|No. of Attacks:
||8 or 1
||Special or 1-2
||L (9' long)
The carrion crawler is a scavenger of subterranean areas, feeding primarily
upon carrion. When such food becomes scarce, however, it will attack and kill
The crawler looks like a cross between a giant green cutworm and a cephalopod.
Like so many other hybrid monsters, the carrion crawler may well be the result
of genetic experimentation by a mad, evil wizard.
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.
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 2' 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. Clever travelers have been known to fool an approaching
carrion crawler with a sight and smell illusion, thus gaining time to make good
Carrion crawlers are much-feared denizens of the underground world. They live
in lairs, venturing out in search of carrion or food every few days. Some
underground inhabitants such as goblins and trolls will make use of carrion
crawlers by leaving the bodies of dead foes out in designated areas. This keeps the
creatures at a good distance from their own homes and encourages them to "patrol"
certain areas. Some orcs have been known to chain live prisoners near the
lairs of these fearsome monsters.
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 2 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
The carrion crawler provides the same useful, if disagreeable, function that
jackals, vultures, and crows 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 caverns, quickly eliminating
population problems among the weaker monsters. Thus, the life cycle of the crawler is
inextricably linked to those of its prey -- when the prey flourishes so does the