A blue-green vine covered with stiff, verdant leaves and barbed thorns protrudes from this hedge.
Bramblelash CR 1
Str 12, Dex 15, Con 11, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +2; CMB +3; CMD 15
If the bramblelash scores a critical hit against an opponent, 1d4 thorns break off in the victim’s flesh.
As long as the thorns remain embedded, the victim takes a –2 penalty on attack and damage rolls due to the distraction. It’s a move action to remove one thorn (a character can also remove a thorn from an adjacent ally as a move action).
Since a bramblelash looks like a normal plant when at rest, a successful DC 20 Perception check is required to notice it before it attacks for the first time.
Environment cold or temperate forests
Organization solitary, pair, or patch (3–6)
The bramblelash uses its sharp leaves and thorns to cut animals that stray too close to its patch. Its victims’ blood (and the carcasses of those that don’t escape) enriches the soil and enables the bramblelash to thrive.
The carnivorous plant won’t pursue fleeing animals, and its slow speed would make such a course of action fruitless in any case. The bramblelash is content to bleed enemies and then feed off their organic contribution while they escape.
Bramblelashes tend to grow in nutrient-rich, loamy soil that is further enhanced by the plants’ attacks.
As a result, other plants tend to sprout and thrive around them. The fertile clumps of vegetation attract more animals looking to feed, thus bringing in more targets for the bramblelashes to bleed, establishing a symbiotic relationship between the bramblelashes and the other plants.
Occasionally, other carnivorous plants grow near bramblelashes to increase their own chance of finding prey. Assassin vines and tendriculoses make for a deadly combination with bramblelashes. Xtabays never grow near bramblelashes, however, as the latter’s bleed attacks wake xtabays’ victims before they can be consumed.
A bramblelash has no intelligence and mindlessly attacks anything mobile that enters its reach, even creatures like constructs and undead that can’t provide the nutrients the plant wants. The sharp leaves of the plant have rudimentary olfactory organs, small nubs that allow it to “smell” creatures within 30 feet. However, its tremorsense is much sharper—it senses any movement within 10 feet and immediately lashes out with its thorny vines. As the plant merely responds to stimuli, it has no fear and never attempts to flee.
The main stalk of a bramblelash is a sinuous woody trunk, slender but tough. The average stalk measures 2–3 inches wide and several feet long. Mature bramblelashes can grow stalks up to 6 feet long. From the main stalk, up to a dozen thin, flexible vines branch off, each one covered in stiff leaves and small, jagged thorns. These thorns often catch in flesh and tear free of the plant, but the bramblelash quickly regrows missing thorns.
A bramblelash’s thorns are light brown and hooked at the tip, and its leaves are bright green and waxy. Druids and hunters sometimes collect bramblelash leaves and sew them together to make flexible tunics that blend in with local foliage. A tunic made from bramblelash leaves grants a +2 circumstance bonus on Stealth checks in forests and jungles.
The bramblelash’s thorns contain the creature’s seeds.
The plant reproduces by attacking animals and lodging its thorns in their hides. When the animals flee, the thorns eventually drop off in new areas and germinate.
A newly sprouted bramblelash stays where it grows until its food source dries up (from either a lack of animals traveling through the area or overcrowding in the patch).
Once the bramblelash grows hungry enough, it uproots itself and begins traveling slowly through the woods, using its scent ability to follow any traces of fresh blood it encounters.
If a bramblelash is somehow restrained or sedated, such as by being netted and grappled, a character can safely uproot the plant with a successful DC 20 Knowledge (nature) or Survival check. Anyone who understands a bramblelash’s attack radius can safely avoid being caught in it, and a bramblelash will stay put as long as it’s well fed.
Habitat and Society
Research indicates that bramblelashes are natural plants, not crafted by magic. The plants grow in temperate forests. They can withstand temperatures down to freezing and even survive light snowfalls. The plants do poorly in heat, though, wilting quickly in the summer sun. Bramblelashes can’t survive on open plains, even in temperate regions, as the direct sunlight proves too much for them. They thrive in shaded areas beneath larger, overhanging plants.
Bramblelashes’ migrations are guided by instinct, not intelligence. The plants follow the first blood trail they find, regardless of where it leads or what caused the trail. For this reason, bramblelashes sometimes take root on battlefields, by the lairs of dangerous animals, near bandit camps, or even at the scene of a murder. Travelers who can recognize bramblelashes and understand their ecology know to travel carefully in areas where the plants are common, as their presence may signal the activities of larger predators, such as bears and wolves or even owlbears and chimeras.
Other varieties of bramblelashes exist along with the common temperate variety. Plants similar in appearance to bramblelashes have been spotted in tropical jungles, but these plants are much smaller and have developed a poisonous thorn attack.
Some botanists theorize that traders from northern climes sometimes bring bramblelash thorns in their clothes to their southern destinations, and that the bramblelashes there are trying to adapt to their new region.
Subterranean bramblelashes do exist, but these versions don’t have any of the lush greenery that their aboveground cousins do.
Instead, these bramblelashes resemble tangles of leafless roots protruding from dirt walls or floors. These underground bramblelashes are easier to spot, but have also developed layers of bark to defend themselves from the predators that hunt in such dark places.
In areas where magical energy has seeped into the earth—such as in ancient ruins; sacred druidic groves; or spell-tainted wastelands—bramblelashes can swell to much larger sizes. Magic-fed bramblelashes grow up to 12 feet long and can grab and hold smaller creatures with their vines.
Species CR Size HD Special
Pathfinder Adventure Path #115: Trail of the Hunted © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Amber E. Scott, with Crystal Frasier, Luis Loza, Ron Lundeen, Tonya Woldridge, and Linda Zayas-Palmer.