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Illustration of a small, bright red pine tree with rough bark that has darker patches. Behind it is a desert canyon underneath a cloudy sky.


Safety Rating: Ranges from dangerous to extremely dangerous depending on the season and their internal temperature.

Environment: Volcanoes and other locations with geothermal activity.

Elementally Transmuted Plant: At some point in their origin, Lava Pines were exposed to elemental magic so powerful that they became something new—a living combination of Plant Magic, Earth Magic, and Fire Magic. While Lava Pines have plant-like traits, they aren’t truly plants anymore.

Details: Lava Pines are best thought of as living molten rock that subsists on the geothermal energy that they absorb through their massive root systems. When a Lava Pine is thriving, it is able to absorb enough energy to keep the rock inside its trunk and branches fully molten. In warm weather, a healthy Lava Pine has an outer crust that is a vibrant, glowing red with a few darker patches that slowly move around. In cold weather, a thriving Lava Pine has a protective dark crust over its trunk and branches, but its inner heat shows in the vibrant reds and golds that gleam through the cracks in its crust.

If a Lava Pine is struggling to get enough energy, the rock inside its trunk and branches cools and thickens. This thickening can cause blockages. Pressure builds up behind the blockage until it gives way in an eruption. The cooler the tree is, the more violent the eruption will be. In warm weather, struggling Lava Pines are dull red with many dark patches. In cold weather, they develop a crust with a distinctive, lumpy appearance.

Even thriving Lava Pines can erupt during particularly cold winters, and it is these winter eruptions that spread Lava Pine seeds. Because eruptions are more violent for struggling Lava Pines than thriving ones, struggling pines spread more seeds over a wider area. As a result, areas with stable geothermal activity tend to have a small number of thriving Lava Pines that are close together, while areas with unstable geothermal activity have many struggling Lava Pines spread over a wide area, each of which can erupt at any time.

Lore: Lava Pines are extremely difficult to cultivate. Just handling something that is so incredibly hot is challenging. In addition, they need to be provided with a continuous source of geothermal energy. If that energy falters at any point, the tree could erupt.

Into the Research Garden Adventure Notes: The Lava Pine in Juniper’s garden is fed geothermal energy by a magical power source that periodically needs to be replaced. Because every moment that the Lava Pine is separated from its power source is dangerous, the most effective way to switch its power source is to set up a new power source in a nearby location. The Lava Pine is then transplanted from its old power source to its new one as quickly as possible.


The Lava Pine is part of the Crossroads Setting for the tabletop role-playing game, Magic Goes Awry. Click here to go to the list of wild and whimsical magical plants from the Land of Crossroads.


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Black and white clip art depiction of audio being turned into a transcript. On the left, the sound is depicted by a pair of headphones with an audio wave going between the two ears pads. A simple black arrow goes from left to right. On the right, the transcript is represented by a stylized typed document.


In order to make these transcripts as accessible as possible, each one is produced in four formats: as an online post for access convenience, in a word document with a low vision friendly font (Veranda), in a pdf with a dyslexia friendly font (OpenDyslexic), and a low contrast blue on black pdf as an access option for people with migraines (Veranda).


Collaboration 3 – Into the Research Garden


[Happy, bouncy, electronic music plays.]

Fay Onyx: This is a special collaboration episode that was created for the 2020 International Podcast Month event. This diverse and inclusive event is all about building community and sharing our love of podcasting. I highly recommend checking it out at Links are in the show notes.

[The bouncy music fades out.]



[An upbeat electronic song starts playing.]

Tracy: Hey there, I’m Tracy.

Robin: And I’m Robin.

Tracy: And we host Not Joanna Eggs, an animation review podcast.

Robin: Join us as we discuss underrated animated movies, lesser known anime films, and also TV shows.

Tracy: In the past, we’ve done Infinity Train, Napping Princess, BoJack Horseman, Akira, and many more.

Robin: We update every other week, wherever you get your podcast.

Both: Not Joanna Eggs. Because animation is for everyone.

[Music fades out.]



[A slow, ominous track featuring piano starts playing.]

Rev: You wake up startled in the middle of the night, convinced that there’s something out there in the darkness. Your brain tells you that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Unfortunately, your brain is dead wrong.

[Music changes to a more energetic electronic piece.]

If you love the mix of horror, mystery, and comedy in shows like Buffy, Ash vs the Evil Dead, or Supernatural, you’ll feel right at home on The Critshow, a Monster of the Week actual play podcast where the players, playing as themselves, are tasked with being the last line of defense from the forces of evil that go bump in the night. You can find The Critshow at, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

[Music ends.]



Voice: It’s more like she’s going to cut in front of you in the lunch line –

[A bright, mysterious piece featuring flute and percussion starts playing.]

Fay Onyx: [laughs]

Voice: — And pretend nothing happened.

Fay Onyx: [laughs]

Writing Alchemy is a storytelling podcast that centers intersectional characters. Including a fairy tale series that combines humor and magic with serious topics, and a tabletop role playing series about the adventures of disabled and mentally diverse heroes. Check out Writing Alchemy at, or subscribe on Stitcher, iTunes, or Google Play.

