New Mutant Monday Series Three #6 - Rider Fungi

Chris Van Deelen

No. Enc: 1
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement: 90’ (30’)
AC: 5
HD: 6
Attacks: 4 claws
Damage: 1d6+3
Save: L6
Morale: N/A
Hoard Class: Incidental

A strange mutant fungus found only in wetlands or areas with abundant water. The creature starts out life as an immobile mushroom, growing on the mossy ground. It appears harmless enough, but the creature is far from harmless. The natural form, before it takes over a host, is that of a large, greyish white mushroom. The typical specimen stands around a foot in height, and has a pleasant, cooked-meat odor which it exudes to a radius of 60 feet around it. Anyone entering this circle must make a saving throw versus poison or be compelled to eat the mushroom. When this happens, the target must then make another saving throw versus death every six hours or lose 1d6 points of Constitution. If the target makes three successful saves in a row, then the body purges the fungus and the lost Constitution will return at the creature’s natural healing rate per day.

If the creature’s Constitution score reaches zero, the creature will die. The fungus will quickly consume the flesh, muscle and organs, spreading across the body over a period of only 1d2 days. Once the conversion is complete, the creature will then use the skeletal structure of its victim to become fully mobile.

At this juncture, the mutant monster has a mushroom-shaped head with two small, brightly glowing blue eyes and what appears to be a small mouth. The fungus is firmly wrapped around the skeleton of its victim, and it stands about a foot higher than the victim’s original height. The creature weighs only about forty pounds, as the fungus fiber is far lighter in weight than the flesh it spawned from.

This creature, fully mobile, will stalk the wetlands, seeking out suitable prey to kill and infect. The monster is able to use the bones of its victim in order to slash at targets, inflicting painful and often deadly slashing attacks. It is also incredibly fast at this point, and can attack multiple times.

Anyone who comes within 10 feet of this creature must make a saving throw versus poison or be affected by a strange hallucinogenic effect. The victim will be under the influence of this attack for 3d6 minutes, at which time all attack rolls, saving throws and the like suffer a -2 due to the strange images it will see on the edge of its vision, or odd smells and noises. The target must save each round or every time it enters the area of effect. Once the target has failed to save, no further saving throws are required.

Oddly enough, when the creature is in this form, it cannot infect others, only attack them and if it kills something, it will exude a cloud of spores. These spores will settle into the wounds of the dead victim and take root, slowly consuming the victim over a period of 1d6+6 days until nothing is left except 3d8, one foot tall mushrooms. Any dead creature thus infected cannot be brought back to life until the fungus has been purged, and if 1d6+6 days has passed, the victim is forever lost.

These creatures are completely mindless and live only to kill and spread their spores. They have no use for treasure, although on the rare occasion the skeleton might still have equipment or small bits of treasure embedded in the fungal flesh.

Mutations: Fragrance development (plants, modified), free movement, natural vegetal weapons, poisonous spores (modified), quickness.