More Mushrooms – Chapter 76
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Eventually Doyle gives up on trying to automate the room reshuffling and asks Ally about it. She thinks about it for a moment. ‘Huh, I don’t think you can do that? But on the other hand, I know it can be done, or at least what you want to do is possible. Wait, I might have it. What you want to do isn’t automate the maze building. You want to be able to shuffle the maze randomly and have that shuffling happen automatically.’

‘That’s actually two separate things. To build the maze you can probably get away with just using dungeon rules because you aren’t creating the rooms, just moving them. Dungeon rules can totally do that and then you can have your automation trigger it at midnight. Or the soonest possible time after that, if people are still on the floor. Important to remember that, or they could freeze the layout. Not that they can’t but at least now they would have to keep someone on the floor constantly and the monsters wouldn’t be able to respawn then.’

Doyle nods, ‘That sounds like it would work and it isn’t midnight yet. Let me go test this out and see what happens.’

With Ally’s suggestion, Doyle goes back to the drawing board. His maze construction stuff was good. In fact, once he attempts to use it with dungeon rules, everything falls into place. Now that he thinks about it, the automation wasn’t even needed for the next part. Since he already had it making the layout, it would be much easier to automate it with rules as well. Once he thinks of that it takes only moments to put the rules for it into place.

While he will have to wait a little for midnight to see if it works the third floor should be mostly completed. Well, the structure of it is. Doyle has more rooms than he can even fit in the three layers he set aside for the floor. Now what needs to be done is adding in features and creatures.

So far his floors had been overall an inviting place. There was clover covered dirt and brightly lit halls. Now he was going to change that. With the myconids and water Doyle had at some point decided to go with a much more cave style of floor. Of course he would still place some goats and kobolds. They were sort of his theme at this point, and who was he to disappoint the adventurers?

Instead of clover, Doyle was going to use mushroom patches and water pools as the main decor. Now he doesn’t actually have any mushroom patterns at the moment, but that was easy enough to work around. All it would take is a little work. After all, spores are just in the air, so why couldn’t he grow some?

Up on his first floor Doyle sets up a damp loose mesh over the entrance portal. While the air from outside didn’t exactly flow into the dungeon that didn’t stop particulate from coming through. Part of that dust and debris would be fungus spores. On their own the spores are too small to give him a pattern, but once he has them, he can cheat through a dungeon’s naturally enhanced plant growth.

At first though, this doesn’t work. He can see the spores being caught and even start to grow. Then they would disappear before even having a chance to grow big enough to be seen by the naked eye. Doyle looked at the problem from every direction he could, and the only thing that made sense was his territory naturally controlled the growth of things.

Thinking about it, he has to agree that this is for the best. With how dungeon plants seem to work, Doyle could see even a single mushroom spore becoming a disaster. A dungeon packed tight with mushrooms was the only future he could see if they were left alone. That of course doesn’t help him with the current problem.

Since it does seem to be a dungeon territory thing Doyle feels he should be able to turn it off or at the very least be more selective with how it works. With that in mind he pokes around with his territory skill.

At first not much happens. Spores are caught by his mesh and promptly get destroyed if they even attempt to grow. He can catch a few with a dry mesh, but there is no way he could gather enough in just a night. Plus who knows how many different types of fungus, yeasts, and other such things are in the air to muck up his attempt.

Midnight passes by unnoticed as he focuses on the mesh and his skill. As luck would have it though, nothing goes wrong with the rules he put in place and it randomizes the maze. Totally hands off, which is lucky with how Doyle ignored it, being completely taken in with his tests.

More time passes, but then success. From what Doyle can tell, his territory would limit the growth of anything not a part of the dungeon. A reasonable thing and something he would have to be careful about playing with. For now though, he had his in.

The next mushroom spore to sprout Doyle was on it before his territory could snuff it out. With a single command his territory shifted and that one spore was now recognized as a part of the dungeon. This wouldn’t have worked with a more complex organism, even a grown mushroom likely wouldn’t be possible. For just a newly sprouted spore? Not a problem. And now that it was a part of his dungeon it grew unhindered.

With a thought, Doyle forms a shallow stone tray with damp soil in it and plonks the growth into it. From there a small forest of mushrooms pops up, as the fungal threads infiltrate the entire tray. As they grow up Doyle is able to identify the type, just a common puffball, but that is just fine with him. Though before they can puff out he deconstructs the entire tray. Doyle wasn’t planning on infesting his first floor with mushrooms. Still, he was quite pleased with the message he got.

