Heart-shaped leaves and drooping clusters of purple and pink flowers emitting a faint scent of honey and fruit drape over the bone-white trees of a dead grove buried under heavy vines.
Pixie Circle CR 7
Str 21, Dex 7, Con 18, Int 6, Wis 15, Cha 10
Base Atk +7; CMB +14; CMD 22 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Diehard, Endurance, Iron Will, Skill Focus (Stealth), Weapon Focus (vine)
Skills Perception +10, Stealth +1 (+21 in forests and jungles); Racial Modifiers +20 Stealth in forests and jungles
Languages Sylvan (can’t speak)
Hostile Teleport (Sp)
As a standard action, a pixie circle can attempt to teleport a creature within 60 feet that has taken at least 1 point of Constitution damage from the pixie circle’s withering ability. The target creature is instantly transported to the location of another random pixie circle within 1,000 miles. If there is no eligible pixie circle within range, the effect fails. A creature can resist being teleported with a successful DC 15 Will save. The save DC is Charisma-based.
A creature damaged by a pixie circle’s vines must succeed at a DC 19 Fortitude save or take 1 point of Constitution damage. A creature’s speed is reduced by 5 feet for every 2 points of Constitution damage it takes in this way, to a minimum speed of 5 feet. Curing any of this Constitution damage restores a creature’s movement to its full speed. This is a poison effect. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Environment temperate forests and jungles
The pixie circle is an aggressive invasive species that opportunistically drains energy from nearby plant and animal life to fuel its teleporting abilities. It uses these abilities to remove potential threats from its habitat, typically teleporting creatures away when it is threatened or hurt. These sturdy vines are resistant to heat, cold, and drought conditions, and an infestation is notoriously difficult to root out once it has taken hold. A mature pixie circle measures 20 feet in diameter and is always in flower regardless of the season.
While it shares a passing resemblance to wisteria or honeysuckle, pixie circle behaves like mistletoe and parasitically attaches itself to larger plants and trees while it establishes itself. Smaller infestations do not flower and can be difficult to detect, as the pixie circle tends to blend in with its host foliage. Once the plant is mature enough to put out flowers, it is large enough to attack and teleport victims, and continues to grow at an astonishing rate.
The flowers of a pixie circle resemble the multicolored wings of pixies when seen from a distance, making them a clear signal for people aware of the plant to keep their distance. Its growths can easily dominate large trees and can cover small cottages in a single season. Left unchecked, the plant can overwhelm groves or entire sections of woodlands, burying everything living beneath the pretty green and purple vines and leaving wide patches of dead forest in its wake.
The plant is opportunistic in nature and initially prefers to absorb energy from host trees before progressing to insects, small birds, and eventually the larger animal life that wanders into range. As a result, most humanoids encounter the vine only when it is large enough to be a threat. Because of its growth pattern, a pixie circle tends to form a ring around an open meadow, creating a natural lure for large herbivores and adventurers seeking a safe place to camp. Adventurers with sharp eyes and knowledge of the natural world can recognize these meadows by their odd circular pattern and the unnatural silence within them. The vines of well-established patches typically hide the bones of previous victims, animal and humanoid alike. The belongings of the deceased are often in excellent condition, as scavengers tend to avoid these remains.
Pixie circles spread underground using offshoots strong enough to punch through clay and rocky soils.
Solid rock or a brick wall can contain the runners within a garden, but such barriers must extend at least 6 feet belowground. Clippings and small pieces will take root within a week if left in contact with fertile soil. Pixie circles are also self-pollinating, and their seeds are light enough to carry on wind. This makes containment of the plant extremely difficult, as these seeds can cover several miles of distance with a slight breeze.
Once a pixie circle reaches its full size, it secretes a unique toxin from all of its vines. This toxin dries out cells and causes a pixie circle’s victims to grow weak, making it difficult for prey to escape. In addition to its predatory applications, this toxin is also laced with arcane energies. Once the toxin is flowing through a victim’s veins, the pixie circle can attempt to harness the arcane energy to transport the creature to another pixie circle elsewhere.
Scholars disagree as to the exact details of a pixie circle’s teleportation abilities. Some believe that the pixie circle developed these abilities to keep its particular habitat clear of any predators or competition for food. Others claim that this ability allows them to propagate much more easily as a species, as it allows pixie circles to share prey with each other. This becomes especially useful for pixie circles attempting to establish footholds in new territories.
Some adventurers risk intentionally provoking these plants to benefit from their teleportation abilities. Those who have studied pixie circles know that they are more intelligent than they let on. By speaking with a pixie circle, these insightful adventurers can convince it to teleport a target without the need for combat. The pixie circle will send willing targets to another pixie circle of their choice, though this process still requires exposure to a pixie circle’s toxin. While painful, this is a somewhat reliable process, and bold druids and rangers make use of it.
Given its rate of growth and tolerance of a wide range of environments, many believe that the pixie circle is not a naturally occurring plant; signs seem to point to an origin associated with fey. Whether it was created through magical experimentation or intentional breeding is unclear, and it remains an open question whether the first pixie circles escaped to the outside world of their own accord or through deliberate release.
Habitat and Society
Pixie circles grow in nearly any environment, from snowy taiga to humid jungles, so long as there are suitable creatures in the area to serve as prey. The plant is rare in sandy deserts and other barren environments, and underwater and underground growths are unheard of.
Regardless of its environment, a pixie circle adopts the appearance and coloration of local flora to better hide.
Although pixie circles are highly invasive and difficult to clear, civilizations do their best to contain or remove these plants when they grow nearby. Several workers can clear a patch of young pixie circles within a few days, but even the smallest scrap of root or branch left behind can allow them to reestablish themselves, requiring repeated efforts to keep them under control.
In rural communities, parents warn children to avoid pixie circles should they encounter them, lest the children be stolen away by the fey—a reasonable concern given the plants’ ability to teleport victims. Alternatively, some tell stories of a stranger staggering out of the circle speaking a language none in the village recognize or wearing clothes that are hundreds of years out of style.
A few lucky survivors return with stories of adventures in the world of the fey.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #140: Eulogy for Roslar’s Coffer © 2019, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Jason Keeley, with Eleanor Ferron, Sarah E. Hood, Lyz Liddell, Luis Loza, Crystal Malarsky, Jen McTeague, and Mikhail Rekun.