The Immortal Worms
They appear to be very dark, overly large worms - perhaps a handspan in length and half as thick as a finger. That and their matt, dull skin marks them as something other than a typical earthworm.
The creatures present two dangers to a person who attempts to pick them up. First, when solidly grasped, the worm will immediately coil about whatever grabs them and constricts. They may be at lot larger than normal earthworms, but they possess supernatural strength and durability - sufficient to crush even an armored gauntlet. But this is not the worst thing they can do.
The worms also do not perceive much difference between earth and flesh - or bone for that matter, and so can easily burrow into the unwary, oblivious to the carnage that their passage may cause. They invariably choose to burrow downwards when disturbed, which can cause tremendous injury to the victim. Should one have such a worm enter their body, their best option to reduce injury is to put the affected body part to the ground - quickly.
In addition to being immensely strong for their size, and being able to burrow through virtually anything, they are incredibly durable. They are not indestructible, but are able to survive within the earth to the depths of several miles, subject to the immense pressures, temperatures and the toxicity of both air and stone. Magic, electricity and iron-melting heat are the best means to destroy one. A blacksmith's forge at full burn could slay one.
The worms are no more intelligent than mundane worms, so magical control over them is very limited - they cannot understand instructions, no matter how simply put. The best that magic can do is to fool them, perhaps altering their perception of down
Now what, pray tell, use do these super-worms have?
The worms are strongly aligned to elemental earth, and are a repository Earth Energy. Some believe they are a type of lesser Earth Elemental. They are used as a focus in some powerful earth related spells, components in potions and in rituals creating magic items. More mundanely, they can be used to damage stoneworks and as very specialized tools for working with immensely strong materials, though control will always be a problem. Even more mundanely, they can be used as tools for murder and torture.
Immortal Worms can be found near powerful Earth energy sources, and occasionally in the earth where ley lines pass. They sometimes come into being during massive earthquakes, quickly scattering into the earth.
Earth, stone, metal and all such materials are no barrier to the worm, so typically magic is used to contain them, though there has been some success in using the skins of dead Immortal Worms as well, for they cannot breach another Worm's flesh. Moving air and water could be used to contain them as well, if some clever means were to be designed.
Telekinesis is by far the best means of manipulating and transporting these creatures.
The worms would a worthy object for gathering by the PCs - either for a ritual of their own or in the service of some patron. The difficulty of finding and transporting the worms - especially with some opposition thrown in - could make a decent expedition.
Like a lawn after a rainstorm, a town is plagued by hundreds of these that have emerged from the earth, driven from their normal homes by some unknown force. The town now has to deal with these things randomly burrowing through their walls and other stoneworks as they go anywhere but down. For some reason, they do not travel too far from their original holes, so it seems they just can't wait for the worms to disperse. Someone needs to either dispose of the worms, or what's disturbed them.
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? Responses (8)-8
A few questions come to mind, can they drown? Do they have any supernatural immunity to poisons or poison gas spells? Earth worms poop out 'castings' that are valuable as garden fertilizer, what do these things poop? How fast can they eat their way through stone, followed by how quickly do they 'digest' the material they consume? Are they eating their way through, or are they actually physically burrowing? If they are burrowing, how? Secreting an acid, do they have concealed teeth or a rasped radula?
Earthworms are our friends, and this is something that I did learn after I started gardening.
From the title I expected something quite different, actually. I was expecting something necromancy-ish, or divine, where the worms were immortal, or bestowed immortality, or something along those lines. These are basically stone worms.
I envisioned their movement through solid materials as more supernatural than mechanical - they pass through the materials as if they were soft and pliable to them. As such, I didn't put much thought into their castings. The sub was inspired by a fishing trip with my son as I was baiting the hook.
As for immunity/resistance to poisons, I believed I covered that off with the passage:
'They are not indestructible, but are able to survive within the earth to the depths of several miles, subject to the immense pressures, temperatures and the toxicity of both air and stone'
So, metals, acids, CO, CO2, H2SO, etc, are all found in the depths, so all inorganic poisons and simple organic poisons would be protected
The title is a people's name for the things - they are effectively immortal. Another piece of somewhat dangerous, somewhat odd, magic to throw in one's world, not unlike the Voracious Slug.
Val, on the worms passing through solid materials part, it came off as being mechancial to me as a reader. I suspect that Scras might have felt that too from his comment above.
A decent utility sub.
4.5/5 Excellant take on the ubiquitus rot grub. You took a mildly good idea and breathed total life into it! I don't know what everybody else saw in it but this is great!
'Telekinesis is by far the best means of manipulating and transporting these creatures.'
Aaaand, I immediately pictured a wizard 'walking' behind a massive swarm of worms, controlling them telekinetically, heading to the town that did him wrong all those years ago.
Additionally, a sinister Guild of Sappers and Miners have struck a deal with some chthonic elemental lord, and acquire the means to summon/control the worms. The next castle they target is in some mighty trouble.