Gruw and Gruw-Makken (Parasitic Mushroom)

Height: 1” (Gruw); 2” (Gruw-Makken)
Length: 4” (Gruw); 3’ (Gruw-Makken)
Weight: 8 oz. (Gruw); 1 lb (Gruw-Makken)

The gruw is a sentry creature bred by the mah’saiid to guard special places where the race does not want something discovered. The natural gruw takes the form of a small, tan or brown fungi shaped like the Preacher in the Pulpit flower.

It senses sentient creatures through the eddies they leave in the world song, releasing its spores when an interloper comes too close. The spores grow to maturity within minutes as a small parasite that connects itself to its host’s tongue and vocal cords. It begins to scream alarm and the host can not control its voice. The gruw has the ability to shout in the host’s own language and also make certain animal noises. This uncontrollable shrieking typically alerts larger, more dangerous creatures that attack and kill the gruw’s host. There is little one can do to stem a gruw infection short of cutting out one’s own tongue. Only the most skilled mages and alchemists can create the potions and spells that can disrupt the parasite’s metabolism and cause it to detach. Once removed, it is easy to kill.

The gruw-makken is an unnatural variant on the gruw. It has been developed by the subversive Makua’Moi religious group of the Mana’Olai. They have used dark magic to replicate the mah’saiid’s sentry. Their version is created by spell rather than grown. It looks much like the natural fungi version, but is black with a bright red interior and so easier to spot.

The gruw-makken spore, once inhaled, grows just as quickly and is much more dangerous to the host. It does not attach itself to the host like the natural gruw, instead growing its own tongue and extending a long tail into the host’s stomach to push upward against its lungs and force the exhalation of the air necessary for the tongue to produce a scream. This parasite is much more painful than the natural one, and if not removed will grow to a size that will suffocate the host in a matter of two hours.

The gruw-makken can be removed from the host by sheer strength in the first few minutes of its development. As it begins to scream, one can grasp its tongue and pull. If the party is strong enough, the gruw-makken will be dragged out of the body. Outside of the body it will quickly grow its own mouth and lungs to continue the alarm. The body of the gruw-makken is almost all gristle and most standard blades have little chance of cutting it. The best bet is trapping it inside a vessel where its voice is muffled. It will die after a few hours outside a host.

Special Qualities: Parasitic; senses the approach of sentient beings through the World Song and releases its spores accordingly.
Climate/Terrain: Usually found near mah’saiid or makua’moi treasures or secrets.

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