There are two varieties of Keyed Mushrooms. The most common is a patch of typically five or six individual mushrooms of varying height and girth. The patch contains a variety of bright fungi with solid, basic colors such as pure red, blue, green, yellow, orange, and white. Each one produces a slightly different sound, each a cross between a drum-beat and the hit of a mallet on a xylophone key. There is an obvious scale to them, like a child's toy, and they can be used to produce simple melodies.
It is said that there is magic in the music, however. And if you play a certain pattern of notes individual to the mushroom patch, you will be rewarded with a shiny little gem as a thanks from this variety of Keyed Mushrooms. You can learn the song by simply, or not so simply, getting in touch with nature. This was be simple for a Druidic spell caster or a talented musician, but prove quite difficult for the average street-bred people.
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The second variety of Keyed Mushrooms is only one mushroom. It is the Grand Mushroom of The Woods, and it large enough for several men to stand upon it without damaging it. It has a rainbow's hue of swirling, flamboyantly-colored dots that will produce sound when stepped upon. This mushroom is a gate-way to the Realms of the Fey, but to open it, you will need a gem from six other, smaller, Keyed Mushroom patches, one of each color, and then to play the correct tune. An incorrect tune, or miss-step will result in a loud trombone-like blast and a puff of narcoleptic gas, rendering everyone in the area asleep. When you awaken, the mushroom will be gone. As that is the nature of music, it can evolve and change through the experimentation of sour notes.
Even the lowliest of plant life comes alive with music in this forest of sounds. We have all held a piece of grass length-wise between out thumbs as a child, and blown across its surface to make a shrill whistle. It is much easier with the Whistle Grass of this forest. Simply plucking a strand of grass from the soft earth will cause a slight high-pitched sound, like that of a alarm whistle.
A pulp, made of this grass, finely mashed, and mixed with the waters of a Tinkling Stream, can be used to make an impromptu alarm system. As, once prepared and spread of a surface, friction of the mush slipping, from being stepped or or similar, will cause a loud ear-piercing sonic alarm. Guaranteed to wake up everyone nearby.
Well done. I enjoyed exploring this enchanted location with it's musical denizens. It would be a place one would encounter faeries if they exist in your world. My only concern is that the rich depth of detail would be lost on all but the most attentive GMs and players. Definitely a musical background and the right soundtrack would definitely help with mood and atmosphere etc. Of course if you were to use this as source material for a book, I'm sure the reader would be as impressed as we your fellow Strolenites are. All in all a great submission.
@Redgre & Pieh:
I admit that I probably got a bit carried away when detailing this place. I understand what you mean about it being somewhat purposeless, but am at a loss for how to fix it at this time -- my creative muse is fickle. If either of you could make some suggestions to help me significantly improve this piece, I would be happy to credit you.
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In reality, this piece was intended as background for a race of people that I haven't finished yet and was planning to submit later. Perhaps I will add them here after all . . . As for novel writing; I'd like to one day, so thanks for the encouragement. =)
I loved the narrative used to explain what was going on. As others did, I liked the excerpts that went a little deeper than the narrative.
Didn't see it mentioned but I would assume that this profession would be extremely secret. If people knew that many of the church's army were mindwiped I am guessing that it wouldn't go over too well. Was thinking a fun thought would be for them to "capture" somebody with a unique skill and the location he would be used there would be a few that would recognize him. They would be forced to kill off those that know them to keep their usage of him a secret. Wandering thoughts which means I really like the post as it spins ideas!
Very nice work, Dossta. This submission combines three interesting styles of writing. It provides a chilling narrative,a twisted fairy-tale, and a scientific examination. I think the combination was very effective at leaving very few questions to be asked. At the core of the idea, memory-eating moths, I don't like it. But the presentation and level of detail given counts for a lot, and begs to be used. Good job.
I have to second everyone who mentioned the great presentation. Both entertaining and informative.
The legend behind them, the healing manual excerpts, the life-cycle and habits, and the great attention to detail takes this up a notch!
And of course, very nice use of the deaths-head moth images!
I really love the presentation and how the facts mix with the narratives to form a compelling story. As others have said it's well done, and has a lot of usefulness without being overpowered.
If one could obtain a blood sample of their intended target, these creatures could make for an effective assassination repertory tool as well. (Let the bugs find and tear apart the targets mind, then follow up later with a killing blow against the helpless victim.)