This minuscule, fleshy plant creature has mottled, green-and-black skin and tiny eyes that peer malevolently from beneath layers of dripping, fungal hair.
Fuldrex CR 11
Speed 20 ft.
Melee bite +21 (2d6+8/19–20), 3 slams +21 (1d8+8 plus choking fungus)
Special Attacks choking fungus, rotten flesh
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th; concentration +12)
Str 26, Dex 12, Con 22, Int 7, Wis 13, Cha 15
Base Atk +12; CMB +19; CMD 30
Feats Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Diehard, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Lunge, Power Attack
Skills Perception +14, Sense Motive +3, Stealth +16 (+20 when underground); Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth when underground
Languages Abyssal, Sylvan
SQ change shape (Small fungus; tree shape)
Choking Fungus (Ex)
When a fuldrex hits a target with its slam attack, it releases minuscule, virulent spores that seek to propagate in the victim’s lungs. A creature struck by the fuldrex’s slam attack takes 1d6 points of Constitution damage and is staggered for 1d4 rounds while it painfully coughs out the intrusive fungus. A victim that succeeds at a DC 24 Fortitude saving throw is staggered for only 1 round and doesn’t take ability damage. A creature affected by this ability is immune to additional instances of choking fungus as long as it remains staggered from the effect. This is a disease effect that affects only creatures that breathe. The saving throw is Fortitude-based.
Rotten Flesh (Ex)
The fleshy fungus that makes up a fuldrex’s body is fetid and foul. Whenever a fuldrex takes damage from a slashing weapon, its flesh releases a noxious cloud of gas. Creatures within 10 feet of the fuldrex must succeed at a DC 26 Fortitude saving throw or be nauseated for 1 round.
Environment temperate forests or underground
Organization solitary, pair, or infestation (8–12)
Fuldrexes are mean, territorial creatures that, despite naturally taking the shape of small humanoids, seem to share more physical characteristics with fungi than anything else. Layers of thin, spotted, fibrous flesh cover their bodies like skin; their chubby fingers seem more like mushroom stalks than digits; and where hair might normally grow instead drips lacy growths that would seem more at home growing along the walls of a cave. Fuldrexes crave warm, dark, isolated places, and react violently when disturbed. The exception is when a much more powerful creature—particularly a fungal creature—enters their demesne with an overwhelming display of might. In this case, the cowardly and dull creatures are apt to prostrate themselves before their better, vowing to serve and venerate it as other creatures might worship a deity.
Fuldrexes are notorious shapechangers that can appear to be naturally occurring fungi whenever they wish. They often use this ability to blend in with their surroundings before ambushing their enemies, or simply to fade from sight when a major threat barrels their way. In its natural form, a fuldrex stands 2-1/2 feet tall and weighs 50 pounds.
The product of natural growth run evilly amok, fuldrexes spawn in remote places where mundane fungus is abundant, especially in underground caves and oases.
Fuldrexes always live where moisture and spots to hide among other plant life are abundant and where the searing light of the sun is scarce. Unlike most plants, though, fuldrexes have an advanced physiology and thus crave meat—the fresher the better—to sustain their strange little bodies. They also need moisture from their diets as well as from their surroundings to keep their bodily systems running smoothly.
In a pinch, fuldrexes eat small animals native to their homes. However, fuldrexes prefer to accost larger creatures, especially humanoids, both for the large supplies of meat those victims provide as well as the liquids their bodies retain. They are most common and most comfortable as a species underground, though some fuldrexes thrive in the depths of primeval forests— especially blighted forests—where the treetop canopies keep their surroundings dark, moist, and perfectly suitable. When they do live in blighted areas, fuldrexes tend to gorge themselves on the fey that have so far escaped physical harm, and ignore those whose bodies and minds have been transformed into evil shadows of their previous selves (see the blighted fey template).
Regardless of where they live, fuldrexes reproduce using spores. There is no sexual dimorphism among fuldrexes, but two of the creatures are required for this process to take place. One fuldrex leaves a collection of spores in a safe, fungus-filled place, such as the hollow of an enormous, rotted log, or a crevice in an underground rock formation. Then, noticing the deep and pungent smell that distinctively marks these spores, another fuldrex later adds its own spores to the mix. The parents invariably abandon their gestating spawn, and after a few weeks, a new fuldrex springs fully formed from its fibrous sac.
Fuldrexes have no concept of parenthood and often squabble with their young over the best places to hunt or gather moisture. However, they do often allow the young specimens to live in their territories, usually provided that the children help lure fresh meat to the area. On rare occasions, fuldrexes spawn outside of any of their kin’s territories, and in these cases the young are left entirely to their own devices.
Although disease and blight have no hand in spawning fuldrexes, the creatures nonetheless maintain an incredible concentration of choking spores within their bodies. Mature fuldrexes know how to harness these physical characteristics into attacks that can weaken or kill their prey. Worse, though such planning and collaboration is rare among their kind, some fuldrexes even sneak unnoticed next to potential prey, releasing the noxious fumes from their rotten flesh just as a number of other fuldrexes descend upon the weakened victim.
Terrifying as this sounds, though, fuldrexes almost always hunt alone or in pairs, even in territories where half a dozen or more of the creatures dwell. It is only in the most inhospitable environments that infestations of fuldrexes typically work together to kill any living creature unlucky enough to wander by.
Habitat and Society
As fiercely territorial creatures, fuldrexes are most concerned with maintaining a home that provides a steady stream of prey upon which to feed. They are cruel but rather cowardly, and thus prefer to use their environment as camouflage before ambushing victims. A stretch of deeply forested land or an expansive underground cave might seem abandoned, but it well may be teeming with an infestation of hiding fuldrexes simply waiting to strike.
Fuldrexes typically treat each other neutrally; that is, fuldrexes occupying the same territory that aren’t hunting partners tend to ignore one another— unless a fight breaks out over a kill or a prime spot to hide and ambush prey, of course. In this case, fuldrexes battle each other viciously and often to the death.
Despite their ambivalence toward one another, fuldrexes do not brook other hunters living in or even passing through their territory.
They often band together to drive out rival predators weaker than themselves, if they don’t kill the offending creature outright for food. In a strange way, this behavior emulates a code of honor, though the evil creatures might turn on one another once the offending interloper is dispatched.
The exception to fuldrexes’ hostility toward rival predators lies in evil creatures that are significantly more powerful than they are, such as dragons, demons, and divs. These terrors’ auras of evil are like siren songs to fuldrexes. If such a powerful rival rampages through a fuldrex territory—especially if the rival makes a wanton display of sheer power or wickedness—the local fuldrexes are likely to emerge from hiding and vow to serve the creatures unfailingly. Should the rival accept the fuldrexes’ offer, the plant creatures dedicate themselves to being loyal minions, following even orders that would result in their certain deaths. As they are rather thick and blatantly self-centered, fuldrexes also tend to believe that they are the chosen acolytes of powerful creatures, and that they can achieve supernatural power through serving those they deem worthy.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #119: Prisoner of the Blight © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Amanda Hamon Kunz, with Paris Crenshaw, Crystal Frasier, Jason Keeley, Isabelle Lee, and Larry Wilhelm.