The Plant’s Heart

Today we have more Vestitas. Specifically, another encounter deep within the Chaos-corrupted jungles at the northern edge of the map.

Summary: Plants deep within the jungle have grown a sort of primitive consciousness and have begun seeking out live bodies to kill and mulch into fertilizer.

Hook: When the party rolls a random encounter in this hex, roll 1d10. On a 1-5, roll normally. On a 6-10, the encounter is with a vine tendril. After destroying the tip, the tendril can be pursued back to the heart. If the spotter succeeds on their check, the party spots a living tendril before it notices them, at which point the party can either sneak past it or destroy it, and either way can follow the tendril back to the root.

Exploration: Once the party begins following the tendril back towards its heart, it requires only an Ordinary(+10) Survival check to successfully follow the vine to the plant monster’s heart. The monster’s heart has a perimeter of heavy, slow, thorn vines that form a protective dome. The thorns are highly venomous but the vines are so slow that they can’t meaningfully attack. Nearby vine tendrils can attempt to fling players into them, and it’s nearly impossible to hack, blow, or burn a hole in the thorn wall without alerting the vine creature to the party’s presence, which will cause 1d5 vine tendrils nearby to attack on the next round. The plant has many more tendrils from much further away. 1d5+2 tendrils will attack after half an hour, which is ordinarily enough time as to be not worth tracking, but if players try to besiege the plant, it may be relevant. A full hour after the fight begins, another 1d10 tendrils will arrive. After this, the plant monster is out of tendrils.

Tendrils all trace back to this heart, so they can be killed in advance if the players think to find and attack the tendrils where they emerge from the roots. If the players are within the outer shell of thorns, the roots of the tendrils are obvious and can be attacked, which will deal damage to the tendrils as though it were a normal attack. If the players have destroyed all the tendrils nearby and are within the shell, they can destroy the remaining tendrils automatically by attacking the roots if they think to do so. If they’re still outside the shell, they must find where the tendrils emerge from the shell, and they often do so amongst thick underbrush or by sliding along a nearby tree. Finding each tendril is a Challenging(+0) Awareness test. If players fail one or more Awareness checks to find the tendrils, they cannot try again, because their characters have no way of knowing that they missed a tendril.

Confrontation: Once through the outer shell, the plant monster’s heart is a large budding flower that subsists on little light but much fertilizer. Local wildlife (possibly including players dragged away by tendrils earlier) is being mulched into fertilizer at the roots, where thorn vines steadily churn them into viscera. Any of the 1d5 vine tendrils who survived the fight at the perimeter will continue attempting to fight the party after they enter the dome, and another two tendrils within the dome will also attempt to kill or repel the players. If the flower heart is killed, all tendrils take one level of fatigue each round until enough accumulates to knock them unconscious, and then to kill them.

Rewards: The state of the plant’s bud after death depends on the damage used to destroy it. Killing the bud with Rending or Impact damage will leave it intact, whereas Energy and Explosive damage will not. If the party relied exclusively on the latter two damage types in the fight, the bud is completely destroyed. If they used a mixture of both or did not use Energy or Explosive damage at all, the flowers and nectar can be harvested.

A Very Hard(-30) Forbidden Lore (Heresy) check or an Arduous(-40) Scholastic Lore (Chymistry) test will allow a player to deduce how to use the flowers and nectar. If the players have already discovered the secrets of heretical herbology (for example, by studying the hag coven’s grimoire from hex 04.04), then the difficulty of the test is reduced by 40 points to an Ordinary(+10) Forbidden Lore (Heresy) check or a Challenging(+0) Scholastic Lore (Chymistry) test. Upon success, the plant’s petals and nectar can be made into doses of vital brew equal to the degrees of success on the test. If multiple characters make the Lore check, use the result with the most degrees of success and ignore the others.

Any characters with the appropriate lore skills should be prompted to make the check automatically after killing the plant heart. If they think to do it during the battle with the plant heart and succeed, they may take a full action to harvest a petal and some nectar from the flower, enough for one vital brew. This inflicts exactly one damage, ignoring Toughness and armour, on the plant heart. This is in addition to the materials gathered afterwards, which will require a second lore check.

A vital brew will remove 1d5 critical wounds plus all non-critical wounds when imbibed. If made using good healthy chymistry, it inflicts no Corruption at all. If made using foul heresy, it will inflict 1d5-2 Corruption when imbibed, to a minimum of 0. Clever players, upon discovering the effects of the plant, may wish to keep it alive to be permanently harvested. The plant will recover one wound per day and will have grown one new tendril to attack them with. Tendrils within the dome will be replaced first, then the ones just outside it, and then the ones half an hour away, before finally the plant restocks the tendrils a full hour’s distance away.

 

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