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Converting monsters from Tales From The Infinite Staircase

Cleon

Adventurer
Wormtongue
Transmutation
Level: Sor/Wiz 5, Worm 4 [I make it a level 4 worm spell since domains can't have two spells of the same level]
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Target: One living creature
Duration: 1 round per level
Saving Throw: Fortitude negates
Spell Resistance: Yes

[It rather reminds me of the spell grim revenge from the 3E Book of Vile Darkness, so we might be able to crib something from that:

Grim Revenge
Necromancy [Evil]
Level: Sor/Wiz 4
Components: V, S, Undead
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Target: One living humanoid
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Fortitude negates
Spell Resistance: Yes

The hand of the subject tears itself away from one of his arms, leaving a bloody stump. This trauma deals 6d6 points of damage. Then the hand, animated and floating in the air, begins to attack the subject. The hand attacks as if it were a wight (see the Monster Manual) in terms of its statistics, special attacks, and special qualities, except that it is considered Tiny and gains a +4 bonus to AC and a +4 bonus on attack rolls. The hand can be turned or rebuked as a wight. If the hand is defeated, only a regenerate spell can restore the victim to normal.
]
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Curse of the Worms
Conjuration (Summoning)[Death]
Level: Worm 5
Components: V, S, M, DF
Casting Time: 1 round
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Targets: One living creature
Duration: Special (see below)
Saving Throw: Fortitude partial
Spell Resistance: Yes

[This is basically a ranged and slower-acting slay living spell.]

Material Component: A pinch of powdered dried worm.
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
And we'll also need:

Worm Domain
Granted Power:
Rebuke or command worms as an evil cleric rebukes or commands undead (only affects vermin and magical beasts with Intelligence 0 or 1, what counts as a "worm" is at the DM's discretion).

Use this ability a total number of times per day equal to 3 + Charisma modifier.

Worm Domain Spells:
1. Burrow: You can burrow at a speed of 15 ft. through soil.
2. Wormslickᴹᴰ: Conjures a swarm of worms.
3. Wormwork: Softens or moves earth and can create quicksand-like ground.
4. Wormtongue: Target's own tongue turns into a worm that attacks them.
5. Curse of the Wormsᴹᴰ: #Living target dies over #d# rounds from being filled with worms#
6. Worm Tell: Worms tell you the ground's secrets.¹
7. Squirming Doom: A venomous mass of flesh-eating worms attacks at your command.²
8. Earthquake: Intense tremor shakes 80-ft.-radius.
9. Summon Monster IX: calls a purple earthworm to fight.³

ᴰ requires divine focus component.
ᴹ requires material component.
¹ Spell functions like stone tell, but affects earth or stone inhabited by living worms.
² Spell functions like creeping doom, the worms fight as centipede swarms with speed 20 ft., burrow 20 ft., swim 10 ft. instead of the centipede swarm's 20 ft., climb 20 ft. speed.
³ A purple earthworm is a purple worm with the Earth and Extraplanar subtypes, damage reduction 10/magic and the Earth Mastery extraordinary ability of an earth elemental. If you have access to the Manual of the Planes, an earth element creature purple worm may be used instead.
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Do we want to add Divine Focus to the some more of the Worm spells with a Material component? I gave summon worms M/DF since summon swarm has that component.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
How about we add the DF just to the ones that are only Worm spells and not also Sorc/Wiz spells?

Just filling out the domain with some suggested spells before we get down to business:
6 --- Summon Monster VI (Gargantuan fiendish monstrous centipede only)
7 --- Creeping Doom
8 --- Polymorph Any Object ???
9 --- Shapechange (to worm-like form only) ????
Those last two have a lot of overlap, but I'm not sure where else to go with these. Maybe we could swap the 9th level to something that summons a purple worm or something. I'd like that!
 

Cleon

Adventurer
How about we add the DF just to the ones that are only Worm spells and not also Sorc/Wiz spells?

That's just curse of the worms. I'd be OK with doing that or just putting DF on summon worms. It doesn't make any difference to me either way.

Do you have a preference or shall we determine it via random virtual polyhedron?

Just filling out the domain with some suggested spells before we get down to business:
6 --- Summon Monster VI (Gargantuan fiendish monstrous centipede only)
7 --- Creeping Doom
8 --- Polymorph Any Object ???
9 --- Shapechange (to worm-like form only) ????
Those last two have a lot of overlap, but I'm not sure where else to go with these. Maybe we could swap the 9th level to something that summons a purple worm or something. I'd like that!

