Monday, February 1, 2016

Encounters: It's a Twofer, Lotus Mold Trap and Euphoria Cap Monster

Did it just get a little funky in here?
Ha ha! Mushroom spores! They have a tendency to make people feel funky in video games; it is a gateway to a plethora of various afflictions. But today, I'm focusing on two. The irritating euphoria condition and the devastating ecstasy condition. But, the twist here is that we are working with two things in a one-two combo. Part the first: a mushroom lowers your inhibitions with euphoria. Part the second: the mold takes your weakened will and entices you to touch it, rub it all over yourself, roll around in it, eat it! Let's see how we put these two things together.

Euphoria Cap


So a mushroom, a small mushroom that is just bursting with wacky spores. To me this sounds like a big area of effect but let's be generous and give the heroes a chance and make it not particularly hard to resist. The creature, being something like a plant (not a plant) it has a homogenous resistance as well. Euphoria costs 6 CER as an affliction, so so far we have:

Attack Skill0Active Defense0
Affliction6Damage Resistance8
Fatigue Points0Hit Points0
Total Offensive Rating (OR)7Total Protective Rating (PR)8
We are at about halfway to CER saturation now. Thinking I like the idea of a mushroom that slurps up health from enemies, let's give the guy a leech ability. Let's make him a bit hardier too. Mushrooms, for some reason, just have a tendency to be resilient, dunno why, but let's give him some HT, DR, and HP.

Attack Skill2Active Defense0
Affliction6Damage Resistance9
Fatigue Points0Hit Points4
Total Offensive Rating (OR)12Total Protective Rating (PR)15
We are at complete saturation a bit earlier than I liked, but oh well. Let's see what we have now.
ST: 10HP: 12Speed: 5.5
DX: 10Will: 10Move: 6
IQ: 4Per: 12
HT: 12FP: 10SM: -4
Dodge: 8Parry: N/ADR: 1
Leech (12): Reach C, 1d damage, contact agent. Mushroom recovers hp equal to damage received.
Spore Cloud: 3 yard radius emanation from the Euphoria Cap, it is not always on. If the mushroom expels spores, everyone rolls against HT to fight back against the effects. Failure leads to euphoria (-3 on IQ, DX, and self-control rolls) that lasts for margin of failure minutes.
Traits: Injury Tolerance (Homogeneous), Vibration Sense, No Fine Manipulators
Skills: Brawling-12


This mushroom lives in moisture-rich environments such as deteriorating detritus; swamps, flooded cabins, moldy caves. There is an important reason; it has a symbiotic relationship with Lotus Mold. It could technically graze safely outside these areas, but it is too slow of a hunter in most cases. Therefore, the two species have grown interdependent on each other for food
The Lotus "mold" is actually a type of fungus as well, and rather than subsisting like plants, it also draws nutrients from living or recently living things. It, however grows so slowly that it needs help in the way of the debilitating Euphoria Cap in order to trap sources of nourishment. The psychoactive effects of the Euphoria Cap make resisting the beckoning of the Lotus Mold more difficult.
These fungi are valued for recreational, but illegal usage. Harvesting is dangerous without wearing specially sealed clothing to help resist the effects. Moreover, the amount that must be harvested for an effective dose requires large farms. The Euphoria Caps being slightly intelligent for a fungus, have escaped with devastating and ruinous consequences for the immediate areas. Towns can be devoured in weeks, and once the spores have implanted, it's all but impossible to completely root them out.

Lotus Mold


The Lotus Mold I feel like statting out more as an environmental trap than as a monster. Let's see what we come up with:

Lotus Mold: When a Euphoria Cap is found, this boring looking light green "mold" is not far behind. A room is filled with its spores which immediately go to work on the weak-willed.
Detect: Per, Naturalist if a Euphoria Cap is identified
Disarm: Can be destroyed with extreme dehydration and/or fire.
Circumvent: Do not get infected with the Spore Cloud of a Euphoria Cap monster. Methods of protecting breathing can avoid the worst effects all together.
Evade: HT roll to evade the infliction of the Obsession. Those with Obsession must roll against 12 to avoid uncontrollably consuming the mold, -3 for those who have been infected by the Euphoria Cap.
Effects: First it attempts to Inflict an Obsession (Must become one with the mold), if this succeeds, and the delver succumbs, they will then be inflicted with ecstasy. Only in this state can spores begin to fully germinate. At this point, only surgical removal (as per removing grubs on page 13 of Dungeon Fantasy 2) can save the delver. At this point, the spores begin to do 3 HP of damage daily that can not be healed until the spores are removed.
Shots: Infinite
Steal: Yes, with Naturalist. Stealing acquires raw ingredients of very low weight, let's say 4 ounces, that can be processed further with Pharmacy skill into a safer (not safe!) illegal substance of same weight that has a legality class of 2.

Using the rules for evaluating a trap in the CER article, the trap has a value of 1 for Detection, 1 for Disarming, it has a value of 20 for the effect, 10 for shots, and 0 for evade. This trap has an Offensive Rating of 31, but might in reality, be considered two closely related traps with one having an OR of 23 (Creating the obsession) and one of 31 (inflicting ecstasy; the spore damage occurs too slowly to be accounted for in the CER calculation).

Closing and Other Notes

For very unhealthy delvers, this can be incredibly dangerous. The trick to pulling off an interesting encounter I think is having a way to foreshadow the methods of overcoming these incredibly destructive threats. Perhaps it is advice given before arriving at the destination. Maybe the party stumbles upon an illegal lab and sees the type of safety equipment at the front before going any further. Maybe there is a noticeable pattern to the deceased victims. The abilities of the Crushroom in Dungeon Fantasy 2 are good suggestions on ways to tune up the Euphoria Cap. I dunno a fair price for this type of encounter for the materials harvested, but considering how illegal and dangerous it is, maybe $2,000? Make sure to play law enforcement very seriously if a party decides to go this route.

Precis - A Euphoria Monster and an Ecstasy Trap working together in gruesome harmony.

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