Topiary Guardian, Lion (CR 7)

Large Plant
Alignment: Always neutral
Initiative: +2 (Dex); Senses: low-light vision and tremorsense 90 ft.

AC: 17 (+2 Dex, +6 natural, -1 size), touch 11, flat-footed 15
Hit Dice: 10d8+40 (85 hp); DR: 10/slashing
Fort +11, Ref +5, Will +3
Speed: 40 ft.
Space: 10 ft./10 ft.
Base Attack +7; Grapple +18
Attack: Claw +13 melee
Full Attack: 2 claws +13 melee and bite +8 melee
Damage: Claw 1d6+7, bite 1d8+3
Special Attacks/Actions: Improved grab, merciful, pounce, rake 1d6+3
Abilities: Str 25, Dex 14, Con 18, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 1
Special Qualities: freeze, plant traits, vulnerability to fire
Feats: -
Skills: Move Silently +10
Advancement: -
Climate/Terrain: Any
Organization: Solitary or garden (2-8)
Treasure/Possessions: None

Source: Monster Manual III

Merciful (Ex): A topiary guardian can deal nonlethal damage with any of its attacks without taking the standard -4 penalty on attack rolls. The creature chooses whether to deal lethal or nonlethal damage depending on the orders it is given by its creator. Orders to capture or subdue enemies cause the topiary guardian to use non-lethal attacks; any other attack order causes the creature to deal lethal damage.

Freeze (Ex): A topiary guardian can hold itself so still that it appears to be a normal sculpted shrub. An observer must succeed on a DC 30 Spot check to notice that a topiary guardian is actually an animated creature.

Skills: A topiary guardian has a +8 racial bonus on Move Silently checks.

A lion topiary guardian has the following special attacks:

Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, a lion topiary guardian must hit with its bite attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking attacks of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and can rake on subsequent rounds.

Pounce (Ex): If a lion topiary guardian charges a foe, it can make a full attack, including two rake attacks.

Rake (Ex): Attack bonus +13 melee, damage 1d6+3.


Creating a topiary guardian begins with acquiring a perfectly sculpted topiary of a boar, lion, or triceratops. Shaping the plant takes six weeks and requires a DC 25 Craft (gardening), Craft (sculpting), or Profession (gardener) check. After the topiary has been properly crafted, the creator must treat it with rare tinctures and oils costing 1/25th the base price of the guardian (800 gp for a Medium topiary guardian, 2,400 gp for a large topiary guardian, or 4,600 gp for a Huge topiary guardian). Once the topiary is properly treated, the animating ritual can commence. The entire ritual for animation must take place outdoors, since the shrub remains dependent on sun, rain, and soil until the final day of the procedure.

Cl 13th; Craft Construct, awaken, geas/quest, limited wish, creator must be a 13th-level caster; Price 20,000 gp (Medium), 60,000 gp (large), 115,000 gp (Huge); Cost 10,800 + 800 XP (Medium), 32,400 gp + 2,400 XP (large), 62,100 gp + 4,600 XP (Huge).

A topiary guardian follows the orders of its creator if he is within 90 feet. If uncommanded, it continues to follow the last order it received to the best of its ability, though it attacks any creature that attacks it. The guardian's creator can leave simple orders, such as "Attack any creature entering the garden at night," that the guardian can follow. If a guardian is protecting the home of an important government figure, it is often given orders to pin opponents rather than kill them. Captured intruders can then be arrested and interrogated by the local guard. Topiary guardians sense vibrations through the ground, making them excellent sentries. When a topiary guardian spots an intruder, it stays perfectly still until the intruder comes within 30 or 40 feet. The animated bush then simply charges.