Jellycaps are valuable crops to the Keep's potion makers as their aromatic jelly and sap-like latex can be used in many concoctions. Each variety of jellycap produces a different strength of ingredients, cupric caps producing the most potent jelly and latex, while turmeric caps produce the weakest. All jellycap products can strengthen potions, increasing the effectiveness of cures and allowing rarer ingredients to be stretched between more batches. The Keep's arcanists grow jellycaps and other mushrooms in special underground rooms kept warm and humid, just as the fungi like. To get them to produce their pungent jelly, the arcanists tending the mushroom crop starve each jelly for a few days, then draw the sticky substance into vials for storage. They're careful to cycle each mushroom so it can recover and feed them with ample vegetable refuse afterward. Young magi interested in making potions are encouraged to help in the mushroom gardens, maintaining the spells preventing the Keep's animal residents from getting trapped by the fungi.
Jellycaps are unusual fungi that have fruiting mushroom bodies throughout their lives. They can grow in any dark, warm environments, but are most well-known from deep caves in the Mountains of Me'chuan. There, they can grow up to a foot in diameter and will even gradually wander across the cave floor with their tentacle-like mycelia. Like other fungi, they're detrivores, feeding primarily on dead, rotting materials from inside the cave. However, the larger individuals often struggle to find sufficient nutrients even with their increased mobility relative to other fungi. When food is scarce, jellycaps will invest their resources to create the gelatinous masses that give them their name. These sticky structures form all over the mushroom and exude a powerful odor intended to attract bats, insects, and other cave-dwellers to the fungi. When the unsuspecting prey try to eat the gelatinous globs, they get stuck and their bodies are enveloped by the hungry fungi.
Sprite art: DarrkestDrow | Description: PKGriffin