The Frent Mushroom is a large, potbellied mushroom toxic to most races. It is peculiar to the middle regions of the Sarvonian Continent, such as upper Santharia and the Celeste Lowlands. Only the mullogs of the Silvermarshes seem to be able to subsist on the Frents.
Appearance. The Frent
Mushrooms are usually about a
palmspan high, and almost as big around as they are tall. They consist of a
bulbous stem of dirty white and a pale brown cap dusted with warty growths. The
cross section of a typical stem is about half a palmspan across; when such a
cross section is taken, the inside of the stem is fibrous and dark brown. If the
cap is removed, fibers can be peeled off the stem in small groups. The bottom of
the cap is darker brown with fine ridges, and the top of the cap has a thick
pale brown skin, from which warty growths periodically emerge (see
Reproduction). It is typically about four
nailsbreadths thick in the
center, the thickest part, and the edges can be anywhere from one nailsbreadth
thick to barely a quarter of a
nailsbreadth. A typical Frent is heavy for its size, about half an
The Frents grow best in moist, shady areas, and tend to prefer swamps, of which the Silvermarshes is a perfect example. They generally grow in thick clumps with Frents of varying sizes, the younger, smaller ones clustering around the fully developed older Frents. The Frents live a very long time for mushrooms – five years is the recorded maximum – and do not die after reproduction. When the Frents are eaten by humans, orcs, and members of other races, they have no immediate effects. While one mushroom has enough poison to kill a human, halfling or other creature, the more that are eaten, the faster the creature will get sick. If only one is eaten, the sickness may take as long as two months to kick in. The shortest time the Frents have killed in that has been recorded was half a month. When one contracts the sickness, it is generally said that he is “Frenting”. There is no known cure. It looks like a simple reaction to some spoiled meat or some indigestible plant, but the patient will linger for days or weeks, not getting any better, and eventually he will die in his sleep.
Territory. The Frent Mushrooms grow mainly in the middle regions of the Sarvonian Continent. They grow in the Santharian provinces like Nermeran and northern Vardýnn and Enthronia, as well as the Celeste Lowlands. They are found in small patches in southern Santharia as well, brought south by travellers from northern Santharia. These patches are avoided by most races because of their toxicity, though some people believe that certain parts of the Frents can be medicinal (see Usages). The Frents tend to prefer swampy areas, as they need excessive moisture to grow healthily.
Usages. The Frent Mushrooms have been recorded as poisonous to all races except mullogs, because of the mullogs’ exceptionally strong constitution and resistance to many poisons. Therefore, while most races avoid the Frents, the mullogs rely on them as a food source. The Eophyrhim Elves, who live near the Ancythrian Sea, also sometimes use the Frents in their cooking, being resistant to some poisons as well. However, they do not rely on the Frents the way the mullogs do.
Though they are by no means delicious, and rather bland, Frent Mushrooms are fibrous and filling. There are some humans who believe that the dark brown centres of the Frent stems have medicinal properties, and it does seem that they are not poisonous or at least not as severely poisonous as the rest of the mushroom, though it has not been proven that they actually cure fevers and infections as some people claim they do. These rumors have probably arisen because some herbwomen use the centres in special brews that they use to cure fevers.
Reproduction. The Frent Mushrooms reproduce as most fungi do – they release spores. When the mushroom is mature, small warty growths emerge from the skin of the cap. When these growths reach about a nailsbreadth across, they burst and release yellow dusty spores. These spores are very heavy compared to the spores of most mushrooms, which is the main reason for the limited territory of the Frent Mushrooms – the spores are too heavy for the wind to carry them far before they touch down. Sometimes the spores settle on the clothing of travellers through the regions where they grow, and they are transported to other regions where the spores settle and they form small clumps.
Myth/Lore. The Frent Mushrooms are said to be named after the man who discovered them. It is actually a tragic tale. Frent was a young man from Nermeran, from a village whose name is long lost, who came upon a thick clump of these mushrooms. Though he had never seen such a mushroom before, he and the members of his village were rather fond of mushrooms and, thinking they could be profitable, harvested the whole crop and brought them back to his village. Nobody there had ever seen or heard of them, so he decided to try one, against the advice of many. He found it bland but filling, and there were no immediate harmful effects. The others of his village, seeing no harm, decided also to try the mushrooms. He began making trips back to where he had found the mushrooms and gathered more. For almost a month, the villagers ate Frent Mushrooms, as they came to be called. Then one day, Frent suddenly fell ill. It seemed like a simple enough illness, probably brought on by some rancid meat, they said; but while that would have been simple enough to cure, Frent just got more and more ill until finally he died. The other villagers began getting sick also, and soon, they realized that the cause must have been the mushrooms. They managed to get the word out to surrounding villages, but slowly every member of Frent’s village died.
Information provided by Erynn Fenteriel