Friday, July 19, 2019

Spore Week: I Dreamt A Dream Of Human Iniquity, And It Disturbed My Rest

Can a mind think a thought so toxic it becomes a viral meme unto itself, churning and ripping through the other minds it infects?

A dungeon concept to round out Spore Week.

(I'll actually have to revisit and stat it out eventually, but one step at a time.)

Most people on the surface see the strange, purplish, bloated mushroom men of the deepearth — creatures that cannot speak and shun the sun and raise the dead with strange growths — and fear them, assuming them monstrous when they are in fact enlightenment-seeking pacifists.

People always assume all sorts of things about creatures which they do not understand.

And so it was that noted tomb robber Lupus Gaertner (7th-level thief) saw fit to penetrate the subterranean tunnels of the mushroom men and steal their riches, assuming that all under the sun is like himself and values gold from the earth.

He instead sneaked through lightless tunnels, finding no treasure but the strange alchemies of the fungus men and their peace-loving king.  His interrogations yielded nothing, so he slew the myconids' king.

Imagine his surprise when the king's cap sloughed off his head.

Donning the mushroom cap, Lupus found he could command and control the furtive fungus men.  They are clumsy and die in the sunlight, but night raids are better anyway, and stealth is less important when you have overwhelming force

Old Lupus began his slow transformation into the new Mushroom King when he donned the King's Crown, eventually becoming a myconid himself.  But his human ambitions remained, and he only uses the meld as a psychonautical training exercise to better prepare himself and his loyal subjects — a way to astrally case target sites and practice burglary strategies.

The myconids are essentially helpless victims, but the local populace will not see it that way, assuming that the mushroom men's nightly raids are of their own volition.  Even if Lupus is killed, they might continue their raids, simply assuming this is now their work.

About 100 myconids of various sizes lair in the lightless tunnels beneath the earth.  Old Lupus Gaertner is their king, twelve feet tall but still wily and possessing his various thieves' skills and tools in addition to his capabilities as a myconid sovereign.

The mushroom men themselves hold little treasure apart from their fungal and alchemical preparations: three potions of anointment (special poisons brewed by the mushroom men that elevate a 5 HD myconid adult to a 6 HD myconid sovereign; they are deadly poisons — save vs. poison or die — if consumed by non-myconids), and five potions of another type.  (You can use these strange growths to round out the potions, or you can roll on the potions table from some source like Labyrinth Lord.  I generated oil of etherealness, potion of giant control, potion of growth, potion of plant control, and potion of poison.)  Lupus tightly controls the myconids' alchemy, always trying to maintain his control.  (He is especially worried about those potions of anointment, as he wants to keep his hegemony over the myconid circles, but he keeps them in case they ever come in handy.  Especially because they form a deadly poison to humans.)

Although myconids don't usually keep treasure, Lupus stashed his old loot throughout the complex before completing his transformation, not to mention what he and the myconids have gathered on raids.  He probably has the equivalent of Hoard Class X stashed throughout the underground complex, although what he plans on doing with all that money is anyone's guess.

For maximum gonzo, the player characters play a circle of myconids trying to find out why this other circle has suddenly started attacking humans and drawing entirely too much attention to the local mushroom men.

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