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Run, little girl! I’ll get free! I’ll catch you! I’ll hold you down and lick your skin until it melts! I’ll pluck your eyes out with the tip of my tongue! I have your scent and you cannot ever stop me! You cannot ever escape!

—Crawler's threats to Skitter, Prey 14.4

Ned, known publicly as Crawler, is a member of the Slaughterhouse Nine.[1]

Personality[]

Crawler is a masochist, eagerly throwing himself into extreme danger in order to expand his abilities and even joining the Slaughterhouse Nine to achieve these means.[2][3] He doesn't show signs of boredom or restlessness, but when he loses his patience it tends to be sudden and violent.[2] Crawler revels in his role as a monster and takes sadistic pleasure in taunting and torturing his victims.[4] This gave him a fearful reputation among the public.[5]

Nothing pleases Crawler more than being given a chance to get hurt, to the point that he secretly wishes that the Siberian would try to seriously hurt him.[2] This tendency has been used against him numerous times, such as when he was persuaded to voluntarily stand under a bombing run of Bakuda-bombs in hopes of being hurt, resulting in his death.[6]

Certain taunts can provoke Crawler and push him to attack despite seeing an apparent trap.[7]

Appearance[]

Originally, Ned was a narrow shouldered man, only five and a half feet tall.[8] One of Ned's clones, somewhat progressed into his transformation, had grown taller and broader, his face growing inhuman with a long tongue, rows of teeth, numerous armored eyes, and an acid sack on his throat. His arms split into two limbs at the elbows, ending in claws strong enough to pierce metal.[9] This may or may not have been how the original Ned's transformation went.

By the time the Slaughterhouse Nine visits Brockton Bay, Crawler resembles a six legged beast the size of a van, best described as a combination of the best traits from a bear and a panther. His entire body is black and iridescent, with armor plates covering the majority of the body, scales in places where flexibility is needed, and spines and bristling hair everywhere else. His mouth is filled with mismatched fangs and acidic saliva. A hundred solid-black eyes run along the entire length of his body, set into the plates of his armor. He had six legs, each forking at the knee or elbow joint. His four rear limbs had one large limb each that forked into scimitar-like claws, with multiple smaller sets of tentacles accompanying them. His two forelimbs similarly had one large limb with claws for each, but had sets of long-fingered hands instead of tentacles.[10][11]

Crawler is still verbally communicative, but his voice comes out as a low, resonant grumble, barely recognizable as human.[4][12]

Abilities and Powers[]

Crawler's power is permanent adaptive regeneration.[1][11][13] As long as he survives, any injury will heal at incredible speeds.[1][14] This healed tissue often gains non-human attributes/augmentations and is altered, if possible, to be more resistant to the source of damage.[11][15]

Regeneration[]

Crawler has a "core" that contains his corona pollentia, the destruction of which is the only way to ensure his death.[16][17] The core is not located in his brain, but rather closer to his center. Destroying his brain can slow him down, but not kill him.[16][18]

He could regenerate hundreds of pounds of flesh in a few heartbeats, extraordinarily fast even compared to fast-regenerating brutes.[18] His regeneration was able to reject Flechette's bolt after it was timed to bond on the molecular level to his face.[3]

Adaptation[]

Crawler's adaptation is the primary focus of his power, and is the reason he holds his monstrous form. Mechanically speaking, whenever he takes damage and survives, any part that grows back is altered, if possible, to be more resistant to the damage that hurt him. For every X points of resistance, he gains a mutation from a list.[19] These mechanics explain why Coil notes that parts that grow back are stronger and typically have extra features, growths, and/or other capabilities.[15] Note that Crawler does not decide which mutation he gains;[17] all adaptations must be natural and organic.[1][20]

If he gains enough resistance and/or suitable mutations, Crawler eventually takes no damage from whatever was hurting him.[21] His power does not just provide purely defensive adaptations, but also ones that allow him to defend himself better.[22] Over the course of years, this has allowed him to develop a variety of powerful defensive and offensive adaptations.[23]

By the time the Slaughterhouse Nine attacked Brockton Bay the second time, Crawler's armor is able to withstand the blast of a small nuke,[23] and he can walk unscathed through burning buildings lit by burning white phosphorous.[24] According to Tattletale, Sundancer's orb can still damage him; however, he already has enough durability to survive and thus adapt to it.[25] His internal organs have been rearranged and reinforced with numerous redundancies.[18][26] He has hundreds of eyes set into his armor, and an enhanced sense of smell that can be used for tracking.[4][27] His many modular limbs ensure that his dexterity hasn't suffered for his growth, and can even be rearranged to enhance his agility on different forms of terrain.[28] This, along with enhanced reflexes, makes Crawler a surprisingly agile foe.[29]

