Thursday, March 26, 2020

Non-Dark Sun Creatures in Dark Sun - Cactus, Blood (Vampire)

There are many creatures from the various monstrous manuals that have been officially added to Dark Sun. I added some unofficially for my game and I'm sure a lot of other DMs do the same.
There is no inherent problem with this, although the flavor text often doesn't fit with the Dark Sun setting. My goal is to list the various monsters that "don't fit" and rewrite their flavor text to make them fit.
I often add a new Athasian variant as well.

Cactus, Blood (Vampire)
I have renamed the vampire cactus the blood cactus because there are no vampires on Athas. There is also no indication there has ever been vampires on Athas.

Cactus, Blood Cactus, Psionic Blood
Climate/Terrain Any Desert Any Desert
Frequency Very Rare Very Rare
Organization Solitary Solitary
Activity Cycle Any Any
Diet Special Special
Intelligence Non- (0) Non- (0)
Treasure Incidental Incidental
Alignment Neutral Neutral
No. Appearing 1-3 1
Armor Class 6 (core), 7 (leaf), 8 (thread) 6 (core), 7 (leaf), 8 (thread)
Movement 0 0
Hit Dice 3 (core), 1+1 (leaf), 4 hp (thread) 3 (core), 1+1 (leaf), 4 hp (thread)
Thac0 17 15
No. of Attacks 12 12
Damage/ Attack 1-2 x 12 1-2 x 12
Special Attack Blood DrainBlood Drain, PsP Drain
Special DefenseNil Nil
Magic Resistance Nil Nil
Size M (5-6' tall) M (5-6' tall)
Morale Fanatic (17-18) Fanatic (17-18)
XP Value 650 1,400

Blood cacti are plants of the deep desert that supplement their water supply by draining liquids from animals that come within range.
Blood cacti resemble century plants, with 12 fleshy leaves, each tipped with a sharp needle about one inch long. Sprouting from the plant’s central core is a single spike rising to a height of five to six feet. The leaves are about five feet long, but droop toward the ground so the main body of the plant stands about three feet high. The leaves are dusty green with a narrow band of yellow around their margins. The needles on their tips are white. The central spike is golden yellow. Once every high sun a single small flower blooms at the top of the central spike. This flower is blood-red in color. After this flower has been pollinated, a small blood-red fruit forms. The fruit is moist and sweet-tasting, almost irresistible to most birds.
The plant itself is rooted to one spot, but it can move its leaves rapidly. Blood cacti are usually surrounded by the skeletons and drained corpses of warm-blooded denizens of the desert.

The blood cactus attacks by shooting the needles at the tips of its leaves into its victim. These needles have a range of three yards. They remain attached to the leaves by a thick, rubbery thread that unreels from within the leaf. This thread is the vessel through which the plant drains its victim’s bodily fluids.
The needles inflict 1-2 points of damage when they strike. Each subsequent round, the plant drains ld3 points of liquid (i.e., blood) through each needle that remains in its victim’s flesh. The victim can tear free or pull the needles loose, but they are viciously barbed and pulling them out of flesh causes 1d3 points of damage each. The plant can fire all 12 needles simultaneously, but no more than six can be directed at a single target. Any needle that fails to penetrate its target is reeled in and is ready to be fired again by the beginning of the next melee round. Once a target is dead, the plant reels in the needles from that target and readies them to fire at any other victim that presents itself. The plant becomes satiated after draining 50 hit points. When it reaches satiation, it reels in all its needles and does not attack anything again for 48 hours.
Some blood cacti drain psionic strength points (psps) in addition to the victim's blood. An impaled target loses 1d4 psps for each needle that successfully struck them. If the victim runs out of psps, the cacti begins to drain the highest of wisdom or intelligence at a rate of 1 point per round and converts these points into psps for itself. A character drained of all wisdom or intelligence falls into a coma for 1d4 days. This drain is temporary and returns at a rate of 1 point per day.
The psionic blood cactus uses these drained psps to power it's own psionic abilities, which are outlined below. There is no maximum to the number of psps that the blood cactus may store, but these points decrease by 10% every 24 hours.
The threads connecting the needles to the leaves are AC 8 and can suffer 4 points of damage before being severed. The leaves are AC 7, and each has 1+1 Hit Dice. Damage to threads or leaves does no permanent harm to the plant, since it can regrow a damaged leaf in 1d4+1 days (although destroying a leaf or severing a thread decreases the plant’s number of attacks, of course). The only way to kill the plant is to destroy its core. The core is AC 6 and has 3 Hit Dice. Damage done to the leaves doesn’t count against this total. Because the core is surrounded by leaves that move, any attack directed at the core has a 75% chance of hitting a leaf instead (providing, of course, that all of the leaves have not already been dealt with).
Blood cacti are immune to lightning and electrical attacks (they ground the electricity into the desert through their roots). They’re very vulnerable to fire, however, and fire-based attacks inflict double damage. Since they have no minds, sleep, charm, illusion, and other mind-affecting spells have no effect.
Psionic Summary
Level: 2
Dis/Sci/Dev: 1/1/5
Attack/Defense: N/A
Score: 14
PSPs: Special
Psychometalbolic: Complete Healing, Biofeedback, Cause Sleep, Cell Adjustment, Displacement, Flesh Armor

Blood cacti evolved their blood-draining ability to help meet their water needs. Other adaptations to life in the deep desert include the dusty-looking surface of their leaves (to help slow down evaporation), the single small bloom (to minimize water loss), and a conductive root system (blood cacti are often the tallest objects around, and hence struck by desert lightning). Migrating birds seem to have carried the seeds of blood cacti to every corner of the Tablelands.
The only treasures to be found near a blood cactus are the possessions of any unlucky victims.

Nothing eats the blood cactus; its tissue is too tough and bitter (in contrast to its fruit). Anything warm-blooded is a potential victim for the cactus.
The fruit is very sweet and is considered a delicacy in every city-state. A single blood cactus fruit is worth 5cp and weighs 1/4 pound.

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