Ambrosia Fungi

A corner stone of the culture of the Golden Coast and as dangerous as it is beautiful

Like stars on the dark night sky, those spores fill the nights of the Golden Coast. A gift by The Moonweaver, they are there when the moon is not, and bring light when there is none. But don't let this beauty fool you, it's even more dangerous than beautiful.
Rover Goldrock
 

Description & Habitat

The Ambrosia Fungi are bio luminescent mushrooms growing in the forests to the east of the Mountains of Roxtoi on the Golden Coast. During the night, they illuminate those forests with a slight bluish light, which often can be seen from ships sailing alongside the coast. They grow all over the trunks of many different kind of trees, creating a symbiotic relationship with their host. The trees provide the mushroom with nutrition, while the mushroom uses their psychoactive effects to protect the tree from predators by releasing a cloud of spores.   The mushrooms seem to have a unique tie with the cycles of the moon. They release their spores year round, but primarily during the new moon. There is one big exception to this cycle. Beginning on the last full moon of fall, the mushrooms stop emitting their spores completely, just to emit a burst of them a few weeks later, during the winter solstice, when no moon stands in the sky. They bring light to the longest and darkest night of the year, during which the Golden Coast celebrates the Night of the Moon Festival.

Effects

The mushrooms inflict different effects on different species and people. The most common effects include: Euphoria, feelings of well-being, relaxation, disruption of linear memory and sense of time, increased awareness of sensation, and slight hallucinations. It also causes the metabolism to slow down, causing a decrease in heart and breathing rate and a loss of appetite. Those effects can set in only seconds after ingesting parts of the mushroom or its spores.  
Don't be stupid! Do not enter the forest without a guide! You don't know what you are doing! Even if those mushrooms look incredibly beautiful, if you ever get caught in a discharge of their spores, you will enter a coma within minutes. And once that happens, you will just sit there and starve! But who am I to judge, I'm just the guy who does this for a living.
Rover Goldrock
  Depending on the amount ingested, those effects can range from only a slight high, up to the total loss of higher brain functions. Ingested in large amounts, the effects cause the creature to feel an incredible amount of euphoria, while losing all sense of time, linear memory, and sense of self preservation. They become completely unresponsive to any stimuli, essentially entering a comatose-like state. With no outside help, they will eventually just starve and die. In even higher amounts, the mushroom will be lethal within a few minutes, as it slows down the metabolism to a full stop.  

Uses

Settlements in the Golden Coast are usually placed far enough away from those forests, still there is always at least a trace amount of spores in the ambient air. This made the people living there develop a natural resitance to the mushroom. Still from time to time, through changes in weather and wind, or during the Night of the Moon Festival, larger amounts of those spores find their way into the cities and settlements. As this usually never happens to be a dose big enough to cause lasting damage, it's not considered to be a problem most of the time.   Ambrosia Fungi and their spores are used in many different ways along the Golden Coast. The harvest of those mushrooms is incredibly difficult, which makes the Fungi really expensive. Many people tried to grow them in a more controlled environment for easier harvest, but only one succeeded so far. Working together with the Confederation of the Golden Coast, Shroomwork Technologies is creating various weapons and technologies driven by this mushroom.  

Medicine & Recreational Drugs

In the right doses, both the spores and various parts of the mushroom can be used to gain a feeling of relaxation and slight euphoria. It's a popular drug and has been for hundreds of years. The use has mostly been culturally accepted and to this day, neither the selling nor consumption is illegal. As the price dropped significantly after Shroomworks Technologies started cultivating the mushroom, it's now also available to the poorer folk. In even smaller amounts, the mushroom is used in medicine, mostly for its effect of slowing down the metabolism of the patient during surgery or as a pain killer.  

Religious & Divination Rituals

The Moon
by Alexander Andrews
The Ambrosia Fungi serves a big part in various religious practices. The Church of The Moonweaver along the Golden Coast uses them because of their unique ties to the cycles of the moon. They see them as a gift of the Moonweaver herself, and use them primarily in various divination rituals to enhance the prophetic ability of the priest.   For some rituals, priests of The Moonweaver even take an overdose, entering the comatose state. These rituals are highly accurate in predicting the future, but they are incredibly dangerous to the priest. Once a year, during the Night of the Moon Festival, one priest is chosen to undergo this process. This priest has prepared for this ritual for most of their life, by going though extensive mental training and taking small doses of this drug over decades to gain a physical resistance.   They will only ever go through this ritual once in their lives. Recovering from this drug takes years. Some of them never recover completely and can suffer from permanent brain damage and other physical injuries, like hearth and lung diseases, for the rest of their lives.  
Prophecies

When the people of the Golden Coast
Are haunted by forgotten Ghosts
The sun will turn dark and cold
And it will happen as foretold
And this city will find its end
and will be killed, by its oldest friend

This prophecy has been created during the Night of the Moon Festival of 652 and, because those prophecies have been highly accurate, this caused an enormous panic. Many people left the city in the coming years. But even a hundred years later, this prophecy has not yet come to pass. Many people today belive, that there had to be a mistake or a misunderstanding by the priest, but this would be the first time a prophecy of the Night of the Moon Festival was wrong.
 

