Sunday, February 8, 2015

An Expanded Petty Gods cult-preview: Way of the Shroom (with some bonus Shroom Wisdom)

I got the chance to write a bit more about King Shroom (link is in the preview), one of my Expanded Petty Gods entries (one of two, to be precise) and thought I'd share the result as a preview (did ask if it's okay, too). For all those unaware of it and reading this (couldn't be many, but anyway): thanks to +Richard LeBlanc the Expanded Petty Gods community project is in its final stages right now and we can expect to see the final product some time next month (March 2015). It will be a massive tome with close to 400 pages full of great ideas and lots of fantastic artwork. I really can't wait to get my hands on it!

 +Greg Gorgonmilk deserves a honorably mention here,
since he initiated the original 
reboot of the project. Thanks, man!
Please, enter the weird:

Way of the Shroom

The Way of the Shroom is a philosophy associated with cults formed by mushroom eaters all over the known worlds worshiping King Shroom, the Patron of those indulging the mind-expanding qualities of certain shrooms, aka Cannibal Godspawn of Mushrooms and Devourer General of the Lizardwars.

These congregations of like-minded enthusiasts are, due to their diversity and strange behavior, often enough dismissed as random phenomena. But this might as well be intentional and some scholars argue that even a random or accidental consummation of psychedelic mushrooms may somehow be part of King Shroom’s weird schemes to activate a devote following in a specific area for some bizarre reason or another (see King Shroom post for specifics).

True Priesthood

To become a cleric devoted to King Shroom a follower has to forsake his physical body and embrace the world of the shroom. A ceremony to this end involves a deadly overdose of poisonous mushrooms in a remote area prone to mushroom growth. The decomposing body will then feed the fungus network and form, in time, a new body for the follower’s soul to inhabit and with the locale of his initiation as his chapel. This is the only known ritual to fully divine the Way of the Shroom.

In his new form the cleric may move freely among the fungus network of his holy site, dissolving it in one place and spawning it within minutes at another. He’ll also have the ability to camouflage himself as a group of mushrooms, effectively hiding his presence 95% of the time (the change takes 1d6 rounds minus the cleric’s level, but at least 1 round).

He’ll furthermore have the ability to regenerate any damage he sustains at a rate of 1 hp per level per round and may regenerate his whole body within a day if fertile ground is available by releasing spores shortly before his demise. Those spores remain dormant in an infertile environment until the opportunity arises to travel somewhere else, for instance on the clothes of some adventurer or the fur of an animal passing by.

For all other purposes this new body functions and (almost) looks like a normal human body.

Spells are those appropriate for the cleric’s level, but the fungoid nature of his clergy has a way of twisting the effects of said spells. Healing spells, for instance, come with a (rather harmless) fungus infection that goes away after a period of time equal to the natural healing process of the wounds treated. The dead would be animated by mushroom roots replacing the nervous system of a corpse and a blessing might have rather psychedelic side-effects.

Priests of the Shroom have access to all kinds of mushrooms and love beer above everything else. They are by default under the influence of very strong psychedelic mushrooms (being cannibals, of sorts) and their sermon is (at best) opaque for those not seeking the higher enlightenment of the shroom.

Holy Sites of the Shroom

Mushroom groves are places of worship. If a cleric resides in such a grove, its size will be related to the holy man’s level. Although high level clerics are very rare, their cathedrals would be vast mushroom forests, with fungus networks spanning even further underground.

A cleric is aware of everything that happens within such a network.

There is a 10% chance per level (every new level allows a new check) that such a grove attracts 2d4 giant crickets, whose eerie choirs then haunt the site every sunset, praising mighty King Shroom. In times of war a number of [cleric’s level] times d100 Fruggar (see +j garrison's entry for the EPG on his blog) will defend the temple under the clerics command.

Apologizing to a mushroom one stepped on by accident when visiting a shroom temple is totally appropriate.

Symbiotic Priesthood

On rare occasions (chance 1 in 8 in a situation involving mushrooms) King Shroom might “lead” clerics of other faiths to the Way of the Shroom by facilitating an accidental psychedelic experience. The cleric will then in his intoxicated state see the true wisdom of the shroom and act towards the King’s agenda. Not that anyone would understand what’s going on. Even a cleric’s true god would most likely assume that the resulting strange and erratic behavior is just the result of some ill-advised quiche (chance of 1 in 12 to realize what’s going on).

Enlightenment follows (artwork by +Richard LeBlanc)
King Shroom controls how long the cleric will be hooked and will release the cleric as soon as he has fulfilled his purpose. Sometimes he forgets, though (chance of 1 in 20).

Some say the Lizardwars started because the Cannibal Godspawn made a lizard shaman cook an omelet out of some dragon eggs he was supposed to protect, binge-eating them with a smile afterwards. But that is highly disputable. Anyway, the lizard ate the eggs, maybe it started the rumor, too.

Shroom Wisdom

“Never tell a bear who ate the wrong mushrooms about his purple fur, but ask him for relationship advice instead.”

“A rose is but a pimp anyway, although the lizard disagrees, licking its thorns in disgust.”

“Rejoice! You are fermented! Now bicycle that yellow.”

“Cellar door.”

"The Shroom abides." (bonus)

"You don't choose the Shroom, the Shroom chooses you ..." (bonus)

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