Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Non-Dark Sun Creatures in Dark Sun - Carrion Crawler

There are many creatures from the various monstrous manuals that have been officially added to Dark Sun. I added some unofficially for my game and I'm sure a lot of other DMs do the same.
There is no inherent problem with this, although the flavor text often doesn't fit with the Dark Sun setting. My goal is to list the various monsters that "don't fit" and rewrite their flavor text to make them fit.
I often add a new Athasian variant as well.

Carrion Crawler

Carrion Crawler Undead Carrion Crawler
Climate/Terrain Any Land Any Land
Frequency Uncommon Very Rare
Organization Solitary Solitary
Activity Cycle Any Any
Diet Carnivore None
Intelligence Non- (0) Non- (0)
Treasure B Nil
Alignment Neutral Neutral
No. Appearing 1-6 1
Armor Class 3/7 1/5
Movement 12 9
Hit Dice 3 + 1 4+1
Thac0 17 16
No. of Attacks 8 or 1 8 or 1
Damage/ Attack Special or 1-2 Special or 1-4
Special Attack ParalysisParalysis/ Disease
Special DefenseNil Spell/Psionic Immunity
Magic Resistance Nil Nil
Size L (9' tall) L (9' tall)
Morale Special Special
XP Value 420 1,400

The carrion crawler is a scavenger, feeding primarily upon carrion. When such food becomes scarce, however, it will attack and kill living creatures. The carrion crawler dislikes the intense heat of the day, so stays underground until the sun sets.
The crawler looks like a cross between a giant green cutworm and a cephalopod. The monster’s head, which is covered with a tough hide that gives it Armor Class 3, sprouts eight slender, writhing tentacles. The body of the carrion crawler is not well protected and has an armor class of only 7. The monster is accompanied by a rank, fetid odor which often gives warning of its approach.
Undead carrion crawlers look similar to their living counterparts, but their flesh is rotting and barely clinging to its carapace.

The carrion crawler can move along walls, ceilings and passages very quickly, using its many clawed feet for traction. When attacking, the monster lashes out with its’ long tentacles, each of which produces a sticky secretion that can paralyze its victims for 2-12 turns. A save versus paralyzation is allowed to escape these effects. They kill paralyzed creatures with their bite which inflicts 1-2 points of damage. The monster will always attack with all of its tentacles.
Carrion crawlers are non-intelligent, and will continue to attack as long as any of their opponents are unparalyzed. Groups of crawlers attacking together will not fight in unison, but will each concentrate on paralyzing as many victims as they can. When seeking out prey, they rely primarily on their keen senses of sight and smell.
Undead carrion crawlers move slowly, always striking last in a combat round. They always fight until destroyed. Undead carrion crawlers are immune to sleep, charm, hold, death magic, poisons, and cold-based spells. They are also immune to all telepathic psionic powers. A vial of holy water inflicts 2-8 points of damage to an undead carrion crawler.
Undead carrion crawlers attack as their living counterparts, with the following additions: Undead carrion crawlers suffer full damage from copper, bronze, brass, and enchanted weapons. They are immune to damage from weapons of any other materials. In addition to a carrion crawlers normal paralysis attack, the undead carrion crawler's bite, which inflicts 1d4 point of damage, carries a disease that causes shortness of breath, weakness, and nausea. The victim may resist with a successful saving throw vs death. If the save if failed, the victim suffers a 1d4 point reduction in Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution for 1d4 weeks. This disease may be healed by cure disease, heal, or restoration spells.

Carrion crawlers live in lairs, venturing out in search of carrion or food every few days. Carrion crawlers will sometimes live with a mate or in a small group numbering no more than 6. This does not mean that they cooperate in hunting, but merely share the same space and compete fiercely for the same food. If two crawlers have made a kill or discovered carrion, they will often fight over the food, sometimes killing one another in the process.
The carrion crawler mates once a year. Several days after mating, the female will go off in search of a large kill. When she has found or killed an adequate food supply, she lays about 100 eggs among the carrion. The grubs hatch one week later and begin feeding.
Maternal care ceases once the eggs have been laid and it is not uncommon for eggs to later be eaten by the female who laid them. Females die a few weeks after laying their eggs, exhausted by the effort. Males live only a short time longer, having mated with as many females as possible. Grubs have been known to consume one another in feeding frenzies, and are a favorite food of adult carrion crawlers. Few of the grubs reach maturity, but those who do have eaten voraciously and will achieve their full size in a single year. When they reach maturity, the mating cycle begins again.
These monsters exist on the most basic instinctual level, having no more intelligence than earthworms or most insects. The carrion crawler is driven by two urges: food and reproduction. It has absolutely no interest in the collection of treasure.
Undead carrion crawlers are just as unintelligent as their living counterparts. They keep no treasure and do not stay in liars. They seek to destroy the living and nothing else. The origin of their creation is unknown, except by, perhaps, the most powerful defilers.

The carrion crawler provides the same useful, if disagreeable, function that vultures perform. Like so many other predators carrion crawlers instinctively prey on the weak, sick, and foolish. In the long run, this has a beneficial effect on the prey, strengthening its gene pool. The carrion crawler also works wonders in over crowded areas, quickly eliminating population problems among weaker creatures. Thus, the life cycle of the crawler is inextricably linked to those of its prey –when the prey flourishes so does the crawler.
Undead carrion crawlers have no role in ecology or nature.

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