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Abyssal scavengers[1] or abyssal skulkers[2] are demons viewed as vermin on their native plane of the Abyss,[1] classified as a form of demonic wildlife in the Demonomicon of Iggwilv.[3] If allowed to continually infest the Material Plane, these creatures create openings for a full-scale demon invasions from the Abyss.[1]

Description

Abyssal scavengers resemble hairless apes. While they creep on all four legs and keep their bodies close to the ground, they are capable of walking upright. They have large hands and feet and knobs of horn running along the crown of their heads and then down the spine.[2]

Personality

Though small and servile, skulkers are also mean and vicious.[2] They each possess unending hunger and the innate demonic desire to destroy.[1]

Abilities

Abyssal scavengers primarily fight with their claws, scuttling about the battlefield with great speed. Though not particularly strong on their own, their strength originates in their superior numbers. Packs of abyssal scavengers are able to destroy entire settlements.[1][2]

Groups of skulkers prefer to sneak up on their targets and then charging all together, often ripping apart their unsuspecting prey. Skulkers emit a dying shriek upon dying, and each death causes the pack as a whole to become more animated and savage.[1][2]

Society

Skulkers are known to gather in gangs of three to five. These gangs are usually sent ahead of evil armies or raiding parties to seek out, stalk, and scout other activity.[2] Few sane spellcasters attempt to summon skulkers for fear of their numbers growing out of control. However they are among the favorite summons of apocalyptic cults, such as those of Demogorgon or Oublivae.[1]

Ecology

Unlike most other demons, abyssal scavengers consume their kills in order to spawn hatchlings. While the appetites of more powerful demons are normally enough to keep the numbers of abyssal scavengers under control, their reputation as pests often see them proliferate more in the worlds of mortals,[1] and are more commonly found there than in the Abyss.[4]

Each scavenger carries a mote of raw Abyssal essence within its body. When significant numbers gather in a tight enough concentration, that essence consumes them, leaving behind a demongate. Though the gate only exists for brief time, the portal can reach any layer of the Abyss and allow other demons to escape from their home plane.[1]

Homelands

Abyssal skulkers are the most common inhabitants of Shadowsky, the 46th layer of the Abyss and part of Graz'zt's Azzagrat. The scavengers there are adapted to the dry conditions and strange lighting and have developed blindsight or tremorsense to track their prey.

Some of the wiser fiendish hunters of Spirac sometimes bring skulkers along to help hunt and kill their quarry.[5]

Publication history

D&D 3rd edition

The abyssal skulker originated as a unit in the 2001 Chainmail miniature game Starter Set. It subsequently appeared in Monster Manual II (3e) (2002), p.57, where it is a small CR2 demon.

They are mentioned in the 2006 web article Fiendish Codex I, Part 2: The Lost Annals.

D&D 4th edition

The abyssal scavenger appears in the Demonomicon (2010), p.102. Based on its appearance, it is the same creature as D&D 3e's abyssal skulker.

It was detailed in Ampersand: Demons, Beholders, and Other Things That Go Bump in the Night, Dragon #386 (Apr 2010), p.80.

Creative origins

The abyssal skulker or scavenger is an original creation of Wizards of the Coast. It was likely invented to fill a scouting role in the Chainmail miniatures game.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Demonomicon (2010), p.102.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Monster Manual II (3e) (2002), p.56-57.
  3. Dragon #359 (Sep 2007), p.45.
  4. Demonomicon (2010), p.100.
  5. Fiendish Codex I, Part 2: The Lost Annals. June 20, 2006. Wizards.com.
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