The hangman tree is so named for its rope-like appendages. These sinewy vines resemble nooses at their ends and when dropped down appear much as if they were hanging ropes. Hangman trees are deciduous and are found in temperate to subtropical climes.
Their shallow root systems and small numbers of leaves require them to supplement their nutrition by direct ingestion of protein. Thus, each tree traps prey. A hangman tree can move very slowly, its effective movement being but a few feet per day once fully grown. Saplings' move about 6 feet per hour, mature trees at about one-third that rate. All are solitary. During freezing weather, a taproot is put down and the tree is dormant. A hangman tree has no interest in any sort of treasure, and as each moves constantly, it is unlikely that any treasure will be found near one, although indigestible items will be expelled from the belly-trunk periodically.
The tree attacks by dropping its noose-like appendages around prey. Although each tree has 6-9 appendages, only 3 can be controlled at one time. This is exclusive of damage to the tree proper. When in contact with a victim, the vine-like appendage is drawn tight. As the vine tightens and lifts the prey (up to 1000 pounds) to the upper trunk opening. The victim is then dropped into the acidic secretion contained within the barrel of the trunk of the hangman tree, and then digestion takes place. Escape from the trunk-stomach is nearly impossible due to sharp growths which surround the top opening and point down and inward. About 3 man-sized victims can fit within the tree's digestive cavity at one time. Each hangman tree has a hallucinatory perfume which it can release at will, usually doing so while prey is 30-80 feet distant. This will cause victims to believe the tree to be some ordinary sort of quickwood or Treant, etc. A tree of this sort can speak haltingly in Common learned over the years. Each also has a magic resistance based on its age because it draws power from the environment. A hangman tree resembles a thick oak with few branches and sparse foliage. There are knot-like protruberances where the sensory organs are, usually high on the trunk. The lower trunk will show a scar-like place for expulsion of indigestibles.
The hangman tree is a plant. It resembles a sparsely foliaged, deciduous oak with noose-like vines hanging from the branches, hence the name. Though a plant, it is highly intelligent, and is capable of speaking Common, has a mind and conciousness, and is resistant to magic. It can sense when prey is near, hibernate in the winter, and can attack with a will of its own.
Hangman trees, having few leaves and shallow root systems, need to catch prey. They release on will a hallucinatory perfume when victims are in the vicinity, which makes them mistake the hangman tree for a normal tree, or even a treant. Victims then come near, and the hangman tree drops its nooses around the necks of the victims, strangles them, and then lifts them up and drops them into an opening in their trunk which leads into their stomach.
Hangman trees are regarded as neutral in alignment.
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