The Sparrow Oak superficially resembles a regular white oak tree, with the same pale bark, strong wood, and similar leaf pattern. Unlike the conventional oak, the sparrow oak has a unique method of dispersing it's seeds. Like the ratwood tree the sparrow oak has mobile seeds. Unlike the Ratwood tree that drops squirming woody rodents to go off and burrow into the ground, the sparrow oak's seeds flutter through the air on frantic wings, hence it's name.
The sparrow oak's acorns have green feathery wings and a poor sense of direction, and are at best, horribly flyers. The acorns are known for being haphazardly being drawn towards things that make sound, especially loud sounds. This can be an exciting event as a loud creature or person can easily be pelted by dozens of these june-bug like lemon sized flying acorns. The winged acorn is only active for twenty to thirty minutes before exhausting itself and crashing to the ground where luck and the gods will determine if it germinates or is eaten by a forager.
The Sparrow Oak is a rather tall tree, and most of it's acorns are grown in the upper reaches of the tree. Once it detaches, an acorn can travel several miles from it's lofty launch point before landing. The second strategy employed by the tree is sheer numbers. A single sparrow oak can have hundreds to even more than a thousand such acorns on it a season. Storms can cause these acorns to scatter en masse, as can strong winds. The seeds will use these winds and stormy conditions to travel farther from the tree than generally is possible under their own flight.
Elves favor the sparrow oak as it is an aggressively spreading tree, and its seeds can be used to make acorn meal for baking into bread, or roasted and eaten as they are. The wood is not exceptional, but can be used to make mundane things such as housing, furniture, and decorative woodworking.
Watch Your Head: Sparrow oak acorns in a swarm, (during a storm near a copse of the trees) can present a travel hazard much like a hailstorm but a tad more nutty in flavor. Each PC has a random chance of being winged, dinged, or binged by a flying acorn.
Elfin Settlement Expansion: the Elves are using several copses of sparrow oaks to expand their woodland demesne. This is coming at the cost of arable farmland and some of the less boggy wetlands in the area. There is a conflict brewing as the Elves are increasingly at odds with the human farmers and the residents of the wetlands. The PCs can be brought in to hunt swamp dwellers, protect the trees, or find out what the elves are up to this time.
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? Responses (7)-7
I love these ones too! Thanks for these Scras!
Neat idea, take the little helicopter seeds from my youth and makes them a true fantasy setting device. Thank you!
My inspiration was raking leaves yesterday and several times the fallen leaves resembled dead birds and small rats.
Then boom, ratwood and sparrow oak.
Ah, I love these sorts of things. Just the right mix of plausible (for a fantasy setting) and interesting to make a good background element. Kudos!
Good and fun submission, and a good way to shut up a noisy bard..
Short and sweet
I really like the plothook with elves using this in a millitary manner. Though I am curious as to how a plant would be able to hear sound, though I'm sure there's an example somewhere in wikipedia for that as well.