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Saturday, January 21, 2012

T&T 7.5 Creature Feature # 21


Further reports of Yorrdamma Vrash’s explorations of the infamous Ork Pits, as channeled by the one and only ‘Mad’ Roy Cram.

Yorrdamma has again put on his camouflage cloak and stealth boots and descended into the Ork Pits to investigate and describe the many kinds of mold and fungi found there for the edification of delvers who may encounter them.

Fungi are critical decomposers in nature, and play a major role in breaking down dead organic matter (and also, in many cases, living organic matter). There are many different kinds of mold and fungi, both harmful and beneficial. In the kremm rich environment of the Ork Pits, where it is dark, damp, and rich in organic substrates for the fungi to use as food, the many species flourish, and it behooves the delver to have some knowledge of them to enhance their chances of survival.

Fungi as Food

Mushrooms of all kinds abound in the pits, and are a major source of food for the Orks, Gobbs (goblins), and the many other creatures that live there. The natural inhabitants of the pits know which ‘shrooms’ are good to eat, and which are not. Dwarves are also wise in these matters. But the average surface dweller, with little experience in telling a poisonous ‘shroom’ from a non-toxic variety, is at a disadvantage here. Delvers whom lack any kind of training are wise not to eat any fungi, but lost parties who have run out of food supplies may have to hazard nibbling on some.

GM Notes: When characters eat a ‘shroom’ for any reason I have them make a level two saving roll on intelligence to see if they picked a healthy variety. If they miss the roll (and I don’t let them know if they made it) I roll a D6. A “1” means they have picked a toxic mushroom. The eater must then make a saving roll on luck at a level of D6+1 (2nd to 7th level) to see how much Con damage the bad ‘shroom’ has done. This damage will be equal to the margin by which they miss the saving roll. The reason for the wide range of possible injury is that not all mushrooms are as poisonous as others. Toxic ‘shrooms’ also make the affected character feel quite ill, and they may suffer penalties as the GM sees fit.

If I roll a “2” on the D6, it means that the mushroom, while not toxic, is not good to eat, and has other deleterious effects. For a not-good-to-eat ‘shroom’, use the following table:
Roll a D6
1: Hallucinogenic – character will see and hear a variety of scary or amazing things for 1-3 hours. They may become paranoid or psychotic for the duration.
2: Nausea, vomiting ranging from mild and short to severe and of long duration. A saving roll on Con can help judge the length and severity of this.
3: Severe irritation of the mucous membranes of the mouth throat and tongue, along with the effects of #2 above.
4: Powerful laxative effect within 30 minutes of ingestion.
5: Weakness; Strength reduced by half for D6 hours
6: Speed and Dexterity halved for D6 hours

There are also beneficial mushrooms and fungi in the pits, but it requires special knowledge and training to identify and properly gather them. There are Physickers and Wizards who will buy these ‘shrooms’, thus, there are delvers who specialize in finding them for those worthies. Untrained persons who are looking for these species must make a level 2 or level 3 saving roll on Intelligence or Luck to find them. The gatherers will often hire delvers to protect them and their harvest which can make for an interesting adventure at times. If they miss the SR, use the Toxic or Not Good To Eat tables above to determine if the chosen ‘shroom’ is a bad one. If they make the SR, use the following table to see what they have found:

1-2: Will heal 1-6 points of Con damage when eaten
3-4: Will act as an Antidote or Too Bad Toxin spell when eaten.
5: Will act as a Cure Disease spell when eaten.
6: Kremm ‘Shrooms” have 2-12 wiz points = dura spell battery. Wizards can use them to cast spells. They do not need to be eaten.

Parties who have taken a beating and are in need of some luck can be benefited by finding a patch of the above. I use them, on occasion, as a deus ex machina when I feel like the dice are not helping these poor delvers much and I let my tender heart give them a break.

Dangerous Fungi

Giant Puffballs

Puffballs flourish in damp areas of the pits and can grow to huge sizes (7-12 feet in diameter have been encountered). Most are harmless, but there are dangerous ones as well. When stimulated by sound, vibration, or light, ‘Puffers’ will eject their contents at the source of the annoyance. Roll a D6 to see what kind.
1: The common Giant Puffball emits a 12x12 cloud of spores. If these encounter an open flame they burn or explode (like dust in a grain elevator). They will do 7-12 points of burn and/or blast damage to anyone caught in the area. Armor can absorb up to half the damage. If the spores are not ignited, they do cause serious irritation to eyes and to lungs. A level 2 saving roll on Luck or Con can determine the amount of damage i.e. = to the margin by which the SR is missed.
2: Flamers shoot a jet of burning gas at the stimulus. It does 3D6 points of burn damage to the persons it hits. Targets up to 12 feet away can be hit. Armor again takes half damage. Combustible substances however may be ignited causing more problems for those affected.
3: Howlers simply emit gas under pressure making a wide range of extremely loud noises. The main damage here is to raise the delver’s laundry bill. But, there is also a 50% chance that the racket will attract other nearby denizens of the Pits to come and see who or what is messing about in their territory. Ork and Gobb patrols who are near will come at a run. Howlers are encouraged to grow near the Ork and Gobb camps as a kind of device to warn them of intruders.
4: Stinkers simply emit a vile stinking cloud of gas which will cause any delver caught in it to be nauseated for 1-6 rounds if they miss a level one SR on Constitution. There is also a Puffer with both Stinker and Howler properties combined. These are known as “fotters”, but Yorrdamma has not been able to figure out yet where this odd name comes from.
5: Skunk Balls are puffers which spray delvers with an oily sticky musk that is very hard to remove. The character will be nauseated for 7-12 rounds till his sense of smell is ruined, but they will continue to stink until they can get a good bath. The stink is really hard to get out of hair, leather, or clothing. Charisma is reduced to 3 until the smell is dealt with, and no one will want this person near them for the duration. Even monsters may refuse to get close to them.
6: Rust Balls spray delvers with a cloud of reddish spores that stick like super glue to any metal. The metal objects must be heated red hot to kill the mold or it will turn the iron or steel to rust. It takes 2-7 hours to reduce armor or metal weapons to uselessness. Warriors HATE this one!

