The Sea of Spores.
To many it is a blight, it's spores spreading the tendrils of this immense fungal forest. Ceaselessly advancing throughout The Sunless Realms, consuming everything it touches. Deep within this vast and perilous labyrinth are countless secrets and lost treasures that many a foolhardy relic hunter has lost their life in the pursuit of.
A colossal fungal forest unlike any other found in the Underworld. For one, many believe it to be sentient, having spawned through unnatural means and intent unknown. Creation steeped in speculation and conspiracies surrounding the lost city at its very heart. What is known is that the spores that come from deep within spread the forest like a wildfire. Voraciously expanding and corrupting everything they touch, infecting other organisms so they too might spread the blight further. The Seas’ unrelenting march has led many underworld societies to seal off the caverns, installing great magical wards halting the creeping advance and keeping the spores at bay. Whatever lurks deep within sits, and waits at the bounties of its realm, contemplating its next move. The Sea of Spores is a strange and alien labyrinth that burrows deep into the underworld, boundless expanses of bioluminescent fungi and monolithic mushrooms dominate the landscape, releasing deadly spores that cause the deadly miasma the sea is famed for. Rumours that numerous plants, fungi, and creatures once native to the region that through prolonged exposure have evolved by some vile metamorphosis and adapted to flourish under the poisonous canopies of rolling caps and frills of this toxic environment. Despite the hostile ecosystem, numerous sentient lifeforms call it their home, while many being mycelium in nature, remnants of the peoples that once dwelt here have adapted ways to survive in such an inhospitable environment without succumbing to The Mycelium Blight.
A vast poisonous subterranean forest filled with a deadly miasma, it constantly threatens to spill beyond its boundaries and swallow up The Sunless Realms.
Ril’Nyiia told me to plant more, and so I did. I planted so many, now the grove is so large and I can't get around to all of it.
Monolithic mushrooms dominate the landscape, their colossal caps form seemingly endless layer of canopies across the entire cavern. These giant fungi, showering their deadly spores, blanketing the land like snow. Spores are carried off to once unblemished lands, taking root and spreading the corruption further. Land now choked, and overrun with poisonous fungi, it mutates and amalgamates with the Sea of Spores if left unchecked. What prominent geographic landmarks could have once been seen are now completely gone, infested by a myriad of voracious fungi that aggressively engulf everything their spores touch.
A once verdant paradise, transformed into a realm of rot and decay.
Due to the living nature of the Sea of Spores landscape, it constantly changes and shifts as the vast fungal jungle seems to move as if it has a will of its own. As such, it has proven impossible to create any kind of detailed map, as things will never be the same from one year to the next.
Deep underground, lakes and rivers flow through a number of previously empty basins, the air is thick with humidity, and the spores make it impossible to breathe. Through the darkness, the luminescent spores float through the haze, illuminating just a small part of the rolling expanse of huge mushroom capped cliffs, thick twisting roots, towering stalks and trunks of the trees above. A once beautiful land, now a putrid soup of decaying matter and noxious gases feeding the millions of fungi calling the Sea of Spores home.
The Rotting Mire.
Considered to be the safest path to traverse the sea of spores, it is also the most disgusting and putrid. A decaying mire of fluid, gases and whatever feted organic matter and detritus finds its way to the bottom to accumulate and putrefy. It is an abysmally dark and dank series of endlessly twisting and contorting tunnels and pits interconnecting to one another, with little rhyme or reason to them. Opening up into a wide open swamp and marshes deep inside the basin at the heart of the Sea of Spores. Swimming around the stalks of monolithic mushrooms that dominate the landscape. These putrid waters are highly nutrient rich soup that feeds and sustains the countless species of mycelium that calls the sea home. While this rancid air at the bottom is vile to breath, it is in fact clear of the miasma and relatively safe to breathe. The hidden dangers of this clean air are the heated gases rising up from the rotting fluids, eruptions of methane and even sulphur being very common, attracting endless swarms of insects and bottom scavengers into its depths.
The Scourge lands.The Scourge lands refers to a series of expansive plateau, canyons and surrounding caverns and caves systems around the sea of spores. These lands are blighted and distorted by the thick miasma of spores that spill forth. It is here where the great barrier was formed, across this region one can find the waning crystals that maintain the forcefield keeping the vast majority of the deadly spores back, but still many manage to make their way through the barrier. The result is the scourge lands.
Much of the wildlife and flora that once called this place home has now receded or migrated elsewhere. Traditionally the deeper caverns of the scourge lands are where (giant isopods) migrate to end their days. Numerous carcasses litter its recesses, harvested by the Dravarii clans of the Tanu Tribe for their thick sturdy Chitin. Travellers to the Scourge lands are advised to wear face coverings and masked when possible. Many of the indigenous Dravarii clan have adapted to do so, and over exposure to the spores can cause infection and mutations as seen in a number of the clans.
