The writhing vyrm, wrapt in dead flesh, riding on dead bones. It becomes what stands, what falls, what flees. Only flame and sorrow survive it.Anonymous Victran Poet
Also Known as: Vyrms, Wyrms, Matoa (Svert.), Rossi (Van.), Ongqun (Muj.), Lyngyr (Vic.), Kheedajun (Sub.), Ngerun (Lux.)
Hazard Level: Variable (Moderate to Extreme)
Eerily intelligent colonies of predatory worm-like creatures which demonstrate some form of gestalt consciousness. These alien creatures act en masse to create forms for hunting. In their ‘natural’ state vyrmswarms are horrific masses of thin black or bone colored creatures, each one meter long, capable of acting in unison. They are driven by an innate urge to consume and preserve biomass, adding to the bulk of the writhing horde. Vyrms are dangerous in their normal state, as a crawling blanket of squirming aggression with surprising alacrity, but they also possess a particularly gruesome trick; puppetry. Vyrms will rapidly consume an entity and then use its bones as a scaffholding, working in unison to create lurching horrors. No organic is safe and survivors of Vyrmswarm attacks have reported seeing swarms take on nightmarish parodies of wildlife and people alike.
Worms do not seem to fit well into any extant species or genus, suggesting an artificial origin.
An individual vyrm is a simple creature; a meter long animal with a tube-like body lacking limbs, not entirely unlike normal worms. Where they differ is in size, texture, and ability. Vyrms have much more substantial bodies with powerful musculature, are oily in texture, and lack any form of visible sensory organs. They are, functionally, a powerful mouth with a tubular musculature and rasping teeth. They can range in colour from jet black to bone white. Vyrms emit a coppery smell and the only sound they make is when they move en masse.
A single vyrm can be a danger to the unprepared as they will seek to enter an animals body, consuming it from within and breeding, but it is when they are en masse as a swarm become a true threat.
While each individual vyrm demonstrates no particular cunning, swarms are eerily intelligent and able to act in concert and construct forms that allow it to mimic other wildlife. This typically requires them to incorporate rigid external components such as bones and branches as levers, but the end result is a horrifying mockery of complex life; shambling humanoids and animals made of writhing masses. Vyrmswarms use these forms to get close to prey, either by trickery (going so far as to don cloaks to hide their true form) or by taking advantage of the superior mobility offered by alternate body templates (horse skeletons in particular). Once close enough to a target the swarm will attempt to submerge the prey in its bulk, stripping the victim to bone in only a few moments.
Vyrms consume any form of biomatter but many swarms show a distinct taste for the flesh of large animals, regardless of intelligence. A victim of a vrymswarm is rendered to bone, with any inorganic gear typically left untouched. As a result Vyrm hunting grounds are typically ripe with loot left among piles of bones, though few are foolish enough to risk such areas for the small profits they typically offer. Notably as mentioned, the act of eating is also closely tied to reproduction as the species breeds in the bodies and corpses of prey, increasing the mass of the swarm with each new victim.
Vyrmswarms are fortunately rare but can be found anywhere in Aeldos, regardless of temperature. They do demonstrate a strong aversion to daylight, preferring to nest in caves, under thick canopies, or other gloomy places.
Killing a Vyrmswarm is no small task; they are almost entirely immune to conventional weapons and susceptible only to things like fire, acid, or fast moving water. Even then, inflicting sufficient damage to destroy a swarm fully is rare; instead the swarm will typically disperse after enough mass is lost, seeking out smaller prey to rebuild its bulk.
Despite the deadly predatory cunning of Vyrmswarms, they demonstrate no sapience or indication of memory or personality.