The Black Stump
A less-traditional NPC, a magical creature, formerly a tree. Might function as a druid or hermit.
A mighty tree it was, giving shelter to wanderers and many birds, until one night two dragons battled on the sky, right over him. Their motives are unknown, but the loser fell to his death on the tree, and that, broken and burned with the acidic blood of one and the fiery breath of other become what it is now.
Treasure? What kind of treasure would such a creature have? It may know about some buried valuables around. Dragon bones are still on the location, covered with earth and bushes.
Next to the crossroads stands a great black stump of a tree, broken, without a twig or leef. Almost twice the height of a man, with black bark harder than any wood or stone. Said to be the meeting-place of fairies or witches at midnight (and other things according to other stories) it was actually a tree a long time ago.
A mighty tree it was, giving shelter to wanderers and many birds, until one night two dragons battled on the sky, right over him. Their motives are unknown, but the loser fell to his death on the tree, and that, broken and burned with the acidic blood of one and the fiery breath of other become what it is now, his lifepower too great to die.
The Stump as it is has little to tell (well it doesn't speak at all), but any spell or ability enabling to communicate with a plant, animal or creature will work.
You can imagine the voice of his mind as deep and crackling.
Stump really doesn't much care for humanoids, for he cannot tell them apart. Of minor interest to him are only their emotional states and what they actually do in his surrounding. He feels the emotions across hundreds of meters/yards and abusing the nature up to miles, depending on the severity. If there is an army camp nearby, he will surely know. May help if looking for a kidnapped person, or someone with unusual emotions (think madness).
It can 'see' only in his immediate vicinity. Any talk will take about 10 times longer as it would normally (the talker himself doesn't notice this!) - he is a bit slow. No natural means of defense known, but can be considered indestructible.
It is unknown if he has any magical powers - give him none or make him something like a stationery druid.
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? Responses (9)
Could be used as a village legend type thing. There could be some in the village with a natural talent to speak with such sentient beings. This ability would make them the village wise person or something and is tasked with going to the 'Reflection Tree' or something to ask the gods for help or suggestions for the problem. The tree, with its age and perhaps wisdom, can help with many types of topics perhaps.
Most others without the power can 'feel' a presence, but it only scares them and doesn't allow communication, hence the reverence they give to those that can communicate, and stand being close to it.
Yes, it is a force of Nature. Somewhat uncaring, but it wants some kind of general well-being for all natural creatures around.
An interesting idea the centre of a local religion or cult perhaps
Does the Stump gain anything from all this attention? If so, what?
Does it really care for the affairs of humanoids? Or even notice (beyond their effect on the forest)?
Do the villagers gain from this (beyond peace of mind)? If so, what?
I thought him to be a lonely being, known perhaps to a few wise people, witches and sages around... but correctly, the magnificient uncaring creature you cannot lie to (it reads emotions) could be seen by some as a servant of their god, embodiment of a spirit, and would be sought for advice or only for the comfort of being nearby (especially buddhist-like and meditative religions may have interest in this).
(Reminder: it doesn't have a mouth or other means of talking. Telepathic as it is, it doesn't have the power to invade the minds of other beings... or simply never starts the talk.)
Weird plot option: There was this tree you could get information from, but somebody uprooted it and carted away! Find out who it was and why. And if there is some evil behind it (as sure it is), prevent it.
OK... so let's answer Dragon Lord's questions finally:
The Stump may simply desire company, of _some_ selected humanoids, that is. As for its long-stadning goals, I am not sure... anybody has an idea? Anything besides protecting nature & stuff.
As for the villagers needs, the tree - being on the place for hundreds of years - may have a deep feeling for the surrounding, so it can predict what the weather will be like, for example. Which is of prime importance to farmers. And it would be an ill omen if the Stump suddenly made a mistake... a mark of a great Change coming.
This way, it could serve for setting up the mood of a campaign. (No need to quote a certain Ent of LOTR about change in the world.)
The tree could like extraordinarily vital people, with strong life-force, and perhps delight in seeing them blossom...
Thanks manfred that all makes sense
A minor cult might develop based on what the priests (i.e. the humanoids the Stump likes the company of) believe that it wants this might be genuine (they truly believe they are communing with a divine entity of some form) or fraudulent (they use the fact as a means of conning the local villagers into doing their bidding)
Either way, there are plenty of role-playing opportunities
This is great! I Love these odd NPC creatures.
I like this as a minor local legend with potential for much more. I would have liked more details on it but as it is, it's at the high end of my 3.5.