Large plant, Chaotic evil
- Armour Class: 12
- Hit Points: 127 (15d10 + 45)
- Speed: 20 feet; Climb 20 feet
Condition Immunities: Blinded, Deafened
Senses: Blindsight, 120 feet (blind beyond this range), Passive Perception: 12
Challenge: 8 (3,900 EXP)
Corpses. When first encountered, a corpse flower contains the corpses of 1d6 + 3 humanoids. A corpse flower can hold the remains of up to nine dead humanoids.
These remains have total cover against attacks and other effects outside the corpse flower. If the corpse flower dies, the corpses within it can be pulled free.
While it has at least one humanoid corpse in its body, the corpse flower can use a bonus action to do one of the following:
- The corpse flower digests one humanoid corpse in its body and instantly regains 11 (2d10) hit points. Nothing of the digested body remains. Any equipment on the corpse is expelled from the corpse flower in its space.
- The corpse flower animates one dead humanoid in its body, turning it into a zombie. The zombie appears in an unoccupied space within 5 feet of the corpse flower and acts immediately after it in the initiative order. The zombie acts as an ally of the corpse flower but isn’t under its control, and the flower’s stench clings to it (see the Stench of Death trait).
Spider Climb. The corpse flower can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.
Stench of Death. Each creature that starts its turn within 10 feet of the corpse flower or one of its zombies must make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw, unless the creature is a construct or undead.
On a failed save, the creature is incapacitated until the end of the turn. Creatures that are immune to poison damage or the poisoned condition automatically succeed on this saving throw. On a successful save, the creature is immune to the stench of all corpse flowers for 24 hours.
Multiattack. The corpse flower makes three tentacle attacks.
Tentacle. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (2d6 + 2) bludgeoning damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or take 14 (4d6) poison damage.
Harvest the Dead. The corpse flower grabs one unsecured dead humanoid within 10 feet of it and stuffs the corpse into itself, along with any equipment the corpse is wearing or carrying. The remains can be used with the Corpses trait.
Horrible Odor. With or without humanoid corpses nested in its body, a corpse flower exudes a stench of decay that can overwhelm the senses of nearby creatures, causing them to become nauseated. The stench, which serves as a defense mechanism, fades 2d4 days after the corpse flower dies.
What is a Corpse Flower?
With a name taken from the nickname of the Indonesian carrion flower, Amorphophallus titanum, Corpse Flowers are massive plants that aptly sprout on the gravesites of powerful necromancers or undead creatures.
They take time to grow, and players or NPCs can uproot and destroy them whilst still seedlings, preventing them from maturing into the fully grown horror show that is the Corpse Flower.
A matured Corpse Flower is a large-sized carnivorous plant monster with twisting vines and an overpowering stench of rot and death. Twisted into its vines are several humanoid corpses that the flower can either digest or animate into zombies for self-defense.
Its vines work like tentacles, allowing the Corpse Flower to move, albeit slowly, and attack nearby threats. A matured Corpse Flower will tear itself free from the earth and begin to scavenge using these vines.
Its primary food source is humanoid corpses from battlefields and graveyards. Corpse Flowers will usually have a collection of corpses entangled deep in their vines which they may dine on as they move around in search of new areas to scavenge.
As previously stated, Corpse Flowers don’t have a natural habitat per se. They sprout atop the final resting places of mighty creatures with connections to undeath, such as Necromancers, Wights, or Revenants.
In this sense, the Corpse Flower is similar to the Gulthias tree. Once a Corpse Flower has ripped itself free from the earth, it can and will travel to wherever it might find something to feed on.
As one might guess for a creature that feeds on rotting corpses, Corpse Flowers smell horrific, which serves as a defense mechanism for the plant. The smell is so terrible that it is outright disabling.
The scent is also not determined by the size of the Corpse Flower’s collection of bodies. Even a starving Corpse Flower has a suffocating offensive odor.
The Corpse Flower isn’t rare. Luckily, you’re not going to find these just hanging around either. They do require the corpse of a formidable necromancer or other undead creature before they will even begin to sprout, and killing these creatures isn’t exactly the most straightforward task; otherwise, there would be Corpse Flowers everywhere.
