I like mushrooms. They look cool, and have cool names like Destroying Angel, and are part of a completely unique Kingdom of lifeforms. I like that there is a giant mushroom under Eastern Oregon that is 8,000 years old and weighs 35,000 tons and is totally not a cosmic horror monster. Probably.
So of course I had to have my own fungal monsters on the Dungeon Age world of Harth: the Mycotic Zombie and Mycotic Sprawl.
No one knows how old or how large the Mycotic Sprawl is. There are legends and fairy tales that mention the vast orange mass of spongy fungus all over the world going back to the earliest Ages. Sometimes it is merely mentioned as a convenient meal, or a deadly toxin. Or it is a force of nature that must be battled by heroes and defeated by sages. Sometimes it is even worshipped as a god. All that is known today is that the Sprawl is everywhere, and possibly immortal, and its spores can not only animate the dead as fungal zombies but also colonize the living to serve its alien purposes.
The Mycotic Sprawl has never been seen in full. It spreads throughout the countless caverns, cisterns, tunnels, and cracks of the mantle of Harth and appears as bright orange lumps and folds of soft, springy fungal flesh.
The Sprawl blossoms with both wide and narrow capped mushrooms as small as common toadstools and as large as houses. These caps are typically dotted with small white cysts, and the brown gills beneath the caps exude a sticky red sap that smells of iron and rotting fruit.
Tiny orange spores float through the air around the Sprawl. Spores that settle on the ground take root as common mushrooms. If the spores settle on dead creatures, they bind to the corpses and animate them as walking spore factories or False Mycotic Zombies.
Spores that settle on living creatures root into their nervous systems and turn them into servants of the Sprawl, as True Mycotic Zombies. These creatures blossom with large orange stalks and caps and move about in a thin cloud of spores.
The Sprawl spreads. If left unchecked, it proceeds to grow anywhere there is room and fertilizer to sustain it. False Mycotic Zombies merely move more quickly than the sprawl to spread spores. True Mycotic Zombies seek out dangers to the Sprawl and attempt to neutralize them. This often includes diluting acidic pools and poisoning human settlements. The zombies, however, are still zombies and move slowly and clumsily, and can be easily outrun or outfought. Just watch out for the spores.
Stat Block (5E)
Mycotic Zombie (50 XP): A person with orange fungal growths in a haze of spores. Slow. Mindless. Want to spread spores.
|12 (+1)||6 (-2)||14 (+2)||4 (-3)||6 (-2)||4 (-3)|
Embrace. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: target is grappled.
Mycotic haze. When a creature starts their turn within 5 ft. of the zombie, they take 3 (1d6) poison damage. Roll 1d6: on a 1, the target is infected. They will become a mycotic zombie in 1 week.
Stat Block (Old School)
Mycotic Zombie: HD 1, HP 4, AC unarmored, 1 attack, Embrace (+3, grappled), Mycotic haze (any target within 5 feet takes 1d6 poison damage and must roll 1d6: on a 1, the target is infected and will become a mycotic zombie in 1 week), saves as fighter 1.