Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Sandstorm Worms

 In the sandy wasteland-like deserts which border the satrapies on the edge of the Empire to the north and south, numerous kinds of worms flourish. The sands have had an efflorescence of diverse worm species, adapted to almost every niche and lifestyle, forced into unusual modes of living by the stark environments in which they live. Some of the more unusual of these are the sessile sorts of worms, one of the more well known of which being the sandstorm worm.

They look almost like sulfide worms,
but in deserts and not deep sea
Sandstorm worms ensconce themselves in a partially translucent shell that keeps them moist and slimy, hibernating and resting until the winds kick up billowing clouds of sand. Sand is what the worms eat, catching the ground up particles on their long bodies that extend high into the air during sandstorms. If the winds calm for months on end, the worms tear their shells off of the rocks they are rooted in and crawl to a new location, eating sand from the dunes that surround them until they reach a new home. This is a dangerous thing for them, however; the horrible heat of the sun will kill them in only a few hours. They are only able to eat sand during sandstorms because of the darkness afforded them by the clouds of dust.

The gullet of the sandstorm worm is filled with pearls, black and brown in coloration. The easiest way to get at them is to find a worm with its body extended out from its moist shell, for they are almost defenseless from that position, but most of the time this means venturing out to harvest wormpearls during a desert sandstorm, an incredibly dangerous proposition indeed. The worm's shell is incredibly difficult to pierce otherwise. The chiefs of the nomads in the worm deserts often put wormpearls on their necks or on their crowns, showing off the natural wealth of their environment, and shipments of rare wormpearls are a luxury item worth great amounts in cities and towns. In the capital, they compete with gulf pearls, which are more common but, so it is said, less beautiful.

A sandstorm worm with no pearls will starve, for the pearls are part of their digestion process. After enough time, a wormpearl will melt away as new ones take its place, the worm's guts filled to the brim with the glittering stomach-rocks.

Sandstorm Worm
Armor Class: 19 (in shell), 7 (out of shell)
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: flailing (1d12+1 to all in melee range)
To-Hit: +5
Movement: 20' (0')
Saving Throws: D12/W13/P14/B15/S16 (see below)
Morale: 6
Alignment: Neutral
XP: 35
Number Appearing: 1d6 (2d6)

Damage Reduction: When the worm is in its shell, it takes 3 fewer points of damage from all weaponry other than bludgeon weapons. Missile attacks have no effect when in its shell.
Decapitation: Two-handed bladed melee weapons instantly kill the worm when it is extended out of its shell, cutting it in two.
Immobile: Due to their very slow movement and general sessile behavior, sandstorm worms cannot move in combat and automatically fail any saving throws against area of effect powers, such as spells and dragon breath. When the worm is extended outside of its shell, its AC is 7.

Wormpearl: 200 coins per pearl (average of 4d6 large pearls per worm). 2 pearls take up one inventory slot.

Oh Hey Also How About Some Sandstorm Rules
Since the sandstorm worm's biggest challenge and consideration is having to reach it and deal with during a sandstorm, probably should have something about when sandstorms happen and what affect they have.

When the characters are venturing through a desert, there is a percentage chance that a dust storm kicks up on each watch (i.e. each time the group enters a 6 mile hex). The chance depends on the season, although it may vary by desert and its relative position in the continent.
    Spring: 20%
    Summer: 30%
    Fall: 10%
    Winter: 5%
If two dust storms are rolled on the same day, it means a sand storm has begun. 

During a dust storm, visibility is slightly hampered but conditions are not especially more dangerous. Due to the reduced visibility, all creatures take -2 to all rolls made in the dust storm. Uncovered light sources such as torches will automatically be snuffed out, and lanterns will be snuffed out half the time. Sandstorm worms will begin to reveal themselves during dust storms.

During a sandstorm, visibility is heavily hampered and conditions become much more dangerous. All creatures caught in the sandstorm take -4 to all rolls, and both uncovered and covered light sources will be snuffed out. Creatures caught in the storm take 1d3 damage per round, and there is a chance of suffocation from the sand if a creature that breathes does not cover their mouth and nose. A creature with uncovered mouth and nose has a number of rounds equal to their CON score before they suffocate. Additionally, travel through a sandstorm increases the chance of getting lost when traveling to 5-in-6.

(The above sandstorm rules are influenced by the sandstorm rules from the 3.5e book Sandstorm but reinterpreted through a B/X lens, with chances for sandstorms by hex rather than by DM fiat. Also since traveling through the desert during a sandstorm is a recipe for getting lost, even getting to the worms in the first place is a bit of a feat in and of itself)

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