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

Quickleaf

Legend
Back in 4e campaign, I used amphibious carrion crawlers that had emerged with flooding of a town. They would paralyze then drag prey into the water to drown them. PCs had to follow one of the crawlers through water back to its underground lair to find a missing NPC. Made for an interesting side quest.
 

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Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I might go to my old standby and adapt an old Doctor Who story. In this case, The Green Death.

In short, an abandoned mine is being used to dump green slime. Mutant carrion crawlers are spreading the slime to the surface.
Oh I like that idea, especially combined with some of these other ideas of Carrion crawler as amphibious alien, flying Carrion Moths and a gigantic, Crawler Queen. Also seen an idea of linking rot grubs as newly hatched Crawlers - so the PCs will need to go into the flooded caves to find the paralysed mine crew who the queen has layed her eggs inside, only to find at least one is now being eaten from the inside by rot grubs

Also like the idea of linking them to ghouls…
 

Stormonu

Legend
Just tearing the flesh off the wolves' skulls is enough to make them into terrifying monsters, even if you run them exactly the same.
Krenshars?

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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
They are attracted by light, so when I use them, I have them snuff out light sources if they can - eating or smashing torches, light rocks, lanterns, whatever. If the game is a traditional dungeon where light sources are very valuable (and cumbersome, relatively speaking), this makes them pretty scary. Even PCs with darkvision now have to content with -5 PP which isn't great for avoiding traps or surprise in subsequent challenges.
 

I might go to my old standby and adapt an old Doctor Who story. In this case, The Green Death.

In short, an abandoned mine is being used to dump green slime. Mutant carrion crawlers are spreading the slime to the surface.
Wow, as a Doctor Who fan of long standing who watched the classic series religiously on my PBS station back in the '80s, I'm agape that I never thought of that before. What a great idea!
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Saying the name "krenshar" instantly makes them a little silly, IMO.

And exposed muscle is gross, but "blood and gore drips from the skull, and an eyeball dangles from its socket as the wolf-thing turns toward you and snarls" is much better, IMO.

Almost any monster can be pushed to the edge of "well, I forgot I was double-booked this Saturday, can't play D&D today byyyyye" with some creative reskinning.
 
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Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
Saying the name "krenshar" instantly makes them a little silly, IMO.

And exposed muscle is gross, but "blood and gore drips from the skull, and an eyeball dangles from socket as the wolf-thing turns toward you and snarls" is much better, IMO.

Almost any monster can be pushed to the edge of "well, I forgot I was double-booked this Saturday, can't play D&D today byyyyye" with some creative reskinning.


May I present the Hound of Glory? They are possessed rabid canines cursed while feeding of the flesh of executed prisoners. Looks like a normal wolf or dog, but when you least expect it, the eyes start flickering like candles and you start to fall asleep. The gross hand that emerges from their bloodied mouth will try to choke you while you sleep. Now that's a creepy reskin!
(image is from a monster in Shadow Hearts, great series for creepy monsters ideas)

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Richards

Legend
I wrote an adventure for a previous 3.5 campaign that had a network of interlaced carrion crawler tunnels - with 13 holes leading up to the surface - as the entrance to a vampire's underground lair. The PCs were hunting the vampire, so first they had to crawl into one of the holes, then wriggle around on elbows and knees (that's how cramped the tunnels were) throughout what was effectively a little maze, looking for the one passageway that led further down into the ceiling of the first chamber in the vampire's cavern network. And, of course, as the PCs are crawling around, the 3 or 4 carrion crawlers who live in those passageways (and who already know which tunnels lead where and which connect to others) are maneuvering around so they can attack them from behind, the direction where their weapons aren't pointing.... I made a few larger chambers in the crawler network where paralyzed victims would be dragged away to be eaten and have eggs laid upon their corpses, so the newly-hatched baby crawlers would have some already-decomposing meat to chew upon after breaking out of their rubbery eggs.

Johnathan
 


Mad_Jack

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.

Going on the principle of You Are What You Eat, a carrion crawler that had ingested a horde of undead or some plant-monster spore zombies could be terrifying.


Back in 4e campaign, I used amphibious carrion crawlers that had emerged with flooding of a town. They would paralyze then drag prey into the water to drown them. PCs had to follow one of the crawlers through water back to its underground lair to find a missing NPC. Made for an interesting side quest.

I'm going to be including some giant amphibious crawlers as a side encounter in one of the locations in my D23 project - they're going to be something that attacks passing ships...
Another side encounter in a forest is going to have a giant arboreal crawler that hides in the treetops playing ambush predator.
 



Voadam

Legend
In my Iron Gods game the kobold bard traded in a magic mace at a Kellid trading settlement for a choice of three magic magic items. had the other party members each suggest a minor equivalent item. He declined the stick of spirit wolf summoning/fetching. Someone suggested a magical mount for him to keep up with everybody else. I don't remember the third suggestion.

He went for the reskinned travelling goat figurine of wondrous power, the figurine of carrion crawling.

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He is a creation school bard and occasionally magics up a sidecar for his cleric buddy.
 

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