A Dozen Unusual Flowers
From the same school of thought as, 'Hey GM, which book did I just randomly pull from the shelf of the wizards' library?' No plot hooks here, just flavor additions.
One touch and you're dead in ten steps or less, or so the legends say. So virulent is the pollen of this flower, that even standing next to a patch of these pansies, can induce a virulent reaction in the victim, wherein breathing becomes difficult, hives break out, and migraines ensue. Touching a ten-step pansy with exposed flesh, or breathing in its pollen, can cause an on-set of further debilitating symptoms which can, in extremely rare cases, cause death (in whatever number of steps). These pansies are known to be catnip for trolls however, and there have been mentions of adventurers spying lone trolls, sitting atop a patch of these flowers, breathing in the pollen in near-ecstasy. Troll-lures, the Elven troll-hunters call them.
The underground realms can claim few flowers for obvious reasons, yet the deep caverns have their 'blooms' as well. One such flower is the Dwarven Gypsum-Rose. A bizarre hybrid of mineral growth and plant matter, the gypsum rose appears as a translucent crystalline protrusion, but one with a star-burst flower resembling a rose, and a faint amber glow emitting from the crystal. Dwarves are known to tend to these crystalline flower beds inside their cavern-halls, and use them for decoration.If these strange mineral-plant hybrids have certain other properties, isn't yet known, and the Dwarves aren't talking.
Naughty are the ways of nature. The bloom of the Shameless Empress, if eyed from above, with some imagination, appears as if a woman has hiked up a wide gown or skirt over her waist, revealing no worn knickers, and one leg kicking high. These flowers are popular gifts among the amorously-inclined, and can often be found growing in pots beside houses of ill-repute. The flowers get their colloquial name from a rather raunchy queen of ages past, one who was rather promiscuous and devoid of inhibitions.
Another evocatively named flower, Dreaming Virgins are long-lived members of the Dahlia family. If poked, they release tiny drops of blood-red sap. Once this happens, the Dreaming Virgin will never release the red sap again, though they can go on living for many years afterwards. The red sap is one of the most powerful dyes known to man, and if touched with a finger, for example, a red stain will remain on the skin for years! Nothing short of magic will peel the red mark from the flesh. Gnomes are known to raise these flowers, deep in the forests, away from prying eyes. They distill the sap, process it, and sell it on the market for exorbitant amounts. This particularly unique shade of red is unsurprisingly known as 'Dreaming Virgin Red', and is prized in many lands. Once applied to materials or textiles, nothing can wash away the vivid, bright color.
Whenever this flower blooms, the rose-head detaches from the stem and is taken up by any strong breeze or wind. According to folklore, these rose-heads will always land beside anyone who is secretly loved by another. As many trust in folklore, countless embarrassing and peculiar confrontations have been documented between the 'recipients' of Flying Rose heads, and their unsuspecting and surprised 'paramours'. 'Aha, i knew it, you *do* love me!'...'Ehm, I don't know what you're talking about!'. 'Thorns-will-Follow' is an expression attributed to the Flying Rose as well, implying that whenever something beautiful appears suddenly and randomly, the thorns (danger) can't be far behind.
Zombie Sprout (Ghoul-Lily)
Undead compost beds of the moving variety suit them just fine. Zombie Sprouts grow on the undead. Any corporal creature rising from the grave, can possibly have countless of these tiny, yellow flowers growing all over their rotting forms. Somehow, these flowers derive nutrition from their unholy hosts, and it is said by certain priests that the more flowers grow upon a zombie or ghoul, the more powerful and intense that creature's hatred for life has become. Curiously, once one of these undead is put down, the flowers turn from yellow to pink, and flutter away in the wind, searching for new ground. It is possible to predict the rise of a ghoul or zombie perhaps, if one notices a patch of pink flower petals upon the ground.
Auspiciously named, this unspeakably beautiful bloom sadly has no scent whatsoever. If described accurately, it appears as if a deep-purple colored dragon's claw has erupted from the soil, clutching a gemstone of an incredibly vibrant blue hue, in its grasp. One of the rarest and most prized flowers known, they are often found adorning the gardens and windowsills of nobles and royalty. The common folk have field days noting the irony in this; flowers so beautiful to behold, yet having no aroma to speak of, and equate them with the very same nobles who prize them.
