How do you control a Purple Worm?


Rules Questions


In the Purple Worm entry in the Bestiary, it says:

PRD wrote:
"They make popular guardians for those who have the magic to control them..."

I would like to have an encounter in my game where the players are attacked by a purple worm that is controlled by their enemies.

So what kind of magic would you use to control one?

Dominate monster would obviously work, but it is a bit too high in level. The six-person party will probably be 11th level when the encounter happens.

Charm monster would work, but how do you communicate with a magical beast? I don't think speak with animals works as that specifies animals. And the worm is not intelligent, so tongues won't work either. And awaken cannot target a magical beast to make it intelligent.

So how would you do it? I want the enemy caster to be able to actually direct the worm to attack something.


the spell Share Language would give it knowledge of a language.
However with an Int of 1 its effectively a mindless creature for terms of the types of commands you can give it.
Then stick a headband of vast intelligence +2 on it and will be able to grasp the gist of things.
Though if you wanted to grant some treasure your party was likely to use you could also choose to make it a +4 instead. Worth enough for L11 characters to take heed of and makes the worm smart enough that it could employ basic tactics and would permit it to follow more complex commands.

Silver Crusade

Charm monster and lots of gestures.

Sovereign Court

You could use Handle Animal:

Quote:
Special: You can use this skill on a creature with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2 that is not an animal, but the DC of any such check increases by 5. Such creatures have the same limit on tricks known as animals do.


Maybe the BBEG has granted them(upcoming bad guys) some dominate monsters scrolls, and the monster flubbed the save.

Or maybe they just purchased some scrolls.


Ascalaphus wrote:

You could use Handle Animal:

Quote:
Special: You can use this skill on a creature with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2 that is not an animal, but the DC of any such check increases by 5. Such creatures have the same limit on tricks known as animals do.

Yeah, this is not bad. Probably you would use charm monster at first, but then use handle animal to train it.

Sovereign Court

Make sure to teach it the Exclusive trick though..


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm surprised no one has made a "Dune" reference, yet.

Wikipedia: Sandworm (Riding) wrote:
The Fremen have secretly mastered a way to ride sandworms across the desert. First, a worm is lured by the vibrations of a thumper device. When it surfaces, the lead worm-rider runs alongside it and snares one of its ring-segments with a special "maker hook". The hook is used to pry open the segment, exposing the soft inner tissue to the abrasive sand. To avoid irritation, the worm will rotate its body so that the exposed flesh faces upwards, carrying the rider with it. Other Fremen may then plant additional hooks for steering, or act as "beaters", hitting the worm's tail to make it increase speed. A worm can be ridden for several hundred miles and for about half of a day, at which point it will become exhausted and sit on the open desert until the hooks are released, whereupon it will burrow back down to rest.

Maybe this is why my GMs never let me near a purple worm...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

It requires knowledgeable use of thumpers and maker hooks.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

If you walk without rhythm, you won't attract the worm.

Sovereign Court

6 people marked this as a favorite.

"So then we fought the Worm That Walks Without Rhythm... boy did that dude have trouble respecting the initiative order..."


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Fremen: The original Ministry of Silly Walks.


Make the undead and recast control undead every so often.


Man, I'm glad somebody caught my reference....

I'd have felt pretty stupid if nobody had picked up on it.


Here is another worm that is clearly supernatural and trained as a pet/guardian.

/cevah

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

You have to have the Weirding Way.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Maybe he doesn't. Maybe the worm is just a savage beast to be pitied, for the bad guy is keeping it managed through cruel methods. When he opens the cage door, the worm explodes out in a rage-driven attempt to end the suffering. As long as he doesn't stand in its path, he's safe. How will PCs feel about ending its life to end its suffering?


Yeah, the Dune thing was kind of in my mind in the OP. Though those would have to be colossal worms at least.

GreatKhanArtist wrote:
Maybe he doesn't. Maybe the worm is just a savage beast to be pitied, for the bad guy is keeping it managed through cruel methods. When he opens the cage door, the worm explodes out in a rage-driven attempt to end the suffering. As long as he doesn't stand in its path, he's safe. How will PCs feel about ending its life to end its suffering?

That's not bad, but I want the worm to pop out of the ground and attack a specific group (the players), with the controller being at some distance. This will require a bit more finesse than that, so magical control or training will likely be necessary.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Peet wrote:

Yeah, the Dune thing was kind of in my mind in the OP. Though those would have to be colossal worms at least.

So... bhole?

Scarab Sages

Belly rubs! They're practically all belly

Dark Archive

Plot magic

...What? <_<


Serpentine Bloodline Arcana allows you to treat Magical Beasts as Humanoids. So... at 10th level Sorc, Dominate Person.


http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/s/summon-elder-worm


CorvusMask wrote:

Plot magic

...What? <_<

Yeah, I considered that, but I don't like to resort to that if I don't have to.

