There was supposed to be a great battlefield here. Instead you find a still forest. Rusty pikes lean against its sturdy trunks. A man approaches. His flesh hangs loose, like well-worn clothing on a rough frame. From atop a nearby tree, the wind whistles through an ancient skull.
After a great battle, the damage to the land can be considerable. Poisoned rivers, charred fortresses, and diseased fields are difficult locales for the natural order to reassert itself. When the land needs a little help, the followers of certain nature icons are known to plant funeral pears to retain the balance.
Funeral pears inhabit the bodies of fallen soldiers, growing woody humanoid frames to fill their hosts. The resulting parasitic masses appear to be shambling warriors until fast-growing spines pierce their supple, pear-fertilized flesh. The pears use their new bodies to remove offending elements from the battleground. They leave small memorials of the event. It is unknown whether this is because the funeral pears’ creator wished to communicate the price of war, or because the spiritual remnants of the soldiers retain slight control.
The memorials take the form of beautifully tended sacred groves consisting of rock gardens and naturally shaped trees. Over time, the groves expand as funeral pears put down roots and shed their fleshy bodies.
Funeral pears fight to defend the sanctity of their groves. Military uniforms and martial songs confuse their vegetable brains, encouraging them to recreate past battles with unwary trespassers. They attack in rough mobs, which local predators and murder-crazed hermits use to their advantage.
An inactive funeral pear is a heart-sized, lumpen fruit. It tastes full-bodied and coats the mouth with a flavor that lingers for several hours. Eating a funeral pear is a transformative experience for many, as described below.
3rd level mook [PLANT]
Clumsy bash +8 vs. AC—8 damage
Natural even hit: The funeral pear ejects fast-growing spines from its core. It can also grab the target.
C: Nature’s inevitable victory over the tools of man +12 vs. AC (one enemy it’s grabbing; includes the +4 grab bonus)—12 damage
Miss: 6 damage.
Druidic purpose: As a standard action, a character with a relationship with a nature icon can use an existing advantage from a relationship roll for that icon (or roll any such dice as part of this action to try to get an advantage) to commune with the memorial grove. The least injured funeral pear must roll a saving throw. On a failure, the escalation die increases one step. On a success, the escalation die increases one step and all active funeral pears refocus their attention on chastising the upstart who flubbed an ancient ritual.
Memories gone to seed: Battle calls to the fragments of martial spirit-stuff trapped by the funeral pear. At the start of each round when the escalation die is 1 or greater, spectral images intrude on the battlefield. These spirits may look rough and tough, but they’re immaterial, mist-like echoes of the past. Although removed from the physical plane, these spirits know about the past that is their present. For example, ghostly generals strut the battle lines with long-burnt books on their belts, a PC’s ghostly ancestor chats with a fellow pikeman, and scouts casually discuss the location of secret battlefield caches.
All skill checks to interact with this spectral vision of the past receive a bonus equal to the escalation die. Eating a funeral pear’s sweet “heart” automatically triggers this ability with a +6 bonus.
Reincarnation Holding Cell: The funeral pear binds the soul of the dead warrior to its body. The soul cannot do anything fun—including reincarnate—until the pear is destroyed or has grown into a stately tree. This can take several generations.
Hedge: Two or more nearby funeral pears have grown together in a thicket of flesh and thorns. On any hit where one of these two attackers has a natural 16+, the target is stuck until the start of the funeral pears’ next turn.
Icons: Funeral pears are used as laborers, historic custodians, and jailers. Their specific duties depend on the ways and means of their creator. In the Midgard Campaign Setting, they can be the extreme gardeners of the Beloved Imperatrix or sentries marking graves of those who’ve displeased Baba Yaga. The latter option lends credence to the rumor that Old Bony Legs recently provided the Dragon Sultana with a silver bowl of funeral pears for trapping the spirits of those loyal to the Emperor of the Ghouls.