Gaian Cactus

Chris Van Deelen

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.

No. Enc: 1
Alignment: Lawful
Movement: 180’ (60’)
AC: 2
HD: 16
Attacks: ½ of its limbs
Damage: 2d4 plus 1d6 spine damage per limb (special)
Save: L16
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: Incidental 

It is said that these cactus are actually the embodiment of the Earth Spirit herself, or at the very least an avatar of the Earth Spirit Gaia. Others believe that it was a biological weapon, designed to attack creatures that are not native to Earth or this plane of existence. There are those who say that this cactus plant is instead genetically engineered to be mobile and extremely fast growing, thus being able to spread around the desert regions of the former region of the United States. Strangely enough, the cactus is found nowhere else in the world, except in the former state of Arizona.

The mutant plant appears as an gargantuan and ancient member of its species, and typically stands around 15’ in height. The average mutant plant has 1d6+6 limbs jutting from the body, typically about 8’ from the ground, but can be located at any height. The plant is covered in thousands upon thousands of spines, making it ‘unpleasant’ to touch.

When standing still, the plant appears to be just a normal Saguaro Cactus, the roots that propel it at amazing speeds are buried deep in the sand, reaching down to the hidden reservoirs of water that sustain the great plant. However, when the plant wishes to move, a great matt of long roots will burst from the ground, allowing it to move, although it can teleport if the need arises, or it detects an ‘alien’ (see below).

Most of the time the plant is content to just sit in a secluded location, soaking up not only water but the sunlight, just watching the world go by. But whenever something threatens its home or nature in general, the mutant plant goes into a frenzy of destruction.

These plants are intelligent, although they can only communicate via empathy and simple images via a specialized form of neural telepathy. These creatures are self-proclaimed guardians of the earth. Although often considered aloof, the creatures are in fact friendly and are often willing to communicate with those that seek them out.  

The plants also possess a powerful unique sense that allows them to sense and come to the aid of those in need who are helping to heal the earth from the damage inflicted by the final wars, or are defending those who are in the process of doing so. This same sense allow it to detect creatures that are not native to Earth, the Solar System or to this plane of existence. This special sense will automatically detect any creature that falls into that category up to 1000 miles from its location.

When an ‘alien’ or someone in need of help defending