A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

05 April 2011

D is for Drake, Carrion

The idea was for these to be found in the outer chamber of a small dragon’s lair. I can see these guys waiting in the wings to attack until the true dragon has sufficiently weakened one in the party then attacking the weak PCe when they get an opportune moment but otherwise keeping their distance. I picture a cross between a vulture and a Komodo dragon; I plan on using this pre-painted plastic miniature from Wizards of the Coast: (This miniature is the Small Black Dragon, #53 from the War of the Dragon Queen set from WotC.)

And I apologize in advance for the length of the description.

Drake, Carrion
Small Dragon
Hit Dice: 6d12+24 (63 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 60 ft. (12 squares), fly 100 ft. (average)
Armor Class: 18 (+1 size, +2 Dex, +5 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 16
Base Attack/Grapple: +7/+5
Attack: Bite +9 melee (1d8 plus poison)
Full Attack: Bite +9 melee (1d8 plus poison) and Claws +1 (1d4)
Face/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Breath weapon (Stench 40ft Spread, Fort DC 17), Diseased bite, Improved Grab, Immune to acid, disease, paralysis, poison
Special Qualities: Blindsense, darkvision, diseased bite, Improved grab, stench
Saves: Fort +8, Ref +5, Will +5
Abilities: Str 10, Dex 14, Con 18, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 8
Skills: Listen +9, Search +9, Spot +9, Escape Artist +9, Intimidate +9
Feats: Alertness, Flyby attack, Multiattack
Environment: Any warm or temperate
Organization: Solitary or bale (2-5)
Challenge Rating: 5
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always Neutral
Advancement: 7-8 HD (Small)
Level Adjustment: +0

The carrion drake, when viewed from a distance or in flight, is often mistaken for a young black dragon. However, upon closer inspection, the two creatures are easily distinguished by the knowledgeable adventurer. It is surmised that the creature came either from a clutch of malformed black dragon spawn or a crazed mage. Either is equally likely. The creature typically feeds on carrion (hence its name), but are known to attack living creatures, especially those who appear weak or wounded. If particularly desperate and hungry, however, they will not hesitate to attack perfectly healthy creatures.
Carrion drake will often be found near the lair of true dragons, living off the remains of the dragon’s victims. Most dragons tolerate the presence of carrion drakes to keep their environs clean and free of offal, even if it requires coercion or threats by the true dragon to keep carrion drakes under control. Black dragons will attack and kill carrion drakes on sight.
The carrion drake is also commonly called a rot dragon because, as an adult, appears to be nearly identical to a young black dragon. A carrion drake can be best differentiated from a black dragon first by the absence of the black dragon’s forward-swept horns, although it retains the skeletal facial features of a black dragon. The other obvious difference is its leg structure: the carrion drake has legs that extend outward from its body like a lizard or crocodile, giving it a low-slung body structure and a waddling walk, appearing to be quite ungainly. Careless adventurers who underestimate the odd gait are all-too fatally surprised by the beats’s speed. In flight the carrion drake’s 8-foot wingspan grants it a rapid speed and graceful power.
The scales of a carrion drake are a shiny black, glistening with a clear slime. This slime is a product of its foul diet; the rot dragon will often roll around in decaying meat before consuming the foul repast. This slime provides the beast a degree of protection from most slashing and bludgeoning weapons. In addition, the slime (or perhaps the creature’s black dragon ancestry) provides a carrion drake with an immunity to acid attacks.
A carrion drake has terrible eyesight, but a keen sense of smell and excellent hearing. Within 60 feet it can sense a foe just as a normally-sighted creature would. Although the carrion drake has darkvision, it is severely reduced in range. It is believed that its eyes are damaged in its youth by the contagion from its foul diet or from the foul slime coating its body.
The carrion drake has a very powerful set of jaws; once locked on to an object or victim it is extremely difficult to dislodge. Often an entire bale of carrion drakes will attack a single victim, a tactic which will often bring the victim to the ground quickly. Its bite also contains a virulent poison, a by-product of the diseased meat and offal that makes up its diet. Creatures who are bitten by a carrion drake become sick within a day, the wounds becoming necrotic and the victim steadily weakening until death, unless properly treated and healed.
The carrion drake can also exhale this same poison as a breath weapon. The cloud of fetid stench can cover a 40-foot diameter area. Those that are within the cloud and affected by the smell become violently ill.

