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D&D Death From Real World Threats- Fire Coral, Jumping Cholla, and Sandbox Tree

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Todays topic is taking real world threats and natural hazards and turning them into things to use in your D&D game. We’ve aptly named the video and article D&D Death from Real world Threats. We may turn this into a regular series of converting crazy real world critters, hazards, and phenomenons for your D&D game.

Sometimes the real world can be more bizarre and scary than fantasy worlds of Dungeons and Dragons.

D&D Death From Real World Threats- Fire Coral, Jumping Cholla, and Sandbox Tree Video

D&D Death From Real World Threats- Fire Coral, Jumping Cholla, and Sandbox Tree Video Transcription

Ted: “Today we’re going to talk about real life things that could kill you in D&D.”


Dave: “This video was inspired by a kind of like infographic meme whatever you want to call it that was going around. And I had shared it on our Facebook page and I shared it on our Instagram and I was like, wow, this is really cool. And it was called a sandbox tree, often referred to as a dynamite tree as well, and actually has a bunch of other nicknames like monkey, no climb tree monkey, pistol tree, uh, and it’s just as horrendous thing. So I was like, well, what if we find some things that are kind of horrendous, horrendous sounding and brought them into our dungeons and dragons game. But some of the things when we were looking them up, they actually sound that much worse than they were when we did further research. So we might’ve had the like ratchet it up a little bit. So we’re going to give you three things they can drop into your D&D game as inspiration for hazards to mess with your players. But before we jump into those hazards, let’s give a shout out to our sponsored Dungeonfog. It’s a great way to add some of these hazards into your game in your map, which you can make over on Dungeonfog, but you can do so much more over there as well.”


Ted:Dungeonfog is a great place that already has ready made maps that you can just mirror, copy, put it in the right, right into your own portfolio, move things around, change things around the, the software is really interactive and a lot of fun to play with.”


Dave: “Right, There’s a lot of great assets you can use for building towns, villages, cities, and even dungeons and more, whether it’s a fantasy game, a modern game, a Science Fiction game, they got you covered over there. Not only that, it is free to sign up for it. Then there is two paid tiers as well. Now if you sign up for one of those annual subscriptions and you use the Promo Code Nerdarchy you’re going to get a 10% off. Yes. And uh, not only that, one of those tiers is actually a commercial tier, which that means you can use the Dungeonfog assets and create maps with them. And if you’re a creator over on the dms guild or RPG Drive Thru or just on your own website or whatever, you’re gonna be able to take those maps and use them legally. So I think that’s an awesome way to make use of Dungeonfog.”

Ted: “If you’re out there and you want to try out a new map making program, we highly recommend you check out Dungeonfog.”


Dave: “You know, let’s jump into these things that, well, they could kill you from real life.”


Ted: “All right, so do we want to start off with your, uh, you know, dynamite tree or do we want to, do we want to save that one for the end?”


Dave: “We’re going to save that one for last. Cause we’re going to, we’re gonna work our way up from like kind of a nuisance to this is going to kill you.”

D&D Death

Ted: “You know, the first one that we’re going to talk about is the teddy bear or jumping cholla. Uh, you know the, the great thing about this is it looks like a regular plant. It would be looked at as cotton by the average person that would walk by. But if you disturb it, it drops. You know, it’s little seedlings. It’s little fibers that break apart into microscopic needles that have the ability to borrow as you move completely through your skin. It medically, it takes a lot of work to get these microscopic needles out and it’s incredibly painful. Whether the cholla has the ability to kill you or not, I don’t know, but it’s definitely painful. It’s definitely annoying. But how would we ramp something like this up?”


Dave: “So, so first of all, okay, maybe it’s not going to kill you, but it’s definitely an a, a nuisance and annoyance. One, it’s natural hazards tend to be a low DC. But the thing is when you go through a lot of it, you don’t, you might not notice it at first. Like you said, it looks like cotton and you’re like, whatever you’re cutting your way through or you’re just going to plow through, it doesn’t matter. Oh, but next thing you know, you’re making DC checks it’s low like a DC 11 or something, but when you fail it, then you’re going to take like 1D3 points of damage. This stuff burrows into your flesh and I took a little inspiration from the undead and that is until you remove it, which takes a minimum of a short rest of the do, you can’t regain your hit points or you can’t damaged hit points because it’s, it’s not doing damage to you. It’s, it’s lowering your maximum hit points.”


Ted: “Uh, that is pretty harsh of an effect for something that’s just a natural hazard. So if you’re looking to use this, an adventure where you want to put some, put the party up against something that you know, might not normally be a threat, they’re going through a field of these things before they get there because that’s the only way to get there in the time restriction that they have, their hit points are going to be lower and they’re not going to be able to heal it back. So you’ve got lower hit point threshold to work with.”


