Epic Ideas: Bloodsilk Worms

Drip. Drip. Drip. The sound echos through the tunnels. A cool damp breeze filters deeper into the twisting paths of stone. The light bounces shadows around, letting them dance about the walls. Just as you start to settle in and let your eyes adjust. Splat. Something warm hits the back of your neck. A warm trickle of mud, you think. Until you feel something pierce into your skin. A heat washes over your face. You reach back to find out what it is and your hand comes back with bloody, stringy ooze. Something plump and wet has become attached to you. Colors start to wash away from your vision. In a panic you reach, and try to tug, but it’s too slippery and squishy… Plop. Another one lands on your hand… Blood red, and plump, the larvae-like creature sinks is oval-shaped mouth into your skin with dozens of tiny teeth… You’ve encountered Bloodsilk Worms…

bloodsilk wormThis Epic Idea came upon me rather suddenly as I read over information for my next campaign.

I got to thinking about environmental hazards, traps, and monsters. Rarely have I seen where these are all combined into one terrifying thing.

I tried to imagine the worst feeling you can get, and create something that would bridge the gap between the three things.

This is the first thing I thought of. I remember watching documentaries of silk worms and cave worms with beads of bio-luminescence glowing from their strands. I figured it’d be pretty scary if one fell on you as you were spelunking or trying to root out a threat. But, what if they were dangerous? Highly poisonous, and acted more like ticks?

Now we’re talking! I want to introduce these as non-specific to any game system, especially with D&D releasing its newest incarnation!
So instead of giving you stats, let’s just go over how they work and you decide the stats needed!

Ways to deal with them:

  • Torch or fire held high enough would boil and pop these baddies easy enough once spotted.
  • Not going near them.
  • Umbrella.

Ways they deal with you:

  • Sheer numbers. Seeing one is evidence of a whole colony of perhaps hundreds or more if large nasties lurk the caves.
  • Stealth. They hang pretty high, they don’t glow so the only way of picking them out is to use light. Darkvision doesn’t grant you the ability to see color so they’d blend right into the stone they dangle from. Dropping down once they sense something with a warm body below.
  • Poison. In the first few rounds, you start losing vision, likely cutting it down to half. The more that get you, the more senses that go wonky on you. One worm will feed until it grows to a body busting 10 times its normal size before unlatching and slinking off somewhere to begin its long trek back up to the cave ceiling.

Using them as traps/hazards. 

Pretty simple conditions here. The players must be using light or be able to see color in the dark. If those conditions are met, they have the ability to use something like a perception check. A clever GM will have their perceptions noted and do a secret passive perception roll if the players didn’t say they were actively searching for hazards.

I feel that once they’ve latched on, they become a monster. Each round the monster deals damage to the player in the form of ability damage. Squishing them or grappling them off (they’d get a bonus because they are silk covered and slimy), would do the trick. Easy enough to kill. They’re attracted to heat so they’ll drop into fire as well. They rely on heat senses instead of sight in the dark depths.

At the start of the monster round, each player rolls a separate save for each of these attached to them. For every failure, they take a point of ability damage. Dex, Wis, Str, Con are all good targets, it’s ultimately up to you to decide on that one!

After some rest, their poison wears off fine enough and the ability damage goes away. For each failed save, you need one hour of rest to negate the effects.

In any case, this was a fun random idea I had. I hope you find it to be an Epic Idea! Let me know if you use it and to what success! If you give it any stats, please feel free to comment with the stats below!!!

Catch you all later, ❤

~Vexar

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