The Mongolian Death Worm is a rather unusual creature. Coming in between about 2 and 5 feet long, it was first reported by Mongolian officials as inhabiting the southwestern Gobi Desert in the early 1920s, and it is aptly named. The Mongolian Death worm supposedly has the ability to shoot potent venom or perhaps an electrical discharge, and though reports disagree about which, they agree that whatever ranged weapon it has, it can kill instantly. Likewise, touching the creature will result in instant death.
The death worm's venom supposedly also can corrode metal, leaving behind a yellowish rust-like substance. On the subject of yellow, it seems to have some sort of unnatural attraction to that color, though no reasoning is provided why. It also seems to be attracted to moisture, as it is most frequently seen after periods of rainfall. another way to find it (should one want to) is by noting its tracks. A Mongolian death worm leaves waves in the sand where it passes, and can be seen moving through the earth.
Though hard evidence for the creature has not been found, the locals swear by its existence, and the reports are more or less consistent. The death worm is mysterious, but terrifying to the local population.
How can I use it in my games?
This is actually a creature I recommend you have your PCs fight. You could give it either poisonous or electrical abilities as you see fit, perhaps both. I think it works especially well in a similar context to where it is found: as a local monster that won't really be found elsewhere. Doing so lends a sense of novelty to the situation, especially with a creature as weird as this.
In a modern or otherwise real-world game, this works really well. It's status as a cryptid means it's something that people actually think might exist in the world, so it's fairly believable to use.
In a science fiction game, you could easily transplant this into a creature on an alien world. In fact, it is said to be the inspiration for the sandworms from Dune. So it definitely can be played with and tweaked to fit that sort of setting.
Whatever you do though, play up the lethality. The creature is renowned for its ability to kill instantly. It doesn't have to be particularly tough (nobody has reported having actually killed one as far as I've researched), but it does have to kill outright. You could have one, or many. It seems to be something of a solitary creature according to myths, but there's no reason you have to hold to that if you feel it furthers your narrative to have several of the critters that could kill your party outright.
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- Draconick, Digital and Dice Contributor
I, Nick “Draconick” Johnson, am a writer and roleplaying enthusiast with over ten years of experience in various tabletop roleplaying games both as a player and as a GM. I am also somewhat involved in other forms of tabletop gaming such as wargaming, board games, and card games. It is my hope that by creating and maintaining this website that I can share my unique take on all things within our hobby and to foster a community of like-minded individuals.