Codex - Sunlight Miscellany

It’s the first official Gauntlet Forum Miscellany! Woo! This one’s for Codex - Sunlight and titled “Three Dozen Strange Plants and Their Uses.”

Submissions need to be a single sentence, or 2-3 short sentences. By submitting here, you’re agreeing to let us use it (you’ll get a credit on the issue). We’re looking for evocative things; the purpose of the miscellany is to inspire the reader.

Here are some examples:

“The sturdiest ropes are made of Witch’s Lace, a distinctive ruffled, holey seaweed, but only the most dedicated—or desperate—adventurers choose to carry it and its unshakeable scent of low-tide rot.”

“Bone violets are pale, crinkled mushrooms with what might charitably be called a delicate flavor above ground. In the almost entirely fungal diet common below, however, they’re a confectioner’s staple, prized for sweetness and an almost floral flavor.”

“Crowcherries are small, bitter, and the main ingredient in a liqueur popular with a certain morbid set. The stories that a crowcherry tree will only bloom when fed with blood are almost certainly marketing drivel.”

P.S. If you want to be credited as something other than your forum name, let me know! (DMs or Slack messages are fine for that, but please keep submissions in this thread.)


everyone in Leiga knows that when the Red Marieira blooms, disaster is about to strike. Countless villages have descendend into chaos trying to prevent their misfortune, leading to terrible death and destruction. Everyone on the neighbouring nations knows the Marieria leaves make a tasty tea.

The shavings of Silia nuts can make any broth taste delicious, like it’s the first thing you’ve eaten in months. But never eat what’s inside the shell, or you’ll know a hunger that will linger until your death.

Mad Shroom Manson always says that “the Fellcap mushroom is edible if you’re not a coward!” He’s right. No one realizes he only lost his mind after his third century of being a very brave eater, cursed with eternal life from eating too much Fellcap.


Looseleaf grows in cold climates, and coils in distinctive shapes beneath certain species of weed. It is only toxic to the soul, and when ingested will cause the consumer’s destiny to start rotting away. A hero’s fate or an ill omen will fade within days of regular use, leaving behind a lingering nausea.


Rhymers’ Cut may be the most useful item in any Bard’s bag of tricks.Grown on mountain slopes, this tasty pipe weed not only produces colored smoke based on the smoker’s emotions but also loosens the tongues of any who smoke it. Many a wise skald has learned more over a shared pipe than a whole night in the cups. However, those who partake in The Cut too often find their musical performances tend toward improvisation and syncopation.


The Crimson Beret is a little toxic mushroom. If it’s taken to a bard and that bard sings to it for 30 nights under the starlight and never lets it see sun during that time, the same bard carrying the dry mushroom remains will never forget any lyrics he sang during that 30 nights.


Goblinbane is a low-standing innocuous weed with broad, hairy leaves. When dried and ground, the root can be used to make a poultice which rapidly heals even fairly deep cuts, while loosening the subject’s inhibitions so that they blather whatever thought enters their head. Also, if you burn the leaves it produces noxious fumes that are repellent to goblinoids (and most other people).

Goblinbane is a must useful plant. It’s a low-standing innocuous weed with broad, hairy leaves. You can make a pleasant tea from the leaves but that’s about it - until you get to the root. When dried and ground, it can be used to make a poultice which rapidly heals even fairly deep cuts. It has an interesting side-effect of loosening the inhibitions of the subject, so that they blather whatever thought enters their head.

Also, if you burn the entire plant it produces noxious fumes that are repellent to goblinoids (and most other people).


Mirror Roses scatter the light beautifully, but beware sniffing them as they’ll addle you with false memories. If you carefully—carefully!—collect their Glass Thorns and weave them into a crown, you’ll create a tool for removing those false memories, or, if you crown someone with sufficient force, all memories.


Dawn chrysanthemums are very beautiful flowers that come out as the sun clears the horizon (whether the sun is visible or not). They start out a lustrous red, turn a gorgeous golden yellow as the sun reaches its zenith, before bleaching to bone white by sunset. They are popularly used at the summer solstice, where great displays of them are dedicated to the sun god, and simultaneously bloom in glorious displays on the morning of the festival.

Dawn chrysanthemums are very beautiful flowers that come out as the sun clears the horizon (whether the sun is visible or not). They start out a lustrous red, and as the sun rises their colour changes to a gorgeous golden yellow. When the sun passes its zenith, they begin to lose their colour, and by sunset they are bleached white and begin to die.

They have no magical properties, but are popularly used in festivals dedicated to the sun god on the summer solstice, where great displays of them are prepared ahead of the day, and simultaneously bloom in glorious displays on the morning of the festival.


The oak trees of the Quiet Copse grow in forms that resemble humanoids, complete with faces in their trunks. It is odd that they grow this way here but nature is sometimes odd. Odd enough that roots will sprout from your feet if you go barefoot here.


It is well known in the lands of Faerie that a Golden Rose is a remedy to all curses. It is lesser known that for each curse healed, the Golden Rose will start dying, becoming ever more fragile, until she will collapse on herself into a heap of gold-flecked leaden dust. The dust is poison to see or smell or touch, but if you die from it, you might level a mighty curse that cannot be cured by aught.

