Move over, Beholder! Get lost, Dragons! It’s time to talk about the most legendary D&D foe of all time: fungi!
What the hell? Why is this a thing? And why is there so much?! Between the lore and the stats, these guys take up two whole pages! Who put so much thought into magic fungi?! Who on the writing staff fought for that?!
Probably someone who’d been playing too much of The Last of Us, considering how some of this shit works.
Lore: Magic Mushrooms and Not the Fun Kind
I love how a good half of this lore page is just explaining how fungi works. Because if there’s one thing I wanted in my Dungeons and Dragons handbook, it was a science lecture.
The only real lore worth analyzing is in the Gas Spore. These spores, thought to be spawned from the corpses of a beholder, are among the deadliest natural phenomena in the universe. Not only do they take the form of a beholder, at least in part, they also inherit their memories. Deadlier yet, they are a parasite. When one explodes, it infects its victims, which then produce even more still. If kept unchecked, a single gas spore could mark the end of civilization itself.
Wow. Wasn’t expecting something like that from the fungi section, but okay.
Stats: You’re fighting fungi. Welcome to Dungeons and Dragons.
If you’re seriously considering making your party fight these guys, then make sure you put a lot against them. An encounter with only one would last all of five seconds. Of real-life time.
In terms of build, none of these guys are durable. They have an AC of 5 each with HP ranging from 1 to 18. The only impressive thing about them is their immunity to basically every condition in the book.
Shocker! You can’t charm a mushroom!
Both the Shrieker and the Violet Fungus have the False Appearance ability, so it looks no different from usual fungi. Gas Spores lack in this ability, however. Instead, they have the Eerie Resemblance ability, which makes them resemble a beholder. With a DC 15 Nature check, you can see it for what it is.
How you actually utilize this ability, I have no idea.
Gas Spores also have the Death Burst ability. This is the only move they have that isn’t a total joke. The Gas Spore sacrifices itself, exploding in a twenty foot range. Everyone within that range must make a DC 15 Con save or take 10(3d6) poison damage and become infected.
These spores, if not dealt with quickly, are a literal death sentence. A victim only has a number of hours equal to 1d12+their CON modifier to live. If they don’t get help within that time, they become poisoned and die. From the corpse, another 2d4 gas spores emerge, which grow to full size in 7 days.
Wanna run a Last of Us campaign? Here you go.
Shriekers don’t have any actions, like the other two. They can only react. When in bright light or when a creature is close enough, they’ll emit a powerful shriek (woulda thought). It does this until the perceived threat is gone. Meaning it literally can’t attack anyone.
The Violet Fungus is a little better in that regard. It has a move called Rotting Touch, which does 1d8 necrotic damage. Roll 1d4 to decide how many of those it can make in a turn. It’s not much, but it can be pretty bad for a low-level party if the DM rolls for maximum number of hits.
Once again, the Gas Spore is the one to look out for. This guy has the Touch action, which only does a measly 1 poison damage. However, if you fail a DC 10 Con save, you’ll end up infected with the same disease you’d get from a Death Burst. Basically, if the party is rolling really poorly, this guy won’t even need to blow itself up to get a TPK.
To be honest: I have no love for either the Shrieker or the Violet Fungus. They sound like fun environmental hazards, but that’s about it. Only the Gas Spore seems like an enemy that could be fun to play with. And that’s because it’s abilities are so cheap and deadly that it would scare the hell out of my players.
What can I say? I love watching people piss themselves.
I’ll be real with you: the Shrieker and the Violet Fungus are going straight to the bottom. They’re literally just fungi. Nothing really worth talking about.
The Gas Spore will place a little higher than that, though. You could actually do some fun stuff with that. If you need a quick enemy for a horror campaign, I can think of no monster better. But it still isn’t all that impressive.
With all that in mind, let’s put the Fungi on the Best of the Bestiary!
- Death Tyrant
- Dragon Turtle
- Green Dragons
- Red Dragons
- Blue Dragons
- Black Dragons
- White Dragons
- Silver Dragons
- Bronze Dragons
- Brass Dragons
- Copper Dragons
- Gold Dragons
- Death Knight
- Bone Devil
- Faerie Dragon
- Drow (all four of ’em)
- Shadow Demon
- Animated Armor
- Pit Fiend
- Chain Devil
- Bearded Devil
- Barbed Devil
- Spined Devil
- Ice Devil
- Horned Devil
- Shadow Dragon
- Displacer Beast
- Carrion Crawler
- Rug of Smothering
- Bugbear Chief
- Vine Blight
- Twig Blight
- Needle Blight
- Gas Spore <———————
- Fire Elemental
- Water Elemental
- Air Elemental
- Dinosaurs (All six of them)
- Earth Elemental
- Flying Sword
- Crawling Claw
- Violet Fungus <——————-
- Shrieker <———————–