Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Carrion Crawler gets 8 attacks?

The Rules Cyclopedia says:
"Its small mouth is surrounded by eight tentacles, each 2' long, which can paralyze on a successful hit unless a saving throw vs. paralysis is made."

MM3.5 says
"Each of a carrion crawler's tentacles is about 2 feet long..."

Ok, I'm thinking about this 9 or 10 foot long bug with it's 8 paralyzing attacks.

Now, I'll admit that I can not remember a single instance of ever using a carrion crawler in any game I've ever run, and I think a big part of the reason is the 8 attacks it gets.  I just don't see it.  2?  3?  Maybe even 4 attacks, but 8?

So I'm curious, how do you run this bug? Does he get 8 attacks?  Does it target multiple opponents, or does it use all 8 on a single attack?

I'm honestly considering knocking it down to 2 attacks with it's stubby little tentacles.  Even still I expect it to be a pretty nasty creature.  


  1. I've always gone ahead and given them the eight attacks. They usually don't get to attack more than two targets, though, unless they're completely surrounded in melee. Then I might spread the love around. They're a scary monster, and with eight attacks against one or maybe two targets, you can bet there will be some saves vs. paralysis nearly every round.

    I've got no problem with this, as something like green slime is pretty much instant death for 1st or 2nd level characters. Sure, you could try to burn it off, but you don't have the hit points to survive the half damage from the burning torches!

    D&D can be deadly, and if you suspect carrion crawlers nearby, have a sleep spell or some ranged weapons handy, or prepare to run! (unless you have lots of men at arms who can take some hits for you and dish out a few as well!)

  2. I like Carrion Crawlers (as a ref) they are horrifying monster. Their high number of attacks makes them pretty fearsome against a wide range of PC levels.

    The 2' long tentacles are a little lame however and I will occasionally have a tougher member of the species with 10' or even 20' long tentacles and those certainly get the players attention.

    I might be a little bit of a softy however I only require one save if a character is hit by one or more tentacles in a round, folks seldom seem comforted by that for some reason.

    Just a couple tentacles flipping around a corner in a corridor or through a door can sometimes rout a party of adventurers.

    Monsters are supposed to be scary stuff and one that gets 8 attacks a round and can paralyze everyone is scary indeed.

  3. @Lord Gwydion~ I'm ok with creatures being basically instant death, it just seemed odd that this creature gets 8 attacks that all paralyze. Dragons only get 6 attacks and that's only when they're in the air!

    @JD~ Hmmm... you know what, making the tentacles longer is a very simple solution. I like it, and it resolves all my issues with the monster.

  4. I never thought the 8 attacks were that big of a deal. It can only attack one or two characters a turn. Sure, you are paralyzing at least one person per turn, but the other characters should be able to kill the thing off before the whole party gets knocked out. Then you just set up camp until the rest of the party regains movement.

    It is a cool monster where it can be very scary and deadly, but at the same time does actually deal out damage. It seems like the perfect monster for low-level parties.

  5. I was never a fan of the trend of giving some D&D monsters an attack for every single limb. Dragons' claw/claw/bite/tail/wing/leg deal always seemed silly to me and to me it smacks of laziness to look at something like an octopus and go ahead and give it eight attacks. I tend to think of attacks more abstractly, so while it might be lashing at you with eight tentacles it's not going to be getting eight times as many chances to cause an effective hit as a regular joe with a sword and shield.

  6. The thing about Carrion Crawlers is that they don't actually do any damage.

    Mentzer Basic has a Carrion Crawler as an introductory monster to help the first-timers not get killed - because the only way a Carrion Crawler can kill a character is if the DM rules that it eats someone. Mentzer has these instructions for how to use it:

    "The carrion crawler will use all 8 of its tentacles to attack the single victim you have chosen. Tell that player to roll 1d6 for initiative, while you roll 1d6 for the monster. If your roll is higher, make 8 Hit rolls for the carrion crawler. If the player's roll is higher, allow the party to move or attack first."

    "If any of the carrion crawler's attacks hit, the character must make a Saving Throw vs. Paralysis (one per hit) or be paralyzed. If any Saving Throw is failed, tell the victim "You fall over." Tell the rest of the players that they see the victim fall, but do _not_ say whether the character is alive or dead."

    "After the first round of combat, ask each player for actions for the coming round. If the first victim is paralyzed, the monster will attack the next closest character. If no characters are nearby, it will crawl out of its hole and attack the nearest."

    "If more than one character moves in to attack the monster, the 8 attacks will be divided among the two closest opponents. Anyone hit must make a Saving Throw or fall over, paralyzed."

    "Continue running the battle as long as necessary. The party should be able to kill the carrion crawler fairly easily. Any paralyzed characters will recover in 3 turns (1/2 hour), unharmed."