Myconids, also known as fungus ones, and fungus folk (pronounced: /ˈmknɪdzMY-ko-nidz[6]), were a race of ambulatory fungus creatures. They were known for their peacefulness and appreciation of quiet, making their homes in the darker corners of the world.[1]

Description[edit | edit source]

Myconids resembled giant fungi ranging from 2-12 feet (.6-3.6 meters) tall, with their main distinguishing feature being their limbs. Their upper half split into a pair of arms below their caps and their lower half divided into a pair of legs at the stump. Each extremity was pudgy and broad, with their hands ending in two stubby fingers and a thumb, and their feet hosting numerous vestigial toes. This number was not absolute however, with some fungus folk hosting more than the usual number of limbs and/or digits. The bloated flesh of most myconids ranged in coloration from purple to gray. Two eyes rested on their caps, perfectly concealed against the rest of their spongy skin when shut. Some fungus ones secreted a poisonous ooze from near everywhere but their hands.[3][4]

A mutant strain of myconid referred to as venom spores had a pale milky skin tone contrasted by a bright red cap. Their eyes were a sickly shade of yellow with identically colored spots adorning their caps.[7]

Personality[edit | edit source]

Fungus folk were unique amongst the Underdark races for their complete aversion to violent behavior. A general distrust of outsiders was common among the myconids due to their experience with most of other entities. Despite their suspicions however, myconids were a thoughtful race willing to give shelter or allow passage through their colonies to those who approached with peaceful intentions. The life of a myconid was strictly scheduled and split evenly between sleep, work and 'melding'. Melding was the core of myconid society, with separation from the process viewed as a frightening and pitiful fate.[4] Violence and disharmony was near unheard of within myconid societies as it adversely impacted the melding process and was largely unneeded.[8]

Ethical concerns and moral quandaries were subjects in which the fungus folk showed a relative naivety. Although their communal lifestyle and lack of internal conflict belied the race to some as a collective conscious, each myconid was in fact a distinct individual with their own hopes, dreams, insights, fears, and personality traits. Rather than dwell upon the past or fret about the future, myconids focused on present circumstances, reveling in the moment and sharing simple pleasures.[8]

Although the majority of the fungus folk were peaceful, there existed a far more insidious variant of their kind. Contrary to the gradual growth of normal myconid communities they were heavily expansionist, seeking to quickly grow in both number and territory. In spite of their change in basic behavior they were not known to be evil.[2] Venom spores, however, were a bloodthirsty variety of normal myconids that, while not reckless, relished combat. Their dark blood-lust was tempered by their persisting respect for authority, and they only engaged in combat if permitted.[7]

Abilities[edit | edit source]

In terms of offensive physical ability, most myconids were limited to clasping their hands and pummeling their opponents into submission. Many could apply the poisonous effects of their bodies to their fists and inflict noxious pain onto their opponents. Rather than combat efficiency, the primary ability of the fungus folk was access to various specialized spores they were capable of spewing to achieve a wide variety of effects. As myconids grew older they would gain access to a greater number of types and uses of their spores. Distress spores were the first to develop, able to quickly spread hundreds of feet in a matter of seconds and alert other myconids of danger either by choice or in response to pain.[1]

Once thought to only come later in life, myconids could also release rapport spores which gave them the ability to telepathically communicate with other intelligent lifeforms. This method of communication lasted up to an hour for nonmyconids but for fungus folk, functioned for a full eight hours.[3] Later would come reproduction spores used to create new myconids and that posed no ill effects to non-myconids. After this stage were pacification spores used by older myconids to daze incoming threats, although venom spores contained a toxic alternative that caused nonmyconids to grow incredibly ill.[3][7] Hallucination spores came next, primarily used in the melding rituals but that could also incapacitate threats.[4][3]

Finally were animator spores, a type of spore usable solely by a sovereign. These spores would cause a purple, bulbous fungus to grow upon intact corpses, taking over the systems and raising them as spore servants under command of the highest authority myconid present.[4][3] Animation could last for several weeks, affecting even mostly skeletal corpses until so little flesh was left that the body gave out and disintegrated.[9] So long as the target wasn't too large and was originally composed of flesh and blood, any entity could be animated.[1][4]

