Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Mycology: Yellowed Elkhorn

Image result for Clavaria argillacea

Found in temperate open grassy areas, beyond the forests, in warmer weather. A distinct cluster of smooth pale to golden yellow clubs growing up and outward, said to resemble the growth of antlers on elk after injury, and so one of its' names is Yellowed Elkhorn. It is for some a symbol of the lost quarry on has forgotten.

A worthy specimen will stand up almost one foot tall. It grows solitary. If plucked and stored in a glass vial it emits a white dust as it withers. (a use for these dusts is detailed elsewhere).

For some the Elkhorn is edible, while others suffer varying levels of distress in the bowels after eating it. It is usually lighly boiled until softer, or simply sliced up and chewed raw.

Yellowed Elkhorn is found growing at a place where a valued thing was first truly thought to be forever lost or now at least unreachable but was truly not, and this sentimental sting of yearning is believed to have then buried itself in the ground after being expelled in sleep, and has now grown nourished from the friction of the truth.

The once-desiring person traveled on, and their yearning now emerges as the Yellowed Elkhorn some time later (days, years or even decades). Some say it only shows for those who ought to be the home for this yearning that's grown out from the dirt like a pearl.

This is why Yellowed Elkhorn is always found at a suitable place for encampment, someone has slept in this place before.

According to lore, legend, and hearsay if you consume the Yellowed Elkhorn you will be shown the way to some treasure so glorious a piece of a human soul got chipped away at the thought of its loss.

Roll when eaten
1. An odor of spices, and bitter, piquant, and metallic taste.
2. Edible but tasteless, tough, and elastic.
3. An acidulous flavor, 1 in 6 will suffer a mild laxative effect. You unable to nourish yourself for one day.
4. The flesh is sweetish, but all who eat it suffer a drastic laxative effect. You are starving and dehydrated the next day.

After someone has eaten the Yellowed Elkhorn they have dreams of themselves: they are lying in their bed and sleeping while elongated yellow clubs grow out from their hearts and heads and eyeballs, all out their whole body until there's nothin else except the yearning, pleading need for the lost object. The yellow clubs gently bend, curve, and sway as they grow longer, ever longer.

They are pointing towards the treasure, they are leading you. The dreamer cannot move in this dream but they see themselves lying there as the clubs grow longer, like long thin staffs now, perhaps so long they indicate a road to follow by lying on it as a tapestry. They flow out the windows, they indicate the horizon to cross.

The clubs are a compass that grows more precise as an instrument as you get closer to the precious thing. At first they show only a broad idea of direction, but can point to individual landmarks and structures once one is near enough. If you slept next to container with the treasure inside the dream is of all the clubs wrapping themselves around the treasure-vessel like adoring limbs and vines. If a person is what has the treasure you may dream of them being slowly wrapped in  the clubs, like deliberate snakes and worms coiling round them until the both of you are wrapped up and then both gone.

The dreams only end once you look upon the precious thing lost. If you get too much further from the treasure the clubs become brighter, and the sensations of growth and emergence more distinct. Eventually sleep is impossible, beyond a fevered nap where a thousand tubes of neon yellow sprout from you and point the other way.

The sources of treasure leading to the creation of Yellowed Elkhorn can range from the archetypal homeless grave robber giving up on the rings on the fingers of the corpses in a given tomb because they couldn't pick the lock to an actual Angels Trumpet at the bottom of a dank dungeon that some Adventurer long ago gave up on finding and deemed impossible to find.

Unless the Referee has an immediate use for Yellowed Elkhorn, they should roll when it is eaten to determine what sort of treasure it leads to, so they can make some preparations. They should not share this information with the Adventurers, ever.

3-5: something of only sentimental value: a letter in a dropped satchel (now unreadable), a lost toy beloved by a child, etc.
6-8: a fine but impressive thing, something worth less than 100SP such as a nice dagger or helmet that fell off a cart and then into a deep ravine.
9-12: something not really replaceable worth at least 500SP, a precious heirloom locket, a golden signet ring of office, something like that. It could be on the body an unrightful owner, or lost in a bears den or something.
13-15: it was valuable enough to still have stories told about it in the area, and is worth at least 1000SP. This should something that was given up on because it was very deliberately hidden and is just very hard to get your hands, or was lost in such a treacherous place it's an Adventure to just go and grab it from where it fell.
16-18: Something that is very actually priceless. This isn't an Adventure Lead, it's the beginning of a new campaign. Finding this treasure should have far reaching consequences, something royalty have failed to get found before this.

The distance of this treasure from the location of the Yellowed Elkhorn is at the Referees discretion.

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