Crawler has an incredibly strong caustic spit that he can launch at targets.[30] Panacea, struggling to make a counter, described it as consisting of self-replicating digestive enzymes, all floating in a kind of acid.[31]

A nano-thorn barricade deployed by an Azazel killed a Crawler clone when he fully contacted it.[32] However, when an Azazel flung another Crawler clone into the barricade such that only half of him disintegrated, his regrown arm, shoulder, and leg began producing organic nano-thorns.[33][20] These nano-thorns are just as deadly and could press against other nano-thorns so that neither severed the other.[34] The clone even intentionally disintegrated his other unaffected arms so that they would gain the same mutations.[35] However, these nano-thorns shared the same weaknesses as Armsmaster's technology: an Azazel instantly burnt away his nano-thorns with a laser. At the same time, another Azazel flung the clone into the barricade such that he fully contacted it, killing him as he lacked enough resistance.[36]

He can only adapt when regenerating from damage that is resistible; if he takes no damage or an attack is irresistible, he cannot gain new mutations.[19][8][13][21] Crawler regenerated, but did not adapt, against Scrub's attacks[18] or Flechette's charged shots[3] because they were All-or-Nothing. He cannot adapt to Trickster teleporting him,[37][38] nor can he adapt to precognition against him.[17][39][40] Imp's power affects Crawler, implying that he cannot adapt to psychological effects.[12]

Earlier in his development, one could theoretically have controlled the damage and resulting evolution to force Crawler to adapt into an immobile shape, allowing one to bury and thus defeat him.[17]

Shard[]

During regeneration, Crawler pulls forth a ridiculous amount of energy and mass via his shard's well.[14] As his shard is on Earth,[41] he cannot gain new adaptations if he is in space and outside Earth's atmosphere.[42][43]

History[]

Background[]

From the way he acted, Bonesaw presumed that he did not have a happy home life before triggering.[44]

Crawler may have fought an Endbringer at some point in the past.[45]

Sometime after triggering, Crawler joined the Slaughterhouse Nine so that he would be in constant danger, and thus be able to adapt and become stronger from the many threats that would be thrown his way. He also wanted the Siberian to one day try to kill him.[2]

Post-Leviathan[]

Crawler came to Brockton Bay with the rest of the Slaughterhouse Nine. His choice of nomination was Noelle, who had been detected by Cherish, likely in hopes of finding a foe powerful enough to injure him. He visited Coil's base, to the vault where Noelle was being kept, but was unable to penetrate the thick metal doors due to Coil's foresight. After a period of frustration, Crawler eventually left.[46]

Later, Crawler and the rest of the Nine participated in the massacre of the Merchants, where he met Scrub.[47] It was here that the new testing regime was agreed upon.

Crawler and a few others from the Nine were relaxing in a abandoned apartment when Imp entered and tried to kill Bonesaw. He was unable to see or smell Imp.[12]

He was with the Nine when they were ambushed by the combined team of Travelers and Undersiders. The attackers captured Shatterbird and Cherish, though the Nine were able to capture Grue. Trickster was able to cause him some inconvenience.[48]

In the evening, at the Nine's base at Dolltown he guarded hostages that had been surgically modified to look like the Nine, when his group was attacked by Fenrir's Chosen he ordered the hostages out and fought the Chosen with everything he had.[49]

The next day he was back trying to fight local parahumans.

Skitter used silk to bind up him up, temporarily immobilizing him.[50]

Later, during some actual fighting, he attacked a Protectorate team with Mannequin. When the team retreated, Crawler was able to win against Weld without assistance.

Crawler was finally killed when his entire body was turned to silicon by salvaged tinker explosives used in a bombing run ordered by Director Piggot. Piggott convinced Crawler to subject himself to the blasts by telling him - through Weld - that the bombs would be able to hurt him.[6] He was killed by that bombing run, along with Mannequin.[51][11]

Post-Timeskip[]

Ten clones of Crawler were among the ranks of the Slaughterhouse Nine-Thousand; this included nine perfect duplicates and one hybrid with Breed. Several of the Crawler clones were dealt with by Dragon.[52]

The threat of infant Crawler clones being in the Nine's dimensional headquarters forced the heroes to collapse the entire dimension.[53][54]

Chapter Appearances[]

