Shroom Lord

“The waterfall from the mushroom forest up above passes through this area of powerful shroom magic. The fungi undulate to a silent music, phosphorous lights and dancing glow bugs illuminate dancing myconids and glistening towers of fungal growth on the steep walls.”

Theme: mushroom people, a king in exile, faerie light, vertical area

This section provides one of the few two-way access routes to the upper dungeon levels: the Mold Falls from the Fungus Forest (level 11) lead to the realm of the Shroom Lord. This realm is a cleft that reaches into the bowels of the earth and beyond, into the Caverns of Slime. Accordingly, travel up and down in this realm is difficult. A party descending the Mold Falls and following the pathways along the river will soon find that they are in need of flying magic or adequate climbing equipment.

When fighting on the small outcrops and grass patches, anybody hit with a natural 20 needs to save vs paralysis or stumble over the edge, taking 1d6×1d6 damage from the fall (unless prevented by magic). When connected by ropes, anybody on the rope team may attempt the save, but each failure adds another save that needs to be made by one of the remaining rope team members.

Encounters:

  1. a giant intelligent spider called Merquishti is hungry for meat – and conversation (HD 8; AC 4; Atk 1 bite (1d6); MV 15; when bitten, save vs. poison or fall comatose for 24h; can set up area web traps); it speaks the language of giant spiders, a dialect of subsurface elves and the common tongue of all demons; if asked about gold, the spider will know that a knight’s golden armor was carried down this way by devil worshipers a “very long time” ago; if asked about the destination, the spider will mention a city of evil half-spiders preying on the caverns and tunnels below; when the conversation ends, the spider considers capturing a party member by triggering a web trap (save vs. wands or be trapped in a web; the web prevents spellcasting; trapped victims need to deal 20 points of damage using a dagger or a similar small blade; free allies can aid trapped victims using larger blades), attacking and poisoning the least armored party member and carrying it off (when the rest of the party follows, roll just once for the best tracker of entire party; the chances of following the spider into the branching tunnels depend on the number of rounds head start it had: 1–2 rounds: 2/3; 3–4 rounds: 1/3; 5–6 rounds: 1/6; longer: you need a spider scout from the Spider City to track it); treasure at the lair includes 200 gold and 50 electrum pieces, armor junk and a helmet of terror (friends and foes within 10 ft. suffer a -2 to hit)
  2. these rocks extend into the plane of earth and not surprisingly, six earth elementals surface, eager to take back any gems the party may have “stolen” from the deep earth (HD 6; AC 0; Atk 1 bite (2d6); MV 9; immune against fire and electricity; can melt into the surrounding rocks in one round); their gem caverns are probably unreachable (otherwise the gem encrusted walls are worth 60 000 gold)
  3. larger pools of water have formed between the rocks; illuminated by sessile glow worms, a group of 1d6 nixies is enjoying a bath, apparently ignorant of any males approaching (HD 3; AC 8; Atk 1 bite (1d6); MV 12 (swim); charm man 3×/day, kiss of water breathing for charmed men at will); as soon as there is a fight in the water, a further 3d6 nixies rush in through hidden tunnels; they will dive away through underwater tunnels and ambush any pursuit squeezing through into their lair; treasure: a mirror of comeliness (studying your face in the mirror grants +1 to reaction rolls for a day whenever appropriate), a golden lion breastplate of steadfastness +4 (can be used on its own or it can be swapped in as a replacement breastplate for existing plate armor, grants a +4 bonus on saves vs. fear, charm, and other mind bending effects), a closed, green helmet of the water lord with bulbous eye pieces (speaking to water born creatures at will, the ability to grow gills for permanent underwater breathing, the ability to grow fins and swim like a fish at will when barefoot, the ability to cast light from small, fast-growing antennas), 40 000 gold pieces and 200 000 silver pieces
  4. four stone polyps are growing on the stone walls, immobile, with their arms limp and soft; as soon as a warm creature passes nearby, however, they activate (HD 6; AC 0; Atk 1 bite (2d6), 8 tentacles (save vs. petrification of fall unconscious and be dragged towards the mouth); MV 3); treasure: hidden in cracks along the wall are the crushed bones of victims, a jade headband of the phoenix child (eyes will glow red at all times; shoot liquid fire from the eyes dealing 4d6 damage at will (save vs. wands for half); if the save succeeds with a 20 the target stares back, causing a little delay such that the fire immolates the wearer of the headband instead); a ring of the alph (minor telekinesis performed by an air spirit at will, and three air explosion protecting from fireballs, poisonous gas traps and similar emergencies triggered automatically by the air spirit when required; after the third air explosion the air spirit will leave); 2 000 gold
  5. the shroom lord is growing his own circle of psychotic colors (HD 15; AC 5; Atk 1 smash (2d6), 1 lick (poison); MV 9; licked victims must save vs. poison or be charmed); each of the twelve color mushrooms can release a cloud of spores at a simple touch by the shroom lord (he can affect six opponents per round; save vs. poison or roll a d6: 1. close your eyes for just a second and fall asleep immediately, 2. chase an erotic fantasy and fall of a ledge taking 1d6×1d6 damage, 3. bad trip paralyses you with fear, 4. drop weapons, bend over and barf, 5. close your eyes and enjoy the visions, 6. everybody else seems slow and stupid, take two actions); any enemies that fell asleep because of the spores will die over night and rise as spore zombies (HD 2; AC 8; Atk 1 bite (1d6); when smashed, anybody in melee must roll a d6 as described above); when in trouble, the shroom lord will try to crawl into tunnels, activating six spore zombies on his way in; far below the shroom lord the stones are covered in hundreds of broken bones covered in an inch of inactive spores: all the zombie victims eventually fall to their second death; sitting at a warm fire without washing off the inactive spores after walking through the spore dust will grant the spores one last attack (save vs. poison or turn into a spore zombie during the next night); the shroom lord is willing to make deals; he has the power to make a promise binding (breaking the promise causes visions of decay and decreases Wisdom by 1 per day spent in defiance)

