Weird tools, strange plants, bizarre creatures, unique materials and the way those things affect the world are some of my favourite worldbuilding tools. You can use them to adjust for holes in your world’s functionality. Golden fungus is the result of one of these holes; I needed a power source for the world’s science-fantasy gear and while I already had a magical resource called aurillium this resource was more akin to nuclear grade plutonium than a battery. Looking to our world for inspiration I wondered about renewable energy and how it might be reflected in a science-fantasy way!
I turned to the strangeness of mushrooms. I’ve always found them fascinating and beautiful in their own right, if a little gross. The grossness was a boon though in my eyes, as I’m trying to avoid making the world of the Flotilla a perfectly clean and tidy place. In my development I tried to link the golden fungus to a few other inventions in my world. Firstly I’ve depicted gold panels on many of my vehicles and even some characters who would have devices which need to be powered. Secondly I involved moisture and water in the farming of these mushrooms as the lack of water in the Flotilla’s closed-system is a recurring theme, and there is an entire fleet of vehicles intended to harvest it.
Golden Fungus: A mystical contrivance between gardeners, practitioners of the arcane and clerics of Zurenav. These magical mushrooms grow in places exposed to the sun and thoroughly enrich the surrounding soil. When harvested the mycelium of these mushrooms can be organized into shapes to harvest energy and grant power to devices. Flat golden panels adorn many objects beneath the Flotilla’s domes, powered in effect by sunlight and the usual moisture a mushroom might require.The technology isn’t without it’s weaknesses; moisture is required in surplus to feed the mushrooms, and so in particularly arid places a golden fungus powered device or vehicle might be seen as a luxury. Luxury still is the consumption of golden fungus, which when cooked is said to have a subtle flavour and an invigorating effect.Quint: Doorways of Aether, “The World of Quint” page 3.