The Tinsel Treant: Christmas Eve 2021

I created the Tinsel Treant for the Discord of Many Thing‘s DoMTmas Secret Santa event.

Once upon a time a lone, scraggly tree grew from hard, rocky earth. It was just its luck that its seed would happen to fall right where there was just enough soil and water to root but not enough to grow strong and prosper. So the tree was lonely and small and weak.

When one day a creature approached the tree with blade in hand, it wept bittersweet sappy tears because it felt its suffering might finally come to an end. But the creature did not chop it down. Instead, the creature dug around the tree, chipping its blade on the many rocks in the earth. And after much effort, the tree was freed and transported to its new home, a rich plot of soft earth in the center of the creature’s home.

The tree’s new home had rich soil, plentiful water, and the creature sang to it every morning and every night. The tree grew and grew, faster than it could have ever imagined, in form so wild and varied that it felt it could begin to walk at any moment. But the best of times were had when the seasons grew their coldest. In vibrant reds and yellows and greens and whites the creature decorated and celebrated with the tree. The tree especially liked the glittery ribbons that ever so slightly tickled its bark.

Many joyous seasons passed like this, until one day the creature did not return home. When the days turned to weeks, the tree got fed up and decided it was time to take matters into its own branches. It pulled at its roots. It pulled and pulled and pulled. It pulled until it broke clear from the earth, and for the first time it began to walk. Before leaving, it took with it a box of decorations so that they might begin decorating as soon as possible.

It followed the direction of the path that the creature would take every few days, and soon enough it came upon a decorated town, all quiet in the twilight hours. There at its entrance it found a confusing sight: The creature, hanging upside down from its roots high above the ground like an ornament. The creature swayed in the wind but was stiff and dessicated. Someone or something must have uprooted the creature and strung it up, and deprived of the moisture of the earth, it withered.

Suddenly, a creature screamed. Confused and sad and angry, the tree stretched out its branches and grabbed the screaming creature, demanding answers. But the tree could not sing like the creature; its voice came out in groans and creaks. The creature screamed even more loudly which caused more creatures to appear. They came at it with blades, and so the tree strung them up like so many red ornaments until there were no more screams.

The town was now decorated with their bodies, but it didn’t feel the same as decorating with its creature. The tree took its creature down, wrapped them in all its decorations, and returned home to replant them. “Maybe they’ll regrow,” the tree hoped, but it already knew it was likely too late. Buried with all their decorations, there was now none left to decorate its home. The tree returned to the town to take their decorations, practicing its singing on the way. The tree decided that it would continue to decorate when the cold season comes. It would sing and make merry and do all the things the creature did. And if anyone got in its way, it would string them up and add them to the decorations.

Tinsel Treant

Gargantuan plant, naughty list
Armor Class 15
Hit Points 193 (12d20+60)
Speed 25 ft


STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
21 (+5)8 (-1)20 (+5)6 (-2)16 (+3)13 (+1)

  • Saving Throws Strength +9, Constitution +9
  • Skills Athletics +9
  • Damage Vulnerabilities Fire
  • Damage Resistances Bludgeoning, Piercing
  • Senses Darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception
  • Languages Common (singing only)
  • Challenge CR 7 (2900 XP)             Proficiency Bonus +4

Siege Monster. The tinsel treant deals double damage to objects and structures.
Uncoordinated. Its proficiency bonus is not added to its attack rolls.
One Being. The tinsel treant shares senses with all tinsel treant roots and branches.

Actions

Multiattack. The tinsel treant makes any combination of 2 slam attacks and grapple attempts.

Grapple. The tinsel treant makes a +9 grapple attempt against a creature within 15 feet of it. It can grapple up to three creatures at a time.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, Reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (3d6+5) bludgeoning damage. If a slam would reduce a creature’s hit points to 0, the damage is nonlethal and the creature becomes grappled.

Spawn Root. The tinsel treant summons one tinsel treant root within 30 feet of it, which immediately takes the spawn branch action. It can have no more than 3 tinsel treant roots spawned at a time.

Command Plant. The tinsel treant commands a tinsel treant root or up to 2 tinsel treant branches to make a slam attack or grapple attempt.

