It looked like Bill, but it was all gray and rubbery. It had this big ball in its hands, like a mushroom of some kind. Suddenly, the ball popped open and this cloud of gray powder flew everywhere. It got in my eyes, and it smelled like fungus. I, I don’t feel so good.Paul Oates, patient at Mercy Hospital.
Spore Bearers are the result of experimentation by the MiGo, using spoor of the Dark Young of Shub Niggurath. At their most dangerous, they appear as rubbery, gray, dark brown, or tan humans, carrying a huge, dried, puffball mushroom, approximately the size of a basketball.
If a Spore Bearer is exposed to a temperature of 60E F (app. 15.5EC) or below, it becomes inert until the temperature rises above that level.
If exposed to 32E F (0E C) or less, it becomes frozen and inert. While in this state it will crumble to powder, containing a human skeleton, if subjected to impact or strong wind. Upon warming, the Spore Bearer and the puffball will melt into a mass of foul, fungal smelling mass of slime, containing a spongy human skeleton. Scientific analysis of any of this mass will show it to be composed of a spliced combination of human and puffball DNA.
A Spore Bearer is created by the introduction of its spore into a human host, either by inhalation, contact with the eyes, oral consumption, or by entering a wound. For this to happen, a dried puffball must be burst, causing the spores to be released.
This may happen by virtually any impact. Otherwise, when a Spore Bearer is within 30′ of one or more humans, it may make an INT check each round. Upon making this check, it will squeeze and burst the puffball.
Spore Sac Explosion: When the puffball bursts, one or both of the following occur. In a sufficient wind, any humans downwind of the Spore Bearer (“sufficient wind” and area of effect are determined by the Keeper) are subject to the spores’s effect. Otherwise, any humans within 30′ are targeted.
Upon introduction of the spores, the victim must make a CON roll with a penalty die. Upon failure, they are immediately rendered unconscious.
Upon a regular success, the First Aid roll described below may be attempted within the victim’s (CON divided by 5) rounds. A hard success allows the First Aid roll to be attempted within one minute. An extreme success allows the First Aid roll to be attempted within twelve hours. A critical success (01) causes the victim to awaken immediately, and be forever immune to this toxin.
In the case of contact via the eyes or a wound, a successful First Aid roll allows complete removal of the spores by rinsing with water (and this method confers a bonus die). In the case of oral consumption this may be accomplished by inducing vomiting (such as with syrup of ipecac). There is no way to effectively apply First Aid when the spores are introduced by inhalation, short of a method the Keeper feels is sufficiently creative on the part of the Investigators.)
In any case, only one attempt at First Aid may be attempted. Upon a failure, the victim will physically degenerate. Each day, they will lose 1D6 hit points, as their flesh slowly begins to ooze and turn partially to slime. When they reach zero, they will have transformed into a thick, viscously cohesive, human form, with an intact skeleton. Witnessing this causes a Sanity loss of 1/1D4 (1/1D6 if the victim is a friend). However, this is gradual, so temporary insanity is not an issue.
This will smell foul–a combination of both rotting human flesh and decaying fungus. They will still be alive, albeit with an INT of 30, and firm enough to walk and/or be moved by the Investigators. They will be able to speak to the extent this level of INT allows.
One other change occurs during this period. The victim will curl into a fetal position, and their hands will press together at the palms and fingers. These will grow together, sharing muscle tissue, tendons and blood vessels. During this time, a round mass will form between them, expanding to roughly the size of a basketball. Attempting to cut this away will cause the victim to scream and thrash about. Blood will spout from both them and the round mass, and they will immediately die. Witnessing this causes a Sanity loss of 1/1D6 (2/1D6+1 if the victim is a friend).
If the First Aid roll is successful, and the victim becomes a patient in a medical facility within one week, they may be treated with the Medicine skill, using an antibiotic in the penicillin class of drug. This includes penicillin, ampicillin, amoxicillin, piperacillin, ticarcillin, and several others. (Note: Penicillin did not exist until 1942, and the others in this class until decades later.)
Upon one successful Medicine roll, the patient is cured. Each week of failure causes the transformation above, but over one week increments, rather than days. During this time, Medicine rolls may still be attempted, each success reversing the transformation one step. This will continue until full success or failure. While this process is in effect, anyone witnessing the
results of Medicine check failures is subject to Sanity loss of 1/1D4 (2/1D6+1 if the victim is a friend). However, this is gradual, so temporary insanity is not an issue.
If undisturbed, on the ground, in the correct temperature conditions, this will become a Spore Bearer. The creature will adhere to the ground, into which it will leak most of its moisture, then pull away and begin to roam. It will maintain its 6 INT, and resemble the human it once was, but have no memory of its former life.
SPORE BEARER, infectious fungal bipeds
Damage Bonus: +0
Magic Points: 10
Attacks per round: 1
Fighting attacks: See “Spore Sac Explosion,” under “SPECIAL POWERS,” above.
No further attack: Once a Spore Bearer has burst its puffball, it simply roams about.
Armor: 8 points of thick, rubbery, fungal flesh.
Sanity Loss: Witnessing someone transform into viscously cohesive form causes a Sanity loss of 1/1D4 (2/1D6+1 if the victim is a friend). However, this is gradual, so temporary insanity is not an issue.
Witnessing the screaming, bloody death of someone when their hands and the sac are separated causes a Sanity loss of 1/1D6 (2/1D6+1 if the victim is a friend).
Witnessing someone slowly transform into viscously cohesive form, due to failed Medicine rolls causes a Sanity loss of 1/1D4 (2/1D6+1 if the victim is a friend). However, this is gradual, so temporary insanity is not an issue.
Upon successful restoration to normalcy, a victim loses 1D3+3/1D6+6 Sanity. However, this is gradual, so neither temporary nor indefinite insanity are issues.
My name is CthulhuBob Lovely. I help run MisCon, which occurs each year on Memorial Day Weekend in Missoula, Montana, thanks to the wonderful people who make it happen. I also help out, however I can, at RadCon, SpoCon, The Great Falls Gaming Rendezvous, the GAMA Trade Show and the Origins Game Fair.
Always a dreamer and very imaginative, I began playing Dungeons and Dragons at the age of 13. Prior to this, I had seen H.P. Lovecraft’s books in the collection of my older brother, Brian, who is also responsible for introducing me to Monty Python, Star Wars and many other things geek.
When Call of Cthulhu was first published I immediately fell in love with the game, and the system, and have been running Call of Cthulhu ever since. I am a Missionary for Chaosium, a MIB for Steve Jackson Games and a Demo Monkey for Cheapass games.