Swamp Vine

Chris Van Deelen

No. Enc: 2d20
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement: N/A
AC: 5
HD: 10-15
Attacks: 20-30
Damage: 1d6+2 plus poison (see description)
Save: L10-15
Morale: 4
Hoard Class: Incidental

This particular plant is a very common mutant predator found in the various swamps across the globe. It is the mutant descendant of the common lily pad that was found everywhere before the final wars.

The plant has grown to gargantuan sizes, most being typically around twenty to thirty feet in diameter. The fronds lay placid and un-moving when it is waiting for prey and the central portion that contains the wood-hard teeth remains closed and hidden beneath the surface.

This mutant plant hunts by vibrations and changes in the surrounding heat, always targeting creatures that are either warmer or colder than the surrounding air temperature. It is able to sense metals as well and can determine if something is constructed entirely of metal. Any targets are always ignored, as the plant knows that they are un-digestible and exceedingly hard to attack. It has learned this and passed the knowledge down through a genetic memory.

The creature attacks by using long vines, each vine having a striking range of 50 plus two feet for every hit-dice the creature possesses. On top of that, the creature has one vine for every hit-dice. Old specimens can have up to thirty vines and have a reach of 110 feet for each vine. And because they live in colonies, these creatures can cover a massive amount of land.

Each vine does little damage, but when they successfully strike injects a class ten poison, and due to the number of vines it has, this creature rarely ever goes hungry. It is also smart enough to be able to divide up the number of vines that it can use to attack equally among the targets, so that if there are five targets, each will be subjected to four vine attacks. If there is only one target, well – good luck!

Once the target has been paralyzed, it will then use the vines and wrap it up and drag the victim to the center of the mass, where it will deposit into the mouth. This opening leads to an inner chamber that is ten feet by ten feet in diameter and five feet deep. It can hold a large number of corpses for digestion.

Each vine is able to drag up to 50 pounds in weight and heavier targets will be wrapped up in numerous vines in order to transport the target into the mouth. This process takes 1d3 rounds to complete.

If the victim recovers from the paralysis during this time, they can attempt to hack their way free from the vines, which is relatively simple. Each vine has 10 hit points and can be cut off if enough damage is inflicted. The only issue is that while the victim is trying to hack itself free, the plant will attack with more vines.

Anything deposited into the center mouth will have to deal with the acid the creature uses to break the food down. It causes 4d6 points of damage per round and any items carried by the victim must save versus death or suffer 1d3-1 condition levels of damage per round. It is possible that the item will not take any damage but eventually it will fail. Mutant Lords with access to Wisdom from the Wastelands issue 1: Artifacts Manuals and Toolkits should use the save against acid rules listed in that issue.

Targets that recover from the paralysis while in the ‘stomach’ can attempt to cut their way free. This will require 25 hit points of damage with a sharp weapon to break through the tough fiber, all the while the target will continue to suffer from the acid. Even once the target is free it will still suffer acid damage per round, but each round the acid damage will be reduced by 1d6 until it is neutralized.

Mutations: Gigantism, toxic weapon, unique senses

Source: Outlanders series by Mark Ellis.

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.