Sunday, May 21, 2017

Frightful Fridays! Death Crab

Hello, and welcome to another edition of Frightful Fridays! The image for this monster is courtesy of my friend, Patrick, and I really took to the idea of a scavenging crab taking the skull from a barely functional undead creature, where the fusion of the two creates an even more dangerous monster.

I hope you enjoy the death crab, and I'll be back again with another monster. Thanks for reading!

This seemingly ordinary red crab inhabits a skull with glowing, green eyes. When the crab moves, the skull stays with it.
Death Crab      CR 3
XP 800
NE Tiny magical beast
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +8
AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 16 (+2 Dex, +4 natural, +2 size)
hp 30 (4d10+8)
Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +2
Immune negative energy
Speed 20 ft.
Melee 2 claws +8 (1d3+2 plus attach)
Space 2-1/2 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks attach, death bite, serrated claws
Str 5, Dex 14, Con 15, Int 3, Wis 12, Cha 14
Base Atk +4; CMB +4 (+8 grapple); CMD 11 (19 vs. trip)
Feats Go UnnoticedAPG, Improved Initiative, Weapon FinesseB
Skills Perception +8, Stealth +14; Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth
SQ skull symbiosis
Environment coastlines
Organization solitary, pair, or band (3–6)
Treasure incidental
Death Bite (Su) If a death crab maintains a grapple against an opponent, in addition to dealing its claw damage, its attached skull bites the opponent. The creature must succeed at a DC 14 Fortitude save or take 1d2 points of Constitution damage, which grants the skull 5 temporary hit points for 1 hour (up to a maximum number of temporary hit points equal to its full normal hit points) and increases its hardness by 1 (up to a maximum of 10). The save DC is Charisma-based.
Serrated Claws (Ex) A death crab deftly attacks with its wicked claws. It gains Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat and adds its Dexterity modifier to its claw damage.
Skull Symbiosis (Su) The skull a death crab inhabits belonged to an undead creature and provides several benefits to the crab. While the skull is intact, the crab gains immunity to negative energy damage (positive energy still heals it), and the crab’s natural armor bonus increases by +2 (already included in its AC). Finally, the skull grants the death crab its signature death bite attack. Destroying the skull removes these abilities from the crab. The skull itself has 10 hp and hardness 5 and uses the death crab’s AC and CMD. The skull must be targeted separately to inflict damage to it, and it takes no damage from spells or effects that have an area of effect. However, if it is the area of effect for a spell or effect that deals positive energy damage to undead (such as a cleric’s channel energy), the skull suffers the damage, which bypasses the skull’s hardness and does not allow the skull a save.

When bleached skeletons wash up on shore, a strange species of hermit crabs breaks off the skulls and inhabits them. In many cases, the skeletons belong to the restless dead, so the skulls retain a measure of the malign spirits animating them. The skulls fuse to their new hosts and drive them to commit acts of murder or vengeance. This symbiotic relationship benefits the crabs, which become harder to strike and can dispatch prey with ease. Death crabs are still carrion eaters and allow their kills to rot before feasting on them. In rare cases, death induced by Constitution damage causes the remains to animate as a skeleton or zombie, but death crabs are usually quick to sever the heads from such victims, especially if the crabs have produced offspring.

Intelligent water-bound undead employ death crabs as guardians, usually favoring them over unintelligent undead, especially since the melding of the two adds a terrible intelligence to the whole. Death crabs allowed to grow to prodigious sizes inhabit the skulls of more impressive creatures provided by their undead caretakers.

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