D&D 5E Shroom to Grow

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Originally posted by iserith:

SHROOM TO GROW
fungus_0.jpg
 
Somewhere in the labyrinthine Dungeon of Dread lay the lair of the Eye Tyrant Urlaactharl. Legend has it the beholder was slain by a halfling in an incredibly unlikely turn of events, leaving the lair and the treasures within unguarded to this day; however, its exact location has been lost to living memory.
 
In a psychedelic vision, the myconid sovereign Muscaria tells you that it can help you locate the lair, but only if it is able to meld with two gas spores known to have sprung from the beholder at some point in the distant past. If you can retrieve these gas spores and bring them to Muscaria, you will be able to travel to the lair of the Eye Tyrant and claim its vast trove. The myconid sovereign tells you that although the gas spores will be dormant, other threats may present themselves, such as toadstools that scream in the presence of light and sentience or fungus that will rot that which it touches...
 
D E N I Z E N S
Immediately upon entering the chamber, six to twelve violet fungi (MM, pg. 137-138) feeding off patches of slime mold detect the PCs, raising their tendrils to defend themselves. Anyone who approaches within 10 feet or who attacks the violet fungus are subject to the purple mushrooms' rotting touch. Six violet fungi is a Medium encounter for four 3rd-level PCs; twelve of them is a Deadly encounter. Use however many you think makes for a good challenge for your group.
 
Within the eastern chambers are two gas spores (MM, pg. 137-138), the objects of the characters' quest. They are in a dormant state, floating 10 feet above the ground. If handled with reasonable care, they can be moved around by the characters at a speed of 10 feet per round without risk of them waking up or taking damage. Of course, the gas spore eerily resembles a beholder. A creature that can see the gas spore can discern its true nature with careful observation and a successful DC 15 Intelligence (Nature) check. In dim light, that check is made with disadvantage unless the character has darkvision.
 
Also in the eastern chambers are three shriekers (MM, pg. 137-138). Though they are prominent on the map above (the dark green mushrooms), they are quite well hidden in and among the rest of the fungi in this area. If a PC thinks to check the area for shriekers, said PC can make a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check to notice them moving ever so slightly. Characters that don't have darkvision make any such check at disadvantage if the shrieker is in dim light. When bright light or a creature is within 30 feet of the shrieker, it emits a shriek audible within 300 feet of it. This shriek awakens the gas spores from their dormancy and draws the attention of the beholder zombie!
 
The Eye Tyrant Urlaactharl lives! Well, sort of. In the northwestern chamber lurks a beholder zombie (MM, pg. 316), the remains of the once-great aberration, now moldering away and covered in fungus. In its current state it greatly resembles a gas spore until it begins to move with terrible purpose, loosing eye beams of destruction. Its true nature can be discerned as with a gas spore. As a result of the battle in which it died, the beholder zombie has a range of vision of only 30 feet and is mostly deaf, taking disadvantage on any Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sound. A number of valuable gold and bejeweled piercings are still embedded in the beholder's putrescent corpse (value to be decided by the DM).
 
The druid (MM, pg. 346, half hit points) Lily Larkspur can be found in the southwest chamber. Several days ago, Lily and her apprentice Acacia ventured into this area to collect rare mushrooms for an offering to the gods of nature. The beholder zombie got the jump on them, disintegrating Acacia and hitting Lily with two of its eye rays before withdrawing back into its chamber.
 
Lily appears dead at first glance, though really she is only frightened and paralyzed by the beholder zombie and poisoned by the mushrooms in which she finds herself. Her face is frozen as if she's about to scream and would but for her paralysis. Curative spells like lesser restoration can help remove the paralyzed and poisoned conditions as can the application of the healing arts plus a DC 15 Wisdom (Medicine) check. Curing Lily of paralysis before assuaging her terrible fear means that she screams quite loudly, which may draw the attention of the beholder zombie. Her fear can be assuaged by persuading her that she is not in danger, which likely calls for a DC 10 Charisma (Persuasion) check. If Lily is rescued, she can help the PCs in their efforts and can share information that imparts either automatic success or advantage on checks (DM's choice) to find the shriekers and gas spores. Lily also knows about the slime mold's properties, though she wishes she would have known that sooner.
 
F E A T U R E S   O F   T H E   A R E A
General: The entire area is lit with dim light from the phosphorescent mushrooms growing throughout the chambers. The ceiling is 20 feet in height. The double doors are swollen with moisture and stuck, requiring a DC 15 Strength check to open with brute strength. (Other approaches may be harder or easier.) Failure on this check means that the door is opened, but it makes a lot of noise or damages the door such that it can't be closed. (On the map, one square represents 5 feet.)
 
