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Execrable Shrub

This crimson shrub is covered in brilliant, red thorns and mottled, blood-colored foliage. Small white flowers bloom on its branches before rapidly turning into stone hard fruit. Smoke rises from its leaves, and the ground where it grows is hot to the touch.

Medium fiend, neutral evil

Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 40 (9d8)
Speed 10 ft., burrow 10 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
12 (+1) 14 (+2) 10 (+0) 7 (-2) 14 (+2) 10 (+0)

Skills Perception +4
Damage Resistances piercing, poison
Damage Immunities fire
Condition Immunities poisoned
Senses tremorsense 60 ft., passive Perception 14
Languages
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)

Special Traits

  • Healed by Blood. Whenever a creature is reduced to 0 hp within 60 feet of the execrable shrub, the shrub regains 5 (1d10) hp.
  • Like Calls to Like. The execrable shrub knows if a creature within 60 feet of it is evil-aligned or not.
  • Limited Telepathy. Using telepathy, the execrable shrub can magically communicate with any other evil-aligned creature within 100 feet of it. This communication is primarily through images and emotions rather than actual words.

Actions

  • Burning Slash. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) slashing damage plus 2 (1d4) fire damage.
  • Smolder (Recharge 5–6). The execrable shrub releases a billowing cloud of smoke in a 10-foot-radius that lasts for 1 minute and moves with the shrub. The area affected by the smoke is heavily obscured.

About

The shrub is sentient and cunning. Evil creatures find they are welcomed into its thorny mass without impediment, and the shrub is grown as a perimeter defense for fiendish strongholds. Hunger and its callous nature prevent it from being a reliable ally, and the creatures who believe they control the execrable shrub often wind up feeding its thirst for blood.

Nurturers of Evil. The execrable shrub offers shelter and protection to all manner of foul things. The plant typically grows around old ruins or caverns to tempt monstrous creatures to lair there. So long as the shrub has a steady supply of blood and meat, the relationship between plant and inhabitant remains agreeable.

Resentful. The execrable shrub is the lowest form of fiendish plant. For this reason, it is often abused and slaughtered to feed the more advanced forms. This makes the shrub distrustful of other fiendish plants, and, though it will obey the stronger varieties, it secretly plots to usurp them. In combat, the shrub might seize on an opportunity to feed on a wounded ally.

Fiendish Flora

Whenever the celestial or fiendish planes intersect with the material one, there is an opportunity for a commingling of flora.

Fiendish flora grows at sites where great evil has transpired, where foul things are worshipped, and where devils and demons have tread. These foul life forms are carnivorous and require blood to grow and thrive on the Material Plane. Cunning devils cut and clip the plants into unholy gardens which bolster their powers. Demons promote the flora’s wild and expanding nature, sacrificing animals and humanoids to allow the fiendish plants to grow as rapidly as possible.

Carnivores. Fiendish plants require blood to grow. On the Material Plane, the plants do best in forests where careless animals are plentiful. These evil, sentient plants form relationships with all manner of dark-hearted beings. Fiendish flora offer power and protection in exchange for fresh blood. The craven nature of these plants often sees them devouring their allies when fresh blood is scarce.

Discord, Dismay, and Darkness. The fiendish plants propagate and thrive wherever there is a concentration of evil, chaos, and misery. If a fiend treads the Material Plane, there is a good chance that fiendish plants will trace its steps. A single shrub hidden in a farmer’s field can affect the temperament of nearby animals and humanoids, causing nightmares, depression, and a darkening of disposition.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Creature Codex. © 2018 Open Design LLC; Authors Wolfgang Baur, Dan Dillon, Richard Green, James Haeck, Chris Harris, Jeremy Hochhalter, James Introcaso, Chris Lockey, Shawn Merwin, and Jon Sawatsky.