Puddock

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“A Puddock stole my pudding, so I popped it on the cap. It cursed aloud and sent me down into a woodland nap.”

- A Kinverhoss Children’s Rhyme

Introduction

A delightfully curious species of mysterious forest-dwellers, the Puddock is best known for its lively spirit, and its childlike curiosity about visitors in their wood. They are prevalent in the regional folklore of the province of Kilica in the Amyrian Commonwealth, and are considered equal parts sweet protector, and malevolent pest. In recent years, however, their population has rapidly declined, leaving them as little more than a myth in the minds of most Amyrians.

Characteristics

Puddock (plural: puddock) are all about the same size, a maximum of two feet tall, from the tips of their mushroom caps to the soles of their heavily haired feet. They appear as tiny toddlers, with pointed ears and wild green eyes. Every Puddock wears a mushroom cap, in lieu of hair on their head. Puddock’s mushroom caps may be of any variety, shape, and color. Puddock are often clothed simply, like children, or simply covered in tree bark and mud. Their faces are squashed, and chubby, and cherubic. Underneath their clothes is a simple, genderless, roughly humanoid form that appears to be made of the same pale material as the rest of its body.

Once a Puddock reaches the end of its life, it will perish like any mortal creature. Upon its death, spores will float from its mushroom cap, and be scattered by the wind. These spores must come in contact with a new mushroom for a new Puddock to be born. Most spores do not land on mushrooms, which makes the reproduction of this species a rare and complicated event, often factoring into several superstitions that plague the Kinverhoss, especially one which says that seeing the sporing of a new Puddock is the beginning of a heroic or tragic adventure.

Behaviour

The temperament of the Puddock has amused and astounded scholars and poets alike. These creatures are found all throughout the region of Kilica’s folklore. The primary focus of these stories are anchored in the Puddock’s most famous behavior, which is lovingly called Trick or Treat by schoolchildren. If a Puddock takes a liking to a visitor in its wood, it may offer a simple woodland gift, from a rare mushroom, to a pretty leaf. The travelers are advised to accept these gifts, no matter how worthless, or face the wrath of the Puddock. If a Puddock is displeased by who it considers a trespasser, it may cast a curse. These curses can range in manifestation from causing the appearance of a poison-ivy like rash, to uncontrollable hiccupping. No matter what the curse is, they always last for a full 24 hours.

Otherwise, Puddock are largely passive and harmless as a species. They are herbivores by nature, and quiet scavengers. They tend to follow along with herds of deer, or take up residence in abandoned animal burrows. Despite appearing somewhat like toddlers, they are not sentient. They cannot understand human speech, beyond tone. They communicate through garbled sounds in a nonsense language, that can only be understood by others of their kind. They do not make tools, and any clothing that they wear appears to be made in an attempt to mimic humans, rather than out of any initiative of their own.

Distribution

Puddock are willful creatures from the old boreal forest that covers the upper half of the Amyrian province of Kilica. They cannot be captured or domesticated, as they will quickly wither and die. Unfortunately, their habitat has long since under threat from deforestation and logging in the area, both from the Amyrians and the Mountain Clans, as their home forest is one of the centers of the Amyrian lumber trade. While the Puddock were once widely distributed up until the Thousand Year Midnight, in the five-hundred-odd years since the end of the Thousand Year Midnight, they have become all but mythological in the eyes of the world as a whole. Nowadays, the only time you will read the name "Puddock" is in children's rhymes and in picture books.

Trivia

  • The Kinverhoss are famed for carving small, bearded, wooden men for the purpose of providing protection to their gardens and homes. While it is widely rumored to be a holdover from the first interactions between the humans and the Dwarves, in actuality, they were inspired by the benevolent Puddock.
  • When a large cloud of a single Puddock's spores land on a group of mushrooms, the Puddock who sprout from that group are all considered to be siblings, something that has caused much scholarly debate in recent years.
  • Puddock are considered to be supernatural protectors of the woods by some particularly isolated Kinverhoss villages.


Lifespan: 3 years

Habitat: Forest

Diet: Herbivore

Rarity: 7/10

Danger: 5/10

Can It Survive On Darroway: Yes

Tags: Small, Beast

Writer(s): BumbledBees

Editor(s): Gochnipunchni