Kobold Press

Harrowing Haunts: Dead Man’s Tree

Caspar David Friedrich, Monk in the Snow (1908)“When a tree falls in the forest, who is there to witness its fall?” asked Thorvall the ranger through gritted teeth. A jolt of pain in his leg momentarily halted his philosophical musings. “Who else but thrice cursed me!”

Thorvall assessed the situation: it was bad, extremely bad. His ruined left leg was stuck under the dead weight of a rotted oak. He was lying on his belly in a bed of autumn leaves, and his prized axe was just out of reach. The axe would have made the job of freeing himself a whole lot easier, but at least he still had his dagger. That would get the job done.

Suddenly, he heard a rustling of leaves, the sound of something flying through the air, and pain. Horrible pain as something landed heavily on the fallen oak. The extra weight pressing on his ruined leg was excruciating.

“Tell me, meat,” a voice growled. “How does it feel to be prey?”

With an effort, Thorvall looked over his shoulder and saw a worg looming over him, and his fingers tightened around the dagger’s hilt. Thorvall was not at all surprised when two more worgs strode into view. “Thrice cursed” Thorvall spat “thrice cursed…”

The moss-covered remains of a fallen oak is the center of the dead man’s tree haunt. Nearby a cold iron axehead can be discovered (Perception DC 15).

Dead Man’s Tree (CR 6)

XP 2,400
CE haunt (15-ft. diameter area); persistent
Caster Level
6th
Notice
Perception DC 25 (to hear growling followed by the sound of flesh being ripped into)
hp
27; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day
Effect
When this haunt is triggered, the wraithlike head of a wolf appears and attacks a random target in the affected area. Treat the head as a spiritual weapon spell (Atk +7, 1d8+2 damage).
Destruction
Burning the fallen oak destroys the haunt.

Thrice Cursed Dead Man’s Tree (CR 10)

XP 9,600
CE haunt (30-ft. diameter area); persistent
Caster Level
10th
Notice
Perception DC 28 (to hear growling followed by the sound of tearing flesh)
hp
45; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day
Effect
When this haunt is triggered, three wraithlike wolves’ heads appear and attack a single target in the affected area. Treat each head as a spiritual weapon spell (Atk +9/+4, 1d8+3 damage).
Destruction
Burning the fallen oak destroys the haunt.

In Your Game

• An old trapper boasts he has touched the trunk of the dead man’s tree, and he dares a PC to do the same.

• The duke has organized a hunt, and the PCs are invited. They are on the trail of a majestic white stag; the stag cunningly leads them to the haunt.

(This post is Product Identity.)

5 Replies to "Harrowing Haunts: Dead Man’s Tree"

James Thomas

March 1, 2011 at 8:56am

Delightful Maurice! I love your haunts and the story is very nice. [PING][PING][PING]:) 3 on the Pett Scale as well!

Tom Allman

March 1, 2011 at 9:24am

Very Harrowing Maurice! Anytime you’d like to collaborate on some old forest spookiness let me know!hebyjeby2003@yahoo.com

Darkjoy

March 1, 2011 at 12:05pm

@Tom I sent you a KQ.com PM regarding the collaboration

@James, thanks! Uhm, while logging in to KQ I saw this very old message for me……. sorry about that.

satyre

March 1, 2011 at 4:05pm

A nice incidental encounter for Courts of the Shadow Fey as well. I may have to use that “Tell me meat…” line elsewhere.

Todd the Bladesmith

March 6, 2011 at 5:55pm

Good schtuff!

Caspar David Friedrich Monk in the Snow goes with it perfectly, BTW.