Banyan Tree

A grander cousin to the mundane Banyan, Banyan Maior, the Great Banyan, is the central tree in a Banyan colony that, having connected its roots to enough others, generates a strange sapiance and magical ability. Direct communication difficult, with only powerful Star and Feypack warlocks, profoundly learned natural sages, and druids being able to speak to one without a dryad or treant interpreter. The greatest of Banyan have roots extending into the Feywild or Astral Sea. The term Banyan can refer to a Great Tree of any variety.

The Great Banyan can grow to 250m tall and 500m wide (branch to branch). Undergrowth and lesser trees will grow lushly in its shadow, despite the little light it lets through. The Banyan can perceive well through its entire forest but can only act directly (telepathically, with illusions, etc.) within a few miles of the main trunk.

Any forest or swamp containing a Great Banyan long ago grew large enough to attract a number of dryads and treants. All such creatures that permanently reside in a Great Banyan forest will become the tree's servants, willingly or not. This includes the Blackroot Treant, the treant's known undead form. Banyan typically have more mundane servants as well, using humanoids and fey as hirelings and agents (and sometimes subjects) to venture into the wider world, and most Banyan will imbue a plant creature of some power as their avatar, grafting a shard of their intelligence into it that they may in some way see and act more directly in the outside world. Unlike lesser sylvan rulers, Banyan are never content merely to protect their forests. Some few grow immoderately, seeking to control more area. Some play strange games of politics and dominance, contending secretly with the wisest humanoid rulers, elemental lords, and other entities yet unnamed. Most often they dig their taproot deep while shaping waters, earth, and their entire selves into specific shapes, preparing themselves for some great ritual. None of those rituals has yet been completed. If forced into direct conflict, a Banyan can contend with an elder dragon, but neither party would be eager to initiate such a fight.

A Great Banyan accumulates Stardust in its heartwood, though obtaining any without the Banyan's permission is no mean feat. The largest concentration is in its Trueseed, a large (3 kg) round seed that acts similarly to a lich's phylactery. No undead Banyan has been known to exist.

Cypress trees have awakened in a similar manner. Creatures of the underdark speak similarly of great fungal creatures, stranger still and tied to the shadowfel, but accounts are vague. Great Banyan tend to favor anonymity, best exemplified by the Great Cypress of Neverlight Forest.

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