Unlike their unfortunate Gallain cousins, mandragoras have thrived since the Sundering. They can be found all across the Autumn World, staking out claims in marshes, swamps, temperate forests, and tropical jungles, and turning otherwise harmless trees into man-eating monsters.
Like ghille dhu, mandragoras are tied to a seasonal cycle, and progress through it over the course of their lifespan. In their Spring aspects, they are lean and hungry creatures, searching for a tree to inhabit and transform. Once the mandragora locates a suitable tree, she then spends a week in a chrysalis, during which her Glamour attunes to the tree. At the end of the week, the tree develops dangerous features, such as barbed, semi-intelligent liana vines that nest like serpents, chimerical insects, and deep pitfall trap leaves like smaller pitcher plants, in accordance with the tree fiend’s personality and preferences.
Mandragoras are not active hunters, instead preferring to take targets of opportunity. They are apex ambush predators, setting traps and waiting for prey to wander into range. Though they much prefer the deep wilderness, away from human habitation (and thus from anything that could potentially damage their tree), they have been known to take up residence in trees in public parks and urban woodscapes.
Mandragoras are physically no different than ghille dhu, with green skin and fae miens adorned with flowers, grasses, mosses, and vines (albeit toxic and dangerous versions). Their bodies shift according to the season. Spring aspects are thin and hard instead of rounded and cherubic. Summer aspects are plump and satiated, and their Autumn aspect is tough and gnarled.
- Infestation: A mandragora finds a tree and possesses it, becoming intangible and passing into the trunk. By investing a dot of Glamour, the tree fiend can turn this tree into her own personal freehold (albeit one without a balefire or hearthstone). She is safe from physical harm within it, and may regain Glamour at a rate of one point per week from the tree’s natural processes.
- Phantasm and Feast: For a point of temporary Glamour, a tree fiend can set bait in the lianas of its tree. The vines and pitchers emit a sweet scent to lure bees and beasts, or show tantalizing images in the fluids of the pitchers to ensnare unwary humans. Any creatures, including humans, unlucky enough to fall into a pitcher (which can indeed grow large enough to entrap a humanoid victim) are slowly eaten alive by the digestive fluids. When the victim is completely consumed, the tree fiend refills all spent Glamour and Willpower.
- Nature’s Curse: Tree fiends are far frailer than most other creatures of the Dreaming, and must bind themselves to trees in order to withstand the withering weight of Banality. Should their tree ever be damaged, the tree fiend takes the amount of damage in Banality. If the tree is destroyed, the tree fiend gains a dot of Banality as well.