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The Ankheg: A RM Conversion

Copyright © Kerry Drake 2003

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

The ankheg is a monster that burrows beneath forests, plains and farmlands. An ankheg lives on a diet of fresh meat, and can be a threat to any creature that it encounters.

In form, the ankheg seems like a huge worm with powerful mandibles and six legs ending in sharp hooks. These hooks are used for burrowing and grasping, and its jaw is capable of snapping a solid 6" piece of wood in one bite. A brown or yellow rigid shell covers the creature from head to hooks. Its belly is often a light red or pinkish color. Its eyes are large and black. The ankheg's mouth is relatively small and lined with rows of teeth. A pair of antennae atop its head can detect the movement of medium-sized creatures up to 300 feet away.

Combat: The creature tends to lie below the surface of the ground (5 to 10 feet) until it detects the approach of a victim. Burrowing up beneath the victim, it attempts to grab him in its large mandibles, crushing and grinding. The ankheg can, once every six hours, squirt a stream of acid up to 30 feet. It only uses this attack when desperate, since it is unable to digest food for six hours after it does this.

Habitat/Society: The ankheg is constantly digging tunnels that wind 30-40 feet deep in the rich soil. One end of a tunnel is set aside as a lair. When the food supply in an area is depleted, the creature will move on.

Adult ankhegs shed their shell just before the onset of winter. The entire process takes 3 weeks; 2 days to shed the existing shell, and the remaining time to grow the new one. The ankheg is exceptionally vulnerable and sluggish during this time. Its overall AT is reduced to 7(20). While this is happening, the creature is reduced to half speed, its mandible attack is reduced to 60MBi, and it cannot squirt acidic enzymes. During this time, the creature hides deep in its tunnels and produces a repulsive scent like rotten fruit. The smell keeps most creatures away, but it can also help to locate the beast when it is at its weakest.

Ankhegs will hibernate during the winter if they are living in a cold climate. During the first month of winter, the beast will dig deep into the warm earth, and stay there, dormant, until spring. In this state, it does not need to eat - instead it absorbs nutrients from its shell. The ankheg's antennae remain functional in this state alerting it to the approach of an intruder. It takes 1d4 rounds for an ankheg to fully awaken, it may then move and attack normally.

Ankhegs do not collect treasure. However scattered throughout its tunnel system will be found items that were not dissolved by the acidic enzymes.

Ecology: Though fatal to any farmer unwise enough to disturb one, ankheg waste matter provides rich fertilizer and their tunnels can serve as watercourses. Ankhegs prefer fresh meat, but will eat carrion if necessary. All but the fiercest predators avoid ankhegs. Dried and cured ankheg shells can be made into armor, and its digestive enzymes can be used as regular acid.

Appendix A: RM Statistics






FSPT / 35






L / II






95HBi (Krush crit), 125SBolt (Heat crit)









(-)(-)-5;10-20' long: 2 - 12 eggs.

Appendix B: System Reference Document Entry


Large Beast

Hit Dice

3d10+9 (25 hp)




30 ft., burrow 20 ft.


18 (-1 size, +9 natural)


Bite +6 melee


Bite 2d6+7


5 ft. by 10 ft./5 ft.

Special Attacks

Improved grab, acid, spit acid

Special Qualities



Fort +6, Ref +3, Will +2


Str 21, Dex 10, Con 17, Int 1, Wis 13, Cha 6


Listen +4


Temperate and warm plains, forest, and underground


Solitary or cluster (2-4)

Challenge Rating





Always neutral


4 HD (Large); 5-9 HD (Huge)


An ankheg usually lies 5 to 10 feet below the surface until its antennae detect the approach of prey. It then burrows up to attack. (Treat this as a charge.)

Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, the ankheg must hit with its bite attack. If the ankheg is damaged after grabbing its prey, it retreats backward down its tunnel at burrowing speed, dragging the victim with it.

Acid (Ex): Acidic enzymes drip from an ankheg's mouth each round it maintains a hold. It automatically deals 1d4 points of acid damage each round in addition to bite damage.

Spit Acid (Ex): Stream of acid 5 feet high, 5 feet wide, and 30 feet long, once every 6 hours; damage 4d4, Reflex half DC 14. One such attack depletes the ankheg's acid supply for 6 hours. It cannot spit acid or deal acid damage during this time. Ankhegs do not use this ability unless they are desperate or frustrated. They most often spit acid when reduced to fewer than half their hit points or when they have not successfully grabbed an opponent.

Tremorsense (Ex): Ankhegs can automatically sense the location of anything within 60 feet that is in contact with the ground.

Appendix C: Open Gaming License and Legal Matters

This article: "The Ankheg: A RM Conversion", Copyright &copy: 2003 by Kerry Drake, is an Open Gaming article.

This article is covered by the Open Gaming License. The title "The Ankheg: A RM Conversion" is Product Identity, all other material in this article (except the entirety of Appendix A and the Open Gaming License itself) is Open Game Content. Appendix A is Closed Content and may not be reproduced without permission of the author and The Guild Companion. Portions of this work are derived from the System Reference Document, Copyright © 2000 by Wizards of the Coast, and are used with permission.



The following text is the property of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. and is Copyright 2000 Wizards of the Coast, Inc ("Wizards"). All Rights Reserved.

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Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

System Reference Document Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Bruce R. Cordell, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

"The Stirge: A RM Conversion", Copyright © 2003 by Kerry Drake, first published by The Guild Companion (


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