Monday, October 21, 2019

Wyrms

On the Taste of Wyrm

When Emperor Mando first tasted the meat of the purple wyrm, he declared it to be unrivaled among the bestial meats.  His bounties on the great wyrms made them a rarity east of the Elterspines, and you can still wander among the enormous bones of the failed Amaranthine Ranch in Mount Baldero.

While the emperor and his family claimed that the flesh of the wyrm was delicious, everyone who has eaten wyrm in recent time reports that the flesh is as vile as gall.  The sole exception to this is Queen Chessaline, who attended several wyrmhunts in her youth and has spoken highly of the meat.

The first theory claims that the taste of wyrmflesh was exaggerated by the sycophants and courtiers that thronged the palace like feathers on a cock.

The second theory maintains that there is something quixotic in wyrmflesh, which is only pleasing to the nobility, while those of common stock will merely be repulsed.  After all, it is not meant for them.

from Elminage Gothic
On Dragons and Wyrms

Dragons are enthroned among the blues and whites of the clear sky, and their bodies are filled with purest fire.  In their chests, the heaviest organ is their heart.  They speak dismissively of their cousins.

Wyrms dwell in the earth, and their bodies are filled with poison.  Their heaviest organ is the liver, which is of an incomparable solidity, being nearly as dense as lead.  They speak constantly of dragons, and of the theft of their birthright.  Where dragons can be roused to wrath, wyrms are melancholy and obsessive.

While dragons will collect, catalog, and display their collections, wyrms will compulsively swallow their hoards.  It is believed that the gold in their bodies leaches into their blood, and is the source of both their great poisons and their great bitterness.

The other behavior unique to wyrms is dust-eating.  They compulsively swallow vast amounts of silts and clays, only to regurgitate it when they become too bloated to breathe.  In some parts of the world (primarily sections of riparian Underworld), vast tracts are composed of this regurgitant.  It is a fertile soil, but nothing woody will grow upon it.  Wyrmlands are filled with enormous recumbent ferns and mottled fungi.

The Inheritance of Wyrms

To believe the drooling stories of wyrms is to believe that they once soared through the sky on a dozen black wings.  They could turn the winds to poison, and their shadows burned anyone they passed over.

The wyrms will tell you of how the dragons stole this from them, although the theft seems to be less of a robbery and more of a wrongly-assigned inheritance.  Dragons, they will tell you, were originally meant to be small, clever companions, much like cats.

And then the wyrm will sigh, and jealousy will seep from the cold tonnage of their livers.  They will eat you without ever thinking of you, fixating only on this great injustice.  Every time a wyrm bites, or crushes, or poisons, the wyrm will imagine that it is harming a dragon.

It is the hateful equivalent of calling out the wrong name during sex.

Culture

Wyrms dwell in the wild places of the world.  Both Celestialists and the naga regard them as semi-divine creatures, and so have some passing interactions with them.  Notably, the princes of Abasinia must be knighted by Glauroch, the Conqueror Wyrm, before ascending to the throne.

Glauroch knights them with his tail spine, which is as long as any sword, and twice as thick.

Wyrms are intelligent and wise, but they are also melancholy and quick to hate.  They cannot easily be reasoned with, and most successful interactions with wyrms involve nurturing resentment towards a third party.

Biology

Like bedbugs, wyrms practice traumatic insemination.  That's what the tail spike is for (contrary to most published bestiaries).

Once they reach adulthood, wyrms are almost always solitary.  During periods of loneliness, they will seek out members of the opposite sex that they encountered in their juvenile years.

Wyrms undergo a form of metamorphosis, changing between three different color morphs: white, red, and purple.  These changes seem to be driven entirely by respect.  A wyrm that is respected will darken to purple, while a wyrm that has especially low self-respect will eventually become pallid and thin.

None of this applies to tatzlwyrms (green wyrms) who appear to be a separate species.  Other wyrms consider them to be closer to common serpents than to themselves.

They live about twice as long as dragons.

by Ville Sinkkonen
Combat Stats

All wyrms can burrow though dirt about as fast as a man can walk.  Stone is difficult, but not impassible.  They have terrible vision, but incredible hearing (and tremorsense).

All wyrms have a particular poison.  These poisons never affect anyone who is currently poisoned, or any creature that is poisonous.  These poisons apply to both their bite and their breath attack.

Wyrms are immune to all poisons, but ingested poisons cause a pleasant intoxication the first 1d3 times a wyrm consumed a new poison.  Cure poison spells deal damage equal to [sum] without any Save allowed.  Bezoars (antivenom) deals 1d6 damage if eaten, while a carbuncle deals 1d6 damage each turn until the wyrm is dead.

Def plate  Bite 3d6+swallow
Burrow 4  Int 10  Mor 10

Breath Attack -- Usable every 1d4 rounds, and affects an areas within 50'.  The air is as opaque as fog for 1 round.  This inhaled poison is slow, and does not take effect until the end of the target's next turn.  However, the poison is especially potent, and all targets Save at a -4 penalty.

Whirlpool -- Usable when burrowed in dirt, after a minute of preparation.  Creates a whirlpool 100' across.  Creatures who fail a Movement check fall 20' and are subject to a free Bite attack.

Tatzlwyrm (Green Wyrm)
HD 7

Tatzlwyrms cannot burrow.

Tatzlwyrm Poison - As sleep.

Albicant (White) Wyrm
HD 8

Albicant Poison - 1d6 damage, ongoing until Con save.

Rubicant (Red) Wyrm
HD 9

Rubicant Poison - 2d6 damage, ongoing until Con save.

Amaranthine (Purple) Wyrm
HD 10

Amaranthine Poison - 2d6 damage, ongoing until Con save.  While you are poisoned, the Amaranthine Wyrm can read your surface thoughts and remember your memories.  You get -4 to hit it, and it gets +4 to hit and Save against you.  Each round, it has a 1-in-6 chance to remember something extremely useful from your memory.

Glauroch, the Conqueror Wyrm
Stats as an amanranthine wyrm.  Max HP.  All damage from non-royalty is reduced to 1.  Wizard.

2 comments: