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Bore Worm, Empress

Reddish pus oozes from the stained, ochre hide of this immense worm. Thousands of forms wriggle beneath its translucent skin, causing the skin to ripple in a roiling, sickening motion.

Empress Bore Worm CR 10

XP 9,600
N Huge vermin
Init –2; Senses tremorsense 60 ft.; Perception +0

DEFENSE

AC 24, touch 6, flat-footed 24 (–2 Dex, +18 natural, –2 size)
hp 142 (15d8+75)
Fort +14, Ref +3, Will +5
Defensive Abilities viviparous birth; DR 15/piercing; Immune acid, mind-affecting effects
Weaknesses vulnerable to water

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft., burrow 40 ft.
Melee bite +20 (3d6+16 plus 4d6 acid and painful bite)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks painful bite (DC 22)

STATISTICS

Str 32, Dex 6, Con 20, Int —, Wis 11, Cha 5
Base Atk +11; CMB +24; CMD 32 (can’t be tripped)
SQ compression, corrosive wake

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Corrosive Wake (Ex)

This ability functions as the bore worm monarch’s ability of the same name (see page 82), except it leaves a 10-foot-diameter tunnel in its wake.

Viviparous Birth (Ex)

In an effort to preserve the next generation, an empress bore worm violently expunges any young .it may be carrying when it dies; these young function as 1d6 bore worm swarms. In addition, the empress bore worm explodes in a burst of caustic blood and ichor, dealing 12d6 points of acid damage to all creatures in a 30-foot-radius burst (Reflex DC 22 half). The save DC is Constitution-based.

ECOLOGY

Environment any underground
Organization solitary
Treasure none

Bore worms are a vile breed of subterranean burrowing worm, attacking prey both in their home and, more rarely, on the planet’s surface. Three major variants of the worms exist, each representing a different stage in the creature’s long life cycle—the swarm, monarch, and empress stages.

A single, finger-length bore worm has never been much of a threat to any one creature, but isolated bore worms are found only in laboratories. Bore worm swarms, as they are more commonly encountered, consume organic material with a voracious appetite, tunneling through the earth like water as they reach progressively larger sizes.

Ecology

Bore worms, like many other vermin, provide a necessary function of the natural ecosystem, breaking down rotting plants and animals to form rich loam for farmlands. Their fear-inducing bite can cause the stouthearted to lose faith, with the mere threat of them sometimes enough to coerce information out of a torturer’s victim. Bore worms are edible and easily killed with water, though the taste varies from “chicken” to “sweaty feet.” In their juvenile stage, bore worms congregate in an undulating morass of sticky slime. At this stage, they can be prevented from growing into their next stage simply by providing them with a steady food supply. Lack of a food supply triggers their next stage of growth, and the bore worm swarm cannibalizes itself, with one bore worm emerging victorious as a bore worm monarch.

At this point in their lives, bore worm monarchs have a driving need to consume as much as they possibly can, and are able to consume gemstones and metals, building up fat reserves for breeding. Bore worm monarchs excrete a pheromone-heavy acid slime that repels other bore worms, giving the creatures the appearance of being territorial. In truth, bore worms lack the intelligence to truly recognize one location from another, though two bore worm monarchs that get too close to one another risk making a meal of each other as they voraciously feed. Eventually, bore worm monarchs turn on the swarms, eating them until they reach the next and final stage of their lives.

Empress bore worms, the largest and eldest members of the species, live short lives in their final stage of development. Eating their own kind acts to perpetuate their species, and after a week-long torpor, empress bore worms hungrily devour everything in their path to find a suitable spot to nest—and die. They are then eaten from within by the live bore worm swarms they birth, and the fat reserves they built up during their monarch stage serve as fuel at the end of their lives.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Adventure Path #117: Assault on Longshadow © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Benjamin Bruck and Thurston Hillman, with Liz Courts, Paris Crenshaw, and Jason Keeley.