A carrion drake will attack directly, using stealth if possible, but not adverse to a direct frontal assault on a creature. It will typically lead with its breath weapon, followed by a combination of bite/claws. They favor attempting a swarming grapple as soon as possible, preferably once the victim is sickened from the breath weapon attack, especially if more than one are present.

Blindsense (Ex): A carrion drake can sense all foes within 60 feet as a normally-sighted creature would. Beyond that range, all targets have total concealment to its vision, but its scent and hearing are unaffected. A carrion drake is susceptible to sound- and scent-based attacks, however, and is affected normally by loud noises, sonic spells, and overpowering odors. Negating a carrion drake's sense of smell or hearing reduces this ability to normal Blind-Fight (as the feat). If both these senses are negated, a carrion drake must rely on its limited vision.

Breath Weapon (Su): Every 1d4 rounds, Cloud of fetid, rotten stench, 40ft diameter, every 1d4 rounds; Fortitude DC 17 save or be sickened for 10 rounds. The save DC is Constitution-based. Creatures that successfully save cannot be affected by the same carrion drake's stench for 24 hours. A delay poison or neutralize poison spell removes the effect from the sickened creature. Creatures with immunity to poison are unaffected, and creatures resistant to poison receive their normal bonus on their saving throws.

Darkvision: Carrion drakes can see in the dark up to 20 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and carrion drakes can function just fine with no light at all within this limited range.

Diseased bite (Su): Fortitude DC 17, incubation 24 hours; damage 1d3 Cha and 1d3 Con daily. The save DC is Constitution-based. Unlike normal diseases, the disease continues, the necrotic effect spreading and weakening the victim until the victim reaches Constitution 0 (and dies) or is cured as described below. Because the contagion in the bite is so virulent, a character attempting to heal a creature so afflicted must first succeed on either a DC 18 Heal or a DC 18 caster-level check. If the check fails, the Heal attempt fails and cannot be re-attempted by the same character for twelve hours. If the check succeeds, the character correctly identifies the contagion and the diseased bite can be magically cured, but still requires two separate cures: the poison must be stopped (neutralize poison) [Con damage] and the necrotic disease must be cured (remove disease) [Cha damage]. If only one of the two effects is cured, the other continues until successfully treated..

Immunities (Ex): Immune to acid, disease, paralysis, poison.

Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, a carrion drake must hit with a bite attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity.. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold.

Swarming grapple (Ex): A bale of carrion drakes, when sufficiently hungry to attack living creatures, will commonly employ a swarming tactic to bring down their prey. At an average adult weight of 80-100 lbs., the carrion drakes will attach themselves to any part of a creature's anatomy and thrash about until the combined weight of several drakes finally brings their victim to the ground. After a drake successfully grapples a creature, each subsequent drake's attempt at grappling gains a +2 circumstance bonus (maximum +6).

Exceptions to Grapple rules:
If one or more drakes are in contact with the ground, they can work in concert to attempt to drag the victim or attempt to trip the victim by means of an opposed grapple check, with a +2 modifier (maximum +6) for each additional drake in contact with the ground.
If, with the added weight of one or more carrion drakes, the victim's encumbrance would otherwise equal a Heavy load, then the grappled creature thereafter moves at half speed, cannot run or charge, and takes a -2 penalty on all attack rolls and a -4 penalty to Dexterity.
If, with the added weight of one or more carrion drakes, the victim's encumbrance would otherwise exceed maximum load, then the grappled creature is considered to be pinned.

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