Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Monster: Heartbriar

Armour Class: 5
Hit Dice: 4*
Move: 120' (40')
Attacks: 2
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.


Chris said...

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

taichara said...


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

David The Archmage 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...


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 The Archmage said...

@taichara ~

Changelings - 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...


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 The Archmage said...


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...


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*

Tomira Eliyes said...

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

taichara said...


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 --