|Common Name||Dakkar Moss, Khadya, Cavedigger’s Woe|
|Common Use||Food, fuel, poison|
|Habitat||All naturally occurring, heated, dry mineral deposits|
Gassa-Moss is a forest-green parasitic moss that feasts on mineral deposits and is extremely hardy. Originating in the fiery pits of Gana-Eeshtar, Gassa-Moss has found unique purpose in Aloria alongside its Dakkar caretakers. Often called the “Cavedigger’s Woe,” Gassa-Moss naturally and rapidly consumes nearly any mineral or stone it comes across. This invasive plant is relatively new to the world and its potential benefits for technology are constantly being researched. In particular, Dwarven researchers are beginning to unfurl ancient research that might indicate Gassa-Moss’ potential for being an excellent source of fuel, alongside coal and steam. The only thing prohibiting further development of Gassa-Moss driven sciences are the Dakkar; the mineral-absorbing moss is their only digestible food source. In modern times, Gassa-Moss is the exclusive food item for all Dakkar, renowned for bestowing them with their great stone hide, but its unique potential as a fuel source is pushing other races to encroach on Dakkar territory and take it for themselves.
For the Dakkar of Gana-Eeshtar, Gassa-Moss has existed with them forever. No one has ever been able to date its discovery as the first race to have it claims it ‘always was’. Oral knowledge has been able to show that early Dakkar developed a unique tradition of migrating Gassa-Moss rotations. These early Firebrand were the first to learn that the green moss did not die for several weeks after being uprooted, and could be re-planted on another stone pile. The Chaloor, or worker caste, began the practice of planting all their moss in one segment and then creating a garden of moss for it to feast on the minerals of the floor. Rival warrior-tribes observed these practices and came to the conclusion that when they could control these gardens, they controlled their enemy’s only food source, and this gave them a huge advantage. The Dakkar thus began the practice of fighting for control of enemy Khadyas (The Teekarhee term for both food and their Gassa-Moss gardens.) This fighting strategy proved to be so effective all Dakkar tribes eventually employed it.
When the Dakkar emerged from Gana-Eeshtar, they carried Gassa-Moss their with them. The same class of Chaloor planted the gray form of Gassa-Moss onto worn stone buildings and other constructs to find great success. Some scholars attribute the ancient look of extremely well-built Dwarven holds to the Gassa-Moss infestation they underwent. Strongholds that had lasted for hundreds of years were rapidly eroded under the Gassa-Moss infestation, if they were not destroyed in combat between Dakkar and Dwarves. The next two major developments were the discovery of its effects on mineral-rich ore, and its spread to the rest of Aloria. The first Dakkar who traveled outside of Ellador brought chunks of Gassa-Moss with them and settled in caves or the outskirts of societies. Wherever the new Dakkar could find caves, they would find great success in cultivating the subterranean moss, but the surface posed more issues. Gassa-Moss was discovered to require more ‘rich’ minerals in stone whenever they were on the surface or higher in elevation. Minerals in ores needed to be more abundant and flames needed to be kept to simulate the warmth of Gana-Eeshtar, making it unexpectedly resource-intensive to feed Dakkar on the surface.
Recent discoveries have only created issues with the confined availability of Gassa-Moss. The Dwarves of Ellador are pressing research into learning the capabilities of Gassa-Moss as a fuel. When the moss is in its dead, gray form, it can burn for hours on end. The gases released when lighting this moss aflame are incredibly poisonous and can result in massive lung damage or death, however, when in contained environments, the thick fumes it produces can provide an undoubtedly risky alternative to steam power. The research of Gassa-Moss obviously involves sacrificing large quantities of the only food source for Dakkar, presenting huge issues for them. Anyone looking to gather Gassa-Moss either has to fight a Dakkar or trade for their Khadya. The Dakkar are often aggressive in trade deals and refuse to hand away food without hefty cost, which pushes some of the more adamant groups to drive out the Dakkar and claim the garden for themselves.
Gassa-Moss is a vibrantly colored forest-green plant that looks the same roughly everywhere it is found. It is incredibly bushy and thick compared to most other moss, but unique specks of minerals often litter its growth. The mineral or rock that any clump of Gassa-Moss is feasting on will become absorbed and consumed for nutrition. In this process small pieces of the material are excreted and randomly spaced throughout the body of the moss. This makes it easy to identify what form of mineral is underneath any massive Gassa-Moss overgrowth. Gassa-Moss that has been uprooted and has no mineral to feed on will rapidly lose its lush color and fade to a gray transparency, though it can survive for up to 3 weeks without minerals or water before its gray fades to a near-corrupted black and the plant simply crumbles into dust.
Uses and Abilities
The most widespread use of Gassa-Moss is as a food source for the Dakkar race. All varieties of Dakkar regularly feast on the bushy moss because it is their only available food item. Gassa-Moss will often dictate the coloration of Dakkar armor because of the mineral deposits that are accessible, which leads some scholars to theorize that large scores of minerals can be used to create Dakkar varieties conflicting with the naturally present ores, but this is not possible. Gassa-Moss cannot feast on minerals that are artificial, have been tampered with, or removed from the earth.
Pressing research is also learning of Gassa-Moss’s unique qualities. The first and only developed trait of Gassa-Moss is that it can be used as an efficient fuel source. The highly poisonous fumes that Gassa-Moss creates are able to be used to power turbines much like steam engines. The moss can only be burned in a contained environment, else it will seriously damage anyone who breathes it in. Naturally, due to its highly poisonous qualities, some alchemists are developing ways to weaponise Gassa-Moss as a poisonous gas cloud. Very few scholars have looked into this in comparison to its fuel potential, but the more malevolent races see even more hidden potential for Gana-Eeshtar’s native moss.
- Despite appearing as a prey species, Gassa-Moss actually has a symbiotic relationship with the Dakkar. The plant grows so rapidly it can collapse on itself before it finishes feasting on any mineral deposit, but the Dakkar consistently keep it cut short and healthy so it can survive. Conversely, Gassa-Moss is the only plant found on Aloria to provide the specific minerals that Dakkar need to survive.
- The consumption of Gassa-Moss by non-Dakkar is rare, but possible. Some eccentric chefs have insisted that Ferr-Iron based Gassa-Moss is nutritious for its consumers, and that it can be surprisingly tasty when raised and cooked in extremely specific conditions. Frequent consumption of boiled Gassa-Moss however leads to blood and organ issues, and can rapidly escalate to organ failure and death, especially in the sensitive stomachs of Ailor and Nelfin.