Red Beast’s Cap
In the shadowy hearts of the deep Eastern forests, one can often come across enigmatic rings of mushrooms and toadstools lining the edge of beautiful forest glades. The mushrooms are almost always plump and savory looking, the grasslands they rest in beautiful and sunny. Yet despite this, few among the native populations dare wander into these lands. Spirits guard them, they say. Strange and unholy creatures, who stand in antithesis to the wrathful but comprehensible gods they know. Those that guard the clusters of bright red mushrooms with white spotted crowns, called the red beasts caps, take the form of walking brown fungus. With watery black blisters for eyes and tiny stubs for feet, they shuffle slowly across the ground and tend to the mushrooms with greasy gray tongues. Unwise youths often think themselves quick or clever enough to snatch the mushrooms before their keepers can notice, only to uncover too late how quickly the strange spirits can move in defense of their crop and just how many fangs hid under their sloping caps.
It is a rare thing then, for one of the mushrooms to ever leave the forests of the east. Even those tribes who have made devil’s bargains with the alien gods to pick the mushrooms freely are rarely eager to trade them away. The mushrooms are considered sacred or cursed, depending on the perceptions of the tribes, but always held to be a powerful tool. They can turn even the most feeble and sickly of men into a mighty warrior whose shadow stretches over the battlefield. Stories run of those who eat the mushrooms ripping fully grown trees out by the roots and using them for clubs or scattering enemy tribes by simply stomping them flat underfoot.
Effect: Consuming a Red Beasts Cap raw causes a mortal’s body to suddenly and drastically grow, nearly half again his original size as if he had just gained the Huge mutation (E:L p214). The process is neither pleasant to behold nor experience, as muscles and veins all bulge hideously and bones crackle and pop as they thicken. The blood boils up under their skin, turning it bright red and their brain actually shrinks as the skull grows thicker, reducing the consumers Intelligence and Appearance attributes to only a single dot. The pain of this transformation is so overwhelming that anyone eating one of the mushrooms must make a Stamina + Resistance roll at difficulty 4. Succeeding in this roll still stuns them for a single turn, barely able to speak and completely unable to act. Failure means the agony all but breaks them, leaving them rolling on the ground for at least three turns before it fades. The effects of the raw mushroom last for a single scene, at the end of which the warrior will shrink back to his original size in a process as equally painful as his growth and requiring the same roll.
However, wise men and witches of the forest know other, better ways to use the mushrooms. Over time, they have learned how to brew several of the mushrooms into a potion that is at once more effective and less dangerous: The Crimson Heroes Elixir.
In some regions, there grow similar mushrooms that cause those who consume them to shrink rather than grow (giving those who eat them raw the Tiny mutation and those who consume an alchemical potion brewed from them the Minuscule mutation with the same drawbacks as listed above). Stories have even been told of ones that, at a touch, will grow into an exact copy of a man which sleeps until the moment of his death, then awakens with all his memories and no knowledge of it’s true nature. Savants and kings alike have all fruitlessly sought after these for years.
Roses of Hesiesh
The further south one ventures through the great mountain chain that divides East from South, the less hospitable to life the great peeks become. Fissures in the earth spew out gouts of superheated steam and snowy caps make way for cracked peaks who leak a constant cloud of white ash into the air. Under the ankle thick layers of ash, the ground becomes slippery and razor sharp bowls of volcanic glass and at time entire rivers of magma can hide under a seemingly motionless patch of ash-covered badlands. Most believe nothing natural could possibly grow in these places, yet explorers into such valleys have often been shocked to make a difficult climb over a mountain ridge only to find themselves staring into a valley of brightly glowing wild flowers sprouting out of the ash. Nearly circular in full bloom, red and orange pedals surround pure white center.
Few can ever come any closer to these strange landscapes than this however, as the air in these valleys grows so hot as to become unbreathable. Clouds of what appear to be ash and still burning cherries swirl without wind above the valleys, yet most claim that these clouds are actually alive. That the air fills with the buzzing of insects and eagle eyed observers have said to have seen tiny bees made from layers of black and white ash or burning embers swirling through the sky and the volcanic peaks that inevitably rest at the center of these places honeycombed with tiny tunnels. It is rare that a blossom can be plucked from these otherworldly places and brought back to share with the rest of Creation, single flowers found hidden in ash filled crags between rocks. While most have found their way into the gardens of kings or even to the far away Blessed Isle, some have uncovered other properties to the flowers that have uses beyond their mysterious beauty.
Known most often as Roses of Hesiesh, as the valleys they grow in are often called Hesiesh’s Gardens (though regional names often vary), the flowers begin their lives as a small seeds that resemble elongated shards of obsidian. Planted in ash, they slowly grow flame-colored bud that blossom only in the most intense and dry climates, spreading outwards into the beautiful glowing blooms of legend. Savants who have obtained these rare blooms have found that crushing them between ones hands produces a hot amber-colored sap. Smeared onto mortal hands, this sap allows one to ‘grip’ and twist flames as if they were soft putty. Though the liquid quickly dries out, for a few moments it allows the mortal to shape fire like the gods themselves. Mechanically, this functions almost identically to the Spirit Charm Affinity Elemental Control, over the domain of fire, for a single scene without mote cost. However, mortals are far more limited in their manipulation of flames and cannot control them from a distance, but instead must shape them with their hands. At best, for a single success on their shaping-roll, they can craft balls of red-hot flames and throw them for a short distance before the fires wear themselves out. These balls of flame employ a characters Dexterity + Thrown in combat and deal 8L damage upon impact.