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Illustration of a terra cotta pot with a glowing, green, spineless cactus in it. The cactus has two equally-sized leaf-like lobes and it is covered in little green dots.

 

Safety Rating: Beneficial.

Environment: Cultivated parts of arid regions.

Details: Glowing Stone Cactus is a small, oval, pebble-like cactus that doesn’t have any spines. Once mature, it glows brightly day and night. While the light that it produces is white, its thick green skin tints the light green. Because the bright light that it produces uses energy, Glowing Stone Cactus can only live in ground that is infused with magic.

Lore: Glowing Stone Cactus is the primary ingredient used to create lampstones. Fifty years ago, Juniper Huckleberry led a team that found a way to combine some of the properties of the Tree of Eternal Sleep with that of Flashing Stone Cactus to create Glowing Stone Cactus for lampstone productions. The “Into the Research Garden” adventure has more details about this aspect of the cactus’ history.

Inspiration: The Glowing Stone Cactus is inspired by lithops, which is a genus of succulents often known as pebble plants or living stones that protect themselves by blending in with the surrounding rocks.

 

Glowing Stone 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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Illustration of thick, twisting, looping, green vines on the floor of a tropical forest.

 

Safety Rating: Extremely dangerous.

Environment: Druid cultivated regions of tropical forest.

Details: Bred from a carnivorous plant, many druids living in tropical forests use Spiral Snare Vine for defense. This tough, ropey vine drapes itself over and around paths in loops big enough to catch large people and animals. While Spiral Snare Vine is easy to spot, patches of it aren’t as easy to get around. This is because, when triggered, Spiral Snare Vine closes like an iris, creating a wall that blocks the area that it is in. This means that people can’t just trigger it to get around it.

Spiral Snare Vine is covered in thin hairs that can detect even the slightest touch. In order to avoid being triggered by normal occurrences, like falling leaves, the first touch activates the vine, and a second touch within the next minute triggers it. When triggered, Spiral Snare Vine suddenly twists closed, sinking poisonous thorns into the flesh of anything it catches. Though this poison is designed to incapacitate, rather than kill, being rendered unconscious by this vine can be extremely dangerous, especially if there are predators nearby.

Any time that a Spiral Snare Vine is triggered, but fails to catch something, it starts opening back up right away. However, if a Spiral Snare Vine catches something, even an inanimate object, it holds on tenaciously, waiting for one of its druid caretakers to come collect its catch.

Lore: Druids have been working with snare vines for as long as anyone can remember. They are the oldest family of domesticated carnivorous plant. As a result, many different varieties have been bred for hunting and defense. In addition, snare vines are believed to be the ancestors of the touch sculpted plants that are currently used to make furniture that adjusts its height and shape in response to the touch of its user.

Because of the long history of cultivation, many kinds of snare vine are a capable of developing strong relationships with the druids that care for them. This is true of Spiral Snare Vine. As a magical plant, Spiral Snare Vine is more aware of its surroundings, which means that Spiral Snare Vines can recognize their caretakers and let them pass through without going off. In addition, as guard plants, Spiral Snare Vines are suspicious of strangers, even if those strangers can talk to plants. Continue Reading »

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Illustration of thick, long, twisting, brown roots lying on dark, wet mud.

 

Safety Rating: Beneficial.

Environment: Wetlands.

Details: This prized wetland vegetable is eaten by both people and animals. Octopus Root is a highly edible plant, but it protects itself by camouflaging its grass-like leaves to look like nearby inedible plants.

Octopus Root has another defense as well. If there is too much disturbance in its area, at night it can pull its tentacle-like roots out of the ground and crawl around until it finds a better location. Then it wiggles its roots back into the ground.

Lore: Almost every part of this plant is edible. Their shoots, flowers, and seeds are edible, as are their roots, which are crisp, with a mild nutty flavor. In addition, eating their roots confers a temporary camouflaging ability.

Inspiration: Octopuses and water chestnut.

 

Octopus Root 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 maroon orchid flower with petals that have long curly appendages on them and a center that looks like a pink monkey face. This flower belongs to the dracula orchid genus that inspired the Jumping Monkey Orchid. Original photo by Orchi – Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0.

 

Safety Rating: Dangerous.

Environment: Tropical forests.

Details: This magical orchid has dispensed with pollinators and instead pollinates itself. Half of its bright pink, monkey-shaped flowers leap off the plant and jump and climb their way to other Jumping Monkey Orchids in order to pollinate them. How these flowers locate other Jumping Monkey Orchids isn’t currently known.

While these miniature pink monkeys are adorable at a distance, they have sharp, poisonous thorns on their hands and feet which they use for climbing. Their poison is designed to protect them from harm and it quickly immobilizes the joints of anything they come into contact with. Continue Reading »

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Illustration of a large, fleshy, red flower with pink spots. It has five petals around a cavity that contains a dark red liquid. Original photos by Steve Cornish, CC BY 2.0, and Bernypisa – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.

