The material below is designated as Open Game Content
Gargantuan Plant (Aquatic)
Hit Dice: 16d8+112 (184 hp)
Speed: Swim 60 ft.
Armour Class: 18 (–4 size, –2 Dex, +14 natural), touch 4, flat-footed 18
Base Attack/Grapple: +12/+37
Attack: Tentacle +21 melee (2d6+18)
Full Attack: 6 tentacles +21 melee (2d8+18)
Space/Reach: 20 ft./40 ft.
Special Attacks: Reek, vines, zombification
Special Qualities: Fire resistance 10, plant qualities, vulnerable core
Saves: Fort +17, Ref +8, Will +14
Abilities: Str 36, Dex 7, Con 24, Int —, Wis 18, Cha 10
Environment: Warm aquatic
Challenge Rating: 15
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 17–31 HD (Gargantuan)
Level Adjustment: —
Lying ahead is a floating morass of rotting vegetation, moving oddly, off-kilter with the waves…deep within it, shadowy figures, seemingly humanoid, writhe in the murky water.
Mariners sailing far from shore have learned to fear many of the beasts of the deep, from dragon turtles to sahuagin. Far more fearsome, though, are the unknown threats – the creatures that are so utterly lethal they leave no survivors to carry back tales of dread. The zombie kelp is one such monster.
Zombie kelp are found in tropical waters, often in the stagnant sargassoes where other kelp grow. They are distinguished from normal plants by several factors. First, there is the foetid reek, wafting from the water and engulfing any nearby craft. Second, there is the way in which the plant seems to move of its own accord, not rolling up and down with the waves but rather gliding with an air of malevolent purpose. Third, there are the shapes within it…sailors looking down will see, entangled in the kelp, the ragged corpses of mariners, sickly grey in hue and still wearing the shreds of their old clothing. The corpses though are not still. They move and stare back at the sailors, dead mouths forming words of warning, urging them to go back…and by then, it is too late.
Zombie kelp feed on anything they can catch, but they are instinctively drawn to the warm-blooded life that passes above them on ships. They dwell in places of calm winds, where landcraft can make poor or no speed and when they sense a ship coming near, they will propel themselves towards it and attack. Few craft attacked by a zombie kelp leave behind any survivors.
Zombie kelp are feared by undersea races, but such beings are also more capable of avoiding its grasp. Malicious merfolk, sahuagin or the like will sometimes lure ships into range of the creature.
The zombie kelp’s ‘treasure’ is found entangled in its form, the indigestible remnants of the ships it has destroyed.
Zombie kelp have an unusual method of attack. They will lash their long vines over the decks of a passing ship, ensnaring sailors. As each sailor dies, it becomes a servant of the kelp and is then set free to seek out and kill its former crewmates. When the entire crew is slain, the zombies dive into the kelp, where they are slowly digested by it.
Reek (Ex): The zombie kelp emits a foul stench of death and decay, a nausea-inducing miasma that seems almost alive. Any ship within 100 feet of the zombie kelp will be engulfed, and any crew on the ship must make a Fortitude save (DC 23) when they first enter the area or be nauseated for 2d10 rounds.
Vines (Ex): The zombie kelp has a seemingly endless supply of vines, which it uses to attack. They are long enough to reach the upper decks of most ships and they are also capable of smashing through windows to pluck victims from below deck, as well. The vines are extremely sticky and if a hit is scored by one the victim must make a Strength or Escape Artist check (DC 23) to pull free. If this check fails, the target is entangled. Once trapped in a vine, the zombie kelp may choose to deal 1d6+13 points of constriction damage to the victim rather than making an attack. A zombie kelp can control as many vines as it has attacks and can direct each vine at a different target. A vine can be severed by doing 12 points of cutting damage. This does not reduce the number of attacks per round that the zombie kelp can make but it does free the victim.
Vulnerable Core (Ex): The zombie kelp cannot be killed by damage done to its tentacles alone. Once half of its hit points have been lost due to tentacle attacks, it will withdraw from its prey but it is still alive. It can only be killed by attacking the central body. This can be done from a distance, via spells or missile weapons, or by landing on the central mass and attacking directly. The zombie kelp will direct all of its attacks against anyone performing such a manoeuvre and will release 2d4 kelp zombies from within itself to aid in its defence.
Zombification (Su): Once the zombie kelp has killed someone with its vines, the victim arises one round later as a kelp zombie. Apply the usual zombie template, however, the kelp zombie is not truly undead and cannot be turned, damaged by positive energy and so on – instead of the undead creature type, it gains the plant creature type. The kelp zombie seeks out any living beings on the ship which are not otherwise reachable by the zombie kelp and attempts to kill them or lead them to where the zombie kelp can reach them. A zombie kelp can turn a corpse killed by one of its creations into a zombie by grabbing it with a vine for one round, provided the corpse is less than four rounds old.
It takes 1d4 weeks for a zombie kelp to fully digest one of its zombies; this can be important if a body needs to be recovered for purposes of raise dead and the like.