Excerpts 02/09/2007

Dungeonscape Excerpts
By Jason Bulmahn and Rich Burlew

Build a dungeon or two, or adapt your character for upcoming dungeon challenges, with the help of the material you'll find within Dungeonscape. To see what's in store for your next door-bashing, trap-filled dungeon adventure, read a few excerpts below, which include paladin options, door descriptions, an adventuring kit, a prestige class, a swarm, and a new trap.

Rot Grub Swarm

A wet, squelching noise emanates from the carpet of pale gray maggots that squirms along the ground.

Rot Grub Swarm CR 6
Always N Diminutive vermin (swarm)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Listen +0, Spot +0
AC 16, touch 16, flat-footed 14
(+4 size, +2 Dex)
hp 54 (12 HD)
Immune weapon damage
Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +4
Speed 10 ft. (2 squares); climb 10 ft.
Space 10 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Base Atk +9; Grp --
Atk Options distraction
Special Actions death hazard, swarm (3d6 plus infestation)
Abilities Str 1, Dex 14, Con 10, Int --, Wis 10, Cha 3
SQ swarm traits, vermin traits
Skills Climb +10, Hide +14*, Listen +0, Spot +0

Distraction (Ex) Any living creature that begins its turn with a rot grub swarm in its space must succeed on a DC 18 Fortitude save or be nauseated for 1 round. The save DC is Constitution-based and includes a +2 racial bonus.

Infestation (Ex) Any living creature that takes damage from a rot grub swarm might also become infested with rot grubs each round. A creature must make a successful DC 18 Reflex save to dodge the swarming grubs or bat them aside. The rot grubs infesting the creature burrow into its flesh. An infested creature takes 1d6 points of damage per round, plus an additional 1d6 points of damage for each failed Reflex save against a rot grub swarm's attack. A successful DC 16 Fortitude save halves this damage. After 2d4 rounds, the sated rot grubs crawl away. A rot grub infestation can be removed with a successful DC 20 Heal check, though this check (whether successful or not) deals 1d6 points of damage to the infested target. Alternatively, a rot grub infestation can be destroyed by remove disease (PH 271) or any other effect that halts or counters a disease. Such spells destroy all the rot grubs inhabiting a target.

Medium or larger creatures that die from rot grub infestation spawn a new rot grub swarm within 2d4 days. Burning or otherwise destroying the body prevents this. Casting raise dead (PH 268) to restore a creature killed by a rot grub swarm does not destroy the rot grubs inside, but casting remove disease or a similar spell in the round afterward removes the grubs normally. Resurrection (PH 272) and true resurrection (PH 296) destroy the rot grubs when cast.

Death Hazard (Ex) Upon destroying a rot grub swarm, 1d6 rot grubs remain, spread throughout the space inhabited by the swarm. These rot grubs behave as the hazard (see page 140). Destroying these remaining rot grubs does not provide any additional experience points.

Skills A rot grub swarm has a +8 racial bonus on Move Silently checks, and adds its Dexterity modifier instead of its Strength modifier on Climb checks. A rot grub swarm can always choose to take 10 on a Climb check, even if rushed or threatened.

*A rot grub swarm has a +8 racial bonus on Hide checks while inside a corpse of at least Medium size. A rot grub swarm can enter and leave a corpse as part of a single move action.

Strategies and Tactics

Voracious devourers of all living things, rot grub swarms surge toward the nearest source of food each round. Their hunger alone drives them forward, leaving no room for such niceties as tactics or strategy.

Sample Encounters

Rot grub swarms are the bane of dungeon dwellers and adventurers alike. They leave few living creatures in their wake, and in some cases the swarms can turn entire dungeons into massive, horrific nests.

Individual (CR 6): A single rot grub swarm rarely lasts long. In the face of an approaching swarm, the intelligent inhabitants of a dungeon usually band together to destroy it. Petty rivalries, even conflicts between good and evil, are put aside to deal with the threat.

Scourge (CR 8 to 10): A group of two or more swarms is called a scourge. These immense assemblies of rot grubs can transform dungeons into barren wastelands.


Although seasoned adventurers know how to deal with rot grub swarms, even the stoutest shiver at the thought of facing these ravenous, burrowing maggots. A rot grub swarm's only weakness is its slow advance, which gives anyone in its path time to seek shelter from the hungry tide.

Rot grub swarms are the locusts of the underground. Whole dungeons have been wiped out by these terrible creatures. Occasionally, explorers will stumble across a dungeon scoured of living things and take it as a stroke of good luck -- until they too fall victim to the marauding swarms.

Rumors abound of gigantic caverns filled with teeming hordes of these creatures. Dwarf folklore speaks of a mining expedition that opened a crack in a cave wall and perished when a wave of rot grubs poured into the room. Some dwarves whisper that a sea of rot grubs hides in the rotten heart of the world, and the vermin will one day spill forth like a plague to devour all life.

Typical Treasure

Rot grubs leave inorganic treasures in their wake. They devour wood, leather, and other goods. They have normal treasure for their Challenge Rating.

Rot Grub Lore

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (nature) can learn more about rot grub swarms. When a character succeeds on a skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (the planes)

DC Result
16 This wriggling mass is a rot grub swarm, a type of vermin.
21 Rot grub swarms burrow into their victims' flesh, literally eating them from the inside out.
26 It is almost impossible to destroy a rot grub swarm fully. A few survivors always linger.

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