Thursday, July 18, 2019

Spore Week: The Crown of the Mushroom King

Heavy is the head that wears the crown.
Is there an actual King of all Mushrooms?  Is this just a particularly venerable myconid sovereign?  Or is there an actual mycelial king lurking somewhere in the Deepearth, secretly lording over all fungi?

Regardless, there is a crown, and it is said to belong to the Mushroom King.

(Who knows how it works?  Fungal sovereignty no doubt works differently than the monarchies of humans and demihumans.)

The crown appears to be a standard sort of mushroom cap in a rich purple color.  It is shaped to fit on standard humanoid-sized heads, although it's elastic enough to be a little forgiving.

Why do the caps conform to human symbolism, anyway?
Regardless, whomever acquires and wears the cap of the mushroom king effectively gains the spore-based powers of a myconid sovereign.  Other myconids will follow your orders more or less without question.  Additionally, as per the AD&D Monstrous Manual, pages 264-265, the character can use each of the following spore types six times per day:
  • Distress: This spore type is used to alert other myconids to danger or a need for aid. The cloud expands at a rate of 40 feet per round, expanding to its maximum of 120 feet in three rounds.
  • Reproducer: These spores are only emitted at the proper time for growing new myconids so the population can be rigidly controlled. They are also automatically ejected by a dying myconid.
  • Rapport: These spores are primarily used in the melding process. However, they can be used by the myconids to communicate with other species, since the fungus men do not talk. A small cloud of spores is aimed at one person; if the person fails a saving throw vs. poison (it can choose to fail), it can go into telepathic rapport, speaking mind-to-mind with the myconid as if it were normal speech. The range of this effect is 40 feet and the duration is 60 minutes.
  • Pacifier: This type of spore cloud may be spewed at a single creature. If the creature fails its saving throw vs. poison, it becomes totally passive, unable to do anything. The affected creature only observes; it is unable to perform any action even if attacked. The range of this effect is 40 feet and the duration is 6 rounds. The duration of this effect is a number of rounds equal to the Hit Dice of the myconid.
  • Hallucinator: This type of spore is usually used in the melding ritual, but a myconid can project them at an attacker. The spore cloud may be shot at one creature, and if that creature fails its saving throw vs. poison, it suffers violent hallucinations for 60 minutes. Hallucinating creatures react as follows (roll 1d20): 1-10 Cower and whimper; 11-15 Stare into nothingness; 16-18 Flee shrieking in a random direction; 19-20 Try to kill the closest creature. The range of this effect is 40 feet.
  • Animator: The king uses these spores to infect a dead animal or creature. A purple fungus quickly covers the corpse, taking over the dead body systems and putting it to work, animating the corpse to resemble a zombie (AC 10, Move 9, HD 1, hp 4, #AT 2, Dmg bony claws for 1-3/1-3). It is not undead and cannot be turned by priests. It always strikes last in a round. The body continues to rot and the fungus gradually replaces the missing parts, becoming specialized to take over their functions. Eventually, however, the decay proceeds too far, and the body stops functioning, able to rest at last. Animation takes place 1d4 days after infection, and the corpse is animated for 1d4+1 weeks before it decays. Animated creatures will follow simple orders given by the animator (with rapport spores) to the best of their ability. Orders take priority over self-preservation.
If you're using 5e rules, the character wearing the crown can use the animating spores, hallucination spores, pacifying spores, and rapport spores from the myconid sovereign stat block (Monster Manual, page 232).  The crown requires attunement, and counts as a very rare item.

You know what's coming, right?
Of course, there are side effects to joining with another species.  Wearers find that the cap does not easily come off; indeed, after the wearer dons the cap, it joins with them and reacts as a part of the body.  (Attempts to pry it off are exceedingly painful.  If someone makes a good faith attempt to pull it off, it stays put and deals 1d4 damage.)  This precludes the use of helms, and at the GM's discretion, worsens the character's Armor Class by one or two points as the head is now a much larger target.  (It is possible that the character can get a custom helm manufactured, but that sucker is going to be heavy.  To avoid collapsing your neck from the strain, you'll probably end up having to wear custom armor that makes you look like the Juggernaut.  Or maybe druids or elves can manufacture something appropriate.)

Maybe you get used to it after a while, and regain your full Armor Class.  That all depends on how generous your GM might be.

At this point, sufficiently high-level restoration magic can still remove the cap.  (Remove Curse doesn't work, though, as strictly speaking, it's not a curse  It's just part of you now.)

Every week you wear it, make a saving throw vs. poison.  On a failed save, you begin the transformation into a myconid over the course of 1d6 weeks.  At the end of this time, switch your race or class: you're permanently a myconid now, and the cap has bonded with you permanently.  (Good news, though: if you're using 5e attunement, it stops being attuned when you become a myconid.  It's part of you now, although you're unlikely to find another magic hat that will fit you.)

It's up to the GM if you eventually become so absorbed by your myconid sovereign mindset that you become an NPC, but that seems a likely outcome for most afflicted with the Crown.

If the wearer is slain, the cap detaches, ready for another host.

Probably best to remove it before then.

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