Dragon Magazine

Killer Spruce

Dragon #156



Climate/Terrain:Subarctic/Forests
Frequency:Rare
Organization:Grove
Activity Cycle:Any
Diet:Photosynthesis, with supplemental “organic enrichment” of the soil in which it lives
Intelligence:Non- (0)
Treasure:Incidental
Alignment:Neutral evil
No. Appearing:1-4
Armor Class:0 (trunk)/3 (branches)
Movement:0
Hit Dice:8
THAC0:13
No. of Attacks:6 branch strikes
Damage/Attack:2-12 per strike
Special Attacks:Dying blow, possible poison
Special Defenses:Camouflage, resistant to blunt weapons
Magic Resistance:Nil
Size:L (30’ tall)
Morale:Fearless (20), as it can’t run away
XP Value:5,000 (7,000 if poisonous)

A killer spruce is an ill-tempered tree that can stand no other kinds of life near it. It attacks all creatures passing under it by hitting downward and inward with its lowest branches, which are equipped with seemingly normal but unusually hard and strong needles. There is no way to distinguish a killer spruce from a normal spruce except to examine its needles carefully (at which point it will attack you anyway). Young killer spruce behave in all ways like normal spruces until they reach full treehood. All killer spruce show a marked preference for elven victims.

If a killer spruce has been brought to zero or fewer hit points, it makes one final attempt to destroy its opponents by falling over onto them. Anyone hit by such an attack suffers 5-30 hp damage and must make a dexterity check on 1d20 or be trapped beneath the fallen spruce. A killer spruce does not care about treasure, but there might still be some valuables lying under it, left there by past victims at the DM’s discretion.

Some of these fierce conifers (15%) also have a weak poison on their needles that requires a character to save vs. poison at +3. Anyone who fails the save falls into a comatose sleep for 1-4 turns and may be attacked at +4 to hit by the spruce.

Attacking a killer spruce with blunt weapons does only one-quarter normal damage. A killer spruce is very susceptible to fire, and all such attacks are saved against at -4. Druids can only speculate as to how killer spruce originated, and they dislike the time they spend rescuing adventurers from their clutches.


Created by: Hans Persson


Last Modified: March 01, 2014, 12:50:53 GMT

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition


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