Tube Worm

Chris Van Deelen

No. Enc: 1
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 180’ (60’) Burrow
AC: -5
HD: 80
Attacks: 1 Bite or 1 Slam
Damage: 10d6 plus swallow whole, or 20d6 and knockback (see description)
Save: L20
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: Incidental

No one knows the source of these creatures. They are massive worm like entities that are covered in incredibly tough scaled hide that travel underground only in the desert region of the planet.

When you say that a Tube Worm is massive, it is really quite the understatement. These creatures reach lengths in excess of 300’ or more feet and weigh thousands of tons. As one could imagine, the creatures have an ungodly appetite and have to consume great quantities of meat in order to survive. The problem is that in the desert, for the most part food is difficult for the creatures to find.

As a result, they only hunt when there is an abundance of food (typically large migrations of humans, mutants or other creatures). The rest of the time, the creatures lay dormant beneath the surface of the desert, waiting for the first sign of any movement or the life energy projected by creatures. These creatures can lie in this dormant state for years at a time without suffering any negative effects.

The fact is that these creatures will even attack robotic units or vehicles, as the digestive fluids in their stomachs is so powerful it can break down even the toughest of the Ancient alloys. The liquefied metal and other products are then melded into the incredibly tough outer shell of the worm.

Due to the nature of the creature, they are solitary and the territory of a single gargantuan monster runs in the thousands of square miles range. No other member of this species will be found within this range, and if one ever dares to enter the territory of another, they will encounter one another and fight to the death. Such battles, although very rarely ever seen, go down in local legend if anyone is able to witness the titanic clash.

These monsters reproduce by ‘budding’. When one of the creatures has consumed enough food, a single bud will begin to form beneath the scales of near to the mouth.  It takes 10 months for a single bud to form and then it will drop off from the monster while it is burrowing. The bud looks like a large roundish boulder and is easily mistaken as such, unless a creature is able to detect life energy.

The bud continues to grow, absorbing nutrients as well as minerals from the sand it is buried in and within two years it hatches and releases a fully developed, albeit much smaller Tube Worm. The creatures grow at the rate of five hit dice a year and can reach a maximum of 80 hit dice after 16 years.

In combat, the creatures will attempt to bite and swallow a target whole. They rear up out of the ground and bring their massive mouths down on top of the creature. The monster has to successfully hit, and the target is allowed a saving throw against death. If the save succeeds, the target takes the damage but isn’t swallowed whole. If the target fails, it doesn’t take the damage but is swallowed by the creature and starting on the next round, suffers 6d6 points of damage per round due to the powerful acids inside the creatures stomach.

All technological items held by the target must save (using the targets saving throw) against energy attacks or lose 1 condition level per round until they are completely destroyed. If the Mutant Lord possesses Wisdom from the Wasteland issue 1: Artifacts manual and Toolkits, the items are allowed a saving throw against acid.

Targets swallowed are allowed to cut their way through the stomach and the skin of the creature, but have to get past the low AC (-5) and must do at least 100 points of damage before they can get through.

Another way the creature defends itself is by simply slamming down onto a target. If the roll to hit is successful, the worm does massive damage (usually enough to crush most vehicles) and anything hit by the worm must save against energy attacks or be knocked prone, and thus vulnerable to the creatures bite.

Although it is exceedingly difficult to do so, the creatures can be killed and many desert tribes have figured out ways to remove the thick scales and are capable of crafting them into lightweight but very tough armour (exact statistics are left up to the Mutant Lord to decide).

Mutations: Gigantism, hidden egg, natural armour, unique senses (sense life, sense vibration)

Source: Sand Serpent (2009)

Chris Van Deelen is the author of the Skirmisher Publishing LLC sourcebook Creatures of the Tropical Wastes sourcebook, co-author of its Wisdom from the Wastelands game supplement and contributor to the 'Sword of Kos: Hekaton' Anthology.