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Cult of the Spore (Dark Side Force Tradition)


Xar
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Deep in the jungles of Felucia, a small war has begun. The native Jungle Felucians have identified a splintered off group that has access to strange and deadly powers in exchange for their life and servitude. Those who die to the power become mindless, ravenous beings, eating everything in their path, while those who resist the deadly effects of the Great Spore.

 

During the Sith wars, the Sith attacked and created several Force wounds across the galaxy, such as on Coruscant and Naboo. While the attack on Felucia never reached those levels of destruction, a Force Wound did start to open and, in a strange twist, manifest in the fungal life on Felucia. The Great Spore, as the Native Jungle Felucians call it, grew and began to spread, eager to feed. 


The Cult of the Spore

The Cult of the Spore began when several Jungle Felucians, surveying the planet for damage from the Sith, came across the Spore and got infected. The Three Shamans who discovered the Great Spore recognized the Dark side energy and sought to destroy it right away, but in the process, each one inhaled the mushroom’s spores. Over the course of a few days, thick, bile-like mushrooms began to grow out of their bodies. The Shaman Felucians seperated themselves from other Felucians and experimented on themselves, trying to find a cure. One of them turned to use the dark side, and in the process, unlocked unique powers. The Shamans had unlocked the voice of the Great Spore and began to heed its wishes, hoping to discover more control over their powers. Lured by the Great Spore’s unnatural power, they turned to feeding the Great Spore other beings. First the dead, then the living. And as they began to strengthen their power, they lured more Jungle Felucians into their grasp.

 

The Native Jungle Felucians began to fight back the Cult of the Spore, but to their horror, each warrior that died only fueled the cult’s efforts. New breeds of ‘drones’ that were previously dead warriors have wandered into crowded areas to suddenly explode in a burst of spore clouds. The Felucians were fighting both a cult and a pandemic. Surprisingly, the Felucians have refused to ask the Jedi for help, feeling that their involvement may make the situation worse when they get infected. . The Cult of the Spore seem to not mind this, as they are unsure if they could survive an attack from the Jedi. However, the Cult of the Spore have been eagerly looking for ways to leave the planet. 

 

Effects of the Great Spore

Ingesting or inhaling the fungus’ spores seems to always grant the same effects in various stages. In each stage, the spores feed on the victim and when the victim is no longer of any use, tries to spread out to other targets. At any stage, one could easily slip forward into stage four, so each member of the cult must be vigilant against 

 

Apprentice: The first stage is at first ingestion. As the spores begin to first grow inside the victim, they attach themselves to the brain and to midi-chlorians. In doing so, they actually enhance a person’s connection to the Force. During this stage, the victim feels elation as they feel their connection to everything become strengthened, and find their abilities easier to utilize. This however, is the trap of the Spore, for as the user uses their abilities, the spores feed faster. The victim’s skin takes on a slightly yellow hue with further use, and they begin to hear ‘the whispers of the Great Spore’, which at this point, is indecipherable nonsense. The victim also starts to become incredibly hungry, easily eating three times their normal diet. 

 

Lord: The second stage is when the spores begin to sprout. Much to the horror of everyone around, the victim begins to have hair-like mycelium grow out of their skin, with several bulbs at places. The victim doesn’t usually cut off the mycelium because, to their own horror, they feel the pain the spores feel. Hunger is now a way of life, and anything organic looks delicious to the victim. The ‘whispers of the Great Spore’ become clearer at this point. What everyone hears is different, and seems tailored to the individual, but usually includes feeding on living things as well as a desire to spread the disease. It is a constant battle between self control and power, as the ‘Great Spore’ grants unique powers at this point, but also is constantly making demands that are harder and harder to resist. What is worrisome is that the ‘voice’ seems to coordinate with its other members, leading to the theory that the entire cult is slowly becoming one hive mind.  This is the stage when the three classes emerge. 

 

Master: The third stage is the full fruition of the Great Spore. Those once small bulbs have become larger, and open occasionally to spread new spores. Large mushroom caps often grow on a victim's back, chest, or lower extremities, with more and more mycelium spreading further from the victim. The victim is almost constantly eating material, for if they don't, their entire body will shut down and move on to stage four. The ‘voice of the Great Spore’ is a pounding reminder that their powers are the result of an outside source and not their own, and should the user lose the battle, they will die. That said, people in this stage are terrifying to behold. Only the greatest Felucian warriors have survived encounters with these ravenous beings. 

