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.
WindheartsAt 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.
UsesThe 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 gameAlhoi 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.
- 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.