Dungeons & Delvers: Myconids (Also More #Inktober)

In Dungeons & Dragons, myconids are fungus men that live underground, and unlike most Underdark races just want to be left alone to do...whatever it is that they do. Well, except in 4th Edition, where they were for some reason much more invasive and destructive.

I can't recall ever using myconids, though I did use fungus zombies in Something Stirs in the Blackscale Brakes (they can be found in the abandoned colony), inspired in part by clickers from Last of Us, and I also reskinned goombas as fungus zombies in our short-lived 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons Mario-themed campaign.

I forget exactly why, but about a week or so ago I got to thinking about myconids as something more like fungus zombies (though not undead). Checking out their 2nd Edition incarnation, I see (or rather am reminded) that they can emit a variety of spores, including one that animates creatures as something similar to a not-undead-zombie.

3rd Edition basically kept them the same, Hit Die-based spores and all, while 4th Edition restricted spores to specific types (ie, guards get pacification, sovereigns get commanding and spore burst, and rotpriests don't have spores at all), and gave them all the ability to share damage to a point.

My big Dungeons & Delvers changes would be that all myconids are "born" from a corpse or living creature, and some spores are only available to those made from fresh corpses or living creatures (and maybe of a minimum level). Here are the three basic types I've come up with:

First up are drones. Drones are basically fungus grown around skeletal remains (and severely decayed corpses). They're slower and stupider than other myconids due to a lack of muscle and brain tissue to assimilate. Mostly used as guards, labor, or other incredibly simple tasks. Thinking they only get distress, rapport, and reproduction spores regardless of level.

Next up are the rotwalkers. They're made from fresher/more intact corpses than drones. They're faster and stronger than drones (due to the muscle tissue), but while they aren't as stupid still aren't very smart (having assimilated a dead brain and all). I figure these represent the standard myconid, and would be able to use any spore so long as they meet the level requirement.

Finally we get to hybrids. These are living creatures that were exposed to reproduction spores, which ended up infesting and changing them in both mind and body. Stat-wise they're similar to their original form, just tougher and able to emit various types of spores. Probably the rulers and leaders of myconid colonies, and can use any spore so long as they meet the level requirement.

I don't envision myconids as inherently malicious or even especially dangerous. They use dead bodies from other creatures for reproduction, which can pose a problem because they consider corpses to simply be a resource like stone and metal.

Hybrids would generally be accidents from people exposed to reproduction spores and succumbing to them (see below). Rare individuals might willingly expose themselves, but I could see some unscrupulous or even desperate myconid colonies seeking out living creatures to abduct and infest.

Each myconid has access to one or more types of spores. To save space they are described here, and only mentioned in the myconid's stat block below. If a spore requires a Recharge roll before it can be used again, once used the myconid cannot use any other spores that require a Recharge until the roll succeeds.

  • Choking (Recharge 5+): Affects a 30-foot cone. Every creature in the area of effect suffers 5d8+5 poison damage and is dazed until the end of the hybrid warlock's next turn. On a successful DC 14 Fortitude save, the target only suffers half damage and is not dazed. Gained at 6th-level (replaces the classic animator spores since reproduction spores turn corpses into new myconids anyway).
  • Distress: When the myconid suffers damaged or perceives a threat, it emits a cloud of distress spores out to a 120-foot radius (free action). Every other myconid in the cloud automatically emits their own distress spores. Myconids affected by the distress spores of another myconid gain 1d6 temporary Vitality Points, a +1 bonus to their Initiative, and a +1 bonus to their attack rolls during their first turn in combat. All myconids have access to this spore type.
  • Hallucination (Recharge 5+): Gained at . Affects a 30-foot cone. Each creature in the area of effect must succeed on a DC 14 Fortitude save or be confused for 1d4 rounds. At the start of each round roll 1d4: on a roll of 1 or 2 the affect creature doesn't do anything, on a 3 they flee in a random direction (double moving if possible), and on a 4 they attack the nearest creature they can see. Gained at 5th-level.
  • Pacification (Recharge 5+): Affects a 30-foot radius. Creatures in the area of effect must succeed on a DC 14 Fortitude save or stand motionless for 1d6 rounds. If combat has already broken out, they receive a +2 bonus on this save, and each time they suffer damage they can attempt another save (with a +2 bonus). Gained at 4th-level.
  • Rapport (Recharge 5+): Released out to a radius of 10-feet per level of the myconid. Grants affected creatures the ability to communicate telepathically with the myconid (only hybrids retain the ability to speak). The range is 10 feet per level of the myconid that produced the spores. Gained at 3rd-level.
  • Reproduction Spores: When a myconid dies, it emits a cloud of reproduction spores in a radius around them equal to 10 feet per level. If the spores land on a dead creature, they begin the gradual process of encasing it in fungus (takes 1d4+2 days). If they land on a living creature, it must succeed on a Fortitude save or become infested with spores: an infested creature transforms into a myconid hybrid over a number of days equal to 2d4 plus their Constitution (dwarves take twice as long). Alchemical potions (made from myconid spores) or cleansing magic can halt and reverse the process before it is complete. Gained at 2nd-level.

