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    Default Halloween Trees [ambulatory prank-loving pumpkin-trees][PEACH]

    Halloween Tree


    It’s big, it’s broad; it’s broad, it’s bright,
    It fills the sky of All Hallow’s Night.
    The strangest sight you’ve ever seen,
    The Monster Tree on Halloween!

    The leaves have burned to gold and red
    The grass is brown, the old year dead
    But hang the harvest high, Oh see!
    The candle constellations on the Halloween Tree!

    The stars they turn, the candles burn
    And the mouse-leaves scurry on the cold wind bourne,
    And a mob of smiles shine down on thee
    From the gourds hung high on the Halloween Tree.

    The smile of the Witch, and the smile of the Cat,
    The smile of the Beast, the smile of the Bat,
    The smile of the Reaper taking his fee
    All cut and glimmer on the Halloween Tree.
    ~ Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree (1972)



    A huge tree walks slowly towards you, dozens of glowing jack-o-lanterns swaying gently from its many branches in the crisp autumn air, each one carved with a stranger face than the last. The wind sighs through their open mouths and eyes, and in a moment you realize that the jack-o-lanterns are actually singing, each with its own distinct voice.

    Halloween Tree CR 10 (?)
    XP 3,200
    CN Huge plant
    Init +3; Senses All-around vision, Darkvision 60 ft., Low-light vision; Perception +8 (+16 on sight-based Perception checks)
    Aura shadowy illumination (30 ft.), enchanting scent (15 ft.)
    ____________
    Defenses

    AC 20, touch 7, flat-footed 20 (–1 Dex, +13 natural, –2 size)
    HP 84 (8d8+48)
    Fort +12, Ref +3, Will +5
    Immune flanking, plant traits; SR 18
    ___________
    Offenses

    Speed 30 ft.
    Melee 3 vines +11 (1d6+7 plus grab and pull)
    Ranged 3 pumpkins +3 (120 ft., 1d4 plus 1d3 fire)
    Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
    Spells Known (CL 8th; Concentration +8, as an 8th-level sorcerer)
    • 0th—dancing lights, daze, detect magic, flare, ghost sound, mage hand, ray of frost, touch of fatigue
    • 1st—cause fear, chill touch, expeditious retreat, unseen servant
    • 2nd—darkness, minor image, haunting mists
    • 3rd—gloomblind bolts, mad monkeys
    • 4th—phantasmal killer

    Special Attacks constrict (1d6+7), pull (vine, 5 feet), sing, strangle, swallow whole (2d6+7 bludgeoning, AC 16, 8 hp), vines
    ____________
    Statistics

    Str 25 (+7), Dex 8 (-1), Con 23 (+6), Int 7 (-2), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 18 (+4)
    Base Atk +6; CMB +15 (+19 grapple); CMD 24
    Feats Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Skill Focus (Perception)
    Skills Bluff +5, Perception +8 (+16 on sight-based Perception checks), Perform +5, Sense Motive +2, Stealth +3 (8 ranks total)
    Languages Sylvan
    ____________________
    Special Abilities

    All-around Vision (Ex)
    A Halloween Tree sees through every one of its jack-o-lantern faces simultaneously, including those of its Jack-O-Lantern servitors (as long as they remain within 100 feet of the tree). As such, Halloween Trees and their Jack-O-Lantern servitors within 100 feet are immune to being flanked, and gain +8 on sight-based Perception checks.

    Aura of Illumination (Ex)
    As long as its jack-o-lanterns are lit, a Halloween Tree casts shadowy illumination out to 30 feet. A Halloween Tree may light or extinguish all of its jack-o-lanterns (including those of its Jack-O-Lantern servitors, if it desires) and thereby end this effect as a free action.

    Enchanting Scent (Su)
    Halloween Trees exude the delicious scent of roasting pumpkins, fresh-cut gourds, and candlesmoke. This smell comforts and distracts humanoids and animals that come within 15 feet of the Halloween Tree, causing such creatures to take a –2 penalty on saves against mind-affecting effects.