Dave: “Not only that other other creatures that are familiar with the cholla plant, they might know what’s going on and might use it to their advantage. You know, pushing and maneuvering the players so that they have to deal with this obstacle. The obstacle is going to slow him down. It’s going to count as difficult terrain. Uh, maybe the, these creatures are indigenous to the same region that the cholla plant is or the cholla cactus. So it doesn’t affect them. Yeah, there are some animals or creatures are just normally naturally resistant to this stuff and they could even live in it perhaps striking the players from it and then retreating back into it. Where now the players have to come up with a strategy. Maybe it’ll initially they don’t even know that there’s a threat there. So they just charge headlong into it. Like, I’m going to take care of this thing and get rid of, you know, get rid of it, you know,”


Ted: “Meanwhile they’re going to get wrecked.”


Dave: “The meantime. They’ve got to deal with the problems when you know, you know, maybe the problem is like, because it’s like a cotton like substance, maybe it’s a little bit higher off the ground, maybe it’s snakes they live underneath, they don’t have to worry about it because they’re not really disturbing the cotton substance itself, you know, or it could be something else. It could be flying creatures, uh, could be ogres that have learned our lesson to stay away from it. So instead of just attacking the players, they’re picking them up and throwing them into it so that it’s, so they have to deal with it. So you could do all kinds of fun things like that. Maybe it gets harvested and you know, goblins fill like bushels of this stuff. And then they dumped it from above on on the players. But you know, before initiating their attack.”

Jumping Cholla Cactus

Ted: “So all, you know, fantastic ideas, you know, to deal with something that actually exists and how to ramp it up. D&D Style.”


Dave: “So next up I was like, you know what I always hear about, uh, divers encountering and having a problem with fire coral. And I’m like, this could be really cool. It’s a, you know, a bright yellow, green and brown colors. And I know that this stuff just scratches you, causes all kinds of problems. When I first initially looked it up, it was like you get scratched by this stuff, intense pain for two days to two weeks. And I was like, oh my gosh, this stuff is horrendous. When I actually looked at it a little deeper, it’s not nearly as bad as it actually sounded, but we can always ramp that up for D&D. And what if instead of only having it be aquatic, you actually, you know, coated cave walls with it or something. Especially narrow passages.”


Ted: “ So you coat cave walls, make Golem out of it, you animate it. There’s all kinds of ways to have this thing be so much more of a threat. Um, but I mean if you want to go, you know, start off small and now you put it on, you know, an underground, you know, water bank, you know, you put it there and maybe the bright yellow and green colors, you know, attracted the attention of those greedy adventures and be like, Ooh, what is this And they reached out to touch it.”


Dave: “You can always do fire. Coral mimics all right, this one’s really simple. It’s a, it’s a touch effect. If you touch it, you make a con saving throw. And then if you felt you had a poison condition and you know, you’re going to need either a lesser restoration or you’re going to have to make maybe checks each day until you finally get rid of it.”


Ted: “You know, and you know, if you really wanted to ramp that up, I mean, you know, is it, is it causing enough pain that they’re not going to be able to rest You know, is this going to attract levels of exhaustion if it’s not dealt with?”


Dave: “Yeah, they’re all things that you can incorporate into your game. How much, depending on how much you to ratchet it up, a the simplest way for me was just go, alright. Poisoned condition. Maybe it’s not, it’s not actually poisoned per say. Or it could be the interesting thing about fire coral, it is actually a living organism and it kind of wants you to die so that it can eat you.”

Fire Coral

Ted: “ So with, with this, you know, you, you could have someone who’s naturally immune to the poisoned condition because they’re resistant to poison. You know, and this, this could be something that if you wanted to kind of bend or tweak those normal rules, but like, well, it’s not poison, but it mimics those effects. So you’re not immune. Ha. So I guess we, uh, we should actually look at your, your dynamite tree?”

Sandbox Tree

Dave: “Yeah, the sandbox tree. The dynamite tree. Oh my gosh. This stuff is terrible. Like the, the more I read about this one, the worst it got like the other ones. Okay. We had to tweak them and make them a little more deadly for D&D . Not really with this one. This tree just randomly explodes or I should say the fruit explodes from it. So it’s got these pieces of fruit, they’re kind of like gourds. They look like little Pumpkins, uh, with 16 seats kind of arranged. And what happens is after they dry out a certain amount, there’s a effect called a ballistichory or something along the that nature would, that causes him to like open up and fling the seeds out and up to 160 miles per hour. I’ve said I’ve seen it range of 60 feet and I’ve seen a range of like a range of 30 feet and I’ve seen a range of like 330 feet. I’m not sure what it is, but at 160 miles per hour, that is equivalent to firing an arrow from a bow. It’s basically the same speed.”


