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Waldgeist

An expression of intense malevolence crosses the face of this small, insubstantial spirit, which looks unsettlingly like that of a gnome.

Waldgeist CR 8

Source Pathfinder #105: The Inferno Gate pg. 90
XP 4,800
NE Small undead (incorporeal)
Init +9; Senses darkvision 60 ft., greensight 60 ft.; Perception +19

Defense

AC 21, touch 21, flat-footed 16 (+5 deflection, +5 Dex, +1 size)
hp 104 (11d8+55)
Fort +8, Ref +8, Will +10
Defensive Abilities incorporeal; Immune undead traits; SR 19
Weaknesses compelling knock, nature dependent

Offense

Speed 30 ft.
Melee incorporeal touch +15 (6d8 negative energy plus lignify)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 8th; concentration +13)
3/day—entangle (DC 16)
1/day—plant growth

Statistics

Str —, Dex 20, Con —, Int 13, Wis 13, Cha 21
Base Atk +8; CMB +12; CMD 27
Feats Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Flyby Attack, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Weapon Focus (touch)
Skills Fly +21, Intimidate +19, Knowledge (nature) +12, Perception +19, Sense Motive +12, Stealth +17
Languages Common, Gnome, Sylvan
SQ possess tree

Ecology

Environment any forests
Organization solitary
Treasure standard

Special Abilities

Compelling Knock (Su) A waldgeist is preternaturally drawn to the sound of knocking on wood. If a waldgeist is within 15 feet of a creature that knocks on a wooden object (for example, a tree or an item primarily made of wood, such as a wooden shield), it must succeed at a DC 20 Will saving throw or it is compelled to move toward the creature for as long as the knocking persists. While the waldgeist is moving toward the knocking creature, each time the waldgeist is attacked or is the target of a harmful effect, it receives a new saving throw. Once it is adjacent to the knocking creature, the waldgeist can act freely. Whether it succeeds at or fails its initial Will saving throw, a waldgeist is immune to that creature’s knocking for 24 hours. Knocking on wood can draw a waldgeist out of a possessed tree, but not more than 50 feet from the edge of a forest or other large, wooded area.

Lignify (Su) When a waldgeist deals damage to a living non-plant creature with its incorporeal touch, it also deals 1d4 points of Dexterity damage as it begins to transform the target to wood. A creature reduced to 0 Dexterity in this way is permanently transformed into a nonmagical tree, as per the flesh to stone spell, but the wooden creature has hardness 5 and vulnerability to fire. In addition to stone to flesh, a restoration spell can reverse this effect.

Nature Dependent (Su) A waldgeist cannot travel more than 50 feet from the edge of a forest or other large, wooded area. A waldgeist that is forced outside of this boundary is instantly destroyed. A waldgeist receives a +4 racial bonus on saving throws to resist teleportation or other effects that would force it outside of its forest.

Possess Tree (Su) Once per minute as a standard action, a waldgeist can possess a Large or smaller nonmagical tree and animate it as if using animate objects, except the waldgeist merges with and controls the tree. The waldgeist cannot speak, move, or use its own attacks or special abilities while possessing the tree. When the tree is destroyed, or when the waldgeist ends the possession as a free action that provokes attacks of opportunity, the waldgeist appears in a square of its choice adjacent to the tree. (See page 91 for an example of a tree animated in this way.)

A waldgeist arises when a gnome who was a woodlands dweller or who had a deep spiritual connection with such an area dies while in a large forest. The gnome’s spirit is twisted and bound to the trees, infused with hatred of living intruders and a need to protect the area that sustains it. A waldgeist appears as a translucent gnomelike figure surrounded by a faint, green glow, its facial features full of anger and malice.

Waldgeists become incredibly violent when faced with creatures that intrude upon their homes or that they see as threats. In combat, waldgeists attack using the forest itself, entwining despoilers’ legs with roots and vines, and animating nearby trees to smash intruders with thick branches. A waldgeist is typically 3-1/2 feet tall.

Ecology

Gnomes who exult in woodland life are often just as fascinated with new and exciting experiences within their demesnes as others of their kind. Unfortunately, given the dangers inherent in many primeval forests, such an outlook can be dangerous. When a woodland gnome’s fanciful tree-climbing expeditions or unprepared sylvan explorations lead to disaster, sometimes her soul becomes heavy with melancholy and bitterness, and she arises again as a waldgeist. If a gnome’s death can be blamed on an intruder—perhaps she was tracking an interloper when her fatal accident occurred—this undead fate is nearly assured.

Though animated by negative energy, a waldgeist must constantly remain within its forest home to maintain its form. To a waldgeist, nothing exists outside of the forest in which it died. If it is somehow transported away from a wooded environment, it completely disintegrates with an anguished howl. A waldgeist’s connection to the forest grants the spirit a measure of power over its surroundings, including the ability to possess trees and bring to them a measure of life.

Habitat and Society

Because of the highly specific circumstances required for their formation, waldgeists are rare and found only in large, old-growth forests, where the trees grow tall enough to block out the sun. Even more rarely, a tragedy of unthinkable proportions happens to a group of gnomes, and multiple waldgeists arise simultaneously. When this happens, the spirits often drift away from one another to haunt separate areas of the forest. Waldgeists are solitary creatures, hiding their presences from the other creatures of the woods, especially fey such as dryads. Although both creatures exhibit a certain protective possessiveness over nature, dryads see the undead waldgeists’ capacity for violence as terribly brutish.

While waldgeists tend to shun forest natives, they hate and hunt down creatures they see as intruders in their woods. In reality, such individuals might be innocent travelers simply passing through the forest, or they may be loggers who pose a legitimate threat to the natural surroundings. To waldgeists, such distinctions are nonexistent; they view any creatures not native to their homes as enemies. In battle, waldgeists are cunning. If a waldgeist faces a group of enemies, it tends to use its magic to enhance the surrounding foliage, entangling creatures with the plants that heed its call. While its enemies are distracted, the waldgeist then possesses the nearest tree and uses its branches to wreak havoc on any within its reach.

Luckily for most adventurers, though, these wicked creatures can be easily distracted. Waldgeists are attracted to sound of knocking on wood, as it reminds them of the possibilities of interesting visitors, opening doors, or other things that once intrigued them in life. A waldgeist that fails to resist the temptation of this noise ceases its current actions in order to “greet” the knocker, even going as far as abandoning the tree it had been possessing. Usually, this allows the other individual whom the waldgeist was previously harassing a chance to escape. In rural communities near forests haunted by waldgeists, the practice of knocking on wood for luck arises from ancient tales of waldgeist encounters.

Possessed Trees

The following is an example of a possessed tree under the control of a waldgeist. For more information, see the text of the animate objects spell.

Possessed Tree - CR 5

N Large construct
Init –1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception –5

Defense

AC 14, touch 8, flat-footed 14 (–1 Dex, +6 natural, –1 size)
hp 52 (4d10+30)
Fort +1, Ref +0, Will –4
Defensive Abilities hardness 5; Immune construct traits
Weaknesses vulnerable to fire

Offense

Speed 0 ft.
Melee 2 slams +9 (2d6+6 plus grab)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks constrict (2d6+6)

Statistics

Str 22, Dex 8, Con —, Int —, Wis 1, Cha 1
Base Atk +4; CMB +11; CMD 20
SQ construction points (additional attack, grab, constrict)