Corpse Fungus (Template)
Corpse Fungus is a corpse, either reduced to a skeleton or still fleshy, animated by semi-sentient fungus which has spread through its body and now uses it as a puppet slowly eating its way through the corpse until only the bones remain at which point it will gather fresh corpses and explode its spores into them.
"Corpse Fungus" is an acquired template that can be added to any corporeal non-aquatic creature that has a skeletal system and a fleshy body (referred to hereafter as the base creature).
Size and Type
The creatureís type changes to plant, although it looks undead in many ways the corpse is animated not by necromantic energies but by the presence of a fungal creature which moves it like a puppet. It retains the fire or cold subtype but loses any other it may have possessed.
Drop any Hit Dice gained from class levels (to a minimum of 1) and replace remaining Hit Dice with d8s.
Winged corpse fungi that are "complete" canít use their wings to fly. If the base creature flew magically, so can the corpse skeleton. Incomplete corpse fungi may fly normally.
In the case of a comple corpse fungus natural armor changes to a number based upon its size, in the case of an incomplete corpse fungus natural armor changes to that number unless already higher.
Corpse Fungus Size Natural Armor Bonus Tiny or smaller +0 Small +1 Medium or Large +2 Huge +3 Gargantuan +6 Colossal +10
A corpse fungus retains all the natural weapons, although a complete corpse fungus loses attacks that will not work without flesh. A creature with hands gains one claw attack per hand if a complete corpse fungus or one slam attack per hand if incomplete and the creature did not possess claw or slam attacks already; the corpse fungus treats these as primary natural weapons unless the base creature already had primary natural weapons in which case they are secondary. A corpse fungusís base attack bonus is equal to 3/4 its Hit Dice.
Corpse Fungus Size Claw/Slam Damage Diminutive or Fine 1 Tiny 1d2 Small 1d3 Medium 1d4 Large 1d6 Huge 1d8 Gargantuan 2d6 Colossal 2d8
Natural weapons deal damage normally. A claw or slam attack deals damage depending on the corpse fungusís size. (If the base creature already had claw or slam attacks with its hands, use the corpse fungus damage only if itís better.)
A corpse fungus retains all extraordinary special attacks of a creature except poison or others which specifically rely upon metabolic productions, a complete corpse fungus also loses any that require flesh. In addition a complete corpse fungus gains death throes.
Death Throes (Ex): When a corpse fungus dies it produces an explosive burst of spores. These spores root into any corpse within 10 ft growing into new corpse fungi within it. If a living creature is caught in the blast and dies within the next 2 weeks or getting a thorough cleaning (whichever is first) the spores will take root. It takes 2 days for a corpse fungus to infiltrate a corpse far enough to animate it.
A corpse fungus retains any extraordinary damage reduction (usually overcome by a material or not at all), and energy resistance (or immunities) of the base creature, and any extraordinary special qualities that improve its melee or ranged attacks. It loses all other special qualities of the base creature. A corpse fungus gains the following special qualities.
Vulnerability to Cold (Ex)
Corpse fungus are native to tropical environments and is particularly weak to cold taking an extra 50% damage from it.
Damage Reduction (Ex)
A complete corpse fungus has damage deduction 5/bludgeoning and lack flesh or internal organs and its main form is held primarily within the former marrow of the corpse with hyphea only visible where they serve as artificial ligaments. An incomplete corpse fungus has damage reduction 5/slashing as the fleshy remains of the corpse it has infiltrated shelter the fungus.
No Natural Healing (Ex)
A corpse fungus does not heal naturally as the majority of its hit points represent the corpse not the fungus. Magical healing still functions as the hyphea distribute the positive energy into the body and stimulate it to regrowth.
Base save bonuses are Fort +1/2 HD + 2, Ref +1/3 HD, and Will +1/3 HD.
A corpse fungus's Strength increases by +2, and if complete its Dexterity increases by +2, its Constitution is determined by its size (see table below), its Intelligence becomes 1, its Wisdom changes to 12, and its Charisma changes to 6.
A Corpse Fungus loses all skills gaining instead ranks in Spot and Listen equal to 1/2 (its HD+3) rounding up on Listen.
A Corpse Fungus loses all feats of the base creature and gains new ones equal to 1 + 1/3 hit dice, as well as Alertness as a bonus feat. Corpse Fungus typically selects feats that directly improve their offensive capabilities or which grant increased resilience such as Power Attack, Weapon Focus, Improved Toughness, and Improved Natural Weapon.
Warm and Temperate Forest and Underground; although native to tropical forests corpse fungus has crept into more temperate climes.
Solitary or circle (2-12).
Depends on Hit Dice.
Hit Dice Challenge Rating <1 1/6 1 1/2 2-3 1 4-5 2 6-7 3 8-9 4 10-11 5 12-14 6 15-17 7 18-20 8
Always true neutral.
As base creature (or ? if the base creature advances by character class).
Corpse Fungus Ecology:
Corpse fungus digs its hyphea through a corpse spreading throughout its body. As it does so it will break down pieces of the body using it to fuel its growth. Hollowing out the chest cavity first it will slowly grow a fruiting body (recognized in many species of fungus as the mushroom or toadstool) within it. When the flesh of the creature has all been removed and the fruiting body is fully mature a corpse fungus is said to be complete.
An incomplete corpse fungus sticks with its circle retreating into hiding as it grows. A complete corpse fungus emerges once more aggressively attack creatures in its path and killing them. It will surround itself with, usually about 5 but sometimes as many as a dozen, corpses and then explode in a burst of spores, dying in the process. These spores take root in the corpses animating them within a matter of days at which point they retreat to a sheltered area avoiding scavengers. Corpse fungus in this incomplete state is mostly harmless unless you startle it or threaten it, at which point it will attack as any threatened animal. Once the flesh has been consumed and the fruiting body is fully grown that is when the corpse fungus grows dangerous. The circle will go forth as a pack killing creatures until a member has enough corpses to spawn. They will slowly lose members this way until only one remains, but this does not mean the danger subsides. Where a pack will risk attacking large and powerful creature to create powerful spawn an individual corpse fungus is more likely to seek out creatures with few natural defenses, this means unskilled humanoids and with their low intelligence they often have trouble differentiating between unskilled humanoids and adventurers.