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Bellekanian fungus

Nothing is quite as frustrating to a magician as their hard work being undone by the biological cycle of a mere fungus.
— Austur Ericson, third king of Wie

Basic Information

Anatomy

The Bellekanian is a type of fungus that stretches out an enormous web of roots underground. It stands about 30 cm tall with a translucent, ivory white stem that carries both flowers and 'fruit' at the same time.
Its flowers, which hang down, have ten petals that are purplish-pink in colour with a long yellow stigma and stamen. If the flower wilts, it transforms into a blue and purple cocoon-like spore container that is no more than 7,5 cm in length. This 'fruit' only bursts open to release its spores in the wind if it is given the right stimulus.

Biological Traits

Bellekanians absorb magic from their surroundings and are thus effective, long-term countermeasures to magical problems. On the other side, they are also a menace to any magic casters.  
Counterspell
If someone casts a third level or higher spell within 30 feet of a Bellekanian the fungus reacts by absorbing the spell and opening one of its spore containers. DnD addition
The effect is similar to the spell 'counterspell'. If the spell level is higher than 3rd, the DM must roll 1d20+2 to make the usual DC check mentioned in counterspell. For clarity, the Bellekanian does not react to Cantrips or spells of 1st and 2nd level.
Difficult terrain
If the Bellekanian detects the magic aura of a magic item its roots begin to move to try and find it for sustenance. Although the roots can't extend from the ground, it makes it feel as if one is walking on a wobbly bridge. A person carrying the magic items will experience the Bellekanian's area as difficult terrain.

Defences

By all accounts, the stalk of the Bellekanian is rather fragile and like all living things, it needs a way to defend itself. To do this the fungus has two major traits.
 
Bad taste
The first defence is meant to keep creatures from eating their stalks and roots. If you think the honey made from Bellekanian is bad... A small number of brave souls, or idiots, have reported that the plant itself tastes three times worse.   Therefore there are very few beasts and insects that would be willing to eat the Bellekanian itself. Of course, there are exceptions. For example, a Bellekanian growing on necrotic magic will taste like corpses and attract maggots that normally live in dead bodies.
Immunity
The second trait is that the Bellekanian is invulnerable to the damage of spells and magic arrays. A handy feature for a thing that slowly absorbs all the magic in its surroundings. In fact, if a spell is directly cast onto it there's a 20% chance it will grow faster.
Bellekanian honey tasted like a corpse dipped in a thick layer of caramel. The plant itself like someone distilled a corpse into its purest form and gave it a mushroom texture.
— Bard the Barbarian, a brave soul

Genetics and Reproduction

The Bellekanian fungus grows flowers and spore containers at the same time, all year round. Its flowers slowly grow from a white, lantern-shaped but into a pastel pinkish-purple flower with a yellow stigma and stamen. This flower is mostly pretty and has no smell detectable for humans.   Small insects collect the Bellekanian's nectar and pollinate the flowers. A single flower can blossom for as much as two months before wilting and slowly growing a cocoon-like container filled with tiny black spores. If the container is triggered by nearby magic, such as a spell, it bursts open and releases the spores in the wind.
Most of the released spores never grow into a plant of their own as it needs magic to feed off. If a spore does manage to land in a suitable area it takes roughly a year to grow its roots before sprouting stalks and restart the cycle.

Growth Rate & Stages

Bellekanians expand their roots with increasing speed. If a spore lands it takes a year before signs of stalks growing can be seen and from there the surface of its roots double with each year. Due to its exponential growth and problematic characteristics it can be quite a problem to remove if discovered too late.   Simply removing the stalks on the surface is not enough to keep the Bellekanian from regrowing. To altogether remove the fungus you'd have to dig away at least 1 meter of dirt to remove the web-like root system.   At the end of the Bellekanian's lifecycle, when all magic within the soil has been absorbed, the fungus slowly dies off. Its enormous and deep running root system provides plenty of nutrients for new plants, often leaving behind lush fields.

