Psilofyr was the benevolent deity of the myconid race, known as the Carrion King for his philosophy of renewal through decomposition. The Lord of Myconids ruled from both the Feydark and his home in Mycelia on Mechanus.
Description[edit | edit source]
Psilofyr was a wholly unique entity not bound to a singular form, but rather existing in many places at once simultaneously. His consciousness resided within a singular and extensive fungal root system that spanned the entire Feydark. His presence within Mechanus, also suggested that his root system extended into other planar realms.
To make a physical appearance he could quickly assume a fungoid form and manifest before whatever creature or object he desired to interact with. The Spore Lord could not only possess bodies in different places at once, but each could appear wildly different. Known forms included but were not limited to; titanic toadstools with numerous pseudopods, morels with multiple eyes and mouths, rock-like truffles with toothy maws, giant red and white toadstools, as well as blue slime molds with a plethora of eyes and limbs.
These numerous iterations were over dozens of feet tall, long and/or wide and were surrounded by a small field of fungus wherever they appeared. His most well known form among the myconids was that of a 6 foot (1.81 meter) tall, levitating myconid with an extensive network of mycelia drifting behind him. Blue-gray in this form, he was capable of changing color in order to match his environment or his mood. He was often depicted as a kind of fungal world tree with his innumerable mycelia reaching throughout the planes.
Personality[edit | edit source]
The greatest desire of the Carrion King was clear to all who knew him: ensuring the continued longevity, prosperity, and spread of the myconid race. Despite being as unpredictable and dangerous as other Feywild lords, he lacked their self centered attitudes and mindsets. Unlike many other Archfey he possessed a genuine fondness for the vigor and drive of short-lived mortals, rather than viewing them as playthings, pawns, or vermin. Furthermore, he was not motivated in his propagation of the myconids and his adopted fungal creatures by a desire for personal glory, but rather for their own benefit. Although he was dogged about the spreading of the myconids he could be persuaded to slow down or spread passively, as he didn't destroy civilizations he saw as peaceful and beneficiary. Admired by many for his great hospitality, he showed an initial positivity towards all travelers in his realm, whether assassins or explorers.
His virtues aside however, the Spore Lord was undeniably mad, as the more forms he divided himself between the more unrepresentative of his whole self the aspects became. Generally benevolent, the manifested personalities could range in behavior from playful friendliness to quiet nobility and ruthless objectivity, with some aspects even becoming antithetical to the desires of the whole. While uncommon, rogue versions of the Carrion King were highly dangerous, sometimes holding knowledge of the others plans and even donning completely new identities and missions. Most rogues believed themselves to hold the true mind of the Myconid King, further confusing the situation.
The core philosophy of the Myconid Lord, was that by which the needs of the many outweighed those of the few. The death of individuals was rarely considered important for both myconids and non-fungus friends alike, as the virtues of self-sacrifice and community duty was highly prevalent both in himself and his people. Indeed the Carrion King did not heavily value the lives of his individual aspects, as more could always be conjured in most situations. In his mind, death was just a step in the formation of a new lifeform, and the dead did not die in vain as they continued to give back to the world at large.
The Psilofyr who dwelt in Nirvana was a far more meditative and peaceful entity, known to the myconids as a wise teacher god. Although his views on individual lives was fairly similar, he was far more contemplative and focused on pursuing perfection through patient meditation.
Powers[edit | edit source]
While Psilofyr was in no way inherently violent, he was no stranger to using force to accomplish his goals. The Carrion King was practically impossible to destroy as he could almost always create new bodies, and only the slaying of several in short succession could injure his true self. Rather than directly engage in combat, he preferred to set ambushes accompanied by numerous plant and fungal monsters. He was able to fight using toxic spores, either by firing jet streams or causing small bursts radiating out from himself. These spores could cause coughing fits, disease, poison, rot, sleep, as well as hallucinations and pacification. He could also drop his current body and reappear in the fungal growths that appeared when he first arrived, or split his already fractured conscious into three smaller subgroups. Blunt instruments were ineffective against his fungal mass, as were toxins, forces of decay, blasts of water and frigid cold.
