A distant relative of the common sprite, the mushroom sprite is similar in many aspects, and they often live together in communities.
Less tricky than their cousins, mushroom sprites are more likely to be seen near fairy circles, often being used as a way of finding them by humans. They are rarely seen moving by anyone, and are more likely to be noticed because of their unusual faces.
Traits and Behavior
Mushroom sprites are around 5 inches tall on average, and closely resemble various species of mushrooms. The most common form is the Fly Agaric (red with white spots), but a wide variety can exist, and some sprites may change over time if their environment changes. They almost always have the form of a poisonous species. The head of the sprite will resemble the mushroom cap, and when threatened they will crouch down to appear like a common mushroom, depending on their poisonous appearance to ward off predators.
Under the cap, they have a small vaguely humanoid body; their torso will appear like a mushroom stalk, with the limbs splitting off like branches. They can have a less humanoid appearance or extra limbs, but this is not common.
Mushroom sprites usually gather in large groups, preferring ground level places to set up communities, like the hollows under tree roots or around fallen rocks. Communities are often made up by mushroom sprites with the same mushroom appearance, as what type they take the appearance of is based on their location and the available species of the region. They can also be found living in communities with other sprites and as with common sprites prefer to build using natural materials such as dead branches or bark. They wear minimal clothing, but will use leaves or scavenged human materials for their clothing. Unlike common sprites, they do not decorate with human items and show little interest in humans as a whole.
Mushroom sprites are born as spores; after fertilization, the parents will settle the spores in a fertile garden area and wait for them to sprout. Many will not, but the ones that do will grow (appearing similar to a sprouting mushroom) after a few weeks, and are almost immediately mobile.
Mushroom sprites are longer lived than common sprites, often reaching up to 500 years of age. After reaching maturity at around age 10, they show minimal signs of aging until their last few years. After death, their body often sprouts into their mushroom appearance, so their bodies are carefully laid to rest in a fertile area to allow this cycle.
Mushroom sprites are omnivores, and can feasibly eat anything. While they very rarely hunt, they are occasionally known to seek out meat from mice and small birds. More often, they are scavengers and will gather food from the remains of another predator’s kill. They often gather fruits and plant life for food, but are known to consume bark and wood in some cases, usually after the material has been given the chance to decay. They also enjoy some species of lichen, and often cultivate it near their homes.
Mushroom sprites are naturally drawn to fairy circles and set up their homes near one if possible. Many fairy circles are formed over the graves of the fae or other supernatural creatures, which can include mushroom sprites. If you find a number of mushroom sprites congregated in one area, chances are theres either a fairy ring in the area or will be one at some point in the near future. Despite this, mushroom sprites have little innate magic of their own and do not seem especially sensitive to its presence, as they don’t gather in any other areas that have similar levels of magic. Given mushroom sprites preference for decay and decomposition, it is possible they only seek out magical areas associated with death.
Mushroom sprites do not need to sleep as long as other species, and may spend as few as 5 hours a week asleep. Typically they sleep at night, but have been known to do so during the day, so this seems to come down to personal preference rather than a species specific.
Mushroom sprites are reclusive, and will rarely approach human settlements as they don’t offer the kind of lands they prefer; they seek out damp, often swampy areas and keep to the shade. Some do seek them out as a delicacy, but as the majority of their body is poisonous, it is better to leave them be.
Mushroom sprites need a great deal of water, and if deprived of it long enough will die and wither instead of sprouting a mushroom. Granted, most species will die if deprived of water, but it will go faster here. Heat and sunlight can also be effective, but they merely dislike sunlight, they can tolerate it just fine.
They can also be picked off the ground and eaten, but as stated, are extremely poisonous, so this would be ill-advised.