Red Worms, also known under the term Schistosoma piaculum among scientific minded mages, are a species of abyssal fluke (ie, parasitic flatworm) that insinuate themselves into the blood of their victims and transforms them into tantalizing prey for vampires.
Red Worms are usually the result of Manifestation Paradoxes, and insinuate themselves as tiny eggs into meat nearby. The next being that consumes the meat becomes infected, although only the metabolisms of humans and vampires cause the Worms to hatch (cooking the meat does little to harm the Gulmoth biology of the hardy eggs). The immature flukes grow to adult size within two days, and begin making physiological changes to the mortal host. Within the body, they usually cluster around organs like the heart, where the adults can even be seen with the bare eye (they are usually twice the width of a human hair). If a vampire drinks the blood of the mortal host, the Red Worms are consumed along with it. They are sucked into the dead crucible of the vampiric body, where they are then provoked to reproduce given the transubstantiation of mortal blood to puissant Vitae. As the vampires are highly resilient, one infected can carry millions of eggs within his blood stream, which are then transferred to the next mortal he feeds from.
The Red Worms use their abyssal heritage to influence humans to become easier prey for vampires. Minor hemophilia, photosensitivity and decreasing inhibitions shall attract hungry vampires, while vampires that are infected by Red Worms gain a sharper sense for blood, become more humanlike in their appearance (thanks to waste products of the Worms in the blood stream) and become protective of the person they feed from (to the point where harming a victim with the Worms provokes a frenzy), ensuring a cycle that aids the parasitic Worms to prosper. Meanwhile, the responsible mage suffers nightmares and are targeted by abyssal creatures, who sense the connection between the mage and the Worms and think of the Awakened as an ally. Furthermore, the Red Worms devour magic rather than Earthly nutrients; any source of mana in the infestation's area of influence rapidly becomes laced with the abyssal Resonance of the Worms and rapidly dries, and mages find working their spells harder.
Red Worms can be treated via mundane means (whether that means shooting every infected victim or finding a pharmaceutical solution) or with Life magic, but their presence makes any attempt vulgar by default. This also runs into the problem that infected vampires, being undead, require a fundamentally more complex spell to affect their occult biology in the first place, let alone convincing the naturally paranoid Kindred to accept treatment.
- , p.167-175