Thursday, May 23, 2019

Rot Grubs in GURPS DF

Here is how I implemented rot grubs in my DF campaign. I statted them as a trap, not a monster, because you don't fight them so much as detect/disarm them, or suffer the effects of them. They're far less of a monster than, say, leaping leeches.

Rot Grubs
Detect: Vision-based Per-2. This assumes a search! A quick glance while, say, searching for treasure is at -5, for a net Per-7.
Disarm: Burning the infested corpse, or using Cleansing (Magic, p. 94) will remove any rot grubs; they are easily killed (or harvested) after this . . . unless they find another victim to burrow in to.
Avoid: None.
Steal: Eww, but yes. Takes some creativity and a Animal Handling-5 roll (unless the character is a worminger with the appropriate Animal Handling expertise.
Effect: Usually 1d rot grubs will burrow into a target; each causes 1 HP of injury immediately as it furiously burrows into the flesh of the victim. Each inflicts another 1 HP of injury every 3d seconds, and requires a HT roll at -1 per rot grub in the victim. On a failure, the rot grubs have reached the vitals and inflict x3 damage from this point on. On a critical failure, one has reached the heart, killing the victim. Success means damage as before; critical success means the grubs take twice as long before they inflict injury again. Application of flame to the burrowing holes before the second round of damage kills the rot grub but also inflicts the usual fire damage for the source. Each burrowing hole must be cleaned separately. Cleansing will remove all rot grubs immediately.

Enjoy, if that's the sort of maggoty thing you like to enjoy.


  1. Yes, this IS the sort of maggoty thing I enjoy...

  2. Rot grubs are absolutely disgusting, so yes, they are going to see use. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Reposting here in case you missed it on the other Rot Grub post, as there is a hidden question in there...

    "They're not more unfair that "save for half damage" types of attacks, where some nastiness occurs 100% of the time."

    I don't know... most "save for half" traps are 'one and done', this is a cyclic damage that will eventually kill† someone if they don't have a Cleansing spell available or can't employ fire within 18 seconds of infection.

    It can take longer than that to remove armor...

    † Unless a success on the HT roll stops the grubs completely, but it doesn't sound like it, it sounds like it just avoids damage that round and nothing actually stops the rot grubs but quickly applied fire, a Cleansing spell, or (maybe) Esoteric Medicine.

    The question being, "Is there a way to stop the Rot Grub damage without a Cleansing spell or fire applied 'immediately'? Or is it a slow death avoidable (ultimately) only with a Cleansing spell?"

    1. Fire quickly, Cleansing after that.

      Mine are very rough, yes. They haven't killed anyone yet though.

    2. "very rough"
      I think the Understatement Awards have a clear winner for this year and we aren't even at the halfway marker yet...

      "They haven't killed anyone yet though."
      Is this due more to fire and quick work (and average time length rolls) or Cleansing?

      I have at least one group that a Rot Grub infestation and a bad roll (low time length) would be terminal (routinely adventure without fire ready and have no Cleansing spell).

      Also, side question: How would you handle a victim with loads of DR (Tough Skin) and the Grub failing to 'penetrate' the Tough Skin on the first couple of 'bites'?

      And I see nothing under Avoidance, so do thick leather gloves or metal gauntlets not offer any initial protection/mitigation? Is it a matter of "you touched the body, the grub found a way in, too bad, so sad"?

    3. Tough skin won't help at all; it's not 1 HP of damage, it's 1 HP of injury. Appropriate gauntlets, actual hard-DR coverings or skin, etc. should work, unless they have opening the grubs can get through.

      I can't list every precaution, can I?


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