This is part of the A-Z Blog Challenge. Herein I will be presenting a new monster that hopefully has not been seen before in any RPG game. These will be drawn from stories and mythologies found in a variety of real-world cultures.
This is a real-life vine plant grown in Brazil for actual medicinal purposes. It is made into health food and drinks including forms of soda. It also has twice the caffeine of a coffee bean. It has large green leaves with vibrant red bulbs. When these bulbs open they reveal a white inner with a black seed at its center, making them look like eyes.
The mythology comes in how the plant was created. A local god killed a favored child. To console the villagers the god took the left eye and planted it in the wild, creating the wild form of the Guarana. It then took the right eye and planted it in farmland, creating the domesticated form of the Guarana. While the domesticated form of the Guarana is safe and useful for people, the wild form is highly dangerous.
The wild Guarana feeds on living flesh. It is able to grab hold of a being as it walks nearby. After it has access to a corpse it will climb into the body, with its “eyes” replacing the eyes of the corpse. The corpse is then able to move around under control of the vine. The Guarana are constantly looking for more food and will use the corpse to get close enough to other living beings to feed again. Note that the corpse is not considered to be undead.
-Vinewrap: The Guarana is able to wrap itself around an opponent keeping them from moving. Being held for an extended time will increase any damage taken.
-Control: Once their opponent becomes wounded (half hit point loss) the plant can take partial control of the target. This control only lasts for 1 round, but has a chance to be reapplied next round if the attack hits again.
-Corpse: Part of the damage the Guarana takes during a fight is actually taken by the corpse it is using so until the damage reaches a certain threshold, the damage to the actual Guarana is minimized.
-Corpses have been disappearing from the local cemetery. People fear necromancers of some type, but all divinations belie that theory. In fact, all attempts to track the undead with magic detections have failed. This is because the corpses are not in fact undead, but rather are now being used by a pack of Guarana. One of the plants managed to get near the cemetary and is now bringing more of the plants there. They have been gathering and will soon strike the village.
-A body has been found with telltale marks of a wild Guarana attack; marks where the vines wrapped around the body and the eyes are missing. A local merchant claims some wild Guarana have infested a field of domestic Guarana and are hiding therein. In actuality, the merchant, who also controls a domestic Guarana field, planted the body and is looking to stir things up so the other field must be destroyed. This will leave him as the sole merchant of domestic Guarana in the area. If things do not move fast enough for the merchant, more bodies will start to appear.
-A mutant strain of Guarana develops in the area. This strain is able to access some of the mental abilities of its corpse and is more able to pass as normal. It can make the corpse use its vocal capabilites and gains some of its memory, though they do tend to become withdrawn from society as much as possible. Several people have already been taken over by a pack of Guarana and their goal is to claim even more. The characters are brought in by a member of the village whose father disappeared a month ago. She wishes the party to find out what happened to him. He was one of the first to be taken by the Guarana, but his corpse decayed too fast and was abandoned. During the party’s inverstigation of the father, they will stumble upon the greater danger of the Guarana.