{Puffball mushroom pattern acquired at lv1}

Apparently the tray had enough mushroom mass to count. He had a little bit of worry over that, but with it confirmed to work he sets about growing some more spores. The more he grows, the more often he gets duplicates, but eventually he reaches his goal. None of the mushrooms had been anything special. In fact, none of them had even been terribly poisonous. This was by design, though. While he couldn’t quite tell what any specific spore might turn into he could sense the special ones. The mushrooms either deadly, magical, or some combination of the two. What was his goal?

{Multiple Mushroom patterns combined to form Mushroom pattern at lv6}

A generic pattern. He had already seen it with his prey insect pattern and suspected it would be possible here as well. Since none of the mushrooms were anything special Doyle had bet they wouldn’t combine into a sub-table of patterns but rather combine into one pattern and they did! His bet paid off and the knowledge of many common mushroom types local to the area flood into his mind, including ones that he hadn’t even grown. Though now that he knows them it is easy to see they are a part of the air and his territory has been deconstructing them already.

With this his cave maze is possible. Going back through all the rooms, pre-formed with the cave pattern, and added dirt to all the nooks and crannies. Then since he now had it available, all the depressions in the floor have standing water added in. Right away the moisture content in the air elevates as the water cycle speeds along in the same way plant growth does. Seeing this Doyle sits back and just watches the water condense on the walls and roof only to fall down in drips and drops from the stalactites.

Before long, all the currently connected rooms in the maze start to form small trickles of water going down to the bottom layer. This is almost perfect, but Doyle feels a nudge at the back of his mind. His biosphere skill is nudging him towards one slight change.

Not seeing any reason not to, Doyle uses his territory control to create a temperature differential. At the deepest points of the floor, underneath the bottom-most rooms, he places a gentle heat source. With that, the gentle trickles of water thicken into proper rivulets and a nebulous power descends on the floor.

Where before everything was just somewhat faster the water is now visibly eroding through the stone of his rooms. In just moments what had looked all right now looked completely natural. As if the caves had been left alone for hundreds of years to weather. This was well beyond anything Doyle had expected, but he wasn’t going to complain. His only worry was what would happen next time the maze shuffled?

That could wait. The dirt he had placed at the start was not only there but spread out much better as well as forming silt flats on the lowest layer of the floor. With the stage set how could he not add in the actors? So with a flex of his mind mixed clouds of spores appear throughout every room on the floor, including even those not currently connected to the maze.

With the magic of his normal sped up plant growth, the spores land everywhere and start to grow. Every patch of dirt sprouts up with numerous types of fungus. The mushrooms more suited for ground cover carpet the lower rooms in particular. Doyle looks it over and shakes his core, ‘Perfect’!

Now with the mushrooms in place, Doyle decides to try a similar approach with his insects. Just spawning clouds of them through the level. Not as thick as he did with the spores, though. A few insects for atmosphere is nice but you can overdo it. Now he just has to decide where to place the monsters.

Or rather, he had a plan for the goats and kobolds. In the previous floor he had already connected the goats to the kobolds and this floor would just deepen that connection. Doyle wasn’t quite ready for goat based cavalry, and a cave wasn’t exactly best for that anyway. But what they could be used for is as beasts of burden.

This thought reminds him that he had planned to spawn in some copper and tin veins. With that in mind he looks over the floor for where would be best to place the metal. The lowest section is crossed off right away. He has other plans for that. In the middle could work, but the water was really the dominant feature there and he didn’t really want to hear the miners complain nonstop about wet feet. So that just left the upper section.

That works fine for him and so he looks at the layout. It is at this point that he notices that the floor has changed. Even when the massive speed up had happened, it hadn’t quite clicked in his head but now there it is. However since nothing seemed to go wrong this only distracts him for a moment before he notices the feature he wanted to take advantage of.

The way his rules create the dungeon layout leaves a number of areas that would have had a room, but because it didn’t go anywhere was removed. From there it was a matter of fine tuning how his rules took advantage of this feature. The most important parts were that he wanted four ore deposits with at least one of each type, and the veins couldn’t be too close to the entrance. 

These four mining nodes would be where the kobolds on this floor would congregate. The goats would munch on the mushrooms and act as beasts of burden to carry the metal wealth. On the lowest section would be swarms of myconid sprouts. And the middle? While some dungeon wolves would fit he didn’t want them quite yet and the axebeaks clearly wouldn’t be able to handle it so that leaves the assassin vines. More important to this decision is that he has almost twice the energy budget for monsters on the floor.

Thank you for reading the chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Please rate, favorite and share the novel. That will help me a lot.

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