The vast variety of mushroom people always look neat, but I was curious what playing a fungal folk would actually be like. What makes them unique? What fungus-based features would give them advantages over their fleshy party mates? What shortcomings would hinder them that others wouldn’t even think about?
Talking about these ideas with members of the Gollicking got me thinking enough to create some mushroom people as a living, breathing part of the world. I looked into some fungus features like their varying sizes, mycelial networks, adaptability to many environments, and how they reproduce and spread, and then mixed it with some ideas based on how a sentient people with a life span of 12-13 months could work.
One Page Lore: Dikarya
Dikarya evolved to adapt to any environment, whether it’s frigid, sweltering, subterranean, or even underwater. So long as there are enough resources to sustain themselves, dikarya will prosper. Given their unmatched reproduction abilities, genetic learning, and comparatively short lifespan, they can quickly arrive at a city and establish themselves as people who have been there for “generations.”
Dikarya are fungus-based creatures with proportions that vaguely resemble humanoids. Each one possesses a large cap atop their neck. The size, colors, gills, ring, scales, and patterns of both their body and cap are how to tell dikarya apart visually.
Dikarya have no standard size. Their height, weight, and girth depend on the amount of nourishment they received during maturation, and they do not grow after maturation. While random in nature, in a nursery, the elders can control maturation time to make the new dikarya tiny or large.
Perception without eyes
Lacking eyes, dikarya perceive the world through sensing the subtle ways objects, creatures, and other things affect the world around them. This is done through sensing vibrations in the ground they stand on and the air around them. Unstable footing, strong winds, and other events can dull this sense.
While lacking sight, dikarya do posses the other four common senses: hearing, touch, taste, and smell.
Connection to Other Fungi
Fungi possess the ability to share resources and nutrients with one another. This is also true among dykarya. A well fed dikarya can pass some of their nutrients to a hungry fungi or dikarya. A healthy dikarya can aid sick or wounded fungi and dikarya by exchanging their life to heal mental strain or even wounds of other dikarya and fungi, though this comes at the cost of some of their own vitality.
There’s no set amount of time a dikarya maturates. Weather and available nourishment change how long it takes to go from spore to born. Anywhere from 2 months to several years is considered normal.
Once they maturate long enough, they spout their distinctive mushroom cap, dislodge from the base, and gain consciousness. They refer to that moment as their birth.
Dikarya live for around 525,600 to 569,400 minutes (12-13 months). They gain much knowledge during maturation, over half of it from the genetic memories of the one or multiple spore providers they grew from, but some can come from the decomposing matter they feed on during maturation.
Given their higher mind functions, sprouted dikarya cannot rely simply gaining nutrients from the ground. Thus, they must eat and consume fluids, despite being fungal creatures. Due to their sensitive nature, alcohol can be particularly potent for them.
After one month, dikarya constantly produce tiny spores from their flesh. When spores from 3 or more dikarya land on an area prime for growth (namely decomposing animal or plant matter), then the spores can possibly grow into a pod and produce 1-10 dikarya. The more spores from different dikarya mix, the greater the chances dikarya will grow and the more knowledge they will have before birth.
If a group of dikarya stay in an environment with ample amounts of prime fertilizer, they can repopulate or exceed their numbers within months. So long as they have fertile ground, they can produce virtually unlimited numbers of new dikarya.
One of the genetic memories Dikarya receive during maturation is learning their language. A strange quirk of the language is that all words are plural. All words in foreign languages are assumed plural unless otherwise specified.
- Sensitive perception – While they lack sight, they sense changes in the world around them with odd precision
- Notice the details – Utilizing senses other than sight, dikarya can pick up on small details others might miss
- Not a picky eater – Dikarya can eat nearly any organic matter, including dirt, to gain nourishment
- No internal organs – With no organs, Dikarya can shrug off physical damage more easily than most
- Survive – Dikarya astounding anatomy allows them to survive seemingly dire or deadly situations
- No Blood – With no blood, dikarya are resilient to physical damage
- Long reach – Dikarya can have strange proportions, granting them greater reach than most creatures of their size
- Rapid learning – With such little time, they quickly absorb information
- Multitask – A sharp mind and a need for swiftness lets them perform multiple tasks more easily
- Hard to Read – Their lack of eyes and fungal origins make it difficult to read their motives
- Blind – Anything that has no effect on the world- ethereal beings, written words, colors- are much more difficult for them to sense
- Limited senses – They can only sense the world within close proximity
- Poor temporal understanding – They have a horrible sense of time
- Lumbering – Rarely do dikarya grow into a body shape that supports graceful movement
- Impatient – Dikarya do not have time to waste
Other One Page Lore for fantasy folk:
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