Ecology and Habitats

Since it thrives on magic, the Bellekanian grows in areas rich in magic such as a piece of land altered with the spell 'plant growth', or perhaps an abandoned wizard's tower. Other than that the Bellekanian isn't very picky. It grows both in lush forests and scorching deserts, soaked swamps and baren rock walls. As long as there is a tiny bit of dirt or sand to bury the beginning of its roots in, it will grow.
However, it does not like the cold. A Bellekanian growing in a cold climate with lots of snow and ice grows at a much slower speed, about 1/4 of normal, and its stalks are halved in size.

Additional Information

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Chad's honey.png
by MPoel
Not much is known about the properties of the Bellekanian and much of it has been discovered by luck. There are only three commonly known uses of the magic-devouring fungus.  
Curse-Removing Honey
The honey made from Bellekanian tastes terrible. Depending on the magic it lived off of, the taste may vary from burned ashes to even rotten corpses. Still, the honey is well suited for other purposes.   Bellekanian honey retains the fungus's property of absorbing magic. If a cursed or magic item is covered in it the magic will be absorbed over time and the honey's taste changes to fit the type of magic it absorbed.
Not for consumption
The honey isn't well suited for consumption by humans. One reason is its taste, the other is that the honey will try to extract all magic inside the body until it has passed through the body. This causes intense stomach cramps for an entire day and especially magician are sensitive to the effect.   DnD information
The time it takes to remove the curse or spell is 1d6+ the item's tier (+1 for each tier above common) hours.   NOTE: The honey does not differentiate between a curse and a magic effect on an item and will absorb all of it. For example, if used on a cursed +1 sword it will leave a normal sword.   Not for consumption: If a creature consumes the honey they must make a DC15 con safe every two hours or be incapacitated. Those with a spellcasting class (DM discretion) have a disadvantage on the safe.
 
Patient cleanup
One of the few groups of people that actually appreciate the Bellekanian's natural properties are archaeologists that regularly explore ancient ruins with magic defences and the cleanup crews that work for wizards.   There are several archaeologists who specialised in the controlled growth of this fungus so it does not accidentally 'escape' to other places. The Bellekanian can negate the magic defences without damaging the ruins themselves. Besides, anyone working for a wizard is more than happy to throw Curse-Removing Honey at potentially dangerous waste from a distance before picking it up.
Spores
Contrary to what had been thought for a long time, there's still magic to be found in the Bellekanian itself. To sustain its spores long enough for long travels and protect it from potentially harsh climates, the Bellekanian stores a tiny amount of magic in its own spores.   A person who obtained a spore container can crush its shell easily in their hand and (re)gain a single-use third level spell slot using the spores as a material component. A person who casts a spell in this way gains one exhaustion level.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

The Bellekanian can be found in many places of the world if one is unlucky but is extremely plentiful in the kingdom of Wie. There are so many that it is an enormous task to remove it all, which by extension means that the government doesn't bother and instead promotes science and the exportation of Curse-Removing honey.

Civilization and Culture

Common Taboos

The world of Thieve is a medieval-style world with an abundance of magic. Many powerful organisations, kingdoms and public figures rely on the existence and functionality of magic. A grand sorcerer to protect the capital, a magic formation to obliterate intruders or an academy full of young wizards.   Many researchers are also either wizards or artificers who had to spend a lifetime learning to manipulate the fabric of reality either through spells or magic items. They naturally don't look kindly upon a plant that can even undo their most powerful work by simply existing.
These researchers have clear interests and push their researches towards getting rid of the Bellekanian. Even going as far as to suppress whatever research they can if it is about utilising the fungus's magic-negating properties. Due to this mess, there are very few practical appliances of the Bellekanian available to the public.

