Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Trying on a new skin... Assassin Vine and Brier Beast

In this installment of Trying on a new skin… we will be looking at the Assassin Vine and its new iteration, the Brier Beast. Before I get into describing the Brier Beast, I would like to mention a couple changes other than the reskinning, but that are tied to the reskinning.  We will be getting rid of the Entangle spell-like ability, thinking that the Brier Beast will not be connect by roots to the other plants around it and does not have enough intelligence to control other plants through magic. Second, the Brier Beast will have more freedom of movement, since the Brier Beast is roughly humanoid, with no settled roots.
Now, let us continue. Following is the description of the Assassin Vine in the 3.5e Monster Manual.

The assassin vine is a semi-mobile plant that collects its own grisly fertilizer by grabbing and crushing animals and depositing the carcasses near its roots.

A mature plant consists of a main vine, about 20 feet long. Smaller vines up to 5 feet long branch off from the main vine about every 6 inches. These small vines bear clusters of leaves, and in late summer they produce bunches of small fruits that resemble wild grapes. The fruit is tough and has a hearty but bitter flavor. Assassin vine berries make a heady wine.

An assassin vine can move about, albeit very slowly, but usually stays put unless it needs to seek prey in a new vicinity.

While this creature is certainly frightening, the Assassin Vine does not present much of threat once you are able to get out of its reach. To create a bigger threat let us explore an option where the Assassin Vine has gained greater mobility, but has lost its ability to affect other natural plants.

The Brier Beast is a mobile and sentient plant that actively searches the forest for its own fertilizer. 
A Brier Beast stands around 5 feet tall in a rough mockery of man.  Thick black branches and vines create a torso, two arms and two legs, with a bramble patch for a head. The body is covered in dusty green and yellow leaves, which are covered in sickly grey and black spots. Large blood red thorns stand out sharply against the darker body of the Brier Beast. The belly of the Beast is thickly lined with vines and roots, and filled with soil that is enriched with fresh blood and flesh.

No amount of charisma or talking will prevent a Brier Beast from dismembering a victim and mixing its corpse into its soil.  The beast is essentially mindless and cannot speak or understand any spoken language. 

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