D&D 5E Epic Monsters: Mongolian Death Worm
Supposedly found in the Gobi Desert, said to be so toxic that even its touch can kill. ‘Mongolian Death Worm‘
This creature’s myth first spread beyond the steppes with a book by Roy Chapman Andrews called On the Trail of Ancient Man—no Mongolian officials he met had actually ever seen it, but they were all able to describe it in detail. Almost 60 years later the Tartar sand boa is shown to locals in the region, and they say it’s what they’ve known as the ‘olgoi-khorkhoi’ (a nonvenomous snake so clearly not the Mongolian death worm of legend).
Andrews writes about it again in The New Conquest of Central Asia, still unbelieving but describing it in the words of Mongolian Prime Minister Damdinbazar anyway: “it is shaped like a sausage about two feet long, has no head nor leg and it is so poisonous that merely to touch it means instant death. It lives in the most desolate parts of the Gobi Desert.”
So what else is this thing about? It burrows beneath the surface, sprays venom and discharges electricity, and fortunately it hibernates between August and May, coming above ground when it rains and gets wet. When it’s not killing folks by poisonous touch, it’s implanting eggs into the intestines of camels that it hasn’t killed off altogether. Is it deadly enough yet? No! This thing’s poison corrodes metal as well.
Fortunately, it really takes offense at the color yellow, and a plant called goyo (sort of like celery and an unripened banana had a baby), and despite a lot of people trying over the past 30 years—including news teams, an explosives enthusiast with a Dune-inspired thumping machine, a real zoological journalist, and others—there’s still no solid evidence of its existence.
Mongolian Death Worm
Small monstrosity, unaligned
Armor Class 13
Hit Points 55 (10d6+20)
Speed 20 ft., burrow 20 ft.
|13 (+1)||16 (+3)||15 (+2)||1 (-5)||14 (+2)||6 (-2)|
Saving Throws Int -3, Cha +0
Skills Athletics +3, Perception +6, Stealth +5, Survival +4
Damage Resistances lightning
Damage Immunities acid, poison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Senses blindsight 20 ft., darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 20 ft., passive Perception 16
Challenge 2 (450 XP)
Toxic Blood. Whenever a creature damages the worm with a melee weapon attack and it is using a weapon that does not have reach, the creature takes 14 (4d6) poison damage. At the start of the worm’s turn, any creature grappling it takes 14 (4d6) poison damage.
Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d4+1) bludgeoning damage plus 14 (4d6) poison damage.
Poison Spit. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (4d6) poison damage.
Lightning Breath (Recharge 5–6). The worm exhales lightning in a 15-foot cone. Each creature in the area must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw, taking 16 (3d10) lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
This large worm’s body is muscular and scaly, its mouth a nightmare of row upon row of triangular teeth.
The reclusive death worm is much feared in the deserts, badlands, and steppes in which it dwells, for it brings to a battle multiple harrowing ways of inflicting death upon its foes—acid, lightning, poison, and its ravenous jaws. The creatures are remarkably good at hiding amid the sands and rocks of their favored terrain, and devilishly efficient at selecting foes that they can easily kill. This combination makes stories of these creatures hard to confirm, and in most urban centers, common wisdom is that the tales of death worms are fabrications— attempts to impress city folk or hallucinations born of too much drink.
A death worm is 15 feet long and weighs 1,200 pounds— although rumors of much larger death worms persist.
Death Worm CR 6
N Large magical beast
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, tremorsense 60 ft.; Perception +11
AC 19, touch 10, flat-footed 18 (+1 Dex, +9 natural, -1 size)
hp 68 (8d10+24)
Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +4
Defensive Abilities corrosive blood, venomous skin; Immune acid, electricity, poison
Speed 20 ft., burrow 20 ft.
Melee bite +11 (2d8+6 plus poison)
Ranged electrical jolt +8 ranged touch (4d6 electricity)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks breath weapon (30-ft. line, 8d6 acid damage, Reflex DC 17 for half, usable every 1d4 rounds)
Str 18, Dex 13, Con 16, Int 3, Wis 11, Cha 5
Base Atk +8; CMB +13; CMD 24
Feats Cleave, Improved Overrun, Iron Will, Power Attack
Skills Perception +11, Stealth -3 (+13 in deserts); Racial Modifiers +16 Stealth in deserts or rocky areas
Languages Terran (cannot speak)
Corrosive Blood (Ex)
A death worm’s blood can corrode metal on contact. If a creature damages a death worm with a piercing or slashing weapon made of metal, the creature’s blood deals 3d6 points of acid damage to the metal weapon (unlike most forms of energy damage, this damage is not halved when applied to a metal object, although it does still have to penetrate the metal’s hardness). The weapon’s wielder can halve the damage the weapon takes by making a successful DC 17 Reflex save.
Creatures made of metal that deal slashing or piercing damage to a death worm with a natural attack take 3d6 points of acid damage (a DC 17 Reflex save halves this damage). The corrosive elements of the blood fade 1 round after it leaves the worm’s body or the worm dies. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Electrical Jolt (Su)
A death worm can fire a jolt of electricity from its mouth as a standard action. The range increment for this ranged touch attack is 60 feet.
Bite-injury, or skin-contact; save Fort DC 17; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d2 Con damage; cure 2 saves.
Venomous Skin (Ex)
A death worm’s skin secretes a noxious, waxy substance. This venomous sheen poisons any creature that touches a death worm, either by making a successful attack with an unarmed strike or natural weapon or with a touch attack. A creature that grapples a death worm is also exposed to the creature’s venomous skin.
Environment warm deserts, plains, or hills
Section 15: Copyright Notice
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 2, © 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors Wolfgang Baur, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, Graeme Davis, Crystal Frasier, Joshua J. Frost, Tim Hitchcock, Brandon Hodge, James Jacobs, Steve Kenson, Hal MacLean, Martin Mason, Rob McCreary, Erik Mona, Jason Nelson, Patrick Renie, Sean K Reynolds, F. Wesley Schneider, Owen K.C. Stephens, James L. Sutter, Russ Taylor, and Greg A. Vaughan, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.