Picture the Green Man. Or just a green man. (Don’t worry, we’ll get to that eventually.) Now picture one…gone wrong. One rotted. One that hates civilization. Now you have a mosslord. Or even the Mosslord, as he might be a singular entity on your world. The point is, sometimes nature decides it hates civilization so much that it has to do something about it. And the mosslord is a great vehicle for doing so—a twisted manikin of moss on a lumber frame with a genius intellect, a head for tactics, a patience for the long game, and that is just humanoid enough to let its victims know that it’s really pissed.
Why use a mosslord versus, say, a powerful fey or blight or a template-packed green dragon or treant? Easy: really evocative special abilities. Imagine sheets of moss that entangle and sicken. Yellow mold blasts that weaken PCs and quickened fungal infestation that turn their skin to fleshy fungus. Critical hits that straight up turn humanoid limbs to wood. And practically no way to kill it unless you can lure it to another plane—the way the rules read, even tossing one into a volcano is only going to work if you account for (and blight/diminish plants) every last spore. It’s no wonder these creatures are often harbingers of apocalypse and social collapse. This is a monster worth ending a campaign with.
(And imagine the mingled frustration and glee the players will feel when their characters see the Big Bad Cult they've been chasing all campaign summon a mosslord…only to watch the cult become the uncaring creature’s first victims, denying the PCs their revenge and leaving them with a plant monster to clean up.)
One final note: I like how the Bestiary 6 authors acknowledged that, yes, blights and whisperers are also things in the mosslord’s world, and they don’t get along. Why this is so is not specified, but I like that there’s some awareness that we have dueling forces of natural anger all vying for our attention (and vying to turn the PCs into compost).
The Irn Islands, Summer’s Haven, and the continent of Niobe each have their own druidic orders that tend the wild places and guide their respective nations toward fruitful coexistence. Not so the lands south of the Gash, where only nomads dwell and all attempts at civilization have been swallowed under the suffocating green carpet of the Mosslord and his army of fungal boggards and fey.
Having already wiped out the Circle of Oak, a mosslord threatens the nation of Arinoryx unopposed—unopposed, that is, until some doughty adventurers step in. They have a plan to lure the mosslord north to the Auroran Highlands and then trap it in ice. If they succeed, they will indeed slow and weaken the raging plant creature…but they’ll also awaken Rumor of the Ever-Midnight, a whisperer equally outraged that both the forces of civilization and a scion of rot have entered the fey’s glacial domain.
Detecting an anomaly wave, a chronomancer sends adventurers back in time to prevent a disruption of the fabled Elven Exodus. There the adventurers discover that it was they who inspired the endangered elven race to flee by magic to another world for a millennium. In the end, they end up playing crucial roles, battling the ur-orc hordes, surrendering the Home Forests to the protection of the fey, and holding off the nascent drow houses at the Gate of Mir Talash. Finally they lead the elves to Sirnam, the Green Hope. But Sirnam does not want to be colonized, the planet itself manifesting as a mosslord to drive out the elven migration.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 6 194–195
Sticklers for detail will notice that Bestiary 6’s Table of Contents has the mosslord out of alphabetical order.
Anyone else have Moss Man growing up? I sure did. (I seem to recall later hearing that one of my friends had both Moss Man and Hordak’s Slime Pit, and the combination was (predictably to anyone but a six-year-old) quite unfortunate.)
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