Carrion Crawler Variants for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

The carrion crawler is a classic Dungeons & Dragons monster. Today, I’m going to be creating a few variants for this crawling critter.

What is a carrion crawler?

Originally appearing in the 1975 Grey Hawk supplement, carrion crawlers are basically giant centipedes with poisonous tentacles. And, well… that’s it. Ha! Not to knock them, but they’re just big bugs that roam around dungeons and try to paralyze you and eat you.  Although, oddly enough their tentacle attack has an attack bonus that’s way outside the normal monster attack bonus. In fact, it’s double what it should be!

In Fifth Edition, they’re brutes with above average Strength and Constitution. They have darkvision and can climb, so it’s likely they’re going to use the dark to their advantage and attack from above, especially since their tentacles have pretty excellent reach. The fluff in the Monster Manual even says they’re mostly ambush-predators, waiting for dopey adventurers to turn corners without looking.

What variants are needed for carrion crawlers in Fifth Edition?

Of course, poking fun at their simplicity doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun with them. They’re monstrosities, so when it comes to beasts and monstrosities, the easiest thing to do is scale them up and down. Carrion crawler classic comes in size Large, so we can shrink one version down to Medium and grow another up to Huge. There are our lesser carrion crawler and greater carrion crawler right there.

Sidenote: what’s cool about the lesser carrion crawlers is that they’re so squishy, their CR doesn’t breach 0. That means you could potentially flood a room with these guys and not break the game too badly for your PC’s. Ewwww!

And for kicks, why not create a version that has low-level psionics, too? Maybe the bugger was fiddled around with by mind flayers? I’m envisioning a crawler that has blue stripes on it to differentiate it. Thus, a blue tiger carrion crawler.

 

carrion-crawler

Carrion Crawler, Lesser

Small monstrosity, unaligned


Armor Class 11

Hit Points 11 (2d8 + 2)

Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft.


Abilities Str 10 (+0), Dex 13 (+1), Con 12 (+1), Int 1 (-5), Wis 11 (+1), Cha 5 (-3)


Skills Perception +2

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12

Languages

Challenge 0 (10 XP)


Keen Smell. The carrion crawler has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.

Spider Climb. The carrion crawler can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.


Actions

Tentacles. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 2 (1d4) poison damage and the target must succeed on a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. Until this poison ends, the target is paralyzed. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the poison on itself on a success.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 2 (1d4) piercing damage.

 

greater-carrion-crawler

Carrion Crawler, Greater

Huge monstrosity, unaligned


Armor Class 15

Hit Points 114 (12d12 + 36)

Speed 40 ft., climb 40 ft.


Abilities Str 18 (+4), Dex 13 (+1), Con 20 (+5), Int 1 (-5), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 5 (-3)


Skills Perception +4

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 14

Languages

Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)


Keen Smell. The carrion crawler has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.

Spider Climb. The carrion crawler can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.


Actions

Multiattack. The carrion crawler makes two attacks: one with its tentacles and one with its bite, and uses its Blinding Spray if it can.

Tentacles. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 15 ft., one creature. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) poison damage and the target must succeed on a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. Until this poison ends, the target is paralyzed. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the poison on itself on a success.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4) piercing damage.

Blinding Spray (Recharge 5-6). The carrion crawler sprays a poisonous mist in a 20-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw. On a failure, a creature takes 18 (4d8) poison damage and is blinded for 1 minute, or takes half the amount of damage and is not blinded on a success. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself with a success.

 

blue-tiger-carrion-crawler

Carrion Crawler, Blue Tiger

Large aberration, chaotic evil


Armor Class 14 (natural armor)

Hit Points 110 (13d10 + 39)

Speed 30 ft., climb 30 ft.


Abilities Str 14 (+2), Dex 14 (+2), Con 16 (+3), Int 17 (+3), Wis 14 (+2), Cha 11 (+0)


Skills Perception +5

Damage Resistances psychic

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 13

Languages understands Deep Speech but can’t speak it, telepathy 120 ft.

Challenge 5 (1,800)


Master of the Mindless. The carrion crawler uses its telepathy to control all simple-minded creatures within 30-feet of it. Each creature with an Intelligence score of 2 or less in the area must succeed on a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or be magically charmed by the carrion crawler for 1 day, or until the carrion crawler dies or is more than 1 mile from the target. The charmed target obeys the carrion crawler’s commands and can’t take reactions, and the carrion crawler and the target can communicate telepathically with each other at a distance of up to 1 mile. Whenever the charmed target takes damage, it can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on itself with a success.

Keen Smell. The carrion crawler has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.

Innate Spellcasting (Psionics). The carrion crawler’s innate spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 14). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no components:

At will: detect thoughts
1/day each: dominate monsterstoneskin, telekinesis

Spider Climb. The carrion crawler can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.


Multiattack. The carrion crawler makes two attacks: one with its mind blast and one with its bite.

Mind Blast. Ranged Spell Attack: +6 to hit, range 30 ft., one creature. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) psychic damage and the target must succeed on a DC 14 Intelligence saving throw or become stunned for 1 minute. The target can repeat its saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself with a success.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (2d4 + 2) piercing damage.

 

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Some cool critters here. Each one I think fills a different niche in the carrion crawler portfolio, hopefully adding some flavor to your fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons campaigns.

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As I continue to expand on the Fifth Edition Monster Manual, next up I’ll be taking on centaurs!

See you then!

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