    Pumpkinwalk (Sp)
    Once per night, a Halloween Tree may meld with any pumpkin-patch which is larger than itself (i.e., at least 10 ft. by 10 ft.) and either transport itself to a different pumpkin-patch on its current plane (as the spell tree stride), or it may use the pumpkin-patch as a gateway to shift itself and up to eight willing subjects between the Material Plane and the Demiplane of Halloween (as the spell plane shift).

    Sing (Su)
    When a Halloween Tree sings, all non-Jack-O-Lanterns within a 300-foot spread must succeed on a DC 18 Will save or succumb to the music's mystical effects (see below). The effect depends on the type of song the Halloween Tree chooses, and continues for as long as the Halloween Tree sings and for 1 round thereafter. A creature that successfully saves cannot be affected again by any of that Halloween Tree’s songs for 1 hour. These are sonic, mind-affecting effects. The save DC is Charisma-based. Enthralled creatures behave in one of the following four ways, which a Halloween Tree chooses when it begins singing.
    • Captivation: A Halloween Tree’s song has the power to infect the minds of those that hear it, calling them to a Halloween Tree’s side. When the tree sings, all creatures aside from its Jack-O-Lantern servitors within a 300-foot spread must succeed on a DC 18 Will saving throw or become captivated. A creature that successfully saves is not subject to the tree’s song for 24 hours. A victim under the effects of the captivating song moves toward a Halloween Tree using the most direct means available. If the path leads them into a dangerous area such as through fire or off a cliff, that creature receives a second saving throw to end the effect before moving into peril. Captivated creatures can take no actions other than to defend themselves. A victim within 5 feet of the tree simply stands and offers no resistance to the tree’s attacks. This effect continues for as long as the Tree sings and for 1 round thereafter. This is a sonic mind-affecting charm effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.
    • Fascination: Affected creatures are fascinated.
    • Obsession: An obsessed victim becomes defensive of a Halloween Tree and does all he can to prevent harm from coming to it, going so far as attacking his allies in its defense. The victim is not controlled by the tree, but views it as a cherished ally. This is a charm effect.
    • Slumber: The victim immediately falls asleep, rendering the creature helpless. While the tree is singing, no noise will wake the sleeping creature, though slapping or wounding him does. The creature continues sleeping for 1d4 minutes after a Halloween Tree stops singing, but can be awakened by loud noises or any other normal method.


    Spawn Jack-O-Lantern Servitors (Su)
    Once per day as a standard action, a Halloween Tree may shake loose 1d4+2 jack-o-lanterns from its branches, which fall to the ground in unoccupied spaces adjacent to the Halloween Tree and grow into advanced Jack-O-Lanterns in one round. A Halloween Tree can have no more Jack-O-Lantern servitors active at one time than its total HD; if it spawns any new Jack-O-Lantern servitors beyond this limit, its oldest Jack-O-Lantern servitors immediately fall to the ground as lifeless carved pumpkins.

    Vines (Ex)
    A Halloween Tree’s vines are primary natural attacks that deal bludgeoning damage. When a Halloween Tree grapples a foe with its vines, the tree does not gain the grappled condition.

    What A Haul! (Sp)
    Once per night, a Halloween Tree may choose to disgorge truly obscene amount of candy from a jagged "mouth" near the base of its trunk. Consuming this candy duplicates the effects of a heroes' feast spell, with hot apple cider taking the place of the nectar-like beverage.
    _________
    Ecology

    Environment temperate forests, hills, or plains (pumpkin patches); or the Demiplane of Halloween
    Organization solitary, usually with 1d6 advanced Jack-O-Lantern servitors
    Treasure double standard, mostly candy and equipment from this list, plus 1d4 pillowcases of holding.

    Halloween Trees are 30 feet tall and weigh 12,000 pounds; they and their Jack-O-Lantern servitors speak Sylvan.

    Halloween Trees are large ambulatory trees which migrate annually to the Material Plane in order to reproduce, feed, and amuse themselves by scaring the living daylights out of random passersby. Or sometimes showering passersby with gifts, as the mood strikes them. Though they appear to be intelligent and self-aware, very few have ever coaxed a Halloween Tree to do more than sing, make spooky sounds, and ask the somewhat perplexing question “And what are YOU supposed to be?” Much of the trees’ behavior seems to depend on whether or not they like the answer to this question.

