The World of Mhaab
WA Prompts Nnie's Spooktober Prompts
I'm doing these slightly out of order to better create the narrative. I hope you enjoy and if you have any questions about the process or world, please let me know :)
The World of Mhaab
MoonMhaab is a moon, lush with life - fungal jungles, hills of mold, glittering fields of bioluminscent mushroom, connected by roots into an nearly unbroken whole. In times past, the people of Mhaab lived on the planet they now orbit, known now only as Ruin. It is a grey, forboding view in the night sky, the scars of the disaster that drove humanity from it's surface clearly visible from the Mhaab. Mhaab is hot and humid, the air thick with spores and rot. Most who live here have no sense of smell, lost in the omnipresent stink. The sponge-soft surface is uneven and often treacherous, firm enough to walk on in some places but yields easily in others.
A Mysterious MushroomMhaab is covered in thick fungal growth, shrouding the grey lunar stone in a carpet that is at places meters thick. Mold and mushroom bundle together to form hills, with complex root networks rising to the skies like towering mountains. Multicolored spires of cordycept victims belch spores into the air, while lakes and oceans pool in depressions along the uneven surface. There's no running water on Mhaab, only the stagnant and spore-filled discharge from the mycelium roots. Few realize that, despite the multitude of life that have sprung from the fungal fecundity, the vast bulk of mushroom root that have claimed Mhaab belong to a single entity; the world-shroom.
Intriguing ImplicationHumanity have right to be proud of their survival. Through tenacity and ingenuity, they have found a way to thrive among the fungal wilds of Mhaab. Kings proclaim divine favor or inspired genius, but others, more humble minds, wonder. How is it that they can drink the water with so little effort to filter it? Why does some of the mycelium growths seem so... Habitable? No matter where humanity settles, edible crop and bioluminscence seem to follow. Life is hard, of that there is no doubt, and without their efforts they would be extinct... But is there more to their success?
Blasphemous whisper claim so; the world is helping them, but to what end? Is it a kind parent to desperate offspring, or a herder, fattening the flock before slaughter?
BloodThe mycelium soil of Mhaab reacts with hunger to blood. Bleeding prey animals find roots and tendrils reaching for them, and even a drop can awaken dormant fungi. Humanity on Mhaab call this magic - shedding blood to manipulate their fungal world to do their bidding. Skilled blood mages can coax the mushroom to grow walls to shield them, strangling vines to entangle enemies, or a bloom of edible cropf or their communities. Blood nourishes the land when shed in moderation, and blights it with ravenous hunger when in excess.
This hunger for blood mean most combatants use blunt weapons when they can. To wear a blade when the very world hungers for blood is a statement of vicious intent.
An Ancient ArtScarrification is an old art in Mhaab, born from the many cuts required by their fungimancers to do their magic. Supplicants who give it willingly adorn themselves with elaborate lacerations that show their devotion and sacrifice, usually highlighting particularly artistic cuts with piercings or daubs of paint. Bleeding for ritual magic has become part practical matter, and part artistic performance, with some counting their cuts as some might coin.
HuntBloodletters are hunters of the cruelest sort, preying upon their fellow man for the blood in their veins. Where other mages may use only their own or the donations of willing supplicants to perform their rites, the Bloodletters have no such concerns. Those captured by them can expect every drop of blood to be drained from their bodies, or kept enslaved and 'on tap'. Mercenaries of the darkest sort, Bloodletter's sell both blood and service to the highest bidder.
MistThe Devouring Mist is a sentient, mobile discharge of spores from fungi that bloom only in places of great bloodshed. Careless magi or cruel bloodletters sometimes create areas so saturated with blood and suffering that the soil grows impatient for more. The mist takes the form a swirling, quick-moving mass of crimson and green spores, always on the move towards the nearest warm body. The closer it gets, the faster it moves. Only cold can deter it; or a greater meal.
Ominous OmenA rot has begun to spread on Mhaab, a corruption of the fungal flora that transform it into a slick, blood-red stone. Hard as metal and hungry for blood, it devours the native soil to replace it with fields of sharp crystalline formations. All wild life flee from the rot, and humanity grapple with the new disease of the land. The farmer worries for his crop, and the warrior sees a new weapon with which to conquer all.
Weapons made from the rot-crystal draws blood and gnaws at flesh, making weapons of unusual cruelty.
A Macabre MemorialThe city-state of Lagash was once mighty and proud, but a thirst for glory saw it crushed beneath the weight of its ambition. Great and terrible rituals were performed, rivers of blood shed, all meant to raise monuments to their king. Instead of making him a god, the land turned on the city and it's bloody magi. To this day, the fanged, crimson mushroom that cover the city hunger for fresh bodies - something the king's vault, untouched and abandoned, assures will come.
GlowMhaab is illuminated in the night by millions of mushrooms, glowing with blue, green, and white. They grow in mile long streaks along the land where they attract animals - some to graze, others to hunt. They spring up almost unbidden around human settlements and are easy to coax into new places. Some artists make patterns of bioluminscent, using entire buildings as a canvas. Most glowing mushrooms are no larger than a fist, though some grow long and slender with dipping lanterns.
Many of the common glow-shrooms can be harvested and reduced to a thick paste that continue to glow for hours after it is applied, making it a popular decoration for festivities.
HollowThe moon of Mhaab is not as solid as it should be. Impact craters that once dotted the landscape are now covered by domes of fungi and mycelium roots, creating a cavernous world beneath the surface. Many are flooded by mushroom run-off, slow-moving subterranean oceans of sludge, home to blind, pale things that have never seen sunlight. In other places, explorers find symmetrical shafts that burrow into the world for miles. It is a cursed, haunted realm, where explorers claim to see distant lights or hear bizarre noises admist ancient wreckage and metallic rooms. Relics from the deeps fetch a high price among the wealthy and curious, so adventurers brave the ghoulish labyrinthe beneath again and again, no matter how many fail to return.
A Sinister Secret
The rot is no accident, but a gamble made in hopes to rule all of Mhaab - or whatever ruins of it remains.
GraveRuin is the dead world around which Mhaab orbits. In times past, stories say, it was the home of humanity, a lush paradise world ruined by folly and greed. Few agree on caused its demise - a vengeanceful god, terrible weapons unleashed in anger, or the creeping, inevitable ruin of uncheck industry. Those who have visited the tomb-world speak of the ravaged surface, with miles long craters, poisonous air, and monstrosities of metal and wreckage, wearing the ruins of the past like shrouds.
A Ghastly GambleOn Mhaab, it is not always easy to tell where one life ends and another begins. Fungi and mold bond to animals and mankind, as parasites or symbiotes. Cordycept infection steal away minds and bodies, transforming their unfortunate victims and merge them with the land. But many are more benevolent, exacting a price of blood in exchange for power. Some have been grown and cultivated by human magi through careful trial and error, and at great cost in sacrifice.
Others seem to have sprung from the world unbidden to aid humanity.Almost everyone has some sort of minor symbiote or parasite sharing their flesh, while others have become host to so many that they no longer resemble humans.