Bookshrooms (3.5e Race)
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Bookshroom personalities are heavily influenced by their creator, an epic wizard who sought knowledge for the benefit and prosperity of all the multiverse. They value information, crafts, and magic above all else. Everything the know is hoarded and spread among their may libraries. Other races are measured in their potential usefulness, pleasantness, and value as an ally; they often seek alliance with races that others find reprehensible to see for themselves if they are in fact as bad as everyone claims. They share knowledge freely amongst themselves and any individual who they do not consider an enemy, and even then they usually only restrict information that can used against them. It is a great insult indeed to be denied knowledge from a bookshroom.
Bookshrooms look like small humanoid mushrooms; with smooth, tough skin and patterned caps that can either look like anything from a Corinthian helm to a kasa. Their "skin" can be a number of shades ranging from pale blue, to perfectly white to a deep yellow. A bookshroom's head is simply a rounded, somewhat cylindrical protrusion from their shoulders. Their face consists of one or more luminescent patches of a particular colour; these patches are often (but not always) symmetrical, and usually form indentations in the the surface of their skin, though the patches forming as bumps are not unheard of. Bookshroom facial patches are usually circular. Bookshroom caps are coloured as their skin and their facial patch colour; which colour serves as the pattern varies, as does the pattern.
Although they reproduce sexually, bookshrooms are genderless; as such use gender-neutral pronouns (vi vir).
Generally, bookshrooms tend to be kind to individuals of other races, so long as they can be trusted. Intelligent, well meaning, individuals are met with open arms; and anyone who doesn't want to kill/enslave/selfishly exploit anything and everything is allowed a place in bookshroom society. Bookshroom societies will often try to assimilate outcast members of a race that opposes them or their ideals.
|“||You should never be afraid of anything that is not as smart as you.||”|
|—Traditional Bookshroom proverb|
When dealing with aberrations, especially ones who have unknown intentions, bookshrooms typically have defenses against mental attacks and enslavement. Any aberrations wishing to join bookshroom society is subject to tests to determine their true intentions; they are informed ahead of time and can back out at any time, even while one of the tests are in progress. The test usually involve divination, zones of truth, dispelling magical effects on the aberration ahead of time, and scanning it for magic items. Usually a small portion of the tests also involve an antimagic field and a few trusted individuals with several ranks in sense motive, just to keep all the bases covered.
Aboleths: Aboleths who are found in the long dreaming are carefully retrieved and transported to specially designed secure tanks, which are then filled with water. The aboleths who are found to be cooperative from the gesture of kindness are allowed to either leave (after a few questions are asked) or become part of bookshroom society. Most aboleths simply take advantage of what they believe to be alien humanoid foolishness, answer their questions, and have the bookshrooms transport them to a river or ocean so they may continue their lives of destruction. A moderate portion (say about 20-40%) are outright violent; when this happens, bookshrooms simply drain the tank and wait for the aboleth to be too stiff to move. After this happens, the booksrooms remove it's tentacles with adamantine saws that are enchanted to close wounds that they create, bind the creature in helical bands that restrict movement and suppress psionic powers. Then they fill tank again, and interrogate it.
Beholders: Beholders are usually xenophobic, insane and extremely dangerous, and even the ones that aren't are usually evil and even more dangerous. Unless the beholder makes it very clear that it is willing to be peaceful towards them, bookshrooms consider a beholder to be hostile. The default response to encountering a hostile one is to harpoon it from all sides, have available wizards and sorcerers cast Antimagic Field, close in with melee fighters then kill it in melee while it's immobilized and can't use it's eye rays. Once dead, it is unceremoniously chopped up to make spell regents and soup. When encountering a beholder that has not developed it's eye rays, bookshrooms try to rehabilitate it. The process involves treating the beholder spawn with kindness, and helping it develop it's eye rays. Surprisingly, it works fairly often, and the beholder grows up sane, intelligent, and, most importantly, not horrifically evil. A beholder that is successfully rehabilitated often wears a white, holey cap which is often extremely visible, so that other bookshrooms will know not to attack.
Grell: The grell have a strong tendency towards evil, and even the ones who don't follow this tendency are only interested in eating. Bookshrooms are only interested in the grell for their alchemy, (the grell lightning lance in particular; they are a favorite armament of many bookshroom cities) which they are very interested in indeed. Grell are not terribly dangerous; when a nest is found, they are captured, their "food" is set free, and the philosophers among them are interrogated for information on their alchemy. Bookshrooms make great use of grell alchemy, and have expanded it a considerable degree. The interrogation process is based on positive reinforcement; the grell are fed things they find particularly tasty when they cooperate. Grell that are not evil are released as soon as their alignment is determined; grell that are evil are killed painlessly and butchered. There are no grell in bookshroom society.
Illithids: Bookshrooms consider a non-evil illithid to potentially be an invaluable ally, and they are one of the few creatures that bookshrooms will unabashedly admit to fearing; such is their power and cunning. Unlike most aberrations, an illithid's evil is born mainly of environmental factors and a curable psychological defect; namely being ruled over by quasi-omnipresent, telepathic tyrants, and being unable to feel happy. There other factors are also amendable; the psychic energy found almost exclusively in living sapient brains, and having to be born by the death of a sapient creature. Two of these problems are cured with one solution; illithids need brains for the psychic energy they are rich in, and they get a strong pleasure from it, though it is also tied up with sadism from the death of the creature. The cure for these two things is simple: a headband that gives them a steady supply of psychic energy. This headband also triggers the feeling of pleasure gained from eating brains, since it is directly tied to the consumption of psychic energy, and the only natural source an illithid has for that is brains. Because of the steady sense of pleasure, with no need to kill anything, the illithid disassociates the feeling with that of sadism and slowly gains the ability to feel happy as it's pleasure center develops more and more. The solution for the third issue is simple: raise illithids out of the domain of the tyrants. However this runs into the problem of the last issue; illithids need to kill a sapient creature in order to develop from their larval state. The solutions for this are tricky at best: the two most efficient solution is using it as a form of execution, but that is not sustainable. The other solution is raising quasi-sapient humanoids that can't think or feel, but provide acceptable hosts. The results of the engineered hosts are mixed, while they are fully sapient, they do not function as well as normal illithids.
Neogi: Neogi interactions with the bookshrooms are coloured by one thing: bookshrooms want to know how they travel to distant worlds. Airships may be common enough, but neogi ships can go places even the quickest and most agile airships can't, and bookshrooms want to know how. Many different bookshroom cities have many different methods of finding out how their ships work, so much so that the neogi must think that all bookshroom cities are utterly disconnected from each other. Some try to barter for the information; this never works since neogi claim not to know (which may be true) or ask for prices beyond what any mortal race could provide. Another method is infiltration, which is often done by selling slaves (which are in fact trained volunteers) and having them disable the ship, which is then raided. One instance of infiltration involved an entire platoon of invisible bookshrooms attempting to commandeer a ship in mid flight, which was found in a smoking ruin weeks later. If it were not for their extream desire to know their methods of travel, bookshrooms would have driven them out of the material plane a dozen times over.
Tsochar: Of all the evil horrors that bookshrooms face none are more hated than that of the tsochars. When a Bookshrooms encounter one, they kill it, even if they need to go through the host to do so. The preferred method of killing them is the use of implosion on the host, as they can not escape it.
Bookshrooms almost always try to ally themselves with other humanoids, usually for their crafting practices. Even if the humanoid race in question does not have any crafting practices, they will often try to stay on good terms, just on principle.
Dwarves: Bookshrooms greatly value dwarven metal and stonework. They often employ dwarves for this reason, and a dwarven masonry shop or smithy can usually be found in a bookshroom city. Dwarves that abide by their traditions, however, do not readily trust bookshrooms. As such, dwarves living in bookshroom cities are those that have adopted bookshroom ideals. Despite the dwarven general distrust towards them, bookshrooms are more than happy to trade and provide magical services for the dwarves, who often lack powerful arcane spell casters. This results in a somewhat one sided friendship with dwarven nations.
Elves:Bookshrooms have a strong affinity for elves, especially grey elves, because of their origins. Elven carpentry and metal work is a common sight in almost any bookshroom settlement, and elves are a large portion of any bookshroom population.
