Monday, March 10, 2014

Frightful Fridays! Killer Crabs

Welcome back to another episode of Frightful Fridays! (this being hour 90 of the previous Friday) We endured our, hopefully, last winter storm of the season, and I had to drive through the post-snowpocalyptic wasteland of the Piedmont Triad to pick up my son from college. Naturally, this led me to thinking about giant crabs and a creature that gets a little inspiration from a particular Valve game.

I hope you enjoy today's crabby entry, and I will be back on Friday (or perhaps another alternate-reality Friday) with a new monster. Various friends have been restocking the image folder with interesting monsters, so I look forward to inflicting those on you soon. Thanks for reading!

This exceptionally large, slate-gray crab waves its claws in the air, before bringing one down on the ground, which creates a myriad of cracks.
Stonebreaker Crab CR 9
XP 6,400
N Huge vermin (aquatic)
Init –1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +5

AC 23, touch 7, flat-footed 23 (–1 Dex, +16 natural, –2 size)
hp 119 (14d8+56)
Fort +13, Ref +3, Will +5
Immune mind-affecting effects

Speed 40 ft., swim 60 ft.
Melee 2 claws +16 (2d8+8)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks stonebreaking claws

Str 26, Dex 9, Con 18, Int —, Wis 13, Cha 5
Base Atk +10; CMB +20 (+24 sunder); CMD 29 (31 vs. sunder, 37 vs. trip)
Feats Greater Sunder(B), Improved Sunder(B), Power Attack(B)
Skills Perception +5, Swim +16; Racial Modifiers +4 Perception
SQ water dependency

Environment any aquatic
Organization solitary, pair, or cast (3–8)
Treasure none

Special Abilities
Stonebreaking Claws (Ex) A stonebreaker crab's claws ignore 8 points of hardness when the crab attacks or sunders an object.

A stonebreaker crab resides in coastal waters near a settlement, which finds itself besieged by the monstrous vermin on a regular basis. When the urge strikes the crab, it washes up on shore, trundles towards the nearest building, destroys it, feasts on victims caught within the fallen building, and then retreats to the sea. While unintelligent, the crab is drawn to structures and will attack them in preference to creatures unless they threaten the crab.

Creatures capable of summoning or controlling a stonebreaker crab use it as an impromptu siege weapon. These creatures are careful not to use actual siege weapons, since the crab assuredly will attack them in addition to—or instead of—its target. A stonebreaker crab measures 17 feet in diameter and weighs 4 tons.


This bright-red crab towers over everything. One of its two mismatched claws looks like a normal crab claw, albeit oversized, and the other, smaller claw seems sword-like.
Headhunter Crab CR 11
XP 12,800
N Gargantuan vermin (aquatic)
Init –2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +8

AC 24, touch 4, flat-footed 24 (–2 Dex, +20 natural, –4 size)
hp 152 (16d8+80)
Fort +15, Ref +3, Will +5
Immune mind-affecting effects

Speed 50 ft., swim 80 ft.
Melee claw +19 (4d6+11/19-20 plus vorpal claw), claw +19 (3d6+11 plus grab)
Space 20 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks constrict (3d6+11), vorpal claw

Str 32, Dex 6, Con 21, Int —, Wis 11, Cha 7
Base Atk +12; CMB +27 (+31 grapple); CMD 35 (43 vs. trip)
Feats Improved Critical (claw)(B)
Skills Perception +8, Swim +19; Racial Modifiers +8 Perception
SQ water dependency

Environment any aquatic
Organization solitary, pair, or cast (3–12)
Treasure none

Special Abilities
Vorpal Claw (Ex) One of the headhunter crab's claws is honed to razor-sharpness. This claw deals more damage and benefits from the Improved Critical feat. If the claw makes a successful critical hit, it decapitates and instantly slays a Huge or smaller victim (DC 29 Fortitude save negates decapitation). If the victim has no head or makes the Fortitude save, it still takes critical damage. The save DC is Strength-based.

To the relief of many surface dwellers, a headhunter crab spends the majority of its time terrorizing denizens of the deep and leaving headless corpses of sharks and whales in its wake. On the rare occasions when a headhunter crab emerges from the water, it attempts to decapitate any creature it crosses. The crab seems to enjoy the sensation of chopping off heads, so much so that it oftentimes chooses not to constrict an opponent in its larger claw; rather it holds the victim in place so it can cut with its smaller claw.