 

Death: The final stage, also known as the Spore Drone, is the fate of all who come under the effects of the cult of the spore. Eventually, when one dies under the effects of the Great Spore, or when the spores are spread over a dead body, the Great Spore operates the body on its own. Most often, these mindless things do nothing but eat everything organic around them, feeding the spores until there is enough energy to go to a public or crowded space and explode with spores, infecting a new generation of victims that will either join the cult, or die trying. 

 

CURES: There are several cures to the Great Spore, none of which are pleasant. The Jungle Felucians have created a blend of tonics and draughts that when applied rigorously and constantly, halts the growth of the Fungus, leaving them weakened but able to continue on with daily life. This, combined with Force Healing, would theoretically completely cure the victim. Another theoretical method would be to starve the victim and subject them to several poisons, destroying the Great Fungus’ food source. Once this is done, the fungus should die and if the poison is cured quickly, the victim should survive. Beyond these methods, the best method of destroying the Great spore is to cleanse the area with fire. 

 

Classes

Spore Virago(Warrior):  Despite their name, not all Virago’s are female. All Virago’s however share the characteristics of becoming vastly stronger then what their species would normally allow. Some have been nicknamed giants, due to growing to impressive heights. They are not mindless however, and share a special relationship with the Great Fungus. They often listen to its words and heed its advice. Out of all the classes, they have the most Mycelia growing from their bodies. They are not above eating their opponents in the middle of a battle. 

 

Unique abilities:

Mycelia Expansion: Calling on the Great Spore, the Virago forces the Mycelia on its appendages to rapidly spread and attach to whoever it can grab in arm's reach. While weak enough to break away with effort, this sudden grappling move can become difficult. Virago’s have also used this ability with the Mycelia to help attach themselves to the ground, rooting them to the ground. Some have even grown Mycelium  from their mouths while trying to bite down onto their target. 

 

The Pain of the Spore: Like many Sith warriors, pain can be enraging, and in rage, there is power. Being able to feel the damage the Mycelia takes on means that a Virago can tap into a new pain source. Virago’s can even use the Force to intensify the pain from the mycelia, and in turn, become more rageful. 

 

Growth Surge: Earning the nickname Giant isn’t an easy task, but for Viragos, they have ways. Feeding the Dark Side of the Force into the Great Spore, the Great Spore in turn surges in power and size. The Body unnaturally stretches and grows up to 3 to 5 feet in a few moments. While painful, and taxing to the user unless they begin feeding right away, in the heat of battle this can be a terrifying and powerful maneuver.   

 

Devour the Weak: Healing is never a Sith’s strong suit, but the Viragos have found a temporary method of healing. By feasting on a corpse or, more preferably, something alive and sentient, the Virago can quickly bind a wound with a growth of mycelia. Some Virago have mastered the ability to unhinge their jaws to swallow entire animals whole after a growth surge. 

 

Spore Pariah (Assassin): If Viragos are deeply connected to the Great Spores’ Mycelia, then the Pariahs are deeply connected to the spores. Often having more open wounds on their body leaking spores, the Pariah lacks the subtlety that Sith Assassins have in exchange for more straightforward approaches. Where an assassin may be able to make believable illusions, Pariahs make toxic or blinding clouds, by choosing which specific breed of spore to emerge at what rate. The most deadly of Pariahs can even use several different spores at the same time, at a small cost of unquenchable hunger and the screaming voice of the Great Spore. All of their abilities relate to their diet, so Pariahs often carry a wide range of foods with them in case of combat.

 

Unique Abilities: 

Blinding Clouds: Not all spores from the Great spore are inherently dangerous. Perhaps its a holdover from the first fungus the Great Spore manifested in, but some are just irritating. By focusing on this breed of spores, and by eating something filled with nitrogen like plants, the Spore Spreader creates a cloud of gas around himself that is usually stinging to the eyes. 