    Halloween Trees are distinguished from normal trees by the multitude of jack-o-lanterns which hang from their branches, each with a grinning, grimacing, laughing, or roaring face carved into it, and a single candle burning within. Halloween Trees stand about fifty feet tall, and may superficially resemble any species of deciduous tree; though strangely, they are never seen with green leaves, only in varying shades of yellow, red, orange, and brown.

    Between the autumnal equinox and the first snowfall of the year, the veil between the Material Plane and the Demiplane of Halloween grows thin, and Halloween Trees make their annual migration to the mortal world. Most suspect they do this in order to procreate: perhaps their seeds can only germinate on the Material Plane? In any case, they seem to enjoy their yearly forays for entirely personal reasons, such as getting to frighten the locals (especially children) half out of their wits. Though they love a good scare (and a good prank even better), Halloween Trees are not malicious: they do not seek out individuals, or seek to torment or harm them, merely to give them a thrill and a taste of life at its most intense. Unfortunately, they seem to have a poor estimation of how durable the average human is, and their enthusiasm for pranking does sometimes carry them past the bounds of safety or prudence.

    The appearance of a Halloween Tree in a farmer’s pumpkin-patch is a mixed blessing, as Halloween Trees are objects of veneration for numerous faiths, both good, evil, and even neutral. Anyone who appreciates the changing of seasons, the transition from life to death, and the cycle of birth-death-rebirth (i.e., druids in particular) may have reason to seek out a Halloween Tree when it appears on the Material Plane. Many of these worshipers (or “trick-or-treaters”, as they are known) make pilgrimages throughout the autumn season to whatever location in which a tree has appeared, though the Eve of All Hallows is seen as a particularly auspicious night on which to complete one’s pilgrimage. Halloween Trees never appear in the same pumpkin-patch twice, and never give any indication ahead of time as to where (or even if) they will appear next year.

    Combat

    One can never be certain whether a Halloween Tree will offer “treats” or “tricks” to those who seek it out. In some cases, it will shower visitors with wealth, blessings, and (if it’s feeling particularly generous and the heroes have proven their worth to it) a limited wish. At other times, it will instead decide to give its potential worshippers the fright (or perhaps the fight) of their lives.

    If a Halloween Tree feels it must fight (or if it simply wants to fight), it will attempt to shape the battle in its favor ahead of time, using psychological warfare against its opponents: a ghost sound here, a dancing light in the distance there; the smell of a rotting corpse, fresh blood, or the scent of a large predator; throwing darkness over the party’s light-sources; perhaps a minor image to attract their attention before finally bursting out of the woods itself, each of its many jack-o-lanterns emitting a fearful roar or a maniacal laugh (and sometimes, both at once) as their candles flare into light.

    Halloween Trees like to soften up their opponents before wading into melee with thrown jack-o-lanterns, while spawning advanced Jack-O-Lantern servitors. Once engaged, it will pick the most dangerous opponent and attempt to strangle it, several feet above the ground if possible, thus ensuring that one or more of the opponents allies become more focused on getting their friend down than attacking the tree directly. Opponents who prove especially troublesome may find themselves swallowed whole by a jagged mouth which opens near the base of the tree's trunk, just above its roots.

    If a battle turns against it, a Halloween Tree will typically snuff all of its jack-o-lanterns at once and cast darkness over as many if its enemies as it can. Then it will flee, taking advantage of its opponents’ momentary night-blindness and leaving its Jack-O-Lantern servitors (usually with their own candles still lit, to maximize glare) to fight to the death while it escapes. Often it will conceal its escape by creating diversionary ghost sounds to imitate another very-large creature moving in an opposite direction (or better yet, in several directions at once).




    Note: when "Jack-O-Lantern" is capitalized, it refers specifically to the Halloween Tree's advanced Jack-O-Lantern servitors. When "jack-o-lantern" is lower-case, it refers to the Tree's non-sentient carved-pumpkin lanterns, which can be used as thrown weapons and/or as sources of illumination.

    With apologies to Ray Bradbury.

    Spoiler: Comments
    Show
    So this has been rattling around in my head since last year or so, when I first discovered CthulhuEatYou's Oh Halloween! thread and felt an overwhelming urge to contribute to it. I realize that his thread is 3.5 and this is Pathfinder, but Pathfinder is what I know, so Pathfinder is what I used.

