The abaloth is among the ugliest of all trees. Its bloated trunk is covered with a thick black soft bark which shines wetly. Its branches are twisted, crooked and bent at odd angles. Its total lack of leaves gives it a skeletal appearance.
The abaloth gets its common name from its means of obtaining food. Any object or creature which comes into physical contact with the tree will become enveloped by the soft, resin soaked bark and will adhere. The trees surface will immediately begin absorbing the object or creature. It requires great strength to be able to pull free from a Deathgrip tree. The difficulty varies depending upon many factors: the extent of contact, the shape of the area of contact, the texture of the object, the age of the tree, etc. Once absorbed, an object or creature is held within the heart of the tree. An organic object (this includes most life forms) will be slowly digested. Inorganic materials cannot be digested by the Deathgrip tree and so will be expelled within a matter of hours. Life in the swamps and bogs forces many plants to turn to eating flesh. The ground is so acidic and waterlogged that bacteria cannot finish the job of breaking down dead plant matter into a nitrogen rich soil; a far less nutritious peat forms instead. As a result, a deathgrip tree must draw its nitrogen from animal prey. One would think that animals would avoid this tree. However, an abaloth can sustain itself on the hundreds of insects and other small creatures that come in contact with it on any average day. A larger animal gives the tree enough food to last for several weeks.
The sticky resin of the bark can be collected from the tree. If this resin is boiled and then simmered and cooked slowly over several hours, it can be reduced down to a shiny black gelatin which cools and solidifies into a substance similar to soft, gummy rubber. This soft, black gum is an excellent thermal and electrical insulator. Very useful to mages in magical research and also useful in the construction of certain mechanical traps and similar machines.
The Deathgrip tree grows in all three major wetland regions of Ithria - the Trackless Mire, the Stench Bog and the Barakose Swamp.
Saurians dispose of their dead by giving the body to a Deathgrip tree during a brief ceremony.
This website was last updated March 31, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.