Don't much care for the polymorph/shapechange since they don't seem very "wormy". How about earthquake for the 8th-level spell and summon monster XI (fiendish purple worm only) for the 9th-level spell?

I approve of creeping doom for the 7th-level spell.

Not so sure about the centipede-summoning for the 6th though, may have to mull it over. Maybe move earth instead as we've already got the precedent of wormwork?

Come to think of it, isn't wormwork just a higher level and less effective version of soften earth and stone?
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Oh, let's put it on curse of the worms too, why not?

I think you're right about wormwork. Do you want to drop that one and substitute soften earth and stone somehow?

I do not see a summon monster spell that let's you get purple worms. Which one is that?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Oh, let's put it on curse of the worms too, why not?

Done!

Updating Curse of the Worms working draft.

I think you're right about wormwork. Do you want to drop that one and substitute soften earth and stone somehow?

I would like to keep the spell, but we'll need to modify it somehow to make it more level-appropriate compared to soften earth and stone.

Hmm… well it's called wormwork which refers to the soil earthworms sometimes pile up on the surface, so maybe have the spell be able to create shallow trenches, pits and banks of earth as well as just soften the ground? Kind of a poor man's move earth plus soften earth and stone without soften stone?

It's got a duration too, so we could give it a respectable total volume of earth that can be softened/moved but it can only do a few "cubes" of work each round, and only creatures standing on an "active" cube need to make the Reflex save to avoid being caught in mud.

Something like:

Every round the wormwork spell can work on one 10-foot square of earth or soil for every three caster levels, producing one of the following effects.
  • break up hard ground (i.e. heavy clay, dense rocky earth) into normal earth.
  • soften normal earth into loose soil (see below). If the normal earth is already loose soil the worms will soften it regardless.
  • move soil to create a bank or mound of earth no more than 5 feet high, with a ditch or hole of the same depth appearing in an adjacent 10-foot square where the soil came from.
  • move soil so an existing bank, mound, ditch or hole no more than 5 feet high or deep is shifted up to 10 feet. The feature can be changed in shape while being shifted (i.e. a 10 ft. by 10 ft. pit could be lengthened into a 5 ft. by 20 ft. pit).
During casting, the spellcaster can instruct the worms to work to a particular plan (i.e. "dig a ditch along this path", "soften this area") and the worms will follow this directive until the spell's duration runs out, they are ordered to stop (a free action) or ordered to follow a new plan (a standard action).

If a creature is standing on a square which is being softened by wormwork, they risk being sucked into the churning ground as if it were thick mud. The creature must succeed on a Reflex save or be caught for 1d2 rounds and unable to move, attack, or cast spells. A creature that succeeds on its save can move through the softening ground at half speed, and it can’t run or charge.

Loose soil is not as troublesome if it is not being actively softened by wormwork, but all creatures in the area can move at only half their normal speed and can’t run or charge over the surface.

Special Duration: The effects of a wormwork spell (i.e. loosened soil, excavated earth) are Instantaneous and will remain after the spell duration concludes. The duration ends when the spell performs 1 round of "wormworking" per caster level or the caster's concentration ends.​

The spell stat-block will also need a tweak to include:

Duration: Special (Concentration, plus see below)

I do not see a summon monster spell that let's you get purple worms. Which one is that?

Sorry, I did not make myself clear. I was proposing a custom "summon monster IX" that summons a single fiendish purple worm instead of the usual creature options.

Come to think of it, that would be an Evil spell though, wouldn't it. I'd rather it be a neutral / unaligned creature since I don't think the Worm Domain should be evil-aligned. Maybe an Earth Element Purple Worm? Except that would require the use of material not in the SRD or our CC.

The sample creatures for summon monster IX range from Challenge Rating 9 (Night Hag) to Challenge Rating 13 (Fiendish Colossal Monstrous Spider) so if we can come up with a substitute CR 11 or 12 wormlike monster for it to summon I'd be game to consider it.

Could just make it an Elder Earth Elemental I suppose, but that doesn't feel quite "wormy" enough.
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Special Duration: The effects of a wormwork spell (i.e. loosened soil, excavated earth) are Instantaneous and will remain after the spell duration concludes. The spell itself has a duration of 1 round of "wormwork" per caster level or concentration plus 10 minutes, whichever happens first.