Ted: “So that is certainly enough that if you’re just a random person walking by this, this could easily, you know, kill or debilitate you in real life.”


Dave: “Oh yeah, absolutely. But wait, there’s more. It’s also poisonous.”


Ted: “So if, if this gets in your eyes, you wind up becoming blind.”


Dave: “Yes.”


Ted: “Go figure.”


Dave: “It can blind the, it’s a poison. It can blind you if it gets in your eyes, if it gets on your skin. It’s an irritant in can cause rashes. Not too bad if you eat it it, you know, it can give you diarrhea and cramps and some other things as well.”


Ted: “But yet somehow in all of this, the tree, the tree can be harvested for medicinal properties.”


Dave: “Yes. And not only that, people also harvest the fruit the expended fruit and other parts of the tree to make jewelry and stuff because of the natural shape of the fruit. It’s already, it looks like a dolphin or porpoise. So a lot of times they carved into that kind of stuff.”


Ted: “ All right, so now we’ve gone through the crazy real life stuff. You know, based on the conversations that we’ve had, I would like to lovingly call this thing the Goblin boom tree.”


Dave: “The goblin. Yeah, that’s a great idea. You can even find videos on youtube of people exploding these things so that the fruit has almost like a a Gord in it or core and they smash one side and when you smashed the other, both of them break, then it kind of explodes. Kind of can see how it works. We gamified the the dynamite tree and this is what we came up with. Anytime you travel through an area where these trees are, there’s a 25% chance that they will actually go off. They automatically start going off. If there is a loud noise or explosions in the area”


Ted: ”Or if you know you actually touched them or damage them.”


Dave: “Yes or you touched them or damage them, all of that will cause them to go off and in that area where they are. Even if one of them goes off, then others will start going off as well. It creates a train chain reaction. So you know, roll a d100 to see, see how many, how many rounds this is going to go on. And then every time, you know, they go off, you roll a D6-1 and that’s how many, that’s how many of the fruits of targeted the party. So then the party can roll dex save. It’s not too bad, just a DC 13.”


Ted: “But It’s going to do 3D8 points of damage into a, you know, 10 foot radius, you know, a sphere. So Lot, lots of fun.”


Dave: “ But there’s more.”


Ted: “If you wind up failing, you’re saving throw your blind, which is going to give you further disadvantage on any subsequent saves from the cascading effect of these things is continuing to go go on and on and on.”


Dave: “Now you will make a, you make a saving throw every round to shake off that blindness. And also, uh, as a, if the players come up with a clever way to silence the area, they will stop going off. The silence spell would work fine, it would shut it down. Otherwise, you know, you’re just, you can, you can drop prone and get advantage on your saving throws and try and wait it out or you can just run for it. Now, depending on how big of an area you decide to infect with these trees, it depends on how devilish of a DM you want to be. But it does say is a invasive species.”


Ted: “So we were talking, you know, uh, about using these in a game, you know, off air and it’s like, oh, you know, you could do a whole thing where if the players wind up surviving and they could ask if, you know, when did these things appear And you know, a, you know, reluctant and NPC could be like, they only showed up about eight months ago and the horror that the pcs have gone through, it’s like this all happened in eight months. Oh dear Lord.”


Dave: “And that being said, these are full on trees. They’re, you know, 30 to 90 feet tall, even bigger so you could have a whole forest of them. We liked the idea of, you know, of kobolds and goblins kind of experimenting and using these things. Uh, as you know, natural defense as weapons”


Ted: “Projectiles, forget, you know, dealing with regular explosives, we’re going to use naturally born explosive. So they, they’d whack one side to get it charged and then they would throw it so that the second charge would, would essentially cause it to explode upon impact.”


Dave: “Yeah. It’s, it’s a very venerated and highly decorated position in the Goblin hierarchy. Uh, but unfortunately it’s also a short lived one because there are a lot of hazards and, and mishaps that happened along the way.”


Ted: “ 3D8 points of damage is usually enough to take down a Goblin. Even if they pass, they’re saving throw.”

Dynamite Tree

Dave: “So with that, what do you think folks Would you use this kind of stuff in your game Do you wouldn’t want us to take more real life stuff and kind of D&Dize  , it for your game, let us know. We got a place where we can discuss that is down in the comments below.”

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Follow Dave Friant:
My name is Dave Friant I've been gaming off and on for over 27 years. But here is the thing it's always been a part of my life I've kept secret and hidden away. I've always been ashamed of the stigma that gaming and my other nerdy and geeky pursuits summon forth. Recently I decided screw it! This is who I am the world be damned. From now on I'm gonna be a geek, nerd, or however folks want to judge me and just enjoy life. Currently one of my greatest joys is introducing my 13 yr old son to table top RPG's.

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