Many undersea societies hunt down an active headhunter crab, and this usually entails a large armed force. Only insane creatures, or those who do not fear decapitation, employ one in their attacks on or schemes against others. A headhunter crab weighs a relatively modest 5,000 pounds and measures 25 feet across.


This crab is slightly larger than the typical specimen, but the pair of stingers protruding from its abdomen and the apparent cranial bulge truly set it apart from other crabs.
Neural Crab CR 13
XP 25,600
NE Tiny aberration (aquatic)
Init +9; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +32

AC 28, touch 22, flat-footed 18 (+9 Dex, +1 dodge, +6 natural, +2 size)
hp 161 (19d8+76)
Fort +10, Ref +15, Will +17
DR 10/adamantine or bludgeoning; Immune cold, electricity; Resist sonic 10; SR 24

Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft. (perfect), swim 40 ft.
Melee 2 claws +25 (1d6–1), 2 stings +25 (1d4–1 plus paralysis)
Space 2.5 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks paralysis (1d4 rounds, DC 23), puppeteer, skull cracker
Spell-Like Abilities
At will—dominate vermin
3/day—dominate person (DC 21)
1/day—mass hold person (DC 23)

Str 9, Dex 28, Con 18, Int 25, Wis 23, Cha 22
Base Atk +14; CMB +21; CMD 36 (44 vs. trip)
Feats Alertness, Combat Expertise, Deceitful, Defensive Combat Training, Dodge, Greater Feint, Greater Spell Penetration, Improved Feint, Spell Penetration, Weapon Finesse
Skills Bluff +29, Disguise +29, Fly +25, Intimidate +22, Knowledge (arcana) +29, Knowledge (geography) +24, Knowledge (history) +24, Knowledge (planes) +29, Knowledge (religion) +24, Perception +32, Sense Motive +29, Spellcraft +29, Stealth +32, Swim +18
Languages Abyssal, Aklo, Aquan, Celestial, Common, Draconic, Infernal; telepathy 120 ft.
SQ amphibious

Environment any aquatic
Organization solitary, pair, or conspiracy (3–6)
Treasure none

Special Abilities
Dominate Vermin (Sp) A neural crab can control mindless vermin with a total HD limit equal to 3 times its HD. This spell-like otherwise works like animate dead.
Puppeteer (Su) A neural crab that slays a victim can take control of the victim's body and mind, which forces it to lose its sting attacks. The victim is treated as if it gained 2 negative levels, but the crab has access to all the victim's memories and skills. The controlled body can cast spells (but the crab cannot replenish expended spell slots) and use all abilities and feats possessed by the victim. This control persists for 24 hours, after which the body decomposes beyond use.
Skull Cracker (Ex) If a neural crab uses a coup de grace against a defenseless opponent, its claws deal 4x damage. It also deals 1d6 points of damage to each of the foe's mental abilities.

A shadowy competitor with dread krakens for oceanic—and eventually worldwide—domination, the neural crab also employs agents to do its will. Rather than creating magic items and strange new creatures like dread krakens prefer, a neural crab uses crabs and other mindless vermin as its foot soldiers and takes direct command of humanoids to do its bidding when it requires finesse. Despite its crab-like appearance and its ability to control crabs, a neural crab is unrelated to creatures.

A neural crab prefers to find solitary, but reasonably competent, victims it can kill and take over to infiltrate communities. It uses its powerful claws to crack open a victim's head—in a weird mockery of someone cracking a crab shell to get at crabmeat—after it has immobilized the victim. Once it has killed its prey, it then wedges itself inside the victim's cranium to take control of the body. The neural crab uses several techniques to disguise the odd appearance, but usually the expedient of a hat or cloak's hood suffices. If the crab does not wish to go through the bother of controlling a body, especially if no desirable victims present themselves, it dominates a simple-minded person to transport it where better choices live.

Considering the 400-year life span typical for a neural crab, it is fair to note that it has a long-term goal for all its actions. While a neural crab prefers to work alone, it occasionally teams up with other neural crabs to control national governments.