While capable of speaking Common, Elven, and Primordial, he usually used telepathic communication. He kept tabs on the state of the Feydark by seeing through various fungi such as shriekers, and his more conventional bodies were capable of burrowing underneath the ground and sensing tremors made by others. He was a knowledgeable entity capable of performing fungal alchemy and cultivating new species of fungi. Of his creations were the myconid symbionts, fungus ones that bonded to humanoid plant creatures like dryads, wood woads, treants and shambling mounds The symbionts bonded to the hosts, acting as one and connecting the individuals to king's spiritual and sometimes physical roots. The myconid acted as a living arm, could survive in sunlight, and allowed the Carrion King to both see through the eyes of, and communicate with those bonded to them.
Possessions[edit | edit source]
Gold and gemstones carried little value to the Lord of Myconids, although he still collected them from the deceased in order to use for diplomatic exchanges. His knowledge and link to fungi allowed him to retrieve rare specimens to gift onto others. He was also capable of granting unique magical equipment as rewards, such as the enchanted caps of dead sovereigns he could convert into helms, conferring telepathic powers and poisonous resistance.
Activities[edit | edit source]
Most of the Carrion King's time was spent on the preservation and guidance of the myconid race, and nearly all of his actions were taken to further that goal. Cultivation of new myconid species was among the many tasks he undertook, creating new variants for a multitude of purposes. Without the numbers to deal with his numerous foes personally however, and spending a portion of his limited resources dealing with rogue personalities, a sizable fraction of his time was devoted to diplomacy.
Psilofyr's modus operandi for dealing with visitors varied on their skill level, with well renown trespassers being immediately enlisted while lesser known entities had their abilities and personalities gauged through flushed out monsters. Invited guests or beings who requested his presence within the Feydark, were often given a task to complete that they would be paid for using treasures from slain intruders or specially crafted items. He would often organize large enough myconid colonies to liberate enslaved fungus folk, striving to save even those trapped in the Shadowdark.
The Psilofyr of Mechanus selected about five percent of all myconid kings to become his priests, and subconsciously guided the selection process of new kings. Much of his existence was spent in a meditative state, sharing his thoughts with the priest kings. If a whole myconid community found itself in peril, he would commune with its respective sovereign for 24 hours in order to grant them his powers for the next few days.
Realm[edit | edit source]
Rather than occupying a singular territory the Fey Lord was present throughout the entire Feydark, watching over it quietly from all areas. Even in areas where one might not expect his presence, such as enemy strongholds, tiny mycelia from his massive root system remained unnoticed and silently watching. The Spore Lord of Mechanus occupied a region known as Mycelia, pursuing enlightenment through his meditation. With rumors that his influence extended into the Underdark of the Material plane it was hard to say how far Psilofyr's root system truly reached, or the depth of his influence over other planes of existence.
Relationships[edit | edit source]
Allies[edit | edit source]
Psilofyr was a member of the Court of Stars, free to attend as he wished but rarely concerned with their opinions. When he did arrive to Court gatherings he often sprouted a relatively small form, offering gifts of rare truffles while quietly listening to the discussions of the various Fey Lords. Specific archefey regarded him differently with interpretations of his character ranging from an admiral force of Feydark life, to an ancient fungus best left in the past. He often recruited various Feydark travelers to aid him, but would also entice xorns using gemstones left behind by fallen adventurers, as he had no use for precious metals.
Enemies[edit | edit source]
Different aspects of the Carrion King had individual ideas about their specific enemies, although an underlying thread in all of his hatreds were those who enslaved myconids, leaving him with uncountable foes. Among his reoccurring enemies was the Spider Queen Lolth, although the nature of this rivalry was unknown. It was postulated that a curse of insanity meant for Corellon before the Dawn War was redirected into the tree lord Archfey who would become the Spore Lord. Whether for this reason or another, myconids and drow never found peace within the Underdark ensuring either mutual destruction or enslavement by the drow, resulting in Psilofyr's continued loathing.
