Shambling Mounds


Usually found deep within Swampy regions, "Shamblers" (as they're often called) appear much of the time to be moving heaps of tangled vegetation. The guise of branches, leaves, rotting vegetation, vines and sometimes partially digested prey would lead one to believe at first that You've walked upon some hermit's Compost Heap. That is, until it moves towards You with the intent to eat You. Sometimes they appear as formless as any other foliated bramble thicket. Other times, they seem to mock hominid species with their shambling gated walk. In a sense this is true, for  sometimes these often monstrously sized death bushes hold within them the skeletal structure of their last victim(s). When this is the case, they often take on an almost Hominid like stature, using the slowly digested body within almost as a frame on which to attach their otherwise formless vegetative selves. It's been witnessed by some that have disected the "bodies" of dead Shamblers that they actually will attach small thick vines to these slowly decompsing skeletons in the same places that Muscle tissue and Ligements would be attatched themselves. Other times they have been found to actually used sheared bones as "claws", "teeth" and "toes". I've even heard of reports of them being found occassionally with Human (and I'm sure Elven and Dwarven as well) spines jutting forth from what would be their posteriers, supported by said "muscle" vines as if in some way mimicing a boney tail of some sort. This, to a simple man as myself, boggles the mind as to whether these creatures are in some way strangely intelligent in their own way, or simply being influenced by some as yet undiscovered force. Often, these unfortunate victims were Human, Elven or one of a myriad of other unfortunate races whom were unlucky enough to find themselves tangled within their clutching brush-like grasp or their capture vines used to secure prey. Delivered from growth like Pods about the size of a good laying hen's egg, these Webbing Pods grow inside the Shambler's body and are literally shot at the foresaid prey using a rapid methane outgassing provided from digested and rotting organic matter deep within the Shambler's own body. Passing through the loosely constructed body of the Shambler, these Pods can sometimes travel as far as 20ft or more effectivly before exploding upon impact. Upon exploding, a soupy liquid like matter bursts upon it's target which (within seconds) hardens as it comes in contact with air to an almost unbreakable (by Human standards atleast), tough, fiberous web-like consistancy that is intended to keep the prey items immobile so that it may be "devoured" easily. Shambler consumption in and of itself is something of a wonder to behold (when of course it's nay Your companion or Yourself) as they literally engulf their prey inside themselves through their own outer "skin". I've witnessed a large feral pig devoured this way (as I sat at height, safetly in a nearby tree - I'm curious, not foolish) and can only begin to cringe at the thought of a concious being struggling as it's engulfed into one of these creatures. Know though that even when this is the case, Shamblers are still a rather slow aggressor being easily out runned by even small races such as Goblins if seen early enough. But as any true person that knows the workings of creatures such as these, never underestimate Your foe should You find Yourself on the defense from one of these creatures, for they are prone to nay traveling alone. On another note, I was lucky enough to eat some well prepared "Shambler Greens" while I was passing through a Woodelven territory once. Very distinct and peculiur taste they have and not at all distasteful I must admit. Much akin to woodland greens boiled in a mix of salty animal fat and strong ginger. I'd recommend it to anyone should they find themselves in the position to sample it. 
Hugh's Naturalist Rule Number One - If You see one nearby, theres another right behind You.