  This plant is published under the OGL rules for 5e. The spells referred to fall under their SRD content.
Bellekanian
by MPoel
The anatomy of a single stalk and a spore container.
Scientific Name
Magia enim non boleti, fungus
Average Height
30 cm (1 feet)

The kingdom of Wie

The kingdom of Wie is the only country that uses the Bellekanian to its fullest potential. At least when it comes to military uses. Where most other cultures mainly perceive it as a threat that must be eliminated, the Wie kingdom doubles down on its natural lack of magic users* and items.
The kingdom's special bee farms for the production and export of Curse-Removing Honey are the most well-known. But in its early days, the government commissioned inventors and strategists to find ways to exploit the Bellekanian's magic disrupting abilities. One of these results is magic-resisting walls infused with Bellekanian roots around important cities. These ward against large scale invasions from its much larger and more powerful neighbours.
Or a bomb modelled after the Bellekanian spore-container that bursts open to release a toxic gas if magic is cast near it.   *NOTE: since the appearance of the Bellekanian, natural magic-users have been few within the kingdom. Those that do exist usually leave when reaching adulthood in order to learn magic without stray fungus stalks interrupting their spells.

Secret benefits

The benefits of the Bellekanian in the ecological cycle is far greater than most people are aware of. It transforms all the magic it absorbs from the ground into energy for its own growth and new nutriënts for the soil. If a patch of Bellekanian has withered away it leaves behind incredibly fertile ground for other plants that would only have to worry about water and sunlight for the next few centuries.   During its growth, its deep root system even helps already existing plants in the area to draw up water and nutrients from deep underground those plants couldn't reach.

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Comments

Author's Notes

Hello!
Thank you for reading this article! I've entered it in the competition 'peculiar plants' and would like to win. The placement is decided by the number of likes this article has so if you liked it or think you would use it in a game (it's very well suited to create a small challenge) please leave a like.
Of course, if you have tips or feedback I would like to read that as well. We are allowed to make minor tweaks during a period of time after submitting.
Have a nice day!!!


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16 Mar, 2021 17:49

I liked your drawing of the plant and the ways it could be used in rpg settings. :) I think there could be some additions though. Currently the uses by civilization is non existent, but I would think that a if the honey of the plant can remove magic from items that it could be used in warfare to get rid of magical defences. Or that the plant itself could be used to protect a vault and hinder anyone trying to use magic to get in. The biological part however was already well thought out :)

Feel free to check out my costume entry. :)
16 Mar, 2021 18:40

You got the exact thoughts on how it could be used I want people to have. And how I envision the kingdom of Wie to use the stuff. ^.^ I left those things out on purpose because it was made with the idea of using it in my own campaign and want to leave it up to my players to figure out how to use it. Also if I start on how it is typically used I might end up rambling for 5000 words about all the different cultures in the world. :/

16 Mar, 2021 19:46

Yeah I DM myself so I don't want my players to know everything either so I know the feeling :p That's why for my article I had put up a spoiler section for things they should not know but of course there is no real way of stopping them. xp but that's perhaps something you could use if you want to hide some parts :) And yeah it's 2500 word limit so you can't put everything in the article unfortunately :p

Feel free to check out my costume entry. :)
17 Mar, 2021 07:57

It has been adjusted.

18 Mar, 2021 16:30

I see you made some great new additions! Also a nice image of the honey sign you added there.

Feel free to check out my costume entry. :)
18 Mar, 2021 16:33

Thank you, I had some friends read it to make some more additions because I felt more of it should be utilised. I also finally figured out how images work. (=.=')

17 Mar, 2021 16:00

I love that a smaller nation managed to weaponise the plant for defensive purposes! Thats the type of details that really helps an article come to life. Nice article!

Author of Interarcanum and the Shakiraverse
17 Mar, 2021 19:29

Glad you like it! I'm also still planing out some details on its place in the ecological system.

27 Mar, 2021 16:18

This was an interesting read. Your artwork is lovely, and I really like that the honey tastes gross and changes depending on the type of magic the fungus absorbs

- Hello from Valayo! Are you ready for Summer Camp 2021?
27 Mar, 2021 19:06

Thank you very much! I do my best and had fun writing it.

