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Crimson Worm

Among the most dangerous cave worms are the fiery crimson worms. In addition to being even larger than azure or purple worms, the crimson worm has a penchant for burrowing through volcanic regions that, over the generations, have infused it with a supernatural link to the Elemental Plane of Fire. The molten heart of an active volcano is an attractive lair for a crimson worm, as are the sprawling fields of bubbling magma found in the deepest reaches of the Darklands. Legends from ancient peoples, precursor dwarven societies, and colonists of the Elemental Planes populated moats of lava with crimson worms likely have some basis in truth, although the methods such ancients used to keep these “moat worms” contained and prevented them from chewing their way through fortress foundations must have been significant.

Crimson worms sometimes frequent areas on the surface where volcanism creates hot springs or other geothermal features, but even then they prefer to spend most of their time burrowing through the ground in their never-ending search for sustenance. Surface lands claimed by crimson worms are notable for the mound-shaped burrows these creatures leave behind as they dig.

Recall Knowledge (Arcana, Nature): DC 43

Crimson WormCreature 18

RareNGargantuanBeastFire
Source Bestiary pg. 59
Perception +25; darkvision, tremorsense (imprecise) 100 feet
Skills Athletics +38
Str +10, Dex -1, Con +9, Int -3, Wis -1, Cha -1
AC 40, Fort +36, Ref +25, Will +27
HP 410 (fire healing); Immunities fire; Weaknesses cold 15
Fire Healing As long as a crimson worm is in contact with a fire or body of magma at least as large as itself, it gains fast healing 20. When struck by a magical fire effect from anything other than itself, a crimson worm regains Hit Points equal to half the fire damage the effect would otherwise deal.
Inexorable The crimson worm recovers from the paralyzed, slowed, and stunned conditions at the end of its turn. It’s also immune to penalties to its Speeds and the immobilized condition, and it ignores difficult terrain and greater difficult terrain.
Shake It Off ReactionReaction Frequency once per day; Trigger The crimson worm would be affected by a condition or adverse effect (such as baleful polymorph). Effect The crimson worm negates the triggering condition or effect. Effects from artifacts, deities, or a similarly powerful source can’t be avoided in this way.
Speed 40 feet, burrow 40 feet, swim 20 feet
Melee Single ActionSingle Action jaws +36 (deadly 3d10, fire, reach 20 feet), Damage 3d10+18 piercing plus 2d6 fire and Improved GrabMelee Single ActionSingle Action stinger +36 (agile, fire, poison, reach 20 feet), Damage 2d12+18 piercing plus 2d6 fire and crimson worm venombody +36 Single ActionSingle Action (fire, reach 15 feet)Breath Weapon Two ActionsTwo Actions (evocation, fire, primal) The crimson worm breathes a blast of flame in a 60-foot cone that deals 18d6 fire damage to all creatures in the area (DC 41 basic Reflex save). It can’t use Breath Weapon again for 1d4 rounds.Crimson Worm Venom (poison) Saving Throw DC 41 Fortitude, Maximum Duration 6 rounds; Stage 1 1d6 poison damage and drained 1 (1 round), Stage 2 2d6 poison damage and drained 1 (1 round); Stage 3 2d6 poison damage and drained 2 (1 round).Fast Swallow ReactionReaction Trigger The worm Grabs a creature. Effect The worm uses Swallow Whole.Rock Tunneler A crimson worm can burrow through solid stone at a Speed of 20 feet. It can leave a tunnel if it desires, and it usually does.Swallow Whole Single ActionSingle Action Huge, 3d10+10 bludgeoning plus 2d6 fire, Rupture 36Thrash Two ActionsTwo Actions The worm makes a Strike once against each creature in its reach. It can Strike up to once with its jaws, up to once with its stinger, and any number of times with its body. Each attack counts toward the worm’s multiple attack penalty, but the multiple attack penalty doesn’t increase until after it makes all the attacks.

All Monsters in "Cave Worm"

NameLevel
Azure Worm15
Crimson Worm18
Purple Worm13

Cave Worm

Source Bestiary pg. 56
Cave worms are gigantic scavengers that bore through the depths of the world, eating whatever material they find. Named for their distinctive colorations, these worms are ravenous and display overwhelming destructive capabilities. Cave worms of different colors and abilities lurk in the more remote corners of the world—tales speak of white worms that dwell within immense glaciers or icebergs and gray worms that burrow through the boneyards of long-forgotten ruins, to name a few.

Belly of the Beast

The adventure need not end simply because the party was ingloriously swallowed whole by a giant cave worm. Perhaps the PCs find an undigested item that helps them survive the inhospitable environ, or maybe the worm regurgitates them in a cavern far off from where they started. Whatever the specifics, you can easily draw from folklore and popular fiction to create your own "belly of the worm" adventure for heroes who wind up on the wrong side of the monster’s scales.

Cave Worm Guardians

Cave worms are notoriously dim witted, driven primarily by purely animalistic needs to feed and reproduce. This hasn’t prevented attempts to use them as guardians for their lairs, if not to tame them. Magic can be used to maintain control over a worm, but gifted, patient, and brave animal trainers can condition cave worms to serve in all manner of roles, such as living siege engines, shocking methods of executing foes, or merely pets.

Notorious Worms

Some societies view the immense cave worms as natural disasters or incarnations of wrathful gods. Cave worms that have been active in a region often become part of that area’s local lore. For example, in the notorious Cinderlands of eastern Varisia, Shoanti have long told tales of Cindermaw, an immense crimson worm viewed by some as worthy of worship, and by others as the ultimate test of bravery.

Ravenous Tunnelers

Cave worms are infamous for being nearly unstoppable and for swallowing their prey whole. A cave worm also ingests earth and minerals as it tunnels. The worm processes some of these minerals, resulting in its armored hide and toxic sting, while it leaves others behind—often including treasure or other valuables that incidentally serve to lure explorers into the worm’s proximity and, more often than not, its gullet. While not completely mindless, cave worms are difficult to train, and most attempts to domesticate them (in theory, a cave worm would make an excellent mining resource) result in disaster.