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Alhoi Grass

Much of the Reshkai Plains is covered in Alhoi grass, a hardy plant and one of the few that can survive the harsh winds and poor soil. The grass grows from a root network, similar to mycelium and about half a mile in diameter, that reaches beyond the top layer of weak soil, clay and gravel, down to embedded rocks and groundwater. It has thick blades, about half a hand wide, with an inwards curl. The edges of the blades are sharp enough draw bloody lines but can be avoided easily with practice. It can grow up to 8 feet tall in good conditions.    

Windhearts

At the centre of each cluster of Alhoi is the windheart, a cluster of blades naturally woven together like the intertwining stems of a beanstalk. In the middle of this, cushioned by a layer of pith, is the windheart fruit itself. These fruits develop over the course of a month, in time with Jasedar's waxing and waning, until they become a cluster of light seeds. When Jasedar, Myroklast's twin planet, is at it's height and the wind strongest, the trunks of the Alhoi will snap open, releasing hundreds of seeds, caught by the eddies and dispersed over the plains as the original plant withers and dies over the following days. Reshkai people know this is a dangerous time to be out of their tents, as the grass grows fast and a body has more nutrients than the soil. They also know that the windheart, when harvested at the right time, is a delicacy. Past the grass and pith is a creamy fruit, similar in shape to a yam, with a nutty, herbal taste. A single windheart can feed someone for nearly a week, though they do not last long unless preserved.  

Uses

The Reshkai people cultivate Alhoi to produce most of their daily needs. The grass itself is useless as food, except for zethers, the prime beast of burden on the plains, a stout, stumpy creature with a body like a camel, a short neck, and a pig-like head. Windhearts can be forced to grow, taking just over a week in a dark tent with a small hole cut in the roof, so more established tribes have a permanent source of food. A root system, unearthed and filled in with a little mud, can form the wall of a permanent structure. The short stems are about 6 inches long, as thick as a thumb, and as strong as wood. They are easily worked into knife handles or pegs for building. The leaves themselves can be reduced down to fibres. The clothes made from them are not comfortable but keep off the worst of the wind and dust. They are usually worn over furs.  

In game

Alhoi grants at least half cover, more when further away. Alhoi seeds drain 1 Constitution each day after two days of being ingested. As Alhoi seeds are neither poison, disease, or magical, they are not affected by spells such as Lesser Restoration or Dispel Magic. However, Greater Restoration will cause the body to overcome the spread of the roots and expel the seeds, Speak With Plants can be used to convince the seeds to leave, and a very well-controlled Blight spell can target a growing sprout while leaving the victim relatively unharmed. Casting Waterbreathing will allow people to walk through the clouds of seeds without breathing them in. Casting Transport Via Plants on the seeds is not recommended. Reshkai shamans can make a vile-tasting potion that can kill a growing seed but causes several days of vomiting and nausea, though many tribes refuse to as killing an unripe Alhoi plant is sacrilege to inner Reskai, no matter where it is growing. A windheart contains 6 days worth of food and, if good enough quality (DC 14 Wisdom (Medicine) check when harvesting) provide 1d4+4 HP when eaten.  

Adventure Hooks

  • The party, not knowing to avoid the open air when Jasedar is full, are caught in an Alhoi bloom. They begin a race against time to find the cure.
  • Some Reshkai tribes have no qualms against feeding their forced windhearts with nutrient-rich corpses. The players look like prime plant food...
  • A botanist on the edge of the plains has been struggling to get their hands on a windheart for their research due to the conditions of the plains and the tribes that guard them. They want the party go collect some windhearts for them.
nativegrasses.jpg
Geographic Distribution

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Comments

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17 Mar, 2021 16:59

This article was really cool. You have a lot of detail about the alhoi grass, which makes it feel very real and integrated into your world. I do have a couple of questions & constructive criticism:   1. I think using headers and pictures would really help create as aesthetic flow to your article. It's actually fine as it is, but adding color can help create a sense of overall progression with little visual checkpoint goodies for the eyeballs. 2. I really liked how you explained Zethers as the (main?) herbivores on your plains. I think it'd help if you did the same thing for "Jasedar" (either just linking it or giving a quick snippit). My mind lingered there trying to figure out what it was, so I thought it worth note. 3. You note that the seeds drain one CON a day; this happens two days after the seeds have been ingested. It might help to know what level of spell or remedy (skill check difficulty, random item) is needed, otherwise it seems incurable ? and if it is, that is also really metal.   :D Thank you for the read!