Sea of Spores Bestiary.
While many of its original inheritance and wildlife such as the Muuyrox and [placeholder] perished long ago, many others were either unaffected or quickly adapted to thrive in this otherwise toxic environment. Silinratath that inhabited the region were one of the only mammalian creature to have survived the blight. Due to their unusual adaptive nature the Silinratath of this region of the underworld enjoyed a rich diet of fungi due to the large concentration of fungal forests surrounding Menor'cress and it's caverns. It was this that allowed them to quickly adapt and survive.
Inhospitable to most form of sentient life, contrary to this toxic nature, the sea of spores is home to a wide variety of fauna and flora that has not succumb to the blight and become walking nightmares. Myriads of insects swarm, beetles and flies by their billions thrive here, buzzing beneath the caps and stalks of the colossal mushrooms. Giant Isopods feed off of the detritus, decaying plant material and rotting fungi. Many invertebrates have grown and adapted in remarkably different ways. Many oozes, deadly slimes and jellies prowl the cavern floors absorbing any corpses and detritus that fall from high above.
Ruins of the past.
Throughout the Sea of Spores ruins of strongholds and long forgotten temples can be found. Many of these sacred places remain untouched thanks to the poisonous spores invading the lungs and stinging the eyes of any relic hunters that dare come near the Sea of Spores. The highly sought after treasures lie in wait of a relic hunter possessing copious amounts of Hospulus to use as protection from, the noxious gases and floating spores make a chemical soup that threaten the lives of any that walk through unprotected. Countless adventurers and relic hunters have searched in hope of finding fortunes and glory, few have ever made it back whole from this feted mire. Shamblers., once the grittiest relic hunter of all the worlds, now a barely recognisable humanoid after finally succumbing to the gymnopilus fungi. The gymnopilus spores ravage living creatures, destroying their minds and slowly consuming their bodies. Occasionally these abominations stumble out of the depths of the sea, acting on fragments of their remaining memories. At it's very heart lies the source behind the ever expanding darkness, The Fallen City of Menor'cress.. Overrun by the rampant fungi, now consuming the unfortunate souls that were not able to escape the city's fall. Spilling forth its spores as it corrupts the underworld “The Blight of Menor’cress” is the name given to the tendrils of decay consuming and mutating everything in their path. Simply coined the “Sea of Spores” by the Tanu, the cause of the Blight remains mostly unknown.
All that the sea could not strip away was abandoned and left to ruin. Echoes of the past buried and forgotten.
The grave of a god.
Deep beneath the endless caps of the mushroom forest, below the roots and ruins of once was lies a dark and terrible secret. Perhaps explaining why this region has always been so verdant with life. The entire cavern system in truth, is a place out of myth and legend, where once the goddess Gridnera came to wallow in her grief over the destruction of the archtrees. It was here that the so called, Mother of monsters would first become known. Giving birth to the first of the many ghastly abominations that would plague Evalaw for years to come. The God Tythus, lord of pestilence and decay. As the legend goes, Gridnera would make her famous crawl through the underworld and into The Fells, she abandoned her child. Leaving him to his own devices, here alone he would grow cruel and twisted becoming a scourge unto the world. Tythus would become the bane of the Storm god Atrix. After a number of conflicts between the two, Atrix would eventually fell the plague lord. Casting him back down to the cradle he crawled out from, leaving his body to decompose and decay for eons. It was the dead gods radiating power that nourished and fuelled the forest to grow from what had once been a desolate and empty cavern. When the Wayward Druid Respiren attempted to cure the depleted fungal forests that surrounded Menor'cress millennia's later, he could not have known what deep magic he had begun to meddle with, or the dire consequences it would have for so many unfortunate souls…
There are some things in this world best left undisturbed.
Table Of Contents
Centuries ago, the caverns where the sea of spores now wallows were known by many different names. To the denizens of the city-state of Menor'cress the caverns were named after their city, to the Dravarii of The Tanu. tribe it was called, ??. But in the old stories from a time long fogotten, it was known as Typhus' cradle...
