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Jinmenju

The incessant sound of laughter fills the air, as if dozens of mirthful spirits are tittering at an unheard joke. The sound seems to come from a magnificent apple tree that bears dozens upon dozens of white apples, all of which shake in an unfelt breeze. Closer inspection reveals that each apple bears a face howling with laughter.

Huge plant, chaotic neutral

Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 126 (12d12 + 48)
Speed 0 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
16 (+3) 1 (–5) 19 (+4) 17 (+3) 8 (–1) 22 (+6)

Saving Throws Constitution +8, Charisma +10
Skills Perception +3, Persuasion +14
Damage Immunities bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Condition Immunities exhaustion, prone
Senses darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 120 ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive Perception 13
Languages all languages known by creatures within 120 feet
Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)

Special Traits

  • Burrowing Roots. Whenever the jinmenju makes a root attack, it can choose a point on the ground within 120 feet of it. The root bursts from the ground, and that point becomes the attack’s point of origin. After attacking, the exposed root protrudes from that point, and the jinmenju gains a reaction each turn that it can only use to make an opportunity attack with that root. A root has AC 15, 45 hp, and resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical attacks. Damaging a root doesn’t damage the jinmenju tree. The jinmenju can have up to 5 roots active at one time. If it makes a root attack while it has 5 roots active, one of the active roots burrows back into the ground and a new root appears at the location of the new attack.
  • Laughing Fruit. If a creature with Intelligence 5 or higher eats a bite of the fruit of the jinmenju, it must succeed on a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or fall prone, becoming incapacitated by fits of laughter as it perceives everything as hilariously funny for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If the target takes damage while prone, it has advantage on the saving throw.

Actions

  • Multiattack. The jinmenju makes two root attacks.
  • Root. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d10 + 3) bludgeoning damage plus 14 (4d6) psychic damage.

Legendary Actions

The jinmenju can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The jinmenju regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

  • Root. The jimenju makes one root attack.
  • Revitalize Roots. The jinmenju restores 10 (3d6) hp to each of its exposed roots.
  • Mirthful Miasma (Costs 2 Actions). The jinmenju emits a puff of purple gas around its roots. Each creature within 10 feet of an exposed root must succeed on a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or fall prone with laughter, becoming incapacitated and unable to stand up until the end of its next turn. A creature in an area of overlapping gas only makes the saving throw once. A creature with an Intelligence score of 4 or less isn’t affected.

A Jinmenju’s Lair

A jinmenju grows wherever its seeds take root. Since animals are unaffected by its fruit’s magic, they can spread its seeds by eating the fruit and excreting the seeds, just like any other plant.

Sometimes travelers pick jinmenju fruit and take it along to keep them company until it rots and they discard it. A jinmenju prefers to grow in shady groves and temperate rainforests, and jinmenju saplings will sometimes ask travelers to uproot them and relocate them to more favorable terrain.

An adult jinmenju usually keeps an audience nearby to listen to its jokes, though it often doesn’t realize its psychic influence is keeping them there against their will. The lairs of ancient jinmenju look clean but are filled with hidden caches of bones and the starved corpses of those unable to break its thrall.

Lair Actions

On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the jinmenju takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects; it can’t use the same lair action two rounds in a row.

  • The jinmenju sways its branches, causing its fruit to sing a soothing melody. Each creature within 60 feet that can hear the jinmenju must succeed on a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or suffer the effects of the charm person spell until initiative count 20 on the next round.
  • The jinmenju shakes its branches, causing its fruit to scream gibberish. Each creature within 60 feet that can hear the jinmenju must succeed on a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or suffer the effects of the confusion spell until initiative count 20 on the next round.
  • The jinmenju wiggles its branches, causing its fruit to giggle a cacophony of merriment. Each creature within 60 feet that can hear the jinmenju must succeed on a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or suffer the effects of the hideous laughter spell until initiative count 20 on the next round.

Regional Effects

The region containing a jinmenju’s lair is warped by its magic, which creates one or more of the following effects:

  • People within 6 miles of the jinmenju have a 10% chance each night of experiencing a strange and enthralling dream. The dreamer is sitting with hundreds of other happy, laughing people beneath the boughs of a tree that bears white apples. When the dreamer awakens, it is psychically compelled to seek out the tree.
  • People who live within 1 mile of the jinmenju find everyday occurrences unusually funny, often laughing at unhappy news or at inappropriate events, like funerals.

If the jinmenju dies, these supernatural effects disappear after 1d10 days.

About

Bearer of Laughing Fruit. Legends say that the first jinmenju tree sprouted from the severed head of a traveling jester. The tree that grew from the jester’s head bore white fruit with a human face that laughed incessantly. If the jinmenju tree can be made to laugh uproariously, such as with a hideous laughter spell or a joke told with a successful DC 15 Charisma (Performance) check, a piece of fruit falls from the tree and rolls away, growing into a new jinmenju over 1d4 weeks if it stays on the ground.

Terrifying Jokester. Despite its unsettling appearance and demeanor, the jinmenju tree simply wants to bring happiness to other living creatures. The tree cannot move, but its magic is so powerful that people living near the tree have dreams calling them to sit beneath its boughs and blissfully eat its fruit.

Though the jinmenju means no harm by its psychic intrusions, its actions often destroy communities and spread horror across the land. The tree itself cannot talk, but its fruit can hear its thoughts and speak them one word at a time, split between all the fruit on the tree. When the jinmenju wishes to convey a particularly strong emotion—often in the punchline of a joke—all of its fruit speaks at once.

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.