- For other meanings of "Shambler", please see Shambler (disambiguation).
The carnivorous shambling mound often appears to be nothing more than a heap of rotting vegetation. They are sometimes referred to as shamblers.
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.
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.
Ecology and 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 effective; 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.
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.
On occasion, a shambling mound will have a symbiotic relationship with a swarm of insects (often centipedes). Similarly, some become infested with fungi, and can discharge clouds of dangerous spores when struck.
Other types of shambling mound are known to exist.
- Greensward: A tragic form of shambler, usually grown from elves, that retains some semblance of their former memories. They are more intelligent than normal shambling mounds, but still lack the ability to speak.
- Shambling Monolith: Shamblers that can pull nearby plant matter into their body, temporarily bolstering their power and swelling in size.
- Spore Mound: Shambling mounds infested by fungi and mold in close proximity to where they live. They appear encrusted in mushrooms and fungal growths. Damaging a spore mound exposes a creature to its symbiotic molds, such as yellow mold.
- Stormstruck Shambler: Shambling mounds struck by lightning enough to gain a greater affinity for it. They can expend their vitality to charge their limbs with electricity and shock their foes.
- Tanglethorn Mound: 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.
- Variant Abilities: Some shambling mounds develop unusual and unique abilities, which can overlap with more unusual variants.
- Communion with the Green: Others are particularly attuned to nature, and are able to replicate a number of druidic spells.
- Compressible Form: 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.
- Symbiotic Swarm: Some shamblers that live in close proximity to vermin, such as centipedes, eventually find swarms of the creatures living within their bodies. These swarms typically do not come to the surface of their host enough to be a threat, but they will eagerly seize the chance to consume creatures drawn into the shambler's mass and will burst forth in a swarm upon their host's death.
- Jason Bulmahn. (2009). Bestiary (First Edition), p. 246. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-183-1
- James Jacobs et al. (2009). Dungeon Denizens Revisited, p. 59, 62. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-172-5
- Jason Nelson. (2009). Shambling mound. Dungeon Denizens Revisited, p. 60. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-172-5
- Jason Nelson. (2009). Shambling mound. Dungeon Denizens Revisited, p. 59. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-172-5
- Jason Nelson. (2009). Shambling mound. Dungeon Denizens Revisited, p. 61. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-172-5
- Jason Nelson. (2009). Shambling mound. Dungeon Denizens Revisited, p. 62. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-172-5
- Tim Hitchcock, Brandon Hodge, Michael Kortes, Jason Nelson, Russ Taylor. (2011). Lost Cities of Golarion, p. 12. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-272-2