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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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Illustration of two broad, flat mushrooms that are glowing a warm golden color.

 

Safety Rating: Beneficial.

Environment: This fungus is most common in tropical forests, but can also be found in temperate forests.

Details: The mushrooms of this bioluminescent fungus shed a bright light that makes them convenient to use for nighttime illumination in those regions where they grow well. Night Light Fungus grows on decaying wood, so long term use of this fungus depends on providing it with a sufficient food supply. While wild Night Light Fungus glows green, a number of varieties that glow different colors have been bred.

Inspiration: This fungus was inspired by the different species of bioluminescent fungi in our world. They glow brighter in the night (increased glowing is triggered by the drop in temperature at night). The wood itself glows faintly.

 

Night Light Fungus 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 trumpet shaped flowers with yellowish bases that shade into a peachy pink.

 

Safety Rating: Harmless.

Environment: Mountains.

Details: Also known as the Glue Flower, this alpine vine has variegated pink and orange trumpet-shaped flowers that have magical properties. To each person they smell just like the best thing that person has ever smelled and that smell brings with it a magical compulsion to stick their nose in the flower to enjoy the smell. Anyone who does so soon finds that the flower’s bright yellow pollen has glued itself to their nose and forehead.

Memory Flower’s usual pollinator is the Brown Slime Mouse, which is a small slime creature the size and shape of a mouse. Its slime is a translucent light brown, which helps it camouflage, and it has a long, stretchy nose that it uses to drink nectar from flowers. The Memory Flower’s pollen is coated in a strong glue to help it stick to the Brown Slime Mouse’s head.

The magically attractive scent of the Memory Flower also entices a wide range of other creatures to pollinate it. Many sapient species prize the Memory Flower and its memory invoking scent. As a result, Memory Flower is one of the most frequently cultivated magical flowers.

Lore: This flower has many uses. The pollen is used to make a powerful glue, while an extract made from the stigmas can be used to dissolve even the most powerful glues, and the flower petals are used in both perfume making and in Mind Magic treatments for memory loss. Continue Reading »

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