5e Monster Monday: Briarwight, a Fey Plant Forest Monster for D&D

So, I’m paging through the Monster Manual, trying to think of something that might be a cool thing to put up for our Monster Monday when I realize that, while I’ve got a lot of homebrewed monsters that I’ve cooked up over the years, I don’t typically use a lot of plants. I know, I know. “But Drake! Plants are kinda boring. We’ve already got the Shambling Mound and the Treant, and the Blights, and the…did we say Treant?” I know, plants are by their very nature not a huge threat to big, bad adventurers. They typically stay over there, doing plant stuff…except for the ones we just discussed. Yellow Musk Creepers, Assassin Vines, those guys are predatory and yet, pretty easy to avoid if you’re careful. So what more can be said about plants?

First of all, I find a disturbing amount of our time in Dungeons and Dragons is spent in the forest. I think it’s my most rolled encounter table. There’s something classic fantasy about a group of heroes making a perilous journey through an increasingly-obviously hostile forest. And while we can say this is a goblin-haunted forest, or one full of wolves and bears, or even one that’s beset by the hunters of the evil empire or skeletons from the last war’s forest campaign, if the plants themselves are after you? You start to mistrust the forest for the trees…

I dunno. But I am on a fairy kick, right now. So I homebrewed a fairy plant. Or, rather a plant that’s animated by a bound fey spirit. There’s something about a guardian spirit that’s capricious and magical and tireless and probably going crazy out there in the bad bush.

Submitted for your approval, the Briarwight:

Briarwight

Summoned by an ancient order of druids, or carefully bred by elven isolationists, Briarwights are guardian spirits of woodland places. Seven feet tall, composed of rune-scribed skulls woven into bodies of vines and tanglewood, a Briarwight typically blends seamlessly into the forest until it strikes.

Natural Guardians. The bodies of Briarwights are living wood, covered in a mass of photosynthetic lichen. They neither eat nor sleep, but rather, draw sustenance from their forest home. Their natural state is a deceptive watchfulness as they root into the soil and expand their awareness through nearby vegetation. This allows them to observe interlopers even as they step over what they thought was only a particularly rough patch of brush.

Runescribed Sentinels. The rituals to call a Briarwight into existence have been all but forgotten. The conjured spirit which gives a Briarwight its semblance of life has its origins in the Feywild, capricious and canny. They chafe at their subservience to mortals, but so long as their runes are maintained, they hold their lonesome vigil over places of natural power and beauty. If ever the forces that keep the Briarwight guardians at bay were to falter, it can only be assumed that the forests of the world would become much more terrifying places to venture.

Briarwight

Medium plant, Chaotic Neutral


  • Armor Class 14 (Natural Armor)
  • Hit Points 27(4d8 + 9)
  • Speed 30ft.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
14 (+29 (-1)17 (+3)3 (-4)12 (+1)10 (+0)

  • Damage Resistances Bludgeoning
  • Condition Immunities poisoned, sickened, frightened, deafened, exhausted.
  • Senses Blindsight 30 ft, passive Perception 11
  • Languages —
  • Challenge 3 (700 XP)

False Appearace. The Briarwight might pass under casual inspection as a collection of bones and sticks scattered in thick brush.

Entangling Strikes. (Recharge 5-6) Creatures hit by a Briarwight must succeed on a DC 13 Str or Dex (their choice) Saving throw or be restrained as nearby vegetation rapidly grows to ensnare them.

One with the Forest. A Briarwight is unaffected by difficult terrain, treating it as normal terrain so long as the difficulty stems from a natural terrain feature (dense overgrowth, tangled roots, hanging brambles, etc).

Actions

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5ft., one target. Hit 6 (1d8 + 2)

Hurl Missile: Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 20ft., one target. Hit 5 (1d6 + 2) A Briarwight throws stones or fallen limbs, whatever is near to hand.

Charge: Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5ft., one target. Hit 12 (2d10 + 2) The Briarwight lowers its bramble horns and charges on opponent within 30 ft. If the attack hits, the opponent must succeed on a DC 13 Str saving throw or be knocked back 10 ft and thrown prone.

Take Root: A Briarwight may spend a move action to take root. While rooted the Briarwight may spend its action to make any one of its attacks and also take one of the following actions:

  • Renewal: The Briarwight gains 1d6+3 hitpoints.
  • Reckless Growth: The Briarwight turns a 10×10 square within 60′ that it can see into difficult terrain. This terrain deals 1d4 damage to any who enter or begin their turn inside this area.
  • Defense of the Ancients: The Briarwight gains resistance to piercing and slashing weapons as its bark thickens.

The Briarwight may uproot itself as a move action on its next turn.

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