I’ve gone over a tree that could take over an area before, when I talked about the Banyan tree. But today I thought I’d go over a specific famous individual that has the Banyan beat.
So if you’re looking to add the Giant subtype to a Dryad for your game, or to have an Awakened tree really be a force to reckon with, or just want a different kind of World Tree, then look no further than Pando. Depending on how you measure, it is the single largest organism on the planet.
Yes, every single tree in that picture is Pando.
See, Pando is what is known as a clonal colony. Basically, what this means for Pando is that each of those trees is connected underground in a single gigantic body that weighs an estimated 6,000,000 kilograms (6,600 short tons), covering 106 acres.
What’s more, it’s also one of the world’s oldest living organisms, with that same root system being an estimated 80,000 years old. Each of the “trees” you see is one of over 40,000 stems, which each can die individually and regrow from the roots.
Not bad for what was once a single Quaking Aspen.
Imagine the fun you could have with this! A single tree that is also a forest and on top of that is literally older than all of human civilization, by several fold. What druid WOULDN’T want to learn from or protect it? Heck, the Awaken spell is more difficult to cast the more HD the target would have. At this point, it’d be beyond the capability of any one caster. It’s literally larger than Christopher Robin’s 100 acre wood.
We’re talking full on “gather every druid from around the world/country together” ritual. Maybe that might not be enough. I’ll bet whoever decides to use a Speak With Plants spell winds up deafened after the first question.
OR, maybe instead it’s simply been around so long and absorbed so much magic that it’s taken on a sentience of its own. And if that’s the case, can you imagine what perspective such a being might have?
Of course, on a more ecological side, there’s still some pretty weird things that happen for Pando, even in real life.
For instance, because it’s all the same organism, every tree in the forest that is Pando has its leaves change color and fall at the exact same time. Things that a normal forest has happen scattered throughout for individual trees happens all at once for Pando.
However you choose to use the idea for your campaigns, don’t forget just how large it is. Really, it’s more of a setting for your game than a character.
But maybe, with the right ideas and DM implementation, it could be both.