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Image of the pitcher of a Pitcher Crab, showing the red and green mouth of a pitcher with its lid partially raised. Above the lid, black oval eyes rise on pale eyestalks that attach to the back of the pitcher in the same place as the lid. Two fang-like, green projections hang down from the bottom of the pitcher’s lid, adding the the impression of the lid being the top of an open mouth.


Overview: A sapient plant species that has a large, crab-like body, with roots for legs, a leafy body, and a large pitcher that forms both face and stomach.

Physical Description: An average adult Pitcher Crab is six feet wide and five feet tall. The majority of their size is eight thick, woody roots shaped like the legs of a giant crab. Protective bark on these roots mimics the tough shell of a crab. These crab-like legs support a bushy plant body with long, dark-green, oval leaves. Delicate, feathered antennae are distributed through this bushy body while a single red and green pitcher sprouts from its front. A pair of beady, black eyestalks, like those of a crab, rise alertly from the place where the lid attaches to the pitcher. Below these eyes, the mobile lid of the pitcher acts as a mouth, creating the Pitcher Crab’s face.

The cup of the pitcher acts as a Pitcher Crab’s stomach. In it, Pitcher Crabs ferment and digest fallen leaves and other nonwoody plant debris for both nutrients and energy. The ability to digest food makes Pitcher Crabs less dependent on sunlight than most other sapient plant species, giving them greater lifestyle flexibility.

A Pitcher Crab’s front two root-legs form large claws that can be used like hands to pick up and hold things. The joints in these two root-legs allow a wide range of movement, but like a crab, a Pitcher Crab’s remaining legs have a limited range of motion. It is easiest for them to move sideways, but they can shuffle forward and backwards. They are the fastest when moving sideways, so they always run sideways.

Gender: Pitcher Crabs are monoecious plants (meaning that they have both male and female reproductive organs). The majority identify as nonbinary and use they/them pronouns. However, a significant number of Pitcher Plants use other terms to describe themselves, such as agender or genderfluid. A few Pitcher Crabs have binary genders, but this is rare.

Senses: Pitcher Crabs have compound eyes, making their vision a bit pixilated but particularly good at detecting motion. The eyestalks of Pitcher Crabs allow their eyes to swivel around, giving them a panoramic view of their surroundings. In addition, like plants, they have photoreceptors all over their body. These photoreceptors give Pitcher Crabs basic vision in all directions, allowing them to detect large shapes and movements behind, below, and above them at all times.

Pitcher Crabs use some of their antennae for hearing and the others for smelling. While both of these senses are keen, their sense of taste depends entirely on their sense of smell. In addition to antennae, Pitcher Crabs, like plants, are covered in little hairs that make them sensitive to touch.

Seedlings: Each Pitcher Crab produces a small number of seeds, each of which is the size of a goose egg. When they are ready to be a parent, they remove the seed from its protective husk and soak it for a day, then rinse it and wrap it in a damp cloth. The seed sprouts within a week, rapidly growing its own tiny legs, leaves, and pitcher. After the first week of growth, the sprout is strong enough to hold on to its parent and they are carried around on their parent’s backs.

Pitcher Frogs: Those who look closely at a Pitcher Crab might see a little frog peaking out from their pitcher. This is a special type of frog called a Pitcher Frog. They are an acid-resistant species that has a symbiotic relationship with Pitcher Crabs. Pitcher Frogs provide Pitcher Crabs with companionship and nutritious fertilizer. In return, Pitcher Crabs provide Pitcher Frogs with a protected home that moves around and regularly stirs up insects. Pitcher Crabs are particularly likely to disturb insects when they collect plant debris, giving Pitcher Frogs a good opportunity to catch them.

Not every Pitcher Crab has a Pitcher Frog, but most do. The historic relationship between Pitcher Crabs and Pitcher Frogs means that magical bonds between them form easily and many Pitcher Crabs have a Pitcher Frog as their familiar.

Diet: Sunlight is the main energy source for most Pitcher Crabs, but their ability to get energy from digesting plant debris means that they can survive in circumstances where digested food is their primary energy source. While Pitcher Crabs can digest diverse types of nonwoody plant debris, when they are relying on digestion to be their main source of energy, Pitcher Crabs need to focus on consuming energy-rich plant materials, such as hay and leafy greens. Similarly, a Pitcher Frog’s usual diet of fresh insects can be substituted with fermented grubs for an extended period of time.