Mushrooms: The chambers are festooned with glowing mushrooms of all size and description and their spores fill the air. Some of the mushrooms are big enough to use for cover or to hide behind. Moving through the mushrooms at more than half speed stirs up spores in dangerous concentrations, calling for a DC 10 Constitution saving throw. Failure means the PC is poisoned for 1 minute. While poisoned, the character sees visions of the things that he or she most fears. Ask the players to describe this. 
 
Rubble: Plaster and stone has collapsed from the ceiling in some places, creating areas of difficult terrain. Near the rubble just northwest of the well is a pile of fine, gray dust - the remains of the druid's apprentice who was disintegrated by the beholder zombie. Careful examination and a DC 20 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals that these are the remains of a creature that was disintegrated with a powerful magical effect.
 
Slime Mold: Patches of slime mold can be found in the central and southwest chambers (two in the former, one in the latter). If a character stands in this slime mold, it masks his or her presence from the beholder zombie, rendering the character invisible. The beholder zombie is unable to target a creature it cannot see with its eye rays. While in the patch of slime mold, a character is poisoned.
 
Well Shaft: This is the only entrance and exit from this area. The characters climb up into the room to enter it and must climb back down to leave (or use magic or the like). The walls of the shaft are quite slippery with mold and fungus, but a DC 10 Strength (Athletics) check is only required if the characters are under duress. Failure means falling 5d6 x 10 feet.
 
C O N C L U S I O N
If the PCs can get two gas spores to Muscaria safely, they can learn the location of the lair of the Eye Tyrant. If the PCs can only retrieve one of the gas spores, the myconid sovereign can meld with it and give them a useful clue but not an exact location. Or it suggests the PCs use the gas spore to create more gas spores by having its death burst infect a living creature. It can then meld with the spores that grow from the creature's corpse to find the exact location. (This might be distasteful to some PCs, of course, but it's just the cycle of life to one such as Muscaria.)
 
If Lily Larkspur was saved and made it out alive, she is in the PCs' debt. Perhaps she can use her offering to the nature gods to grant the PCs a temporary boon that will aid them on an upcoming adventure. She might also know of some opportunities for adventure that the PCs can take on.
 
This short scenario is meant to highlight all three pillars of the game - combat, exploration, and social interaction - and present an open-ended scenario that can be resolved many different ways. Careful exploration and social interaction can mean the difference between life and death. Assuming you have a standard group (fighter, cleric, rogue, wizard), how would you go about retrieving the gas spores? What aspects of this scenario would you change or add onto? Constructive feedback is always welcome. Thanks for reading!
 
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Liane the Wayfarer

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by lawrencehoy:

Iserith, while I have not used any of these mini scenarios in a game, I do enjoy reading them. Do you keep a compilation of them anywhere? I wouldn't mind having such a thing, for those times when I'm unprepared and could use one "on the fly". Something downloadable, that could be downloaded occasionally, to get the recent additions?
 
Either way, thanks for the entertaining interludes...
 

Liane the Wayfarer

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by iserith:

lawrencehoy wrote:Iserith, while I have not used any of these mini scenarios in a game, I do enjoy reading them. Do you keep a compilation of them anywhere? I wouldn't mind having such a thing, for those times when I'm unprepared and could use one "on the fly". Something downloadable, that could be downloaded occasionally, to get the recent additions?
 
Either way, thanks for the entertaining interludes...
 
Thanks! I have a list of scenarios with links here (http://community.wizards.com/content/blog/4156836). They're all forum-based, but I'm considering updating them and putting them in a PDF. Another thing for the to-do list.
 

Liane the Wayfarer

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by bawylie:

+1 
 
I have run a few of your scenarios. And I'm adding this one to the kids' game in Princes of the Apocalypse. It's going to be an opportunity to nab a magic weapon in the tyrant's Lair. 
 
Kids hate mushrooms. 
 

Liane the Wayfarer

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by iserith:

bawylie wrote:+1 
 
I have run a few of your scenarios. And I'm adding this one to the kids' game in Princes of the Apocalypse. It's going to be an opportunity to nab a magic weapon in the tyrant's Lair. 
 
Kids hate mushrooms. 
 
Thanks! Which ones have you run out of curiosity? Let me know how this one goes...
 

Ralif_Redhammer wrote:Very cool. I do love things with giant and/or glowing mushrooms.
 
Thanks - me too. I love me some shrooms. I saw a couple threads on enworld recently where people were seeking input on myconids and gas spores and decided I'd do up this scenario. Also inspired by threads where DMs were focusing mostly on combat and not on the other pillars which was causing some classes and options to seem underpowered. So for this one, all pillars are included.
 


Liane the Wayfarer

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by iserith:


arnwolf666 wrote:I have just the perfect adventure I am running to insert this encounter.  Thanks.
 
Cool! If you do run it, please let me know how it went, especially what approach the players used.
 

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