Curse of Strahd
These tragic creatures are the victims of a doppelganger plant’s mind bondage spell. In addition to providing the plant with nourishment at the cost of their own life essences, podlings also act as the plant’s eyes and hands. Although podlings are mentally dominated by the plants they serve, their actions are in no way stiff or unnatural. Any casual observer will almost certainly assume that there is nothing unusual about the podling. A podling retains all knowledge and abilities it had in its previous existence, but now serves the needs of the doppelganger plant exclusively. It is no longer alive in the sense that it once was. Any basic medical check will reveal that there is no respiration (except as needed to speak or smell), no heart beat, and no response of the pupils to light. Similarly, podlings have no need (or desire) to eat, drink, or sleep. It is through these differences that they are most often found out when they move among men. In addition, podlings usually weigh far less than they did when they were “alive”. This factor can be accidentally or purposefully discovered by those with whom a podling comes into contact. When called upon to defend the doppelganger plant, the podling will not hesitate. It draws upon all of the knowledge and power it had prior to its transformation (including spells, special abilities, or familiarity with the enemy’s tactics, weaknesses. and capabilities) to defeat the enemies of the plant. Thus, the actual statistics used for an individual podling will vary greatly. Most, however, are ordinary men, women, and demihumans who have fallen under the influence of the evil doppelganger plant.