I hope you enjoy the golden scale worm, and I'll see you next week with another monster!
Gold spines protrude from the edge of this pale flatworm. Roughly one quarter of its size is taken up by its head, featuring massive, bone-crushing mandibles.
Golden Scale Worm CR 3
N Small vermin (aquatic)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 60 ft.; Perception +8
AC 15, touch 13, flat-footed 13 (+2 Dex, +2 natural, +1 size)
hp 30 (4d8+12)
Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +1
Speed 20 ft., climb 10 ft., swim 30 ft.
Melee bite +6 (2d6+4/19–20 plus blood drain and grab)
Special Attacks blood drain (1d3 Constitution), powerful bite, spines (+6, 1d4+2 plus poison)
Str 15, Dex 14, Con 17, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 5
Base Atk +3; CMB +4 (+8 grapple); CMD 16 (can't be tripped)
Skills Climb +10, Perception +8, Swim +10; Racial Modifiers +8 Perception
SQ amphibious, camouflage, gold eater
Environment cold oceans and coastlines
Organization solitary or cache (2–12)
Treasure standard (golden spines)
Blood Drain (Ex) Enzymes in a golden scale worm’s bite induce continuous blood drain. If a target escapes the worm’s grapple, it takes 1 point of Constitution bleed.
Camouflage (Ex) A golden scale worm looks like golden spindles when at rest and a DC 20 Perception check is required to notice it before it attacks for the first time. Anyone with ranks in Survival or Knowledge (nature) can use those skills instead of Perception to notice the worm.
Gold Eater (Ex) A golden scale worm can spend a full-round action to consume the equivalent of 10 gold coins. It heals 1d10 hit points after doing so.
Poison (Ex) Spines—Injury; save Fort DC 15; frequency 1/round for 4 rounds; effect 1d6 Str; cure 1 save.
Powerful Bite (Ex) A golden scale worm's bite attack always applies 2 times its Strength modifier on damage rolls and threatens a critical hit on a roll of 19–20.
Spines (Ex) When a creature attacks a golden scale worm with an unarmed strike or natural attack, or with a manufactured melee weapon while adjacent to the worm, the worm automatically gains a free attack with its spines. Likewise, if the worm maintains a grapple, it gains a free attack with its spines.
Golden scale worms primarily inhabit polar oceans, where they feed on fish and mammals that share the waters with them. When food runs scarce, they make landfall and attack humanoids living in coastal villages. While they are primarily carnivorous, their strange body chemistry allows them to synthesize gold, which nourishes them and adds to the protective, poison-tipped spines ringing their bodies. Thus, they are often encountered in shipwreck locations where they scrounge for sunken treasure and feed on scavengers picking at the remains of dead sailors.
Outside their natural habitats, they wind up in the lairs of intelligent creatures, especially undead and others that can withstand the worms’ blood drain and poison. Golden scale worms are placed among treasure to add to their deceptive appearance.
Even though they are unintelligent, they are instinctively aware of the interest their golden spines draw and curl up into a tight ball when at rest, revealing only the golden spines. Creatures that reach for the “treasure” are exposed to the worms’ poison, which debilitates them, so the worms can more effectively latch onto them and drain their blood. Worms do not stop to feed on gold belonging to their victims, unless they are heavily injured and have no means to escape.
A golden scale worm’s poison remains fresh for 1 hour after it dies, so canny adventurers can use its spines as impromptu weapons, with the usual risks of handling poisonous objects.
A typical golden scale worm specimen measures 5 feet in length (over 1 foot of which is its head) and is 1 foot wide. It weighs 60 pounds, mostly in the gold composing its spines.