Sunday, March 20, 2011

Next gen mushrooms

My daughter celebrates her third birthday today, and I sneak away to add some mushy muscle to the blog. I hope she will forgive me.

Have a fine week, everyone! I will personally wrestle my way out of yet another cold, and hope for good hunting when it comes to finding new and intersting life forms. If you don't know how to use this one, may I suggest one of these creatures carrying around with an ancient set of runes, that for some reason have to be retrieved and closely investigated.


TERRAIN: Any moist region
FOOD: Carnivore
AGGRESSION: Low (until disturbed)
SIZE: 5-7 feet (150-210 cm) tall

AGILITY: 15-20
(If stats of a human ranges from 3 to 18)

SPEED: Running x 2, Swimming x 1
(Multiple is times human speed)

(Ranges from 0-100)

(If a human commoner has about 11 hit points)

BACK: 5-15(fully or partially protected by rock)
(If Full Plate Armour is 10)

The “fake” body of the Mingossi (see 'Description') is solid, but spongy. It is easily cut through, but the creature's reaction to pain is low. Due to its special construction it can cope with more dire wounds than ordinary creatures. It doesn't bleed as easily.

2 CLAWS: 1–3
6 INJECTION PROJECTILES: 1-3 (+ spore infection, see 'Powers')
(If a Long Sword makes a damage of 1-8)

The Mingossi trunk is a highly sophisticated apparatus that is primarily designed to capture and swallow small animals. When angered, the creature wields it high toward any enemy, and grabs after heads, arms, or legs. The inside of the trunk is littered with barbs and sucking devices. Once the trunk gets hold, it is virtually impossible to free oneself from the grasp. The creature may chose to let go of its grip, but if it doesn't, the many barbs will continue to work on the armour and flesh of the victim, and draw the captured part further inward (A successful saving throw vs Strength/Endurance may keep the tie even, but will not break the hold). Only severe damage to the creature will make it release the grip involuntarily. The trunk, and the belly of the Mingossi, are both very expandable. Larger specimens have little problem widening these enough to swallow a fully grown man.

SPORE INJECTION: On both sides of the great trunk are three thin extendible tentacles, used for injecting spores into cracks and crevices of rock. Each tentacle can be extended up to 5 feet (150 cm) from the body, and shoot out up to 10 needle-shaped capsules of spore. These are released at great speed to enter deep into the rock and attach themselves firmly inside of it. As a last resort the Mingossi will use most, but not all, of these to defend itself. The spore will not germinate inside a body, but are toxic to most kinds of living tissue, and may cause serious health problems. In the initial rounds after injection they will cause 1-2 points damage, for 1-5 rounds. A failed saving throw vs Endurance may result in high fever, pain and vomiting, lasting for 1-5 days.

The Mingossi is a truly remarkable creature. The cycle of its life begins as a spore, wedged firmly into the cracks of a natural rock, or an architectural stone construction. In all cases it is placed with great consideration, in a spot with regular access to water and meat. Typical locations would be in the roof of a cave entrance into a sloping mountain side, or in an archway of a moss-clad ruin situated in a rainy area. Here the spore germinates, and soon every crack and tiny hole in the rock is run through with fungal threads – the mycelium.

As the fungi flourishes from nutritions brought in by the water, it begins to bear fruit. In other words a mushroom grows out of it. In this case the mushroom is nothing like the delicious or toxic little things found in the forest, but a living, hungry entity, very similar to a cephalopod mollusc – an octopus. This is only the primal state of the fruit, which soon takes more uncommon measures to generate a wide-spread fungi colony.

The mushroom, stuck to the location of its birth, feeding on insects, little birds, bats, and other life-forms passing by, soon grows too large for its initial nest. At that point a true metamorphosis begins. Just like the larvae holds the genetic blueprint of a butterfly, the Mingossi initiates an equally natural process of transformation. By gathering the cells of blood, flesh, brains, and skeletal tissues of all its prey, it constructs a full body, rather similar to that of a large predatory cat. It doesn't really grow, but slowly manufactures a new impressive vehicle for its continued cycle of life.

Initially more of a big lump, than a clearly defined body, the creature often becomes heavy enough to tear off large chunks of the structure it hangs to. Its vital root is still embedded in the rock, and that part has to come along on the ride. If the rock doesn't fall apart due to gravity, the fungi will eventually work at it, to loosen enough of the structure to set itself free.

The final, and mobile, state of the Mingossi fungi is propelled forward by an artificial heart and brain. The actual intelligence is located in the mycelium network, but the new brain, placed in the head of the mammal-like mushroom, is responsible for motor skills, and sense perception.

The Mingossi normally moves in a slow zombie-like daze, methodically harvesting the bugs and little creatures close to the ground. It can however muster short boosts of energy, where the full grace and power of a predatory cat is mimicked well. When the creature is threatened, harmed, or hindered, this mechanism of defence may set in, lasting for about a minute.

The creatures prefer a damp, rainy climate, and take shelter in moist caves and cellars on dry and sunny days. They constantly runs the risk dehydration, and will bury themselves in the soil if no shelter is found. The mature Mingossi survive for three to five years, and use their time to seek out a number of suiting regions and nooks. These they inject with spores, which is their only way of procreation. To truly slay a Mingossi one must crush and burn the rock in which the fungal threads live. If only the body is slain, a new fruit will grow, nurtured from the decaying left-over of the first one.

The Mingossi have weak sight and hearing, and rely a lot on their sensitive trunks to manoeuvre in the world. They tend to hunt in the early and late hours of the day.

© Copyright 2011 - Nicholas Cloister