The Thinking Cap
Cerebruortuum segniores

This delectable and brightly-colored fruiting body has the curious effect of speeding up cognition and allowing great intuitive leaps in a relatively short span of time, at the cost of permanent synaptic damage and eventual brain death. An antidote was first synthesized by Reswob in 1887 and is widely available; some graduate students have been known to abuse the cap along with the antidote to benefit from these effects, which is–needless to say–strongly contraindicated.

“The use of cerebruortuum segniores in the Chinese Imperial Examinations was punishable by death, but they were nevertheless smuggled in with astounding ingenuity. Naturally, the long term effect of brain death meant that cheating one’s way into a good score was an exercise in futility, but the false belief that the effect could be counteracted through acupuncture and the consumption of baiji ovaries meant that every year dozens of students had to be carried out of their cells in comas to expire peacefully in what Ching Dynasty chroniclers called the 菜園–the vegetable garden.” – Dr. Phineas Phable

The Bamf Puff
Nocterepunt xavier

The Bamf puff gets its name from onomatopoeia: it causes imbibers of the immature puffballs, or those exposed to newly-released spores to be teleported a short distance away, leading to a distinctive sound as air rushes to fill in the void. It is a defense mechanism designed to disorient predators who might otherwise feast on the fungi’s succulent flesh, which is highly regarded as a delicacy by humans and animals alike. Intact puffballs are extremely difficult to harvest without rupturing but were highly valued as quick getaway tools by highwaymen and assassins.

“The difficulty with the buff’s teleportation effect is its randomness–it tends to be in the same horizontal plane as the puff, but not always. Stories of hapless mushroom hunters and would-be assassins trapped in trees, buried underground, or even fifty feet in the air are not uncommon. No one is quite sure what happens to the material displaced by the appearing victim, but it is always gone for good–an effect that people have occasionally tried to harness for waste disposal, the keeping of secrets, and even murder. They are rarely successful, save by the rarest kind of luck.” – Dr. Phineas Phable

The Princess Toadstool
Fortunadcaelum relinquere

A distant relative of the famous Cordyceps genus of behavior-modifying ascomycete fungi, princess toadstools also alter behavior through fungal infection, albeit in a much more regimented way. Princess toadstools are clonal, with a large number of fruiting bodies connected to a single, subterranean, fungus. Consumption of one of the fruiting bodies leads animals–or humans–back to the initial site, where they are compelled to tend to the larger fungus by bringing it food, irrigating it, and creating what Bharadwaja called “princess gardens” in his Ayurveda. An antidote is available, though mild cases will often clear up on their own.

“In the hollows of the Himalayan foothills near the norther border of Kashmir, there is a particularly large and ancient princess toadstool that is surrounded by the skeletons of laborers and charcoal-makers it has ensnared over the years. It is at the center of a particularly large and lush princess garden, one lined with stones and fed by an aqueduct from a glacial spring. No one is sure how old they are, for none dare approach it.” – Dr. Phineas Phable

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