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D&D General How would you use Carrion Crawlers meaningfully?


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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Someone is using carrion crawlers to dig out a graveyard, the creatures swallow the valuables the dead are buried with along with the carrion, and the villain gathers the valuables from the crawlers' excretions.
This could lead to actual undead resulting from the disturbed graves or a bait and switch where the assumption is necromancers digging up graves (from beneath?! what is the deal with that) to make undead, but it turns out to be a thieving gang with some crawlers they raised/trained.

This is making me want to play/run IRON DM again.
 


Grantypants

Explorer
Someone in the underdark was farming carrion crawlers, intending to harvest their secretions for medicinal purposes. This was working fine until a great battle in an ongoing war took place nearby. Now the crawlers have escaped their pens in search of a battlefield where they can feast. The crawler farmer wants you to help round up his lost herd before the carrion crawlers either kill all the surviving villagers or one of the warlords from the battle catches them and adds them to their armies.
 


Incenjucar

Legend
Carrion crawlers can be extra terrifying if you make sure that the paralysis has extra oomph. Water, quick sand, boulder traps, pooling lava, crawling through vines above a spike pit, curses, slow-moving high-damage secondary monsters...

And then you have other creatures harvesting them. Carrion crawler botox?
 


MarkB

Legend
Make them have essentially no limit to how large they can grow, given sufficient food supply. So, if there's a major war or plague or other event that's providing plentiful corpses, they can just keep on eating and growing, gaining a burrow speed, occasionally shedding casts of their exoskeleton, until the largest known versions have stats similar to a purple worm but with multiple 30' reach tentacle attacks instead of a stinger.
 

Tutara

Adventurer
My advice would be to reskin them entirely. On paper, a carrion crawler is a horrifying opponent, with the ability to paralyse and squirm along the ceilings in pursuit. The problem lies with quantifying them as an entry in a Monster Manual - something constrained by CR and an expected level range. During the multiple times I have run Strahd, one of the key ways I found to wring some horror out of well-known enemies was to change everything about how they were described. The party is fighting wolves, but they don't need to know they're fighting wolves!
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
My advice would be to reskin them entirely. On paper, a carrion crawler is a horrifying opponent, with the ability to paralyse and squirm along the ceilings in pursuit. The problem lies with quantifying them as an entry in a Monster Manual - something constrained by CR and an expected level range. During the multiple times I have run Strahd, one of the key ways I found to wring some horror out of well-known enemies was to change everything about how they were described. The party is fighting wolves, but they don't need to know they're fighting wolves!
Just tearing the flesh off the wolves' skulls is enough to make them into terrifying monsters, even if you run them exactly the same.
 

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