The world is filled with monsters for characters to encounter and slay, leaving the scenery to fade into the background. However, the menacing forest itself could be after our brave heroes just as much as the goblins and ghouls within. Add dangerous flora to the foreboding swamp, or set a seaweed trap on the seemingly benign beach. Should you stop to smell the flowers, they might just bite back. An innocent breeze, or a careless sweep of the sword, could send up a cloud of poisonous spores. Or there could be more than the wind rustling the leaves in the man-eating trees. Make the environment in your campaigns come alive with these dangerous plants lying in wait to ambush your players when they least suspect.
There are ten different terrain types in which to find plants, each of which has ten plants to find.
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Here are some sample results:
- Bone-crusher Snapdragon: These enormous plants are as rare as they are deadly. They make their home deep in the tangled jungles, preferring low-light and humid, wet places. They resemble the whimsical snapdragon blossom with their bright yellow, velvety blooms. However, they open to reveal row after row of razor sharp “teeth” ready to snap up unsuspecting prey. They feed on large game such as bush pigs and weir deer, or even the rare treat of lost travelers. Even keeping a distance from the bloom won’t save you, as it releases pollen that saps the strength, slowly rendering the victim into a drooling, crawling mess.
- False Buttercups: This sneaky lookalike resembles the innocent buttercup, except it has six petals instead of only five. The nectar of this bloom tastes sweet, like a buttercup, at first, but then quickly turns sour and burns the mouth and throat. Consuming this flower causes severe stomach pain and vomiting. If too many are eaten, the victim can become comatose as the toxin attacks the organs and turns the flesh necrotic. The desert dweller saying goes “Petals five, stay alive. Petals six, deathly sick.” Be sure to count before you celebrate your nutritious find.
- Treacle Tree: Also known as the Orphan Tree. Twisted by the lack of space and low light, this gnarled tree grows in overcrowded areas. The bark darkens as it absorbs pollution, and the deep green leaves grow large, broad and flat to catch what little sunlight it can. The trunk of the tree is hollow, leading to the tube root system below. The sweet sap eventually wears down a hole into the trunk, allowing a small enough opening for unattended children to explore and fall in. They are then digested in the maze of hollow roots. Successful trees can live on for decades, swallowing up children every few months without the overpopulated and overworked masses batting an eye.
- Silly Sapsuckles: Often travelers will see infected creatures before they see the flowers themselves. They resemble daffodils, but are characterized by the sap that oozes from their frilled cup. The sap is sweet and sticky, but it causes hot flashes, confusion and random muscle movements. Victims stagger about, tripping over their own feet, and flailing their arms as they howl and speak in gibberish as their swollen tongue lolls out of their mouth. The effects only last for a few hours, but it makes for easy prey and numbness of the tongue and limbs can persist for days.
- Rotwood: These small, brown bushes are seen as omens of death when they pop up. Their thick white roots create knotted networks deep underground, strangling the roots of nearby crops and trees. They suck up the moisture and nutrients in the surrounding soil, rendering land barren and unfit for tilling. These bushes spell doom for small farmsteads, and much is made of tracing the root networks and hacking them to pieces. Burning them in a heap and salting the earth beneath the ashes is the only sure way to eradicate this sinister shrub.
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