Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Frightful Fridays! Slaughtergrass

Welcome back to a late (or early, depending on how you look at it) edition of Frightful Fridays! This week's entry features a deadly weed that will slice, strangle, and otherwise murder you, when it isn't looking for someone to unwittingly carry seeds to infest a new area. I couldn't find an illustration that appropriately demonstrated killer grass (go figure), but I came across this adorable depiction of crabgrass. I plan to do something with this guy later, but, for right now, I wanted a deadly plant.

I hope you enjoy this week's monster, and I'll be back later (hopefully, actually on Friday) with something new. As always, thanks for checking out Frightful Fridays!

This non-murderous crabgrass can be found here

Bones that have been picked clean are tangled in this large weed clump; the weed's grassy blades unfurl as it frees itself from its roots, making a popping sound.

Slaughtergrass CR 10
XP 9,600
NE Small plant
Init +2; Senses low-light vision, tremorsense 30 ft.; Perception +20

AC 25, touch 13, flat-footed 23 (+2 Dex, +1 size, +12 natural)
hp 127 (15d8+60)
Fort +13, Ref +9, Will +6
DR 10/slashing; Immune plant traits; Resist acid 10, electricity 10, fire 10

Speed 20 ft., climb 10 ft.
Melee 4 grass blades (tentacles) +16 (2d6+4/19-20 plus bleed)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with grass blades)
Special Attacks bleed (1d4), traveling weed
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 15th, concentration +15)
At will—entangle (DC 11)

Str 19, Dex 14, Con 18, Int 3, Wis 13, Cha 10
Base Atk +11; CMB +14 (+18 grapple); CMD 26 (28 vs. grapple, can't be tripped)
Feats Chokehold, Greater Grapple, Improved Critical (tentacle), Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike, Lightning Reflexes, Pinning Rend, Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Climb +12, Perception +20, Stealth +14 (+22 Stealth in grassy areas); Racial Modifiers +8 Stealth in grassy areas
SQ camouflage, rooted

Environment any terrestrial
Organization solitary, pair, lawn (3–20)
Treasure incidental

Special Abilities
Camouflage (Ex) Since slaughtergrass looks like a normal plant when at rest, a DC 24 Perception check is required to notice it before it attacks for the first time. Anyone with ranks in Survival or Knowledge (nature) can use either of those skills instead of Perception to notice the plant.
Rooted (Ex) Slaughtergrass has a complex set of roots that reach 10 feet below the slaughtergrass; the roots allow it to survive complete destruction aboveground part of the plant. As a move action, slaughter grass can detach itself from these roots, but it requires a full round action to reattach to them. Slaughtergrass can survive for 10 minutes away from its root system. If the defenseless roots take damage equal to one fourth the slaughtergrass's hit point total, the slaughtergrass is destroyed. Otherwise, a newly formed plant replaces the "dead" plant in a month's time. A character who succeeds at a DC 30 Knowledge (nature) check knows about this ability.
Traveling Weed (Ex) Slaughtergrass that does not kill an opponent leaves dormant seedlings on its foe. While this does no harm to the creature carrying the seedlings, it allows them to travel and infest other locations. A DC 32 Perception check is required to spot the seedlings, which take 1 point of damage to destroy (the seedlings have the same resistances as the parent slaughtergrass). A seedling has a 50% chance to find purchase in soil and it becomes a full-grown slaughtergrass in two months.

Some weeds are a nightmare just to remove, but slaughtergrass takes this nightmarishness to a new level by slicing apart and strangling anyone who tries to remove it, or, for that matter, just shows up within range of its tremorsense. A carnivorous plant, slaughtergrass uses its natural camouflage to lure unsuspecting creatures into its midst before striking. A target that thinks it can simply move to safety receives a rude surprise when the grass uproots itself to continue stalking its prey.

Slaughtergrass survives in any environment that supports plants, and it will not crowd out its plant neighbors, especially since the additional plants help the grass look natural. In order to propagate itself, the semi-intelligent weed permits a victim or two to escape while carrying several seedlings that eventually drop off the creature and grow into a new patch of slaughtergrass. Slaughtergrass also uses its seedlings to attract otherwise unreachable birds that land in the grass to feed on the seedlings, only to die horribly instead.

While the origin of slaughtergrass remains a mystery, most sages postulate that an evil or insane druid cultivated the plant to protect his or her home and allowed it to spread as a preemptive strike against those who would despoil nature. The grass features in many druid groves where the owners care nothing about the animals or humanoids that might blunder into the groves. Even benevolent druids are reticent to kill slaughtergrass and prefer to relocate the plant, but they will destroy it if it poses an immediate threat.