The vicious stinger tree appears as a short, squat tree with a cluster of large bulbous green spheres instead of leaves. This tree stands about typically about 20 feet tall. The spheres are about foot feet in diameter. Each green bulb bears a single glistening black barbed spine about 7 inches long.
If the tree is disturbed in any way (and this includes the vibrations of merely walking near the plant), one or more of the bulbous spheres will violently contract, expelling its spine. These black spines are actually stingers. The stinger will fly out toward the disturbance with surpising accuracy and have a good chance of hitting the creature as it passes. These barbed are attached to a fibrous filament connected to the plant that unwind from the bulb. The stingers deliver a toxin that will paralyze the intruder within seconds. Once the prey has been paralyzed, the bulb will contract reeling in the filament and stinger along with the prey. The plant drags the prey in close to be devoured.
If attacked, the plant will defend itself by firing stingers at targets. The plant cannot see or hear, but has an extensive root network and can accurately sense vibrations in the ground. A stinger plant typically has between 12 and 20 stingers so it can fire 3-5 stingers in any one direction. It takes several seconds for it to reel in a fired stinger and fire again. While a stinger plant could defend itself against 2 or 3 creatures, it could easily be overwhelmed by a large group. The filaments are tough and fibrous but can be cut or burnt. The bulbous spheres can be cut or smashed.
If the stinger plant successfully paralyzes and reels in prey, the bulbous green sphere will open like petals of a flower and completely envelop the creature. Over the next several hours, the sphere interior fills with acidic juices which will digest the prey creature. Any paralyzed creature will be rendered unconscious within one minute and will be killed within five minutes.
Victims can be rescued from this fate if the sphere is cut open before it's too late.
Captured creatures serve as the trees primary source of nutrients. The tree uses its roots to absorb water and nutrients from the soil to maintain itself for long periods between meals.
This strange abomination is another example of something that lies somewhere between plant and animal. It is almost certain that this plant was the product of dark sorcery, engineered as a weapon for the Great War and now only a dangerous reminder from that dark chapter of history. Fortunately, this tree is rare... found only deep in the great forests of Ithria. It was once thought to be unique to the Dark Wood, though encounters from other large forests have been reported.
The toxin of the barbed stingers becomes inert rapidly once removed from the tree and cannot be used as a chemical weapon. However, the toxin (even inert) is a valuable alchemical ingredient in several potions.
Once each year, this plant releases several pod-like seeds which are semi-autonomous. These seeds crawl away from the mother plant. They crawl far from the mother plant and then burrow deep into the ground. The seeds seek out good soil, available water and a location which is far from any other stinger plants.
The name of this plant, Tor'Doras, has been passed down for centuries and scholars believe that it is related to the wizard that created the plant. Possibly his name.
This website was last updated January 6, 2018. Copyright 1990-2018 David M. Roomes.