New Mutant Monday # 38 - Ningen Kabanoki

Chris Van Deelen

No. Enc: 1d4
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement: 60’ (20’)
AC: 2
HD: 10
Attacks: 2 kicks and 2 bashes
Damage: 1d12+3 / 1d12+3 / 2d8+4 & special / 2d8+4 & special.
Save: L12
Morale: 11
Hoard Class: Incidental

Strange, vaguely humanoid in appearance mutated birch trees can be found inhabiting the forests and coastline of former British Columbia, all the way to Alaska and south as far as California.

Physically these trees tend to blend in with others in the forest, until someone takes a good long look. It is then they will discover the trees possess a pair of legs as well as branch-like arms. The overall shape depends on the sex of the tree – yes, the trees have separate sexes, both male and female. The head is covered with a canopy of branches, which during spring and summer are filled with lush, green leaves. In the fall the leaves change color, and then fall out.

Despite the nearly humanoid-like appearance, these trees are not sentient. They possess a natural intellect, making them as intelligent as most un-mutated animals. During every season except for the winter, they slowly move around the forest, looking for sources of water to sink their roots into and corpses to gain additional nutrients. In the winter, they find a location in which to go into hibernation, which takes place once the leaves have fallen from their branches.

Sometimes when pickings are slim, the creatures will actively seek out other life and basically kill them in order to feast off the decaying corpses. This does not happen very often, as usually they can find plenty of decaying corpses to keep their hunger satisfied. Still especially after they awaken from their winter hibernation, they will be hungry and need food.

When this happens, they will set up alongside trails or paths and wait for a victim to pass close to them. Then with amazing speed, the creatures will attack, using their limbs to bludgeon the target to death. At least, that’s how they believe it should work. Sometimes their would-be victims turn out to be tougher than they anticipated.

When engaging in combat, they will kick twice with their large legs and smash twice with their heavy branch-like arms. Because they are so slow, they count on being able to stun their targets, allowing them to continue to beat on the victim until its dead. The branches are especially nasty due to being able to stun. Any target hit must make a saving throw versus stun or become stunned for 1d6 rounds. If the creature hits with both branches, then two saving throws are required.

During the spring, after they have woken from their winter slumber, both male and females congregate together for mating. This is not done in the traditional fauna method – instead they simply mingle their branches together and the male injects his pollen into the females budding leaves. These then become flowers over the summer and in the fall, finally develop into acorn-like seeds. The female drops the seeds wherever she happens to feed and maybe 1 in a hundred seeds will take root and grow into a new member of the species.

As long as there is plenty of decaying matter and water, these mutant trees are content in leaving other creatures alone.

Mutations: aberrant form (new body parts), free movement, full senses, natural armor (plant), seasonal (drawback)