Two evil, awakened trees try to trick travelers who wander their forest. The trees pose a query before they devour their prey.
Intro. This encounter is balanced for four players of 3rd level in D&D 5e.
Background. Two ordinary trees of an old-growth forest were awakened by foul spirits which gave the plants sentience. The two trees calling themselves Ablebough and Timberush have become hungry for more than chlorophyll. They have cooked up a ruse to trick wanderers and eat them.
Hook. Characters can encounter the trees while traveling on a forest road or at night while camping in the wilderness.
Encounter. Ablebough and Timberush are a pair of awakened trees with neutral evil alignments. They present a riddle to the characters with the threat of death to those who get it wrong:
You hear the loud creak of wood as two large trees emerge from the forest, wrinkled twisted faces on their trunks. They stop before you and speak:
"I am Ablebough," says the first
"And I, Timberush" adds the other,
"A reward we shall give to you if you solve our riddle"
"If you cannot solve it your death will be swift!"
"One of us hides a foul secret while the other is good to his core"
"Ablebough cares for the wood but wishes harm to those who abuse it."
"Timberush fears fire but burns with vengeance for his glade."
“Who of us has a heart of goodness and which a heart of darkness?”
The characters are asked to figure out who is evil and who is good of the two living trees. The riddle is a ruse meant to throw off the party, there is no real answer. A DC 15 Wisdom (Insight) check reveals that both trees are lying and have malicious intent, if this is figured out and the trees are confronted, they attack the characters. If the characters instead chose Ablebough or Timberush as an answer to the riddle the trees pause for a moment and then proceed to attack, gaining a surprise round on the party. If one of the trees falls in combat the other tries to run away.
Development. If allowed to flee the trees continue to consume travelers who wander the forest.