UstilagorFungoid Mind Blight

In the surface world, life exists in riotous variety. Not so in the Depths. In that chthonic wasteland, only the most successful survive. Perhaps this is the reason that mimicry is so common; life in constant peril may sometimes be made easier by borrowing the successes of others. No group has been as prolific as the fungi in the Depths, and no group has more mimics. Many are mundane; copies of vermin, copies of humanoids, even copies of larger creatures such as giant toads. But some are stranger. A few are clearly mimics, but of beings that are as much legend as fact – the Spore Tyrant is the most infamous. Another such is the Ustilagor, an invisible bogey to every Derro child.

The Ustilagor mimics the Intellect Devourer, a monster with little scholarly attribution. It is said to destroy the brains of its victims, and steal their bodies for its own. The Ustilagor, too, meddles with the minds of its prey. Traveling in packs, Ustilagor seek out and devour sentient creatures, and use their heads to reproduce.

Like many of the predatory fungi in the Depths, the Ustilagor is notable for its metamorphic changes throughout its life cycle. This physical variance is key to understanding both its physiology and its hunting behavior. The most advance form, an Ustilagor Prime, is somewhat larger; they resemble brain-like corals walking on chitinous legs, with a heavy shell-like cap for protection. They possess small, hidden digestive structures in the form of hyphae networks tucked into the shell. These exude digestive fluids, and are used to break down flesh for absorption. Primes do not appear to be sapient, and wander slowly and blindly through the caverns. Despite their mindlessness, Primes possess a unique spore cloud that renders any intelligent creature within blind to the presence of most Ustilagors. Strangely, though, this cloak does not cover the Prime itself—instead, it hides the immature form – the Nymphs.

Ustilagor Prime coming soon to the Bazaar

Ustilagor Nymphs are swift, quadrupedal creatures; they resemble bare brains on insectile legs, with no eyes or other identifiable features. Unlike a Prime, Nymphs are actively hostile, and most importantly, invisible to sentient creatures. The Nymphs themselves can emit an electrical aura, that causes the air bristle with crackles and sparks. Caused by the rapid rubbing of the “brain” folds, the noise created is that of a cicadas and can be quite disorienting to creatures that rely upon echolocation or similar blindsense faculties. This charged field can deal direct physical damage, but its ability to disrupt the neural pathways of sentient creatures is most feared, as it can bring even a Stone Giant to its knees.

A given Prime is usually accompanied by at least two Nymphs, but more is common. They follow the Prime closely, remaining within the radius of its sporous veil. Nymphs herd the Prime, keeping it close enough to prey that they can stalk unseen but far enough that it’s not at risk. If their targets resist the Prime’s spore cloud and perceive them, the Nymphs quickly retreat when the prey reacts to their presence. When ready to engage its prey the Prime will turtle and latch itself to a cave wall or ceiling to avoid close assaults. The Nymphs will then go to work, and wear down their target with repeated electrical zaps and stabbing wounds from their sharpened legs tips. They often aim for the eyes of its victim looking to further their advantage. Those unlucky enough to happenchance upon a pack of hungry Ustilagor more often than not find themselves blinded or unconscious, and often both.

Once their prey is incapacitated, the Nymphs inject the braincase with a preservative fluid while the Prime settles in and begins to feast on the body. After a feeding period of up to a month, the Prime absorbs the victim’s brain for incubation; after another year of development within the lumbering Prime, a new Ustilagor Nymph is born.

Ustilagor Nymph coming soon to the Bazaar

Ustilagor Prime

Thick Carapace. The Ustilagor Prime has resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from non-magical weapons.

Share Pain. When a Nymph within the Ustilagor Prime’s Sporous Veil takes damage, the Prime may use its reaction to quickly fire a thin tendril to contact a wounded Nymph and absorb some of that damage. The Nymph gains resistance to the damage inflicted, and the Prime takes the balance of the damage resisted. This damage cannot be reduced. The Nymph still suffers any additional effects. The range of this effect requires a clear line of sight.

Sporous Veil. As long as a Nymph is within 120 feet if a Prime, it is Invisible to any creature with Intelligence 6 or higher. Any such creature that enters this aura may make a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw; if it succeeds, it can see all nymphs within the aura, and is immune to this ability for 24 hours.

Slam. Melee weapon attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 2d4 + 1 (6) bludgeoning.

 

 

 

Ustilagor Nymph

Share Pain. When a Nymph within the Ustilagor Prime’s Sporous Veil takes damage, the Prime may use its reaction to quickly fire a thin tendril to contact a wounded Nymph and absorb some of that damage. The Nymph gains resistance to the damage inflicted, and the Prime takes the balance of the damage resisted. This damage cannot be reduced. The Nymph still suffers any additional effects. The range of this effect requires a clear line of sight.

Sporous Veil. As long as a Nymph is within 120 feet if a Prime, it is Invisible to any creature with Intelligence 6 or higher. Any such creature that enters this aura may make a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw; if it succeeds, it can see all nymphs within the aura, and is immune to this ability for 24 hours.

Claw. Melee weapon attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 1d8 + 1 (6) piercing damage and 1d6 (3) electric damage.

Synaptic Shock (Recharge 6). All creatures within 5 feet of the Nymph must make a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw or take 6d6 (21) electric damage and be Stunned until the beginning of the Nymph’s next turn. Creatures that save take half damage and are not Stunned.