Have a COW (Creature of the Week) #15: Carrion Wyrms of Gend

A while back, our brave Space Marines battled weirdness on a Jurassic World of sorts, populated by alien dinosaurs and radioactive ghosts. But one of the more creative things I threw in were what I called the “cleaning worms.”

Design Thoughts

Every world must have its own clean-up crew if there’s life and death. On earth we have tons of different specialized creatures on earth, from carrion birds like crows and vultures, to coyotes and hyenas, to beetles and maggots. Each has its place in the system in which it finds itself.

Creature – Carrion Wyrms

Photo by Uriel Soberanes on Unsplash

On the planet Gend, the Carrion Wyrms exist in the rich, loamy soil to help take care of dead creatures when they are available. Gend is overrun with many species of dinosaurs fighting for supremacy, and that leads to a smorgasbord of choices when it comes to dead things to dine upon. These creatures have some sort of blood scent ability, similar to sharks who can sense blood in the water from miles away, so they could be drawn to the first wounds in a battle and simply wait for the victor to emerge.

Roughly one to two meters long, these creatures are long and muscular with a toothy aperture at one end that they can use to tear and rip flesh from bones before devouring those as well. Even the Dread are not immune to their thoroughness. The Wyrms are undeterred by acid blood. A few may perish so the strong and smart may survive. They simply ring the Dread and wait for the acid to disappear into the ground, then do their best to clean up the rest.

  • Carrion Wyrms (Low-level): Attribute 7, AR2, HP 7: Traits: Serpentine – through the ground and above (5m), Tough Hide (AR2), Burrower (secretes a digestive enzyme that can break down any organic matter – inorganic is simply passed through the tract as waste) d6+2, Tangle (Grab) when 2 or more worms are in an area (immobilize victim – Athletics to break free – immobilized creature grants Advantage on incoming attacks)

Found in groups of 3d6 – usually avoid attacking live creatures unless provoked.

Possible Enhancements

It’s possible that these worms operate in packs or tribes, with the strongest among them leading them to the goriest bits of meat in the jungle. A super-wyrm might gain abilities such as Dread Hollows, especially the size or psionic ray abilities:

  • Size of the creature is doubled, tripled, or quadrupled, increasing Toughness +2 and granting the following additional Traits: Tough Bastard, Regenerating Health
  • The creature’s brain is enlarged, causing it enormous pain, and it gains the Psionic Ray trait to channel that pain at a target.

In a larger battle on Gend, I can really see these creatures getting underfoot. They won’t attack PCs unless they’re injured or trying to take a kill from them, but at that point – all bets are off. I think if I had 18 toothy wyrms attacking me, I’d want to run away.

Looking for more creatures for your Aliens & Asteroids campaign? Check out the rest of the Creature of the Week series!

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