Saturday, September 20, 2014

100 posts, or, "I'm just going to keep doing worms."

Zowie, made it to 100 posts, which is approximately 80 more than I expected... Much appreciation to my three loyal readers for getting me this far...

Thanks for reading!


As I proselytized before, nature is apparently ahead of our own imaginations when it comes to the weird and potentially dangerous.  After all, she's got a head start of at least 3 billion years...

Speaking of which, within the Burgess Shale in northwestern Canada is a plethora of Cambrian fossils.  The fine-grained sediments allowed for preservation of the lifeforms occupying the ancestral ocean, many of which have no living relatives.  It was a time at which evolution was experimenting with body forms and functions, and the first segmented and shelled creatures began to roam about.  One of the well-known fossils of the Burgess is the appropriately named Hallucigenia:

A critter so odd that paleontologists are still debating if the spikes went down...

or up...

Hallucigenia was one of the organisms for which no living relative was suspected.  Until now.  Based on a minor detail of its morphology and body parts, the Hallucigenia, or at least a very distant descendant, still roams the earth...

That descendant is the velvet worm:

That shared body part is a powerful 'jaw,' which is comprised of evolved legs that have migrated into the head.  The worm immobilizes prey with a double jet of sticky liquid, then pierces the prey's shell with the jaw before liquefying its organs.  Lovely.

Such a predator must be enlarged and statted up.  The cave fisher has nothing on this beastie...  

Velvet Worm, Horrifically Large.
No. Encountered: 1d2
HD: 3
AC: 8/12
Atk: Immobilizing slime, bite (1d8), liquefying poisons
Save: 14
Move: 6
CL/XP: 4/120

This large invertebrate predator stalks the undergrowth of wet tropical forests, immobilizing and consuming prey indiscriminately.  Although mostly blind, the velvet worm senses motion via vibrations and air movements, and will silently stalk its prey, surprising on a 5 in 6 chance. Upon approach, the worm will fire twin jets of rapidly solidifying sticky slime. The slime can be fired up to 25 feet. The targeted creature may escape entanglement by roll-under strength at -2.  If the entangled creature can not escape, the worm will attack to pierce its flesh for 1d8 damage, and on a successful hit, inject liquefying enzymes into the victim (2d6 damage/turn, Save at -2 for half damage).

I'm in yur forest, gluing yur halfling.


  1. That's one icky worm. Thanks for the writeup and the video link.

  2. Icky AND sticky. It's just another one of those improbable critters that is (almost literally) under our feet.