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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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