Monday, July 6, 2009

The Wishing Tree (Encounter/Plot Hook)

Written by Justin Mason

During their adventures, the characters, though means of an ancient tome, uncover a very interesting story about an unique ancient tree that has the ability to grant wishes to those who partake of its fruit. There is a map in the book, pointing to the location of this “wishing tree” as being located in small inlet of foliage high in the peaks of a nearby mountain range. This can be particularly stimulating if the characters have been searching for something without much luck -- simply being able to wish for it would be a fantastic advantage. Not to mention, any thieves in the party should already be drooling that the mouth at the prospect.

The book explains that hundreds of years ago, a council of powerful wizards surrounded this inlet where the tree is located with tall stone fortifications and cast a powerful illusion spell to keep its whereabouts hidden from those who would abuse its power. However, the book also provides instructions for seeing through this powerful illusion: a word of power that will enable the speaker to immediately disbelieve the illusion.

The journey up the mountain shouldn’t be overly difficult, but it shouldn’t be a breeze either. The characters can earn their passage with a few well placed random mountain encounters.

Once they have reached the indicated location on the map, the characters see no signs of an inlet, fortifications, or a tree. Instead they view only more huge boulders and craggy cliff facings. However, if the power word is spoken, then to whomever spoke it, one of the cliff facings will seem to melt away and reveal the small inlet, flush with life, with a single massive tree behind a perfectly circular white stone wall.

There are no apparent entrances beyond the wall. The wall is 40-feet high, and can be climbed with a successful climb check for each 10-feet of the wall (Climb DC 12).

The single tree contained within the walls stands about fifty-feet high and is surrounded by a lush and overgrown garden. The tree boasts about three dozen large round, bright blue pieces of fruit, each about 10-inches in diameter. The fruit can easily be knocked down from the tree with a single hit from any ranged implement (AC 15).

When eaten, the fruit will bestow one “wish” upon that individual, and anything they wish for will appear before them. However, rather than manifesting something from thin air, this effect actually teleports the item from anywhere within a 100-mile radius.

If the item wished for cannot be found in 100-miles, then the effect will teleport the next most similar thing within that range to the character’s location (Game Masters discretion). This effect does not try to twist or warp the wish, and it will honestly attempt to fulfill the character’s desire to the extent of its ability.

However, it shouldn’t be immediately apparent that the effect is simply teleporting items from other locations. The idea here being that, with nearly forty pieces of fruit available to them, after a few trial runs the characters will likely succumb to greed and wish for larger, more powerful items and artifacts. These more powerful or valuable items may be the property of a high-level wizard, or perhaps treasure from the horde of a powerful dragon, etc.

The unexplained disappearance of these items or creatures may not go unnoticed (and can easily be tracked via Scrying or a Locate Item, Locate Creature, or similar spell or spell-like ability). The manifestation of one of the wishes could soon be followed by the appearance of a very angry, vengeful adversary who has come to reclaim their property and punish the thieves who stole it.

Additional Notes: Living creatures, people, items, artifacts, or anything else that can fit into a 25-foot sphere can be teleported by this wish effect. If the tree is intentionally harmed in any way (more than 10 points of damage in a single attack, or more than an accumulated 120 points of damage) it will teleport the character attacking it to the brim of it’s reach: 100-miles in a random direction.

Limiting Abuse of the Wish Effect: It takes the tree 10 years to generate a single new piece of fruit, and if a piece of fruit is planted elsewhere, (10% chance of successful planting) it takes 1,000 years for the resulting sapling to grow full size and begin to produce its own fruit. Since the Wishing Tree is a magical creature, it is not effected by spells or spell-like abilities that affect other plants.

Wishing Tree - Magical Creature (HD: 100d8+10 / 720hp)

1 comment:

  1. Very nice! I love this idea. Simple conceptually, and allows for a wide range of situations during game play. Nicely done.


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