The Shroomkin are the most individualistic of the fungal lifeforms that live in places such as The Ferment and The Blight across the shadowy lands of twilight. The are roughly humanoid, walking upright and are mobile. They may have odd numbers of limbs, and of varying sizes, and their preferred method of locomotion will vary due to this. Some crawl, some hope, some will lope along relatively upright. To outsiders, their appearance closely resembles that of a mushroom of some sort, and can vary as wildly as normal mushrooms do. Sometime with fanned out layer of frills, or simple bulbous bodies, or the more classic toadstool tyoes with smooth domed heads and long gills down their sides. The colours can vary wildly as well, often white, or pale, with splotches of reds and purples. Most Shroomkin live in small tribes of similarly marked kin, and very likely will be a part of larger Spore Mind. They are usually aware of their connection to a bigger consciousness, and may in fact worship their emergent Spore mind as their leader or even deity.
Their ability to differentiate their sense of individual 'self' from that of their emergent Spore Mind, means many can achieve an affinity for what they call 'Singleminds' (or more disparagingly 'Simpleminds' or 'Lostminds'). They will become diplomats, traders or hospitality workers for the Spore Minds. Those that have regular contact with outsiders will learn foreign customs and languages. In extremely rare cases, some Shroomkin have been known to leave the traditional collective minds of their homeland, and assimilate wholeheartedly into other cultures as fully realised individuals. This may be temporary as a tourist or for study, but sometimes permanently.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Shroomkin will draw nutrients directly form the soil whenever they are not mobile. They favour deep and wet soils where organic matter is plentiful and rotting, such as deep within the Zylem Well of their parent Spore Mind.
Shroomkin reproduce asexually, and only upon their own death. At the moment of death, they release a specific type of spore in great clouds. The spores that take root, will grow over the next 2-3 cycles of the moon into what appears to be a normal, albeit extremely large mushroom. They may stay in this dormant state for anything from a few months to many years, before finally becoming 'awakened' and mobile. The transformation is poorly understood, and many of the dormant 'pre-aware' Shroomkin will never reach their adult state. Many are eaten by other creatures in the ecosystem, or fail to draw in enough nutrients to sustain the awakening. Other Shroomkin do not actively care for the young, nor be overly concerned should some die through lack of nutrients or be consumed as food by other organisms. Wonton or needless destruction of their unaware young will cause reprisals though.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Like many of the fungal species, they communicate through spores and pheromones. They can also produce aural sounds, and many will grow mouthparts in order to communicate with outsiders. Many Shroomkin have redimentary telepathy and the ability to cotnrol the moods of others using their spores. Some can even perform simple mind control of other, although it is usually mild and short-lived - more like implanted suggestions than full domination.
These are really cool. :D Do the different 'species' of mushrooms that they are derive from have any impact on their capabilities or role in the hive, or are they all about equal? Are there any horrifying cordycept parasite-shroomkins? Great work!
Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Thanks Q! Yes - i've been ruminating on some possibilities. I just started fleshing out a Shroomkin character, who has a role/title of 'Farmind' - due to their ability to wander from the hive and switch between individual vs collective. They have become a trader/diplomat. I think there will be other variations too. And that glorious parasitical zombie-master is ruminating for sure. I've referred to it briefly in my older article on Glimmertown, where the Spore Minds control bodyservants as hospitality workers for tourists... https://www.worldanvil.com/w/shadowfire-ononomad/a/glimmertown-settlement. I think Glomero in their corruption will take this next level. :-)
Shrooooom people! This was an interesting read; I like your take on how sentient mushroom beings work. I love that there's a vast variety based on all the different mushroom types. It's neat that they have a "spore mind" based on the connected / expansive nature of fungi in real life. I like the touch about those who can "break free" of it and go off to better themselves and do things for the community.