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Monday Monster: the Crag Drake

Monday Monster: the Crag Drake

Stone made predatory beast, this creature prowls cavern tunnels and mineshafts as a jaguar would stalk through a jungle. Its powerful limbs end in jagged metallic claws and chipped stone teeth fill its powerful jaws. Rocky protrusions mark its durable hide and a serpentine tail lashes wickedly behind the beast.

Crag drakes are the one dragon that make dwarves truly fear, for in addition to their powerful bite and stony claws, they have a caustic breath that allows them to literally eat gold and other ores. Worse still, it knows all the secrets of earth and stone…
Art by Hugo Solis[More…]

Crag Drake CR 8

NE Large Dragon (Earth)
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Listen +11, Spot +11

DEFENSE
AC 25, touch 11, flat-footed 23 (+2 Dex, +14 natural, -1 size)
hp 86 (10d12+20); fast healing 5 (special)
Fort +9, Ref +9, Will +8
Defensive Abilities Immune sleep effects and paralysis, acid; Resist fire 10

OFFENSE
Spd 40 ft., burrow 20 ft.
Melee bite +14 (1d10+4) and 2 claws +8 (1d8+4)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (bite 10 ft.)
Special Attacks breath weapon
Spell-like Abilities (CL 10th)
1/day – stone tell

Art by Hugo Solis

TACTICS
Before Combat A crag drake prefers to lurk within the surrounding stone waiting to ambush its victims. If it cannot find its quarry by scent and sound, a crag drake uses its stone tell ability to track an appropriate victim; only flying creatures escape its notice this way.
During Combat A crag drake makes its first attack on a group or individual with its acidic breath weapon and then launches into melee combat. A crag drake utilizes its mastery of its environment and stays in motion, weaving between combatants and narrow passages to gain a strategic point to use its breath weapon when it recharges. The crag drake makes it first claw and bite attack at full Power Attack, then adjusts if the enemy proves difficult to strike.
Morale When reduced to below 40 hit points, a crag drake uses its meld with stone ability to slip into the rock and regain hit points. Since it can remain inside the stone indefinitely, a crag drake will attempt to wait out any enemies.

STATISTICS
Str 19, Dex 14, Con 15, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 16
Base Atk +10; Grp +18
Feats Ability Focus (breath weapon), Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (bite)
Skills Climb +18, Escape Artist +18, Hide +8, Intimidate +10, Jump +16, Listen +11, Move Silently +12, Search +9, Sense Motive +9, Spot +11
Languages Draconic, Terran
SQ meld with stone, fast healing, squeeze

ECOLOGY
Environment underground, mountains
Organization solitary, clutch 2-8
Treasure standard
Advancement 11-16 HD (Large); 17-22 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment

SPECIAL ABILITIES
Breath Weapon (Su) A crag drake can, as a standard action, breathe a 30 ft. cone of acid. This attack deals 6d6 points of acid damage. A successful DC 19 Reflex saving throw halves this damage. Once a crag drake has used its breath weapon, it cannot do so again for 1d4 rounds. The Reflex saving throw is Constitution-based.
Fast Healing (Su) While using its meld with stone ability, a crag drake heals 5 hit points of damage each round, provided it has at least 1 hit point at the time it enters the stone.
Meld with Stone (Su) A creature of Earth, a crag drake can become one with the stone in which it makes its home. A crag drake can meld with stone as the spell, yet the duration is indefinite.
Squeeze (Ex) Able to compress and contort its body, a crag drake can easily slip through spaces not normally accessible to a creature of its size. When a crag drake would normally be forced into squeezing, it counts as one size category smaller suffering none of the usual penalties, such as decreased movement and being subject to attacks of opportunity. This includes squeezing past an opponent while moving. A crag drake can move into smaller spaces using the squeezing action as normal making a successful Escape Artist check. Using this action, a crag drake still suffers the -4 penalty to AC, but it does not lose its Dexterity bonus.
Skills A crag drake’s powerful muscles and sharp claws serve it well in its rocky habitat. The creature receives a +4 racial bonus to Climb and Jump checks. In addition, the crag drake is not considered flat footed while climbing. A crag drake gains a +8 racial bonus to Escape Artist checks due to its compressible form and slippery nature.

A crag drake is the bane of a successful mining operation. The creature stalks underground denizens eats both them and their precious minerals. Known to lie in wait for prospective miners and underground wanderers, the crag drake’s corrosive breath, vicious teeth and claws and elusive tactics wreak havoc on its victims. Because they are never found far from a rich vein of metal or minerals, some prospectors find the presence of a crag drake to be a sign of good luck.

A crag drake’s coloration and stealthy nature help it skulk through darkened mine shafts and natural caverns. It stands between 5 and 6 feet tall at the shoulder and nearly 15 feet long from flickering tongue to whipping tail. Powerful muscles, a compact build, and a dense rocky hide add to its roughly 1,200 pound weight.

Ecology
A crag drake lives only to hunt. Whether it be eating rich veins of minerals and precious metals or stalking dwarves and other subterranean creatures, a crag drake makes its home at the top of the food chain. Stealthy and cunning, this beast is an ever-present shark stalking the seas of stone beneath a mountain. A crag drake eats living flesh, but morsels like that are merely appetizers for its true proclivities, rich minerals. These meals take much longer to consume, so a crag drake thins the competition to gain time to dig out chunks of ore and partially digest them with its caustic, dripping saliva before lapping up the metals and gems with its wicked flickering tongue.

Habitat and Society
A crag drake prefers to hunt alone, but in especially rich hunting grounds it shares the spoils with others of its kind. The clutch of crag drakes roam separate sections of the mountain to clear out competitors, and then drain the mineral vein dry, leaving nothing but pockets of corroded rock. A crag drake, as a creature of stone itself, finds comfort in the cramped bowels of the earth. A quivering mountain and yawning black tunnels, the glitter of ore just below the surface, and the hiss of pressurized gasses seeping through slow-splitting fissures are the hallmarks of home for these prowling fiends.

In Zobeck, mining dwarves, skittish kobolds, and roaming adventurers most often find these nefarious creatures in the Ironcrag Mountains.

This weeks’s installment of the Monday Monster is one of the creatures written by a patron of the Halls of the Mountain Kingthere’s a dozen more, and a discussion of their design, available to patron of the Halls project. Sign up today!

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