March 11, 2012


One of my favorite comic series is Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa, a post-apocalyptic fable from which I’ve borrowed some of the motifs in Ig. One of the interesting types of characters were wormhandlers, which I decided to import into my campaign setting. This is still a work in progress, I’ll probably tweak their place in my world and their abilities more before I’m completely happy. This was written with DCC in mind, but it shouldn't be hard to tweak it to your retro-clone of choice.
At the bottom of the social order, below the tanners and the body collectors and the gong farmers, are the lowest of the low, wormhandlers. Due to the close relationship they share with the insects that infest Ig they are pushed to the periphery of civilization, however the skills they develop on the edge make them incredibly useful when the need arises. They are often the scapegoated whenever monstrous insects appear in an area, for this reason many are nomads moving in small bands. Wormhandlers raise slugworms, grub-like creatures the size of small dogs that look like maggots with a head of stubby tentacles. These creatures have an incredible sense of smell and are used by wormhandlers as tracking beasts. They can track nearly any living creature if provided with a strong initial scent. When not tracking these creatures are carried in large wicker baskets carried by their owner. Wormhandlers can also to attract and command insects, using a combination of body language, vocalization with the use of weirdly shaped pipes, and scent glands harvested from other insects. Wormhandlers are always found wrapped in gaudy clothes and silks, hiding their faces from outsiders’ eyes.

Hit Points: 1d6/level

Weapon Training: Club, Crossbow, Dagger, Dart, Handaxe, Javelin, Mace, Short Bow, Short Sword, Sling, Spear, Staff. Wormhandlers aren’t comfortable in armor thicker than chainmail.

Alignment: Wormhandlers can be of any alignment. Law wormhandlers are most likely to be found close to society, making coin through the use of their talents. Chaotic wormhandlers live out in the wilds and rely only on their own skills. They are oftentimes desperate and more than a little unstable.

Slugworms: At first level a wormhandler is accompanied by a single slugworm. He may acquire and control a number equal to his level. They provide +5 to any rolls involving tracking living creatures. They can also warn of danger, adding +2 to initiative rolls and reducing the risk of surprise by one. They will often be the first target in combat, humanoids find them disgusting while non-intelligent monsters find them delicious.
Slugworm  (AC 8 [11] HD 1d4 2hp 1 bite, 1d4 damage MV 10’)

Summon Insect: This acts as the spell Summon Monster, with a limitation that it only summons one insect up to the wormhandler’s level in hit dice. It can be used once a day, with the summoned creature appearing in 1d4 turns. The wormhandler maintains control for 1d6+level rounds, after which the insect will act based on a reaction roll.



  1. I do like this setting you've created. It's very evocative.

    1. I'm not sure it really rises above the level of kitchen-sink pastiche, but thank you! I have fun with it.

  2. Now this is rather interesting indeed. It's always nifty to see how someone else approaches some of this stuff--and the link to Nausicaa was a real eye-opener. Fun stuff. And Fun is the point of all this.

    1. Absolutely! I'd say that Nausicaa is worth reading no matter what ones prior opinions on anime and manga are. It's got heaps of impressive art and a story that just gets progressively bizarre in the all the best ways.