Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Killer Tree of Van Nuys

Miguel Ceballos, who we have previously met, is a second grader who loves Spider Man and is crazy about super heroes in general. After school Miguel cuts out pictures from his comic books and pins them to his walls. He does so because he hopes the super heroes will keep him safe from the tree in his back yard. 

     Miguel knows that something isn’t right about that tree. At night its branches scrape against his window even though there isn’t any wind. When he takes the trash out, he often trips over exposed roots that were below ground the day before.

     He tried to tell his parents about his concerns, but they accused him of having an overactive imagination. Miguel would love to chop the tree down, or set it on fire, but he shudders at the thought of the spanking he’d receive. Making matters worse, his chihuahua  Taki, has gone missing. Miguel knows that the tree had something to do with it, but no one will believe him.


     When motionless, an animated tree is indistinguishable from a normal tree. It stands about 30 feet tall, with a trunk nearly 3’ in diameter. It weighs about 4,500 pounds. Due to its wide roots and sweeping branches, an animated tree occupies a space 3 hexes in diameter. Animated trees are territorial and extremely aggressive.

     Although they can move, they only do so to seek out areas with better sunlight and soil. In the absence of rich soil, they will attack any creature that comes within its 3 hex reach. (Animated trees can sense movement upon the ground near their roots.) If the interloper is killed, the animated tree fertilizes the soil with the corpse. Animated trees lack intelligence. As a result, they are incapable of planning, tactics and communication.

Animated Tree (69 points)
SM +4 (30’ tall, 4,500 lbs.);
ST 35 (size, -40%) [150], DX 10, IQ 0 [-200], HT 14 [40];
HP 35, Will 0, Per 0, FP 14;
Basic Lift 245, Damage: Thr 4d-1/Sw 6d+1;
Basic Speed 6, Basic Move 2 [-20];
Dodge 6, Parry (see attacks), Block -;
DR 1.

Advantages and Perks
Damage Resistance 1 [5], Doesn’t Breathe (oxygen and CO2 absorption) [15], Doesn’t Sleep [20], Extended Lifespan 2 [4], Immunity (metabolic hazards) [30], Injury Tolerance (homogenous) [40], Temperature Tolerance 3 (7º–104º) [3].

Disadvantages and Quirks
Dependency (sunlight, very common, daily) [-15], Dependency (water soluble nutrients found in soil, very common, weekly) [-10], Fragile (combustible) [-5].

Brawling-14 [12].

Punch-14, 4d+3 cr, Reach 3, Parry-10.

"This Is LA" Project Home
Previous Installment
Next Installment

Related Map - Miguel's House

View Larger Map


  1. Before the San Fernando Valley was heavily settled, trees like the one Miguel described used to be able to move freely. They could move between sources of water and find nutrient-rich soil.

    When people began establishing dairies and orchards, the trees sense a change and became sedentary. As the decades passed, some of the trees died, were cut down or went into a permanent state of dormancy.

    I think that this tree was awakened, recognizes that it is hemmed in and it trying nourish itself. Judging by that photo of Miguel's backyard, it looks a little sparse.

    Miguel, if I were you, I would water the tree and use some of your allowance to purchase bags of manure. Fertilize the soil and perhaps the tree will go back to sleep or at least be more passive.

    1. You mean that tree used Taki as fertilizer? :(

  2. Tough break, kid. Maybe you should get an ax.

  3. Sorry about your dog, son. Mr. Reed sounds like he knows what he is talking about. If your parents ask what you are doing, tell them you are trying to make the yard pretty. They will appreciate that and won;t ask you any more questions. Maybe you could spread some grass seed, too.

  4. So prior to this it was a post about a four-armed monster from Valencia and now it's a dog eating trees from Van Nuys? Baby, that's why I never drive north of the 101 nor east of the 5.

  5. Taki didn't get eaten by a tree, stupid. He ran away, just like I wish you would.

  6. sing to the tree, Miguel. Trees like music. Maybe a little radio will keep the tree away from you.

  7. Miguel, if you continue to have trouble with the tree let me know. I will fly out to California, and deal with it. I've faced worse. A good chainsaw, and perhaps fire, and it's as good as gone. If it did do something to your dog, it's evil, and needs to be dealt with.