Daily Monster #53: Piercer

Today’s monster is a bit of a hit or miss, pun intended. Join us today in taking a look at a pretty strange entry for 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons.

Today we’re going to talk about the Roper’s lesser cousin, and I gotta say I’m a bit disappointed we rolled for this one before talking about Ropers. That said, I’m pretty interested to learn more about these strange creatures. Without any further ado…


The Piercer

The basics

…a-are you kidding me? Who decided to make this a monster?! I—

Fine. I guess we might as well take a look at the Piercer’s stats since I already went through the trouble of setting up the template for this article. I suppose it’s slightly better than that one time I had to write about horses. Only by a little though, only by a little.

You know, for a CR 1/2 creature, Piercers have acceptable stats, specially considering how bad the rest of their block is. We;re looking at a +3 CON and +1 DEX followed by an average STR of 10. The rest if the numbers are all in the negatives with a -2 to WIS, -4 to CHA, and last but most impressive, an INT of -5.

In terms of combat durability, today’s monster has an AC of 15 and hit point pool of about 3d8+9 hit points.

For all the gents reading this, you might want to skip this next bit because I just have to make a point of how dumb these creatures are. You know what Piercers are? They’re goddamned tampons. The goddamned tampons of Dungeons and Dragon and here’s why: you can only use them once and then that’s it.

Sure, they get a +5 to Stealth as well as the False Appearance feature, but everything else is garbage; those 30ft of Blindsight and 60ft of Darkvision might look really nice at first glance but this monstrosity only has a passive perception of 8, which makes it kind of moot.

Also completely redundant? Their Spider Climb feature. Look, this is probably one of the coolest abilities to have in combat and the fact that it’s rendered completely useless by the Piercer’s 5ft of movement speed irks me beyond belief. There’s just no way this monster is making it back onto the ceiling after using its Drop attack, which is already terrible as is.


The Lore

Also of note? They have one of the dumbest minis.

The first thing you gotta know about these creatures if you don’t already, is that they are very closely tied with Ropers; in fact, they are Ropers, just, you know, in larval form

In terms of how exactly this creature came to be, well, that’s a bit more complicated, especially because there is actually another creature in Dungeons and Dragons that has a similar purpose and appearance, although that one is considered a Mollusk rather than a monstrosity. If we go by numbers though, we can trace this creature back to 1975 when it appeared in a couple of magazines of note.

Like their fully grown versions, they stick to the underground; more specifically the ceilings of dark caves. Unlike their adult counterparts, however, Piercers are a lot smaller.

Something important to keep in mind about this creature is that it very much works in large groups. Although you might only find them in groups of ten or so in higher elevation caves, it’s not unheard of to find groups of them in the three digits the deeper you go into the underground.


The execution

Okay so, alright; I’ve calmed down a little after working through that last section. If we disregard the fact that they look like the stuff I clean out of my cat’s litter box, then there might be some merit to these creatures.

I have to admit that my first thought after having read their statblock was pretty much to wonder why you would even use these creatures when you could just have some regular old stalactites fall on your party, maybe even some sort of trap. But here’s where Piercers have just a sliiight advantage: unlike traps, they won’t be picked up by Detect Magic nor will they be identifiable thanks to their False Appearance. I guess this would be kind of a fun thing to pull on the rogue that keeps acting to look for traps for each and every one of the corridors.

I also know that these things are supposed to go hand in hand with Ropers, which, of course makes them all that much deadlier; thing is, for these articles I usually try to set up an encounter in which our Daily Monster is the star of the show, but that’s a bit difficult to do with the Piercer.

Sure, you could always do the thing where the party enters a large cavern or some sort of really long corridor that is completely cluttered with these things, but where’s the fun in that?

Maybe the best way to approach this one is to run it a little more uh, how should I say this, intentionally. If the lore is anything to go by, we know that these creatures are fairly numerous and that they can be use as food preservatives. Why not have your party run an errand in which they have to collect a certain number of These things? I think it would be fairly amusing to see how they would go about it; will the party members stand under the Piercers intentionally to have them drop? Or perhaps they use illusion magic to fool them into doing so instead. Personally, I think we should just Fireball them.


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