A drooping perennial with sagging leaves and an unimpressive grayish knob for a flower, this bloom is not celebrated for its beauty, but rather for its odd folklore. Any witch-hunter worth his salt knows that wherever grows Nan's Teats, dwell witches. Witches and warlocks are known to dry and grind these flowers into powder, and mix it into milk, which they give to their children to drink. Why? No one yet knows. They are also used as cooking herbs by ordinary folk. The flavor of a dried Nan's Teat leaf, can only be described as that of a bay-leaf but ten times more concentrated and pungent in flavor. Indeed, it takes but one dried Nan's Teat to paralyze an entire kettle of stew with a floral punch.
Appearing as so many blades of grass clumped together and extending in a line, Dancing Men feature silver bells that look like so many tiny helms. If a random patch of Dancing men is observed for some time, they will reveal their bizarre natures. As the wind blows, the Dancing Men will begin to bend and curve, forming weird shapes, and sometimes even words and phrases! Druids and hermits will often reside near these patches, and study the flowers, contemplating Nature's messages. One story tells of a Barbarian who while hunting some fell beast, sat to rest beside a patch of Dancing Men. Too late, he noticed the words, 'Behind You!' being spelled out by the flowers.
Wheezing Beggars (Hacking Miners, Coughing-Fits, Coffin-Coughs) Beautiful white flowers of the buttercup family, with tar-yellow markings, they have one distinct and innate feature which puts them in the bizarre category. Every day at a certain hour, the flowers, which always grow in bunches, begin emitting a peculiar sound that can only be described as the wheezing cough of multiple heavy smokers or miners. Botanists claim that this sound is the flower's way of attracting certain flies and wasps audibly, in lieu of a strong aroma. However, legends being what they are, it said these flowers somehow trap the souls of dead miners and those unfortunates who may have perished from consumption. The fact that these flowers favor growing near mine-shaft entrances around the country-side, due to the present minerals in the soil, doesn't help the naturalists convince the superstitious folk that the flowers' strange cough is a natural function.
An ordinary looking flower of the iris family, they feature dark-red centers, hidden by green leaf-like flaps. They are rarely discovered by adventurers, but those in the know are aware of the last-chance-flame's useful properties. Simply put, if a thin twig, or toothpick, or even a piece of frayed rope is gently stuck inside the flowers contours, and held there for a half-minute or so, the item in question will begin to emit some smoke and eventually flame up. The Pyromancer's Guild uses this flower as its symbol.
Not a flower, but needs be mentioned. No doubt you may have heard of the resurrection fern, known for its ability to survive extreme droughts, drying out then returning to life again. The reincarnation fern, its more fantastic cousin, takes the concept further. Whenever faced with drought or otherwise dangerous conditions to its existence, the reincarnation fern will evolve and transform into a different plant or flower! Once conditions are returned to normal, the reincarnation fern will transform back to it's original state. Alchemists and naturalists are obsessed with discovering the properties of these plants, and use its essence in countless experiments, magical and otherwise. There are rumors of Reincarnation Fern potions out there, though who knows what imbibing one would actually do to the drinker.
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? Responses (6)-6
Very nice, I wish that there were more of them.
Very evocative and useful far beyond that of flavour, as the lore found in this book could be used as clues for a whole number of things. Like the ten-step pansy (Why are there always trolls on this meadow??), hunting for a specific undead? Just look for the pink flowers!
And the flying rose and the nan's teat could spark some very interesting encounters. :)
Full score from me as well, great to see you back at writing, Muro!
Solid list, and I enjoyed reading it.
I love these! I Certainly will be incorporating them into my Unseen Fortress revamp..
Looking forward to the revamp. The Unseen Fortress seems to be the Fantasy Flora Mecca of the Citadel!
Another well conceived, well-written piece. Plenty of interesting ideas, for casual throwaways in game, or in one or two cases for a story.