Dragon Magazine


Dragon #167

Climate/Terrain:Subtropical and tropical swamps and jungles
Frequency:Very rare
Activity Cycle:Day
Intelligence:Low (5-7)
Alignment:Neutral evil
No. Appearing:1
Armor Class:See below
Hit Dice:8
No. of Attacks:See below
Damage/Attack:See below
Special Attacks:Spell-like powers, continuous damage
Special Defenses:Nil
Magic Resistance:30%
Size:L (10-12’ tall)
Morale:Champion (16)
XP Value:2,000

The helborn is a sentient, carnivorous plant with spell-like powers. It is also able to use a telepathic, nonverbal empathy within 60’, allowing it to communicate with potential prey. All attempts to cultivate it have ended tragically. A mature helborn consists of a large, 4’-long head (AC 1) formed by two lobes like hinged clamshells. The trunk (AC 3) contains the plant’s stomach, and from the trunk grow from 4-12 large tendrils (AC 5).

The helborn can uproot itself, then travel short distances by using its roots to grasp objects and pull itself along. It is very cunning and uses treasure as a bribe or as a lure to trick prey into coming within reach of its tendrils. The helborn might also try to nonverbally convince its victims that it wants to help them in return for “food”.

Combat: The tendrils of the helborn are each able to club for 1-6 hp damage. A tendril can also wrap around an attacker on a to-hit roll, then crush for 1-4 hp damage per round thereafter. Each AC 5 tendril can sustain 8 hp damage before severing or breaking; this does not affect the plant?s own hit-point total. A tendril can lift a man-sized victim.

Prey is placed inside the helborn’s mouth, where the victim is held in place by the spines lining the inside of the lobes. If the prey struggles while inside, it receives 1-3 hp damage per round from the spines. A mild enzyme causes 1 hp damage per round for four rounds after the victim enters the mouth, after which the victim is moved down into the plant’s stomach where digestion continues. Inedible materials are later regurgitated and expelled. The inside of the head is AC 5, and small edged weapons (short-sword size or less) may be used to inflict one-quarter of the plant’s total hit points in order to escape.

There are four stages to a helborn?s growth, each stage taking a year to reach. A seedling consists of the head (6” across with 1 HD) surrounded by a rosette of leaves. The head of a young plant (2 HD) is 1’ across, and there appear the beginnings of a trunk; some of the young plant’s leaves have become tendrils capable of a weak grasp, easily broken by medium-size or larger creatures. The subadult plant stands 6-8’ high, with a head 2’ across and tendrils capable of 1-3 hp clubbing or 1-2 hp crushing damage. Mature plants live about 11-20 years.

Helborn plants gain certain spell-like abilities as they grow (each power is usable once per day). A helborn seedling possesses ESP; as a young plant, it can use hypnotism; a subadult plant can use domination; and a mature helborn possesses mass suggestion. These powers duplicate the mages’ spells of the same name cost at the 12th level.

Habitat/Society: Helborn are rarely encountered by those who do not dwell in swamps, and so have little effect on the world at large. They prey on all creatures except other plants, tolerating no rivals near them. In turn, they are attacked only by communal creatures who can amass the magic and military might to destroy them.

Last Modified: February 06, 2014, 19:19:56 GMT

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition

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