Worm Chapter Appearances
Parasite
1. Parasite 10.1 Absent
2. Parasite 10.2 Absent
3. Parasite 10.3 Absent
4. Parasite 10.4 Absent
5. Parasite 10.5 Absent
6. Parasite 10.6 Mentioned
x. Interlude 10 Absent
x. Interlude 10.5 Absent
Infestation
1. Infestation 11.1 Absent
2. Infestation 11.2 Absent
3. Infestation 11.3 Absent
4. Infestation 11.4 Absent
5. Infestation 11.5 Absent
6. Infestation 11.6 Absent
7. Infestation 11.7 Absent
8. Infestation 11.8 Absent
a. Interlude 11a Absent
b. Interlude 11b Absent
c. Interlude 11c Absent
d. Interlude 11d Absent
e. Interlude 11e Mentioned
f. Interlude 11f Debut
g. Interlude 11g Mentioned
h. Interlude 11h Absent
Plague
1. Plague 12.1 Absent
2. Plague 12.2 Absent
3. Plague 12.3 Mentioned
4. Plague 12.4 Mentioned
5. Plague 12.5 Absent
6. Plague 12.6 Absent
7. Plague 12.7 Absent
8. Plague 12.8 Absent
x. Interlude 12 Appears
y. Interlude 12.5 Absent
Snare
1. Snare 13.1 Mentioned
2. Snare 13.2 Mentioned
x. Interlude 13.5 (Donation Bonus) Appears
3. Snare 13.3 Absent
4. Snare 13.4 Absent
5. Snare 13.5 Absent
6. Snare 13.6 Appears
7. Snare 13.7 Absent
8. Snare 13.8 Appears
9. Snare 13.9 Mentioned
10. Snare 13.10 Mentioned
y. Interlude 13 Mentioned
Prey
1. Prey 14.1 Mentioned
2. Prey 14.2 Mentioned
3. Prey 14.3 Absent
4. Prey 14.4 Appears
5. Prey 14.5 Appears
6. Prey 14.6 Appears
7. Prey 14.7 Death
8. Prey 14.8 Mentioned
9. Prey 14.9 Absent
10. Prey 14.10 Absent
11. Prey 14.11 Mentioned
x. Interlude 14.x Mentioned
y. Interlude 14.y Absent
Colony
1. Colony 15.1 Absent
x. Interlude 15.x Absent
2. Colony 15.2 Absent
3. Colony 15.3 Absent
y. Interlude 15.y Absent
4. Colony 15.4 Absent
5. Colony 15.5 Absent
6. Colony 15.6 Absent
7. Colony 15.7 Absent
z. Interlude 15.z Absent
8. Colony 15.8 Absent
9. Colony 15.9 Absent
10. Colony 15.10 Absent
i. Interlude 15 Corpse
Queen
1. Queen 18.1 Mentioned
2. Queen 18.2 Mentioned
x. Interlude 18.x Absent
3. Queen 18.3 Mentioned
4. Queen 18.4 Absent
y. Interlude 18.y Absent
5. Queen 18.5 Absent
6. Queen 18.6 Absent
z. Interlude 18.z Absent
7. Queen 18.7 Absent
8. Queen 18.8 Absent
f. Interlude 18.f Absent
i. Interlude 18 Absent
Scourge
1. Scourge 19.1 Fantasy
2. Scourge 19.2 Absent
3. Scourge 19.3 Absent
x. Interlude 19.x Mentioned
4. Scourge 19.4 Absent
5. Scourge 19.5 Mentioned
6. Scourge 19.6 Absent
7. Scourge 19.7 Absent
y. Interlude 19.y Absent
z. Interlude 19.z Absent
Chrysalis
1. Chrysalis 20.1 Absent
2. Chrysalis 20.2 Absent
3. Chrysalis 20.3 Absent
4. Chrysalis 20.4 Absent
5. Chrysalis 20.5 Absent
x. Interlude 20.x Mentioned
y. Interlude 20.y Absent
Cell
1. Cell 22.1 Absent
2. Cell 22.2 Absent
3. Cell 22.3 Mentioned
4. Cell 22.4 Absent
5. Cell 22.5 Absent
6. Cell 22.6 Absent
x. Interlude 22.x Absent
y. Interlude 22.y Absent
Scarab
1. Scarab 25.1 Absent
2. Scarab 25.2 Mentioned
3. Scarab 25.3 Absent
4. Scarab 25.4 Absent
5. Scarab 25.5 Absent
6. Scarab 25.6 Absent
x. Interlude 25 Clone
Sting
1. Sting 26.1 Mentioned
2. Sting 26.2 Absent
3. Sting 26.3 Absent
x. Interlude 26.x Clone
4. Sting 26.4 Absent
5. Sting 26.5 Absent
6. Sting 26.6 Clone
a. Interlude 26a Clone
b. Interlude 26b Absent
y. Interlude 26 Absent
Speck
1. Speck 30.1 Absent
2. Speck 30.2 Absent
3. Speck 30.3 Absent
4. Speck 30.4 Mentioned
5. Speck 30.5 Mentioned
6. Speck 30.6 Absent
7. Speck 30.7 Absent

