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JusticeZero
2013-04-19, 01:00 PM
I like the existence of somewhere underdark-ish, but the underdark itself always seemed silly to me. Everyone knows what the "Underdark" is, but the meme isn't always appropriate, even when it is used.

Here's a place that serves a similar role, and can replace the Underdark in a campaign.

Mold Forest

Deep underground are layers of hard stone and softer stone. The waste water from swamps and cities, the decayed runoff from the forest, all leaks down through the cracks into these places. These fetid halls breed fungi of all kinds, a fungal forest which slowly carves and shapes the walls and expands further. Within these cavernous places you will find a wilderness of mushrooms, patrolled by fungal, plant creatures of all kinds.

Into some of these dark places, some creatures of the undead have found their way. They do not eat, and as such they are tolerable neighbors so long as they do not bring trouble. Much of the forest is unseen by these silent newcomers.

Sometimes, representatives from the forest slip aboveground to try to divert more filth down into their caves to feed their forests and bring more bountiful harvests. Lost treasures flow down to be lost or found between the roots of great mushroom caps, as well as the crafts made by those civilizations that live their entire lives in the darkness.

Does anyone have any other ideas of things that one might find down here?

Geordnet
2013-04-19, 02:06 PM
Does anyone have any other ideas of things that one might find down here?
Everything on this list:
http://dwarffortresswiki.org/index.php/Creature#Subterranean

Dwarf Fortress has what you're looking for in the caverns, I expect.

Here, I've even found an old thread with artwork:
http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=55383.0

00dlez
2013-04-19, 04:08 PM
Albino, bleach white, or even partially translucent, versions of forest dwellers above ground could be neat

Frathe
2013-04-20, 08:23 PM
Plant (the creature type) monsters like assassin vines (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/assassinVine.htm), fungi (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/fungus.htm), phantom fungi (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/phantomFungus.htm), shambling mounds (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/shamblingMound.htm), and tendriculoses (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/tendriculos.htm).

JusticeZero
2013-04-21, 09:17 AM
Oh yeah definitely. That's pretty much the point. I'm hazy on what sort've civilizations the plant-based intelligent creatures might construct, though.. this would be where they'd really shine. Vegepygmies, Myceloids, Myconids and the like. A whole empire of sentient plants and mushrooms working in the shadows, cultivating ooze and slime.

ZeroGear
2013-04-21, 09:28 AM
This is a fascinating idea, mind if I steal a version if this for my own setting?

Frathe
2013-04-21, 11:55 AM
I realized I actually have two appropriate homebrrews for this setting. One is essentially a plant-hydra (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=271080); the other is a template (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=271195) that makes things into "vegetable" versions of themselves (there's already the woodling template, but that doesn't really seem appropriate for an underground setting).

Stake A Vamp
2013-04-21, 12:38 PM
a nice player race i found for this setting. myconids (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Myconids_(3.5e_Race)) are mushroom people (fair warning, refluff will probably be required)
also, why is the thread called cooking sacred steak: Mold forests (i only have a question about cooking sacred steak

ZeroGear
2013-04-21, 12:57 PM
also, why is the thread called cooking sacred steak: Mold forests (i only have a question about cooking sacred steak

I'm guessing it's because he just butchered a Holy Cow?

The Tyler
2013-04-21, 01:32 PM
I really like this idea to replace the standard Underdark, which is something I really don't use. I've tossed around some similar ideas for a location, but hadn't thought to replace the Underdark with it. Mine was going to be in the middle of a jungle underneath a perpetual storm system.

I'd probably toss in some giant vermin as well, the sort of things that thrive in the same environment fungi do. Maybe even have a strange symbiosis between them and the fungi, with mushrooms growing on and from them.

JusticeZero
2013-04-21, 09:40 PM
Because "The Underdark" is one of those holy cows that gets replicated blindly.

I'm happy with people using this; it's out there to offer at least one alternative to the standard "Underdark", because the Underdark makes little sense for many settings, but it serves a role that people may want to fill. Please, use this idea all you want. =)

JusticeZero
2013-04-21, 09:45 PM
I'd probably toss in some giant vermin as well, the sort of things that thrive in the same environment fungi do. Maybe even have a strange symbiosis between them and the fungi, with mushrooms growing on and from them.
That would be good to do too. I know that IRL, leafcutter ants farm fungi for food.

Frathe
2013-04-21, 10:52 PM
How would you feel about creatures of living stone/crystal in this setting? I have another non-standard underground template that might fit into this setting. If you're interested (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=266074). You could also use the Mineral Warrior template.

Grinner
2013-04-22, 03:29 PM
There's something about fungi in underground environs worth mentioning here.

Realistically, they don't actually grow all that well underground. Think about it. Yes, they are capable of flourishing in the absence of sunlight, but they do require lots of nutrients. How much nutrition do you think a mushroom spore can usually find in the hard-packed earth of a cave? Unless there's something bringing in large amounts of nutrients from the surface, it's not going to happen.

I realize we're talking about fantasy-land here, but if we're going to butcher sacred cows, we might as well do the job properly.

00dlez
2013-04-22, 03:48 PM
Yes, they are capable of flourishing in the absence of sunlight, but they do require lots of nutrients. How much nutrition do you think a mushroom spore can usually find in the hard-packed earth of a cave? Unless there's something bringing in large amounts of nutrients from the surface, it's not going to happen.


An underground druidic circle (turned insane evil cult, maybe) has been capturing villagers (above-worlders) and sacrificing them as sustinence to their slowly dying underground fungi-forest.

ZeroGear
2013-04-22, 04:08 PM
Realistically, they don't actually grow all that well underground. Think about it. Yes, they are capable of flourishing in the absence of sunlight, but they do require lots of nutrients. How much nutrition do you think a mushroom spore can usually find in the hard-packed earth of a cave? Unless there's something bringing in large amounts of nutrients from the surface, it's not going to happen.


I think it would be worth mentioning that there are species of fungus that live in the caves and tunnels of Britain that live off of practically anything organic. Considering that the Fungal Forest is said to be the place where waste from the above world seeps down, it is entirely possible that the 'forest' flourishes from the organic seepages that trickle down in streams, or that the fungi have long 'tendrils' that dig their way though cracks in the roof of the cave to the fertile soil above them.
Heck, there are some species that survive by breaking down minerals in the very rocks of the cave!
Then, there are also the corpses of underground races...

The Tyler
2013-04-22, 04:32 PM
There's also this quote from the Carlsbad Cavern National Park page.


One very important type of fungus is ectomycorrhizae (which means external root fungi). These fungi wrap themselves around the tiny root tips and engage in a symbiotic relationship with most plants on earth—scientists say 80 to 95 percent of plants. They take up mineral nutrients from the soil and exchange them with plants for photosynthetically fixed carbon, thereby benefiting the plants and the fungi. Mycoorhizal fungi are therefore very important, constituting a major energy flow pathway in terrestrial ecosystems—including the deserts.

So maybe some of the fungi in the cave work the same way, except they're on the cavern ceilings, their 'tendrils' (I almost called them tentacles) growing upwards to the roots of plants and trees. Obviously in the shallower caves only.

There's plenty of ways to explain the presence of sufficient nutrients, even if we just simplify it to 'magic'. And also remember that fungi include more than just mushrooms. The common molds and slimes that are often found in dungeons are another form of fungus.