Although one might initially expect Psilofyr and Zuggtmoy to cooperate, they in fact represented two antithetical ideals. While the immortal Carrion King viewed death as a tool to renew the earth, Zuggtmoy reveled in decay for it's own sake, making her and her cultists enemies to the myconids. Zuggtmoy was not above using her wicked spores to corrupt Psilofyr's children, twisting them into abyssal monstrosities bound to her dark will. The supposed "Last Spore" of Psilofyr, Amasutelob, was allowed to rule over a section of the Feydark as he lacked true cruelty and was more akin to a bully. Fomorians drew a particular ire from the Myconid Lord, although the exact reasoning was not commonly known. Other enemies included the malevolent spriggans, and shadar-kai, slavers of the Shadowdark.
Worshipers[edit | edit source]
Not all myconids knew of Psilofyr, and some who did believed that he had long since disappeared. It was theorized that this was an intentional move by the Spore Lord, fading away in places where the myconids no longer needed him. Of his faithful were myconid kings of the Material planes, chosen as priest-kings, and thereby regularly engaged in psionic connections with him. Being one of his priests carried no further responsibilities than being an ordinary sovereign. He had little in the way of rituals outside of the melding process.
History[edit | edit source]
Among the inconsistent and enigmatic history of the Archfey, no being was as mysterious as the Lord of the Myconids. He was known by many names, but his very existence was practically unheard of in mortal realms. He had multiple origin stories that varied wildly between every iteration. In one tale, Corellon had bestowed sentience to a toadstool that would eventually grow to become the Myconid Lord. In another Lolth attempted to curse Corellon with insanity, but the spell was redirected at a preexisting tree lord archfey who would transform into the Lord of Spores. Still others believed the fomorians were responsible for his fragmented mind, corrupting both him and the myconids into their expansionist behavior, rather than the solitary myconids being the offshoot. There were also legends that he began as a god of decay, who after being killed and planted in the Feywilds by primordials underwent a metamorphosis into the Carrion King.
And yet at the same time, many believed Psilofyr was simply a natural growth of the Feywilds, an ancient immortal who had simply always been present. The Witch Mother, Baba Yaga herself, had said little on the nature of the Carrion King. Planar theologians themselves had proposed numerous theories, and not even his myconid children seemed aware of his true origin as they possessed little in the way of historical preservation. Not even Psilofyr himself knew his true past, as his fractured mind left him with a poor memory. Not helping was that his individual incarnations could believe themselves to be extensions of other beings, such as Jubilex.
What was known, was that at some point the Myconid lord taught the myconids how to conduct fungal alchemy and cultivated new species. As his children spread throughout the Feydark, whether intentionally or accidentally, some ended up in the Underdark and lost their in-depth touch with the Spore Lord. Psilofyr's future state was as confusing as his past. Some aspect of the Carrion King resided within Mechanus, either a rogue unit who fled to a more routine realm, or a natural consequence of his presence on the plane of law. The myconids of the Living Grotto believed that some part of their creator dwelt within the petrified mushroom that acted as the Great Cathedral.
Araumycos, a massive fungus that made up a sizable portion of the Underdark, was believed to be one of his manifestations. Its sentience was questionable and at the very least alien, responding to rapport spores and utilizing psionic abilities but not responding to threats based on their scales and acting randomly. The idea of its sentience was furthered by the attempts of Zuggtmoy to 'wed' it, corrupting the giant toadstool with a dark ritual, although their mutual distaste for each other made it even more perplexing. Other scholars question if the real Psilofyr still existed, postulating he was killed by another deity of decomposition. Similar students of the planes believed that he was simply conserving his energy by using only aspects to do his work, so he could undergo a great metamorphosis.
Appendix[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins (January 2010). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 109. ISBN 978-0786953875.
- Jeff LaSala (February 2013). “Court of Stars: The Carrion King”. In Steve Winter ed. Dragon #420 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 12–17.
- Eric L. Boyd (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. (TSR, Inc), p. 54. ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.
- Carl Sargent (May 1992). Monster Mythology. (TSR, Inc), p. 69. ISBN 1-5607-6362-0.
- Colin McComb (1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc), p. 176. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
- Christopher Perkins, Adam Lee, Richard Whitters (September 1, 2015). Out of the Abyss. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 92. ISBN 978-0-7869-6581-6.
- Christopher Perkins, Adam Lee, Richard Whitters (September 1, 2015). Out of the Abyss. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 86. ISBN 978-0-7869-6581-6.