Random Encounters
The Twisted Wood - Szorlog


Though Szorlog thoroughly embraces the use of undead and slaughter of living creatures, he has not technically stopped revering nature, and so he retains his druidic spells and abilities. His "reverence" is sickly, but still powerful, and he pays careful attention to the plants within the Twisted Wood. When he discovers one damaged by an interloper, he goes on a ruthless hunt to discover who dared to harm one of his charges.

Szorlog spends his time traveling through the wood looking for "worthy" trees to awaken with a spell. Some days he doesn't find any trees that he deems worthy, but in the 50 years since his corruption, he has found quite a few, all Colossal in size. The Twisted Wood is bordered by trees grown thickly into a maze, but beyond the maze, miles of open woodland are home to hundreds of awakened trees. Each hour that interlopers spend beyond the maze, there is a cumulative 10% chance that they pass near an awakened tree. An awakened tree attacks only if the interlopers seem weakened or susceptible. But they do report their discovery (along with specific things they overheard, apparent spellcasting ability, and direction of travel) in loud Sylvan once interlopers are out of sight. The report is quickly relayed throughout the wood until it reaches Szorlog. Szorlog's usual response is to send his undead hollow dogs to attack them, which should ensure their destruction.

When in personal combat, Szorlog animates trees to deal with spellcasters, casts greater magic fang on his fists, and then uses the Sunder feat in combination with his treant ability to deal double damage against objects to break the weapons and armor of any melee combatants.

Szorlog's magic items hang from his branches on vines, ready for quick use.

Szorlog: Male treant Drd 10; CR 18; Huge plant; HD 7d8+35 plus 10d8+50; hp 165; Init +3; Spd 30 ft.; AC 24, touch 7, flat-footed 24; Atk +19 melee (2d6+9, 2 slams); Face/Reach 10 ft. by 10 ft./15 ft.; SA trample 2d12+13; SQ animal companion, animate trees, double damage against objects, fire vulnerability, half damage from piercing weapons, nature sense, plant traits, resist nature's lure, trackless step, venom immunity, wild shape (Small, Medium-size, or Large animal 4/day), woodland stride; AL NE; SV Fort +21, Ref +10, Will +17; Str 29, Dex 8, Con 21, Int 12, Wis 18, Cha 12.

Skills and Feats: Animal Empathy +8, Concentration +12, Craft (trapmaking) +6, Diplomacy +3, Handle Animal +8, Hide -9 (or +7 in forested areas), Intimidate +8, Knowledge (nature) +13, Listen +11, Scry +5, Sense Motive +11, Spellcraft +12, Spot +11, Wilderness Lore +15; Brew Potion, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Sunder.

Trample (Ex): As a standard action during his turn each round, Szorlog can literally run over a Large or smaller opponent. The trample deals 2d12+13 points of bludgeoning damage. A trampled opponent can attempt either an attack of opportunity at a -4 penalty or a Reflex save for half damage (DC 22). Each of Szorlog's animated trees can trample an opponent at least one size category smaller than itself in the same manner.

Animal Companion: Szorlog can have one or more animal companions, though he has none at present. This animal is one that he has befriended with the spell animal friendship. The total Hit Dice of all animal companions at a time cannot exceed 10.

Animate Trees (Sp): Szorlog can animate trees within 180 feet at will, controlling up to two trees at a time. It takes a full round for a normal tree to uproot itself. Thereafter it moves at a speed of 10 feet and fights as a treant in all respects. His animated trees lose their ability to move if Szorlog is incapacitated or moves out of range. The ability is otherwise similar to liveoak (caster level 12th).

Double Damage Against Objects (Ex): If Szorlog or one of his animated trees makes a full attack against an object or structure, it deals double damage.

Fire Vulnerability (Ex): Szorlog takes double damage from fire attacks unless the attack allows a save, in which case he takes double damage on a failure and no damage on a success. Each of his animated trees has the same vulnerability.

Half Damage from Piercing (Ex): Piercing weapons deal only half damage to Szorlog with a minimum of 1 point of damage.

Nature Sense: Szorlog can identify plants and animals (their species and special traits) with perfect accuracy. He can determine whether water is safe to drink or dangerous.

Plant Traits: Szorlog is immune to poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, and polymorphing. He is not subject to critical hits or mind-influencing effects. Szorlog also has low-light vision.

Resist Nature's Lure: Szorlog gains a +4 bonus on saving throws against the spell-like abilities of feys (such as dryads, nymphs, and sprites).

Trackless Step: Szorlog leaves no trail in natural surroundings and cannot be tracked.

Venom Immunity: Szorlog is immune to all organic poisons, including monster poisons but not mineral poisons or poison gas.

Wild Shape (Sp): Szorlog can change into a Small, Medium-size, or Large animal and back again four times per day as per the polymorph self spell. Unlike the standard use of the spell, however, Szorlog can adopt only one form. He regains hit points as if he has rested for a day. He does not risk the standard penalty for being disoriented while in his wild shape. Szorlog gains all the creature's special abilities when he does so.

Woodland Stride: Szorlog can move through natural thorns, briars, overgrown areas, and similar terrain at his normal speed and without taking damage or other impairment. However, thorns, briars, and overgrown areas that are enchanted or magically manipulated to impede motion still affect him.

Skills: A treant receives skills and feats as though it were a fey. It has a +16 racial bonus on Hide checks made in forested areas.

Druid Spells Prepared (6/5/5/4/4/2; save DC 14 + spell level): 0 -- create water, detect magic (3), light, read magic; 1st -- animal friendship, entangle, invisibility to animals, magic fang, obscuring mist; 2nd -- charm person or animal, chill metal, flame blade, soften earth and stone, wood shape; 3rd -- dominate animal, greater magic fang, poison, spike growth; 4th -- flame strike (2), quench, scrying; 5th -- awaken, insect plague.

Possessions:bracers of armor +4, cloak of resistance +4, gem of seeing, rod of flame extinguishing, scarab of protection, darkskull, lavender and green ioun stone, dust of disappearance, dust of illusion.

Bring the Parts Together

Although random encounters usually happen by chance, some DMs may wish to tie these four parts together into something that could lead to further adventures. Future parts of this Random Encounter series will contain brief notes on how to tie them all together.

Coming in Part 2 of The Twisted Wood

Take a look at some of the eerie companions that Szorlog possesses.

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