If you own Fight On! #13, page 87 lists moon slime as an alternative to green slime. Page 91 describes fungeye and blast spores: one of these eye mutants is searching for enemies down here. The Gibbering Fungus God mentioned below makes an appearance in Fight On! #5, page 72.

The shroom lord can be observed for days as it sings its telepathic praise to the Gibbering Fungus God. A very patient person interested in mushroom magic can learn the following rituals through simple observation:

  1. the care of magic mushrooms requires an appropriate dark and humid cave, spores, a rotting corpse and a lot of spit; when cared for, these will grow up to three feet in height within four days; the mushroom will keep for a single day only
  2. the summoning of the Gibbering Fungus God requires a deep hole in the ground and a fresh magic mushroom; partake of the mushroom and sing the psychic psalm of the greatest mycelian panopticon (learning it requires some form of ESP even though anybody may notice that psychic energies emanate from the shroom lord as it sings to its flock); the fungus god will materialize in the form of a huge toad head within half an hour; licking it will grant servants visions of the future; on a failed save vs. poison these visions are confusing and wrong, otherwise they act as powerful and lurid divination magic (the divination magic will only work for those people that ate of magic mushrooms grown with their own spit)
  3. the circle of psychotic colors requires a circle of at least six magic mushrooms; each mushroom must be sacrificed a small animal such as a cat; the animal corpse is absorbed by the magic mushroom and a few hours later these mushrooms can be activated with a touch (save vs. poison or roll a d6: 1. close your eyes for just a second and fall asleep immediately, 2. chase an erotic fantasy and run away, 3. bad trip paralyzes you with fear, 4. drop weapons, bend over and barf, 5. close your eyes and enjoy the visions, 6. everybody else seems slow and stupid, take two actions)

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8061/8221268846_3d341ddfe4.jpg
Fungus Cave by Ndege Diamond, on Flickr