Tuesday, August 11, 2015

You snorted my brother. Prepare to die.

The Oppenheim Kellerlabyrinth is haunted by the ghosts of four Catholic saints, known collectively as the Four Holy Marshals. The Knights Templar had their remains moved to the tunnels centuries ago, to contain a then-recently discovered infestation of hyperdimensional fungoid aliens. The order currently has no information on just where these demons came from, they only know that this threat to their world must be contained at all costs.

Several intelligent fungoid species inhabit the lowest levels of the kellerlabyrinth. Although their adult body types and abilities vary greatly, all of these species go through a roughly similar life cycle, which has three stages: embryonic, larval, and mature. All three stages, if harvested and consumed properly, have potion-like effects on the user. The corpses of mature molds yield a great deal more doses than the embryonic and larval

They periodically produce reproductive spores, which are released into the air and immediately abandoned by the parent. Spores that randomly find themselves in ideal environments (damp, cool, presence of nutrition, etc) continue to reproduce, forming into molds that produce temporary effects in most animal species (including humans) when consumed. 

Embryonic Mold: Potion-Like Effects
orange mold: size doubled (+4 to damage rolls, +2d6 temporary HP,  -4 AC penalty)
grey mold: healing (must be applied directly to wound)
blue mold: visions (must be smoked; there’s a secret society that's sprung up around this substance but that’s a whole other post)
red mold: double movement and number of attacks (must be dried, powdered, and snorted)
purple mold: etherealness (must be consumed as a tea, can walk through walls, +4 AC bonus, clothes and equipment also become ethereal)

There’s a weird old lady that lives in the kellerlabyrinth and sells potions, powders, etc. distilled from these embryonic molds. She knows more about these creatures than anyone except the Four Holy Marshals, but is a little crazy and any hints she lets slip will be cryptic in nature. She’s also been experimenting with the combining of molds to produce new effects, to varying degrees of success.

The inquisitor hates her and wants her to burn, but she makes clever use of her potions and keeps making a fool of him every time he tries to fuck with her.

Whenever one of these embryonic molds grows to a sufficient size, it begins to develop specialized structures with similar functions to those of our brains and sensory organs. Molds at this stage are capable of producing weaponized spores, but not reproductive ones. These spores are the only natural defense of molds in this larval stage. Larval molds are completely immobile, but have achieved basic sentience and are constantly learning during this period.

Larval Molds: Weaponized Spores
(PCs get a chance to roll an appropriate saving throw for all these effects. Obviously.)
orange mold: size increases beyond the size of the room, bones start getting crushed
grey mold: out-of-control permanent constitution-draining tumors 
blue mold: confusion and/or suggestion
red mold: possibly fatal heart attack, survivors are still incapacitated for 1d6 rounds
purple mold: PC (but not clothes or equipment) becomes completely ethereal and floats up to the surface over the course of 3 rounds per dungeon level between the PC and the open air.

If PCs find an embryonic mold to be useful and keep returning to its location to harvest more, there is a 1/6 chance for each day it’s been since the room was last visited (maximum of 5/6) of the mold having advanced to the larval stage.

Once these fungoid neural structures have been completed, the molds begin to focus on producing limbs (1d6-2 trunk-like legs, 1d8-1 tentacles, minimum 0, roll again on a result of no limbs). Within a few days, these limbs are usually large and strong enough to be useful to the mold, and the creature is considered mature. Molds with legs can walk around and perform slam attacks, and ones that have tentacles can use them to manipulate objects as well as grabbing and constricting enemies.

All mature molds can produce the same weaponized spores as their larval forms at will, as well as empathic spores which allow a basic form of universal communication, and reproductive spores (produced involuntarily whenever the adult mold consumes enough extra nutrition). They also have intrinsic, always-on abilities that correspond to the effects of consuming each mold type in its embryonic form.

I'm writing this for low level characters, so it makes sense to me that these creatures should have about the same stats that whatever game you're playing uses for let’s say a cave bear (aside from the unusual limbs and spores and intrinsic qualities). If your party averages around level seven or higher, you should probably think about upping the hit dice (but you hopefully know that by now if you've been running a campaign that long).

Mature Molds: Intrinsic Qualities
orange mold: size doubled, +4 HD, -2 AC penalty
grey mold: regenerates 1d4 hp/round
blue mold: can see a second into the future like a jedi (+6 AC)
red mold: double movement speed and number of attacks
purple mold: ethereal (can’t be physically harmed by non-ethereal creatures or objects, but can attack others and walk through walls) 

They don’t have anything resembling an animal’s mouth, but it takes about twelve hours to completely grow around an adult human corpse, digest it, and eject perfectly clean bones. Mature molds need to consume more than four adult humans (or an equivalent amount of non-human animal meat) to produce reproductive spores.

This means that if a mature mold causes a Total Party Kill, and the replacement characters find their way back to that room, it will probably still be full of bones, and partially covered in mold colonies in their potion-like embryonic stage.

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