The Dire Vine is a semi-mobile plant that is able to collect its own nutrients by luring small animals or catching unlucky humans, and dropping the remains near their roots where corpses become rich fertilizer. It has been witnessed "eating" in one occasion.
...We watched from the air as the boar was dragged through the dirt, its fearful squeals echoed through the branches. The large tendril raised the helpless animal high into the air, and bashed it against the ground, a tusk splintered from the impact, and the sound of bone snapping was enough to make one of my party turn and refuse to look back, as the Dire plant began its meal.
The smaller vines uprooted from the soil and began to massage the skin, prying into the flesh as it spread through muscle and deeper between bone, until the creature gave way from the tearing force. It was not unlike a small explosion of flesh, fat, and bone.
The roots returned to the earth, nourished by the wet soil, the bark stained red, and the remains littering the area. We were glad to be above the forest, far from the reach of the thick appendages of the Dire Vine.
The Vine entangles its prey if they happen to wander into the plants long reach, triggered by the vibrations or any physical contact, the vine instinctively snatches up the trespasser. By bringing the body closer to the trunk, much smaller vines emerge slowly from the soil, like worms after rain, or maggots, the begin to crawl across the body while roots underneath penetrate into exposed flesh, or seek out chinks in armour to tear apart and make fertilizer of the captive creature, sometimes while it is still alive. It has been thought that the Dire Vine has a malicious sentience, but if that were true, it would surely work faster.
The lashing limbs of a fully grown tree have been known to reach 20 ft in length and 5 inches thick, but they are also exceptionally strong and durable, able to pull a man of 10 stones in weight towards it, slowly but steadily. The vine is also hard to cut free from, and the sap very sticky and red, adding to the stuckness of those trying to escape.
Smaller vines shoot off from a main stem, mimicking a true trees’ structure by growing a large distracting canopy filled with a red, purple-spotted fruit that resembles a large pear, but with a much tougher skin and is extremely poisonous to humans and large mammals.
The much deadlier aspect with the Dire Vine is when one is able to live long enough or is nurtured to produce more vines. These are known as Assassin Groves.
Assassin Groves are large plots of Dire Vine, at least an acre, growing outward of one main Vine, which looms from the center like a great Oak. The edge of a grove has small saplings which are not as powerful but as prey travels further in, the smaller trees move their small vines to create an outer fence to prevent escape from the larger vines within. All smaller stems work to feed the large central vine which at that size has become a monstrous plant with a ravenous appetite.
- The PCs have heard the king of the region has transformed the grounds of his garden into an Assassin Grove to watch it feast on the captured soldiers of the neighboring state. The King at war with him will gladly pay the PCs to rescue them as his own son is the general of the captured regiment.
- Dire Vine fruit, poisonous but sweet smelling, makes unique oil which craftsmen and assassins use in traps or as treatments to weapons. There are some who would pay for a single fruit, but others would pay for a cutting to grow their own. PCs have been set to retrieve fruit or an actual vine.
- Among the branches of a great Dire Vine lies a great weapon of a great hero who stumbled into its roots after a battle that weakened him enough for the long tendril to take him unaware, the weapon lies embedded in the trunk, stuck in the bark, halfway up.
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? Responses (10)
Well, we have seen them before, but you just can't have a high-fantasy forest without a plant that drags you towards it to eat you. (Psst, add some detail on its actual feeding methods and equipment... it will be necessary when the heroes will have to fight it.)
It is a decent implementation of the cliche, with nice plot hook for use.
Nice narrative add-on!
what manfred said! (both times)
Holy Carnivorous Plants, Batman!
A well-executed rendition of the fantasy/pulp adventure staple. They also come in handy when your science-fiction adventurers are marooned on a hostile planet: A larger version of the creature could entangle entire spacecraft...
Drat! Forgot to vote!
I really like this nasty vine. A couple of questions:
1. How does it sense victims? Scent? Vibrations? Photosensors?
2. Does it have a special origin?
I like it-but I'd stay well away from it if I met it in rl.
Updated: more terrifying