 

Safety Rating: Harmless.

Environment: Tropical forests.

Details: This parasitic plant produces a large flower with thick fleshy petals that are mottled red and pink. The center of the Weeping Corpse Flower slowly oozes droplets of a dark red liquid. The flower looks and smells like rotting flesh. In this red liquid is a powerful insect attractant which draws a swarm of flies and other insects to serve as its pollinators. These insects get covered in pollen as they feed on the red liquid. When the red liquid runs out, the swarm moves on to the next Weeping Corpse Flower, bringing the pollen with them.

Lore: This insect attractant can be harvested and used in pest control magic to draw insect pests to specific locations.

Inspiration: Both rafflesia and bleeding tooth fungus.

 

Weeping Corpse Flower 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 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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Illustration of a flock of purple bat-like shapes silhouetted against pink and purple clouds at sunset.

 

Safety Rating: Dangerous.

Environment: Tropical forests.

Details: Bat Seed Bush is a shade-loving bush with broad, pointed leaves. It has dramatic purple seed pods that open to release seeds with gray-purple bat wings. These seeds fly off in flocks that gather together in the treetops for mutual protection.

Anytime that the flock spots someone approaching them, the bat seeds start flying in a mesmerizing pattern that entrances or disorients anything that sees it. Bat seed flocks have been known to cause collisions and make travelers lose their way. Even those who resist the mesmerizing magic of the bat seed flock find that the pattern seriously limits visibility, making safe travel more difficult. As a result, most people do their best to avoid bat seed flocks.

Lore: Some flying predators, like eagles and hawks, take advantage of bat seed flocks. These predators perch near a flock, waiting for a hapless animal to be mesmerized or disoriented by its magic. Continue Reading »

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Illustration of a tree that has a trunk with diamond shaped holes in it. Original photo is CC BY-SA 3.0.

 

Safety Rating: Harmless.

Environment: Deserts.

Details: This harmless tree protects itself by imitating the Swarm Tree. Like the Swarm Tree, it has a distinctive hollow trunk that has a lot of little holes going through it. This gives its trunk a basket-like appearance. There is a constant buzzing sound coming from the tree, as if there is a wasp nest inside it. If anyone approaches, the buzzing gets louder.

Lore: The Blustering Tree is frequently found growing near a Swarm Tree. The two key signs that a tree is a Blustering Tree rather than a Swarm Tree is the fact that there are no insects going in or out of the holes in its trunk (determined using the Perception skill) and the presence of Air Magic that is used to create the buzzing sound (determined using the Arcana skill or Analytic Magic).

 

The Blustering Tree 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 plant with plates of gray, stone-like bark protecting its roots. Its green heart-shaped leaves trail over nearby orange stone. Original photo by Andrew massyn – Own work, Public Domain.

 

Safety Rating: Harmless

Environment: Deserts.

Details: This small succulent bush with heart shaped leaves stores water in large bulbs within its roots. It protects these bulbs by encasing them in armor-like bark made of stone plates. Over many years of growth, these stone roots build up into mounds that collect wind-born debris, building up the soil. A number of small desert animals find shelter in the cracks between its stony roots.

Photo Inspiration: Dioscorea elephantipes.

 

Stone Root 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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Close up illustration of white berries with black dots on red stalks. Original photo by Robert E. Wright – uploaded from en wiki, CC BY-SA 3.0.

 

Safety Rating: Mildly Dangerous.

Environment: Temperate forests.

Details: Eyestalk Bush has white berries growing on red stalks. These berries have black dots that make them look like little eyeballs. When a person or animal approaches the bush, the eyes rotate toward them as if the bush is staring at them and they experience its fear-inducing magic.

Lore: It is believed that this magical fear effect is used to scare off herbivores.

Magical Fear: Anyone that gets close to this bush must roll their magical defense.

  • 0 Successes: A failure means that the character must move at top speed away from the Eyestalk Bush until they can’t see, hear, or otherwise perceive it anymore.
  • 1 Success: A partial success means that this bush is so creepy that the character can’t get any closer to it than they currently are, but they don’t have to move away from it.
  • 2 Successes: A full success means that the character is not afraid of this bush.
  • 3 Successes: An outstanding success means that the character is not afraid of this bush and has become resistant to emotion altering magic for the rest of the scene. This means that they are prepared on any mental defense rolls made to resist Emotion Magic. Alternatively, instead of becoming resistant, the character can shield another character from this fear effect.

Inspiration: Doll’s Eyes, also known as White Baneberry Plant, has red stalks that have white berries with black dot on them.

 

Eyestalk 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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