The first One Shot RPG scummed has the ability to control plants. She uses her powers to great effect, causing harm to the farm workers and to the wider population.
The last article discussed the background and motivation behind the first One Shot RPG villain. Next up is to discuss her abilities. When thinking about the abilities, they not only need to be defined mechanically, but they must also relate to the story. Relating the scummed’s abilities to the narrative makes the adventure feel that much more cohesive.
At the very basic level, the scummed has the ability to control plant matter. The power manifests itself in three distinct ways: rapid plant growth, a plant parasite, and concentrated poisons. The ability to control plants fits the narrative, because the adventure takes place on a farm, and ties in to her character background. The inspiration for this ability comes from Briar Moss of the Circle of Magic books, who is a mage that’s able to control and “talk” to plants.
Rapid Plant Growth
The scummed has the ability to coax rapid growth from plants. She can turn a short, grassy area into a towering jungle of blades in a matter of seconds. A handful of seeds will instantly sprout on contact, sucking the nutrients of of whatever they touch. The party will know that the monster is near when the plants around them begin to tremble.
The rapid plant growth ability is used both offensively and defensively. She creates walls of plants to trap her prey or to block off entrances from prying characters. The scummed can throw seeds to turn any ground—soil or no—into hazardous terrain, slowing down whoever has to make their way through the writhing mass. Her most powerful attack involves rapidly growing the flora underneath her target at such a fast rate that they’re impaled as it bursts towards the sky.
There’s a real parasitic fungus called the cordyceps. The fungus infects the brain of the host insect, compelling them to move to a more desirable location. When the insect is in the best spot for reproduction, the fungus kills the host, sprouts forth from its body, and sows its spores. Nature can often be a real-life horror story.
The scummed has a similar ability, controlling a rapid-acting, plant-based parasite. The monster gives the host a specific instruction, and the parasite compels the host to carry it out. Once the host has finished the task, the plant bursts forth from their body, killing them. It’s an agonizing way to go.
This effectively provides the scummed with a form of mind control. She can decide the host’s task before she infects them. They can be compelled to do simple things such as guarding an area or attacking anyone who gets in the way. She also uses the threat of getting infected to get others to follow her orders. Her victims have no choice: follow her orders willingly or be forced to by the parasite.
After the parasitic plant erupts from the host, it grows poisonous fruit. The scummed can cultivate the fruit, using her powers to control the concentration of toxins inside of it. Different toxicities of the poison are used for different purposes.
The mild toxins are used to contaminate the food supply. They cause illness, such as food poisoning, rather than killing the targets. The more deadly toxins are used to kill off the farm’s animals or the company’s security agents.
The scummed is a full fledged character, so now that her motivations and abilities have been explored, the next article will provide her with a character prompt. Like the character prompts for the party, it’ll tie everything together and provide a basis for character artists to create something special.