Denizens of swamps, mud, and watery underground environments, crabfish are normally quiet bottom-feeders who have an unfortunate quirk of biology. About once a month, they go into a courting frenzy, and anyone unlucky enough to stumble on a nest will find half a dozen extremely aggressive crabfish hells-bent on defending their suitor from any interlopers.

Crabfish attack with their powerful tails and their blade-like front claws. Worse, they prefer to drag their prey into very tight spaces and immobilize them there with poison they secrete from their mandibles.

Skith by Terry Maranda

For stats, I'm actually going to start with the salamander, which I also used for inspiration in a previous monster. It has a few special properties but no spells, making it a good approximation of what I want.

Instead of a vulnerability, a bunch of resistances, and an immunity, I'll simplify that down to a single resistance to cold, since these creatures would spent a lot of time in cold muck. I find it hard to actually remember a bunch of vulnerabilities and immunities in combat, but one tends to stick.

I'll use the salamander's spear attack as a basis for the crabfish's tail attack (both of them simple melee attacks, but with reach), and swap out the salamander's tail attack for a relatively complex poison bite that grapples the target.

OK, let's do this!

Stat block


Medium creature, chaotic

  • Armor Class 15
  • Hit Points 90 (16d8 + 12)
  • Speed 30 ft., burrow 30 ft.
    18 (+4) 14 (+2) 15 (+2) 11 (+0) 10 (+0) 4 (-3)

  • Damage Resistances Cold
  • Senses Darkvision 60 ft., Passive perception 10
  • Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)


    Multiattack. The crabfish makes two attacks, one with its bite and one with its tail. Tail Swipe. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit 14 (3d6+4) bludgeoning damage.

Poison Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit 11 (2d6 + 4) piercing damage and the target is grappled (escape DC 14). Until the grapple ends, the target is restrained, and at the start of each of its turns while grappled, the target takes 7 (2d6) poison damage.

View the art for this monster here.

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