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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Velvet Worms

This creature idea was stolen directly from a BBC documentary on insects I watched recently, Life in the Undergrowth.

Velvet worms are nocturnal predatory insects, inhabiting damp environments such as swamps, bogs or wet underground caverns. They are caterpillar-like with numerous stubby, clawed legs spaced along their soft flexible bodies. Their bodies are covered with tiny, colorful, overlapping scales, giving it a dry and dusty appearance. The creature's head features a pair of long, flexible antennae, two simple eyes, and a pair of oral tubes complemented by a paired set of sickle-like jaws. The worms range in length from two to eight feet. They display a wide range of color schemes, usually corresponding to their native habitat.

Velvet worms are nocturnal hunters, their soft bodies and many legs allowing them to move in near perfect silence. They locate prey with their long, flexible antenna, then immobilize it with a spray of sticky slime ejected from their oral tubes. Once prey is immobilized they use their powerful jaws and acidic saliva to dismember and dissolve the victim, slowly consuming it piecemeal.

Velvet worms are somewhat fragile creatures with little natural armor. If threatened they will spray their opponent with slime, then flee and hide. Their natural prey is smaller mammals, reptiles and amphibians common to their native habitat. They are light sensitive and will avoid strong light sources.

  • Superb stealth and hide abilities
  • Great strength sticky slime attack (20' range, 5' radius)
  • Good bite attack with Fair acidic saliva
  • Good sense motion (30' radius)
  • Average toughness
  • Average movement rate
  • Poor defense
  • Animal intelligence


Anonymous said...

Yes! I've been planning a D&D 4E version of this critter as a giant-version brute and a swarm-based controller. Amazing critters!

Mark Thomas said...

When it was shown in the film it was very alien (as so much of the tiny-world stuff is when magnified). I can just picture the guy on guard duty, something feathery touches his neck, he turns and SPLAT giant worm right behind him and a goo bath!

noisms said...

I saw the same documentary, but a while back - maybe two years or so? They're spooky things. Interesting that we went for completely different angles - your velvet worms are fragile and easily scared, whereas mine are mean, voracious predators.

Mark Thomas said...

Yeah definitely different approaches there.