A dangerous plant that characters should approach with caution.
This plant is encountered in arid regions and appears as a common cactus, with oversized spines – which average between 5 and 10 centimetres in length. It stands up to 5 metres tall and can grow to a diameter of 70 centimetres around the base. Although most plants encountered are a single spike from base to tip, some may produce branches. Its name is evident from its fruit, which look very much like pork sausages. The fruit is borne as white “sausages” which are speckled with red dots, which hang in bunches from nodes near the plants apex.
What makes this plant unusual is that it is classified a carnivorous plant. It is very long lived (up to 500 years) and is thus not as vulgar in its thirst for flesh. Instead it plays a very patient waiting game:
The stalk of the sausage fruit plant is but one tenth its total size. Underneath the soil a large shallow root system fans out in a circle, extending up to 10 metres from its base. These roots are sensitive to pressure, serving as a deadly kill zone. Anyone approaching the plant will stand on an area where pressure is exerted to the root system. This pressure is communicated to the stem of the plant.
Pressure excreted must be significant. Thus small animals like skinks and birds, which make meals of the tasty sausage fruit, do not trigger the plant. Only larger animals, weighing 20 or more kilograms will exert enough pressure on the roots.
The first step within the kill zone will arm the plant. Alerting it to the presence of a possible meal and allowing it to identify from which quadrant said meal is approaching. The next step acts as a trigger. Once the trigger is set off, the plant reacts with lightning speed. The spines which face the quadrant where the first, arming step was taken, shoot out at a high velocity.
Each spine is laden with a deadly, fast acting toxin. This toxin has a dual function. Its first action, once it enters its victim’s bloodstream, is to incapacitate its voluntary muscles, effectively paralysing the victim within seconds but leaving its heart and lungs functioning, to ensure the toxin is distributed throughout the entire body. The toxins second function is as a digestive. Within an hour of rendering its prey immobile, the toxin starts to dissolve tissue it comes into contact with. This whole process works on volumes. The greater the amount of toxin in the body, the quicker the time in which paralysis will occur and the quicker the prey will digest.
While the plants prey is digested from within, its root system will start producing specialised rootlets, which grow upwards towards the point where the prey lies. Within a day they will have pierced its tenderised skin. Within two days, they will have anchored the corpse and started to secrete even more powerful digestive acids than those of the spines, to dissolve muscle and bone. Within a week, the corpse will have collapsed in on itself, as its now liquid inside’s seep into the soil, to be hungrily absorbed by the plants underground root system.
This article was last updated VI August MMII
The spines are hard and sharp.
Damage = 1d4
AP = 5
Toxin POT = 50. POT will increase by 10 per extra spine. Thus, is 3 spines, POT = 70. Spines must draw blood for toxin to work. The digestive agent will start to function within an hour of entering the bloodstream and from then on will remove 1d4 HP per hour until HP = 0 or the toxin is neutralised. Please refer to RuneQuest Poison rules for specifics on how poisons work.
If a person should be so lucky as to obtain a sausage fruit without perishing in the attempt, it will be worth their while. Not only do the fruit contain an antidote to counteract the toxin in the spines. (This antidote must be ingested before the digestive takes effect, to avoid permanent loss to CON. If the digestive has taken effect, CON must be reduced by 1 for every passing hour until the digestive has been neutralised.)
In addition to the above, the fruit is delicious and the antidote has generic healing properties which will speed the healing of wounds and revitalise the body of people who consume it. To simulate this effect, make a first aid roll for each wounded area and add 1D10 to Current Fatigue Points. This is a once off effect and wounds cannot be speed healed by eating lots of fruit