Life can thrive on death and decay; souls can resist the pull of oblivion with desperate strength. Sometimes, when a creature possessing magical powers dies surrounded with vegetation, its spirit melds with the surrounding mosses, fungi, and lichens and makes them grow into a replica of its original body inhabited by the original soul.
Rebirth as a moss lich is a traumatic experience, often turning the subject’s mind more feral, more primal. This process often strips away any veneer of civilized behavior, leaving bare anger and a keen will to survive in its place. After this transformation, the subject is no longer at risk of aging, remaining locked in a cycle of death and regrowth unless repeatedly destroyed before growing a new seed. Despite this cyclic immortality, a moss lich is not free of change—instead, it becomes more and more feral with each rebirth.
Ancient moss liches ultimately become wild but cunning beings that have no sympathy for culture, civilization and progress. They often devolve emotionally, caring only for their base needs—survival, shelter, and defense of territory they perceive as their own. After a few centuries of existence they often lose all sense of connection to other sapient beings, but they might become protective of denizens of their territory, considering them mobile but ultimately replaceable components of that territory. At the same time, moss liches usually become quite fond of more permanent elements of their territory, such as forests, individual ancient trees, streams, hills, mountains, and other landmarks.
“Moss Lich” is an acquired template that can be added to any living creature that is a spellcaster or possess spell-like abilities (hereafter referred to as the “base creature”). A moss lich retains all the base creature’s statistics and abilities except as noted here.
Challenge Rating: Same as base creature +2.
Senses: The moss lich gains low-light vision.
Hit Dice: Change all of the base creature’s racial HD to d8s.
Defensive Abilities: A moss lich gains DR 15/slashing and magic. The moss lich also gains the following:
A moss lich can spend 1d10 days growing a rejuvenating seed. After death, the moss lich fully regrows from this rejuvenating seed in 1d10 days. A moss lich can have only one mature rejuvenating seed at any one time. A moss lich that is destroyed again before his rejuvenating seed matures is permanently destroyed, but his remains may give birth to one or more lesser plant creatures in 1d10 years.
A moss lich in contact with moist, fertile soil gains regeneration equal to his HD. This regeneration is stopped by death effects and negative energy damage. An hour spent in contact with moist, fertile soil counts as a single meal and an adequate amount of drink for one day.
Melee: A moss lich gains a slam attack if the base creature didn’t have one. Damage for the slam the moss lich’s seed depends on the moss lich’s size. Its natural attacks are treated as magic weapons.
Special Attacks: A moss lich gains following special attacks:
Any living creature struck with the moss lich’s slam attack is infected with magical spores that immediately grow into a tangle of vines covering the target’s body, acting like the entrap special ability with permanent duration, hardness 5 and two hit points per the moss lich’s HD. The vines can be killed with any effect that kills plants.
Special Qualities: A moss lich gains following abilities.
A moss lich’s presence makes local vegetation more vibrant but more wild as well. Plants within one mile of a moss lich grow twice as fast, but produce half the normal yield of crops due to an abundance of weeds and wild plants spreading through the fields and orchards.
A moss lich gains a +1 bonus to caster level checks in areas of thick vegetation. When a spell allows the moss lich to utilize or affect trees, he may also utilize or affect patches of moss occupying at least one square.
A moss lich can pass through natural vegetation of any type without leaving a trace, and he ignores vegetation-based difficult terrain both mundane and magical. A moss lich may selectively ignore any plant-based effects he created.
Abilities: Str +4, Con +4, Wis +4. Transformation into a moss lich renders the subject stronger, tougher and more in tune with his primal side.
A talented spellcaster with expansive knowledge of arcane lore of the natural world can deliberately become a moss lich by cultivating a patch of moss and fertilizing it with their own blood and magical reagents for at least a year until it grows the moss lich’s first rejuvenating seed. Once the seed matures, the prospective moss lich has to kill itself and, assuming the rituals were properly conducted, be reborn from the seed. A caster that fails to become a moss lich often becomes a ghost with aura of wild growth and the ability to possess and animate nearby plants.
Cultivating a rejuvenating seed’s moss patch requires weekly a sacrifice of blood (causing 2d6 points of temporary Constitution damage) and 2,500 gp of rare components. Correctly performing the ceremony requires at least 9 ranks in both the Knowledge (arcana) and Knowledge (nature) skills as well as more esoteric requirements unique to each transformation ceremony.
Advanced Bestiary, Copyright 2014, Green Ronin Publishing, LLC; Author Jeff Hersh, Developer Owen K.C. Stephens