's a sick sense of humour, right there.

Anyways...just a quickie:


PLUCKED HARPY (template)

This template is used by the enslaved harpies in Betula's domain, although it can be easily converted to account for other tortured aerial creatures.

Challenge Reduce one level if lacking Piteous Lament (see below), otherwise as base creature

Movement Remove any fly speed

Cowed The creature has disadvantage on saves against fear; Intimidation checks made against them have advantage and Strength may be used instead of Charisma to make an Intimidation check against them

Actions Remove Multiattack and Claws, add Piteous Lament

Piteous Lament Every humanoid and giant within 300ft that can hear the harpy must succeed on a DC11 Wisdom save or suffer disadvantage on attack rolls as they are overcome with unlikely sympathy. The effect lasts until the lament ends, the harpy is incapacitated, or until injured by the harpy or one of its allies. The harpy must take a bonus action to maintain its song or may end it at any time. The harpy cannot use a Luring Song and a Piteous Lament in the same turn.




 

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