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Slugspawn

Slugspawn CR 5

XP 1,600

Bloated alien worms the length of a man’s forearm, slugspawn are the basest form of a moit of Shub-Niggurath. These repulsive creatures possess sluglike bodies the color of rotting algae, covered with thick mucus. Vulnerable to the predations of larger creatures, slugspawn rarely venture forth on their own. Although they can move at a speed of 10 feet per round, slugspawn frequently hide themselves in dark pools or shadowy crevices, waiting for the warm flesh and pliant brains they crave to come to them.

Upon entering a square with a slugspawn in it (or if attacked by a slugspawn), a creature must make a DC 16 Perception check to note that a slugspawn is something other than a normal slug (though hidden slugspawn can be more difficult to detect). If this Perception check is failed, the slugspawn leaps upon the creature and burrows into its flesh. The creature can attempt a DC 16 Reflex save to avoid the slugspawn, but only if the creature is aware of the slugspawn’s presence. Any amount of damage reduction is enough to provide immunity to infestation.

Once a slugspawn has infested a living body, it burrows toward the host’s skull and wraps around the lower brain, growing and feeding upon the energies generated by thought. On the first round of infestation, dealing cold damage to the victim can kill the slugspawn and save the host—but only if the victim takes 10 or more points within 1 round of being infested. Cutting the slugspawn out also works, but the longer it remains in a host, the more damage this method does. Cutting it out requires a slashing weapon and a DC 25 Heal check, and deals 1d6 points of damage per round that the host has been infested. If the Heal check is successful, the slugspawn is removed. After 3 rounds, though, the slugspawn has reached the host’s brain and cannot be surgically removed without killing the host. Remove disease kills any slugspawn in or on a host.

After a slugspawn has reached a host’s brain, it proves to be a beneficial parasite—at least initially. A slugspawn’s host benefits from complete immunity to mind-affecting effects, as the slugspawn’s presence confuses and devours such magic. This benefit doesn’t last for long, though, as after a variable period (typically lasting 2d6 days in humanoids, though sometimes more or less in other creature types) the slugspawn matures into a spawning canker, a new stage in its lifecycle that begins with it violently devouring its host’s brain, erupting from its skull, and taking over the beheaded host body—a near instantaneous process that immediately kills the host. The result is a new creature, a spawning canker garbed in its former host’s skin. If the host is killed before the slugspawn fully matures, the parasite undergoes a rapid, emergency maturation, taking control of the host body as if it had fully matured—though such spawning cankers rarely prove as long-lived as their fully matured brethren.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Adventure Path #46: Wake of the Watcher. © 2011, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Greg A. Vaughan.