Sword Grass

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Climate/Terrain:Shaded areas of marshes and swamps
Activity Cycle:Day
Intelligence:Non- (0)
Treasure:Incidental (10% chance each of J,K,M; 5% chance each of Q and one small magical item)
No. Appearing:1-6
Armor Class:See below
Hit Dice:1
No. of Attacks:1-8
Damage/Attack:See below
Special Attacks:Nil
Special Defenses:See below
Magic Resistance:Nil
Morale:Average (9)
XP Value:175

Sword grass grows in clumps of 1-6 green plants, each plant appearing to be 1-8 huge blades of grass (1-6' tall) growing up from a central spot on the ground. The main stalk of each plant lies 1' underground and is treated as 100% concealed against anyone trying to destroy it without first digging it up.

Combat: The main body of the plant has hit points equal to the total number of blades it has. Each leaf also has 1 hp, but these hit points are in addition to those each plant already has, and destroying the leaf blades does not cause the death of the plant. Damage is incurred upon walking through patches of sword grass. The leaf blades are amazingly strong (AC 8) and extremely sharp; the body is AC 10 (AC 0 underground). Collective damage occurs as the blades slash at whatever passes through them. Damage varies according to the height of the blades (1', 1-4 hp; 2-3', 1-6 hp; 4-5', 1-8 hp; 6', 1-10 hp). Blades attack as 1 HD monsters.

Blunt weapons and thrusting weapons do not harm the plant. The blades may be uprooted, but if precautions are not taken to protect one's hands, maximum damage is automatic. The blades may be burned but will grow back at the rate of 6” a week.

Habitat/Society: Sword grass is not a true grass, but is closely related to ferns and mushrooms. It reproduces by spores, and the plant's “blades” grow from a central underground rhizome. Sword grass is a perennial; the leaf blades die during cold weather, and the root stalk goes dormant, becoming active again in spring.

The usual prey for sword grass is small animals, with the plant using blood and decaying bodies to supplement its diet. Some people grow plots of sword grass in place of moats or in addition to them; sword grass has also been used to form defensive lines around farms and military bases.