Whether through accumulated skill or natural aptitude, fungus folk had a vast array of knowledge about fungi ranging from optimal growing conditions for various types, the amount an area could yield, and what could be made using them.[3] Through a mysterious bond, myconids could also control a wide variety of plant and fungal monsters, including shambling mounds, phantom fungi, assassin vines and roperlike plant monsters.[10]

This knowledge of fungi extended to the sovereign, who was capable of using various types in order to perform a special kind of alchemy. While capable of replicating the effects of normal potions, this fungal alchemy was also used to create special effects unlike those of run of the mill alchemical concoctions. If the colony was predicted to need to fight they would create special healing potions that only worked on fungi, as well as a hallucinatory power to be stored in spider silk and used as a trap. In times when the population was too short they could also create potions that caused accelerated aging, as well as an anointment potion that was immediately and painfully cause an old myconid to become a king. The rarest of these special brews to be created was a decay potion, that infected a living being with an alchemical version of animator spores, killing them within 3 minutes.[4]

Expansionists[edit | edit source]

Expansionistic myconids couldn't use their spores to establish telepathic contact, only conveying raw emotions like fear or satisfaction with the sole exception of the sovereign. Offensive power was also noted as more prevalent amongst them, as their fists were covered in spines. These myconids were more magically versed than their normal counterparts, possessing a strange magical link to each other and having dedicated magic users in the rotpriests. Acting as scapegoats and healers, rotpriests absorbed the damage of others in the colony through their connection and inflicting necrotic pain on others. They held a strange link positive and negative energy, as radiant power prevented their regeneration but upon death they would burst and release healing energy.[2]

Society[edit | edit source]

Comprising myconid society were groups known as circles, tight social cliques of twenty or so members. Circles contained four members from each of the myconid age groups, and were presided over by four circle leaders. Circle members were very intimate with one another as they melded regularly, although melding was not normally restricted between circles. A myconid society was comprised of 1-10 circles, although normally at least 3, each with their own specific niche, and new ones that could be established if need be. Known circle duties included agriculture, exploration, construction, child rearers and hunters, although contrary to intuition hunters were more akin to scavengers who located corpses to use as fertilizer or be reanimated by the sovereign.[8]

Their schedules were strictly organized into eight hour blocks of conducting their specialized work, melding, and then sleeping before the cycle repeated the next day. Circles were organized around mounds of rock where moss was encouraged to grow that functioned both as melding area and sleeping ground, although some were known to live in hollow, self-sealing, fungal houses.[9] Every circle was tightly grouped in such a way that distress spores from one could reach at least one member of another, and the presence of distress spores was the only thing capable of breaking myconids from a meld. Melding served as a combination of all recreational activities from entertainment, social interaction, worship, and meditation.[1] A circle leader would trigger a meld through the use of their hallucinogenic spores combined with small doses of rapport spores from other myconids within the circle, allowing them to achieve a transcendental, collective hallucination.[8]

Every myconid community was organized by age category and had its population under careful control. New tasks were given to the fungus ones as they grew older. Sprouts worked as hands for their respective elders, assisting with daily chores, and responsible for releasing distress spores if hostiles approached. Normal adults, of age 8-12, did most of the basic work and would fight along side their superiors if danger approached. Unlike the fleeing of the juniors, adults only fled in order to conduct an ambush later on or to locate an elder. Elders, myconids of age 12-16, were responsible for supervising the work of other myconids and attempted to prompt conversation when faced with hostility. Typically they would start from the strongest opponent and work their way down to subdue all aggressors.