Dyspeptic wrote:
Serpentine Bloodline Arcana allows you to treat Magical Beasts as Humanoids. So... at 10th level Sorc, Dominate Person.

Or Charm Person at level 1! This is good, and I could have the controller be a Lamia Matriarch, so the serpentine bloodline is a natural one for her.

The 20 STR Aristocrat wrote:
http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/s/summon-elder-worm

I don't want a 17th level druid doing the work here - a bit out of the league of the players. And for plot reasons I would rather have the worm be a semi-permanent companion rather than a summoned creature.


Charm Monster. That should be enough to make it stick around, especially if you feed it occasionally, and not eat you.


I would have had the bad guy obtain a variant awaken spell that can affect purple worms. Undoubtedly there is a demon lord of worms that can be blamed if nothing else (and if not, there should be). Awaken is a 5th level spell, and it seems like a greater awaken could be a 6th level spell (and thus a good highest level spell for someone around the PC's level).


Mechagamera wrote:
I would have had the bad guy obtain a variant awaken spell that can affect purple worms.

And then give him class levels! How about bard? Sid the Singing Sandworm, at your service!

Seriously though, I don't think I need an intelligent worm. If I take a Lamia Matriarch, and give her sorc levels and the serpentine bloodline, That should be enough.


Peet wrote:
Mechagamera wrote:
I would have had the bad guy obtain a variant awaken spell that can affect purple worms.

And then give him class levels! How about bard? Sid the Singing Sandworm, at your service!

Seriously though, I don't think I need an intelligent worm. If I take a Lamia Matriarch, and give her sorc levels and the serpentine bloodline, That should be enough.

The Verminous Hunter in my current Iron Gods campaign had a permanent Anthropomorphic Animal cast on his slug companion (allowed for luls), then took Leadership to make the slug his cohort.

The slugs name is, of course, Slurms.


"Bad Guy GM Fiat magic granted by the power of his sponsor." "A ritual granted by the power of slaying 7 virgins." Take your pick.

That's really much all you need unless you want the PC's to mass reproduce the abilty.

RA Salvatore didn't dissect the spells or means to create the Crystal Shard in his Icewind Dale novels, it's just simply there, a MacGuffin to run the storyline.


i suggest charm monster
followed by
fox cunning
followed by
telepathic bond


Honestly, I would ask myself the following questions:

Is it important that the Players learn about how the creature was being controlled?

Is it something you want the Players to be able to do themselves in the future?

Is the control of said beast something that will hinder the enemies (as in, do they have reduced amounts of gear themselves because they spent wealth on the worm)?

If not, then don't worry about it. They just do it, and the PCs don't know how they did it. Maybe it was a spell, maybe it was an item, maybe one of them has some special class ability that allows it. Who knows?

You don't have to explain to the players how it happened, thats metagaming.

You are the GM, you don't have to be fair or follow the rules when you don't want to. The rules are there to keep the players balanced, not you. If you want to say the worm is actually a Polymorphed Steven Hawking that fell through a Fry Hole, then its a polymorphed Steven Hawking that fell through a Fry Hole, you don't have to figure out the mechanics behind it, it just happens.


Find an albino one, and set it up with some sweet digs. A home so nice you might even call it a lair.


Controlled by a vishkanyas priestess, and found by the party's Archaeologist Bard.

/cevah

EDIT: Had to cross check my facts. Again.


As I already said, I don't want to resort to plot magic if I don't have to, especially if there is a way to do it at a reasonable caster level without plot magic. The enemy doing this would not be the BBEG but a minion, so I don't want to invest too much into some "special power."

Edymnion wrote:

Honestly, I would ask myself the following questions:

Is it important that the Players learn about how the creature was being controlled?

Not specifically, no, but since the enemy caster will be comparable in level to the PCs, I do want the potential to be there.

Edymnion wrote:
Is it something you want the Players to be able to do themselves in the future?

If the players want to spend the resources to be able to do it, sure. Though none of the people in the party are really configured to do this without some jiggering.

Edymnion wrote:
Is the control of said beast something that will hinder the enemies (as in, do they have reduced amounts of gear themselves because they spent wealth on the worm)?

Yes. Maybe not in gear, but in terms of actions or participation, possibly. I originally envisioned the encounter having the controlling caster controlling the worm at a "safe distance" away, but still within LOS.

Edymnion wrote:
You are the GM, you don't have to be fair or follow the rules when you don't want to.

I understand this, but I do want to, which is why I created this thread. I'm sorry if that wasn't clear earlier.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Class Deck, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Depending on the level of interaction, different levels of control will suffice. For what you're talking about, the "control" could really just be containing it. If you could have it as an obstacle but not really buddies, it doesn't take nearly as much handwavium to explain the relationship. Think of a moat monster that everybody's afraid of.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder RPG / Rules Questions / How do you control a Purple Worm? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.