Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Monster: Heartbriar

Heartbriar
Armour Class: 5
Hit Dice: 4*
Move: 120' (40')
Attacks: 2
Damage:
1-8/1-8
No. Appearing: 1-2
Save As: F4
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 125

Looking superficially like a crude -- or oddly baroque -- rosewood golem, a heartbriar is a creature of tangled, thorn-laced fibrous vines and chunks of flexible wood of a distinctly rose-rust colour. Roughly human in size and shape, a heartbriar is rooted in place during the cold seasons or in similar conditions inside a dungeon but otherwise roams freely in search of warm-blooded prey.

In combat a heartbriar attacks with its "fists" or with free-swinging coils of briar, inflicting 1-8 hit points of damage per strike. Each attack sinks thorned tendrils into the victim, draining 1-6 hit points via blood loss per round until the tendrils are severed or the victim is otherwise removed. The more blood absorbed, the deeper a tinge of bloody crimson colours the heartbriar.

If a human or similar sapient creature is killed by blood drain the heartbriar releases the corpse, its woody core taking on a more defined humanoid shape as the plant stiffens and roots itself. Within 1-4 hours the wood crumbles and flakes away and the briars wither, releasing a new-formed "briar-born" with no prior memory. The briar-born resembles a human with hair of rose-rust (rarely other shades) and deep green eyes tinged with blood red.

10 comments:

Chris said...

Have you been reading The Bros. Grimm recently? Delicious folkloricness abounds. :)

taichara said...

@Chris:

Can't say I have; but it's probably engrained in there somewhere ;3

David said...

Can we expect to see some stats on the briar-born?

This makes for a fantastic story seed... people in a village keep disappearing, and amnesiac individuals keep showing up. Are they changelings?

Also, what spawns a heartbriar? Something like the Gulthias Tree from The Sunless Citadel?

taichara said...

@David:

The briar-born don't need additional stats; as stated above, they resemble humans. Human PC/NPC generation works fine.

I don't follow the changeling question, I have to admit ... I don't recognize the Gulthias reference either >.>;;

David said...

@taichara ~

Changelings - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Changeling only instead of human children (or in addition to) adults are taken!

The Sunless Citadel is a 3.0 D&D adventure. The first 3.0 adventure actually, about a tree that sprouted from the still green stake used to kill a vampire!

taichara said...

@David:

I know what a changeling is, I just didn't see a connection ...

Whether or not one wanted to have briar-born be similar is up to the individual DM I suppose; I didn't feel the need for it (having already written something similar along those lines), so never mentioned it.

Aah. I probably have that adventure kicking around somewhere, but the 3e adventures didn't do a lot for me --

David said...

@taichara

The changeling thing was more of a story idea. What would a village think if their people started to disappear and then these briar-born start showing up the day after each person disappears. What would the village think? Changelings? Vampires? Evil Wizards?

taichara said...

@David:

If one wanted to use them as changelings, I'd stay go to town! :D There's nothing saying not to change the details of any given critter.

But you did ask if they were as I wrote them, so I pointed out that if they were I'd have said so ;3 *grins*

Eliyes said...

Cool! Might such to be a redhead in an area where these things are known to exist...

taichara said...

@Eliyes:

Only if there was another reason, I'd say. Remember the lack of memory, and (if one insisted on sticking with the original) the critter's alignment --