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Shambling mound

From PathfinderWiki
Shambling Mound
(Creature)
Type Plant
CR 6
Environment temperate forests or marsh
Alignment

Source: Pathfinder Bestiary, pg(s). 246

The carnivorous shambling mound often appears to be nothing more than a heap of rotting vegetation. They are sometimes referred to as shamblers.

Appearance

A shambling mound appears to be a mass of twisted vines and other vegetation, standing on two legs that resemble tree trunks. When at rest, or lying in ambush, they blend in with the vegetation of the swamps or forests where they live.

An average shambling mound is roughly eight feet in diameter, between six and nine feet tall, and weighs 3,800 pounds. [1]

Origin

The origin of the shambling mound lies in the legendary Green Valley, which might be in a remote part of Golarion, or might even be outside Golarion altogether. Explorers from Azlant, possibly accompanied by elves from Kyonin, found the Valley and unwittingly became infested with strange spores.

When they returned from the Valley, the spores turned them into the first shambling mounds. The victims fled into the wilderness, overcome by the horror of their transformation, and the knowledge of the Valley’s location was lost.[2]

Ecology & Society

Shambling mounds are usually solitary creatures. They generally wander in search of prey, and if two should happen to meet they generally ignore each other. Few creatures consider shambling mounds as prey.

They can survive on a diet of rotting vegetable matter, and can supplement this with photosynthesis. However, in order to reproduce they need to absorb living tissue, particularly brain tissue, in great quantities – sometimes as much as a ton. However, for some reason elf tissue is extremely effectively; a single elf corpse is sufficient by itself for reproduction. Some shambling mounds are aware of this, and seek out elves in preference to other victims.

When a shambling mound is ready to reproduce, it finds a suitable hiding place and roots itself into the soil. A week later, approximately a third of its mass detaches itself and makes its own way in the world as a new shambling mound.

However, in some rare cases a shambling mound may develop an empathic ability that draws other shambling mounds to it, and enables them to work in as a group. Sometimes these groups seek to establish a connection with the lost Green Valley. They may try and do so through meditation, or through actively seeking to destroy civilisation.[3]

Abilities

Shambling mounds fight by slamming foes and wrapping them up in their vine-like tentacles. Despite their appearance, they have brains housed in their upper bodies and are as intelligent as orcs; they can be surprisingly cunning in their pursuit of prey. They are also reasonably good swimmers.

They are strangely resistant to fire. They also take no damage from electrical attacks; instead electricity temporarily invigorates them. [4]

On occasion, a shambling mound will have a symbiotic relationship with a swarm of insects (often centipedes).[5] Similarly, some become infested with fungi, and can discharge clouds of dangerous spores when struck.[6]

Variants

Other types of shambling mound are known to exist.

Some are able to compress their forms, enabling them to squeeze into narrow spaces, and making them difficult to damage with bludgeoning or piercing weapons.

Others are particularly attuned to nature, and are able to replicate a number of druidic spells.

There is a desert variant that can survive in arid conditions but is unable to swim. These appear as cacti wrapped in thorns and vines. They often burrow beneath the surface in order to ambush prey passing over them.

A tragic few, usually grown from elves, retain some semblance of their former memories. They are more intelligent than normal shambling mounds, but still lack the ability to speak.[7]

In Golarion

Shambling mounds are most common in the Sodden Lands and the Mwangi Expanse. They have been drawn there by an exceptional shambling mound called Zandghoreishi.[8]

There are fungal shambling mounds living in the fungal swamps of Ilvarandin, one of the vaults of Orv. [9]

References