    I couldn't recall how to calculate a few of the DCs for its abilities and SLAs, but I thought it was better to get this out there before Halloween, while it's still seasonally appropriate, and correct the math later.

    But it definitely needs some polishing, and a good math-check. Does it have too many SLAs? Are they appropriate to the creature and to its fluff? Should the Jack-O-Lanterns have the advanced template added to them?
    Last edited by SuperDave; 2014-10-30 at 10:21 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
     
    PirateGirl

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    Default Re: Halloween Trees [ambulatory prank-loving pumpkin-trees][PEACH]

    When CR is higher than HD, it usually means there is a design problem. Furthermore, I'm not entirely convinced this is CR 9. It has a lot of spell-like abilities but most are not useful to combat. I think you have over-estimated this creature's CR. I think it is closer to 7 than 9.

    How far can it throw pumpkins? See ranged attack. This needs to written out more fully.

    It's very slow. Even treants have a land speed of 30 feet.

    Supernatural DCs are 10 + 1/2 creature's HD + creature's charisma modifier. Save DC for Sing ability is 16.

    The saving throw (if any) against a spell-like ability is 10 + the level of the spell the ability resembles or duplicates + the creature's Charisma modifier. These are noted in universal monster rules.

    Fire seed is a 6th level spell and creature's charisma modifier is +2 so DC for fire seed is 18. With the Scare spell-like ability only affecting creature's with fewer than 6 HD, this reinforces my suspicion that the CR is probably too high.

    Debby
    Last edited by Debihuman; 2014-10-16 at 05:01 PM.
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Halloween Trees [ambulatory prank-loving pumpkin-trees][PEACH]

    I agree that the CR is too high as written. Not only are its special attacks mostly not all that threatening for a CR9, but the special defenses don't really justify the combination of low HP and low AC, especially given the vulnerability to fire. While I realize it's a fairly standard plant special to have, I think it would be thematically appropriate for a tree that runs around covered in jack-o-lanterns to be more resistant to fire than a standard plant.

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    Default Re: Halloween Trees [ambulatory prank-loving pumpkin-trees][PEACH]

    First off, I love this creature. If I were you, however, I'd explain how exactly it spawns its gifts. Are they hidden in the pumpkins, or perhaps a knothole of holding in its trunk, that it allows creatures to reach into?
    And yeah, looking at the guidelines on monster creation, your monsters stats at right on par with a CR 7.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Halloween Trees [ambulatory prank-loving pumpkin-trees][PEACH]

    Alright, in light of all these great suggestions, I've lowered the CR to 7, but I've also removed the vulnerability to fire (I thought it made sense because it's covered in dry leaves), added greater shadow conjuration, removed fearsome form, removed fire seeds, and bumped the speed up to 30 ft., so the CR probably needs to be readjusted.

    It originally had an an Enchanting Scent special quality (Bradbury described it as smelling like roasting pumpkins and candlesmoke) which would give it a bonus on kind-affecting spells/SLAs on creatures within 15 feet. But I cut it because I was worried the CR was too high.

    Now why would I worry about a silly thing like that? Well, mainly I REALLY wanted this thing to use jack-o-lanterns as its servitors, but at CR 3 I was going to have a hard time making them useful to it, so I tried to "close the CR gap from both sides", so to speak.

    I thought about adding a template or two to the Jack-O-Lanterns to make them tougher, but maybe I should just use shambler as an SLA and change the fluff to say they're pumpkin-headed? That might be best, since I just realized that if they take a whole turn to grow from pumpkins, the PCs can just smash them before they "hatch".

    You bring up a good point about where it keeps the treasure, sir. The creature I used as its base-stats had a Swallow Whole ability, but I cut it because it wasn't true to the fluff. Maybe it should be added back in?

    Oh yeah, and I had another idea: what if it had a constant ability similar to 'feast on fear', where frightened or panicked creatures nearby grant it temporary HP?

    I figured that it could throw the pumpkins about 120 feet, since that's how far a Huge giant can throw a rock.
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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Halloween Trees [ambulatory prank-loving pumpkin-trees][PEACH]

    I'm terribly sorry it's taken me so long to get to this, dear brother.