Level 2 Medium Plant
XP 32
Speed 20 feet

STR +1 DEX +0 WIS +0
CON +2 INT -4 CHA -4

Athletics +2, Perception +2

AC 10 DR 0
Fort +3 Ref +0 Will +0
Immune blinding, charm, fear, poison
Resist bludgeoning 5
Wounds 10 Vitality 4 Total 14

Slam +2 to hit; 1d4+2 bludgeoning damage

Blindsight The myconid drone can sense the location of creatures and objects within 30 feet.

 The humanoid drone has access to distress and reproduction spores. The Fortitude DC is 12 where applicable.

A drone's stats are largely independent of the original creature (the above assumes a Medium-sized humanoid). Mostly you're looking at its size and physiology: ie, a drone made from a dog or wolf skeleton would be faster than one made from a human, though their stats would otherwise be the same. Drones made from a giant's skeleton would take longer to make, but would also be stronger and capable inflicting more damage.

Drones don't have to be made from a single skeleton, or even a single skeleton: that just provides the fungus a frame to help support it. A drone could be formed from numerous skeletal remains taken from numerous creatures. Go crazy with it!


Level 4 Medium Plant
XP 80
Speed 30 feet

STR +2 DEX +0 WIS +0
CON +2 INT -1 CHA -1

Perception +2

AC 12 DR 2 (armor)
Fort +3 Ref +0 Will +0
Immune blinding, charm, fear, poison
Resist bludgeoning 5
Vulnerable radiant 5
Wounds 20 Vitality 8 Total 28

Arming Sword +3 to hit; 1d8+3 slashing damage

Blindsight The rotwalker can sense the location of creatures and objects within 30 feet.

Spores: The rotwalker sentry has access to distress, rapport, reproduction, and pacification spores. The Fortitude DC is 13 where applicable.

Unlike drones, the final stats of a rotwalker would vary depending on the creature it was created from, as the fungus assimilates and builds upon existing tissues. Mostly this process results in enhanced toughness and strength, the ability to emit spores, blindsight, and radiant vulnerability.


Level 6 Medium Plant
XP 216
Speed 30 feet

STR +1 DEX +0 WIS +1
CON +1 INT +1 CHA +3

Arcana +4, Intimidate +5, Perception +3, Search +3

AC 13 DR 1 (arcane warding)
Fort +1 Ref +0 Will +3
Immune blinding, charm, fear, poison
Resist bludgeoning 5
Vulnerable radiant 5
Wounds 24 Vitality 12 Total 36
Boon 9

Staff +2 to hit; 1d8+1 bludgeoning damage

Eldritch Blast 60-foot range; +5 to hit; 1d10+5 poison damage

Exploding Pod 3 Boon. The hybrid warlock conjures a fungal pod and throws it up to 60 feet away. It explodes on impact, showering a 30-foot radius with toxic spores: creatures in the area of effect suffer 7d6+5 poison damage (ignores armor, half on a successful DC 14 Fortitude save).

Fungal Growth 1 Boon. The hybrid warlock covers a 30-foot radius all around it in a thick carpet of fungi (it can spend additional Boon to expand the area by 10 feet). It is difficult terrain for everyone but the warlock, and when creatures enter or start their turn on the fungus they must succeed on a DC 14 Fortitude save or suffer 1d6+4 poison damage (ignores armor).

Blindsight The hybrid witch can sense the location of creatures and objects within 30 feet.

Spores The hybrid warlock has access to choking, distress, hallucination, rapport, reproduction, and pacification spores.


As an added bonus, here's an illustration for the above myconids (drone, rotwalker, and hybrid respectively)!

It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

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