This child-sized creature is made of long green stalks of loosely woven grass. It has four arms, each with fingers like long blades, and leaves circle its head like a crown.
Grassling CR 6
Str 12, Dex 18, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 17
Base Atk +5; CMB +5; CMD 19
Feats Combat Reflexes, Stealthy, Toughness, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (claw)
Skills Acrobatics +17, Climb +14, Escape Artist +21, Perception +14, Stealth +25, Survival +11
SQ thicket stride
Plant Form (Ex)
Thicket Stride (Ex)
Grasslings can move through any sort of undergrowth (such as briars, natural thorns, overgrown areas, and similar terrain) at normal speed and without taking damage or suffering any other impairment. Undergrowth that has been magically manipulated to impede movement still affects grasslings.
Environment temperate plains
Organization solitary, pair, or tuft (3-10)
Grasslings are sneaky, inquisitive fey creatures that populate wild grasslands. Resembling a crude, four- armed doll made of long blades of green grass, a grassling’s body contains virtually no flesh or muscle- just fresh, tough grass. Despite their fibrous construction, grasslings are made up of magic and whimsy as much as they are of vegetation; they are fey creatures, not plants. Each of a grassling’s four arms ends in a hand with grass blades that protrude like claws. These claws are supernaturally sharp and can slice flesh with ease, although grasslings prefer stealth and deception to direct combat. Their excellent reflexes allow them to twist away from danger with great agility and reach hiding spots before an observer can blink. Grasslings are capricious and delight in playing pranks-which range from harmless to mean spirited-upon larger creatures.
A typical grassling stands about 3 feet tall and weighs 30 pounds.
Grasslings roam freely across the plains they call home, keeping out of sight of larger creatures and exploring as their whimsy strikes them. Grasslings value their freedom and mobility above all else and hate having their travels blocked or their lands curtailed.
Formed from small seeds sprouted by a mature grassling parent, young grasslings are carefully planted in areas with plenty of sun and wind. A grassling’s parent monitors the region closely to protect the immature grassling from predators or natural dangers. A grassling must grow for one full spring and summer-a period called “rooting”-before it can step out of the soil and walk on its own, and young grasslings frequently perish if uprooted early. Hence, a grassling’s parent will uproot and transplant its young in only the most dire of situations. A grassling parent considers these few months of tending its immobile young to be both boring and confining, and it abandons the new grassling almost immediately once its ward can move on its own.
Grasslings primarily subsist on small insects, which they skewer on their long claws and munch on at their leisure. When food is scarce, a grassling can bury its feet in the earth and draw sustenance from the soil, as when it was young, but this method of eating makes grasslings sluggish and cross.
Although their bodies don’t provide sustenance for carnivores, grasslings are particularly appealing to many herbivores. Drawn by the small fey’s nutritious scent, herbivores are likely to attempt to nibble at any grassling that ventures within reach, and it doesn’t take a grassling long to realize the dangers such creatures pose.
Grasslings avoid direct confrontation with non-fey unless surprised or cornered. If a grassling expects trouble, it prefers to set simple traps or confound its opponents with trickery. Grasslings don’t particularly care whether these tricks harm or even kill their opponents, so a blundering foe might stumble into a patch of poisonous thorns or pursue a grassling into the hunting ground of a vicious predator. Grasslings are good at tying knots quickly, particularly in vegetation, so tripwires and snares are common grassling traps. Grasslings can live to be many centuries old, but they are susceptible to blights that afflict mundane grasses. Older grasslings begin to yellow along their stems and lose their ability to deal bleed damage; eventually, their claws weaken and become so flimsy that the grassling cannot feed itself. With no other option, these elderly grasslings plant themselves in the ground and await death.
Habitat and Society
Grasslings live in wild plains and rarely travel into other terrains. They sometimes venture into farms, pastures, or other civilized open spaces near settlements, but such visits are usually short. Grasslings are uncomfortable with the ordered design and straight rows that appeal to civilized humanoids. Furthermore, pastures are occupied by large herbivores such as cows, horses, or sheep-creatures that make grasslings nervous-and fields sometimes contain scarecrows, which grasslings see as abominable totems attempting to mimic the grassling form. Yet, despite their misgivings, grasslings can’t seem to avoid occasional trips into settled lands. Driven by their relentless curiosity, grasslings want to know who would contort nature in such ways and what pranks or trouble would most vex such creatures. This curiosity extends to constructed mechanisms. While unfamiliar with the purpose of most mechanical devices, grasslings are good at taking them apart or rigging them to fail in catastrophic ways. This is more often due to mere inquisitiveness rather than a surfeit of maliciousness, although some grasslings become deliberate saboteurs when presented with the opportunity. Grasslings enjoy the company of other fey and are sociable among their own kind. When they congregate together in groups, called tufts, they attempt to outdo each other with boasts and dares; invariably, these dares lead to reckless behaviors as the grasslings attempt to prove themselves braver, tougher, or more daring than their kin. As a result, permanent grassling communities are rare. With the exception of the minimal sentiment that connects a grassling parent to its child during rooting, grasslings aren’t particularly attached to each other, and a grassling is likely to leave others to their fates if serious danger arises.
Humanoids are fixated with taming the unusual and dangerous environments that grasslings call home; as a result, grassling friendships with humanoids are rare. The most significant exceptions are druids, elves, and other folk who inhabit natural environments peacefully; grasslings find more commonality with such creatures and might even befriend them. These companions frequently learn-often through necessity-that keeping a grassling occupied with a puzzle box or a mechanical toy prevents it from getting bored and wandering into danger or casually disassembling vital equipment. Most grasslings have a keen fascination with fire. Tales regarding the capricious creatures are relatively rare because grasslings are so few in number, but the fairy stories about them that circulate among humanoids nearly always end with a grassling becoming entranced by fire, approaching it too closely, and burning up. While these stories aren’t true-grasslings are too green to be particularly flammable and too clever to accidentally immolate themselves-grasslings do indeed enjoy watching the chaotic dance of open flames and aren’t above creeping near a traveler’s campfire or setting something ablaze just to watch the flames. Older grasslings know how quickly a brushfire can sweep across the wild plains they call home, however, and aren’t prone to starting fires that could damage their territory (although damaging someone else’s is less of a concern).
Pathfinder Adventure Path #129: The Twilight Child © 2018, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Ron Lundeen, with Patchen Mortimer, Andrew Mullen, Richard Pett, F. Wesley Schneider, and David Schwartz.