No. Enc.: (1d4)
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 7
Attacks: 2 (Weapons, Contact Toxins)
Damage: Weapon, 1d8+Poison
Hoard Class: Low End Loot
Mutations: Aberrant Form (arms), Chameleon Epidermis (Limited: hide in shadows 70%, can partially-shift from gray to one other color selected at random), Dermal Poison Slime, Gigantism (humanoid-sized).
(30% chance of 1 additional Mental Mutation or Drawback)
Descendants of free-living nematodes, Wermiloks most often consume algae, fungi, small animals, and fecal matter. Occasionally they will devour dead organisms, acting as undertakers and scavengers at the same time, much like ghouls, whom they dislike intensely due to their long-standing competition as rival waste-mongers and corpse-gatherers in the four great Citystates of the Sunset Coast. Wermiloks within the Four Citystates make a great fuss and bother about observing all the proper and required rituals, maintaining excellent standards of hygiene and propriety, and respectfully handling the dead with all due honor and decorum. If anything they are even more fastidious and punctilious than their rivals who suffer from a lingering reputation as grave robbers and despoilers of the dead based upon historical records and the shuddersome accounts and lurid tales of those abdead individuals who have sought damages through the courts. There may have been some Wermilok money behind some of these grotesque legal proceedings, but that has never been proven. The Wermiloks of the four Citystates pride themselves on being civilized and productive members of society who fulfill a very necessary function which they choose to see as a sacred obligation.
It is also worth noting that the Wermiloks do not exclusively dispose of dead bodies, like the ghouls. They collect and process all trash, rubbish, and waste-products of any and every sort, kind or type...for a small, nominal fee, of course. Some of this stuff they feed-upon, others they recycle, salvage or break down into usable materials. Wermiloks possess an innate genius for restoration, refurbishing and recycling cast-off things. They also are among the most driven to learn everything they can about the old technologies, to study anything they can get hold of that came from the times preceding the Big Burn, with one notable exception; Wermilok elders earnestly and fervently deny any knowledge regarding sorcery, magic or witchcraft. But some have begun to suspect that perhaps they proclaim their innocence in such matters just a bit too strenuously to be taken seriously.
The Wermiloks maintain deeply burrowed archives, museums and workshops few outside of their genome have ever seen. It is in these well-hidden and protected places that they conduct all manner of experiments with old tech and entirely new inventions as well. They salvage and study the past as a prelude to the future, and of all the peoples of the re-industrialized regions it is the Wermiloks who sponsor the most innovators, inventors and experimenters no matter how crack-pot, mad or potentially blasphemous their ideas might be.
Wermiloks are masters of setting deadfalls, digging various types of pit traps and the like. They prefer ambushing their enemies and are notorious in their devious use of traps over any sort of direct confrontation but they are by no means cowardly. Typical Wermilok burrows are arranged with dozens of looping sub-passages, crawlspaces, secret tunnels and so on, making it possible for a few dedicated Wermilok warriors to decimate even large groups of intruders or trespassers. Very few would-be despoilers have ever survived to return from attempted raids upon the underground domains of the Wermiloks. This is a matter of quiet pride among the elders of the Wermiloks, but they do not speak of it in public for fear of encouraging ever rasher, ever more desperate or despicable types to try their luck.
There are adventuresome members of the Wermilok folk who are not satisfied with the conditions imposed upon their kind within the Four Citystates. These nonconformist Wermiloks often hire out as tunnel-fighters, sappers or siege engineers (at double or triple normal rates, depending upon reputation/experience).
Wermilok SecretionsWermiloks secrete a sticky mucus-like substance that they use to bond earth together so as to reinforce the walls of their tunnels and burrows. Some urban-dwelling groups of Wermiloks have gone into business making bricks or working with cement, plaster and adobe-type building materials. The mucus-substance that they secrete is also highly toxic (when still fresh and wet) to non-Wermiloks, causing those failing a Save to rapidly purge their systems of salt, suffering 7d6 damage (Class 7 Poison/Save=half damage). They sometimes sell small, sealed containers of this stuff to select clientele.
Wermiloks also combine their mucus with honey and other ingredients to treat small boards that they then set-out to poison and petrify vermin such as rats. Just another service they offer. A few artistically-minded entrepreneurs among them have begun to creatively pose and arrange various types of vermin that they then treat with their proprietary mucus-blend in order to create whimsical or bizarre pseudo-statues through their taxidermy-like new art. It has only just begun to catch on as something of a fad among the consorts and concubines of certain of the Warlord's higher ranking officers and supporters.
The 'Other' Wermiloks...Some of the more savage Underwaste tribes of Wermiloks have developed a taste for devouring the living tissues of victims whom they keep alive for as long as possible while they dine upon their limbs, faces and/or guts. This is thankfully a rare, if strikingly sadistic deviation from the norm, or so say the few scholars that have studied the hordes of reclusive, xenophobic mutant-barbarians of the Underwastes. Warlords have been known to hire-on outcasts from these particular tribes to serve as torturers. Their reputations often undo recalcitrant prisoners without ever having to touch them.
There are increasingly lurid and unsavory rumors concerning tribes of Wermiloks out past the Bad Lands that have learned how to control Burn Leeches and domesticate Giant Leeches for use as guard-beasts. Bad Lander Wermiloks tend to have 1-2 additional Physical Mutations, usually Aberrant Form (Multiple Arms), Natural Weapon (Stinger), or Dual-Headed, though there are other types from time to time. These tribes are also reputed to be led by shamans who exhibit one or more major Mental Mutations and possibly spell-use...
A more radically mutated offshoot/sub-species of Wermilok, much larger and equipped with axolotl-like gills, have been reported by explorers who've only just returned from the Southern Rainforests.