    Math all works out, I don't see any problems in the numbers.

    This thing sure has a lot of SLAs, and they seem to be all over the place in terms of effects, levels, uses, and spell lists. I mean, if it's gonna have this much spellcasting ability, I would drop the majority of the spell-like abilities and give it actual spells like a sorceror, druid, or cleric. It could keep some SLAs, but I feel this many spell-like abilities is overkill and requires a ton of bookkeeping.

    I think illumination could stand to extend a little bit further, 30 feet's a pretty good radius.

    Sing specfically mentions becoming enthralled, but the effects vary. I would say you should change the wording of that first line to ' or succumb to the music's mystical effects'. Also, I can't see any sort of action specified for the singing, does the Halloween tree do it as a free action, a move action, a standard action, or even a full-round action?
    You don't need to mention captivation's duration or that it's a sonic mind-affecting effect (though you should keep the mention if it being a charm effect), that's already specified in the song header.
    Does the Halloween Tree know if a target is obsessed with it, and does the creature receive new saves if the tree does something to attack it?

    I think the jack-o-lanterns are probably a bit weak to work with a CR 7, yes. However, shambler is probably a bit much, considering, firstly, that it's a 9th level spell, and secondly that it makes 3-6 CR 7 creatures as a standard action. That's a massive jump in the total CR of the encounter.
    I would suggest giving the jack-o-lanterns the advanced template, which would push them up to CR 4 and make them about comparable to minions for the Halloween Tree. Alternatively, you could come up with something else entirely, like a mind-controlling pumpkin it can place over the head of a grappled creature to enslave them. Or you could make the servitors gourd leshys and just have them as out-of-combat servitors, like average kobolds to a dragon. Maybe with an ability that lets the tree cast spells as though a servitor within a certain range were the source.

    Overall, a pretty cool monster, it would definitely make a good overlord kind of encounter. I do think if you're gonna have this much spell-casting, it should probably have a bit higher int or cha.

    Oh, and you should fiddle with the combat write-up a bit, it still mentions fire seed.
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    Default Re: Halloween Trees [ambulatory prank-loving pumpkin-trees][PEACH]

    Awright, I boosted the illumination radius to 30 ft. (shadowy), gave the jack-o-lanterns the "advanced" template, and replaced the SLAs with spellcasting as a sorcerer of level equal to its HD. I also reorganized the spells known to come only from the wizard/sorcerer spell list, though I have to admit I was very sad to cut heroes' feast, since I really wanted it to be able to generate obscene amounts of candy. I also took your suggestion and boosted its Charisma to 18, so that its a much more potent spellcaster now (and boosted its Charisma-based skill bonuses and the DC of its Sing ability).

    As far as what kind of action is required for Sing, I really don't know. I copied it verbatim from the Siren's ability, and the Pathfinder SRD doesn't actually say what kind of action it uses. :-P Any ideas?

    I also added the "Enchanting Scent ability back in, threw in the swallow whole ability, and even found a bigger and better image for the illustration. Now I just need to recalculate the CR and edit the fluff to mention that it's got a big ol' mouth on its trunk.
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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Halloween Trees [ambulatory prank-loving pumpkin-trees][PEACH]

    Kudos on the update. This is excellent (and it makes me wish I were better at assessing Pathfinder monsters).

    The effects of the song last as long as the Halloween tree is singing plus one round. That's why no action is given.

    You can still give it heroes' feast as a spell-like ability, though it isn't really necessary.

    I recommend you edit the text from "hundred" in the combat section to "many" as it can only have as many servitors as it has HD.

    See here where I bolded the change:
    "If a Halloween Tree feels it must fight (or if it simply wants to fight), it will attempt to shape the battle in its favor ahead of time, using psychological warfare against its opponents: a ghost sound here, a dancing light in the distance there; the smell of a rotting corpse, fresh blood, or the scent of a large predator; quenching the party’s light-sources; perhaps using a phantasmal killer or minor image to attract their attention before finally bursting out of the woods itself, each of its many jack-o-lanterns emitting a fearful roar or a maniacal laugh (and sometimes, both at once) as their candles flare into light."

