Hello, and welcome to another Exotic Encounters. This week, we take another look at a monster with a lot of potential that seems (to me, at least) to be criminally underused: the chuul.
This hulking creature walks upright, but has a body reminiscent of a crab or lobster, covered in hard chitnous plates and bearing two enormous pincers. A forest of long, snaking tendrils hangs from its maw, and a single tentacle extends from its forehead, bearing a strangely luminescent fleshy sac on the end, which dangles in front of the creature’s head.
CHUUL, ANGLER CR 11
CE Large aberration (aquatic)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +25
AC 26, touch 12, flat-footed 23 (+3 Dex, +14 natural, -1 size)
hp 152 (16d8+80)
Fort +10, Ref +8, Will +12
Speed 30 ft., swim 20 ft.
Melee 2 claws + 19 (3d6+8 plus grab) and tentacle +13 (grab plus stunning sting)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with tentacle)
Special Attack constrict (3d6+8), crushing grip, mesmeric light, paralytic tentacles
Str 27, Dex 16, Con 20, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 5
Base Atk +12; CMB +20 (+24 grapple); CMD 33 (37 vs. trip)
Feats Alertness, Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Improved Natural Attack (claw), Power Attack, Step Up, Weapon Focus (claw)
Skills Knowledge (nature) +14, Perception +25, Sense Motive +9, Stealth +15, Swim +29
Environment temperate coasts and oceans
Crushing Grip (Ex): As long as an angler chuul is using one or both of its claws to conduct a grapple, it can crush its opponents with its vice-like grip, dealing more and more damage each turn. Each consecutive round in which an angler chuul successfully constricts a creature while grappling with its claw, it deals an additional 2d6 points of damage (to a maximum of 10d6 additional damage on the sixth consecutive round).
Mesmeric Light (Su): An angler chuul’s dangling head light produces an eerie luminescence that fascinates those who gaze upon it too closely. This functions as a gaze attack with a range of 30 feet. Affected creatures are fascinated by the angler chuul. A successful Will save negates the effect, and affected creatures are allowed a new saving throw each round. Creatures that successfully resist the effect are still potentially subject to it on future rounds, but any creature that has succeeded on a Will save to resist the effect in the last 24 hours gain a +4 bonus on all saving throws made to resist this ability.
Paralytic Tentacles (Ex): An angler chuul can transfer a grappled victim from a claw to its tentacles as a move action. The tentacles grapple with the same strength as the claw, but deal no damage, instead exuding a paralytic secretion. Anyone held in the tentacles must succeed on a DC 23 Fortitude save each round on the angler chuul’s turn or be paralyzed for 6 rounds. The save DC is Constitution-based. While held in the tentacles, paralyzed or not, a victim automatically takes 1d8+7 points of damage each round from the creature’s mandibles.
Stunning Sting (Ex): Although not as concentrated as the paralytic secretion it uses when grappling a foe with its tentacles, an angler chuul’s tentacle attack can still weaken its prey. When an angler chuul hits a creature with its tentacle attack, it does no damage, but the target must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 23) or be stunned for 1 round. A creature that is grabbed as a result of the angler chuul’s tentacle attack is automatically transferred to its tentacles. See paralytic tentacles, above.
Terrifying creatures of the deep, angler chuuls thankfully spend most of their time much further away from land than their lesser cousins, and are much less likely to be encountered. The feature that most distinguishes them from the standard chuul is the glowing appendage atop their head, which they use to fascinate their prey before moving in for the kill. Most encounters with angler chuul are decided almost right away, but take quite some time to reach their conclusion, as the deadly ambush predator quickly grabs hold of a victim and then slowly squeezes the life out of them. While eating habits vary, many angler chuul seem to prefer to use their claws to literally cut their victim in half at the waist, and then use their tentacles to suck out the gooey insides.
Typically only found in the depths of the ocean, angler chuuls do routinely converge on nearby coastlines once per year, during spawning season, where these creatures can often be found up and down the coast, seeking out mates and laying their clutches of eggs.