Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Yellow Musk Creeper

I’m pretty much in favor of any excuse to let corpses shamble about the forest.  (Which is weird, since I consume almost zero zombie-related literature or entertainment—I just like the image of the dead shuffling out from behind ferns to attack.)  So the yellow musk creeper serves as a nice spawning point that’s not a graveyard or zone of eeeeevil.  Technically, of course, yellow musk zombies are plants, not undead, but that just makes them even more fun.  When the PCs are only 1st–3rd level, “Your channel seems to have no affect on them,” is such a magical phrase, isn’t it?

After a failed assassination attempt, the queen and the dauphin are removed to the holdings of the baron of Nightmarch for their own protection.  But Baron Nightmarch is in the pocket of the duke regent, who organized the attempted murder in the first place.  Before the royal family arrives, the baron seeds his little-used castle grounds with yellow musk creeper vines, hoping the young prince will fall prey to a “natural” disaster.

The most difficult part of any caravan or tax collector’s journey through Crambrey is “walking the Dead Road,” a dismal path through a haunted forest where the dead refuse to lie down.  In truth, the forest is not haunted at all, but infested with yellow musk creepers.  Ironically, any druid or elf could have told the sheriff this, but his previous efforts to root out bandits along the tax collector’s route drove all those with any woodcraft out of the county.

Not all adventuring companies form around ale and fellowship at the local tavern.  A band of young folk are thrown together as conscripts in the earl’s army.  Detailed to bury corpses as the main body of the army moves on, they suddenly find themselves facing hordes of yellow musk zombies, courtesy of yellow musk creepers that took root overnight.  If the recruits survive the assault, they may or may not rejoin the army, as their superiors were the first to fall to the vegetable onslaught.

Pathfinder Bestiary 285

For those keeping score, the yellow musk creeper first appeared in Dwellers of the Forbidden City.  I’ve never even see a copy, but apparently it gave us the aboleth, mongrelman, and (A)D&D’s yuan-ti, bullywug, and tasloi.

Oh great, now this is in my head.

1 comment:

  1. No mention of the Clark Ashton Smith inspired origin of this one?