Fungus folk of age 16-20 served as guards, protecting other members of the circle from harm. All older members of a circle were its leaders who administrated them and advised the myconid king, the only entity above them. Leaders and kings preferred to lead from the back, only joining into combat if they believed their servants to be in actual danger.[3] To be a sovereign was the most dreadful position within the myconid community, seen among others as practically a punishment. Because the myconid sovereign was tasked with being objective to the circles and administrating their duties, he could not become part of a circle himself, and could never again meld with those of his tribe. The duties of the king included the creation of spore servants so that the myconids could remain pacifistic, the coordination of work schedules, vigilance against potential threats, and the production of fungal brews. Most attempted to remain in frequent communication with other tribes and held occasional meetings to discuss mutual problems, with every sovereign being familiar with the spores of most others throughout the Underdark.[8] Normal myconids were buried in the gardens, while sovereigns were laid to rest underneath the mounds of mossy rock.[4]

Religion[edit | edit source]

Melding served as a form of worship for the myconids, but they did possess an actual patron deity. Psilofyr was the wise philosopher god who first taught the myconid kings how to perform alchemy, and guided the selection process for new kings as well as anointing every 20 or so kings his priests. He regularly shared his thoughts with the myconid sovereigns and thus had no need for omens. In times of great peril he would send an avatar to commune with a priest king and thus grant them his powers in order to resolve the current crisis.[11]

Zuggtmoy's influence could drastically change the behavior of myconids due to their fungal nature and trusting ways making them easy to corrupt. By melding with a myconid directly she could infect them with a madness and fervor that spread as others melded. Infected became enraptured by mad songs and dances, and touched by a sense of euphoria unknown to most. Eventually her abyssal presence transformed myconids into twisted monstrosities, resembling giant fungal maggots capable of actual speech and infecting others through special spores.[8]

Relations[edit | edit source]

Myconids were quick to suspect that flesh and blood humanoids would attempt to use violence against them. They viewed most of them as brutish and insane beings who would conquer and destroy anything in their path before returning to make sure it stayed vanquished. Likewise most humanoids view the fungus ones as ugly monsters, lumping them in with the various evil Underdark forces. Outside of spores that could be used in certain potions, myconids possessed no useful trading goods making it difficult to establish cooperation between most other races. Population pressure furthered their paranoia and xenophobia. Of the few races the myconids could normally get along with were the spiritually peaceful and nature loving slyth[12], as well as their fellow fungi the vegepygmy, whom they viewed as rustic cousins.[13]

Expanionist myconids were cultivated and/or enslaved by other races like the drow, fomorians, and shadar-kai for their inherent resiliency.[2]

Ecology[edit | edit source]

Myconids grew up in six stages that occurred every four years, and their lives ended sometime after they reached 24 years old. When first spawned, myconid infants were only a few inches tall and resembled giant mushrooms. They lacked any method of ambulation and furthermore were not self aware at this stage.[8] Four year old myconids were dubbed sprouts or junior workers, and were now fully capable of movement. At eight years old myconids gained the ability to reproduce at will via spores, 12 year olds had properly developed rapport spores and at 16 could use pacifying spores. By the time they are 20 myconids underwent a great change in size, becoming much larger and able to prompt hallucinatory effects as circle leaders.[3] Those who lived until the age of 24 usually became sovereigns through a special regiment process.[4]

Befitting their fungal nature, myconids were primarily decomposers who drew nutrients from the ground. 'Eating' consisted of standing in piles of compost while their bodies absorbed the useful portions.[14] Fungi not grown for alchemical usage were grown so that they would inevitably decay and the myconids could extract the soil nutrients. Myconids had difficulty telling 'softers', the myconid term for fleshy creatures, apart but could recognize other fungus folk via their spores.[8] They preferred to live in damp, dark caverns near large bodies of water, and isolated from other civilizations. The size of the caverns could range from large subterranean complexes to entire hidden underground complexes.[4] Direct sunlight was the most dangerous thing to any myconid, with direct exposure severely impairing them, and even killing them after an hour. As such, the fungus folk were loathed to venture anywhere above ground.[1]

Myconids with an expansive streak were known to inhabit a wide variety of locations including mainly preferring the Underdark or Shadowdark, but would also occupy deep dungeons, forest glades and the stranger parts of the Feywilds.[2]