Trivia[]

  • In an early draft of Worm, Guts and Glory, Crawler's names were "Skitter"[55] and "Troll".[56] The name Troll may stem from Dungeons & Dragons, where trolls are monsters that possess supernatural regeneration. The name Skitter ended up being used for Taylor Hebert.
  • Was "unstoppable" in the words of Wildbow and included in the Nine due to the author's admitted predisposition of torturing his characters.[57]
  • While much Fanon has gone into explaining how the Nine are able to move between cities seemingly undetected with several members such as Crawler being as distinctive as he is, the explanation is not given in-story.

Fanart Gallery[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Crawler – Member of the Slaughterhouse Nine, Crawler is a monstrous figure who heals with incredible speed and adapts natural defenses or augmentations in response to any healing. - Cast (spoiler free)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Crawler, he knew, wouldn’t show any signs of boredom or restlessness. When he lost patience with things, it was an explosive affair, almost unmanageable.
    [...]
    Crawler wanted to be stronger, and remained with the group because it put him in constant danger. His other motivation was more subtle. He was patiently awaiting the day Siberian might honestly and brutally attempt to take him apart. The only stick Jack could wield was the possibility that the group might dissolve before that happened. On the other side of the coin, the day Crawler decided there was no longer any threat that could evolve him further would be… troubling. It was why Jack had ordered Siberian to let the boy with the glowing hair go. Finding the lad again would give Crawler something to do, and it would give Crawler a taste for what Siberian had to
    [...]
    The buried girl was only a candidate because Crawler hoped she was strong enough to fight him. Either she would fail to hurt him and he would grow tired of her, or she would succeed and he would have no reason to stay in the group. - Excerpt from Interlude 12
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Flechette fired a bolt straight into Crawler. It penetrated his face and stuck there. Little surprise on that front; I’d seen her stick Leviathan with one of those giant needles. Crawler’s face bubbled around the wound where it was rejecting the foreign object. Almost imperceptibly, it began to slide out.

    He rumbled with a low, guttural laugh, mocking. Was he enjoying himself? He was a masochist, and it was the rare thing that could hurt him. - Excerpt from Prey 14.6
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 “Run, little girl!” Crawler’s broken voice carried, a rumble so low I could feel it. “I’ll get free! I’ll catch you! I’ll hold you down and lick your skin until it melts! I’ll pluck your eyes out with the tip of my tongue! I have your scent and you cannot ever stop me! You cannot ever escape!” - Excerpt from Prey 14.4
  5. “Crawler.” No portrait, this time. It was a still from a surveillance camera, a misshapen silhouette, not even humanoid, in a shadowy area. I’d come across stories about him when I’d been researching possible superhero names for myself. Not pretty. - Excerpt from Parasite 10.6
  6. 6.0 6.1 “Crawler and Mannequin observed to be in the blast site.”

    “How did they disengage while keeping them there? They- they did disengage?”

    “Clockblocker managed to tether Mannequin in place. Crawler freed himself from the same trap by tearing himself in two against the immovable object. It was Piggot who managed to keep Crawler in the blast area.”

    “How?”

    “She had Weld pass on a message, telling Crawler what we had planned. He was so tickled at the idea that we would be able to hurt him that he stayed where he was while the teams made their retreat.”

    “Just like that?”

    "Apparently so.”

    “If he survives-”

    “He didn’t.” - Excerpt from Prey 14.7
  7. “You’re pathetic, Spawner,” Swansong taunted him. “I’ve talked to someone like you. Someone small, trying to pretend they are something more than they are, and doing a bad job of pretending. The harder they’d try, the more pathetic they would look. You’re embarrassing yourself and worse, you’re embarrassing me, because I consider myself related to you.”

    “Related?” one of Valkyrie’s capes asked.

    “Sure,” Swansong said. “Close enough to being related. Same person brought us into this world. Nedley? You need to be something more, if you’re not going to make the rest of us look bad.”
    [...]
    Ned would have been driven by those taunts, pushed to attack despite the apparent trap. - Dying 15.z
  8. 8.0 8.1 Oh, and there were others. Some were harder to recognize. Nine Alan Grammes, who lacked his armor. Nine Neds, narrow shouldered and only five and a half feet tall. When the others had done some damage and given him a chance to regenerate, he’d resemble his true self a little better. He’d be Crawler. - Excerpt from Interlude 25
  9. The second Crawler was more careful, grabbing a hostage and making his way out the gap. He hadn’t transformed into his truly monstrous self. Bipedal, the size of a bodybuilder, his face no longer human. A long tongue extended out between rows of teeth, and his throat was swollen with an acid sac, as though he had a goiter. Eyes surrounded his face, which was already bearing the rigidity and light armor plating that would intensify with further regeneration.

