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Cauldron Bloom

Three thick vines sprout from this massive cylindrical plant’s base. Ruddy light flickers beneath its sloping armored sides, and it exudes a palpable aura of magic.

Cauldron Bloom CR 15

XP 51,200
N Colossal plant
Init +6; Senses blindsight 120 ft., low-light vision, tremorsense 1 mi., true seeing; Perception +33

DEFENSE

AC 28, touch 4, flat-footed 26 (+2 Dex, +24 natural, –8 size)
hp 231 (22d8+132)
Fort +21, Ref +11, Will +11
Immune plant traits; SR 26

OFFENSE

Speed 10 ft., burrow 10 ft.
Melee 3 slams +24 (2d8+16)
Space 30 ft.; Reach 30 ft.
Special Attacks sanguine centrifuge (2d8+16 plus 3d6 bleed, AC 22, hp 27; DC 23), warping field (DC 23)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 22nd; concentration +24)

1/daygreater teleport (self plus stomach contents only; see text)

STATISTICS

Str 42, Dex 15, Con 27, Int 15, Wis 14, Cha 14
Base Atk +16; CMB +40 (+44 bull rush); CMD 52 (54 vs. bull rush)
Feats Awesome Blow, Cleave, Combat Expertise, Great Cleave, Greater Bull Rush, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Handle Animal +13, Perception +33, Perform (percussion) +13, Stealth +11 (+31 while underground), Survival +24; Racial Modifiers +20 Stealth while underground
Languages Sylvan, Terran (can’t speak)
SQ terraforming teleport

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Sanguine Centrifuge (Su)

Creatures that enter, or begin their turn within, the cauldron bloom’s stomach take 2d8+16 points of bludgeoning damage plus 3d6 bleed as spinning arcane currents force the blood from their bodies. This bleed cannot be stopped while the creature is within the cauldron bloom’s stomach. Corpses of creatures slain by this damage are torn apart, as disintegrate. Furthermore, creatures within the stomach must succeed at a DC 23 Reflex save to maintain control while caught in the currents or be nauseated for 1 round; creatures with freedom of movement are still affected but gain a +4 bonus on the saving throw. The save DC is Charisma-based. This otherwise functions as the swallow whole ability, with the following changes: a cauldron bloom can simultaneously hold up to one Gargantuan creature, two Huge creatures, four Large creatures, and so forth; swallowed creatures can use any of their available attacks to cut themselves free; and after a swallowed creature has cut itself free, the cauldron bloom can continue to teleport creatures into its stomach with its warping field ability, but it receives a cumulative –2 penalty to its ability DCs for each time a creature has cut its way out.

Terraforming Teleport (Sp)

A cauldron bloom’s greater teleport spell-like ability has a range of 1 mile, and the destination must be within enough stone, soil, sand, or similar material to surround the cauldron bloom’s body. The material the cauldron bloom will occupy is in turn teleported to backfill the cavity left by the creature’s departure. If a cauldron bloom attempts to teleport to an invalid location, the ability fails with no effect.

Warping Field (Su)

A cauldron bloom draws prey close with invisible arcane strands, which it projects in one of two forms: diffuse or targeted. Projecting diffuse strands is a swift action, and forces each creature within 120 feet of the cauldron bloom to attempt a DC 23 Reflex save. A creature that fails the save is teleported 60 feet toward the cauldron bloom; if this would bring a creature or object within 30 feet of the cauldron bloom, it is instead teleported into the cauldron bloom’s stomach. Projecting targeted strands is a standard action and forces one creature within 360 feet to attempt a DC 23 Fortitude save. If the creature fails, it is teleported into the cauldron bloom’s stomach. Targets must be at least one size category smaller than the cauldron bloom, and this ability attempts to teleport the closest creature first. A creature cannot be teleported into the cauldron bloom if it would not fit, as noted above. Creatures affected by effects that block extradimensional travel, such as dimensional lock, are immune to this ability. Both save DCs are Charisma-based.

ECOLOGY

Environment any cold land
Organization solitary
Treasure standard

Cauldron blooms are immense, slow-moving subterranean plants that maintain their arcane metabolisms by consuming massive quantities of blood. They dwell in cold environs, typically along the migration routes of herd animals, and slowly teleport to new locations in search of food. Feeding cauldron blooms generally erupt from the ground in the midst of such herds. The animals’ panicked cries are cut short when the terrified individuals wink out of existence, reappearing a moment later inside the cauldron bloom’s otherworldly guts. Arcane winds within the cauldron bloom’s stomach rapidly draw the blood from ingested prey, shred their bodies, and leave nothing behind. A particularly hungry cauldron bloom can systematically consume entire herds of animals, or sequester one individual—such as an unlucky giant or megafauna—inside its stomach. The prey’s blood fuels the plant’s magical physiology, casting flickering arcane light as it distributes throughout the cauldron bloom’s body.

Typically, cauldron blooms live for hundreds of years. Their bodies are around 15 feet in diameter and weigh upward of 80 tons. Cauldron blooms do not feed in a traditional sense. Instead, they wrap potential prey in invisible threads of magical energy. Snared creatures are teleported directly into the blooms’ stomachs, where interior winds swirl in a roaring arcane centrifuge that forcibly extracts prey’s blood and quickly renders any mundane organic material to a fine powder. Equipment and magical oddities are left behind, however, meaning clouds of manufactured shrapnel circulate within most older cauldron blooms.

Cauldron blooms most often dwell in cold regions.

A consistent diet of blood is necessary for them to maintain a healthy and elevated internal temperature. They use their innate teleportation abilities to jump between subterranean points in pursuit of herding prey. Cauldron blooms give little sign of their presence while beneath the ground, and their senses are highly attuned to surface vibrations.

Habitat and Society

Curiously, despite their warm-blooded nature and massive size, cauldron blooms don’t exude heat. This allows them to go largely undetected between feedings. Their petals are also dexterous and quiet enough that their slow burrowing doesn’t alert surface-dwellers. Intelligent, meticulous planners, most of these giant plants use their stealth to actively cultivate herds of prey animals. Cauldron blooms may divert water, manage predator populations, and engage in similar protective activities to ensure a longterm food supply.

The plants’ unique method of locomotion means their habitats are pocked with incongruous subsurface materials. A marsh, for instance, may have a stand-alone deposit of dense stone, and a few settlements are even founded on such locations. A dead cauldron bloom, however, may be a hazard to the local environment, as its decay slowly turns the area into a giant sinkhole; a hole above a particularly ancient cauldron bloom eventually reveals a treasure trove of collected objects within the dead creature’s gut.

Their heightened intellects mean that cauldron blooms are generally quite knowledgeable about local terrain, fauna, and even historical events, though such information is presented through the unique filter of a subterranean carnivorous plant. One historical record even describes a cauldron bloom with heightened telekinetic abilities working alongside smaller beings to build and protect an entire city; the report’s veracity is the subject of ongoing and lively academic debate.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Adventure Path #142: Gardens of Gallowspire © 2019, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Crystal Frasier, with Ron Lundeen, Andrew Mullen, Emily Parks, Rhett Skubis, and Christopher Wasko.