Attack of the Killer Fungi

Amid the Big Baddies of Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, Zuggtmoy, Demon Queen of Fungi, seems a little out of place. It’s obvious that she was put there more to respect previous D&D lore than anything else. What’s her goal? To make subservient slaves out of infected people… Do we need Zuggtmoy at all (as something that embodies a concept)?

Zuggtmoy
That’s incredible art though!

Check out the real deal:

That’s truly the stuff of nigthmare!

But, as Attenborough explains, cordyceps, despite causing insect hecatombs, have overall a positive effect on the ecosystem. Indeed, fungus is so integral a part of nature that making it “demonic” seems a bit too  much, even for D&D.

Tellingly, neither the vegepygmies and myconids, two fungus-themed creatures, are linked with Zuggtmoy in any way  (compare this with the drow and Lolth say) and are not even evil. The MM tells us that they’re both of neutral alignment: they don’t attack unless they are harassed.

These fungus creatures can easily be used in a silly way (Gygax’s Expedition at the Barrier Peaks) or in a much more creepy mode, as the incomprehensible so often leads to horror (VanderMeer’s books).

Personnally I would use some of Zuggtmoy’s regional effects (MToF), which are suitably creepy, whenever there is a large colony of either vegepygmies or myconids in an area. As for Zuggtmoy herself, I think she would be more interesting as a Lovecraftian Great Old One and as such, she would make more sense as an unfathomable warlock Patron.

Magic Items – Chult – II

Matteba Leaves Garment

 

Wondrous Item, uncommon (requires attunement)

This garment is the Chult equivalent of a Cloak of Elvenkind.

Sahuagin Shark Teeth Sword

c1885-shark-teeth-sword-from-pacific-gilbert-islands-01

Weapon (any sword that deals slashing damage), uncommon

When you attack a creature with this weapon and roll a 20 on the attack roll, that target takes an extra 7 slashing damage.

Velociraptor Feather Cloak

beaaf3df8f52647da235b55335f850af

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

While wearing this cloak add 5′ to your base speed.

Chultan Diaspora

I felt the need to correct many things in ToA, one of it is the Chultan people being so ridiculously enclaved. Of course, Chult is a very dangerous place and there’s this whole bizarre thing with the spellplague and Mezro the city in Heaven (ugh!) but still, where are the Chultans? Apart from Port Nyanzaru, not a single village?

Anyway, this has all been said far better than I could by POC Gamer:

https://pocgamer.com/2017/10/13/tomb-of-annihilation-review-part-1-chult-in-5e/#more-573

My own solution is to introduce a diaspora. Chultans that left Chult generations ago when disaster struck and (lets keep it simple) the earth shook and spat fire… But now, with the disaster long behind and the recent successful ousting of the invaders, things are looking less grim. Maybe it’s time for the exiles to return?

As Port Nyanzaru doesn’t look like a city that can be expanded easily, another site have to be found.  That’s a mission for a Chultan PC!

 

Reputation Chart: the 7As and Port Nyanzaru’s factions

In the Renown option the DMG tells us that it cannot get lower than zero. I disagree, I think it can reflect an increasing enmity. As I see it, a -5 renown score would lead to a NPC/faction actively trying to hinder the PCs. A +5 renown would be the opposite, helping the PCs as they can.

Here’s how the 7As renown stands after a few dealings & side quest with Port Nyanzaru’s denizens:

Zhanti: +6

  • defended the Amnian Fop (+1)
  • Pokor asked for support on behalf of the Chultan Diaspora (common goal: +3)
  • played an important part in capturing the pirate ship The Stirge along with its captain (main interest: +2)

Ekene-Afa: +2

  • have freed a spy working for Captain Soshen that had been held prisonner by the Bridgerunners in Malar’s Throat (took side: +2)

Kwayoté: +1

  • exterminated the critters in newly acquired mine (+1)

Jobal: -3

  • have freed a spy working for Captain Soshen that had been held prisonner by the Bridgerunners in Malar’s Throat (took side: -2)
  • the meddling of Pokor in an arena fight, from his spectator seat, led to a scuffle with a pair of affiliated hooligans (-1)