Article written by Gerrin
The Urkhan Worms are the lifeblood of dwarven tunneling and farming. These worms are sometimes referred to as tractor worms even though most dwarves view that name as an insult. The worms were first founded by the Daewar Dwarf Urkhan, but the Klar Dwarves are the ones who best control them.
The Urkhan worms are used as larvae to provide light for Thorbardin. They are placed in lamps and distributed among the cities. Every few weeks these worms grow to large to be used in lamps and have to be replaced.
The Urkhan worm when they reach full maturity, in about six months, will be nearly 25 feet long and 3 feet wide. Their bodies are segmented and covered in slime. Also two large horns grow out of the worm's head, this is the only feature that distinguishes the head from the tail.
The Dwarves primarily use the worms as their main means to tunneling. The worms' natural diet consists of rock and they bore smooth round holes through the tunnel. Over time the dwarves have perfected a manner in which they can direct the worms and have them create tunnels and caverns.
To do this dwarves first constructed a harness that could help control the worm's direction. This harness is fitted with a saddle and two reins are attached to the worm's horns. The harness is a series of leather straps and rings that connect it to the worm's entire body. A rider simply has to pull left for the worm to go left.
To create tunnels the dwarves use a unique system. The rider points the worms towards the wall that they want to recreate into a tunnel. A dwarf then hits the hall with a metal baton and jumps out of the way. The worm then shoots a clear liquid at the wall. The liquid causes the wall to crack, split and fall apart. The liquid if it makes contact with a person will cause the person's hair and fingernails to melt and never grow back. Also the worms have a sixth sense to move out of the way before cave-ins occur.
To reproduce the worms will twine together, they are able to start reproduction at three months of age. Each worm is asexual and within a week a cocoon will grow on his or her backs. Each cocoon will hold 1-4 worms. The cocoon starts as bright white but as they near the end of the pregnancy they turn brown. This process takes about a week.
The dwarves also use the worm's waste; it is used as fertilizer for the farming warrens found in Thorbardin. The worms that are removed from the lanterns are placed in here until they are big enough to be used for tunneling.
The lifespan of the Urkhan worm is around two years. As they age their appearance changes. Their skin becomes a shade of grey; they stop producing slime and are generally slower in movement. These worms are retired from service and allowed to live the remainder of their lives in a retirement farm.
This article has been viewed 2,914 times. It was added on November 5, 2006, and was last modified on November 5, 2006.
Information presented in the Dragonlance Lexicon has been independently researched by a team of volunteers, and original sources have been cited for each article. This and any other Lexicon articles are intended for personal use only and may NOT be posted on any other web site or otherwise distributed.