This hazardous fungus can be found in dark, wet areas, and often grows in great abundance at the heart of a vegepygmy lair. When a creature approaches within 5 feet of a patch of russet mold, the fungus releases a cloud of spores in a 5-foot radius burst. Everyone in the area must make a DC 15 Fortitude save or the spores quickly take root in their victims, inflicting 2 points of Constitution damage per round. A new Fortitude save can be attempted each round to halt the growth. Although immunity to disease won’t protect against russet mold spores, the growth can be halted by remove disease and similar effects. Exposure to sunlight also halts the spores’ growth. Plants are immune to russet mold spores.
After 24 hours, a fully grown vegepygmy bursts from the body of any creature slain by russet mold, provided the creature was Small or larger. For each size category larger than Small, the body produces one additional vegepygmy.
A patch of russet mold is unharmed by all effects save for acid, alcohol, or remove disease (or a similar magical effect, such as heal), all of which can kill a single patch of russet mold on contact. Sunlight doesn’t kill the mold, but does render it dormant and harmless as long as the sunlight persists.
Several varieties of russet mold exist, each with unique properties and passing on racial variations to the vegepygmies they spawn.
Argent Mold (CR 8): A far more insidious type of infection, argent mold is a reflective, gray-hued fungus. Creatures that come within 15 feet of argent mold must succeed at a DC 18 Fortitude saving throw or be infected by the mold’s spores. Twenty-four hours after initial infection, the mold takes root and begins dealing 2 points of Constitution damage per round; success at a new Fortitude save halts the effect. All vegepygmies spawned from a character slain by this infection possess the advanced creature simple template.
Aurus Mold (CR 5): Aurus mold is a golden-tinged fungal matter that can sometimes be found on the surface. This variant mold is unaffected by sunlight, but its spores deal only 1 point of Constitution damage per round. There is a 50% chance that any vegepygmies created by this mold gain the degenerate creature simple template.
Iron Mold (CR 6): This rare variant of russet mold is susceptible to cold damage instead of acid. Vegepygmies created by this variant mold gain immunity to acid and cold, but also gain light sensitivity.