Upon reflection, I'd cut the "plus 10 minutes", make the duration "Special (Concentration, plus see below)" and have the explanatory text say "The duration ends when the spell performs 1 round of "wormworking" per caster level or the caster's concentration ends."

That seems cleaner.

Edit: Actually, I think I'll modify the rough proposal above with this revision.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
I like your proposal for wormwork. Let's go with that.

A regular purple worm is CR 12. So we just need something to make it extraplanar to be summoned without changing its CR (much), I guess. If we don't have a suitable template in the CC, we could probably specify it summons one from the ethereal plane or something. Or we could look for an appropriate monster in the CC. We must have something wormy and extraplanar in there.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I like your proposal for wormwork. Let's go with that.

Guess that spell's done then. Updating Wormwork working draft.

A regular purple worm is CR 12. So we just need something to make it extraplanar to be summoned without changing its CR (much), I guess. If we don't have a suitable template in the CC, we could probably specify it summons one from the ethereal plane or something. Or we could look for an appropriate monster in the CC.

Had a look through the Creature Catalog and couldn't find any templates that would add the Extraplanar subtype to a Magical Beast.

We must have something wormy and extraplanar in there.

Well there's the "Wraithworm" which is a Magical Beast (Extraplanar) but is also a snake with energy drain AND venom but is CR 5 and can be turned/controlled as if it were an Undead. Doesn't feel appropriate for a generic worm-themed summon monster IX.

The Tenebrous Worm is an Outsider that's basically a giant caterpillar not an earthworm-type creature. Plus the conversion's 3.0 and I'd rather use a 3.5 one.

There's a few worm-ey creatures with the Earth subtype that don't have Extraplanar, like the Glitterworm. I thought we had a conversion of the Thoqqua in the Creature Catalog too, but can't find it. That's a Fire creature though, so would seem unsuitable despite its resemblance to an earthworm.

Overall, it would be easier just biting the bullet and add an arbitrary note that the summon monster IX spell conjures a Purple Worm with the Extraplanar subtype without bothering with a template.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I thought we had a conversion of the Thoqqua in the Creature Catalog too, but can't find it.

Come to think of it, the Thoqqua is in the 3E Monster Manual - I completely forgot it was one of the core SRD monsters.

How many people use those things anyway? I can't recall ever using Thoqqua in my games or them featuring in published material such as Dungeon magazine adventures. Or if I did, it wasn't memorable enough to have made an impression on me.

Lava-worms ought to be more interesting!
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Hmmmph. I think I'll go along with an extraplanar Purple Worm. The old OGC Book of Templates does have an ethereal template that would work (though a summoned ethereal creature would lose its ethereal jaunt ability, I think). But we've always kept to SRD and CC as our sources.

I've always thought thoqqua look interesting but not terribly useful in most settings.

What would be next on this?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Hmmmph. I think I'll go along with an extraplanar Purple Worm. The old OGC Book of Templates does have an ethereal template that would work (though a summoned ethereal creature would lose its ethereal jaunt ability, I think). But we've always kept to SRD and CC as our sources.

We do sometimes make references to non-SRD non-CC sources but avoid actually duplicating the sources themselves. For example, with the Jackal Composite Mummy we had this note for the Dire Jackal it could summon: "**If you have access to Sandstorm, use the dire jackal statistics found within that book. If not, use a dire wolf dropped to 4 HD, with the following feats and skills: "

Since I like the idea of using the Manual of the Planes Earth Element Creature or Water Element Creature templates I'd mention those as a possibility. The Earth Purple Worm strikes me as the most appropriate "default". We could do something like:

summon monster IX (purple earthworm*)
*A purple earthworm is a purple worm with the Earth and Extraplanar subtypes, damage reduction 10/magic and the Earth Mastery extraordinary ability of an earth elemental. If you have access to the Manual of the Planes, an earth element creature purple worm may be used.

I've always thought thoqqua look interesting but not terribly useful in most settings.

Likewise. I can see them working as a random encounter or background fauna but there's isn't much you can do with them. Unless they turn out to be the maggots of Pyrokinetic Lava Flies…

What would be next on this?

I guess we should actually flesh out the Worm Domain before we get too far ahead writing the spells it contains.

