Lending a Touch of Magic to D20 Real World Trees.



Couldn't find the photographer for these, if anyone knows just drop a comment!

Got around to reading Earthsea, which rocks and is beautiful and tragic, as expected. Got the urge for a bit of old fashioned worldbuilding, and decided to place a few enchantments on real-world trees, to give a bit of texture to your worlds, and give the players some more tools. If you don't like the idea of every tree having some magical use, perhaps only the very oldest specimens develop these traits. In any case, I'll leave you now. Feel free to wander among these shaded trunks for a while.

1. Pine: the scent of the sea is tangled in the needles and visions of tall masts with white sails fill your mind. A branch of pine in your hand will gently strain towards the sea, and ships made of pine will always catch the wind.
2. Cedar: the tree towers over you, stretching indomitably towards heaven. Its limbs sway above, challenging you to climb. If you climb a cedar, name one thing you wish to see. That thing will be visible from the top of the tree.
3. Elm: vines loop between the tree’s branches, tangling through the leaves. Come too close and the leaves will loop around your wrists, holding you there until another traveler comes close. Then, the vines will lash your wrists to the other’s, binding the two of you in a sacred marriage contract
4. Poplar: the ground here is spongy and moist, clinging to your boots. Water glistens on the bark of the tree, and flows from small clefts and gashes in the trunk. Drink, and be refreshed.
5. Oak: the oak tree stands alone, spreading branches holding dominion over this corner of the forest. Its very form suggests the soaring arches of cathedrals, the sturdy beams of vast feasting halls. Anything you build of oak will endure, and its fame will surely spread.
6. Aspen: the aspen sways in the storm above, golden leaves fluttering gently dowardwards. Its motion brings to mind the dance and step of quarterstaffs in combat, and staves of Aspen will alway best those of any other wood.
7. Cypress: the roots of the cypress protrude from the ground like bones, and the wind through its branches murmurs and sobs like a quiet funeral crowd. Listen long enough, and you will hear them mourning you, or one dear to you. Do not recoil; listen further, they may whisper the details of the death.
8. Laurel: the low branches of the laurel sweep against your forehead, the leaves catching in your hair, and for a moment, you see yourself above a roaring crowd, your brow crowned with a wreath of laurel, and glory filling your breast. Cut such a wreath for yourself and you will be filled with grandeur and delusion in equal measure. 
9. Sallow: fine limbs caress the air, shifting slowly as you approach. They stroke your face, the leaves plucking language from your mind; single words, phrases, entire sentences appear, written in tiny script along the underside of the leaves. Mill sallow into paper and it retains these properties, effortlessly turning idle musings into masterworks of literature.
10. Spruce: the needles prick your cheeks, and the smell of the spruce gum floods your senses, smokey and dark. Words flicker like sparks in the recesses of your brain, waiting to be unleashed. Taste the gum, feel it burn your tongue, and the words will flash forth, searing poetry into your mind.
11. Willow: the sighing leaves surround you, brushing against you wistfully. The air is full of half remembered promises. If you listen, you can hear countless generations of lovers, giving to and taking from one another. Perhaps even someone you knew, a long time ago.
12. Yew: supple branches seem to dance and bend as you draw nearer, quivering even before they feel your touch. Hold a branch of yew and your hands will move on their own, effortlessly bending and weaving the wood in accordance with the glimmerings of your thoughts
13. Birch: the tree is straight and true, its trunk plunging into the earth like arrows thrust into the ground before a bowman. Arrows of birch will find their mark unerringly, though take care that you know what your true aim is before firing.
14. Myrrh: a scent both sweet and bitter clouds your senses, redolent of dark, oversweet fruits. Sap weeps from the cracks in the myrrh’s dark like blood, promising sweet, numbing oblivion to any who venture to taste.
15. Beech: the clatter of twigs calls to mind the clamor of battle, the flutter of leaves becoming the mad dance of pennants and banners. Beech calls out for war; spears and lances of beech will pierce deeply, and the wounds they leave will be fearsome and dramatic.
16. Ash: the tree stretches broad above you, comforting in its size. The world seems to rest in its branches; it is hard to think of anything that could exist beyond it. Ash is a good wood. Anything made of ash will not break or be marred easily.
17. Olive: the heavy fruits of the olive sway beneath the dark leaves; they are bitter, and sit in your stomach like stones, but filling nevertheless. The oil, should you crush them, is like liquid gold. A man rich in olive trees is rich indeed.
18. Plane: the broad, barrellike trunk of the tree is dappled grey like rain on slate. A long knife scar rends the pattern; as you watch, the bark ripples, regrows, erases the wound. A poultice of the bark will carry similar regenerative power, knitting muscle and bone together with equal ease. Wounds healed in this way are distinctive, bearing the same dappled pattern as the tree. Some claim that should a man's skin be entirely transformed in this way, his feet will take root, and a new Plane Tree will stretch towards the sky.
19. Holm Oak: dense, thorny leaves obscure tough, knotty wood. Your hands twitch, remembering craft that is not your own. Bring a knife to a piece of Holm Oak and you can coax forth forms hidden deep in your ancestral history 20. Maple: the tree stands tall and stately, limbs held with the grace of an aging dancer. Inside the wood though, pockets of rot proliferate, spreading like cancer. Putrefaction calls out to putrefaction, and anything secretly spoiled, ruined, or marred is made plain when beneath a maple’s boughs.

Comments

  1. These are lovely! I'm a big proponent of adding more botanical flavor to Wilderness descriptions. Here's a handy generator I made for giving some Trees something closer to "Real World" Common Names (and an online generator as well).
    I need to get back to my Wilderness Vignettes as well :)

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