Forests. Deserts. Plains. Below the sea and beneath the earth. There is nowhere that endless growth of cannot be felt. It permeates all things, and all things are altered by the interaction.
Even the heart of so-called civilization relies on the vitality of nature to meet its needs. Some aspects of the wild can be tamed. Others we live around, letting great trees split our avenues. Regardless, civilized life is under constant siege by creeping vines and weeds, and once we’re gone? Life will ever go on.
This constant presence doesn’t have to be a conflict. Many peoples integrate their homes with nature, from dens dug into hillsides to great arboreal towers. Fresh air, shade, and food can be part of daily life. There is a vision of harmony built on careful consideration and countless compromises, but the questions come: is there the wish? Is there the will?
And is there a choice? What if a voice rose from the creeping tide of life and demanded to be heard?
A Seed Left to Grow
Cathria was a druid living on the outskirts of a great city, maintaining its forests against the encroachment of civilization. She’d grown up with a vibrant community of forest creatures, and lived through its decline as the more mystical aspects departed and the dispossessed fled for safer lands.
As she came of age, she was alone—a target for the fiend that crept up to her cottage, pleading in a mortal’s guise for aid. But Cathria knew what it was. At the moment of betrayal, she bound the succubus in vines and a novel possibility occurred to her.
With time, effort, and painful experimentation, a seed took root in the succubus. The transformation was both swift and significant, changing the succubus to a new creature. Now Cathria had a companion, one she taught her ways and arts. For a time, things were beautiful. But Cathria was ultimately mortal. When she passed in peace, the Green Maiden took up her mantle.
An Inherited Loneliness
The Green Maiden traveled the realm, looking for something that she couldn’t quantify. Her memories as a seductress and killer give her instincts, but no answers. She created life where she traveled to protect the beauty that she finds, but only her return to the lonely cottage clarified her desire: a partner, an equal. And her love left her something that might make it come true—a fiendflower seed, the same creation that converted her nature.
Now, the Green Maiden hunts again, for another powerful fiend to convert into a companion. PCs might be drawn into the intrigue of a succubus raising a cult in the upper crust of the city or a brutal demon feeding on the forgotten in the gutters. Either will do for the Green Maiden’s purpose, and she can still tap into old talents to pretend to be an interested party in the fiend’s defeat.
Once the fiend is cornered, the Green Maiden reveals herself and her request. If the party assents, she’ll take her prize and reward them accordingly. If not, she fights for her quarry, alongside awakened shrubs and trees.
She can be destroyed. But just as fiends cannot be destroyed in the Material Plane, so long as the flowers in her lover’s cottage remain untouched, she will regrow and continue her plans.
THE GREEN MAIDEN
Medium Plant, Chaotic Neutral
Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 78 (12d8 + 24)
Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft.
|12 (+1)||16 (+3)||14 (+2)||13 (+1)||17 (+3)||20 (+5)|
Skills Athletics +6, Deception +8, Insight +9, Perception +9, Persuasion +8, Stealth +9
Damage Resistances Poison; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Condition Immunities Blinded, charmed, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned
Senses Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 19
Languages Abyssal, Common, Infernal, Sylvan, telepathy 60 ft.
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP) Proficiency Bonus +3
Shapechanger. The maiden can use her action to polymorph into a Small or Medium humanoid, or back into her true form. Without wings, the maiden loses her flying speed. Other than her size and speed, her statistics are the same in each form. Any equipment she is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. She reverts to her true form if she dies.
Spellcasting. The maiden is a 9th-level spellcaster. Her spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). She has the following druid spells prepared:
Cantrips (at will): druidcraft, produce flame, poison spray
1st level (4 slots): entangle, faerie fire, speak with animals
2nd level (3 slots): animal messenger, hold person, pass without trace
3rd level (3 slots): conjure animals, plant growth
4th level (3 slots): blight, hallucinatory terrain
5th level (1 slot): awaken
Maiden’s Kiss. The Maiden kisses an incapacitated or willing creature, causing plants to grow from within the creature. The target must make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw, taking 32 (5d10 + 5) piercing damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. The target’s hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the damage taken. This reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0, and anawakened tree in service to the Green Maiden rises from the corpse in the same space.
Thorny Vines (Plant Form Only). Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 30 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (2d6 + 3) bludgeoning damage and 3 (1d6) poison damage.
This magic item can be found around Cathria’s cottage or in the Green Maiden’s possession.
Wondrous Item, Rare
These pale white blossoms glow faintly in a color if a fiend (red), aberration (purple), or monstrosity (green) is within 100 feet. If a creature of one of the above creature types comes within 5 feet of a bloom, it must make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or suffer 27 (5d10) piercing damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one. On a failed save, the bloom takes roots in the creature and the save must be continued at the end of each of the creature’s turns until they make a successful save.
A creature killed by Cathria’s Bloom is reduced to soil and an awakened tree blooms in the same space. A new bloom may be harvested from the tree. Roll a d10. On a 1, the bloom is inert and harmless.