Barely thicker than hempen rope, this orange-banded worm stretches many feet in length.
Zhen Worm CR 1/2
AC 9, touch 9, flat-footed 9 (–1 Dex)
hp 5 (1d8+1)
Fort +3, Ref –1, Will +0
Defensive Abilities protective mucus; Immune gaze attacks, mind-affecting effects, sight-based attacks, and visual effects
Though too dilute to cause damage in combat, a zhen worm’s acidic mucus reduces a Medium-sized corpse to bones and a pool of foul-smelling slurry in 1d4 days. Each size category above Medium doubles the amount of time required, and each size category smaller than Medium halves it.
Weapons slip off the slick slime that coats a zhen worm, and fire has difficulty burning it away.
Zhen worms take half damage from weapons and fire. This ability does not reduce damage from confirmed critical hits.
Through alchemical processes, zhen worm mucus can be distilled into a preservative ointment. When spread liberally over a dead game animal, zhen distillate preserves the meat for 1 month. If left on for at least 3 days, the distillate dissolves away hair, nails, and skin, while leaving muscles and organs untouched. If not thoroughly washed away with wine or a similar alcoholic liquid, zhen distillate leaves behind a foul aftertaste. A flask of zhen distillate weighs 1 pound, costs 50 gp, and preserves the corpse of a Large creature. Each step up or down from Large doubles or halves, respectively, the amount of distillate needed.
Environment warm swamps
Organization solitary, pair, or colony (3–20)
The blind and mindless zhen worms thrive in warm, wet environments.
Though rarely thicker than an inch in diameter, zhen worms reach up to 10 feet in length and weigh up to 20 pounds. The orange bands along their sides react to tremors and vibration, providing their only means of perceiving the environment around them. Zhen worms hunt by lying unseen beneath mud or water, waiting for prey to approach close enough to attack. Zhen worms normally restrict themselves to modest prey such as rodents and lizards, but a hungry worm may attack Small or even Medium prey.
A zhen worm has no mouth or digestive tract. Instead, it absorbs nutrients and secretes waste through thousands of tiny orifices along its body. The mucus coating its body slowly dissolves organic matter. Over a matter of days, a zhen worm wrapped around a corpse reduces it to nothing but bones and a foul-smelling slurry.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Numeria, Land of Fallen Stars © 2014, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Jim Groves and Russ Taylor.