Corpse-flower seedlings are quite useful for various purposes. Simply kill and bury a necromancer, and you should have a good crop in about a week.– Mordekainen
A Player’s Guide To Hunting Corpse Flowers
Corpse Flowers are not a foe to be taken lightly. Though they’re slow and relatively easy to hit, the Corpse Flower boasts a rather beefy damage output, averaging 27 bludgeoning damage a turn with its multi-attack and up to 42 poison damage with 30% base accuracy.
The Corpse Flower’s Stench of Death trait is also powerful when used against melee damage dealers who will pack fewer defensive stats and may not be able to make the saving throw for Stench of Death as easily.
Let’s do some quick maths, shall we? Assume that we are the Dungeon Master, and we are using the rule that ties go to the attacker. A quick note before we get into the gritty numbers, the following maths apply to both Stench of Death and the Corpse Flower’s Poison damage with its Tentacle attack.
A player of 17th level or higher with 20 points in Constitution and Proficiency with Constitution saving throws will have an 87.5% chance to make the saving throw against Stench of Death after accounting for the Barbarian capstone bonus.
This means that roughly 1/10 Constitution proficient tanks (Fighter 15%, Barbarian 10%) will fail the first check against Stench of Death and be incapacitated by it at the 20th level. Paladins have +4 to all saving throws and will still fail the check roughly 25% of the time. Clerics will fail the check about 45% of the time.
Stench of Death doesn’t grant immediate resistance to its effect when the player recovers from the stench. It can only be resisted when the player succeeds in the saving throw. So an incapacitated player will remain incapacitated until they pass that check.
Players who are immune to Poison damage or the Poisoned status condition will pass it automatically. So 10th level monks, 14th level Druids who are part of the Circle of Spores, Grungs, and Yuan-Ti Purebloods will all be immediately immune to Stench of Death, but the vast majority of characters will need to make this throw.
If you have a chance to plan out your battle with a Corpse Flower before confronting it, Artificers, Clerics, and Druids should take time to meditate and ensure that Protection from Poison is on their spell list. Paladins who do not have a protective spellcaster should consider meditating to add Protection from Poison to their spell lists as well.
Casting Protection from Poison on your melee party members before they charge in will grant them immunity to the Poisoned status for 1 hour and does not require concentration, protecting them from both Stench of Death and the Flower’s Poison damage for the duration of the fight.
Corpse Flowers are also entirely blind to anything standing 120 feet or further away from them. High-level Sorcerers can use Distant Spell to stay safely out of the Corpse Flower’s sight while hurling spells.
Rangers who use longbows can remain safely out of the space of a Corpse Flower as long as they have a clear shot, and the Flower will be none the wiser.
A Dungeon Master’s Guide to Corpse Flowers
Unfortunately for roleplay-focused DMs, the Corpse Flower doesn’t offer any meaningful opportunities to flex your voice acting abilities since it can’t speak any languages. In fact, it’s unclear if Corpse Flowers make noises at all!
Outside of roleplay, it’s vital to remember that whilst Corpse Flowers are scavengers, it’s unclear if Corpse Flowers are obligate scavengers who do not obtain sustenance by other methods.
It’s also unclear how much food is required to sustain the plant on a day-to-day basis, given that they can store up to 9 corpses in their foliage at a time. It’s also unclear whether or not the Corpse Flower will consume animals and other monsters if there are no humanoid corpses available.
That said, it’s unlikely that you’ll find a Corpse Flower wandering around in the center of town slaying the townsfolk. As formidable as the Corpse Flower is in combat, it’s painfully slow; most humanoids can walk faster than the Corpse Flower can move.
So its hunting capabilities are questionable at best. They will be found where there are abandoned corpses to feed off.
Most likely, they’ll be wanted by the townsfolk for ransacking the graveyard in the middle of the night or kidnapping townsfolk that wander too far from civilization.
It’s also critical to remember that — like the carrion flowers of our plane of existence — your players will smell the flower before they see the flower. A stench that can pervade for up to 8 days without the plant even being alive near the area isn’t one that will go unnoticed, even if the players can’t physically see the flower.
The corpse flower may not have a lair — it doesn’t even stay in one place like a typical plant — but it certainly has a larger sphere of influence than its immediate surroundings.
Corpse Flowers are also usually tied to necromancy as they grow from the bodies of necromancers. So hiding some special loot or information behind the living wall of a Corpse Flower allows the DM to give some good story progression rewards for taking down this magnificent abomination.