Like agreeing on its granted power, for example.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Likewise. I can see them working as a random encounter or background fauna but there's isn't much you can do with them. Unless they turn out to be the maggots of Pyrokinetic Lava Flies…

…or there being millions of them pouring in from the Elemental Plane of Fire as part of a plot by Salamanders/Efreet/Imix to invade the world and change it to magma!
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Summon Worms
Level: Worm 2
Components:
V, S, M, DF

By the way, I changed the components to M, DF from the earlier drafts M/DF since it's a cleric Domain spell rather than a Bard-Druid-Sorcerer/Wizard like the summon swarm it's based on. Making summon worm M/DF would reserve the spell's Material Component to a non-existent arcane version.

Worm Domain
* summons a mass of flesh-eating worms that use the statistics of centipede swarms.

Upon reflection, I prefer:

* summons a mass of flesh-eating worms that fight as centipede swarms with burrow 20 ft. instead of climb 20 ft.​

Maybe we should tweak the spell name while we're at it to make the change explicit?

Like so:

7. Squirming Doom*: A venomous mass of flesh-eating worms attacks at your command.

*Spell functions like creeping doom, the worms fight as centipede swarms with burrow 20 ft. instead of climb 20 ft.​
 

Cleon

Adventurer
*Spell functions like creeping doom, the worms fight as centipede swarms with burrow 20 ft. instead of climb 20 ft.

Upon reflection, maybe we should match the speeds of the SRD purple worm and make it:

*Spell functions like creeping doom, the worms fight as centipede swarms with speed 20 ft., burrow 20 ft., swim 10 ft. instead of the centipede swarm's 20 ft., climb 20 ft. speed.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
I like the proposed purple worm modifications.

I also like squirming doom, including with your proposed speeds.

But are you also proposing the same kind of power for the domain power? Seems a bit strong as well as redundant. The power to command/rebuke worms or vermin (worm-like only) would be closer to standard.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I like the proposed purple worm modifications.

I also like squirming doom, including with your proposed speeds.

Updating the Worm Domain working draft.

But are you also proposing the same kind of power for the domain power? Seems a bit strong as well as redundant. The power to command/rebuke worms or vermin (worm-like only) would be closer to standard.

I don't think I got around to proposing anything for the Domain power.

Command/rebuke worms is a nice idea although I fear if a PC actually had this ability it'd cause a lot of arguments as to what counts as a "worm". A more conventional power based on one of the SRD Domains might be easier.

Maybe a free Blind-Fight feat like the Darkness Domain?

That said, if we can come up with a workable wording I'd be game. If it's good enough for the Scalykind domain it's good enough for the Worm domain. How about:

Granted Power #1: Rebuke or command vermin (worms only) as an evil cleric rebukes or commands undead.​
Use this ability a total number of times per day equal to 3 + Charisma modifier.​
Hmm… that works OK. I wondered about adding Magical Beasts with Int 0 or 1 to the options since some of the "worm" monsters aren't vermin (i.e. Devil Wyrm, Glitterworm, Lukhorn, Purple Worm etc). Some of them aren't truly worms of course, such as the "Light Worm" which is a snake.

Granted Power #2: Rebuke or command worms (only affects vermin and magical beasts with Intelligence 0 or 1) as an evil cleric rebukes or commands undead.​
Use this ability a total number of times per day equal to 3 + Charisma modifier.​
Oh, and an further thoughts on the 6th and 8th level Domain spells? I'm still liking earthquake for the latter.

The rough draft proposes move earth for the former but I can't help feeling it rather overlaps with the wormwork 3rd-level spell so wouldn't mind an alternative.

How about this:

6. Worm Tell: Worms tell you the ground's secrets.¹
7. Squirming Doom: A venomous mass of flesh-eating worms attacks at your command.²
8. Earthquake: Intense tremor shakes 80-ft.-radius.
9. Summon Monster IX: calls a purple earthworm to fight.³

ᴰ requires divine focus component
¹ Spell functions like stone tell, but affects earth or stone inhabited by living worms.
² Spell functions like creeping doom, the worms fight as centipede swarms with speed 20 ft., burrow 20 ft., swim 10 ft. instead of the centipede swarm's 20 ft., climb 20 ft. speed.
³ A purple earthworm is a purple worm with the Earth and Extraplanar subtypes, damage reduction 10/magic and the Earth Mastery extraordinary ability of an earth elemental. If you have access to the Manual of the Planes, an earth element creature purple worm may be used instead.
 
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freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Granted power draft #2 works for me if you don't feel it's too vague about what constitutes a "worm." I think it should be ok to leave that to DM's discretion.

Earthquake works at 8th level. I also like worm tell at 6th level, but you have footnotes 1 and 2 reversed (I hope :p).
 

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