27 Mar, 2021 16:44

Hello! Congratulation for working on that plant: I can see that mushroom is definitely there to be used in an RPG setting. The idea of a mushroom being a natural way to counter magic was fairly interesting. Is there a limit to the absorption powers of that mushroom? What are the natural consequences in the surroundings of that plant? (I mean, if magic is constantly present in the world, then something able to absorb it would change a lot its environment.)   I also appreciated the pretty vivid description of the plant's bad taste. Can't really say the idea of eating one of those makes me salivating, and as a honey lover I definitely do NOT want to be cursed an need to consume bellekanian honey.   Good work!

With love,   Pouaseuille.   I finally participated to The Costume Challenge: here's an entry if you like!
27 Mar, 2021 19:05

Hello Pouaseuille,   Thank you for the comment and the like! It is a plant that I came up with to use in one of my upcoming campaigns so I keep a few specifics vague so I can handwave it later. ^.^   The idea is that this plant needs a specific concentration of magic, hence why it only reacts to 3rd level spells and generally only grows in places where a spell has been cast. Therefore I was also planning on using it as a sort of 'dig here' indication for magic ruïns and treasure.   And yes, if you get cursed I hope you can find a good-hearted magician to remove it for you.

8 Apr, 2021 11:26

You are definitely correct. My druids would not be happy if this fungus turned up! I like the idea of it absorbing magic basically and feeding off it. It would wreck my plants completely!

8 Apr, 2021 11:51

I know right. But your plant gave me an idea of how this fungus became so prominent in Wie in the first place. Blasch Y Dwr plantations would be an excellent food source. :p

8 Apr, 2021 12:51

I mean, you're not wrong. They need a lot of magic to grow without dying instantly aha

11 Apr, 2021 11:08

Very nice article! That sounds like either a very useful or very annoying plant :D But a really interesting one for worldbuilding. And great drawing!   "A small number of brave souls, or idiots, have reported that the plant itself tastes three times worse." Lol XD   " The first defence is meant to keep creatures from eating their stalks and roots." The first defence is that it tastes bad right? I was confused for a moment because it's not explicitly said.   "Bellekanian honey tasted like a corpse dipped in a thick layer of caramel. The plant itself like someone distilled a corpse into its purest form and gave it a mushroom texture." … and how do they know what a corpse taste like?   " Curse-Removing Honey" oh that's a great idea! And I also like the idea of a kingdom using that plant to be able to not have any magic and magic users. I'm just not sure in this section: " Wie kingdom doubles down on its lack of magic users and items." Here I get the idea that they really have no magic at all inside the kingdom; However in the next sentences I get more the impression that they use the plants to make specific weapons and the honey, and so I'm not sure anymore if they also get rid of all magic and prevent magic users from practicing inside the kingdom.   " To altogether remove the fungus you'd have to dig away at least 1 meter of dirt to remove the web-like root system." I like that description, that really illustrate how annoying it is.   Would mages get sick if they eat the honey? Or are they just unable to work spells until the honey has left their system and their magic has been replenished?

11 Apr, 2021 11:35

I'm glad that you like the article. I will try to clarify a few things in the text itself later.   To answer your questions: That's something better not thought about too much. ;p   Wie kingdom doesn't do anything against magic users. It's just that they have very few and those that do live there leave because of the Bellekanian getting in the way. The weapons are to defend against the mages of other nations. But then I have to go into the militaristic tactics of the world. So I'm not sure how to write that simply.   I haven't actually thought about what the honey does exactly to mages that eat it. That's a great point.

11 Apr, 2021 22:40

See, as a magic user I'd plant these around my domain but keep a non-plant region, so it prevents people from breaking in with magic. Silly wizzies for trying to get rid of it.

