“I can’t remember what I saw, only running through the woods in terror, trying to escape it. I emerged from the forest and collapsed in a field, exhausted. My arm burned with unimaginable pain and blisters were forming so fast I could watch them swell.
Once in town, I had to be restrained in order to prevent me from tearing open my arm to ease the itch. Surprisingly, the blisters dried only a few days later. The skin is still dry and itchy, but nothing like on that day. I have since found other places to hike.” — Julie Everest, Field Biologist.
This is a huge rosebush, with massive thorns about the size of a man’s thumb. It sometimes writhes a bit, especially when something is moving near it. If a someone unknowingly approaches one of these things in a thickly wooded area, they must succeed at a Spot Hidden, or fall into it. If they are running, possibly in a panic, their Spot Hidden chance is halved. Otherwise, the merest touch of a thorn will prick the skin.
If a person falls into a Tainted Rosebush, they are stabbed by 1D4 thorns, each of which causes 1 hit point of damage, immediate swelling and burning pain. This pain is such that the victim must succeed at the lower of a POW x3, or CON x3, or cry out. Roll a hit location (if used) for each thorn, duplicate results having no further effect on the body part, except for the 1 hit point of damage.
For each body part struck, roll a D4 and consult the following:
1 – A huge purple bruise develops, which will eventually turn green (normal for bruises as they heal), but will never completely fade.
2 – Terrible itching, which compels constant scratching to the point of laceration, and lasts 1D6 days. After this time, the area will occasionally itch, but never as severely as the initial effect.
3 – Severe blistering, which lasts 1D6 days, after which the blisters will dry and flake away. The area will thereafter always be dry and itchy.
4 – The body part goes slack and has no muscle response. If the affected area is the head, the victim will drool, be unable to swallow or speak, and must be monitored to avoid suffocation. If the torso or abdomen is struck, the victims arms and legs are useless for the duration. This effect lasts 1D6 hours.
If one of these plants is burnt, care must be taken to avoid inhaling the smoke, which acts as a poison with POT 20, and causes coughing, choking, blurred vision, watery eyes, vomiting, dizziness, unconsciousness for 1D10 hours, and the permanent loss of 1D3 CON.
The large flowers of these plants are blood red, have a wonderful rose aroma, and are otherwise identical to a normal rose.
Weapons: 1D4 thorns 100%, damage 1 point, with further effects as above1
Armor: 2 points of woody toughness. If hacked and/or shot to bits, the roots must also be pulled and destroyed, having hit points equal to half that of the body of the plant, round down, or it will simply grow back. Herbicides will kill a Tainted Rosebush, but they are quite resistant to this. They take half damage from fire.
Sanity Loss: 0/1 to witness the writhing motion and experience the effects of the thorns.
My name is CthulhuBob Lovely, I live in my childhood hometown of Columbus, Ohio, and have a son and two daughters. I volunteer at MisCon, which occurs each year on Memorial Day Weekend in Missoula, Montana and help out at other shows.
In my younger years I had seen H.P. Lovecraft’s books in the collection of my older brother, Brian, who is also responsible for introducing me to Monty Python, Star Wars and many other things geek.
I began running and playing Dungeons and Dragons in 1977 at the age of 15, and Call of Cthulhu since its original publication in 1981.
I believe geekery and gaming can have positive effects on math, reading and writing, and social interaction skills, as well as family togetherness. I have three published stories online at