Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mandragora

A transformation of the mandrake root into a minor golem, possessing humanoid like characteristics and a malevolent nature. While the mandragora, or root golem, can be controlled by its maker, it should be known that left alone or unwatched, and though small of size, the creature should be expected to wilfully cause trouble. For this reason, when not watched, it is often best to keep the mandragora contained or restrained in some fashion.

The mandragora is 15 inches tall (the size of a large mandrake root) and composed of hard, moist root material that cannot be harmed by elemental-based spells (though due to its size, strong forces will limit the creature's movement), notably fire or cold. Sustained fire, such as an oven, or super-heated rock will consume the creature, but if it is frozen in ice it will thaw unharmed.

It is formed from the mandrake root, which is itself dangerous to harvest. To bring the natural root alive, remove the roots and bury it outdoors in a hole covered with graveyard dirt to a depth of six inches. Thereafter the soil should be soaked with a quart of cow's milk in the dark of the night for 3-12 nights in succession, until it is seen that a part of the root has appeared above the level of the soil (typically an inch will be extended). At this point, the creator will need to pour into the soil a quart of spoiled or rancid liquid (of any extraction), then cast one of the following spells: animal friendship, charm person or mammal, commune with nature, hold animal, hold plant, speak with animals or speak with plants. Any of these will communicate with the new mandragora, who will then know its creator; the character should then extend an index finger towards the extended root, which will then grasp the finger, enabling the golem to be pulled out from the loose soil.

The mandragora cannot attack in melee or cause damage. It weighs 12 lbs. (much of it water weight infused in its root-body) and can move up to 15' per round (having 3 action points). It possesses short, stubby legs and arms that are each 3 inches in length; the arms possess five 4-inch long roots that can be used to loosely grasp things, so that the mandragora can be directed to fetch loose things or hide objects away (picking up any object up to a pound or dragging any object up to its own weight). It cannot untie straps or laces, cannot effectively rummage through a back pack or open doors, but its root fingers can be used to surprise or frighten opponents or animals, push objects off shelves, tip over objects taller than they are wide (up to its weight). It can throw objects it can carry only a few feet without much force, so that only very fragile objects falling on stone would break. It does not like things hung on its body and will rid itself of these things as soon as possible.

The mandragora, if it is able, will seek any opportunity to sneak away and become a pest to the party or others (particularly if the creator is asleep). If given the opportunity, the mandragora will cheerfully occupy itself with many of the above activities (particularly frightening animals and children or breaking things), dropping items into rivers or over the side of ships and boats, dragging logs out of a fire and leaving them next to sleeping persons, covering itself with mud and rubbing itself on clothes or food, making rustling noises in brush to bring others to investigate, knocking on doors and then running, etc. The creating character can encourage a mandragora to do these things to others by hurling the mandragora in a desired direction, where it is wished for mischief to be made (an enemy camp or habitation), speaking the words, "Give them grief, mandragora."

Because of its size and color, the mandragora will easily approach within a combat hex (5 feet) of a conscious, alert target without being seen. It will surprise normally (2 in 6) even in combat situations. If attacked, it is rated as AC 8 (AC 4 in darkness) and has only 1 hit point - but it is immune to bludgeoning weapons, swords and pointed weapons. An axe or bladed pole-arm, however, will kill it most efficiently.

3 comments:

Issara Booncharoen said...

What determines how much it weighs?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Wikipedia describes the mandrake root topping out at 15.7 inches long; I couldn't find a description of its actual weight, except that it tends to lose 90% of its weight in the 3-4 months you wait before using its medicinal properties. 12 pounds is a guestimate, and useful for determining what the thing can do.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Sure, right after I post the comment . . .

Here's a web page that lists a whole root at 567 grams, which is 18.229 avoirdupois ounces. 10 times that makes 11.375 lbs.

Close guess!