Purple Worm

Massive burrowing creatures, purple worms are feared for their ability to swallow enemies whole. They are capable of burrowing through solid rock and leave huge tunnels in their wake.


Monster Knowledge

Origin/Type: aberrant beast

Subterranean: Purple worms tunnel through the earth in search of food to scavenge.

Blind: Purple worms have no eyes. They perceive prey through smell, as well as detecting vibrations via blindsight 10 and tremorsense 10.

Combat Actions: A purple worm lurks beneath the ground when hunting, but when it finds prey it springs into their midst and tries to quickly devour everything it can. Its main armament is its massive maw, which it uses to capture prey to swallow. When prey struggles back, a purple worm thrashes around, crushing and flinging prey, and disabling dangerous foes with its poison stinger.

Purple worms can only be killed with a tremendous show of force, but if sufficiently wounded they will usually not fight to the death.

Purple worms are unintelligent beasts attracted to loud noises. They have no regard for other creatures, often interrupting battles, tearing through cities, or disrupting mining operations. Most purple worms are found in the Underdark or in rocky regions near mountains.

Ravenous Hunger: A purple worm is a voracious beast that is large enough to swallow a giant whole. Because a purple worm usually goes several days without eating, it tends to gorge when it finds food. A purple worm’s emergence is difficult to predict, and the creature is prone to showing up at the worst possible times. Many underground civilizations, such as those of the drow, the duergar, and the mind flayers, maintain special wards around their fortresses and cities to deter the great beasts.

A purple worm is widely regarded as a living natural disaster. The creatures are engines of chaos and destruction. Many Underdark races will sabotage their enemies’ wards against the worms, leaving a settlement vulnerable to attack. A worm cares nothing for whom it helps or hinders.

A purple worm is motivated only by hunger, so the only predictable characteristic of its attacks is that it favors larger groups over smaller ones. Dwarves have learned to take advantage of this behavior, luring the worm out with a large group only to slay it with artillery and massive siege weapons.

Weapons and Tools: A few people have discovered ways to turn purple worms into weapons. Stories tell of powerful spellcasters who specialized in charm and enchantment and were able to magically seize control of the creatures. The tales recount how these spellcasters could direct the worms at their enemies, wiping out entire cities or armies with a single worm.

Rumors also circulate that some drow priestesses hold worms under their sway and use them for defense in remote areas where reinforcements aren’t available. Dwarves are known to use purple worms for mining and tunnel-building, yet despite centuries of effort, the beasts have never been tamed or domesticated. All attempts to control the beasts eventually end in disaster.

Boons of the Worm: When a purple worm burrows through the ground, it consumes earth and rock, breaking down the substances and quickly excreting them. Hard substances, such as valuable metals and gems, remain within their bodies for weeks or months. A brave or foolhardy treasure hunter might attempt to hunt down a purple worm in hopes of claiming the treasures within its gizzard. A worm’s body also has a boon to offer: Drow and assassins value the poison that a purple worm carries in its stinger.

A burrowing purple worm creates new corridors and highways throughout the Underdark. And, because a purple worm rarely returns to one of its tunnels, such passageways are usually safe from the beasts, as long as an interloper remains quiet. Areas that are rich in prey become interlaced with complex tunnel systems as a result of several worms hunting the area. It’s not long after a purple worm forges a tunnel that smaller Underdark denizens begin to move into the tunnel to do their own hunting.

Purple Worm

No Dark Place Academician Academician