Gnomes: Gnomish wit and creativity is greatly appreciated by bookshrooms, who often find use for their mechanical ingenuity. Gnomish clockworks and toy makers are a readily found in a bookshroom town. Gnomes, however, are often at least somewhat suspicious of the tolerance bookshrooms have towards goblins, since they have a great hatred for each other.
Goblinoids: Bookshrooms respect goblin cunning, and as such often utilize goblinoids for their natural talent as rogues. The goblins for their part greatly enjoy fair treatment, and often reciprocate alliances offered by bookshrooms. However, goblinoids that exploit treaties unfairly or outright attack bookshrooms are not shown much in the way of mercy. When outright war breaks out between bookshrooms and a goblin clan, bookshrooms like use psychological warfare to sow dissent, rather than direct confrontation. In the event that sowing dissent is unlikely to work, they prefer to use ranged magic to attack camps from afar, with many casters overwhelming any defenses they may have.
Halflings: Bookshrooms like halflings, but they do not trust them.
Kobolds: The kobolds' ever-present paranoia is a constant obstacle for bookshrooms to overcome.
Inevitables: Bookshrooms do not like inevitables in the least. All bookshroom cities have a law forbidding zelekhuts within it's borders, which deters almost all of that particular model. Maruts are destroyed on sight, since they embody death; the thing bookshrooms view as the greatest evil. Kolyaruts are dealt with more complexly than other inevitables: depending on the details of the bargain that it's trying to uphold, they are either aided, misdirected (usually with the aid of a small conspiracy) or, in the most extreme examples, captured or outright destroyed; when this happens, it occasionally calls for a nationwide alert. One instance of a kolyarut that started a nationwide alert was one that was trying to enforce a contract that would have meant the end of the entire multiverse if ever completed.
Bookshrooms want the world to be a better place. They usually try to accomplish this by collecting and sharing information with everyone they come across or by destroying evil individuals. They also are not afraid to use unsavory methods to get the gob done, such as how they deal with some aberrations. Bookshrooms value freedom, knowledge, the sharing of said knowledge, life, equality, expression, and the destruction of all those who would halt the advance of progress. As such they are usually good, and often chaotic.
|“||A choice born of ignorance is no choice at all.||”|
|—Traditional bookshroom proverb|
Bookshrooms sometimes live in the underdark, usually near a dwarven fortress or in a cave system that links to one or more elven cities. Bookshroom cities often keep sentries and outposts near neighboring illithid cities, so as to anticipate raids. Bookshroom cities involve buildings that are grown from plants that are symbiotic with bio-luminescent mushrooms. They always have a refuse pit, which they use to grow their young, usually have farms of mundane and magical mushrooms and plants which they use for regents, and often have a deep crystal mine. the biggest of their cities have above ground sections where most surface dwellers live, which may be almost indistinguishable from an elven city, especially if it's a newer part. Bookshroom settlements near elven lands usually become extensions of elven cities.
|—The Viridian Magi, Context Uncertain|
Bookshrooms were created by a gray elf wizard now known as "The Viridian Magi" who refers to them as his "Magic Mushroom Men". He is not worshiped, but many of his beliefs are upheld (see above). Many bookshroom religious practices revolve around the initial growth stages and development of their young, which they call "sproutlings". Sproutlings fist develop from what appear to be the fruiting bodies of mushrooms, though somewhat larger, glowing, and possessing a bookshroom face. Bookshrooms usually begin to sprout from communal refuse piles a month after the spreading of the spores. During this time, which lasts a week, bookshrooms from all over the community take part in a ritual, where they dance about the trash heaps, spreading spores from their caps. one bookshroom's spores are not fertile without contact from those of other bookshrooms. The vast majority of the sprouts never develop to sentience, let alone sapience, and painlessly die when their environment is stripped of sustenance by their neighbors. only a small fraction survive to adulthood.