Characters in Location
History.Once a beautiful and verdant region of the underworld, the mushroom forests that once grew here, though vast, supported an abundance of rich fauna and flora beneath their canopies. The tragedy of how this once thriving idyll sanctuary in the otherwise perilous underworld became a festering quagmire of corruption and death is something of a mystery. While some believe it to have been a natural disaster, others have alluded to more clandestine means. Stories told by travelling merchants and the accounts passed down by the survivors of the disaster through stories, surviving manuscripts and even artwork smuggled out during the fall, that the last ruler of Menor’cress, Ril’Nyiia Ci’huaturu was gluttonous, and demanding, pushing exponential growth of the city consuming all of the resources provided by the bountiful forest surrounding Menor’cress. Forests were uncommon in the Underworld, particularly resourceful ones, when Nemiisae found it and decided to create the city here they didn’t question why it had ample resources and a beautiful landscape. Their excessive harvesting of the forest, fuelled by Ril’Nyiia and the Church of Nemiisaes fierce rhetoric for independence and self-sufficiency away from foreign powers who shunned their beliefs led to the once verdant forests surrounding Menor'cress to be stripped away becoming virtually barren, only a handful of carefully cultivated areas would barely survive. To rectify the exhaustion of the land, Ril’Nyiia looked for less traditional means to renew the forests and restore the city-states fortunes. The concentration of magic used by the Tahli'cuaiisae of Menor'cress unbalanced the natural energies of the land. Instead of replenishing and rejuvenating the land back to how it had once been, it instead began breaking down and destroying the ecosystem; transforming it into a rotten swamp. In this festered mire began to spawn the colossal tree like fungi and all manner of strange and bizarre mycelium at an alarming rate, distorted by the expenditure of so much magic from a source the Druids of Menor'cress had very little understanding of.
Most overworlders are oblivious to the notion that the seasonal weather patterns of the overworld impacts The Sunless Realms. Developing their own microclimates they experiencing their own unique weather patterns. The sea of spores experiences a phenomenon known as a spore storm, occurring during the height of the underworlds dry season when moisture is scarce. Due to the sheer density of mushrooms, this typically moist region becomes alarmingly dry due to all the moisture the fungal jungle absorbs. Across the entire sea, mycelium of ever variety begin belching out spore at an alarming rate over a three week period, as the fungus begins to seek out moisture. The result is a large toxic cloud that seeks to spread the sea further afield. It is during this time that the great warding crystals that reinforce the forcefield that keeps the Sea of Spores at bay are strengthen and further fortified by mages to ensure the stress on the barrier does allow the miasma to pass through.
Nothing is more terrifying that watching a spore storm, swallowing up everything in sight with a thick cloud of corruption.
Throughout these caverns the air is chock thick with noxious gases heavy with spores. This deadly miasma is deadly to humanoid and animal life, choking them and driving survivors insane, or worse. Reducing those that succumb into a spore infested abomination of their former self. Insects are curiously unaffected by the scourge, the two forming an almost symbiotic relationship. The miasma naturally attracts insects and in doing so the insects unwittingly spread the toxic spores further afield to unspoilt lands so that the sea may expand its reach further. There are a number of ways for one looking to venture into the spore sea to protect themselves against the miasma. The most common used is a Hospulus mask typically used by patrols of Blight Wardens or expeditions into the Sea of Spores to block the miasma and harmful spores. While effective, Hospulus masks are not a perfect solution. The filter pouches have a tendency to fail and need to be changed regularly due to their limited lifespan.
The miasma is the main method in which The Mycelium Blight is spread. Choking and suffocating everything it touches.
The Dravarii of the Tanu tribe utilise rudimentary helmets using chitin and bound leather that resembles something more like a cowl. However their access to Hospulus is limited and relies on trade with outsiders, meaning only very few tribespeople have access to one. Typically being reserved only for scouts and hunters than venture out into the spores when it is deemed absolutely necessary.
The blight of Menor'cress.The disease and corruption that festers within the Sea, carried by thick clouds of miasma the sea of spores is famed for is generally referred to simply as The Mycelium Blight. Religious propaganda over the centuries point's the blame and root cause of the blight on the city of Menor'cress and it's heretical practices. Claiming it to be the root cause, bringing down the wrath of the gods one them as divine retribution. As such, The Mycelium Blight is typically known as "The Blight of Menor'cress". In truth, there is very little understanding of the Sea and what pathogens and parasites the spores may contained within. Even less about how they truly affect those unfortunate enough they come in contact with. The overarching belief is that the blight is a rampant plague that reduces any whom succumb to the spores into the mindless abominations called Shamblers. and Blight Worts, spreading the Sea further across the underworld.
A cruel and sadistic malady that addles the mind and slowly corrupts you from in inside out until you are a wretched husk, fruiting bulbous fungus from ruptured flesh and spewing spores wherever you lumber. The lucky ones succumb and perish to this cruel fate, the unlucky ones… it’s a waking nightmare.However, the truth is very different. There are countless creatures that have grown out of the corruption, recorded and documented from numerous accounts of explorers and blight wardens that brave it's depths. Strange ethereal Faye, monstrous fungal colossi and deadly nameless insects that have dragged expedition members off into the mushroom jungles to an uncertain fate. Some have even been said to have accepted the spores willingly and transformed themselves into denizens of the sea of spores through fell rituals. Such stories are put down as exaggerated tales told by travellers and purely nonsense. Numerous scholars now believe the sea is home to countless strange and afflictions beyond just what causes the Shamblers.