Carrion Vein

Medium plant, unaligned

Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 27 (6d8); Wound Threshold N/A
Speed 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
16 (+3) 10 (+0) 11 (+0) 4 (-3) 10 (+0) 4 (-3)

Damage Immunities nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage
Condition Immunities blinded, deafened, exhaustion, frightened, possessed
Senses blindsight 60 ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive Perception 10
Languages
Challenge 2 (450 XP)

SPECIAL TRAITS

  • False Appearance. While the carrion vein isn’t manifested, it is indistinguishable from its host corpse.

ACTIONS

  • Multiattack. The carrion vein makes two pseudopod attacks.
  • Parasitic Feeding. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 13 (2d12) necrotic damage. The carrion vein regains hit points equal to half the necrotic damage inflicted.
  • Pseudopod. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) bludgeoning damage plus 4 (1d8) necrotic damage.

ABOUT

Carrion veins are a type of mushroom mostly known in the Netherworld. It’s also able to grow on the surface, and while these may be isolated cases, epidemics can break out if the threat isn’t spotted and eradicated in time, giving way to truly wretched and striking spectacles. Carrion veins take root in corpses, and have the morbid peculiarity of acting as a parasite and reactivating dead muscles to animate the carcass it inhabits. When it takes hold of a body, the deceased’s skin gradually becomes dotted with blisters reminiscent of puffballs, that end up bursting one after another, spreading spores. The corpse reanimated by the mother-vein moves to cover as much ground as possible. Over time, the host’s ravaged body loses mobility, eventually becoming no more than a pile of withered, twitchy flesh. The vein absorbs the last remaining nutrients from the body and eventually dies.

The carrion vein will fight to defend itself, but may also become aggressive when searching for a nourishing substrate, or when reaching the end of its life cycle, trying to release its last spores in suitable hosts. In other words, if there aren’t any corpses around for it to reproduce, it won’t hesitate to create one…

Invasion

For surface-dwellers, ignorance of the carrion vein is the most dangerous factor. Since many peoples traditionally bury their dead, an unkempt graveyard or communal grave is truly a breeding ground for carrion veins. An entire region may find itself invaded, as an army of animated dead sweeps over the countryside, growing as they march onward. At first, local populations might think they’re dealing with a type of zombie, and adopt ineffective measures in response to the scourge, until they realize their mistake and learn the true nature of the “undead” far too late.

Carrion vein spores can remain suspended in the air for several days, and be inhaled by unsuspecting creatures. They must then succeed on a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or become a spore carrier. Depending on the health of the infected, the spores might take weeks or months to manifest themselves.

A person inflicted with a dormant contamination can be cured by the effects of the lesser restoration spell or with certain potions. These are quite easily prepared by herbalists from the Netherworld.

Triggering the Infestation

When a contaminated creature would die, it automatically regains 1 hp. This apparent boon is in reality the beginning of a sinister countdown. To save a patient at this stage, a greater restoration spell is required, or specific rare and difficult to brew botanical or alchemical potions. Without these, the only outcome is fatal and terrifying.

The infected’s Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma decrease by 1 per day. When their Intelligence reaches 5, they lose their ability to speak. If they reach 0 in any ability score other than Constitution, they fall into a coma. If they reach 0 in Constitution or a negative Constitution drops their hp to 0, they die instantly. If they die beforehand in some other way, their body appears to survive, still breathing in a comatose state.

Once the body is dead, the carrion vein takes complete control over it. The body doesn’t rot and instead now gains 3 Constitution per day. Uninformed spectators might erroneously believe the deceased is making a miraculous recovery. Once it reaches a Constitution score of 11, the body stands up and begins its new existence.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

The Creatures Rulebook for the Fateforge Role-Playing Game Copyright © 2021 Studio Agate.

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