Thursday, May 5, 2016

DCC Patron: The God Worm

Below is my write-up for the God Worm, an inhuman patron based on the Worm God from Tony Dowler's Purple Worm Graveyard.  The God Worm is a powerful patron, but this comes at a pretty steep price.  The Savage Cannibals of the Great Worm Cult living in Park Pobedy in Dmitry Glukhovsky's Metro: 2033, and the Eater cult on Vavatch Orbital in Iain Banks's Consider Phlebas are both possible literary models for what the worshippers of the God Worm might look like.

THE GOD WORM

The God Worm is a powerfully and deeply ancient supernatural being.  It has been worshipped in many guises, but its true nature is unknown.  It might simply be the largest worm in the world.  It might be the progenitor Mother of all worms, or the Platonic ideal of worm-kind, the last surviving Cambrian god, or the god-creator of all annelids.  It might be the Great Worm that dug the many tunnels of the underworld, or the Eater of the Dead.  It might even be the Hyperborean Worm, the White Worm that presages the glaciers, or the Conqueror Worm, death, or the world-serpent J√∂rmungandr, the Worm Ourouboros, who encircles the world.

The God Worm has been worshipped primarily by farmers hoping for better crops and villagers besieged by the unquiet dead, but its cults can also be found among cave dwellers seeking protection from the great tunnel digger, among islanders fearing earthquakes or volcanoes, and in cities ravaged by plague.  The God Worm is an un-human mind, and all who pray to it or attempt mental contact eventually succumb to madness.  The God Worm's dictates are only occasionally compatible with human desires, and it is an essentially unknowable alien entity.  Its wants are not our wants, its needs are not our needs, and trying to please or understand it is a suicidal act of self-destruction.  Worm cults inevitably self-obliterate, or are purged from the earth by their frightened neighbors, as their members turn to detrivory, corpophagy, auto-cannibalism, self-mutilation, cultivating worms under the skin of their own bodies, digging ever-deeper burrows and tunnels, and breeding ever-more, ever-larger monstrous worms.

INVOKE PATRON RESULTS


12-13 The God Worm turns in its sleep. The earth trembles with vibrations, and all sentient minds must succeed a Will save vs. the spell check result or lose their next action. (Worshippers and servants of the Worm God are miraculously unaffected, but other allies of the spellcaster need to save as well.)

14-17 The God Worm gazes briefly at the spellcaster, and visions of madness afflict the spellcaster's foes. Each sentient opponent must make a successful Will save vs. the spell check result or spend their next combat round clutching their heads in pain. Any opponent holding a weapon or shield has a 50% chance of dropping whatever they were holding.

18-19 The ground shakes with the movement of worms beneath the earth. Everyone present must make a successful Reflex save vs. the spell check result or fall prone and drop whatever they are holding. (Worshippers and servants of the Worm God are miraculously unaffected, but other allies of the spellcaster need to save as well.) Anyone who falls prone take 1d4 damage from the fall and must spend the next round regaining their feet.

20-23 The God Worm sends a Worm That Walks. This writhing human-shaped mass of worms rises from the ground next to the spellcaster and fights by her side until it is damaged, when it immediately discorporates.
  • Worm That Walks: Init +0, Atk 1 tentacle +6 melee (1d12) or engulf +6 melee (2d6), AC 13, HD 8d8, Act 1d20, MV 20, SP takes half damage from cutting and piercing weapons, first tentacle attack has 5% chance to deliver Chill Touch with 1d8 + 10 spellcheck result, engulfed creature takes 2d6 bite damage per turn (DC 14 Agility check to escape), death throes discorporates into mass of earthworms, SV Fort +6 Ref +2 Will +2, AL N, Crit M/d14
24-27 The God Worm momentarily turns its attention to the spellcaster, and sends horrifying visions of devouring insanity against the spellcaster's enemies. Each sentient opponent must succeed a Will save vs. the spell check result or spend their next combat round attacking themselves with their most damaging attacks. Each opponent should make an attack roll as normal against its own AC and roll as normal for damage for any attack that hits.

28-29 A sinkhole opens beneath the feet of the spellcaster's foes. A perfectly circular 10' diameter hole opens beneath the most dangerous enemy who falls in (no save). Other combatants engaged in melee must make a successful Reflex save vs. the spell check result or fall in as well. (Worshippers and servants of the Worm God are miraculously safe, but other allies of the spellcaster may need to save as well.) The sinkhole is at least 20' deep, but if a dungeon level exists below the spot the hole opens, it will tunnel all the way through, even hundreds of feet down. Falling creatures take 1d6 damage for each 10' they fall. A successful Climb Sheer Surfaces skill check or Agility check against DC equal to the spell check result is needed to climb up the smooth-sided walls of the sinkhole.

30-31 The God Worm sends a Purple Worm. This colossal beast erupts from the ground and interposes itself between the spellcaster and her enemies, fighting them for 1d3+1 rounds before burrowing away.
  • Purple Worm: Init +0, Atk 1 bite +11 melee (1d24 + swallow) and 1 sting (1d8 + poison), AC 16, HD 15d8, Act 2d20, MV 20, SP swallows opponent whole on any attack roll that exceeds the target's AC by 4 or more, or any natural 20, swallowed opponents take 2d6 crush damage per round while the worm lives, sting injects lethal poison (DC 18 Fort save to survive), SV Fort +9 Ref +5 Will +2, AL N, Crit M/d20
32+ As above, except the God Worm sends 1d3+1 Purple Worms. These burst from the earth in front of the spellcaster, defending her for 2d4+2 rounds each before departing.

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