View Full Version : Magical Veggies: Putting That Herbalism Skill To Work

brian 333
2018-03-02, 12:39 PM
We all know of Kingsfoil and Sensu Beans, but magical plants can come in a wide array of types with a wide array of effects, from beneficial to deadly. Some can be both. Knowing the plant, its uses, and the proper means of preparing it can mean the difference between survival and certain doom for adventurers.

Dragon Peppers:
These are a kind of nightshade, like tomatoes, bell peppers, or chili peppers. The flowers, leaves, stems, and roots of this plant are highly toxic, and farmers weed them out on sight to prevent their livestock from eating them. Their fruit is also toxic until ripe. The fruit is about 3cm in length and less than 1cm in diameter, and can be of virtually any color from pale white to brilliant red, with green, orange, yellow, and deep purple being most common. Usually a single bush produces several colors of fruit which tend to be close to the dominant color, so white fruits often grow with pale green and yellow, and red fruits tend to have a few orange and purple ones on the same bush. The bush itself seldom reaches two feet in height, and in the wild will seldom produce more than a dozen ripened fruit in a season. (In a garden kept free of birds and pests these same bushes can produce a gross of peppers each year.)

Wizards and horticulturists often plant them with other kinds of nightshade to produce very spicy tomatoes and bell peppers through cross pollination. Wizards also use the dried fruits as components in fire-based spells, while chefs mix a very small amount of the pod, (never the seeds, which are usually fatal to humans,) into spicy dishes for that extra burn.

The very daring or exceptionally hardy swallow whole ripe pods and, if they don't die, gain a single use of a fire-based breath weapon which inflicts 1d8 damage to everything in a 120 cone 10' from apex to base as the swallower belches pure fire. The pods must be raw and whole, and if the DC 30 Fortitude (Con) save fails the swallower receives 1d8 damage, in addition to being forced to make a similar save to avoid -1 Con damage each turn until a save succeeds.

Mother-In-Law's Tongue:
This plant grows as single, bright green blades about 3-5 cm wide and about 30-50 cm in length, forming a cluster around a central bulb. Nothing natural eats these plants voluntarily due to the bitter sap which is not poisonous but is very unsavory. They are pleasant looking, and often kept as ornamental plants, producing flowering stalks which become seed pods when fertilized.

Preparing the sap by slowly boiling with a sweetener creates a clear, tasteless but somewhat slimey syrup which can be added to food and drink. It is not harmful, other than to render a victim who fails a DC 20 Fortitude check speechless. Even passing this check will leave the victim hoarse, forcing a DC 20 Fortitude check every time a spellcaster wishes to cast a spell or activate an item which requires a verbal component. This effect persists for one hour for each point by which the initial Fortitude check failed, or for one hour minus ten minutes per Constitution Bonus. (A negative Con Bonus increases this duration.)

Popping Corn:
This plant seldom grows wild, requiring tilled soil and irrigation to thrive. However, its pollen is very attractive to giant bees, and some queens develop a taste for its nectar. Thus it can sometimes be found haphazardly cultivated near giant bee colonies. Each kernel of this corn is about 1cm in diameter, and a single cob can contain 1d41d12 kernels. Because the corn is highly nutritious, wild animals devour it as it ripens, decreasing its likelihood of self-propagation.

When exposed to heat the ripe, dried kernels explode for 1d3 HP damage in a 5' sphere. A tasty, puffy starch blob results from this explosion, and a single kernel thus prepared can provide a meal for a human. Humans and most demi-humans and humanoids can survive on a diet of nothing but popped corn, but vitamin deficiencies will become an issue after several weeks.

As a weapon the Popping Corn is unwieldy, but it can be used to augment fire based traps or attacks. For example, by tossing a handfull of kernels as a Fireball is cast, or by scattering them in an area in which a fire based trap is set. They can also pose a liability, as they may go off in one's pocket when the owner takes fire damage. Sealed containers which make their save vs. heat damage prevent the corn from exploding, except metal containers which allow heat to contact the kernels via conduction. No saves, even Evasion, can allow the character carrying Popping Corn to avoid the damage when carried kernels explode.

Notes - The explosion of one kernel will not set off adjacent kernels, the explosion is not heat based, but requires heat to occur. Crushing, cracking, or grinding the kernels will result in their inability to explode, but the granular residue is nutritious and tasty. The starchy blob formed from a single exploded kernel is about 30cm in diameter. Kernels left unattended will attract virtually every herbivore within scent-range of the tasty snack. Tossing a kernel into a campfire will scatter the campfire when it explodes, very likely extinguishing the flames and scattering embers, but an exploded kernel in contact with flame will burst into flame, consuming itself in 1 round for 1d6 fire damage to anything in contact with it, (normal saves apply unless the kernel is held, carried, or otherwise in direct contact with the victim.)

Invisible Ivy:
This dangerous plant cannot be seen, but it secretes a toxic sap which causes an intensely itchy rash if the victim fails a DC 25 Fortitude save. When this sap touches skin the victim begins to itch, and as the victim scratches a rash develops which spreads, causing weeping blisters which become painful. Oatmeal baths will give some temporary relief, but will not cure it. This rash causes others to look away and to avoid the victim, (-1Cha/day until healed.)

After three days the first spots the sap touched will begin to become invisible, with horrid results. The victim's skin cannot be seen, but the internal organs beneath can. By the time the victim's charisma reaches zero the entire skin is covered in the rash and invisible, creating the appearance of a skinless person. While folklore emphatically states that the condition can be passed to another by contact, it cannot. Each victim must touch the sap to be affected, but groups of people often contact Invisible Ivy together, reinforcing the belief it is contageous.

The progress of this infliction follows a pattern.
Immediately = Redness and itching at the site of contact with the sap or leaves.
1 day - Blisters form at the contact point with the redness spreading from those points. -1 Cha/day until Cha=0
3 days - Invisibility of the skin begins. Any movement of the skin in the blistered regions is painful. Clothing worn over blistered skin is intensely painful. Itching reduces all skill and combat rolls by 2 points until cured.
Day 4+ - Blistered and invisible patches grow until victim's entire skin, (but not hair or internal organs,) is invisible. Itching continues.
Each day thereafter a DC 25 Fortitude Check is attempted to allow natural healing to begin. The healing process takes as long to complete as it did to progress, reversing the effects so that the point first touched by the sap is the last to heal.

Invisible Ivy, handled carefully to avoid skin contact, is a valuable component in creating potions of Invisibility. Alchemists pay up to 1gp/pound of plant or 25gp/ounce of sap. (It takes about 25 pounds of raw plant to make 1 ounce of sap, which is suitable for creating one potion of invisibility.) Potions made from this plant are typically oils which must be applied externally, and they may cause a minor irritating rash on those who have been afflicted by the plant in the past.

Optional - The itching may cause the victim to scratch so intensely that disfiguring scarring may result, causing the permanent loss of the final point of Charisma if a DC 25 Willpower check is failed. Healing via Cure Disease can prevent this, but once inflicted the lost point cannot be restored unless the victim is subsequently injured in the affected area and healed via Regeneration magic.


So, there's the general idea. Plants as spell components or foods and poisons, plants which are themselves capable of magic, and plants which produce magical effects can be a danger and/or benefit to characters who know how to use them. Those ignorant of their proper uses will either be oblivious to their presence or will believe misleading folklore about them, possibly missing opportunities which could make a difference in achieving their goals.

What kinds of plants have you used in your campaigns?