|Environment||Any underground (Darklands)|
|Images of vegepygmies|
Source: Bestiary, pg(s). 273
Vegepygmies appear as short, humanoid creatures covered in fungus. They generally have skin of a greenish hue, with long fungus tendrils covering their heads like hair.
Among the youngest of the Darklands races, vegepygmies are strange beings that are a product of the sporecrafting gardens of the drow House Udrinor in Zirnakaynin. Working toward the goal of making a sustainable source of food in the Darklands, they harvested a number of strange molds and exposed them to strong doses of caphorite rays. Although the results were barely sentient, these early examples did prove self-sustaining and worthy of further experimentation. The drow, always needing in inject cruelty into their pursuits, and believing that food tastes better when it knows it is going to die, were unsatisfied with their unintelligent experiments. Over time, the sporecrafters worked to increase the intelligence of their plant creations, and gave them a rudimentary ability to care for their own communities. It was a great surprise to their creators that once these initial vegepygmies died, their bodies decayed into a strange patch of rust-colored mold that had the power to invade living bodies and create new forms of vegepygmies. They named this new fungus russet mold.
The Stalking Death
Originally the drow underestimated the dangerous properties of this mold. It was only after the disappearance of a large number of the house workers that the full truth was learned. Assuming that the missing workers had been killed by vegepygmies, an eradication campaign was was launched to round up and destroy the existing population. Only after hundreds of the creatures had been killed, did they learning that there were many more than they expected and that they seemed much more intelligent. Further study revealed that the missing workers (many of whom were spellcasters) had been overcome by the russet mold and reborn as the more intelligent vegepygmies. Having maintained their free will, this population of transformed workers decided to act before the drow took further steps to eliminate them entirely and rose up in rebellion, inciting vegepygmy populations all over Zirnakaynin and sparking an event still known among the drow as the Stalking Death.
The drow quickly moved to put down the vegepygmy uprising using sword, magic, and fleshwarped troglodytes. Although they quickly began killing the diminutive and relatively weak creatures, they underestimated the virulence and speed with which the russet mold could transform an infected creature, and found themselves facing an ever-growing tide of moldfolk. The drow finally had to call in the help of summoned demons to deal with their "food-supply" issue and end the rebellion.
With the vegepygmy revolt finally ended, the drow moved to eradicate every last patch of russet mold they could find. When they believed they had succeeded, they realized that a few vegepygmies had fled the caverns of Sekamina for Nar-Voth, but were willing to let them be the problem of the dero and duergar who inhabit that realm of the Darklands.
Habitat and ecology
Isolated tribes of vegepygmies can be found throughout Nar-Voth, requiring only an isolated cavern with a ready supply of water. They are particularly populous near the large fungal colonies known as malhars, where they worship certain enormous mushrooms as demigods.
The largest known populations of vegepygmies can be found in the Darklands realm of Nar-Voth, particularly in an area known as the Midnight Jungle under central Cheliax. They have also been spotted in the Nursery Trench under the Varisian city of Kaer Maga, in the Tangle below the fabled city of Xin-Shalast, and even deeper underground, in the Intellect devourer city of High Ilvarandin in the Vaults of Orv. Some tribes can even be found living on the surface of Golarion. Known populations exist on the continent of Avistan in Cheliax's Scar Thicket (located directly above the Midnight Jungle), off the coast of Cheliax on the island of Nal-Kashel, and below the frigid Dragon's Rib island in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings. Larger numbers can be found on the warmer, and often wetter continent of Garund, particularly thriving throughout the dark Mwangi Expanse, in the Azlanti ruin of Saventh-Yhi, on Redbow Island in the Shackles, and off the coast of Sargava on the Silent Island.
While vegepygmies tend to avoid other races, they fight constantly among themselves and are not afraid of attacking isolated groups of beings. They always seek to capture rather than kill, bringing the captives back to their cultivated patches of russet mold for transformation. They view the gift of transformation and escape from the flesh as a high honor only they can bestow.
Vegepygmy shamans hold high standing within the tribes and lead them in veneration toward a fungus-themed interpretation of Gozreh, or less frequently, Cyth-V'sug, the demon lord of fungi and parasites.
For additional resources, see the Meta page.
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