Monday, November 26, 2012

Monster Monday: Monstrous Sundew

The glint of metal is the first thing that catches your eye as you step into the clearing, and you can clearly see a small pile of coin and the hint of the more useful metals poking out from beneath one of the two skeletons here. Between the skeletons, you see a large plant with arms branching off of a central bulb like a mad wild artichoke. Each branch is around ten feet in length and ends in a broad, succulent, leaf-like appendage that is covered with tiny cilia, the ends of which glisten as if coated in a fine coat of dew. 

Monstrous Sundew

Like this, but huge; freaking huge
Init +1; Atk grab +3 melee (1 damage, target restrained; DC 16 Strength check to get free; 20' reach) or impale +5 melee (2d4); AC 13 (AC 16 vs ranged attacks); HD 3d8; MV 10'; Act 3d20; SP Plant traits, Digestive acid (1d4/round and DC 14 Fortitude save or paralyzed), Tremorsense (100'); Fort +3, Ref -2, Will +2; AL N.

Learn about sundews here.

The monstrous sundew is similar to its smaller cousins, except that it may use its branches similarly to tentacles -- tentacles that stick to whatever they strike and them drag them toward the central body where long spines slide out to impale the grabbed prey. Once its prey is impaled on these spines, the monstrous sundew injects digestive acid into it, doing 1d4 points of damage and requiring a DC 14 Fortitude save or the victim is paralyzed with pain. Once the victim is dead, the spine is retracted and the body drops free -- free to rot at the roots of the sundew.

The monstrous sundew is terribly unlike its comparatively tiny cousins in two very distinct ways. For one, the monstrous sundew is possessed of a rudimentary intelligence that allows it to interpret tactile data so acutely that it can effectively "see" anything in contact with the ground within 100 feet and has learned to distinguish prey from passing (and non-edible) phenomena. Secondly, the monstrous sundew is relatively mobile, able to drag itself along the ground by use of its tendrils and twisting roots. Though not nearly as swift as more intelligent plants, the monstrous sundew arrays itself near watering holes, feeding grounds or other high-traffic places, moving on if and when the resource dries up. Large populations of monstrous sundews are uncommon but known to exist, particularly around the banks of rivers.

When under attack (or attacking), the monstrous sundew normally roots itself firmly to the ground and cannot be pushed, pulled or moved by any reasonable means. If killed, the sundew releases its seed into the ground below it, growing to maturity in shortly under two months.

Some species have learned to exploit the sundew's senses and capabilities, most notably monkeys and carrion birds, both of which will wait in nearby trees where they are effectively invisible to the sundew. Such symbiotes are often clever enough to exploit the sundew's tremorsense, but rarely clever enough to want any of the incidental treasures dropped by the sundew's victims.