The Skittering Worm-Beast

August 31st, 2015

Joshua Zaback

Exotic Encounters Archive

                Recently, while working on an adventure, I had a need for a terrible tunneling monstrosity to serve as a malignant dungeon squatter. While I went through numerous ideas, from the aberrant to the manufactured, I ultimately settled on a new kind of vermin. After all, insects are nature’s best known subterranean creatures, and seemed to me to be the most likely thing to be just visiting in any dungeon, what with their mindless hunger to motivate them. I played around with a number of ideas and ended up fairly happy with the result, but I was left with a number of ultimately unexplored good ideas. This week’s new Exotic Encounters is one of those: the skittering worm beast, a terrifying vermin meant to challenge mid-level PCs whenever they run into a threat created by the random action of nature.


Skittering Worm Beast

                Crashing out of a stone wall is this horrifying insectile monstrosity, with the smooth, segmented body of a worm supported by a dozen grasshopper’s legs which stick out in at angles, allowing the creature to easily walk on the floor or ceiling of a tunnel. The worst thing about this beast is its mouth: a ring of spikes and sharp, serrated bones which opens and closes from its eyeless head.

XP 25,600
N Gargantuan vermin
Init +0; Senses blindsight 120 ft.; Perception +0


AC 28, touch 6, flat-footed 28 (+22 natural, -4 size)
hp 217 (15d8+150)
Fort +19; Ref +5; Will +5
Defensive Abilities mitotic recovery; Immune mind-affecting effects


Speed 60 ft.; burrow 60 ft.; climb 30 ft.
Melee bite +21 (3d6+14) plus grab and slam +21 (2d6+14)
Space 20 ft.; Reach 20 ft.
Special Attacks slashing constriction, smash stone, swallow whole (2d6 acid damage plus 3d6 slashing damage, AC 8, 22 hp), trample (2d6+21, DC 29)


Str 38, Dex 10, Con 30, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 1
Base Atk +11; CMB +29; CMD 39
SQ exceptional burrower, skitter


                Exceptional Burrower (Ex): A skittering worm beast is a master of moving through the earth, easily boring through rocks, hard minerals, and metal to reach its destination. A skittering worm beast can travel through materials of any hardness while burrowing.

                Mitotic Recovery (Ex): A skittering worm beast is exceptionally difficult to kill and it can regenerate from its remains, actually resulting in the creation of more skittering worm beasts from the remains of the first. A dead skittering worm beast returns to life as two skittering worm beasts 1d4 minutes after its death, unless at least 50 points of acid or fire damage is dealt to the corpse. The newly formed skittering worm beasts have half their maximum hit points and lose this ability for 24 hours; thus, killing a skittering worm beast during this time results in its permanent death.

                Skitter (Ex): A skittering worm beast can propel itself along with its tiny legs at incredible speed. Once per round, as a swift action, a skittering worm beast can move up to its movement speed.
                Slashing Constriction (Ex): A skittering worm beast possesses the ability to contract its deadly, razor-lined innards in order to devastate characters it has swallowed. As a standard action, a skittering worm beast can deal 6d6 points of slashing damage to each character it is grappling or which it has swallowed.

                Smash Stone (Ex): A skittering worm beast is able to use its extreme bulk and great strength to blast through even strong masonry, shattering it and possibly causing it to collapse. As a full-round action, a skittering worm beast may attempt a DC 20 Strength check in order to instantly destroy any unattended non-magical object with hardness less than 20. This ability can destroy objects of up to Huge size, or a single 15-foot cube section of a larger object or structure.



                Skittering worm beasts are massive subterranean insects which normally live in the depths of rocky worlds, rarely coming to the surface. While skittering worm beasts can go for months without food or water, they have a great appetite which drives them to constantly seek out new sources of food. While skittering worm beasts tend to subsist largely on a diet of other subterranean creatures, from small insects to large creatures of a more magical persuasion, occasionally a skittering worm beast will find its way into a cave or dungeon and plunder it of all the edible creatures it can find. As skittering worm beasts are driven by an intense mindless hunger, they have no instinct for self preservation and will always fight to the death unless magically compelled to do otherwise.