The Oaken Shambler appears as a massive tree-stump, generally with a trunk at least 6’ in diameter at the base. Huge roots serve as both legs and weapons, and range in size both in diameter and length. The bark appears blackened and rotted, with large amounts of fungi.
The stump’s shape and writhing roots is reminiscent of an octopus slithering over the ground, though surprisingly quickly. Alternately, it could walk about with it’s roots held more stiffly, and in this mode appearing more spider-like.
The Shambler is not a subtle foe - its tactics are simply to plow into any foes, smashing and trampling with its roots, battering with the stump of it’s trunk. Unlike many other golems, the Shambler is a manifestation of rage, attacking its targets with ferocious energy and moving with frightening speed.
Its wet, near-rotting wood is highly resistent to fire and it is best combated with chopping weapons. It’s intellect is very low - literally dumb as a stump, and so will readily fall for the simplest of traps. Pit traps are actually not that useful, as it is very good at climbing - its roots have excellent purchase on stone and earth.
It perceives its world though vibration and sound, making many forms of invisibility useless against it. Magically induced silence will ‘blind’ it and in such a state, it will rage and lunge about completely randomly.
The Shambler is created from the dead stump of massive oak trees - one which has been cut down, not one that has succumbed to natural causes. The dead tree is infused with enchantments by the The Queen of the Dark Wood and the massive stump erupts from the ground, a form of wood golem.
Other beings can create the Shambler, though it is possible for other wilderness-oriented beings to do so. It is still important for the tree to have been chopped down by uncaring/irreverent beings for the magic to take. The sense of waste is necessary to impart the rage needed to seed the enchantment.
This creature is intended to provide some additional nature-oriented heavy hitters. With minor tweaking, one can make this creature a type of undead instead of a golem/construct.
It is possible that one of these can arise (undead or otherwise) spontaneously if a tree of sufficient importance or magical potential is callously felled.
If you wouldn’t mind
A local hero of some fame was bested by one of these things, but managed to escape with his life. Unfortunately, he lost a prized weapon which is now imbedded in the creature. The PCs are contracted to quietly recover the weapon.
In the center of a village, there stands a vast tree which has been there as long as the town’s records exist. It is the site of local nature veneration, marriages, executions and many other functions. However, the land recent has come under the authority of a new Duke, the old one having fallen in battle. He has decided to raise a new fortress in the town, and the location would require the removal of the great tree. The new fort will greatly increase the prosperity and security of the village, but many still resist the loss of their tree.
Not one to hesitate, the Duke has dispatched workers to fell the tree. Should this happen, the stump will arise as a massive Shambler which will then go on a rampage.
It is possible the PCs could change the mind of the Duke, perhaps through discovery of a long forgotten proclamation by an old king, granting protection to the tree ‘For the extent of my line.’, appealing to his compassion (the duke is not evil, merely expedient) or even by sabotaging the workers efforts, though this might entail dangerous consequences if they are discovered. It is also possible the PC’s are on hand after it is felled, and help deal with the rampaging Shambler.
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CodexThe Queen of the Dark Wood ( Lifeforms ) Unique - Forest/ Jungle
The Queen of the Dark wood has no name apart from that given to her by other races. She has preceeded all of the pantheons of Neyathis, being one of the few powers remaining from the begining of the world.