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young   Costume Challenge Entry: As Superpowered troops on an alien planet, the Battle Spears wear a uniform capable of handling all they face
12 Apr, 2021 10:12

That would be the wise thing to do, yes. :p

12 Apr, 2021 11:51

I'm guessing your wizards are high-int, low-wis? =P

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young   Costume Challenge Entry: As Superpowered troops on an alien planet, the Battle Spears wear a uniform capable of handling all they face
12 Apr, 2021 15:14

Many are more book-smart than wise, yes. Another thing is that many can get really laser focus and anything that interferes with their magic is a nuisance. The society in general may also be overly reliant on magic.

12 Apr, 2021 15:18

Hi MPoel!   Your article is great! The schematic drawing and honey logo are well done. I like that one nation has been able to use it to influence the power structure of your world, and your inclusion of D&D mechanics (it would benefit you to review how to use the Open Game License to make content that respects copyright especially if you're going to write a one-shot for April).   One question: you indicate an environmental effect similar to a counter spell but the way you wrote the mechanics is a ambiguous. I'd suggest clarifying if the d20 roll is intended for the Player or a GM to make and include a DC. For example, "If a 3rd-level or higher spell is cast within 30' of a Bellekanian Fungus, the caster must make a Constitution Saving Throw (DC = 10 + Spell Level + 2). On a success, the spell acts as normal. On a failure, the magical energy is absorbed by the fungus such that caster expends all spell slots/components/sorcery points as normal but the spell itself has no effect. (For clarity, Bellekanian Fungus does not affect Cantrips, 1st level and 2nd level spells.)" I'm sure I did not interpret your mechanics correctly by the way, that's just an example to allude to what may make your mechanics more "complete".   Regardless, great creation and I look forward to seeing more of your work!

xtremepsy | Ölütanrı
Checkout my other favourite entries to the 2021 Peculiar Plant HERE!
Feel free to read, favourite, and comment on my entry, Digivine.
12 Apr, 2021 15:57

I'm very glad you like the plant. I'm taking a break from this article at the moment but I'll change the counterspell description later. It's meant as clarification on how the DM should roll the save for the plant.   Also, where do I find the open game license thing?
For the one-shot, I'm just going: "This is what the monster is called, have fun." Which I think should be fine but I'm not sure, they're all monsters from the monster manual.

12 Apr, 2021 16:03

https://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/systems-reference-document-srd

xtremepsy | Ölütanrı
Checkout my other favourite entries to the 2021 Peculiar Plant HERE!
Feel free to read, favourite, and comment on my entry, Digivine.
12 Apr, 2021 17:11

:/ I vaguely understand that I should be putting something about copyright somewhere... On to the help service to ask!

12 Apr, 2021 18:30

I'm just going to ask you because I can't get any further with the internet. Is the following notice what you meant? Monsters, game mechanics and spells mentioned Copyright 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC unless mentioned otherwise.

13 Apr, 2021 14:29

I can't give you legal advice as I'm not a lawyer and I'm still trying to figure it out myself for Adventure April; however, try reading this article by the Arcane Library. It's the one that helped me understand the requirements the best.   https://www.thearcanelibrary.com/blogs/news/how-to-use-the-open-game-license   Essentially, you can only use Open Content (such as the SRD I sent you a link) by licensing it with the Open Game License. When you make your own content using the Open Game License, you have to include the Open Game License in your work, add your own copyright, and communicate what Open Content you've used. You are always prohibited from using Product Identity without specific permission from its owner (i.e. the OGL doesn't let you use it).   I hope this helps!

xtremepsy | Ölütanrı
Checkout my other favourite entries to the 2021 Peculiar Plant HERE!
Feel free to read, favourite, and comment on my entry, Digivine.
13 Apr, 2021 15:08

I love the drawing that you made! I also like that it grows in the essence of magic.

13 Apr, 2021 17:39

Thank you for the compliment! An the like, and the follow(s). That's a lot of positive feedback. ^.^