Smoke Eater Fungi Species in Scarterra | World Anvil

Smoke Eater Fungi

by me with Hero Forge
-Aralur Greystone, Arum of the Sóleið, aka Dwarf Keepers
There are four ways to create breathable air in Scarnoctis. First, air blows in from the surface of Scarterra. Second, the so called wind tunnels provide fresh air directly from fonts powered by the the Elemental Plane. Thirds, we have plants sustained by life stones.   Finally, we have smoke eater fungi.
  Relatively speaking, smoke eater fungi is less powerful than the other methods, but the those forces are solely in the hands of gods and goddesses. We lowly mortals can feed and expand smoke eater fungi relatively easily and we can transplant the fungi to new places giving us mortals the ability to shape our environment.   A lot of theologians and story tellers will argue about which god or goddess was kind enough to give us mortals smoke eater fungi. A case can be made for all nine of the Nine. In my opinion, it was probably the result o several of them working together, so I'll just call it a generous gift from the Nine and leave it at that.
  Dwarves and many other full time or part time residents of Scarnoctis are very fond of smoke eater fungi because unlike every other fungi, it improves air quality.   Most subteranean dwarf families keep a small pot of smoke eater fungi in their home caves or several such pots.   If a house cave is poorly ventilated, it is impossible to keep a hearth fire going there without asphyxiating the inhabitants unless smoke eater fungi is in or near said cave. Even if a cave has some ventilation, keeping some smoke eater fungi there will improve the air quality by oxygenating the chamber and filtering out various airbone particulates.   Smoke eater fungi is commonly used by dwarves but it is not exclusive to them. Pretty much every denizen of Scarnoctis uses the fungi in some manner though they frequently call it by different names.

Basic Information

Ecology and Habitats

Normal fungi is photosensitive and can be harmed by sunlight.   Smoke eater fungi is very photosensitive, making it severely harmed by brief exposure to even indirect filtered sunlight, usually killing it. It is not impossible to find patches of smoke eater fungi above ground but it is very rare.   Smoke eater fungi doesn't like life stones either, the energy from lifestones won't kill the fungi but it will slow their growth or in severe cases send them into dormancy.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Smoke Eater Fungi are a supernatural hybrid of fungi of plants.   Normal plants obtain energy from sunlight (photosynthesis), take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Normal fungi break down organic matter and consume oxygen and release carbon dioxide.   Smoke Eater Fungi break down organic matter like other fungi, but they take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen like plants.   Smoke Eater Fungi are very greedy for organic matter relative to most other fungi and consume organic matter very fast, often to the point of exhausting its food supply, killing the fungi (though leaving transplantable spores behind).   This aggressive nutrient needs limits the smoke eater fungi's ability to survive and spread in the wild. The fungi does exist in the wild, but it is mostly seen in or near the habitats of dwarves and other subteranean mortals who cultivate the fungi deliberately.

Additional Information


by Eron12 with Hero Forge
-Besoulin Chainbraids, Dwarf Homemaker
"Most dwarf families keep a pot of smoke eater fungi in their home caves. Large and wealthy dwelling keep more than one such pot. Care and feeding of a family's smoke eater fungal pot is part of keeping a proper home because it improves air quality.   As the name "smoke eater" implies, many choose to keep their fungi pots near the hearth fire.
  I like to keep ours in the sleeping area. My grandmother always insisted on keeping the pots near infant cribs so the littlest family members have the best air.   Smoke eater fungi eats more than 'smoke', it eats 'organic matter'. Which means table scraps and poop. This is handy because it makes it easier for a family to dispose of 'organic matter'.   The fungi does not like urine, so we have to dispose of that separately. That's why we dwarves have to have specific 'Number One' and 'Number Two' chamber pots unlike humans and their multi-purpose chamber pots. For the cleanest air in your home, a smoke eater pot should be given a bit of clean water once a week."

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Smoke eater fungi is valued primarily for its ability to improve the air quality of underground areas around it. This is why dwarves and other intelligent mortals encourage the spread of the fungi throughout Scarnoctis.  
by Eron12 with Hero Forge
-Marbuil Redscale, dwarf salt master
"Smoke eater fungi seems like it is great disposing of waste products. This seems to be a win-win since it disposes of feces and provides improved air quality.   There is a downside and that is feces that is feeding a smoke eater fungi pot is feces that is not feeding a fungus farm or insect hatchery. Humans and other outsiders are amazed at just how valuable feces can be.
  Generally, waste from individual households is used to feed smoke eater fungi, whereas waste from livestock or large population centers is earmarked for agriculture."
by me with Hero Forge
Hallmar Snowview, freelance dwarf miner
If a mine is close to the surface, I prefer to cart out the miner's 'waste products' above ground. If a mine is deep in the bowels of Scarnoctis, it often helps to created a designated 'green area' for miners to do their business and feed some smoke eater fungi which will provide more breathable air in the tunnels.
  Don't overestimate the power of a smoke eater fungi pot though. The fungi adds breathable air but it does not remove poisonous air. If a mine has a poisonous gas leak, it won't protect you.   Despite the name 'smoke eater', it won't protect you from fire. The oxygenated air around a cluster of the fungi will make flames burn hotter which increases the risk of accidental fires."

Symbiotic and Parasitic organisms

by me with Hero Forge
-Master Blaprur, Gnome Sage
"Some invertebrates can subsist on smoke eater fungi, but it is not edible to most larger animals, including all humanoids.   Smoke eater fungi tastes and smells bitter. It is poisonous but doesn't inflict permanent damage on humanoids. Consuming it induces vomiting. Sometimes, healers will feed people smoke eater fungi in order to induce vomiting to purge actual poisons from their system. It is also a painful way to sober a drunk man faster."
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Bright green like a normal chlorphyl using surface plant.
Geographic Distribution

Cover image: by me with Midjourney


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