Intelligent Species
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Rating: 3.7
Condition: Normal
ID: 3887


May 3, 2007, 2:59 pm

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Cheka Man

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Tree of Cognizance


Deep in the marshes the Tree of Cognizance feeds on whatever living creatures come near it, using very powerful illusions and brute strength. It’s fruits are prized by those that understand the powers they offer.

Tree of Cognizance
“We have been trudging through this swamp for days now.” Gremm was more than upset about the lack of ale. Looking towards the others he realized that all of them must have been feeling the same way, although not about ale. The human warrior Rianok had removed his plate armor on the first day marching into this forsaken marsh. The armor was disassembled and in pieces, held in a large sack slung over the warriors shoulder.

“We still have a few days according to the map.” The Halfling Asha was always ready to pipe something in to further dull the dwarf’s spirit. Gremm had always hated the Halfling, but he had his uses, as did the half-elf Rhea. Rhea, Rianok’s younger half sister, shared the same human father. She had been there with her arcane powers more than a few times, to save the day.

“What is that?” The Halfling pointed over to a small hill, atop the hill sat a beautiful wide branched tree, it’s trunk rising from a carpet of green grass, something unseen in the marsh. “It must be a tree left from the days of the elves that once graced this area, before the swamp.”

Staring at the melon sized fruit, Gremm owing more than just his grumpy nature stopped and gripped his beard. “I wonder if the fruit ferments well.”

Rianok filled with an urge to finally eat something other then the moldy wet bread and salted pork. “That fruit looks edible to me.” The group knew that the warrior had no knowledge of the ways of nature, but he was right; something that looked that good couldn’t be poisonous.

As the group came close to the tree, it became a blur and deceived the senses. Rianok was down before he could even get a few steps back, a branch coming out and connecting with a sick wet crunch to the side of the warrior’s head.
Then the tree was gone.

Asha the halfling always in the back of the group never had a chance, a huge branch landing on his shoulder, the sheer brutality of the attack left his arm hanging by a few inches of skin and muscle, dislocated and destroyed. He fell to shock immediately, collapsing to the ground.

Rhea came to her senses quick enough, unleashing a barrage of spells, impacting and ripping the tree’s bark away in places, sap oozing slightly from the wounds. She got it’s attention. In an instant she was lost, her senses losing all direction, the marsh was the same but her friends were gone and where the tree should have been her brother stood, shambling toward her.

Gremm let his axe fly toward the tree, and with a splinter of wood it knocked the tree back a step. To Rhea, Gremm a long time friend just tried to kill her brother, an axe digging into his side. She knew something was not right with the scene and struggled with her magic to counteract the effects. Her brother’s fist came at her, slamming her in the chest. Gremm was too late, one of the tree’s massive branches slammed into Rhea’s chest. Gremm knew she would not survive that blow, it was too much, he wondered why she just stood there.

Gremm drew his larger axe and stood his ground, ready to accept his fate. Then his head was swimming, lights dancing all around, then he too was unable to react to the tree’s attack quick enough. Although, he took a full two blows to his head and shoulders before collapsing, he struggled to get to his feet when the tree simply walked over him, entangling him in its roots. Gremm remained conscious to watch his friends, dragged into the root system, then all went black.

In its natural form this huge tree is nearly void of leaves; parts of its roots can be seen in the muddy soil. Strange melon-like fruits hang from its branches, pulling them down like great weights. Its bark is black and twisted.

Usually the tree disguises itself with powerful illusions though, when encountered it usually looks much different. Always appearing to be glistening with multi-colored and beautiful leaves that dance and play in the light, it fools the onlookers to approach it’s fruit, fruit that hangs on the tree like the bells of a jester’s hat. It is both inviting and a sight that defies its true nature.

The tree has very powerful illusions that hide its true form and allow it to assault the senses of its prey. It also has powerful senses and even magical divination abilities that allow it to see and sense everything near it up to a mile away.

The tree’s strength is one of its primary abilities, able to kill most creatures in a single blow. It is slow, but very, very powerful.

The tree can also teleport short distances once every few hours. This allows it to defy the senses even more, sometimes creating an illusion of it remaining behind as it teleports behind its victims.

With all its powers and abilities, those recognizing its true nature can easily defeat it if they have a way to counteract its powerful illusions.

The tree is also able to sense tremors on the ground, sense life from 100 feet away, and sense subtle shifts in the air giving it the ability to sense anything moving within 100 feet.

The fruit of the tree can actually grant senses to the user. These senses are developed at random and remain for 2-6 hours.
Each fruit only grants one sense to the imbiber; scent, the ability to sense life, tremor sense, the ability to see through illusions, and the ability to see in complete dark.

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Comments ( 10 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Wulfhere
May 3, 2007, 12:37
These malevolent plants would make insidious foes. Their magical powers and malice are too evil to be natural; they would be creations of demonic influence, or perhaps brought forth to express the wrath of the gods.

I could see one of them appearing as the punishment for a community that had somehow offended the spirits of the woods and fields; brought forth by the dying moans of the dryads and naiads: A spirit of desecrated woodland and polluted waters.
Voted valadaar
May 3, 2007, 12:59
A good solid encounter, with a couple of places for improvement.

Some of the sentence structures are a little odd - again, you might wish to read back this sub to yourself.

"As did the half-elf Rhea, Rianok’s younger half sister, sharing the same human father, she had been there with her arcane powers more than a few times, to save the day.

It would be nice to have details on the Tree's origins. Wulf's suggestions are excellent in this direction.
Voted Cheka Man
May 3, 2007, 14:38
4/5-Now this is GOOD. As Wulfhere said this tree could not be natruel, it would be more something that appears in a forest that has been heavily logged and damaged.
May 3, 2007, 15:02
I almost see this as a sort of ancient evil in a marsh. It consumes the living. While not undead, it is very close. It hates life and probably only lives to crush flesh and bone in it's roots, feeding on the rotting corpses, using illusion magic to cover the stench of death.
They could be old, ancient treants that have become twisted and evil.
Cheka Man
May 3, 2007, 17:49
What might make an old tree evil? Killing it's sapling in front of it? Carving one's name in it?
May 3, 2007, 18:12
Evil trees are a staple of fantasy, from Old Man Willow in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings to the ominous forest of Walt Disney's Snow White. There's just something intimidating about an ancient, gnarled "widowmaker" of a tree.
May 4, 2007, 3:09
The key word is "Ancient Evil".
I believe that sometimes there is just no way to explain why something is evil. The tree was just a bad seed (pun!) growing up. Ok, maybe it isn't evil, but it needs to feed on the blood of the living and in a most excruciating way, preferably fresh. It enjoys grinding the bones of its prey within its roots. So, it might not be evil, it just loves to feed on people. It is easy to ask what makes something evil. In some sense of the word, no it isn't evil. It just needs the blood of sentient life to survive and thrive. Do cows view us as evil? You better bet they do.
May 3, 2007, 18:12
"They come with their Axes, They come with their Fire! It's time to turn these manlings into compost!"
Voted Scrasamax
May 4, 2007, 14:17
Not bad.
Voted Murometz
January 25, 2009, 12:16
Not bad is right. I would direct you to the Eternal Witness for further 'Ancient Evil Tree' inspiration, but this one is interestng as well.

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