 

Choking Spores: By eating something meaty and full of minerals, the Spreader can shoot a jet of spores at a target, reaching a distance of thirty feet before spreading out. These spores are thick and cloying, normally causing targets to choke on the air around them. 

 

Maddening Spores: Usually the most taxing ability, after eating a good source of ergosterol like mushrooms, excluding the ones on his back, the spreader can create a thin cloud of spores that, when inhaled, begin to cause hallucinations. Usually limited to only one or two senses at first (auditory or visually) Masters can create spores that affect all the senses simultaneously. The spreader has very, very limited control over the hallucinations. 

 

Delicious Spores: Taking a trick from the Shaman’s cooking pot, the Pariah can naturally emit a clump of spores to throw at a target that, after exploding, create a mist of sweet smelling spores. These spores are delicious to taste and grant both the Pariah and other combatants a desire to try to eat the target, even during combat. 

 

Corpse Growths: By placing spores that rapidly reproduce on dead corpses on the battlefield, the Spore Spreader has newly forming places of cover as great mushrooms sprout and expand. When destroyed, these growths explode in a burst of blinding spores that provide cover that, like blinding clouds, sting the eyes to anyone inside them. A master can even force the corpse growths to explode on command, or pre-set a time for when the mushrooms will explode. 

 

Kaaten Spores: the Kaaten on Felucia would lure its prey using the Force to appear less deadly. Similarly, the Spore Spreader will appear less deadly by ingesting several spores that, when activated with the Force, will make the Spreader appear weaker and more frail then he actually is.  This ability has no physical effect, it only is an illusionary effect. 

 

Spore Shamans (Sorcerer): The ruling members of the cult, shamans are experts at cooking and brewing. Sometimes called hags and more akin to alchemists than sorcerers, Shamans carry homemade pots with them everywhere they go, utilizing the Force, various foods and the mushrooms on their back to make specialized potions to conduct twisted arcane rituals. With practice, a Spore Shaman could even create new breeds of Sithspawn. Most members in the cult hope to be reborn in their cooking pots, granted new levels of power and clarity into the mind of the Great Spore. 

 

Unique Abilities: 

The Mindless Connection: By tapping into the connection that all victims of the Great Spore seem to have, a Shaman can command the ravenous things of Spore Drones, and by spreading some Force-fueled spores over dead bodies, make new drones on the spot. While doubtful they will be able to handle a seasoned opponent, it provides the Shaman time to prepare their other abilities. A master can even override the Great Spores' orders, and force specific drones to explode on command. 

 

Weakening Broth: By using a touch of the target’s material, such as hair (or more preferably flesh), the shaman can make a stew that when she drinks it and focuses on her target, begins to slowly sap their strength away. This concoction requires fresh material, so often a shaman will carry a knife with them at all times. 

 

Fair is Foul: By mixing in a few types of poisons and powders, the Shaman creates a paste that, when it hits a target, creates random, debilitating  mutations. By perverting and twisting life suddenly and erracticly, the Shaman makes  Necrotic appendages form along the neck to prevent turning the head, extra eyes grow on the arm that cause confusion, sticky skin on the hand that momentarily causes the target to get stuck on something, buzzing wings near the ears that momentarily deafen, a clump of gangerous nerve cells along the leg that are irritating to walk with, and other effects form where the paste touches the target, but none last more than about 20 minutes. Usually after being made during combat, the Shaman will simply throw the paste at the target.  While the Shaman has no control of what the paste will make on the target, the target will most likely be startled and suffer some miner effect like listed above. 

 

Foul is Fair: Using their own flesh and fingernails, the Shaman creates a stew that, when poured over a sithspawn or a Spore Drone, grants them unnatural mutations. Extra limbs, hardened scales, and multiple heads are just a taste of these abilities. Attempts on using this ability on sane users tend to be short lived, and should only be used on minions the Shaman can control.  

 

Fire burn and Cauldron Bubble:  A burst of dark energy into the Shaman’s cauldron creates a bubbling substance. Having complete control over the brew, the shaman can force the brew to fly out at opponents, creating deadly burns. Masters have been even able to create brews that disintegrate those it touches. 

Edited by Xar
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