Back in Issue 10 of d12 Monthly, I wrote an article called Team Up where I listed some disparate monster team-ups that would make tough and memorable encounters for your PCs.
I want to continue this online as I present a regular section on the site called Team Ups! This article features my first team up: owlbear and yellow musk creeper.
Owlbear And Yellow Musk Creeper
These two may seem unlikely allies, but there are a couple of reasons they can live in close proximity:
- The owlbear is a carnivore and so has no interest in the yellow musk creeper (or the zombies they produce); and
- The creeper can only turn medium-sized humanoids into zombies, so the owlbear is effectively immune from the creeper’s pollen.
While the owlbear and creeper would compete for targets when it comes to pesky PCs visiting (or unwary NPC hunters), most of the owlbear’s diet would consist of forest animals, something the creeper is not interested in.
The creeper would however, be happy that the owlbear’s presence brings hunters and adventurers within range of its spores.
In turns, the owlbears are intelligent enough to realise the added protection the creeper and its zombies brings their lair is quite valuable.
Note on Monsters: The Owlbear is a pretty common monster in D&D monster manuals, and you can find it in the OSE Advanced Referee’s Tome as well as numerous other monster books. The Yellow Musk Creeper is rarer and doesn’t appear in many monster books. I have taken this from the D&D 2nd edition Monstrous Manual.
Owlbears are known and loved by GMs and players alike. They can be a formidable fight for low-to-mid-level parties. Their decent hit dice, number of attacks, and their ferocity all adds up to a tough fight.
Yellow Musk Creeper
The creeper cannot move and is fairly weak (only 2HD), but it has a slew of unusual and deadly special abilities: it grows multiple flowers which can shoot out spores that will entrance victims, causing them to come closer to the plant, where the vines enter the victim’s brains and turn them into zombies in a few rounds.
It can then use these Yellow Musk Zombies to help protect it.
Given the lack of mobility of the yellow musk creeper, it would be found draped over the entrance to the owlbear’s lair (which I would imagine being a cave of some sort), preventing anyone from getting in (or out) without triggering its pollen bursts.
Its zombies, if it has any, would be roaming mindless around the entrance to the cave (within 100-ft), ready to attack anyone that comes by. They may not be all that obvious at first, given how much cover a forest provides.
Once the zombies are encountered, unwary PCs may believe traditional undead are in the area, but then may find out the hard way that these particular zombies cannot be turned!
And what’s more, that the zombies are not the biggest threat.
When half the party is entranced by the creeper and about to have their brains sucked, and the other half are fighting an enraged owlbear (or two), they may be re-thinking going out into the forest in the first place.
Below are some hooks you can use to get the PCs to head into the forest in the first place.
- The PCs are hired to rescue some hunters that have gone missing (guess what happened to them?)
- As a mission for a patron (or other NPC the PCs need something from), the PCs are asked to bring back an owlbear pelt
- The PCs hear of reports of undead in the forest from frightened loggers
- The PCs are just lost
Over to You
What have I missed? Do you have any other combos you want to see covered in future posts?
2 Replies to “Team Ups! – Owlbear And Yellow Musk Creeper”
Very nasty indeed.
A good mix of monsters.
And if the owlbear is lazy it can eat one of the zombies.
Ha! Good point.