Another one from the xenobestiary for Tiamat’s Throne, my Stars Without Number-inspired setting that mixes fantasy elements with the sci-fi.
Bellatrixian Plague Fungus
Armor Class: 10
Hit Dice: 1/2
Attack Bonus: NA
No. Appearing: 3d4 troops per victim
Saving Throw: 15+ (see below)
Movement: 5 ft.
Bellatrix was founded as a gengineering research outpost by the Meteor Alliance, a long-defunct corporation. The planet’s minimal biosphere was believed to be an ideal location for genetic manipulation of microorganisms, including the wide variety of alien microbial life that still manages to thrive in the planet’s waterless, inhospitable conditions. Today, Highbeam Multistellar runs Bellatrix’s corporatist government, and the gengineering research continues.
One of the more horrible results finding its way from HM’s gengineering labs to the Imperial Navy is the Bellatrixian plague fungus. Weaponized spores secure within shielded missiles can be deployed from orbit with near-perfect precision. These missiles disintegrate above the target areas, dispersing the weaponized spores into the atmosphere. The spores then drift and gradually settle due to atmospheric currents and gravity.
Plague fungus spores quickly germinate in any organic medium, and the fungal mycelium spreads through tissues for 1d4 minutes after exposure (a Physical Effect, Evasion, or Luck save made with a -4 penalty avoids spore infestation). Affected living targets suffer 1d4 points of damage every five rounds as the fungal mycelium invades tissues. The spreading fungal mycelium manifests itself in physical symptoms that include pain, nausea, and a growing network of dull pink “threads” visible in the dermis.
After the fungal mycelium stage, the transition to mushroom primordia and then to growing mushrooms occurs within another 1d4 minutes. This process rapidly destroys tissues, inflicting 1d4 points of damage per round (no saving throw). A single victim (almost certainly dead by the end of the plague fungus’s initial life cycle) typically sprouts 3d4 troops of mushrooms. These mushrooms reach full maturity in another 1d4 minutes, at which time each troop swells and bursts, releasing a cloud of spores in a radius equal to 5 feet per troop.
At this time, the plague fungus’s life cycle starts over again at the fungal mycelium stage.
There is little that can be done to save an infected target. A Tech (Medical) check made with an appropriate array of anti-fungal medicines can stop the plague fungus’s life cycle. Doing so, however, is not easy (difficulty number 10). Biopsionic powers may also be helpful, but halting the fungus’s life cycle requires purge toxin. Psychic succor can heal damage, certainly, but this doesn’t stop the fungus’s life cycle, and biostasis is completely useless.