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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.

Flying Walnuts: In the fall, the Catapult Walnut becomes extremely dangerous. The moment that any character comes within range of the tree, they have to defend themselves from flying nuts. Anyone who moves inside the tree’s range must roll their physical defense. Note that any character that gets an outstanding success on their roll can protect another character from the flying nuts, so it is best to do all of the dice rolls before figuring out the results.

  • 0 Successes: A failure means that the character is hit by a walnut in a vulnerable area. They have just sustained a moderate injury that gives them a one die penalty to one set of skills. The six options are Knowledge Skills, Social Skills, Perception Skills, Combat Skills, Strength Skills, and Dexterity Skills.
  • 1 Success: A partial success means that the character is hit by a walnut, but they were able to protect their vulnerable areas. It hurts and they will have a nasty bruise, but otherwise they are fine. However if the character repeatedly gets nasty bruises, they will eventually add up to a moderate injury (as if they had zero successes on a roll).
  • 2 Successes: A full success means that the character is able to protect themselves completely and they are unharmed.
  • 3 Successes: An outstanding success means that the character is able to defend themselves and one other character from the walnuts. The protected character is treated as if their roll was a full success, regardless of what was actually rolled.

As long as the characters are within range of a Catapult Walnut, the characters will periodically need to defend themselves from flying nuts. This means that they will need to roll their physical defense again. However once the characters know about the Catapult Walnut, they are able to take actions that will make them prepared on their physical defense rolls to protect themselves from the flying nuts.

Knowledge Rolls: Once a character knows about the presence of a Catapult Walnut (usually by encountering the flying nuts), they can make a Nature roll to find out how much they know about this tree.

  • 0 Successes: A failure means that the character thinks that someone has enchanted this tree to attack them. The person who did this is probably nearby.
  • 1 Success: A partial success means that the character knows that this tree is called is a Catapult Walnut and that it throws its nuts at animals to keep them away.
  • 2 Successes: A full success means that the character knows that the Catapult Walnut specifically targets motion. It is possible to get past the tree by moving slowly.
  • 3 Successes: An outstanding success means that you know a lot about Catapult Walnuts and are able to predicting exactly where this tree is going to throw its nuts. As long as you are focusing on this Catapult Walnut, you can unerringly defend yourself from it (no dice roll needed).

 

The Catapult Walnut 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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