Excerpts Archive | 11/5/2010
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Purple Worm
Monster Vault Excerpts

It’s been suggested that the purple worm may have originally been intended as a purple dragon, but somehow mutated through design. In any case, these tunneling horrors are back—and with them, their poison stingers… and the ability to not just swallow prey whole, but also regurgitate them back up again!

Purple Worm

Massive burrowing creatures, purple worms are feared for their ability to swallow enemies whole. They are capable of burrowing through solid rock and leave huge tunnels in their wake.

Purple worms are unintelligent beasts attracted to loud noises. They have no regard for other creatures, often interrupting battles, tearing through cities, or disrupting mining operations. Most purple worms are found in the Underdark or in rocky regions near mountains.

Ravenous Hunger: A purple worm is a voracious beast that is large enough to swallow a giant whole. Because a purple worm usually goes several days without eating, it tends to gorge when it finds food. A purple worm’s emergence is difficult to predict, and the creature is prone to showing up at the worst possible times. Many underground civilizations, such as those of the drow, the duergar, and the mind flayers, maintain special wards around their fortresses and cities to deter the great beasts.

A purple worm is widely regarded as a living natural disaster. The creatures are engines of chaos and destruction. Many Underdark races will sabotage their enemies’ wards against the worms, leaving a settlement vulnerable to attack. A worm cares nothing for whom it helps or hinders.

A purple worm is motivated only by hunger, so the only predictable characteristic of its attacks is that it favors larger groups over smaller ones. Dwarves have learned to take advantage of this behavior, luring the worm out with a large group only to slay it with artillery and massive siege weapons.

Weapons and Tools: A few people have discovered ways to turn purple worms into weapons. Stories tell of powerful spellcasters who specialized in charm and enchantment and were able to magically seize control of the creatures. The tales recount how these spellcasters could direct the worms at their enemies, wiping out entire cities or armies with a single worm.

Rumors also circulate that some drow priestesses hold worms under their sway and use them for defense in remote areas where reinforcements aren’t available. Dwarves are known to use purple worms for mining and tunnel-building, yet despite centuries of effort, the beasts have never been tamed or domesticated. All attempts to control the beasts eventually end in disaster.

Boons of the Worm: When a purple worm burrows through the ground, it consumes earth and rock, breaking down the substances and quickly excreting them. Hard substances, such as valuable metals and gems, remain within their bodies for weeks or months. A brave or foolhardy treasure hunter might attempt to hunt down a purple worm in hopes of claiming the treasures within its gizzard. A worm’s body also has a boon to offer: Drow and assassins value the poison that a purple worm carries in its stinger.

A burrowing purple worm creates new corridors and highways throughout the Underdark. And, because a purple worm rarely returns to one of its tunnels, such passageways are usually safe from the beasts, as long as an interloper remains quiet. Areas that are rich in prey become interlaced with complex tunnel systems as a result of several worms hunting the area. It’s not long after a purple worm forges a tunnel that smaller Underdark denizens begin to move into the tunnel to do their own hunting.

Adult Purple Worm
Level 14 Solo Brute
Huge natural beast (blind)
XP 5,000
HP 560; Bloodied 280 Initiative +12
AC 28, Fortitude 28, Reflex 26, Will 24 Perception +11
Speed 6, burrow 6 (tunneling) Blindsight 10, tremorsense 10
Immune blinded, gaze effects
Saving Throws +5; Action Points 2
The purple worm can take immediate actions while stunned, dazed, or dominated.
Blooded Frenzy
While bloodied, the purple worm takes an extra minor action during its turn.
Standard Actions
Melee BiteAt-Will
Attack: Melee 3 (one creature); +19 vs. AC
Hit: 4d8 + 8 damage.
Melee Devour Whole (acid)At-Will
Attack: Melee 3 (one creature); +17 vs. Fortitude
Hit: 3d10 + 7 damage, and the target is swallowed (escape DC 21). While swallowed, the target does not occupy a square and has neither line of sight nor line of effect to anything except the worm and other creatures swallowed by the worm; in addition, nothing has line of sight or line of effect to the target except other creatures swallowed by the worm. If the target attacks the worm using a close or an area attack, that attack targets all other creatures swallowed by the worm. While swallowed, the target takes 30 acid damage at the end of its turn. When the effect ends or the worm drops to 0 hit points, the target appears in an unoccupied square of its choice adjacent to the worm.
Minor Actions
Melee FlingAt-Will
Attack: Melee 3 (one creature); +17 vs. Fortitude
Hit: 3d10 + 8 damage, and the purple worm slides the target up to 4 squares.
Melee Poison Stinger (poison)At-Will
Attack: Melee 3 (one creature); +19 vs. AC
Hit: 2d8 damage, and ongoing 15 poison damage (save ends).
Effect: One creature swallowed by the purple worm appears in a square of the worm’s choice within 4 squares of it. That creature is no longer swallowed and takes 3d10 + 8 damage.
Triggered Actions
Melee ThrashAt-Will
Trigger: An attack hits the purple worm.
Attack (Immediate Reaction): Melee 3 (one or two creatures); +17 vs. Reflex
Hit: 3d12 + 5 damage, and the purple worm pushes the target up to 6 squares.
Str 25 (+14)
Dex 20 (+12)
Wis 19 (+11)
Con20 (+12)
Int2 (+3)
Cha4 (+4)
Alignment unaligned

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October 25

Red Dragon

October 29

Flesh Golem/ Vampire

October 25


October 29

Purple Worm

October 25

Displacer Beast

October 29