Monster Manual A-Z: Carrion Crawler

Monster Manual A-Z is a series of quick looks at each and every monster presented in the Monster Manual for Dungeons & Dragons 5e. New monsters go up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in alphabetical order, touching on lore, mechanics, and ways to use them in your campaign. To search for all Monster Manual A-Z articles, search MMAZ in the search bar as we’ve excluded them from our Roleplaying Games tag to keep things tidy.

Carrion Crawler

Carrion Crawler

SQUASH IT! SQUASH IT NOW! Oh, wait, it’s the size of a horse? Never mind, burn it with fire! The Carrion Crawler is, while not the strongest of monsters, possibly the scariest thing I could imagine running into in real life. As big as a horse and looking like a centipede on steroids, the Carrion Crawler both crawls and feeds on carrion, that much you could probably figure out. These creatures lurk, unsurprisingly, in areas where death is rampant and other scavengers are scarce, such as sewers, caves, dungeons, and even graveyards and battlefields. It’s not hard for a Carrion Crawler to find death, being able to smell and follow the scent of it to a delicious meal. And while certainly unintelligent, they are good hunters, being capable of following creatures for hours on end in the hopes that death follows, or hanging from the ceiling or around a corner to ambush an unsuspecting victim. Generally a Carrion Crawler won’t kill a target outright, but rather seek to paralyze it with the poison on its tentacles in order to drag it away and kill it in a safer location before eating it.

Not extremely deadly, but rather tough for such a squishy enemy, the Carrion Crawler is easy to hit but can take quite a few of them before finally falling. And before it falls its likely to paralyze their target via poison and drag them off, or scurry away clinging out of reach on the ceiling. While each of these individually aren’t that terrifying, the fact that this creature typically gets the jump and ambushes its enemies is what adds to the danger factor. Beginning adventurers would be right to be wary of them, especially those with less vitality and armor who could fall victim to the poison more easily. That said after a while, they’ll become fodder for a seasoned fighter’s blade while on their way to tougher foes.

The Carrion Crawler is what I would consider a “filler” monster- its hard to build an adventure around it, but it fills in part of an adventure nicely. Delving through a dungeon filled with undead? Throw in a Carrion Crawler for variety. Exploring a cave that is said to hold treasure? Maybe have the Carrion Crawler waiting for the newest fools to try and claim it. Has a battle been fought and you need to reclaim the dead? Carrion Crawlers are feasting like its a holiday with the family. The fact is, the best I could and would use a Carrion Crawler for, is maybe have it present in the treasure room of a dungeon or crypt, having previously feasted on the last people to come down and try to claim it before dying. And I would do that while the adventurers are weak enough to fear the poor, big bug.


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