    Debby
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    Default Re: Halloween Trees [ambulatory prank-loving pumpkin-trees][PEACH]

    The Good News:
    In addition to the Enchanting Scent supernatural ability, I've restored two of the abilities I initially wanted it to have, as spell-like abilities, and I've updated the "Combat" section to better reflect its new spell list. See below:

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    Pumpkinwalk (Sp)
    Once per night, a Halloween Tree may meld with any pumpkin-patch which is larger than itself (i.e., at least 10 ft. by 10 ft.) and either transport itself to a different pumpkin-patch on its current plane (as the spell tree stride), or it may use the pumpkin-patch as a gateway to shift itself and up to eight willing subjects between the Material Plane and the Demiplane of Halloween (as the spell plane shift).

    What A Haul! (Sp)
    Once per night, a Halloween Tree may choose to disgorge truly obscene amount of candy from a jagged "mouth" near the base of its trunk. Consuming this candy duplicates the effects of a heroes' feast spell, with hot apple cider taking the place of the nectar-like beverage.
    ________

    Combat

    One can never be certain whether a Halloween Tree will offer “treats” or “tricks” to those who seek it out. In some cases, it will shower visitors with wealth, blessings, and (if it’s feeling particularly generous and the heroes have proven their worth to it) a limited wish. At other times, it will instead decide to give its potential worshippers the fright (or perhaps the fight) of their lives.

    If a Halloween Tree feels it must fight (or if it simply wants to fight), it will attempt to shape the battle in its favor ahead of time, using psychological warfare against its opponents: a ghost sound here, a dancing light in the distance there; the smell of a rotting corpse, fresh blood, or the scent of a large predator; throwing darkness over the party’s light-sources; perhaps a minor image to attract their attention before finally bursting out of the woods itself, each of its many jack-o-lanterns emitting a fearful roar or a maniacal laugh (and sometimes, both at once) as their candles flare into light.

    Halloween Trees like to soften up their opponents before wading into melee with thrown jack-o-lanterns, while spawning advanced Jack-O-Lantern servitors. Once engaged, it will pick the most dangerous opponent and attempt to strangle it, several feet above the ground if possible, thus ensuring that one or more of the opponents allies become more focused on getting their friend down than attacking the tree directly. Opponents who prove especially troublesome may find themselves swallowed whole by a jagged mouth which opens near the base of the tree's trunk, just above its roots.

    If a battle turns against it, a Halloween Tree will typically snuff all of its jack-o-lanterns at once and cast darkness over as many if its enemies as it can. Then it will flee, taking advantage of its opponents’ momentary night-blindness and leaving its Jack-O-Lantern servitors (usually with their own candles still lit, to maximize glare) to fight to the death while it escapes. Often it will conceal its escape by creating diversionary ghost sounds to imitate another very-large creature moving in an opposite direction (or better yet, in several directions at once).

    I also added a note that when the word "Jack-O-Lantern" is capitalized, it refers specifically to the Halloween Tree's advanced Jack-O-Lantern servitors. When "jack-o-lantern" is lower-case, it refers to the Tree's non-sentient carved-pumpkin lanterns, which can be used as thrown weapons and/or as sources of illumination.


    The Bad News: I ran it through Vorpal Tribble's trusty CR Estimator, and found that with the new attacks and abilities, it's now CR 10.

    This monster doesn't make any sense if it can't move freely between the Material Plane and the Demiplane of Halloween, and swallow whole seemed reasonable, but now the CR is too high for its servitors to be useful. Do we go back to shambler, or use gourd leshys as suggested, or is there a way to keep the Jack-O-Lanterns in this fight?
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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Halloween Trees [ambulatory prank-loving pumpkin-trees][PEACH]

    VT's CR estimator does not work for Pathfinder accurately.

    Abilities that only work once per night are pretty weak. What a haul needs add'l information. This should be a standard action. How many can it feed? It probably can feed 8 but you should be specific.

    Number of Jack-O-Lantern servitors is noted as 1d6 in organization and 1d4+2 in the ability. Be consistent.

    Debby
    Last edited by Debihuman; 2014-11-04 at 12:56 AM.
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