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Illustration of a round cactus surrounded by many smaller round cacti. All of them have a glittering, rainbow, crystalline shimmer that is especially noticeable on their many sharp needles.

 

Safety Rating: Situationally dangerous and beneficial.

Environment: Deserts.

Details: Sometimes called the Desert Coral or Glittering Palace, this cactus community grows in hot, rocky deserts. Above ground, each plant encases itself in a shell of razor-sharp, glittering crystal. Much like coral, each new plant builds on top of the previous one. Over time this creates elaborate, glittering towers that look much like the towers of an elaborate palace.

Below ground, the roots of this plant community bore deep into the rock, eating away at it to create an enormous network of tunnels and chambers. Their roots seal up the cracks in the rock so that the whole network is water tight and can function as an underground reservoir for collecting and storing rainwater.

A few specialized plants and animals can tap into the reservoirs of a young Oasis Palace Cactus community. However as the Oasis Palace grows in size, things become easier. Eventually the walls between different sections of tunnel thin, causing collapses. These collapses open up the reservoir to a wide array of plants and animals, forming important watering holes. In the right locations, mature Oasis Palace Cactus communities can become the centers of large oases.

Lore: Above ground the most obvious hazard is the razor-sharp crystal that protects each cactus. In older cactus communities shards of crystal collect on the ground around the cactus “palace.” There are also a number of dangerous animals that live in these oases. A less frequent, but serious hazard is the sudden tunnel collapses which create sinkholes. In addition, even a brief rain can cause flash floods in the underground tunnel network.

 

The Oasis Palace Cactus 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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