With this entry, Frightful Fridays! A-Z! comes to a close, and what better way than an apocalyptic creature like the zombie. This is no ordinary zombie, though, since it spawns from trees and other (formerly) living plants. Today's extra is a reaction to this zombie's appearance.
I hope you enjoyed all the monsters from this month, and I certainly hope a couple make it into your games. If you do introduce any, let me know in the comments for the monster, or send me an email (I think it's listed in my profile). Thanks for reading and I'll see you again on Friday!
What at first looks like some strange humanoid covered in bits of wood reveals itself to be completely composed of rotting wood rounded out with animal parts; its eyes glow malevolently.
Zombie, Wood CR 3
NE Medium undead
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +0
AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+2 Dex, +4 natural)
hp 29 (4d8+11); regeneration 5 (fire)
Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +4
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4; DR 5/slashing; Immune undead traits
Weakness plant spell vulnerability, vulnerability to fire
Speed 30 ft.
Melee slam +6 (2d6+4)
Special Attacks create spawn, wood warping
Str 17, Dex 14, Con —, Int —, Wis 11, Cha 15
Base Atk +3; CMB +6; CMD 18
Feats Improved Initiative, Toughness
Environment any forest, jungle, or swamp
Organization solitary, pair, or blight (3–8)
Create Spawn (Su) If a wood zombie destroys a living plant of Small, Medium or Large size with its wood warping ability, and then the zombie succeeds at a DC 12 Charisma check, the destroyed plant rises as a new wood zombie the following midnight. This new zombie is independent of the creating zombie.
Plant Spell Vulnerability (Su) A spell that targets a plant or a wooden object can also target a wood zombie. The only exception to this vulnerability is warp wood, to which the zombie is immune.
Wood Warping (Su) When a wooden weapon strikes a wood zombie, the weapon is affected as if by warp wood (Will save DC 14 negates). Likewise, a wood zombie that strikes a character wearing wooden armor or carrying a wooden shield targets that object with warp wood. Finally, if the zombie stays in contact with a living plant for 1 hour, it drains 1d4 Constitution from the plant and gains 5 temporary hit points for every point drained.
A bizarre combination of plant and undead, a wood zombie menaces local flora and fauna alike. While it thrives off the destruction of formerly thriving plant life, it prefers to hunt for and eat flesh. Thus, something that unknowledgeable villagers refer to as a “druid problem” and consequently ignore becomes a real problem when a wood zombie spawns more zombies that attack en masse. A typical wood zombie stands 5 to 6 feet tall and weighs 120 pounds.
One of the oddest wood zombie facets is that the creature resembles a humanoid rather than the tree or other plant it once was. The most popular story posits that a forgotten necromancer embroiled in a long-running battle with a powerful druid devised a spell to create a wood zombie when their battle reached a deadlock. The story describes how the original wood zombies’ creator wished to provide his foe a constant reminder of the being responsible for the corruption of the druid’s grove.
As a response to the rise of undead creatures, particularly wood zombies, a cabal of good-aligned druids cultivated this tree species, perhaps with a little assistance from a visiting yggdrasillian. A sunlight tree is difficult to maintain, as it requires considerably more light than the normal day/night cycle allows it—20 hours per day, a requirement that a grower must augment with daylight or more powerful spells. However, the benefits to a character who cultivates one are well worth the trouble.
At noon during the summer solstice, the tree produces a dozen acorns that glow with the strength of a daylight spell. A character can throw an acorn, which explodes in a 20-foot burst of light that deals 15d6 damage to undead creatures and 6d6 damage to a creature vulnerable to bright light (this damage is cumulative for an undead creature vulnerable to bright light).
At midnight during the winter solstice, a sunlight tree drops five jet-black acorns that each grant a character who eats one the ability to see in darkness, including that produced by deeper darkness, up to a distance of 60 feet for 24 hours.
A sunlight tree sapling costs 10,000 gp and requires 5 years to reach full growth. If the tree misses 2 consecutive days of its required 20 hours of light or 6 days total in a 30-day period, it dies.