Towering over the local fauna, the Amanita Colossi is a gigantic mushroom that ensnares its prey with winding roots, fungal spores and other horrific defences.
The Amanita Colossi is a mushroom of truly huge proportions; towering over any other foliage in the area, though it is usually shorter than most trees. Usually, most specimens will resemble that of the typical amanita mushroom, that is, one with a red cap and a white stalk. However, some other variations in colour have been noted down, though it is not clear whether they are the same species, or a related off-shoot.
The roots of the mushroom can often be seen a short distance away from the main mushroom itself, as they coil and snake through the ground in search of nutrients and food.
As is the case with many other megaflora, the Amanita Colossi will remain stationary wherever it ends up growing, but will always be on the lookout for food. Though it can get some small amount of nutrients from the ground and nearby sources of water, its true diet is in that of rotting meat. Any animals that die nearby are usually sought out by the vast root complex of the mushroom and absorbed into the Amanita Colossi.
However, the Amanita Colossi cannot simply rely on the off chance that an animal may die near it, so it has adapted to become an incredibly dangerous, predatory fungus. One way it incapacitates its prey is via the use of the various nodes that grow on the underside of the cap, or the side of its stalk. These nodes are highly sensitive to changes in the surrounding area, with any small noise or movement being able to set them off. These nodes will fire off various spores, presumably generated within the body of the Amanita Colossi, at its targets. These pores can range from the merely damaging, to the highly noxious or incredibly flammable. It is presumed that the rotting gasses and offal from the diet of the mushroom helps form these spores.
In particularly large specimens, it has been noted that the roots will often grow towards any perceived source of food. Sometimes, this can take the form of a campsite of travellers, or a well-established Outpost, that has now drawn the attention of a hungry Amanita Colossi.
An Amanita Colossi is not a foe to be taken lightly. If one encounters a specimen whilst travelling alone, it is highly recommended to either simply leave it alone, or to re-group and form an party to eradicate it. Woodsmen, lumberjacks and other axe-wielding warriors may have an easier time quickly chopping through the woody stems and roots of these massive mushrooms.
If an undertaking to destroy an Amanita Colossi does happen, the accepted harvesting strategy agreed upon by many Apothecaries is to attack the spore nodes first, thus disabling the specimen. Due to the lethal nature of these nodes, it is advised to either try to attack from a distance, or get in quickly as a team to take out one at a time.
Mercifully, the Amanita Colossi is a stationary enemy, albeit a dangerous one. If things begin to get too dangerous, one can simply run away.
Once the Amanita Colossi has depleted its energy, it will fall into a state similar to hibernation. It will not seek out food or act aggressively towards any intruders within its area. If left alone, the Amanita Colossi will eventually gain its strength and return to normal. If an Apothecary or herbalist wishes to study the Amanita Colossi for a particularly elongated period of time, they may wish to leave it during this period, so as to have a constant supply of products. However, many would argue to simply uproot the fungus and burn any part of it that remains in the ground.
Harvesting the Amanita Colossi can yield a number of strange, fungal products, the uses of which have not yet been fully uncovered by Apothecarial sciences. Small section of root are popular and they will often hold onto some small amount of energy, allowing them to wriggle towards anything still living, in an attempt to absorb it.
The Amanita Colossi is studded with tiny 'berries' that are filled with a glowing liquid. These berries are known to taste incredibly awful, but the light-producing liquid inside them can be used to some effect. Various other sections of the mushroom can also be found, such as clumps of goo, the remnants of spores shot out by the fungal nodes, or the shrivelled remains of the nodes themselves.
These mushrooms can often be found in old growth forests with an abundance of wildlife and few dangers, or in swamplands where funguses grow more freely. It is theorised that the Amanita Colossi may turn forest land into boggy, swampy marshes, but this sort of effect may take generations to notice, so any research has not been conclusive.
It is believed that, like its smaller, more humble cousins, that the Amanita Colossi simply fulfils the role of a general fungus, though in a much more vicious and large-scale manner.
The Amanita Colossi, through the use of its various spores, has been known to infect bulls and trolls, seemingly turning them into subservient species. These animals will defend the area of the Amanita Colossi with their lives and removal of the spores or mushroom parasites will usually result in the death of the host. It is unknown whether these spores or mushrooms actually control the hosts in some way.