Friday, 13 November 2015

It's a Trap! - The Wishing Tree

It's a Trap! 

I have a new idea, Traps! Everyone likes traps. This trap appears to be a puzzle to get a mighty magical item and really, it's just character death all over. 

You can never had enough items or traps  which cause your players misery, despair and bemusement in your game. If you are looking for something nasty here is a trap/encounter  which is easy to throw into one of your games. This is designed to make your players regret ever thinking it was a good idea to doubt their vulnerability. It might be an idea to have the players hear of a rumour about this particular tree.  

The Wishing Tree
Well, that looks safe... 

"The wishing tree" stands isolated from its fellow foliage in the centre of an ominous clearing, or perhaps buried, lost, in a chasm beneath the earth. This tree seems to stretch on forever, its branches twist and snake together and cast black shadows over the rotting ground. Its leaves shine sanguine; and they are coated in a sticky red dew. The tree's mighty trunk pulsates; as if it is breathing in deep and then exhaling raggedly.  All around the tree grows a thick wall of dark brambles and there is only one pathway to the tree itself through the distorted thorns. 

In the centre of the tree's trunk is a gaping hole, coal-black and stretching inwards forever. Sat on the lip of this human sized entrance to the tree is a beautiful stone woman clutching in her hands a golden branch with the same red leaves. It appears from a distance that the branch might be removable and highly valuable.

If you want to add in a bit more incentive to get your players to approach, ask them if they are looking closely across the brambles at the stone woman's body or face. If so, they must make a Save Vs. Magic/ Save Vs. Will. If they fail, they will be compelled to approach the woman and touch her. If the statue is touched then the player must make a Save Vs Paralyse or they themselves will be turned to stone. The effect will only end if the player is carried or removed from the clearing. Weapons can touch the statue without effect. 
It's possible your players can hear a soft "Nom, Nom, Nom"...

The brambles are living vampiric plants and if the players attempt to cut them down they will attack the players and  drag them into the thorns (Save Vs. Paralyse, or a grapple). The brambles will wrap around the player, embed their thorns into the players skin and then drain them of their blood. Stat these brambles to be quite dangerous, to discourage players from attempting to cut through them to the tree. The pathway is the only way to the statue that is vaguely safe. Even then, the players should not tread too heavily or risk being attacked by the brambles (Stealth or a Dex Roll). Give the players a hint that they should walk carefully by the brambles; have them tremble, or have the players glimpse the brambles moving on their own. 

If the players make is safety past the trees outer defences, touching the tree or the statue will cause the player to turn to stone unless they save. 

If they attempt to take the branch from the statue it will grasp the branch tightly until it is let go, at which point the statue will relax again. The players can try to remove the branch with strength or through dexterity to try and snatch it away. If they remove the head of the statue, the statue will drop the branch but blood will spill from the statues neck and the woman's head will turn back to flesh, screaming one last time. 

The branch itself is worthless; it appears to be an ordinary branch which has been painted gold. The leaves are wilted and old. A magic users investigations, or an intelligence check, will reveal that the tree branch does have some magical properties. The person holding the branch will need to make a Save Vs. Magic roll, or they will be compelled to make a wish.

Whatever they wish for should be interpreted wrongly and should either cause death, mutilation or something horrible to happen to either the player or their loved ones. How this works is up to you. For example, someone wishing for gold should themselves be slowly turned to gold over the course of the adventure, having to make save vs. magic to see how long they can resist the wishes full effects until eventually they become a solid gold statue. If the effect is instant or slow burning, that is again down to you.

The tree should not give anything useful to the players. It is here to kill them or mutilate them.

The hole behind the statue goes on forever. If a player tries to enter, they will fall into an abyss . For hundreds of years they will stay suspended in maddening darkness, unheard, with the light of the outside world hanging above them forever out of reach. The tree will slowly over those hundreds of years digest the players body, while they writhe in helpless agony.

 If the branch is thrown into the abyss then the statues will return to their flesh forms. You can decide if they return alive or dead. 


All images have been sourced from and are not used for commercial purposes. 

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