Weapons and Technology

Rover Goldrock
Rover Goldrock by Portrait Workshop
Roughly 20 years ago Rover Goldrock discovered a way to cultivate the Ambrosia Fungi in a controlled environment and opened up the possibility of various different technologies and weapons. This has created an enormous backlash in the population, especially from the followers of The Moonweaver. But many powerful people in the Confederation of the Golden Coast have seen the potential in his technologies and have allowed Shroomworks Technologies to operate under strict government oversight.   Shroomworks Technologies has perfected the creation of medical drugs, like sleep aids and anesthetics. Various test runs have been completed successfully already, so they could see wide spread adoption soon. They also research possible ways of using the mushroom as a weapon. One of the most promising technologies so far is ammunition, which detonates on impact, releasing a cloud of spores to knock out the enemy combatants. Currently this ammunition has the slight problem of spontaneously detonating even when not fired.  

Execution & Euthanasia

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Work in Progress

This article is still heavily WIP and can change at any moment

AmbrosiaFungi2.png
Scientific Name
fungi ambrosia
Lifespan
  • Unkown for the organism itself, probably eons
  • 1 year for a given fruit body
Average Height
10cm (4 inches)
Average Weight
10g - 15g
Geographic Distribution
Related Ethnicities
Nicknames
Nightlight, Starbringer

The Glowing Forest
Ambrosia Spores
The solstice by AnatoFinnstark

On the winter solstice, you can witness one of the most beautiful things nature has come up with. All the Ambrosia Fungi release their Spores, filling the whole Golden Coast with glowing little lights. During this night, the Golden Coast celebrates the Night of the Moon Festival


Ambrosia Fungi in other cultures

The usage of Ambrosia is pretty local to the Golden Coast and because of its rarity, export has not been profitable in the past. Now with Shroomworks Technologies cultivating the mushrooms, this has changed and trade of them started all over the continent.   The Meisian Dynasty and the Kingdom of Abonaria both allow the selling and consumption of this drug, but it is forbidden in the Republic of Estaria out of fear of being addictive.


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This has been written as an entry to the Perculiar Plants Challenge.
Main image by Artbreeder

Comments

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Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
21 Mar, 2021 21:29

This is a very cool mushroom!   I'm wondering what makes them feel attacked? I imagine touch is one of them. Anything else?   How do the mushroom protect themselves with their psychoactive effects? They want to avoid people eating them, so do they release spores?   The link to the moon cycle is interesting and it's cool to have people have a festival to watch their lights. Do they have to be at a particular distance to be able to do so safely? Is there any risk for the spore to be blown towards a city with certain meteorological conditions? I don't know if you have magic in your world, but that could be a cool idea to have some bad guy wanting to redirect the spores towards a crowd.   I like the name " Shroomwork Technologies". I'll have to go read that, that sounds cool!   I remember wondering about how the priests were preparing for the ritual and I see that you've added that, that's great. " Afterwards they will start recovering from the usage of this drug. This process takes years, and some of them never recover completly." You've repeated "this drug" one too many time here (also completely is misspelt). I'm wondering about what are the effects on the people who don't recover?   I'm very interested in that cannons made by the Shroomwork Technologies! Would it send spores at enemies? They better make sure the wind is blowing right before!   The bottom section is very cool! I'm a big fan :D I love how you develop the impact on society – and that aside on assassins is also great! (just check the last sentence of the assassin section as it's a big too long right now and you can cut it in two).

21 Mar, 2021 21:45

Thanks for your feedback! What makes them feel attacked: I might expand on this in the article itself a bit, but basically either if they or their host is touched or otherwise damaged.   The Festival: I do want to expand on the festival itself in another article, as it's to much for this, but basically the cities are places strategically in places where the spore concentration is in save limits during this time. There are still spores being blown into the city, which honestly kinda makes everyone high during the festival and is something that's expected. But i will steal the villain idea for my campaing   Shroomwork Technologies and the Technologies they are building, will get their own article, but yeah, basically the cannons shoot spores, to knock out enemy ships, without permanently damaging the ship or the crew.   And I added a little bit about the negative effects, the priest might have to deal with, but I will also expand on that in the article about the order itself.   The last part, was something I came up with while writing the article. It was not planned in the beginning, but I think it really adds to it and changed the whole story of the culture at the Golden Coast.   And thanks again for all your feedback and inspiration, It really helped a lot!

21 Mar, 2021 22:28

What a twist with the content warning information! These guys are as creepy as the Warren of the Shining Wire in Watership Down. Fascinating!

Author of the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga Eater of pickles, Friend of nerds, First of her name
Journeyman Gege16
Gege Escriva
22 Mar, 2021 16:40

Really amazing article, really detailed and complete! Is interesting seeing fungi entries in the plant challenge, not many people has done them. I love the fact that they're bioluminescent (and how magical the forest look in the pics!) and how you described all its effects as a drug. The Moonweaver cult seems interesting! I also I love the map! Is wonderfully done!