Catcher Molds

These awful things are also known as Grabbers, Tanglemolds, Droppers, and Wrappers. They usually grow in the form of a large carpet or mat on the floor, walls or ceiling of a tunnel, and when a delver walks on or under or near the thick tough mycelial mass, it rolls up or drops on the victim, and moves in such a way as to enshroud or envelop them. Many species are sticky like flypaper. Characters should be given a level one Saving Roll on Speed or Dexterity to avoid the attack. Those who miss it will have to extricate themselves quickly or be rolled up and quickly suffocated and digested. Their companions can sometimes cut them out of the mat with some good sharp blades, but there is no little risk to the victim inside if this is done. Blunt weapons do no harm to catchers. In cutting them, all weapon dice apply, but combat adds for strength only. Wrappers have monster ratings from 80 for a small one to 180 for a large one (6+2D6 times 10 to determine MR). They get no adds in attacking, but the dice totals rolled for their MR is deducted evenly from all the victim’s attributes.
When all Attributes are reduced to zero the delver is history. Armor protects only in the first two combat rounds at face value (no warrior bonus).

Whipmold and Lashers

There will usually be only 1-3 of these present and they will be at least 8 feet from each other. Each will have 1 to 3 long tough hyphae, each 6-8 feet in length. These will lash out like a bull whip at any creature or delver who approaches it. There is a 50% chance it will hit the target and do 7-12 points damage (armor protects at face value only). The mold will keep whipping the offending stimulator as long as it remains in range of the lashers. The best defense is to get away. Each lasher takes 20 points of damage from bladed weapons to be rendered ineffective.

Porcupine Balls

These puffers are covered with spines similar to those found on a Porcupine. These ‘quills’ will be vigorously ejected towards any creature or delver that comes within 10 feet of the mold. Targets must make a level two saving roll on luck, and will take Con damage equal to the margin by which they miss the roll. Armor protects at face value only. These deadly quills, even if removed, infect the victim with a systemic fungal infection which must be cured quickly by a Cure Disease spell. If not, the victim will suffer additional Con damage each day equal to the original injury until dead.

Slippery Slime

This mold, a slime mold, is nature’s WD-40. It grows on any wet surface, effectively reducing the surface friction of the area to zero. This can be very bad as one can find oneself in a shallow depression and not be able to get out without help. It is also dangerous if found on slopes or stairs where slipping and sliding can be really awkward situations. If it gets on one’s skin, a rash will develop, which will do one cumulative Con point of damage per day until the victim can get a Cure Disease spell, or is killed.

Battling Fungi

There are spells that do harm to molds, as follows:
Call Flame, Blasting Power, Freeze Please, and Call Ice will do full damage to molds, but the victim will also take ¼ damage.
Cure Disease spells do double damage to Molds
A torch or burning oil will do 7-12 points damage to a mold per turn, but the victim also takes ½ damage.
A Too Bad Toxin spell is effective versus all Mold toxins, but does not heal damage already inflicted.


While seldom encountered, the fungus zombie, or fungoid, is a dreadful thing. They are not a true 'zombie' but a thing created when something or someone dies in the Ork Pits and is not eaten by vermin or the other creatures there. A special kind of fungus grows on the corpse and replaces all the soft tissues with a fungal equivalent. This horrid thing then gets up and wanders around the pit using the skeleton of the donor as a chassis. They will attack any other living creature they encounter. They can bite, claw, kick and punch opponents, and if they inflict damage, they infect their target with the mold that made them. This requires special healing by specialists to cure, or it will turn the victim into a fungoid in just a few days time. These creatures are slow, but very strong. Weapons and cold do them only half damage. Fire does full damage. I give them a monster rating equal to the original donor creature, or an MR equal to twice the strength plus con of the humanoid creature that produced it. They are fearless and unintelligent, but relentless, and will pursue their prey until it is out of sight. Once the monster is reduced to a twitching pile of mold and broken bones, it is customary to burn it, lest it sporulate and spread the fungus that makes these horrors.

Yorrdamma Vrash

Copyright 2012 Roy Cram
All artwork free for use from


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