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Bonewrought willow

From PathfinderWiki
Bonewrought willow
(Creature)
Type Plant
(extraplanar)
CR 3
Environment Any land (Boneyard)
Alignment

Source: The Dead Roads, pg(s). 82

Bonewrought willows are skeletal trees from the Boneyard that protect the dead.[1]

Appearance

Bonewrought willows grow in the shape of weeping willows, symbolising the loss that created them. Their trunk is twisted, and their branches are made of bones and fibrous fronds. Despite their bony appearance, bonewrought willows are living plants. Their 'roots' are actually legs capable of moving with surprising speed. As a bonewrought willow grows old, the bones in its branch become yellow, but those at the tips always remain pristine. A bonewrought willow stands between 12 and 15 feet tall and weighs about 800 pounds.[1]

Ecology

Bonewrought willows grow in lonely places in the Boneyard from the bones shed by souls moving on toward the afterlife; they serve as echoes of willows on the Material Plane. Due to the stray soul fragments embedded in them, bonewrought willows have a rudimentary intelligence and can distinguish between the living and the dead.[1]

Bonewrought willows subsist on bones, requiring the equivalent of a human skeleton per month. If this requirement is unfulfilled, bonewrought willows lose the ability to eject bone shards, and several months of starvation will kill them. Hungry bonewrought willows might start hunting prey in desperation. Bonewrought willows also need light, but not necessarily sunlight; the moon looming over the Boneyard is sufficient. Without light, bonewrought willows sag noticeably and start seeking bright light sources, surprising travellers carrying one.[1]

Bonewrought willows produce tiny seeds that can drift for many years and mature at the age of 15. Bonewrought willow saplings move rarely and erratically, and cannot survive if there are too few bones nearby. As a bonewrought willow consume bones, it acquires faint psychic impressions of the souls to whom the bones once belonged, and over time it develops a personality from these impressions. Bonewrought willows live for centuries.[1]

Bonewrought willows instinctively protect ghosts and souls of the dead from the living, whom they distrust. On the Material Plane, they also shelter animals of all kinds.[1]

Habitat

Thriving copses of bonewrought willows can be found across the Boneyard, most commonly in the Graveyard of Souls. Psychopomps cultivate them as a hobby or as protectors of vulnerable souls, appreciating their protection of the dead. Sometimes, their seeds are blown through portals toward other planes, where they sprout near places where bones are plenty.[1]

Society

Bonewrought willows are intelligent enough to learn a sign language from psychopomps, develop it, and teach it to other bonewrought willows. Many souls in the Boneyard, who have not yet come to terms with their death, stop and rest in the shade of bonewrought willows, which they mistake as normal willows, and quickly accept their fate.[1]

Due to their instinct to protect the dead, bonewrought willows are sometimes tricked by undead into becoming bodyguards. However, if constantly forced into danger, bonewrought willows will eventually abandon or even betray their ward.[1]

Bonewrought willows can speak, but never do so unless asked by magic that speaks to the dead. Bonewrought willows have a deep, hollow voice, and its responses are fragmented.[1]

References