I thought the intro story was fantastic, it was a little inaccessable written as transcript on sound rather than a discription of sound and at time confusing, but I think that was part of its strength. For the often banal and direct world of roleplaying, most creative risks in write up of support piece such as the intro rarely play off. I think it worked in this case.
Running this character as NPC could also present quite a challenge. In roleplaying it is difficult as a PC or a GM running an NPC to play a character with a great deal of internal dialog or conflict. But the details you provide would be a great aid in trying to run such a character. Roleplaying is already surreal, we you bring in more surreal stuff into you threaten to tip the balance away from something the whole group can hold on to. But the amount of details you have the character in this post would be very help in bringing such as unhinged character into the game. the irony is that it easier to bring vague and ephemerial stuff into the game when you have the details of the vague and ephemerial stuff down pat.
A wicked idea, a twisted man finds victims and allows them to launguish and then perish of ether poisoning, then he renders the fat from their bodies creating ethertallow that is tainted with both necromantic resonance. These ghastly candles function exactly like ethertallow, but anything in the presence of the flame will not heal, plants will not grow, and the like.
I read this line----"But there are those creatures, the abberations, that have been tainted by the Ether, and may be drawn to it's scent"---and immediately picture a stodgy old wizard, deep in his cups, sitting at his cluttered desk, inside his snug little demesne, mumbling and examining glyphs in some book. It is the dead of winter. A blizzard rages outside. His half-dozen lit ethertallow candles flicker due to the drafts. Unbeknownst to the wizard, some kind of bizarre, other-worldly abomination is at his window, peeking inside, its ragged breathing drowned out by the wind...
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As Strolen mentions, a few side effects would be swell, and Scrasamax's idea rocks!
Roll Will save or die :)
I find the symbiosis aspect neat; the "uprooting and sitting on the victim" darkly comical. Which is a good thing.
You really could add a paragraph about nefarious uses of the fruit - perhaps people without a sense of smell are recruited to collect the fungus?
Finally, a question: why this name? I get the "sylvan" part...
(a solid 4, btw)
I have a druid in my group who often spurns buying rations at the towns or cities she comes across, preferring instead to forage. This would be an extremely nasty surprise, especially when she ventures into stranger and stranger lands, encountering all sorts of fruit she's never seen before . . .
For my purposes, I'd probably make the "fruit" not deadly in and of itself, but merely a powerful sleeping agent. Otherwise . . . well, my party's average will save isn't all that great and I'd rather not achieve a TPK. Yet.
Sylvan Alp Tree
Alp trees are a member of the Necrofoenae family, and a very close cousin to the Sylvan Incubus Tree. Like the Sylvan Incubus, it produces a fungal growth that i much like a nondescript yet alluringly aromatic fruit. However, the fruit of the Sylvan Alp Tree kills in a very different manner.
Those who partake in it, fall deeply asleep into a catatonic state, filled with vivid, surreal dreams. These may be nightmarish in nature, or perhaps dreams of carnal lust. They are equally as likely to be dreams of penitence or glory - all depending on the persona of the victim.
Whereas the Sylvan Succubus Tree sweeps it's quarry underneath it's roots and digests it that way, the Alp Tree uses dexterous, vine like extensions to pick it up, and wrap tightly around it. From here, the tree produces micro-needles (about the size of a jellyfish's stinger) which slip into the pores of the prey. The sleeping prey is hoisted up into the thick branches of the tree to be digested, while it's still living; thus earning the tree it's vampiric nickname.
There are records of those who are strong enough of will to wake themselves from the dream the fungus induces - but only once the dreamer acknowledges that he is sleeping and his/her surroundings are in fact, immaterial. Not an easy task - considering that the poisonous fungus stimulates the persons mind in such a way that he is convinced that those around him are in fact real, by appealing to his personality through the use of familiar places and faces.
Those who wake have a slight struggle to writhe free of the prehensile grip of the Alp Tree, though the vines offer only token resistance. From here, the victim suffers no ill, except for a weeks worth of red, spotted sores covering all of his/her exposed flesh.
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While the Incubus Tree fits into my world, I acknowledge after reading your comments that it's not entirely conducive to anything less than a party of UBER PCs. So this is my offering to all of those who want to use the basic idea of a carnivorous tree, in such a way that the PCs entire experience doesn't simply ride on a single save.