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 Tria, 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.
Description & HabitatThe Ambrosia Fungi are bio luminescent mushrooms growing in the forests to the east of the 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.
EffectsThe 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.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.
UsesSettlements 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 , is creating various weapons and technologies driven by this mushroom.
Medicine & Recreational DrugsIn 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 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 RitualsThe Ambrosia Fungi serves a big part in various religious practices. The , a religious order following Tria uses them because of their unique ties to the cycles of the moon. They see them as a gift of the goddess herself, and use them primarily in various divination rituals to enhance the prophetic ability of the priest. For some rituals, priests of Tria 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.
Are haunted by forgotten Ghosts
When the sun turns dark and cold
It will happen as foretold
This city will find its end
killed and swallowed, by its dearest friend
Weapons and TechnologyRoughly 20 years ago 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 . But many powerful people in the have seen the potential in his technologies and have allowed to operate under strict government oversight. 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
Content Warning: Death, Suicide & Ableism
The Glowing Forest
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 cultivating the mushrooms, this has changed and trade of them started all over the continent. The Meisian Dynasty and the both allow the selling and consumption of this drug, but it is forbidden in the out of fear of being addictive.
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Night of the Moon Festival
During the Winter Solstice night, the Golden Coast celebrates the most important festival of Tria, the Night of the Moon. The Night of the Moon is a festival celebrating magic and the unknown.