The Bloodworm Fields
Not everything in the Abyss is instantly, visibly, nasty. An aspect of chaos is deception, after all…
The Bloodworm Fields
While it would be a very foolish person to ever let down his guard in the Abyss, it is the nature of the Bloodworm Fields to appear to not be part of the Abyss at all. It poses, if you will, as a lost Astral Dominion, or perhaps some stable zone carved from the Elemental Chaos and then abandoned. It is uncertain if the plane itself is sentient, or if is the home (or perhaps prison) of some malign entity of deception, but regardless, it seems to possess a consciousness and character all its own.
In form, the Bloodworm Fields is a region of small copses of trees, growing in a grassy region of gentle rolling hills. The plane is a few hundred miles across, and the borders subtly wrap around each other, creating the illusion of a sphere even though all measurements would show the plane is flat. The sky is sunless, but changes from a clear blue during the "day" to a deep, slightly glowing, purple, at night. At times, a gentle breeze blows. The temperature varies between 60 and 80 degrees, changing slowly in response to no discernible pattern. There is usually no obvious, evident, life apart from the vegetation.
Wise adventurers are already preparing their rituals to get the hell out of here and go somewhere safe, like the Salt Sargasso. Those foolish ones who continue to explore, however…
It generally takes a few minutes to an hour or more for the plane’s nature to reveal itself. (Often, it is triggered by a group taking a Short or Extended rest — before any effects of that rest can occur, heh heh.) Someone will brush against a tree, or reach towards some object glittering in the grass, and then…
The grass can be soft and pliant to the touch, but, at the whim of the plane itself, it becomes a field of green knives. The trees shift in a sudden, unexpected, wind, and gently waving branches become impaling spears. From their trunks, from the rivers, boiling up from the ground, come the true masters of the plane — the bloodworms.
Bloodworms come in two forms. First, they arise in swarms, thousands of them, in great writhing mounds that travel across and over everything in their path. Each worm, individually, is around a foot long. Each end of the worm has a rasping, voracious mouth with can chew through metal, stone, and flesh with ease, and the body of the wrom is covered with sharp spikes that drive themselves into flesh. They ooze blood constantly, making them slick and slimy, and wherever they go, there is a revolting iron tang to the air. But there is still something worse…
When the Bloodworms kill a being, they consume its inner flesh, leaving the skin or shell, apart from a few dozen holes, intact. Once they devour its brain, they absorb a shadow of the creature’s thoughts, becoming grotesque, loathesome, mockeries of the creature they consumed. These worm-filled abominations seem to be the primary servants of the plane, or the plane’s controlling intelligence, and they can use nearly all of the knowledge they had in life. (The soul of one so slain, unless it is deeply evil, will escape the Abyss to travel to the Raven Queen’s realm and be sent to its final destination. Usually…)
There is one more aspect to the plane, though — the Entombed. Sometimes, for reasons of its own, the plane will not send its worms to kill. Instead, it will cause the grass to grow into a verdant cocoon, trapping a victim inside it, then dragging them down into the soil of the plane. There they can live, eternally, in torment as they are devoured and regenerated. Some extremely powerful beings of evil have made pacts or deals with the plane, via rituals too foul and obscure to describe, and have sent their enemies here to suffer this fate. As a consequence, at times, parties of heroes must come here to find and release a trapped innocent, which may involve negotiating with the Wormfilled unless some magic is found to reveal the exact point of burial amidst thousands of square miles of seemingly idyllic wilderness. (The Wormfilled will usually demand other victims in exchange, though sometimes knowledge, if it is truly rare and of interest to being of utter evil, may be offered.) Any attempt to simply dig up an Entombed without permission will lead to wave after wave of attackers; only the strongest could hold them off long enough to complete the task.
Razorgrass Level 22 Obstacle
Hazard, 4150 XP
Perception: DC 30 to notice which squares of grass are ‘razor’ and which are ‘normal’. This changes every round, so, be careful!
Additional Skill: Nature — As Perception, but the DC is only 25. Bring a Druid or Ranger.
Trigger: Either walking near or beginning one’s turn in a field of razorgrass will trigger its attack.
Attack: Opportunity action:
Target: Single target either on top of, or adjacent to, the razorgrass.
Attack: +24 vs. AC
Hit: 4d8+5 and the target takes ongoing 10 damage (save ends) and is slowed (save ends; first failed save, target is immobilized).
Countermeasure: 20 points of fire damage will negate one square of razorgrass, but it must all be done in a single round, though it can come from multiple sources.
There will be 4-8 squares of "active" razorgrass in any encounter; each round, the "active" squares can change.
|Swarm Attack aura 1; The Bloodworm Swarm makes a basic attack against each enemy that begins its turn in the aura. If the target is Bloodied, the swarm may make two basic attacks.|
|HP 200; Bloodied 100|
|AC 37; Fortitude 33, Reflex 34, Will 32|
|Immune Poison, Disease; Vulnerable Radiant 5|
|M The Worms Crawl In… (Standard)|
|+28 vs. AC, 3d8+7 damage, and target takes ongoing 10 damage (save ends)|
|m The Worms Crawl Out… (Immediate Reaction)|
|Trigger: Whenever a creature damaged by a still-living Bloodworm Swarm moves more than two squares away from it. Attack: +26 vs. Fortitude, 4d10+7, and ongoing 5 damage (save ends)|
|If the Bloodworm Swarm is bloodied and there are no enemies adjacent to it at the end of its turn, it makes a single basic melee attack against itself as a free action.|
A Bloodworm swarm is a roiling mass of foot-long, double-mouthed, needle-spined demonic worms. Do you really need to know more?
Bloodworm Swarm Lore
A character knows the following information with a successful Religion check.
DC 25: Bloodworms are demonic, mindless, creatures who fear nothing but the cleansing light of the gods.
DC 30: In addition to their terrifying bite, if bloodworms have infected someone, those still burrowing through his flesh will seek to rejoin the horde if their host is too far from it; their exit is terribly painful.
DC 35: A bloodworm swarm with no one to feed on is a terribly miserable thing; given time, it will literally eat itself to death.
The Wormfilled are strange, grim, mockeries of the beings they once were. Their skin bubbles and writhes as the thousands of creatures which live inside them move around. The being’s former mind is now distributed among the bodies of its devourers, and they form a unique entity, one sometimes shaped by the ghosts of old thoughts and one sometimes ruled by purely demonic madness.
A Wormfilled creature can be thought of has having a template, though it does not become Elite. Rather, make the following changes:
Defenses: AC +1, Fortitude +1, Reflex -1, Will -2
All Intelligence-Based skills suffer a -2.
It gains the following power
Grotesque Mien (Standard, Recharge 6) * Psychic, Fear
As the thing looks at you, you see the creatures which animate move behind its hollow eye sockets or emerge from ancient wounds. You are overcome by horror and stumble madly.
Close Burst 5; All enemies in burst; Level+3 vs. Will; Limited/Medium Psychic damage, slide target 2 squares, and Dazed (Save Ends).
(Since a Wormfilled may be of any level, the attack is generic; to determine damage, cross-index the level of the Wormfilled with the Limited/Medium column on the damage table in the 4e DMG, Page 145.) The Wormfilled will use the forced movement of this powers to its advantage; melee types will draw enemies closer, while ranged attackers will push them away.