4 Apr, 2021 20:06

Hi, thanks for the feedback! This is the first article I've publicised so it was really nice to see all the positive reactions to it. Let me know what you think!

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
6 Apr, 2021 21:35

This is a very interesting plant and a nice article! I like the idea of cutting grass. Also, I've seen your article before and meant to come back to give it a proper read, and I have to say you've greatly improved the layout and made it a lot easier to read :D   I took some notes while reading your article:   " When Jasedar, Myroklast's twin planet," I'm guessing that Myroklast is where your story is set up?   " Reshkai people know this is a dangerous time to be out of their tents, as the grass grows fast and a body has more nutrients than the soil." Do the grains grow on people if it get caught in their clothes for example? Or maybe the seeds are very small and can be breathed in? From what I see I the following section, I understand that it's dangerous but I'm not completely clear about the mechanics.   I'm interested in how they harvest the windheart, since it sounds dangerous to get in the middle of those cutting grass. But you also say that the grass can be avoided easily with practice. How do the do that? By wearing thick clothes? Moving in a certain direction, with all the grass blade facing in the same direction too?   It's interesting how they manage to make uses of all of the different parts of the plant!   "Some Reshkai tribes have no qualms against feeding their forced windhearts with nutrient-rich corpses. The players look like prime plant food..." love that XD

23 Apr, 2021 17:27

Hi! Thanks for the feedback! Myroklast is where the story is set and where I run my D&D games. I plan to write more articles expanding on this in the future. The seeds can grow on skin if they get caught in clothes or if breathed in. They are a bit smaller than a dandelion seed and float in the same way. Windhearts are harvested while they are still a fruit, before they develop into seeds. The blades of the grass aren't particularly dangerous unless someone blunders into them. Each cut would be like a paper cut, not deadly but would be a problem if you were covered in them. Reshkai people learn to move with the winds and the patterns of grass, moving with them instead of through them, avoiding the worst injuries.

7 Apr, 2021 13:40

Cool article and interesting plant! I especially like how people need to watch out not to ingest the seeds during certain periods of time and that you added a game mechanic for that. 'he players look like prime plant food...' is a great sentence you added there xp   I noticed a little typo at the start.'sharp enough draw bloody' shoulde be 'blood'.   Other than that nice article! Would suggest perhaps to add some paragraphs in each section to make it a bit easier on the eyes to read :)

Feel free to check out My Ship entry if you want to see what I am up to!
8 Apr, 2021 09:34

Fascinating plant!! Windhearts are a phenomenal concept, I'm a huge fan of both their description and the role they play in reproduction. Their interaction with cosmic entities (planet alignments and all) make them all the more intriguing (also windheart is a great name!).   I also really like the inclusion of in game mechanics and plot hooks related to the plant. The fact that the plants will attempt to feed off of people makes for an incredible threat, especially considering the spells that have to be used to get them out (speak with plants is an especially interesting one to mention. the rp opportunities...)   Awesome work!

Author of Interarcanum.
14 Apr, 2021 14:46

Hey Henry! Nice article - I like the game mechanics you've incorporated in your article (particularly how blight could be used to help someone). The details you've incorporated for how seeds are spread and that really only one beast benefits from consuming the plant are nice touches for realism. One thing you may want to consider, especially if you're planning on writing a one shot for adventure April, is how to use Wizard's of the Coast Open Gaming License so you can legally use 5e rulesets, spell descriptions, etc. while making your own content. I've included a couple links below for you fit that's something you want to look into. Great work! https://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/systems-reference-document-srd https://www.thearcanelibrary.com/blogs/news/how-to-use-the-open-game-license

xtremepsy | Ölütanrı
Checkout my other favourite entries to the 2021 Peculiar Plant HERE!
Feel free to read, favourite, and comment on my entry, Digivine.
23 Apr, 2021 17:29

Thanks, I didn't realise about the open gaming licence! Do you know how to incorporate that into WorldAnvil?

22 May, 2021 21:41

It's a fully manual exercise that you have to do yourself depending if/how you use the 5e OGL or not. If you read through that arcanelibrary link, it should help you figure out a system that works for you :)

xtremepsy | Ölütanrı
Checkout my other favourite entries to the 2021 Peculiar Plant HERE!
Feel free to read, favourite, and comment on my entry, Digivine.
15 Apr, 2021 21:22

I like the way people use them, and the gamestats!

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young