Monday, June 28, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Groundling

 Been playing around with this one for a bit.  They started out as something akin to a mushroom person and changed.  Was out working in the garden with my wife all weekend and they kind of came together for me.

Small Elemental (Earth, Fey)

Frequency: Rare
Number Appearing: 1d4 (2d8)
Alignment: Lawful [Neutral Good]
Movement: 90' (30') [9"]
  Burrow: 120' (40') [12"]
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Hit Dice: 1d8* (5 hp)
  Small 1d6* (4 hp)
Attacks: 1 weapon (garden tools)
Damage: 1d4
Special: Camouflage, damage by cold-iron, druid magic, spores, See below
Size: Small
Save: Elf 1
Morale: 8 (10)
Treasure Hoard Class: See below
XP: 13 (OSE) 13 (LL)

Str: 9 (0) Dex: 13 (+1) Con: 11 (0) Int: 12 (0) Wis: 15 (+1) Cha: 16 (+2)

Groundlings are small earth elementals that live on the material plane and parts of the lands of faerie.  They are distantly related to gnomes and other faerie races, in particular brownies.  They appear much as gnomes or brownies do; small with long noses and ears, quick and nimble fingers.  They are small, just under 2 ft in size with some only reaching 1 ft.  Their skin tone range from dark browns, to lighter shades all the way to a pale almost white.  They wear similar shades of light clothing making them 90% undetectable when they are hiding in the underbrush of their preferred forest homes. They wear large mushroom caps for hats. Groundling my travel underground via a natural burrowing ability.

Groundlings are rather peaceful and wish to be left alone to attend their mushroom patches and farms. If attacked they can defend themselves with their only weapons, their garden tools, for 1d4 points of damage. They can be hit by cold-iron to take an additional +1 points of damage.    If four or more groundlings are encountered then 1 will be a druid of the 2nd level and can cast spells.  Eight or more will have a druid of the 4th level.  Any creature or character foolish enough to try to attack a grounding within their own community is subject to a deadly spore attack that the entire community can release.  This attack affects all living animals in a 30-yard radius of the community.  The victim must save vs. poisons or choke to death. Groundlings are loathed to use this attack of last resort as they do not enjoy killing any creature.  

The most notable detail about groundlings is they do not have permanent biological sex or gender.  Groundlings reproduce via spores similar to mushrooms.  During the spring of each year, a grounding can choose to be "male" and release spores that are collected by groundlings who have chosen to be "female."  Within one month new groundlings are born and will maturity in 10 years.   Groundling may also choose either a male or female and maintain this choice for as long as they wish.  It is in this mode they will often try to relate to other species. It is during this time that they can also have offspring with brownies, gnomes, or other faerie creatures of similar size.

Groundlings have a simple society based around a family unit of 3 to 5 adults and up to 15 immature children. Their joys are tending their gardens, keeping small rodents as pets, and participating in a special form of community "theatre" where specialized spores are released to provide vivid hallucinations guided by the elders of their group. 

Groundlings do not keep treasure preferring to live off of the land. There is often enough in the community for the purchase of their garden tools.  They do make a particularly potent wine made from mushrooms that is a favorite among some of the wilder fey species. They do sell it, but often prefer to trade.

Groundlings as Characters:  A grounding may be used as a Player Character background.  They tend to favor classes like druids and witches of the Faerie, Green Witch, or Hedgewitch traditions.

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