Welcome to Creature Feature: Starjammer! This Monday we present the Crater Maw, a plant adapted to living in extraterrestrial caves and digesting any foolish enough to enter.
Crater Maw CR 8
This large crater twists deeper inside the rock providing some shelter from the void and outside observation.
Str 42, Dex 11, Con 26, Int 3, Wis 16, Cha 14
Base Atk +7; CMB +31; CMD 41
Feats Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Lunge, Skill Focus Stealth
Skills Perception +7; Stealth +9; Racial Modifiers +10 Stealth
Digestion Pond (Ex)
When the crater maw swallows a creature whole, it is brought into a large internal chamber with a pond full of sticky digestive sap. The pond requires Swim checks as if it were rough water (DC 15). If the swimmer fails by 5 or more they go below the surface. Any creature below the surface of the digestion pond takes an extra 2d6 acid damage on the crater maw’s turn and risks drowning. Once a creature cuts their way out of the digestion pond, the sticky sap closes the hole; another trapped opponent must cut its own way out.
The crater maw does not need to breath, nor does it take any penalties when acting in a vacuum. The crater maw is also immune to damage and negative effects from stellar radiation.
Environment caves on asteroids and planetoids
Crater maws are large worm-like creatures that infest asteroids and other rocky planetoids. Not actually an animal, they are a type of plant adapted to life in deep space, largely feeding off of debris that collects in their tunnels, but occasionally attempting to lure in spaceships and other space-born organisms with either shelter or the appearance of treasure and salvage. The treasure is often left behind by the crater maws previous victims.
When it can, a crater maw attempts to blend into the surface of a rocky planetoid, hiding in an existing cave or crevice, and opening its mouth wide enough to cover the cave entirely. The crater maw is then able to change its flesh to mimic the color and patterns of the surrounding environment, effectively blending in more thoroughly than a creature its sheer size should be able to.
Crater maws prefer to hunt through letting prey wander into their stomachs, but when necessary can launch their mouths up from the surface attempting to capture prey and draw them back inside. The inside of the crater maw is chilly, barely insulated from the outside void of space, but not quite cold enough to completely freeze its interior digestive pond.
The crater maw lacks a true stomach, instead using a large pool of sticky digestive acid to attempt to drown, disable and digest their prey, while the surrounding plant tissue absorbs any liquified minerals and nutrients.
Some crater maws have been domesticated by druids and unscrupulous scavengers, trained not to attack creatures designated as pollinators, the crater maw allows them to clean out built up undigested treasures and take care of the plant before the crater maw grabs its next meal. Whatever creature originally pollinated the crater maws is currently unknown, and the plants now entirely rely upon external pollinators, whether the pollination is done intentionally, or simply by escaped meals.