This will be the first installment of a regular feature on The Room Fills with Water, the Random Encounter. This will be a chance for me to focus on a specific monster, discuss my thoughts on it, share some stories, and suggest some interesting ways it can be used (or fought against).
A shout out to the player of FizzyWinks for this first monster request!
Twig Blights originally appeared in the 3rd edition adventure The Sunless Citadel.
While the specifics of the adventure are unimportant for this discussion, Twig Blights serve as a new henchmen of the big baddie at the end of the adventure.
Standing about 3 and 1/2 feet tall, Twig Blights are a series of leafless branches, which interlock to create a diminutive humanoid shape. These strange creatures draw their origins from the Gulthias Tree, a tree grown from a stake used to slay a powerful vampire. The Gulthias Tree possessed innate, but evil, power. Twice a year fruit springs from the tree, the seeds of which create Twig Blights.
Most likely due to their dark origins Twig Blights crave the taste of blood, often attacking living creatures, and then drawing sustenance from their bodies. Their alignment is Chaotic Evil.
Twig Blights can root themselves into the ground and reproduce through their root system, allowing them to multiply even if the tree of their origins is slain.
Twig Blights offer a really interesting opportunity, low levels are often a ton of fun, and the most frequently played; however, several creatures are often used as the main monsters; Goblins, Orcs, Kobolds, ect. Twig Blights are very level appropriate for a starting group AND avoid the repetition of yet another Goblin lair.
They are also quite creepy, and so can add an element of horror to early levels. Perhaps villagers have been complaining of animals disappearing when grazing near the forest, often at night. All that the farmer hears over the bleating of the animal is an unsettling rustling and clattering, like dozens of claws rusting in the wind. By the time they make it to the pasture all that remains is a trail of blood leading into the woods.Maybe a young child, as often happens in horror movies, can mention the funny wood men that skirt through the homestead late at night. The options are really endless.
Finally, they are a really neat opportunity to explore a Evil Druid or Ranger villain, that perhaps utilizes Twig Blights and other Evil forest creatures to harass civilization. Maybe the villain is using their minions to sustain and nurture a new Gulthias tree! To extend their use, or variety, maybe your Twig Blights grow bigger with age, increasing hit points and damage, of course only after having fed regularly :).
I haven’t used them extensively in my own games, and so no interesting stories come to mind, but keep an eye on this blog, as they are sure to appear in future adventures of mine :).
A few things to be careful of, do not over use Twig Blights, keep the mystery surrounding them as long as possible. Their effect will be lessened if seeming endless numbers of them appear at regular intervals. Instead use them sparingly. If possible have them drag their dead away. There is a fear and excitement in the unknown. A few Twig Blights utilized well as in a early adventure is far more likely to be remembered then yet another Kobold or Goblin cave. You can supplement Twig Blights by also using Vine and Needles Blights, allowing some nice variety for an early adventure.
Well that is all I have to say about Twig Blights. Have you used Twig Blights in your own games, or faced them before? What are your thoughts on them?
If there is a monster you would like me to focus on for the next Random Encounter segment, please put the suggestion in the comments :).