Tinsel Song. Each non-plant creature within 60 ft. must succeed on a DC 13 Charisma saving throw or else become Charmed. While Charmed in this way, the creature must use its action on each of its turns to sing a Christmas song and grapple attempts against them have advantage. A creature can repeat its saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the condition on a success. For as long as any creature is under tinsel song’s effect, it cannot use tinsel song again.

Legendary Actions

The tinsel treant can take two Legendary Actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action can be used at a time, and only at the end of another creature’s turn. Spent legendary Actions are regained at the start of each of its turn.

Grapple or Slam. It uses its grapple or slam.

Command Plant (2 Actions). It uses command plant.


Tinsel Treant’s Goal and Mindset

The tinsel treant’s goal is to celebrate the winter holiday season with singing and decorations. To that end, it seeks to replenish and increase its supply of decorations by raiding humanoid settlements. Because decorations last for a fairly long time, the tinsel treant only needs to make raids between many years. As a result, humanoids know very little about the tinsel treant, stories of it passing into children’s cautionary tales.

The tinsel treant has no understanding of theft or murder. It simply seeks out decorations and strings up anyone who gets in its way like an ornament. As a result, it almost never strikes to kill, preferring to grapple creatures in order to string them up on tinsel. If creatures resist, then it knocks them unconscious so that they may be more easily strung up.

Tinsel Treant Territory

The tinsel treant’s territory is a forest of withered trees and strung up corpses. Over many years the tinsel treant has spread its roots all over its wide forested territory. When the tinsel treant walks, its legs pierce into the earth and reconnect with its network of roots below the surface. It is from this network it spawns its roots and branches.

Tinsel Treant Personality

It understands Common, but only in song form. It is attracted to singing and would like more than anything to sing along with another creature like it had done in the past. It is scared of screaming and weapons and will string up offenders as punishment and self defense.

It always tries to grapple creatures first. It will only use slam against creatures who hurt it first.

Its Den and Creature Ornaments

The closer you get to its den, the more corpses there are hung. Most if not all of these creatures died of exposure and dehydration. All of them were hung as punishment for their transgressions against it. The creatures hung for the purpose of decoration are back at its den.

When seeking decorations, it prefers vibrant colors and beautiful voices. Creatures singing or adorned in colorful clothing are often singled out and dragged to its den to be hung. There it will try to party with them, and if they make it happy, it will let them go. Among all of its victims, children are the most likely to survive, as they are the least likely to offend the tinsel treant.


Tinsel Treant Root

Large plant, naughty list
Armor Class 14
Hit Points 36
Speed 15, burrow 30 ft.


STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
18 (+4)8 (-1)14 (+2)1 (-5)10 (+0)6 (-1)

  • Skills Athletics +7
  • Damage Vulnerabilities Fire
  • Damage Resistances Bludgeoning, Piercing
  • Condition Immunities Blinded, Stunned, Incapacitated, Frightened, Charmed, Deafened, Unconscious, Exhaustion
  • Senses Tremorsense 60 ft.
  • Languages
  • Challenge 2 (450 XP)               Proficiency Bonus +3

Uncoordinated. Its proficiency bonus is not added to its attack rolls.
One Being. The tinsel treant root shares senses with the tinsel treant and all other tinsel treant roots and tinsel treant branches.
Siege Monster. The tinsel treant deals double damage to objects and structures.

Actions

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, Reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d6+4) bludgeoning damage. If a slam would reduce a creature’s hit points to 0, the damage is nonlethal and the creature becomes grappled.

Grapple. The tinsel treant root makes a +7 grapple attempt against a creature within 10 feet of it. It can grapple up to two creatures at a time.

Spawn Branch. The tinsel treant root summons two tinsel treant branches within 60 feet of it, both of which immediately make a slam attack or grapple attempt. It can have no more than 6 tinsel treant branches spawned at a time.

Command Branch. The tinsel treant root commands up to 4 tinsel treant branches to slam or grapple.



Tinsel Treant Branch

Medium plant, naughty list
Armor Class 13
Hit Points 7 (1d8+2)
Speed 10, burrow 30 ft.


STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
16 (+3)8 (-1)14 (+2)1 (-5)10 (+0)6 (-1)

  • Skills Athletics +5
  • Damage Vulnerabilities Fire
  • Damage Resistances Bludgeoning, Piercing
  • Damage Immunities Damage_Immunities
  • Condition Immunities Blinded, Stunned, Incapacitated, Frightened, Charmed, Deafened, Unconscious, Exhaustion
  • Senses Tremorsense 30 ft.
  • Languages
  • Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)               Proficiency Bonus +2

Uncoordinated. Its proficiency bonus is not added to its attack rolls.
One Being. The tinsel treant branch shares senses with the tinsel treant and all other tinsel treant roots and tinsel treant branches.
False Appearance. While the tinsel treant branch remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a withered fir tree.

Actions

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, Reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6+3) bludgeoning damage. If a slam would reduce a creature’s hit points to 0, the damage is nonlethal and the creature becomes grappled.

Grapple. The tinsel treant branch makes a +5 grapple attempt against a creature within 5 feet of it. It can grapple only one creature at a time.


Tinsel Treant Roots and Branches

It draws nutrients from its underground root system and spawns tinsel treant roots and branches to collect decorations from afar. The roots are unnaturally large and have two limbs for grabbing and striking. Roots spawn branches which, when sticking out of the earth and unmoving, look like small, withered, fir trees. Often branches will have tinsel hanging on it.

Root and Branch Tactics

The roots and branches can move slowly by pushing earth aside or more rapidly by burrowing. When moving decorations (creatures included), it prefers to move slowly, because burrowing damages the decorations, but it will burrow in emergencies.

Branches are not strong enough to string up creatures, so it will drag them to roots that are. When stringing a creature up as punishment, it will use tinsel and whatever objects nearby to hoist them at least 10 feet above the ground. If for decoration, the creature will be dragged to its den.

Encounter sizes

Encounters with a treant root typically include 4 to 6 branches. An encounter with the tinsel treant is likely to include 1 or 2 roots and 8 to 14 branches.

Tinsel Treant In Combat

In combat, the tinsel treant will prioritize the gathering of decorations above all else. Anyone that gets in its way is treat as follows:

  1. If they get in its way but doesn’t hurt the treant and any of its roots and branches, they are to be grappled but unharmed.
  2. If they hurt the treant or any of its roots and branches, they are to be grappled and then strung up upside down on tinsel at least 10 feet above the ground.
  3. If they hurt the treant or any of its roots and branches again, they are to be beaten unconscious and then strung up.
  4. If they are adorned in vibrant colors or demonstrate singing, they are to be grappled and dragged to its den. If they escape the grapple, they are to be grappled by as many roots and branches as feasible and then carried to its den.

The tinsel treant and any of its roots and branches never make the first damaging strike in every encounter, preferring to rely on grappling. The moment a creature damages it, it concentrates its strength on beating that creature unconscious. Against a party of adventurers, it only spreads its forces as much as is needed to grapple interceptors, and then every spare root and branch is left to focus beating aggressors.

Stringing a creature up is a form of punishment for creatures who mistreat it. However, it will abandon attempts to string up a creature if doing so proves too difficult. It does not see creatures helping a strung-up creature down to the ground as a punishable act.

The tinsel treant has a strong self-preservation instinct. When confronted directly, it always keeps 1 or 2 roots and 4 to 6 branches near it for protection. It only directly engages creatures who engage it, and if surrounded by multiple hostile creatures, concentrates its attacks on one creature until they are unconscious. It will not target a creature with a slam attack unless the creature has damaged it or if it has been damaged by fire.

Root & Branch Self-defense

If a party of adventurers is able to focus-fire damage onto the Tinsel Treant in a manner that feels anti-climatic, consider granting the roots and branches the following Reaction ability.


Reactions

Self-Defense. When the tinsel treant becomes the target of a damaging attack or effect it can see, the root/branch burrows up to 30 feet towards the tinsel treant and resurfaces. If it resurfaces at a position between the tinsel treant and the source of the attack or effect, it becomes the target of that attack or effect instead. If the effect targets an area, the tinsel treant gains advantage on its saving throw against it.

This ability allows the tinsel treant to protect itself from most any damaging attack or effect, assuming it has roots and branches in range. Be aware that this ability does not summon new roots or branches but rather relies on existing ones. Players can outmaneuver this ability by having their characters lure roots and branches far enough away from the tinsel treant.

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