Corpse tearer were hideous, serpentine creatures that lacked hindlegs and wings. They had mottled brown scales covered in slime and fungus; when still, they could be mistaken for a fallen tree. Matted, brown and grey hair ringed the head. Corpse tearer linnorms were estimated to be some 330 feet (100 meters) long.
Corpse tearers were greedy, spiteful, hateful, cruel, untrustworthy, and, thankfully, isolationist, rarely leaving their lairs. They were also brilliant strategists and highly knowledgeable about history and magic.
Corpse tearer linnorms were dangerous for more reasons than just their size and intelligence: with their claws, they could drain the life of an enemy, and they had two different breath weapons, a paralyzing gas and a cloud of disease. The paralyzing gas came out in a cone 60 ft (18 m) long, while the disease-cloud spewed out in a line 120 ft (37 m) long; the disease caused both the strength and health of infected creatures to wane. Older reports, perhaps of particularly ancient corpse tearers, claimed the paralyzed gas formed a conical cloud 300 ft (91 m) long and 80 ft (24 m) wide at the apex, and that the disease breath formed a cloud 100 ft (30 m) long but 80 ft (24 m) wide.
Additionally, corpse tearers had a variety of innate spell-like abilities. They could fly at will, as well as feign death, continual darkness 100' radius, polymorph self, speak with dead, and water breathing. Once per day each, they could use animate dead, control undead, darkness, delude, dimension door, enervation, protection from good, spectral hand, vampiric touch, and wraithform. Corpse tearer linnorms could also cast spells as powerful clerics, drawing upon the Destruction and Evil domain.
Skilled at strategy and tactics, linnorms preferred to attack when conditions were advantageous to them. In fact, they would watch enemies from a distance to learn their abilities and possible weaknesses before battle. They tended to rely on their breath weapons and brute strength in combat, and focused on crushing the most dangerous foes first. Corpse tearer linnorms preferred to fight enemies outside of their lairs rather than letting foes intrude into their homes.
Corpse tearer linnorms could adapt to any terrain and would eat almost anything, although rotting carrion was their favorite. Wherever they lived, they always made their lairs underneath ancient burial grounds, in burrows full of treasures-- and undead guardians animated and commanded by the resident corpse tearer.
Notable Corpse Tearers
- Jacob Frazier (June 2007). “The Ecology of the Linnorm”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #356 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), pp. 60–65.
- Jean Rabe (July 1992). “The Vikings' Dragons”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #183 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 65–70.
- Ed Bonny, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman, Skip Williams, and Steve Winter (September 2002). Monster Manual II 3rd edition. (TSR, Inc), pp. 140–144. ISBN 07-8692-873-5.
- David Wise ed. (December 1994). Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume One. (TSR, Inc), p. 27. ISBN 156076838X.
- David "Zeb" Cook (May 1991). Vikings Campaign Sourcebook. Edited by Newton Ewell. (TSR, Inc.), p. 45. ISBN 1-56076-128-8.
- Richard Lee Byers (May 2006). The Ruin. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 75. ISBN 0-7869-4003-4.
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