Creatures of the Mihálli Ruins
by Peter Huston
A weird plant and quite immobile. Physically this looks like a large 'puff ball', with a single stem sticking up in the middle with a few small flowery things fluffing out on the top of the stem.
It has a large network of roots spread out all along the surface in many directions along the surface of the rocky surfaces of the bombed Mihálli slag heaps where it thrives. At times these are hidden under the other vegetation and grasses of the area.
The creature has a unique and terrible means of spreading its seeds. Not only do these roots serve the conventional purpose of obtaining nutrients and such for the main body of the plant, but they all serve as triggering devices. In other words, when a wandering animal, creature or, hint hint, adventurer, comes traipsing along and steps on one the puffball will explode. My notes state that there is a 2/3 chance that someone will step on a root when they are within the radius of the roots (at least a meter, maybe two.)
Tiny seeds will fly in all directions in a vast fluffy cloud. (Something like those milkweed seeds that would have the little 'parachutes' on them but much smaller say about a fifth of the size.) As the passersby suddenly find themselves engulfed in these clouds, unless they have taken precautions of some kind, then they are quite likely to inhale some seeds. Unfortunately, these seeds are looking for a nice, warn, wet, dark place to germinate. So expect them to sprout in about 2-12 days or so. Expect the affected victims to be forced into immobility but to be able to last a bit before they die. This will allow the rest of the party to have to lug them around for a week or tow and seek special medical attention and such. (Perhaps a possible source of such medical aid might be those rumored underground Mihálli settlements which your PCs now have to go and visit first hand, an unlikely proposition, but how else are you going to save poor little Horuk?
* Remember, don't kill characters right away. Torture them first. But do give them a chance to survive the torments you inflict on them.)
It seems likely that this plant might have certain times of the year when it is 'in seed'. This time of the year should be whenever the players happen to visit the Mihálli ruins. ; -)
Also it seems likely that the native tribespeople might wear bandannas over their mouths. Of course, the haughty folk of the Five Empires would never emulate such uncivilized behavior. They'd laugh at the backwards barbarians with their ridiculous clothing.
This is another nasty thing.
It lays crystalline eggs of a beautiful and jewel like appearance. The ignorant folk of the Five Empires will surely find such ‘jewels’ to be of great potential value. If they take them home they may have a problem. Seems that if they do something to carry the ‘jewels’ next to their skin then the jewels will hatch and the little beasties inside will jump out and burrow into their nice warm flesh. Ouch! Lose a hit point or two.
Well, now you’ve got three more problems. First, is how do you get the little things out. Second, what about when they start to grow. Third, the mama creature is gonna start following you around through a telepathic link. This link may be considered completely unbreakable. Unless you have some truly monstrous sorcery of some kind. She wishes to make sure that the things hatch.
Mama creature is as follows:
Two large red eyes, Six limbs, walks on four, the others are specialized claws with a large dagger like thumb. About the same number of hits as a large strong man. Leathery skin. It moves about 120% of man's normal speed. Sees in the dark just like it was day. Carnivorous. And never sleeps. Mostly it just stalks whatever its eggs have been hatched into. Its always there, just over the next hill, waiting to be seen.
If the characters are doing something that endangers the eggs, then it will attack. If the characters are doing something reckless and foolhardy, like entering the underworld or spending too much time in ruins or engaging in strange sorcerous practices that even an animal can tell are not normal, then it will attack and thus ensure that its eggs get laid and hatch in a nice warm corpse.