Forest Lady

Chris Van Deelen

No. Enc: 1
Alignment:  Lawful
Movement: 120’ (40’)
AC: 0
HD: 16
Attacks: 2 claws
Damage: 1d8 + 3d6 / 1d8+3d6
Save: L16
Morale: 11
Hoard Class: NA

There are many theories as to the actual origin of this creature that is found only in heavily forested regions of the world. Some say that the creature was spawned when the deaths of hundreds or thousands of men and women were killed by the various weapons unleashed during the final wars. It is said that they were just trying to survive and were seeking shelter from the horrors that the final wars had unleashed. These same rumors say that although their bodies were destroyed, their spirits lived on and merged to become a single entity.

Others speculate that this creature is some sort of hive-mind, created by the mutant animals and plants that inhabit large forested areas, and use this being to communicate with those who would intrude into their territory and reap harm upon the inhabitants.

There are also those who believe that the creature was genetically engineered to spread havoc among the soldiers and others who were sent into the forests during the campaigns that were the bread and butter of the final wars. It is suggested that they were created to turn the soldiers against one another to create havoc and destroy moral as soldiers witnessed their fellows turn into ravenous beasts and spread the infection.

Lastly are the few (who are by far the minority) that believe the creature is nothing more than a mutant humanoid that just happened to spring up from the toxins and radiation that was released during the horrible years of the final wars.

The creature appears as a green-skinned, very attractive woman. The height varies depending on the age of the forest. A newly rebirthed forest will have a guardian that is only about three feet in height, while ancient and massive forests will have a guardian that is upwards of eight feet in height.

These creatures always appear in female form, and there has never been a reported case where one was seen as a male. They are shapely and have jet-black eyes without any sign of pupils. Vines cling and twine up their legs and lower torso as well as down their arms.

Rarely are these creatures ever seen without massive humanoid wolves at their side. Some believe that they are in fact the reviled War Wolves but that is not the case. These are Weres – monsters that were in fact spawned by the mutant themselves.

When encountered, if those who come into contact with the creature do not show any hostile intent and have not harmed the forest in any manner, they will often parlay with the intruders to discover the reasons for their being in the forest and their overall intentions.

If they are friendly, then the creature will instruct them to leave as quickly as possible, unless they are there to aid the creature – such as hunting down deadly monsters, resorting or healing damaged sections of the forest etc.

However, if the intruders are hostile, the creature will attack. She has numerous attacks available, but she rarely will ever attack in person, instead relying upon her Weres to do the dirty work.

Even though the flesh of the creature appears to be soft and supple, it is actually incredibly tough, harder than the bark of ancient trees. She can teleport at will to any location within the forest and if the tide of battle has turned against her, she will use it to escape. The vines are not just for show – she can use them lash out at targets that are up to twenty feet away to inflict her claw attack.

Two things will happen with the claw attack. First the target must make a saving throw versus stun or be stunned for 1d4 rounds. Secondly the target must then make a saving throw versus poison or become infected with the virus that will re-write the targets genetic code and convert them into Weres. It should be noted that this virus will only work on Pure Humans, Humans (see Wisdom from the Wasteland issue 4: New Races) and Mutant Humans. Mutant Humans are more resilient to the virus. For every mutation they possess, the target gains a +2 to the saving throw to resist the virus. Only one saving throw is required no matter how many times the target is subjected to the virus. Once the saving throw has been made, they are immune to all future attacks by the virus. Those infected by the virus can still act and attack until the virus begins to take control (which takes several days, see the entry for the Weres for more information).

If this was not already bad enough, the creature is able to control plants. She can call forth any mutant plants within 1 mile of her. This is considered to be a mental attack and she can control up to a maximum of 32 hit dice worth of creatures. They will fight to the death to protect her, as will the Weres. This also extends to possible mutant plants that she might encounter that are hostile towards her (E.g. Player characters). All Weres under her control are in constant contact with her via a specialized version of neural telepathy. What they see and hear or experience, she does as well.

She can also use plants around her to heal damage she has sustained. Every round she can use a modified version of Vampiric Field to drain plants of 2d4+6 hit points of damage to heal her wounds.

If she is destroyed, any Weres still with her will find that the compulsion to defend her is gone and the effects of the virus will end up reversing and the victim will finally be free.

It has been discovered though that even if this mutant is destroyed, it will eventually re-appear, although this can take years, depending on the size of the forest it once lived in. It will take 10d10 years for the creature to regenerate, but for each square mile that a forest covers, one year will be removed from this total, with it requiring a minimum of a single year for the creature to regenerate. For example, a forest that covers 100 square miles will regenerate the creature in a single year.

She has no need for treasure or for artifacts, although any that prove to be harmful to the forest around her will be destroyed by her Weres. She is very vulnerable to several different types of attack however. Thermal weapons will always cause four times the regular damage, while cold based weapons will do normal damage, but she must make a saving throw versus death or gain the slow mutation for 3d8 rounds. Herbicides also are highly effective and will cause double damage and she suffers a -4 when encountering this particular type of weapon.

There can only be one Forest Lady per forest, no matter how large it is. Why this is the case, no one has been able to determine. However where a forest has been broken up by roads, rivers, mountains or other such barriers, there can be one per forest. So even if a single forest covers several thousand miles, there could be dozens of these creatures located in it, as long as each forest has its own unique territory.

Mutations: Aberrant Form (natural weapons), genetic replication, increased physical attributes (strength), natural armor, neural telepathy (modified), possession (modified), teleport, toxic weapon, vampiric field (modified), vulnerability (d).

Source: Dragon Age: Origins

Chris Van Deelen is the author of the Skirmisher Publishing LLC sourcebook Creatures of the Tropical Wastes sourcebook, co-author of its Wisdom from the Wastelands game supplement and contributor to the 'Sword of Kos: Hekaton' Anthology.