The Thornhallow is mostly found in the outer arms of the Milky Way. It thrives on radiation, so it really likes fusion ships - be careful that it doesn’t start growing on yours, its a mess to get rid of and the Space Corps won’t let an infected ship dock. Cleaning procedure is long and protracted, and if there are uses for Thornhallow, they have not been discovered yet.


Red Rimes are the coldest peppers in the known world. They must be handled carefully lest their juice freeze to dead the cook’s fingertips, and only the most foolhardy or inebriated will succumb to dares to consume one whole, risking death by internal hypothermia.

Astral driftwood is exceedingly rare and precious. The remains of powerful ents who died while astrally projecting, it can be crafted into torches that will burn with astral fire when brought back to our world.

ZeroTox™ is a bovine gut flora genetically-modified to aggressively break down any non-edible organic compound it comes in contact with, rendering it physically harmless. Developed for feed stock on Sargasso-Class planetary colonies, it is NOT approved for human use.

Godmote appears on sensors as a free-drifting planetoid roughly the size of Earth’s moon, but is in actuality a spacefaring floral mass intelligence. Xenobotanists estimate its age based on core samples (obtained with its permission) at somewhere between 8.5 and 9 billion years. It is the only known benevolent Mega-Psychic being but nonetheless should only be approached unarmed by pure research vessels.


The Heir Tree is a single silver maple that has been carefully tended and preserved for millenia. It has no magical properties itself, but whoever is the last heir touching it after the death of the current ruler, is then crowned for life. The ring of corpses and skeletal remains that encircle it are a constant reminder that the magic of contracts is the oldest magic of all.

Blight-thorn is always the first plant to return after magical disasters. It’s deep but thin roots extract any latent magical essances from the soil which are then stored in opalescent thorns. The thorns are highly valued for their beauty and used as reminders to young wizards to control their darker urges.

Sigma-Tau-Ceti 5 colony has discovered a clever means of human remains disposal. A local carnivorous pitcher plant is used to return the colonists nutrients to the soil. The hallucinogenic spores the plant produces upon receiving a corpse are seen as only a minor nuisance and have never incentivized a murder.

In Degoya County a single, black, prickly pear bloom is seen as a grave marker. To touch such a bloom invites a specter to sleep on your chest at night and give you fitful dreams. None of this stops the local high-school goths from using them in boutonnieres for school dances.


Hermit’s Leaf is a succulent that grows in desert and scrubland, and it’s salty-sweet sap is perfectly balanced to hydrate those who spend their time in its arid habitat. The juice of the plant has a mildly addictive component, and those who rely on it find themselves loath to venture too far from the plants.

Corpse Flowers are a colloquial name for a number of flowers that thrive on the compounds released by decomposing flesh, and discovery of murder victims by their blooms is a common trope in folk music. They are viewed as an ill omen, but their seeds can be rendered into a powerful entheogen. Sometimes too powerful.


Mock Tulips are not, in fact, the flowers they appear. Rather they are an intricate species of fungus. Their spores are parasitic, and more than one recipient of a fine bouquet had been surprised when not only do the tulips not decay, but seem to grow in number as the other flowers decay.


When crushed and mixed with salt water, the purple petals of the Hullberry plant can be drunk for temporary relief from memory.

The thorns of the Pilays flower are not sharp enough to break the skin, but swallowing a handful of them will cause a rapid evacuation of ones bowels. Useful for ridding the body of ingested poison.

The invasive Joysun vine glows with soft daylight as it strangles all nearby plants and small animals.


Bloodwood, or campfire killer, is an ordinary-looking tree with reddish bark. When the wood is burned it draws in energy from the fire and uses it to unleash fast-growing creepers that suck the blood out of nearby creatures, growing new bloodwood saplings on their corpses. A simple campfire can prove deadly; a forest fire can provoke carnage.

Bloodwood, or campfire killer, is usually encountered as what seems to be nothing more than an ordinary tree or perhaps dead wood on the forest floor. It remains this way until activated by fire.

When lit, the exterior part of the wood burns, but the heartwood absorbs energy from the fire. When the fire begins to dwindle to embers, it enters the next stage in the campfire killer’s life cycle, suddenly and explosively growing long vines which creep along the ground in the immediate vicinity, latching onto any living creature they find and sucking the blood from their bodies. A large fire can generate vines that stretch for miles, but even an ordinary campfire provides more than enough energy to swamp a sizeable camp.

The final stage of the vine’s life cycle is to set down roots and grow into a new sapling. When it first grows, the bloodwood sapling will literally bleed when cut, but as it grows larger and more established the only tell-tale sign that distinguishes it from an ordinary tree is a slight redness in the bark. It is only an ignorant adventurer or unfortunate forest fire that reveals the tree for what it is.


I am here for the Degoya County reference!


Oh boy, my entries are way too long, sorry. [re-takes English comprehension]


If you come across an infestation of vines in the elderwood, stay wary and alert. The movement of the Belagor vines against the wind is not a trick of the light, and more primal threats than strangulation await where they gather en masse. If you’re brave or foolhardy, the fruit they bear can grant incredible vitality, but at what cost?


Problem with studying plant ecology: it’s hard to come up with plants any stranger than ones that actually exist!