|Dark, mild, and damp environments
The Undercity Mushroom is a fungus found in the caves and Dwarven ruins of Ellador. Due to its flavorful taste, the Undercity Mushroom is considered a staple of Dwarven cuisine, subsequently causing it to spread throughout Dwarven holds, including as a household pest. Additionally, the mushroom has been introduced to the surface as a tasty food as well, though their spores are known to cause breathing problems if not properly washed.
Undercity Mushrooms are native to the caves of Ellador. While the fungus grows deep below the surface, it is found mainly in the upper caves of the north as opposed to the deeper, lava-filled realms found far below. As far as history is concerned, the mushroom has always been used by Dwarves as a foodsource. They readily grow anywhere suitable in the caverns of Ellador. The unfortunate side effect is that they commonly invade farms of other crops, as well as sprouting uninvited inside of Dwarven homes. Once the Undercity Mushroom was introduced to the surface, it was soon discovered to cause breathing problems. Specifically, the mushroom's spores would spread into the air and cause coughing and headaches when inhaled, an effect that was never noticed by the Dwarves due to their stronger immunity to airborne contaminants. This issue was soon eliminated by simply washing the mushrooms or wearing masks before handling them. With the exchange of culinary knowledge between Dwarves and surface-dwellers, the Undercity Mushroom has become widespread across a multitude of dishes.
The Undercity Mushroom is a very simple mushroom; it is small, white, and can grow up to six inches tall and two inches wide with a stubby stalk and domed cap. The mushrooms grow in clusters whose size depends on the available space and nutrients. It is quite identical in appearance to the common button mushroom.
Uses and Abilities
Undercity Mushrooms are an abundant food source for those living in the caves of Ellador. Additionally, it is harvested and cleaned before being exported to other Human lands, where it is known to cooks and consumers by the name "Meatpuffs." It has a springy texture and very savory taste compared to sweetened meat, yet it is also oddly earthy. These mushrooms can be eaten raw, but are usually cooked because raw Meatpuffs are not as flavorful nor pleasant to the palette.
The spores of mature mushrooms cause breathing problems and headaches when directly inhaled, though Dwarves are immune to this effect. They can spread through the air over several meters from their parent mushroom. A single mushroom may cause a single moment of coughing, but an entire cluster can induce constant coughing and mild headaches as long as the victim remains in the vicinity. Leaving the area and breathing in fresh air is enough for the symptoms to fade. The symptoms are less severe in an open space with plenty of airflow or if a mask is worn. Running the mushrooms under water and thoroughly washing them is enough to cleanse them of most of the spores.
- Despite being readily available in the wild, most Dwarves tend to buy cleaned mushrooms from farms or other shops to avoid taking along spores that would otherwise invade their homes.
- The mushrooms prefer dark, warm, and damp environments. Their mycelium grows best in rich, finely decomposed material.