26 October 2012
• tendril +7 (1d3+1; Ref DC 18 grabbed)
Act 3d20 or 4d20
SP mist maiden, mind mist
A false dryad is a rare, carnivorous tree. Their trunks are just tall enough (30 feet, generally) to obscure the fact that they don't reach to the same height as the trees they mimic. They are instead topped with a large maw, which is lined with a dozen or more circular rows of teeth-like thorns.
They have three or four major limbs, which each extrude one sinewy, flexible tendril of 50 to 80 feet in length. With these tendrils, a false dryad grabs prey and raises them high to deposit them inside it's deadly maw. Although the creature is willing to bite off it's own tendril in consuming prey, rather than give that prey a chance to escape, it may take several passes for it to aim writhing prey directly at it's mouth. Each round that it holds a victim ready to consume them, roll a d6; on a three or less its aim is foiled by vigorous escape attempts and it can try again next round. Adjust the number needed up or down depending on circumstances. Once in the maw of a false dryad, a victim suffers 4d6 damage right away, and each round thereafter, from the rhythmically contracting, bright orange esophagus and the many counter-shifting rings of thorns.
A false dryad attracts humankind prey by emitting puffs of thick mist from it's lower trunk. This mist vaguely takes the shape of a human or similar kind (based on former victims). As seen through the obscuring growth of a forest, it may appear quite convincing. When prey gets closer to investigate, the mist has spread and lost it's 'form', but lingers and affects the mind, dulling the senses of those breathing it (Fort DC 13; -1 to all rolls).
Attacking a tendril driectly: use the same AC as the whole creature (tendrils are not as tough, but are mobile), and can take the equivalent of 1/3rd to one-half the creature's HP before being severed. Given their length, once severed they may still be just as dangerous, albeit shorter.
The interior of a false dryad may contain possessions of former victims that were not digestible.
Are they ever known as "celestial man-trap trees"? No, no they are not.
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18 October 2012
• harrowing +8 (1d6)
MV fly 60
SP fleeting, limited telepathy
A Dryad is the guardian of a forest or grove, an aethereal, feminine embodiment of the life force of the flora. They come into existence when a forest has been used for evil purposes, or when great harm has been done to a forest, spawning in a like way as anti-bodies form in the blood to fight illness. Having no solid physical form, dryads are only visible as fleeting movement in the canopy and branches of a forest.
They move freely under and within the canopy with great speed. They can briefly appear in a semi-corporeal from in front of the trunk of a great tree. However, if two or more observers are positioned around the tree, the dryad will appear to be before the tree for each observer, even if the observers are on opposite sides of the tree.
If men enter a dryad-guarded wood with malice or mischief in their hearts, the dryad can sense this. She will then aim to intercept the intruders and harry them into leaving her woods. Dryads can recall the pain of any who have suffered in their groves, and can call the echo of such pain to harrow intruders. The damage thus inflicted comes with the full intensity of the original pain, and causes hit point damage. This damage is negated as soon as the target leaves the dryad's woods. Thus, the dryad may cause someone to feel the fear and pain of a person abducted into the woods and beaten savagely a year earlier, or the pain of someone trapped in the woods by fire a century ago; the powerful memories so inflicted cause hit point loss, until such time as the target leaves the woods whereupon the memories lessen as memories do, and the hit points are restored. Any being reduced to zero hit points will enter a coma, not awakening until the dryad allows them, or until they have been removed from the woodlands.
Targeting a dryad with arrow, stone or spell is no easy feat. Restless, furtive creatures, each round anyone trying to attack a dryad, or even someone merely attempting to speak to one, will have to make an ability check to find the dryad, either Intelligence-based, Luck-based, or as adjudicated otherwise by the GM to fit the specific situation.
The wood of trees, even fallen trees, from within a dryad's protection can be used for special purposes by those who know how to unlock their unique properties. A dryad may make a bargain with collectors seeking such samples; she may allow the taking of such things, if the collector promises to right a wrong previously inflicted in her grove. Being far from human, the only way the dryad has to help a collector do such a thing is to use her harrowing power to bring the memories to the collector, painful though they will be... And she can only hope that the collector may glean enough clues from such memories to champion the subject of the wrongdoing....
It is not unheard of that a particularly hallowed grove or ancient forest might have multiple dryads guarding it.
15 October 2012
MV 10 or speed of negligence
SP Ghostly traits
Some inns are haunted.
Ghostly manifestations are fostered by particularities in architecture. The proportion of height to width to depth in a room, the span of the helical incline of a spiral staircase, the number of rooms on a floor, the slight variations in the width of opposing and adjacent doorways, even the alignment of the grain of the wood used in construction can—in the right combinations—encourage revenants and spirits to manifest.
Most inns will not be sites to harbor hauntings of violent demise -- except perhaps those deaths of the rodential variety...
Trapped rats are phantasms that can appear by the score, or more likely, by the hundreds, in places such as inns, common houses and way stations. Each ghostly rodent drags the clattering, clunking cause of it's death around with it, creating a deafening cacophony when they appear en masse. They will appear only for those who sleep in a room or rooms whose architectural resonance allows their manifestation, although they can pursue anyone fleeing their visitation freely into other chambers or outside. Trapped rats can be invisible or silent at will, both or neither, whatever will increase the anxiety of their victims.
The trapped rats are driven away by the dawn, even if clouded over. They can only be prematurely driven away by disruptive magic or a vigorous showing of faith. Merely swiping through the intangible rodents with even an enchanted sword will not be enough to dispel their presence. An item deeply imbued with chaos magic may repel them, at the GM's discretion. Similarly, otherworldly items may prevent their appearance. Spells may have little effect on trapped rats, unless the spell is heavily rearranging space and time in the area, or otherwise steeped with chaotic effects. Alternately, to save a victim of trapped rats, a magic user could put the victim to sleep via magic for instance, and spare them further damage while the threat is dealt with.
Trapped rats harm their victims, not by inflicting any sort of physical damage, but rather by traumatizing them in various ways. Firstly, they restlessly rattle the traps that killed them. One trapped rat is thus a strange annoyance, an unknown wooden object tumbling on the bedroom floor; hundreds of them create a maddening, engulfing tidal wave of sound for the victim. The victim will likely become convinced they need to shout at the top of their lungs to be heard, for instance, even though those not perceiving the trapped rats will initially be unable to explain why the victim feels the need to shout. The trapped rats may gnaw the ankles of the victim, or at any other body part they can reach. The spectral teeth do no real physical damage, but the biting and wounds certainly feel real until the victim examines them and sees no harm done. Trapped rats can reach and perch in any space large enough for their shape, and can move with the speed of negligence. If a victim sees them clustered on a chandelier, turns away to exclaim to his unaffected friends that the things are on the chandelier, and turns back, they can be gone. Or they can have doubled or tripled in number...
All such unrealistic events suppress the victim's Personality (or Wisdom, if you prefer), steadily reducing the attribute by 1 for each event. When they reach half of their original score, a victim must make a Will Save versus a DC of 10 plus the attribute penalty so far. Failure indicates they have been driven temporarily insane, and they will flee the scene, not to recover for a number of hours equal to the points of suppressed Personality. If they succeed in their Save, each subsequent 'loss' of Personality will also force another Save to be made. Any and all Personality suppressed from trapped rats returns points-lost hours after exposure ends (i.e., if 8 points were suppressed by the trapped rats, 8 hours later the victim snaps out of their mania).