Bookshrooms often communicate amongst them selves using a strobe-light emitted from the patches of light that make up their faces. They can speak in other languages, but have an odd buzzing sound in their voices. They Usually learn scholarly languages (Celestial, Draconic, Elven) so as to accumulate more knowledge, and languages of the races they usually interact with (Aboleth, Dwarven, Gnome, Goblin, Undercommon). Because each patch of a bookshroom's face can make sound individually, a few can faithfully speak Aboleth. Bookshroom Strobe Language has no written form, and can only be understood and utilized by booksrooms, who can always understand and speak it. An individual who is polymorphed into a bookshroom also knows it, but only for the duration of the polymorph.
|“||.. -. / -.-. .- ... . / -.-- --- ..- / .-- . .-. . / .-- --- -. -.. . .-. .. -. --. --..-- / -... --- --- -.- ... .... .-. --- --- -- / ... - .-. --- -... . / .-.. .. --. .... - / .-.. .- -. --. ..- .- --. . / .. ... / . .-.. ...- . -. / .. -. / .- / ..-. --- .-. -- / --- ..-. / -- --- .-. ... . / -.-. --- -.. . / - .... .- - / ..- ... . ... / ..--- ----- / --- .-. / ... --- / -.. .. ..-. ..-. . .-. . -. - / .-.. . -. --. - .... ... / .. -. ... - . .- -.. / --- ..-. / ..--- .-.-.-||”|
|—Traditional bookshroom saying|
Bookshrooms follow the elven naming convention. When they are fully sprouted, they are given a name according to their appearance. Once they are fully grown, they choose an name for themselves, which may be of any language they speak. Some water dwelling bookshrooms have aboleth names, dwellers of the underdark choose undercommon names, but wherever they live elven names are the most common among them.
- +2 Intelligence, +2 Wisdom, −2 Dextarity, −2 Strength: Bookshrooms are Very knowledge able and quick-witted, but feeble and rather clumsy.
- Humanoid (Plant).
- Small: As a Small creature, a bookshroom gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but vi uses smaller weapons than humans use, and vir lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.
- Bookshroom base land speed is 20 feet.
- Bioluminescence (Ex): As a standard action, a bookshroom may emit light out to 20 feet from vir cap, or extinguish it as a free action. Additionally, vi may, as a free action, emit or extinguish light from their face patches in a 40 foot cone, or a 60 foot cone. If vi emits light in a 60 foot cone, vi may not communicate using Bookshroom Strobe Language.
- Magic Aura (Su): All bookshrooms have a magic aura as a magic item with a caster level equal to vir character level. The aura's school of magic is the bookshroom's school of Specialization; if vi doesn't have a school of Specialization, the aura's school of magic is transmutation.
- Magical Lifeforce: When when a bookshroom is has dispel cast upon vir, or enters an antimagic field, a bookshroom must succeed a will save or be stunned for 1 round.
- Naturally Magical: A bookshrooms gains 4 bonus 0-level spell slots. these can be used by any spellcasting class vi has, but vi can not use them to cast spells before a class normally allows. Vi regains these after 8 hours of rest.
- Prestidigitation: A bookshroom may spontaneously cast prestidigitation. If vi has a limited number of spells vi knows, vi will always be able to cast it, and does not need to have it as a spell known. If vi prepares spells, vi may cast it using a slot prepared with a different spell.
- Fumigation Spread (Ex): Once per day, a Bookshroom could spread their spores by rapidly shaking their cap, filling a 5 foot radius around them with spores. Inside the fumigated area,Bookshrooms gain a 20ft movement speed bonus. Everyone inside the area can gain a +1 to all climb checks inside the spores. If left alone for 1 month there is a chance for the spores to sprout an offspring.
- Spore Poison (Ex): If something is to ingest spores from your cap they must make a DC 19 fortitude save or take 2d4 Constitution damage with 1d4 Constitution damage the next round.
- Bookshroom breathe and eat, but do not sleep. For 1 hour a day bookshroom must roots themselves into the ground to gather what nutrients they need. This can be done while meditating for spells or conversing with others.
- Plant Traits: Being sapient, humanoid fungi, bookshrooms have some plant traits. Spells and abilities that affect plants affect them too.
- Automatic Languages: Bookshroom Strobe Language, Common. Bonus Languages: Aboleth, Celestial, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Goblin, Undercommon. If a bookshroom has an intelligence bonus of 1 or more, vi gains Elven as an automatic language.
- Favored Class: Wizard.
|Middle Age1||Old2||Venerable3||Maximum Age|
|20 years||40 years||80 years||+2d100 years|
|Base Height||Height Modifier||Base Weight||Weight Modifier|
|2’ 3”||+2d3||5 lb.||× 3d6 lb.|