Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cerebric Fungus

What is it with alien plants and mind control?  Seemingly part brain, part morel, and part mouth, the cerebric fungus is a mobile carnivorous fungus that is also maddeningly intelligent—literally.  At only CR 3 and straddling the line between pulp alien and Lovecraftian horror, these fungi are a good introduction to weirder and more dangerous horrors down the road.

Adventures come across a downed vessel of some sort, a vast silvery craft.  They each “hear” a single piercing telepathic cry for help, interspersed with other far more alien telepathic impressions.  Inside the vessel they find scores of corpses—aliens killed in the crash.  They also find a colony of cerebric fungi sitting unharmed in a greenhouse module.  The single clear cry from help comes from a cerebric fungus that has been experimented upon so often it is now insane…and thus paradoxically safe for humans to communicate with.  The other fungi simply try to eat the adventurers.

The red men of Tinagh (treat as half-elves with red skin) avoid the Jungles of Madness at all cost.  As green plants are a rarity on the dry planet, one would think that travel to the southern continent’s lush tropical forests would be worth the risk.  One would also be wrong—the unsettling appearance, maddening touch, and horrible star-shrieking of the jungle fungi make inland travel nearly impossible.

In an effort to stop serial killers, the Watch has entered into a dark pact with a cerebric fungus.  Discovered in magician’s menagerie during the Winter of Razors, the otherworldly fungus saved itself from extermination by deciphering clues that led to the apprehension Jehmany Razor.  Now the Watch semi-regularly consults the telepathic thing, never realizing that it is slowly perverting the minds of its handlers, who have begun feeding it prisoners and paupers.

Pathfinder Bestiary 3 52

Touches of Barsoom in that second adventure seed.  And I call that last effort “Silence of the Yams.

I’m sure one of my alert readers will tell me if the cerebric fungus resembles any particular monster from film or fiction.  Also, the Pathfinder supplement Distant Worlds has these plants hailing from at least one moon and one planet in Golarion’s solar system, and a cerebric fungus oracle is one of the least disturbing things about Pathfinder Adventure Path #46: Wake of the Watcher.

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