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The Stolari

by Gilles Leblanc

OD&D statistics

Stolari ( Cacti-Creature )

Armour Class: 8
Hit Dice: 5+5* (L)
Move: 60' ( 20' )
Attacks: 2 limbs
Damage: 1d6/1d6
No. Appearing: 1 or 3d4
Save As: Fighter 5
Intelligence: 5-7
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 400

Monster Type: Monster ( Rare )

AD&D 2E statistics


Climate/Terrain: Adri Varma Plateau, Arid/Semi-Arid Frequency: Uncommon
Organisation: Solitary or Patch
Activity Cycle: Day
Diet: Photosynthesis and heat
Intelligence: Low ( 5-7 )
Treasure: Special
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
No. Appearing: 1 or 3d4
Armour Class: 8
Movement: 6
Hit Dice: 5+5
THAC0: 16
No. Of Attacks: 2
Damage/Attack: 1d6 ( limb ) / 1d6 ( limb ) Special Attack: Heat Drain, Surprise Attack Special Defences: See below
Magic Resistance: Nil
Size: M ( 8' tall )
Morale: Average (8)
XP Value: 650

The Stolari are a race of magical sentient Saguaro cactus. Legends tell that the Stolari were once created by a powerful Jadugerya ( wizard ) of Sind who wanted to adapt a species of cactus for life in colder climate. He would then have given them life, intelligence and their magical heat draining power.
What can be known for sure tough, is that the Stolari have lived on the plateau for hundreds of years maybe more. These creatures are only found on the Adri Varma plateau. These creatures are about 8 feet tall and look like perfectly normal saguaro cactus from a distance. Upon closer inspection, one notices that several ( 1d20 ) needles of the cactus are larger and longer.
Also noticed is the fact that the cactus trunk is actually composed of two smaller trunk, which the Stolari keep close together. The Stolari have always three other "trunks" leading upward. The central has a strange yellow fungus sprouting from it, almost like a cactus flower. This detects vibrations and smells and acts as the cactus primary sensory organ. Stolari are also able to hear sound but communicate with each other by emitting various barely detectable spores from their sensory organs. This forces the Stolari to stay close together for communication. The Stolari are also able to detect heat sources from a distance of 120'.

Combat: In battle, the Stolari will first try to appear as inconspicuous as possible and try to attack by surprise. If someone does not know how to spot a Stolari he receives a -2 penalty to his surprise roll. Someone who knows what a Stolari looks like cannot be surprised by this method and can use the Stolari immobility during it's surprise attack to their advantage. When attacking the Stolari will first try to club it's opponent with it's two spiny limbs. Usually attacking several targets. The Stolari will then fire one of it's larger spine at the nearest heat source. These detachable needles can be fired up to ten feet where they stay linked to the cactus by some tendril like appendage. The cactus can draw back a needle it fired. It only fires one such needle at a time, and once one has hit a living target it doesn't fire anymore until this needle is cut off or has finished draining heat. These needles have the same chance to hit as the limbs and do 1 point of damage on the first round. On each subsequent rounds the needles drains heat from it's victim doing an additional 1 hp of damage. The tendrils have an AC of 4 and 10 hp each. The Stolari regrows lost needles at a rate of 1 per week.

Habitat/Society: The Stolari are a semi nomadic race who either travel in patches of alone. They travel and hunt during the day where the heat is the greatest and try to conserve heat and energy as much as possible during the night. For a Stolari life is tied with much needed heat and every day is a constant struggle to stay alive. Stolari are often found near warm cave entrances and volcanic vents which are found on the Adri Varma plateau. From there they bask in heat. Others are more nomadic and tend to travel the colder desert, but even the most sedentary Stolari leave their spot every few months as they are lured away by wanderlust and the promise of more prey. During their travels, these usually find shelter from the wind during the night and sometimes during the day by hiding near large rocks. Due to difficulty in communications and the fact that they prey on most species, the Stolari haven't developed ties with any other species. Some rare Stolari, normally the more nomadic and solitary ones have learned to understand a single language, although they cannot speak it.

The Stolari worship the sun which they call the Heat Giver ( Ixion ). They see themselves worshiping forces rather than immortals. Other forces worshiped are Death ( Hel ) and Plant Life ( Ordana ). Some Stolari shamans are known to exist, they are able to reach level 3. No Stolari wokan are known to exist.

Ecology: To Stolari is a predator which most often feed on wild foxes, rabbit, mouses and other small animals on the plateau. If it has the chance it will often feed on larger creatures, including travellers and Ungolwaith. Few creatures eat or attack Stolari on the plateau.

Stolari Shamans

Although it is a rare occurrence, some Stolari can be shamans. Stolari believe in supernatural forces of infinite greatness. Although they have no concept of the immortals as individual beings, their prayers and devotion is no less answered by the appropriate immortals. The greatest force in Stolari mythos is the precious Heat, which is given by the Heat Giver. The Heat Giver is a force responsible for creating the powerful heat and sending it on the lands below. As the Stolari do not possess a sense of sight, their concept of the sun is very limited. The Heat Giver is of course the immortal Ixion.

The Stolari also holds dear the life force of the flora. This life-force is represented by the immortal Ordana. Finally the Stolari also acknowledge the fact that a great power terminates the life force of all living things. The Stolari perceives the power, which humans, demi-humans and humanoids would qualify as death, differently. For them it is a force that removes the life force and the heat from an organism imbued with the force of the Heat Giver and Plant Life/Life Force. Death of a creature from the animal/monster/humanoid kingdom is seen in a less dramatic way as no Plant Life force is extinguished. In importance it can be compared to the death of a small non-sentient plant and the Stolari shamans teach other Stolari that this process of death is different on the cosmic level.

The Stolari shamans worships all three of these immortals and receives different spells from each.

OD&D Spells

First Level

Cure Light Wounds ( Ordana ) *
Resist Cold ( Ixion )
Predict Weather ( Ixion )
Cause Light Wounds ( Hel )**

AD&D 2E spells ( under 2E rules 3rd level clerical ability also includes 2cnd level spells. )

First Level

Cure Light Wounds ( Ordana ) *
Endure Cold ( Ixion )
Cause Light Wounds ( Hel ) **
Bless ( Ixion )

Second Level

Resist Cold ( Ixion )
Speak With Animals ( Ordana )
Hold Person ( Hel )

* Affects only other Stolari or other plant-like monsters ** Affects any kind of creature