Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fungal Creature

Born from the flesh of decaying hosts, fungal creatures have all the abilities and intelligence of the original with none of the memories, soul, or humanity.  While they can think and even speak and reason, their overwhelming need to reproduce obliterates all other considerations. 

From damp subterranean caverns to faerie groves to orbiting biospheres to planar realms of decay, fungal creatures can sprout up almost anywhere.  They’re perhaps at their most deadly when they grow from woodland creatures.  Adventurers might not even they’re dealing with a fungal nymph, for instance, rather than the real thing until it’s too late.

Twice now the centaur Sengar Shorthoof has defied his people: once in helping adventurers against orders, and more recently in entering the forbidden Nymphwood, chasing after his wayward (and presumably enchanted) brother.  The tribe will waste no more tears on Sengar, but they grudgingly decide to let his adventuring friends know of his trespass.  Sadly, the trouble is worse than they know: the eponymous nymph is long dead, and the fungal nymph that has replaced her is well on her way to making spawn of the two centaurs as well.

Born from the corpse of a dark naga, Skullcap is a rubbery jet-black serpent with a white mushroom cap like a cobra’s hood.  When not directing his myceloid and vegepygmy servitors, he delights in reading the tomes of philosophy and magic left by his living naga predecessor.  Over time he has come to see himself as a new stage in evolution, and he warmly welcomes interlopers as future hosts and his own prodigal children—even as he seeks to feed them his spores and even his fungal blood.

A birdbath and sundial in a mysteriously well-kept garden is actually a portal to a series of magical realms, one for each of the twelve hours of the day. The realms belong to common figures from local fables, both beneficent and dire. (Adventurers who take the time to examine the illustrations on the rim of the dial before getting drawn inside will gain clues as to each realm’s inhabitants.)  The adventurers may move freely from territory to territory, but they may not escape until the have faced down the lands’ greatest master, a fungal wyvern that lords over the Realm of Noon.

—Pathfinder Bestiary 4 116–117