The wilderness is home to all manner of potentially dangerous creatures, including a variety of plant-like monsters. Many such as assassin vines, shambling mounds and treants are relatively well known.
But a fantasy world is sure to give rise to natural vegetation that can be potentially dangerous, even deadly, to the unwary. Some examples of such plants include:
- Hertravine (Heart Vine): A slender, fast-growing vine most often found near slow flowing water sources. Its white blossoms emit a powerful scent that can induce temporary paralysis if a creature remains in its presence for longer than a few minutes.
- Crimsony (Blood Berries): A low, broad bush bearing crimson-coloured berries in early spring. Eating more than a few of the berries causes extreme nausea and even convulsions over the span of several hours.
- Petrifica (Stone Plant): This tall stalk plant is deep grey in colour and often mistakenly believed to be dead or dying. The stalk is coated with a viscous secretion that causes intermittent periods of full body rigidity. It is often used as a coating for weapons (particularly by those who wish to subdue or capture their enemies).
- Trygerium (Banegrass): A type of grass usually found along deciduous forests and meadows identifiable by a slender yellow stripe down its middle. Eating the grass or even ingesting the milk or meat of a domesticated animal that has consumed banegrass leads to vomiting and intestinal illness.
- Nadarast (Needle Blossom): A low-growing flower with bright yellow blossoms fringed with slender thorns. Picking a needle blossom must be done at arm’s length as the close proximity of a creature causes it to release the thorns, which cause severe itching and swelling.
- Volcillius (Skygrass): A thick pale blue grass with individual blades that often reach heights of 10 ft. or higher. Skygrass glows beautifully at night and emits small arcs of naturally generated electricity. Individual blades give a small shock, but wading—or falling—into a full clump can prove fatal as a much larger charge is generated by the combined blades.
- Widorsin (Spider Sap Tree): A needle-bearing tree with white bark coated in a milky sap. The sap is exceptionally sticky and can cause burning, tingling and swelling when it comes in contact with skin.
- Necrollis (Death Apples): A parasitic vine that infests the roots of apple trees and causes the apples to become increasingly toxic as time passes. The apples retain their original shape and colour but become increasingly bitter.
- Pyrgenium (Fire Rose): A bright yellow rose with brilliant red and orange colouring that gives it the appearance of a ball of fire. The rose can only be plucked safely on the hottest day of a given year. Doing so on any other day causes it to explode in a small ball of intense fire and heat, leaving nothing but ash.
- Dracoren (Dragon Root): A massive system of roots and tubers, usually underground, but occasionally spreading across vast areas above ground as well. Properly harvested and prepared, dragon root is edible in small portions, but otherwise inflicts burning sores and inflammation in the mouth, throat and abdomen.
- Nautorium (Sailor’s Pea): This shallow water plant found mainly in coastal regions bears aquamarine peas often used as ornamentation. Ingestion of a sailor’s pea causes an excessive buildup of fluid in the lungs that can result in death.
- Ivortobac (Pale Leaf): An invasive leaf that invades normal tobacco leaf fields. It is nearly indistinguishable from a normal tobacco leaf, being somewhat lighter in colour and smaller in size. Inhaling the smoke from a burning pale leaf can paralyze the lungs and lead to asphyxiation.
- GM’s Miscellany: Wilderness Dressing: Crammed with 150 pages of information and charts designed to bring your wilderness adventures alive, Endzeitgeist named this essential part of any GM’s arsenal his number one book of 2014! Available now in both Pathfinder and System Neutral Edition.
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Ronald Calbick is in his 40s and has been playing RPGs since he was ten years old. He’s stuck primarily with D&D, starting with the “Blue Cover” boxed set and all the way up through Pathfinder and 5E. He’s married, with two grown children, works as a web developer for Fun.com, and is a Gulf War veteran and reserve police officer.