Vibrant stalks burst from the chest and head of this still breathing bipedal creature, its posture, and gait warped by the unnatural protrusions.
Cordyceps Tower CR 5
Armor Use (Ex)
The cordyceps tower is proficient with all armor its host was wearing during transformation.
Humanoid Host (Ex)
In addition to counting as a plant, a Cordyceps tower also counts as a humanoid of the type its host was for the purpose of all abilities that work on certain creature types such as a ranger’s favored enemy.
Infectious Rupture (Ex)
Whenever the cordyceps tower takes more than 10 points of damage in a single attack, it partially bursts. All creatures in a 5-foot radius must make a fortitude save DC 17 or become infected with cordyceps disease. If a creature is already suffering from cordyceps disease, it instead suffers a -2 penalty to saves against disease for the next 24 hours.
Spore Tower (Ex)
When engaged in combat, the cordyceps tower sheds spores within a 20-foot radius. Each creature within that area has to make a fortitude save DC 17 or suffer from the cordyceps disease. This DC is constitution based. A creature only needs to make one save against spore tower in a 24 hour period, regardless of success or failure.
Few diseases are as transformative as the cordyceps fungus. After its spores are inhaled or absorbed through mucous membranes, the fungus starts to quickly transform the host, taking over the hosts higher mental functions, while preserving autonomic functions. The fungus spreads itself by exposing its hosts to danger, removing their sense of self-preservation, and ultimately moving them to an easily observable position to be looted and devoured.
If the cordyceps fungus is unable to get its host devoured in the early stages it finally bursts from the host’s body, extending large vibrant spore stalks up to double the host’s height that serves a dual purpose. Not only do they shed the cordyceps spores in the wind to be inhaled by other unlucky hosts, but the stalks themselves are impossible to ignore and tend to attract predators who are able to further spread the fungus.
If the fungus is unable to kill or arrange its host consumption, it has its host lay out an elaborate trap to try and lure both predators and scavengers to approach the dying host and gain new victims. After the trap is complete, the host lays down in the center of it and waits to be consumed or to die of starvation or thirst, whichever comes first.
Resolution At 0 Wisdom, the creature either transforms into a Cordyceps Tower or assembles a Cordyceps Corpse Trap before laying down to die.
Environment wet forests and jungles
Organization solitary, colony (3-5), found with a cordyceps spore trap
Cordyceps Corpse Trap CR 5
The cordyceps fungus is still dangerously virulent even after its host expires. The cordyceps puts little effort into maintaining its hosts, and if it is not able to arrange for its host to be violently killed or devoured, it will instead have the host spend its last living hours constructing a trap to lure in and infect new hosts, either with the scent of fresh meat or with the host’s remaining possessions.
The dying host equips all of the belongings that it can, even if it can no longer quite figure out how individual equipment pieces are worn (boots are often worn on hands and the like) and spreads the remaining valuables in a circle around it before laying down to die.
When a creature approaches within 5 feet of the hosts remains, the remaining cordyceps stalks expel their spores in a 10-foot-radius cloud. Everyone in the area must make a DC 15 Fortitude save or be infected with the cordyceps disease.
Whenever the remains are significantly disturbed, whether through the corpse being moved, partially devoured, or a piece of equipment removed the cordyceps stalks release another cloud of spores.
Treasure A Cordyceps corpse trap has the mundane equipment and double the treasure of a CR 5 encounter.