While Pitcher Crabs can digest a wide variety of nonwoody plant debris, the digestion of a Pitcher Crabs can also be sensitive, as it depends on them growing and maintaining a healthy community of digestive bacteria and fungi. The balance of this community can be upset by the introduction of sugary foods, like fruit and sugary vegetables, which can cause dangerous fungal growths. This is also why Pitcher Crabs should avoid consuming anything that is rotting or infected with large quantities of fungus.

Common Mental Characteristics: Overall, the mental characteristics of Pitcher Crabs come from being a sapient and mobile plant with a symbiotic relationship and no predators. They are inclined toward cooperation and sociability, focusing on developing mutually beneficial relationships. Pitcher Crabs also tend to be open, curious, and unafraid, and most like to keep busy. As a result, quite a few Pitcher Crabs are intrepid explorers.

Of course, it is important to keep in mind that these are general trends and the variation between individual Pitcher Crabs is large. Pitcher Crabs are perfectly capable of being competitive, unsociable, indifferent, guarded, disinterested, timid, inactive, and any other trait.

Magical Affinities:

  • Familiar, especially a Pitcher Frog
  • Water Magic
  • Plant Magic

Common Species Traits:

  • Plant Talker
  • Additional Limbs
  • Permanent Defense using their front claws as shields
  • Telepathy
  • Magical Nature

Common Vulnerabilities:

  • Intense Curiosity
  • Specific Damage Vulnerability to Freezing
  • Cold Sensitivity
  • Moist Skin, or rather, Moist Leaves
  • Sunlight Reactive Body due to having the large, easily-burned leaves of a shade plant that can’t tolerate direct sunlight
  • Severe Allergy to a specific plant or food that is common in the debris they would normally eat

A Few Interesting Facts: Here are five intriguing facts about Pitcher Crabs.

  • Some Pitcher Crabs can use their tough front claws as shields to protect the more vulnerable parts of their bodies, like their leaves and pitcher.
  • Unlike carnivorous pitcher plants, the inside of a Pitcher Crab’s pitcher isn’t slippery. This is important, because it helps the Pitcher Frogs move around.
  • Some Pitcher Crabs also eat insects. This is especially common in Pitcher Crabs that spend long periods of time with limited or no access to sunlight.
  • Pitcher Crabs grow in new pitchers every two years. Once the new pitcher is fully established, the previous pitcher starts to shrink and disappear. A new pitcher can also be grown to replace an injured pitcher.
  • A small number of Pitcher Crabs always have two or more pitchers.

Prominent Cultures: Because they originated in a tropical rainforest, warm and wet climates are most hospitable to Pitcher Crabs, but their ability to digest plant debris has allowed them to spread far and wide. Their diet of sunlight and plant debris makes it convenient for Pitcher Crabs to live among agricultural communities, and many do, helping out with various outdoor tasks. Those that live in cities and towns commonly take on roles as gardeners and landscapers, as that is a convenient way to nourish themselves and their Pitcher Frogs.

Like other mobile sapient plants, the resources Pitcher Crabs need are easily shared. As a result, those communities that have many Pitcher Crabs in them are especially inclined to sharing and cooperation, and tend to value generosity.

Naming Traditions from Prominent Cultures: The most prominent naming tradition is for Pitcher Crabs to have onomatopoeia names, like Zip, Slosh, Plop, Whirr, Clang, Rustle, Snap, and Chirp. Another common tradition is for Pitcher Crabs to be named after their distinguishing physical characteristics, especially characteristics of their pitchers.

Inspiration: Nepenthes ampullaria, a detrivorous species of pitcher plant from Borneo that subsists at least partially on decomposing leaf matter. The smallest species of frog in Asia lives inside them. Also, research into crabs, including the many eyes of horseshoe crabs, how compound eyes see, and the senses of plants.


Pitcher Crabs are part of the Crossroads Setting for the tabletop role-playing game, Magic Goes Awry. Click here to go to the list of vibrant and unique magical people from the Land of Crossroads.


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