[Music ends.]



Fay Onyx: Hello and welcome to The Magic Goes Awry one shot of International Podcast Month 2020. And yeah, so this game is using the game system Magic Goes Awry, which is basically a game system that aims to capture the detailed character creation that’s awesome about DnD with a lot less things to keep track of, and kind of a more comedic, humorous gameplay.

And the basic scenario we’re working with is that all of these characters are junior investigative reporters at The Crossroads Observer, which is an important newspaper in the land of Crossroads.

And we’re just going to go around and introduce ourselves. So I’m Fay Onyx, I use ze/hir pronouns, and I’m the game master — so I’m playing the world. And my favorite plant is kind of … Pretty much culinary herbs. So like rosemary, thyme, and oregano. I’m kind of cheating by giving three. But, um …

All: [laugh]

Mads: So hard to choose!

Fay Onyx: But yeah, basically they smell amazing, and you can eat them, and they make food taste amazing, so. That’s my favorite plants. Mads, would you like to introduce yourself?

Mads: Yes. So I am Mads Upton. I use they/them pronouns, and my favorite plant is the passion fruit vine. Because passion fruits are my favorite fruit, and also the flowers are really cool, but also really weird.

Fay Onyx: Yeah.

Mads: And I like that about them. [chuckles]

So I will be playing Bob the Blob, who also goes by Bobby. They are a slime person who uses they/them pronouns, and they are a druid. They spent a lot of time kind of just wandering around, following people for fun. And one day they followed around a journalist who was like, “Hey, you can squeeze into that hole, right? Would you go in there and tell me what’s happening?” And they just kept doing it. Continue Reading »

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Close up illustration of a branch of a walnut tree that shows a walnut resting inside of an open husk.


Safety Rating: Dangerous in the fall, harmless at other times.

Environment: Temperate forests. This tree prefers cool riverside and seaside areas.

Details: For most of the year the Catapult Walnut seems like an ordinary walnut tree, but in the fall this tree becomes a danger to anyone who passes by. It flings its walnuts at high speed toward anything that moves. If there is nothing moving to attack, the tree will throw its walnuts in random directions. The Catapult Walnut does this both to spread its nuts to new areas and to make the area around the tree so dangerous that animals can’t get close enough to eat its nuts.

The branches of the Catapult Walnut are unusually springy. Branches wind up by slowly stretching backward. When the tree senses movement a branch is suddenly released and it swings forward violently, sending multiple nuts flying through the air. More than one branch can attack at the same time.

During the fall, most animals stay away from Catapult Walnuts. However the plants surrounding the tree aren’t so lucky. A ring of damaged foliage is an important sign of the presence of a Catapult Walnut. In addition, those with keen hearing can detect the periodic thuds of the walnut throwing its nuts before they get close.

Lore: Druids who can speak to plants will often use Catapult Walnuts as guards. The trees let people they know pass through their area unhindered, while they viciously attack anyone else. In order to get Catapult Walnuts to guard all year round, Plant Magic can be used to animate them during winter, spring, and summer. While they do not have nuts during these time, the trees can be provided with an alternate form of ammunition, such as stones. Continue Reading »

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Close up illustration of several mostly transparent blades of grass in front of a rock wall. This isn’t exactly how the invisibility of Invisible Grass works, but invisible things are hard to depict and this illustration gets across the idea.


Safety Rating: Mildly dangerous.

Environment: Grasslands.

Details: This magical grass grows in small clumps that are two and a half feet tall. Every part of the grass that is above ground is completely invisible. This invisibility is a type of Sensing Magic that bends light around the plant. Because of this, any creature or object that is in the middle of a clump of Invisible Grass also becomes invisible. This makes Invisible Grass a favorite hiding place for many small animals. In particular, several species of bird hide their nests in patches of Invisible Grass.

While Invisible Grass is important for wildlife, because it has a tendency to grow in disturbed areas, it can become a significant road hazard. When it grows on the roadside, or in the in the middle of less used roads, it can cause accidents by tripping unsuspecting people and animals. In those areas where Invisible Grass is more common, travelers often carry long poles that they use to probe the ground in front of them.

Lore: The magical invisibility of Invisible Grass only lasts while it is alive. Once a blade of grass is cut or uprooted, the invisibility starts fading. Invisible Grass can be used to create a fabric that makes its wearer hard to see, but doing this takes intense alchemical processing that must start immediately after the grass is cut. Even with all of this effort, the invisibility still fades within a month. As a result, people rarely bother to make it. Continue Reading »

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Illustration of a green tendril wrapping around the edge of a large leaf.


Safety Rating: Situationally dangerous.

Environment: Anywhere that is near a gateway to the Other Realm. Pickpocket Vine prefers moist areas with lots of trees, like temperate forests, tropical forests, and swamps, but it can grow in any ecosystem as long as a gateway is nearby.

Details: Pickpocket Vine can only grow in places that are near a gateway to the Other Realm. It is believed that fae living in the Other Realm specifically bred Pickpocket Vine to help them trick people into crossing over into the Other Realm.

The stem of each Pickpocket Vine grows into a sturdy, irregularly-shaped, gray pod that is the size of a melon. This pod is firmly anchored in place by tough, woody roots. When it is grows in trees, the pod is always tucked into a fork in the trunk. If there are no trees, the pod wedges itself between large rocks. The surface of the pod always matches the texture and shape of its surroundings. This makes the pods nearly impossible to spot at a distance.

Long, green, vine-like tendrils grow from the center of the pod. When the pod is open, these tendrils spread out over the nearby area. If it is growing in a tree, the tendrils drape over the branches, mimicking moss and lichen as they hang down over nearby paths and trails. However if Pickpocket Vine is growing on the ground, the tendrils slither along the  ground, hiding in the underbrush.

When someone passes near to one of the tendrils, it slowly reaches for one of their items. As it makes contact with the item, the tendril carefully wraps itself around it. If there are multiple people, then more than one tendril will simultaneously reach for an object. Once the item or items are fully entwined, all of the tendrils rapidly retract back into the pod, taking the items with them. The pod snaps shut, sealing the objects it has stolen inside.

That is the cue for a nearby fae to collect the stolen item and disappears with it through the gateway into the Other Realm. Doing this regularly tempts people into chasing after them in an attempt to retrieve their item (which are undamaged). Continue Reading »

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Close up illustration that is dramatically looking up at a round brown mushroom in a lush patch of moss.


Safety Rating: Harmless.

Environment: Temperate forests.

Details: This small brown mushroom spreads its spores by hopping around on its springy stem. From late summer to mid-fall, these little mushrooms can be seen hopping along through the underbrush of the forest.

The Common Hopping Mushroom is considered inedible. It isn’t poisonous, but it has a bitter, displeasing taste.


The Common Hopping Mushroom is part of the Crossroads Setting for the tabletop role-playing game, Magic Goes Awry. Click here to go to the list of wild and whimsical magical plants from the Land of Crossroads.


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Illustration of a softly glowing, golden apple that is surrounded by darkness.


Safety Rating: Situationally dangerous and situationally beneficial.

Environment: Mountains.

Details: The Discord Apple, sometimes also known as the Golden Apple, is a tree with magical golden apples. The beauty of these apples is entrancing and gazing upon one of them is enough to trigger their emotion-altering magic. Those who fall under their spell want an apple more than anything else in the world.

When people are near the tree, this magic isn’t a significant problem. Anyone who falls under the spell simply picks an apple, eats it, and then carries the core until they find a place where the seeds can be planted. In addition, eating the apple heals any injuries that the character has. However once taken from the tree, these golden apples become extremely dangerous. Their magic causes the people who fall under their spell to fight over them.

Lore: There are numerous accounts, both in history and myth, of people trying to use the power of Discord Apple for personal gain, only to have it backfire. Because eating the apples is healing, there have been several attempts to breed a Discord Apple with just the beneficial effects, but that too has resulted in failure. Continue Reading »

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Illustration of tall grass bending in a strong wind with fluffy fragments of clouds racing across the sky behind them.


Safety Rating: Situationally dangerous.

Environment: Grasslands.

Details: This silvery grass can change the wind’s direction or increase its speed to spread its pollen, distribute its seeds, and draw in rainy weather. Wind Grass by itself is harmless, but it can spread windborne hazards and it makes grassland fires significantly more dangerous.

Lore: There are numerous cultures that have used Wind Grass for generations to encourage beneficial weather patterns. However, the complexity and variability of weather means that disputes over weather-altering plants are bound to occur. As a result, Wind Grass is one of the most heavily regulated magical plants in all of Crossroads.


Wind Grass is part of the Crossroads Setting for the tabletop role-playing game, Magic Goes Awry. Click here to go to the list of wild and whimsical magical plants from the Land of Crossroads.


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Illustration of a hedge maze with neatly-trimmed, flat, dense hedge walls.


Safety Rating: Beneficial.

Environment: Cultivated land.

Details: This magical bush has been bred to create a living barrier that is extremely difficult to get through. Above ground it grows so densely that even small animals, like rats and squirrels, struggle to get through it. Below ground its roots create a similarly dense barrier.

Any time that a hole is made in Fast Healing Wall bush, it immediately starts healing and the hole quickly closes. While this rapid healing makes it especially useful as a wall, it also makes it more challenging to cultivate. Plant Magic is usually needed to prune and shape Fast Healing Wall Bush, which limits its use.

Lore: Fast Healing Wall Bush was originally created by the Druidic Circle of Green Basin to protect important locations from the ravages of the many historic wars that were fought over that fertile agricultural region. Nowadays, Fast Healing Wall Bush is primarily used to protect crops and livestock from wild animals and magical dangers.


Fast Healing Wall Bush is part of the Crossroads Setting for the tabletop role-playing game, Magic Goes Awry. Click here to go to the list of wild and whimsical magical plants from the Land of Crossroads.


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