Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fungal Tyrant

One cannot underestimate the ambition of fungus. They're not like us. What alien impulses motivate them to do the things they do? We'll probably never know. Pernicious pests, sumptuous repasts, hallucinogenic confounders of the young and impressionable. Alas, they are too much like us for either of our good...
Vintage Colloidal Argentotype print from the only surviving page of Laxrimosk's Cthonic Catalogue
Fungal Tyrant
No. Enc.: 1 (1d4)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: Zero
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 4+
Attacks: 1d4
Damage: 1d4+1 (per each tendril-lash), or by spell/ability
Save: MU6 (2 levels above current HD)
Morale: 11

Special Abilities: Use the following spells at-will; Clairvoyance, Detect Invisible, ESP, Locate Object, Ventriloquism (only within Area of Awareness).

True subterranean hazards to navigation, Fungal Tyrants are the mature, easily visible fruiting-body form of a Fungal Drone that has take root. Once it has insinuated itself into a suitable location, these horrid creatures extend a network of cellular strands into the soil, infiltrating an area of up to a mile or more per HD. This net of filament-like strands acts as a sort of extended nervous system for the Tyrant, allowing it to observe everything that takes place within its personal Area of Awareness through a form of non-invasive ESP.

Deaf, mute and blind, these dreadful fungi abide in dark, damp places selected specifically to take best advantage of the prevailing conditions and terrain as places of ambush. They patiently wait in the dim gloom below for lost travelers, stragglers, or adventurers to prey upon. A well-established clutch of Fungal Tyrants can spur the creation of new tunnels and fresh passages in order to by-pass the monsters.

A Fungal Tyrant acquires INT, WIS and CHAR by consuming the dead brains of intelligent creatures whose bodies have been reduced into a noxious goo by the chemicals exuded by its extended cellular network. Often a Fungal Tyrant benefits from the deaths of creatures that never even knew one was near-by. This is why many Fungal Tyrants can be found near hotly contested underground passageways or key junctions along subterranean trade-routes, as well as forgotten catacombs, ancient grave-sites, and otherwise abandoned necropolises. Fungal Tyrants are not particularly picky about how they acquire brains.

A typical Fungal Tyrant will begin with the spell-casting capabilities of a Magic User of 1st-4th level (roll 1d4), and will improve one level per 2 HD gained through consuming brains.

It is suspected that there are more advanced versions of these monstrosities out there in the deep dark, but little is known and less confirmed, although the Journal of Admunth Delavorme contains a partially expurgated account of a conversation with a huge, old Fungal Tyrant and the afore-mentioned adventurer during which the creature offers to trade various incomprehensibly-named spells of dubious provenance for equivalent knowledge or teachings. It is unclear whether this account is a forgery, a hoax or a legitimate piece of evidence since the Sewer Militia seized the three known copies of the transcribed journal in manuscript form and no longer allow access to it under any circumstances.

There are also rumors of a stunted off-shoot or sub-type of the known form of Fungal Tyrant, colloquially called 'Fungal Bullies,' that are covered with vivid ochre or burgundy spots. These smaller (2HD+) creatures lack much of the spell-casting abilities of their larger brethren, but make up for it by their hyper-malevolent toxicity and ability to make anything within their Area of Awareness succumb to a form of rot very similar to that inflicted by mummies. In fact, ancient fragmentary records transcribed from clay tablets recovered from ancient subterranean ruins seem to indicate that these creatures may have more than a passing connection to certain forms of mummification, leading some less cautious scholars to assert that the rotting ability of some mummies may in fact be derived from these particular fungi. So far the three official expeditions that have set out to determine the accuracy of this hypothesis have all gone missing without a trace.


6 comments:

  1. ThIs beastie could take over a city if it learns the Charm spells. Beautiful image, now serving as my iPad wallpaper.

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  2. Yes...yes, they certainly can...and do...sometimes infiltrate and subjugate various cities, usually from below. Once they learn a few spells, these things can get really nasty, as they plot away in the depths like cold, calculating inhuman intelligences...

    They make great mastermind-type villains, some of them could even develop into Fu Manchu style bad guys.

    Glad you like the image.

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  3. That's freaking nasty & very, very dangerous! I see you've been busy my friend.

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    Replies
    1. They're vicious things, smarter than the average fungi, and they definitely make for nasty opponents. The kind of bad guys who work through catspaws and puppets, very Fu Machu like...

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  4. Very very nasty monster could well become a problem for any number of cities with a fungus problem my friend. Well done.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! We've seen what these things can do in a couple of cities and it isn't pretty...

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