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Deep Crow

posted Thursday, October 11th 2007 by Jonathan Drain
Creatures & NPCsGame MaterialThird Edition

The following game statistics are inspired by this Penny Arcade strip.


This vile feathered creature appears at first a massive, corrupted crow. A disgusting multitude of eyes are mounted above a powerful antlike beak, and four lethal talons ready themselves before a heavy, swinging tail.

This terrifying creature is responsible for night raids on farms that are often mistakenly blamed on dragons or common cattle thieves. Swooping down out of the darkness on massive wings, the powerful bird simply lifts off with livestock in its talons. Its roost is frequently littered with the smashed skeletons of former meals, with recognisable skulls evidencing that the terrible creature has no compunctions about eating human flesh. Growing ever larger with age, truly ancient deep crows are fearsome creatures indeed.

(Game statistics follow behind the cut.)

Deep Crow—CR12

Always NE Huge magical beast
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60ft., low-light vision; Listen +10, Spot +11

AC 20, touch 12, flat-footed 18 (+8 natural armor, +4 Dex, -2 size); damage reduction 10/magic
hp 102 (12HD)
Resist acid 10, cold 10; SR 17
Fort +11, Ref +12, Will +5

Spd fly 60ft. (average)
Melee 4 talons +17 (1d8+6) and bite +15 (2d8+3) and tail slap +15 (2d6+3)
Base Atk +12; Grp +12
Atk Options Snatch, flyby attack

Abilities Str 22, Dex 18, Con 16, Int 7, Wis 13, Cha 9
Feats Alertness, Snatch, Multiattack, Hover, Flyby attack

Environment any mountain or underground
Organization solitary
Treasure none
Advancement 13-24 HD (Huge), 25-36 HD (Gargantuan)

Snatch The deep crow can choose to start a grapple when it hits with its talon or bite attack. If the deep crow gets a hold on a creature of Small size or less, it squeezes each around for automatic talon damage. The deep crow can drop a creature it has snatched as a free action or use a standard action to fling it aside. A flung creature travels 1d6 x 10 feet, and takes 1d6 points of damage per 10 feet traveled. If the deep crow flings a snatched opponent while flying, the opponent takes this amount or falling damage, whichever is greater.
Flyby attack When flying, the deep crow can take a move action (including a dive) and another standard action at any point during the move. The deep crow cannot take a second move action during a round when it makes a flyby attack.

Disclaimer: I haven’t playtested this yet. Let me know if you think the challenge rating is off.


  1. mike

    October 11th, 2007

    Great monster, but almost as great as the Deep Crow is the Google Ads it inspires just below the writeup:

    Get Rid of Crows
    Crow be Gone© First line of Defense 30 Day Money Back Guarantee…

  2. tim

    March 21st, 2008

  3. t_catt11

    March 21st, 2008

    I love it – great stuff. Nice homage to Penny Arcade, and the fact is, it makes a pretty darned cool monster, too.

  4. ian

    March 21st, 2008

    the cr seems a bit high. he’s got good to-hits but crappy damage. perhaps give him imp. natural attack or poison? maybe even power attack. also his grapple bonus should be +26 (BAB 12+ STR 6 + size 8), and could probably use Improved Grapple.

  5. zapogee

    March 21st, 2008

    I’d go with 120′ blindsight rather than darkvision (think bats), give it a special ability, and add 1-2 CR for it.
    Special ability: vorpal bite? Wounding claws? Acidic spit? Lets be nasty and do all 3!

  6. Attilla

    March 21st, 2008

    You’ll want to correct the Grapple, which is BaB+ Strength Modifier + Size-modifiers.
    Being a huge, Strength 22 creature with a BaB of +12, it should have a grapple modifier of +26.

  7. Dan

    March 21st, 2008

    CR is definitely too high. It’s Hit Points, Armor Class, and damage are all mediocre, and it has no special attacks. For comparison, check out the hamatula (barbed devil). CR 11, with higher HP, 9 more AC, more damage (albeit with fewer attacks), and a HUGE list of immunities, spell-like abilities, and special attacks.

    As is, he’s no more than CR 9.

  8. Anonymous

    March 22nd, 2008

    Bwahaha. Go get some sun.