History[edit | edit source]

The true origins of the myconid race was practically unknown. Their lack of language, written or otherwise, and indifference of the past meant that even to the myconids it was difficult to grasp their origins. Some tied their origin to Araumycos, a massive and seemingly sentient fungus. It possessed some sort of alien, sleeping intelligence as myconids could use their rapport spores to neutralize its hostility.[8]

The death of Halaster caused waves of abberant magical energy to wash throughout the Undermountain prompting the emergence of the venom spore myconids. The force warped them into twisted versions of their former selves, still loyal to their sovereigns but with an aching bloodlust and poisonous spores. First identified in Belkram's Fall, the true reach of the magical burst was unknown, and the possibility that more were effected this way remained.[7]

Deep within the Feydark existed a group of myconids with the unmistakable presence of fey power. Tainted by formorian madness these myconids became far more obsessed with contaminating the world with their presence, despite not becoming fully evil. It was believed that myconids originally hailed from the Feydark, before slowly becoming the more peace loving variant familiar to the Underdark residents.[2][15]

Settlements[edit | edit source]

The Oasis of the Stone King, where Drizzt Do'Urden once dwelt, was home to a small community of myconids.[16]

A group of about 370 myconids dwelled in the Lowerdark city of Fluvenilstra under the leadership of Meln, their sovereign. Although the myconids appeared to do nothing, they actually controlled the city's defense force of shambling mounds, phantom fungi, assassin vines, and other plant monsters[17]

Colonies of myconids were also known to make their homes within the giant fungus known Arauamycos, believed by some to be the avatar of Psilofyr.[18]

Within the Underdark was a group of approximately 150 myconids and spore servants who lived in Neverlight Grove. Eventually some were forced to evacuate to avoid being corrupted by Zuggtmoy.[8]

The Feydark was home to a large population of myconids. Due to their aggressive growth and spread, the myconids were seen as a menace to the other denizens of the Feydark. Myconid colonies were eradicated when encountered, however some fomorian kingdoms kept gardens of myconids.[19]

Notable myconids[edit | edit source]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Dungeon #20: "The Ship of Night"Out of the AbyssIcewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden
Escape the Underdark
Video Games
Icewind DaleBaldur's Gate II: Shadows of AmnBaldur's Gate: The Black PitsBaldur's Gate II: Enhanced EditionBaldur's Gate II: The Black Pits II – Gladiators of ThayBaldur's Gate: Siege of DragonspearIdle Champions of the Forgotten RealmsBaldur's Gate III
Card Games
AD&D Trading Cards

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins (2014-09-30). Monster Manual 5th edition. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 230–232. ISBN 978-0786965614.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Rob Heinsoo, Stephen Schubert (May 2009). Monster Manual II (4th edition). (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 164–165. ISBN 978-0786951017.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 155–156. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), pp. 264–265. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
  5. Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 94. ISBN 0-88038-031-4.
  6. Frank Mentzer (January 1985). “Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #93 (TSR, Inc.), p. 28.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Eric L. Boyd, Ed Greenwood, Christopher Lindsay, Sean K. Reynolds (June 2007). Expedition to Undermountain. Edited by Bill Slavicsek. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 221. ISBN 978-0-7869-4157-5.
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10  (September 1, 2015). Out of the Abyss. Edited by . (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 978-0-7869-6581-6.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Template:Cite book/In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords
  10.  (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 149. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
  11.  (May 1992). Monster Mythology. (TSR, Inc), p. 99. ISBN 1-5607-6362-0.
  12.  (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 149. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
  13.  (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 256. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
  14.  (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 149. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
  15.  (January 2010). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 151. ISBN 978-0786953875.
  16.  (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. (TSR, Inc), p. 43. ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.
  17.  (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 149. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
  18.  (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 126–7. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
  19.  (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 96–97. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
  20. DreamForge Intertainment, Inc. (1994). Designed by John McGirk. Menzoberranzan. Strategic Simulations, Inc.
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