Thursday, September 3, 2015

Dreamlands Pathfinder Bestiary: Witch Tree

When I ran my first-ever D&D Third Edition campaign, I used H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands as the setting for the world outside Freeport. Like the City of Adventure, the Dreamlands combines "sword & sorcery" heroism with elements of eldritch horror. I had previously used the setting in a GURPS campaign whose protagonists traveled between it and the modern-day "waking world," but found balancing events in the two dimensions to be a challenge. This time, I just used the highly magical dream realm by itself, as the Prime Material.

My primary reference for the setting was The Complete Dreamlands (Fourth Edition, Expanded & Revised), a supplement for Call of Cthulhu. During the course of running that Freeport campaign--and its sequel--I converted a number of monsters from that book (and other CoC sources) to d20. My campaign ultimately focused far more on Freeport than on the Dreamlands, so very few of those conversions ever saw play.

Now that my gaming group is playing Pathfinder, I've been pleased to note that a large selection of Cthulhu Mythos creatures have appeared in that game's sourcebooks. Bestiary 4 was particularly rich in Mythos fare, and has inspired me to revisit those old Dreamlands notes in order to convert some of these more obscure creatures to a new system.

Witch Tree

This crooked, spindly tree's branches sway slowly, despite the lack of wind.

XP 600
N Large plant
Init -2; Senses low-light vision; Perception -2
AC 15, touch 7, flat-footed 13 (-2 Dex, +8 natural, -1 size)
hp 37 (5d8+15)
Fort +7, Ref -1, Will -1
Immune plant traits
Speed 0 ft.
Melee slam +7 (1d6+7)
Ranged thrown rock +0 (1d4+5)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Str 21, Dex 7, Con 17, Int --, Wis 7, Cha 7
Base Atk +3; CMB +9; CMD 17 (can't be tripped)
Environment any forest or jungle
Organization solitary
Treasure none

This stat block represents any of a variety of unintelligent but animate trees found in the Dreamlands. All have mobile boughs and branches. Nearly all are firmly fixed in the ground, but approximately 5% can uproot themselves and move about slowly (speed 10 ft., cannot run or charge).

Druids sometimes cast awaken on witch trees to complete their abortive ascent to sentience. All such trees gain a move speed if they did not have one before.

Like mundane trees, witch trees need only light, water, air, and soil to survive. They use their animate branches to scare off predators and defend themselves if attacked. If a threat is detected beyond the tree's reach, it may hurl small objects such as sticks or stones. If a nuisance is small enough (size Small at most), the tree may simply try to pick it up and throw it away.

Converted from The Complete Dreamlands (Fourth Edition, Expanded & Revised), by Chris Williams, Sandy Petersen, et al., for Call of Cthulhu. 

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