King of the Monsters 3 Finalist: Brambletroll
There are paths in the Old Margreve which rangers take with reluctance and pineys tread not at all, paths so dark that nothing bothers to grow leaves, where the naked branches reaching in from all around look suspiciously like grasping claws. Any of those branches could really be the waiting arms of a brambletroll, stretched out and held perfectly still among the forest’s own sleeping limbs.
Seen outside their natural environment, the ancient trolls of the Margreve are strange indeed to behold. Their arms, gnarled and twisted to mimic old branches, stretch over twenty feet in length and can have as many as ten elbows. They fold and wave about around a squat body taller than a man and as wide as it is tall. Seen from the front, their bodies are almost all face, with eyebrows on the top, a nose dragging on the ground, and no neck or belly or other parts to speak of. Seen from the back, with their stubby legs kicked up and their rump on the ground, they can easily be mistaken for a gnarled old stump.
Behavior and Society
Brambletrolls are simple and single-minded, but much cleverer than other trolls. Deep in the Margreve they form their own roofless villages, and appease the forest with their own, strange version of the Old Ways. They have a long memory for wicked lore and nasty secrets, for which witches sometimes seek them out, parleying with kidnapped children. The brambletroll appetite for children is legendary; in theory, any children found belong to the village elder, but in reality a brambletroll who catches a young human won’t save a single bite for its fellows. Great feuds erupt when one bramble troll thinks it smells something young on another’s breath. A newborn brambletroll survives only when its mother gives birth in secret, then climbs a tall tree and hurls her young as far away as possible, licking her lips all the while.
Among “pineys” or native Margrevians, stories tell of old heroes defeating brambletrolls by running in circles until the troll’s arms were all tied in a knot. Tradition also dictates that family dwellings have sturdy doors and no windows, lest long arms reach in to empty their cradles.
BRAMBLETROLL (Level 7 Elite Soldier)
Medium fey humanoid (troll); XP 600
Initiative +5; Perception +7; darkvision
HP 142; Bloodied 71
AC 21, Fortitude 19, Reflex 18, Will 17
Saving Throws +2; Action Points 1
Speed 3 (forest walk), climb 3
Brambletroll Regeneration The brambletroll regains 5 hit points and regrows any severed claws whenever it ends its turn with at least 1 hit point remaining. When the brambletroll takes fire or acid damage, its regeneration does not function on its next turn.
Camouflage A brambletroll can sit down to resemble an old stump, or cling to the trunk of a large tree to resemble a great hanging tumor. A creature must succeed at a DC 20 perception check to see through the disguise. If the brambletroll attacks while hiding, its location isn’t automatically revealed until the start of its next turn.
Long Arms Whenever the brambletroll makes a melee attack, it marks the target (and one of its claws occupies the target’s space) until the end of its next turn or until the target moves 5 or more squares away. Each claw can be targeted with melee or ranged attacks, and uses the brambletroll’s defenses, although it lacks hitpoints. An attack that deals 10 or more damage destroys a claw and ends that mark. Otherwise, the hand is unaffected by the attack. A brambletroll with 1 hand severed can’t use Double Attack, and one with both hands severed can’t make attacks.
[M] Claw • At-Will
Attack— Melee 4 (one creature); +12 vs. AC
Hit—2d10+5 damage, and the brambletroll grabs the target (escape DC 16) for as long as it has the target marked
[m] Slam and Batter • At-Will
Attack—Melee 4 (one creature grabbed by the brambletroll); +10 vs. Fort
Hit— 3d10+10, and the brambletroll slides the target 3 squares.
[m] Double Attack • At-Will
Effect— The brambletroll attacks two creatures, using either Claw or Slam and Batter on each
Claws that Catch • At-Will
Trigger— An enemy marked by the brambletroll makes an attack that doesn’t include it as a target or moves without shifting
Effect (immediate interrupt)— The brambletroll uses Claw on the triggering enemy
Skills Perception +7, Stealth +10
Str 19 (+7) Dex 17 (+6) Wis 10 (+3)
Con 13 (+4) Int 10 (+3) Cha 8 (+2)
Alignment chaotic evil; Languages Common, Giant
Four more King of the Monsters nominees coming up this week—and then the winner will be chosen by popular vote! What do you think of the first contestant?