    His arms had already split into two limbs at the elbow, and each ended in claws. He used them for a grip on the metal to climb on the outside of the truck, penetrating metal with strong hands and sharp talons as he dragged his hostage along with him. He perched on the roof, holding the hostage over the disintegration field, staring at the second Azazel. - Excerpt from Interlude 26.x
  10. Crawler, the most monstrous member of the group, loomed over the rest. His chest was ten feet deep from front to back, his head the size of a small car. He combined the most effective features of a bear and a panther. Sinuous, flexible, bristling with quiet menace, but also brawny with muscle. He had armor plates covering him, with scales where armor wouldn’t allow him optimum flexibility, and spines and coarse hair where the scales wouldn’t do. Head to toe, he had the coloring of an oil slick, black by default, but scintillating with rainbow hues in just the right light. A hundred black orbs studded the length of his body, set into the plates of armor. Caustic venom virtually poured from a mouth that bristled with mismatched fangs, spattering precipitously close to Cherish and eating at the concrete rooftop. Perhaps most unnerving of all were his six legs, each forking at the knee or elbow joint, with one larger limb ending in scimitar-like claws and a smaller set of limbs for each; tentacles for the rear four legs and a long fingered human’s hands for the forelimbs. - Excerpt from Interlude 12
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Crawler (Turned to Glass) –  An inhuman monster, Crawler is arguably the ‘brute’ of the group.  A regenerator, Crawler becomes permanently stronger every time he heals, often gaining non-human attributes/augmentations in the healed tissue.  He eventually became a massive creature, six legged with acid spit, tentacles and eyeballs dotting his armor plated body.  Turned to glass by a bombing run utilizing some of Bakuda’s weaponry. - Cast (In Depth)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Shatterbird scowled. “Then who or what was that? Crawler, do you know?”

    Aisha backed toward the front door. She stopped as Crawler appeared in the doorway that led from the kitchen to the front hall, looking through to see his teammates on the far end. His voice was a mangled mess of sounds that only barely approximated anything like speech. “I don’t smell anyone.” - Excerpt from Interlude 13.5 (Donation Bonus)
  13. 13.0 13.1 Ned Crawler Powerful regeneration and gains personal adaptations in response to any damage taken. Slaughterhouse 9 - ParahumanList, Bolded edit by Wildbow
  14. 14.0 14.1 Psycho Gecko: Don’t forget the massive energy requirements needed to regrow huge chunks of his body in seconds. [...] They don’t seem to need to eat or otherwise take in energy to make up the difference. They’ve got to be getting that energy from somewhere.
    wildbow: How to phrase this?

    Energy requirements for powers are sorta kinda important. This isn’t to say they’re a plot point unto themselves, but they aren’t handwaved away and they do factor into the big picture in a fashion.
    mc2rpg: Huh. So that would probably make Crawler killable if you were able to immobilize him and deal enough damage fast enough. He would eventually fail to regen. Keeping Scrub alive just got alot more important.
    wildbow: I should rephrase: The source(s?) of energy that people are drawing from are kind of important & aren’t being ignored/handwaved. That said, some capes are pulling forth ridiculous amounts of energy/mass from nowhere and Crawler is among them. - Comment by Wildbow on Interlude 12
  15. 15.0 15.1 “He’s a regenerator,” Coil answered, sounding irritated at having to explain, “And he regenerates exceedingly quickly. More to the point, he has the added advantage that any part that grows back is stronger than it was before, typically with extra features, growths and increased durability to render him more resistant to whatever hurt him or give him other capabilities. These adjustments are not only permanent, but he’s been working on it for some time.” - Interlude 11f
  16. 16.0 16.1 Brutes (esp. regenerators) and changers often relocate their cores/coronas to the hardest to access part of their body, or adapt to do without. Crawler's wasn't in his brain, for example. - Reddit comment by Wildbow
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Crawler = Contessa can avoid harm/evade full grown Crawler until she gets her hands on a weapon/individual that can hurt him, target his core. Not-fully grown Crawler you can best by controlling the damage & resulting evolution to force him into an immobile shape. Bury him in concrete/sand/whatever. - