Grave Cactus Species in Chronicles of Solia | World Anvil
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Grave Cactus

The Grave Cactus is a peculiar plant that lives in the Heartscar region of Venidon, feeding off the necrotic energy that exudes from the canyon.

Basic Information


A single Grave Cactus somewhat resembles a small barrel or cask. A grey, ribbed central stem is covered in multiple long, curved, sharp thorns that vary between pale red and grey in color. Most Grave Cacti reach 36 inches (91.4 cm) in diameter, though the largest recorded was nearly 10 feet (3.04 meters) in diameter.

Genetics and Reproduction

"What a beautiful flower. You don't see many that open at night like this," the young man leaned in, ready to pluck the bloom from atop its spiny perch. "Can't say I care for the fragrance, though..."
  Once a Grave Cactus reaches its mature state, a single flower grows from the apex of the stem. This flower remains closed until the sun sets, then opens and spreads a fine cloud of minuscule seedpods into the air that smells of turned earth and decaying organic matter. If the seedpod is not caught on anything or blown away, it settles as far as fifty feet (15.24 meters) away. The seedpods take root within moments, burrowing into the ground and germinating for approximately five days before breaking through as a new Grave Cactus.  
"It's in my arm! It's in my arm! Get it out! Get it out!"
  A Grave Cactus seedpod that makes contact with organic material, even through thin layers of cloth, will begin burrowing faster than if it had struck bare dirt. This process is reported as quite painful, described as a burning sensation accompanied by an intense itch. Once the seedpod takes root, however, the true horror of the situation becomes apparent. The seedpod begins to leech life essence from its host within a day, causing listlessness, nausea, and fatigue. After two days, the growth starts to swell, causing distention of flesh and muscle. The host begins to develop sores and lesions around the contact site and begins to experience auditory and visual hallucinations. While varied in nature, the most common presentation of these hallucinations is a blood-red tint over their vision and a raspy breath in their ear.   After three days, a fresh cactus erupts from the skin, approximately one and one-half inches in diameter (40 mm) and covered in thorns. While survival of this is possible, the resultant draining of energy from each cactus is almost certainly fatal.

Growth Rate & Stages

Once established, a Grave Cactus grows until it reaches an adult size of nearly 36 inches (91.44 cm) in diameter. This growth can take anywhere from days to years, depending on the available food source.

Ecology and Habitats

The Grave Cactus only grows in places filled with significant necrotic energy. Some scholars theorize that the cactus grows through a rift in the planar boundaries from an [toottip:the Negative Energy Plane or the Plane of the Dead]extraplanar source[/tooltip], but have not discovered any conclusive evidence.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Unlike most traditional cacti, the Grave Cactus feeds on life essence, leeching away energy from nearby living creatures or plants. The range at which a Grave Cactus can feed is based on its size, starting with a matter of inches (centimeters) and growing to nearly ten feet (3.05 meters). As a Grave Cactus feeds, its grey flesh darkens to a mixed grey-black ombre and its thorns take on a blood-red hue.  
Tiny and Small: 1d6 Negative Energy damage per round within the cactus' square.
Medium: 2d6 Negative Energy damage per round within 10 feet (2 squares).
The Cactus gains half of the damage dealt as hit points.   Author Note: Cacti rarely grow alone. Most are in clusters of 2d4 - 4d4
  Observation with particular magic such as detect life or deathwatch allows for a visualization of the energy transference as a red cloudy mist traversing the distance between the prey and the cactus itself.

Additional Information

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Scholars theorize that the thorns of the Grave Cactus can be used as needles, but none have managed to safely recover them.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Primarily located in the Grey Wastes, endemic to the Heartscar. Can be found in areas suffused with necrotic energy.
Scientific Name
Plant / Cactus
Plant / Undead
100 years
Average Height
36 inches (91.4 cm)
Average Weight
50 lbs (22.68 kg)
Geographic Distribution


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