Best of the Beastiary, D&D

Crawling Claw: Addams Family Joke (Best of the Bestiary)

How else should I describe this thing?! I mean come on!

The Crawling Claw is… a thing. I don’t hate it, nor do I love it. It just kind of exists. While it does have about half-a-page of flavor text, but none of it is especially deep or interesting. The design is one of the flattest and most uninteresting in the whole book. The stats are so pathetic that it makes Needle Blights look like Dragons! This thing is pitiful in every sense of it!

I’d say it’s said. Last week, I discussed one of my favorite monsters in the book! But it’s more hilarious than depressing, so… I guess it has that going for it.

Lore: A Severed Hand Given Life

Man. I’ve never seen so many words used to explain how a hand was brought to life with magic.

Crawling Claws are animated by dark magic from the severed hands of murderers so that they can continue their killing. The life force of the killer is bound to the hand, though the ritual will fail if the killer has already been revived by some method. They are often used by evil magic-users as simple helpers for their nefarious schemes.

Despite still having the soul of the killer trapped within it, the Crawling Claw has no free will of its own. They are bound to the wills of their new masters entirely. Because of this, their actual uses are highly limited. If they have a moment of freedom, the hand will often recreate the killings it performed during life.

A Crawling Claw can be bound to the spirit of a still-living killer, so long as the hand is severed. It can reattach itself to the living tissue, thus freeing itself from control. If a reunion is met, it will be as if the ritual never happened. However, killing the living murderer has no effect on the Crawling Claw.

This flavor text is all practical. There is no storytelling potential with these things whatsoever. They are minions; pitiful little monsters meant to support a far more treacherous villain.

And they can’t even do that. But we’ll get to that after we talk about its design!

Design: A Hand

FUCKING WHAT ELSE DID YOU EXPECT ME TO SAY?! I CAN’T EVEN MAKE A JOKE HERE!! JUST LOOK AT THIS THING!!

crawling-claw
Credit where it’s due, the artwork on this guy is pretty incredible!

I mean… it’s technically a good design! Anyone with more than five brain cells could figure out what this guy is about just by looking at him! Granted, there isn’t much to figure out! But at least it isn’t misleading!

What am I supposed to say here? I’m genuinely dumbfounded! It’s a crawling zombie hand! It is hardly creative and it’s only memorable due to its sheer simplicity. It isn’t a bad design. But what is there to say about it?

Stats: A Football

Well… I’m sure it’s satisfying to tell your player “You step on it and feel it die beneath your boot.”

The highest number this thing has is its movement speed! The AC sits at a pitiful 12, with a grand total HP of 2/1d4. Did you beat the AC? Congratulations! You’ve killed it! I’m pretty sure a level one Wizard could kill this thing with a bare-handed attack!

Said Wizard wouldn’t need to be afraid of counter-attacks, either. At best, it can bludgeon or slash them 3(1d4)+1. You could sit as still as a dead fish on the ground and this thing still wouldn’t be a threat to you!

But hey! You can’t use Turn Undead or anything poisonous on it! So I guess it has that!

If you want a challenging and creative battle, this is not the monster to use. This is the monster to use if you want to waste your player’s action. You’d best look elsewhere if you want anything else.

Unless you want to homebrew a Super Crawling Claw. That could be fun!

Conclusion

I can’t say that this thing will rank very highly on this one.  The flavor text is entirely functional with no creative potential for storytelling. Sure, the design is technically effective, but it completely lacks in creativity. And in terms of combat, this thing is an absolute joke!

That’s what this monster is. A joke. It isn’t threatening and it isn’t creative. With all that in mind, let’s place the Crawling Claw on the Best of the Bestiary!

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Couatl
  4. Behir
  5. Aboleth
  6. Chuul
  7. Chimera
  8. Ankheg
  9. Aarackockra
  10. Azer
  11. Spectator
  12. Cambion
  13. Animated Armor
  14. Banshee
  15. Basilisk
  16. Bulette
  17. Cloaker
  18. Planetar
  19. Carrion Crawler
  20. Rug of Smothering
  21. Bugbear Chief
  22. Bugbear
  23. Vine Blight
  24. Twig Blight
  25. Needle Blight
  26. Bullywug
  27. Cockatrice
  28. Solar
  29. Deva
  30. Centaur
  31. Flying Sword
  32. Crawling Claw <——-

Congratulations, Flying Sword! You’re finally off the hook!

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