  9. Dave the Brave

    March 22nd, 2008

    Re: Anonymous

    Says the guy on his computer hunting for people to tell to get sun.

  10. Jonathan Drain

    March 23rd, 2008

    Due to server load when this article was linked on Penny Arcade, I temporarily redirected readers to a Livejournal. Further discussion can be found here.

    Further, there’s a discussion thread at the Penny Arcade forums here.

  11. Cruxador

    March 24th, 2008

    I did some playtesting in this with my brother, I’m gonna say that you should take off two claw attacks and change natural armor to +10, advance it a hitdie, increase the saves, and make the tail-slap poisonous. What worked for me with poison was 1d6 after 1d3 rounds, but make the dc=15+Deep Crow’s con bonus (18 default).

  12. pon pata pon

    March 24th, 2008

    where’s the picture, how can you have stats listed without a pic, and you some kind of anti-imagery gamers

  13. seafoodgod

    March 24th, 2008

    I love that someone has created a wikipedia article about deep crows:


  14. KuromanKuro

    March 24th, 2008

    Here is a pic.

    Link to Penny arcade.
    Copy paste into browser.


    that’s all that available to my knowledge.

  15. JuliusCaesar

    March 24th, 2008

    I don’t know about the no treasure rules are correct. Animals typically don’t have treasure, but this thing preys on the ocational human, so some stuff would be lying around. Also since the older they get they are more powerful, advancing rules might be helpful

  16. FruitF*cker

    March 24th, 2008

    a deep crow stole my box of oranges. got anything laying around? let me know.


  17. Keenath

    March 25th, 2008

    It’s a little dull — you’ve built it entirely of off-the-shelf parts with no interesting additions to make it special. Try adding one or two unique abilities that fit with its theme and it might be worth adding to a game.

  18. Keenath

    March 25th, 2008

    For example, acid-dripping stingers (in lieu of the tail-slap) that cause ongoing acid damage until the victim makes a save. Or adamantine claws that can rend steel. That sort of thing.

  19. Mortovox

    March 25th, 2008

    you forgot to give it a land speed (and probably a climb speed since it lives underground and should be able to climb on cave walls) and didn’t mention if it transfers creatures grappled with the mouth to its claws, other than that I like it. I’d think maybe give it a bit faster fly speed, maybe 100ft, more befitting such a large creature.

  20. winter

    March 25th, 2008

    drop two of the talon attacks and give it two wing attacks, and give the talons some sort of shadow dmg bonus

  21. Jokake

    March 27th, 2008

    Very tempted to put this in my next dungeon for Neverwinter Nights…

  22. Fenraellis

    April 1st, 2008

    …Nice homage to PA indeed.

    Besides that, I read that Wikipedia article about Deep Crows(read it soon, since it’s pending deletion apparently). Hahaha, it’s great stuff. I am greatly amused that someone actually made a wikipedia article for it.

  23. Uvixen

    May 23rd, 2008

    Very cool.

    I don’t agree with SOME of the suggestions here – you don’t want to substitute too many of the attacks (two talon attacks for two wing attacks) and drift back to a generic monster.

    Talon-Mouth transfer and something extra and unique would be good – I like the poison tailslap personally. It lends a lot to GM-descriptions as well and puts more emphasis on the fact that this isn’t just a daymn big bird!

  24. Foolster41

    June 5th, 2008

    Pretty cool. This makes me want to make a whole penny-arcade themed campaign for PAX.

    If you’re interested, check out the wiki.

  25. Joe

    June 20th, 2008

    Now we need a 4.0 Version

  26. D20 Source Hits 300 Posts! « Jonathan Drain’s D20 Source: Dungeons & Dragons Blog

    January 27th, 2009

    [...] Deep Crow Dungeons & Dragons third edition statistics for the Deep Crow, a fearsome magical beast from [...]

  27. Obahai

    September 5th, 2009

    Its BAB should be a +10 (-2 for a huge creature)

    and its snatch should be for medium creatures…enough nit picking on my part

    I always like to give my monster some sort of sonic attack and definitely give it an acid/poison bite and sting attack

  28. Fixed Gas Detector

    September 4th, 2012

    Thank you for sharing this information. The information was very helpful and saved a lot of my time.

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