Explore the Kingdom of Moskova with me!   Is time for  Summer Camp!  
22 Mar, 2021 16:48

I'm glad you liked it!

23 Mar, 2021 19:47

Very interesting article. You seem to have really thought out the religion and cultural links with the population of the region. The technological uses already created by the Shroomworks Technologies is original. It's nice that it can be used as some form of tranquilizer ammo like this.   The lower content was a cool addition as well. Especially since you expanded a bit on the cultural impact there. Was an interesting read!

Feel free to check out My Ship entry if you want to see what I am up to!
24 Mar, 2021 22:05

Thanks for the kind comment. Glad you liked it!

28 Mar, 2021 12:58

Mushroom! <3 I love how much detail you have about how the mushroom ties in with the surrounding culture. I particularly liked the last section, which was really sensitively written. :)

29 Mar, 2021 12:51

Thank you! This article actually changed the culture of the Golden Coast completely. I had this idea while writing this article and it's so much more interesting than the generic seafaring coastal piraty culture I had before.

29 Mar, 2021 13:39

This is a really interesting plant! I love how you touch on so many different sides of the plant, it makes for a very complete piece of work. Nice work <3 !

Author of Interarcanum.
29 Mar, 2021 16:20

Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it!

31 Mar, 2021 20:02

Hello! Congrats for this interesting article. I'm not going to go in your forests by myself!   You mentioned that the mushroom caps last for up to one year: that is much longer than the usual for a cap! Is there a reason for that? Is that why they developped such a poison, as they would even more need to avoid being eaten than other mushrooms?   I really liked the uses and cultural aspects of the plant. As it appears, once again, a plant/mushroom that became toxic and dangerous was repurposed for recreational use among humans ^^ The ties to religious rituals, and to connect the religion and the mushroom through moon cycles was a good idea.   Finally, the potential use of such a mushroom for military purposes is a bit frightening. Would you see that as a will-enhancing drug similar to the way meth an amphetamines were used by soldiers in WW2? Or more of a sort of "sleep gas" bomb, that would be thrown at enemy lines?   Regarding the aspect of the article, I have say your CSS style is pretty pleasant and generally helps the read. I noted two slight issues: the "prophecy" text is in a somewhat small font size, is that voluntary? Also, it appears that a bit of the top content pannel on the sidebar "bites" out of the text space of the article, at least on my screen. Is that a bug?   In any case, good work with all that!

With love,   Pouaseuille.   I finally participated to The Costume Challenge: here's an entry if you like!
31 Mar, 2021 21:23

Thank you so much for this in depth feedback!   I actually did not think to much about the lifespan of the caps. Basically I wanted them to grow over the course of a year, to then release their spores in autumn, just for the cycle to start again. It accidentally does explain why they have developed such a poison. I did not even think about that, till you brought it up, but it does fit quite nicely.   For the weapon aspect, currently it's more a kind of sleep gas bomb, but using the mushroom as an enhancing drug, is an interesting idea, I haven't thought about yet. I guess it could be used for that, as it has properties similar to a pain killer. I would assume Shroomwork Technologies is working on something like that, but getting the dose right is probably pretty hard.   I did work quite a while on the CSS to make the theme look like i wanted to. Glad to hear that it helped the read. I agree, the Prophecy part is really small and it shouldn't be. I have messed up something there while tweaking the CSS, will change that. Also yeah, the one box is going over the content box, and this is by design to have a bit more texture and difference to the rest.   Once again, thank you for this amazing feedback! It's really appreciated!

14 Apr, 2021 22:08

Hey Satrium! Why have I not commented on your article yet!? haha I'm a fan of your D&D Game Mechanics block in the sidebar, your portraits, your overall layout, and your interim quote excerpt makes me chuckle every time. Great work!

xtremepsy | Ölütanrı
Checkout my other favourite entries to the 2021 Peculiar Plant HERE!
Feel free to read, favourite, and comment on my entry, Digivine.
15 Apr, 2021 08:17

Thank you! Spent quite a lot (probably way to much) time on the formatting and CSS. And after someones mentioned "That's cool, can I use this as a player?" I just had to add mechanics to it :)

15 Apr, 2021 14:01

Is there such a thing as too much time when it comes to formatting and CSS? haha I feel/know your pain (though you probably know it more intimately). I generally hesitate adding 5e mechanics to my articles since it reduces the audience engagement/size (at least in my head) but maybe I'll have to dive deeper into the stat block side of things (since I can't make my own containers like a boss) in my future work so at least I have something available to link.

xtremepsy | Ölütanrı
Checkout my other favourite entries to the 2021 Peculiar Plant HERE!
Feel free to read, favourite, and comment on my entry, Digivine.
16 Apr, 2021 17:03

Love the variation in the Lore surrounding it, and the many uses. Also the D&D statblock is a nice touch.

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
16 Apr, 2021 20:12

I'm glad you liked it and thanks for your comment!

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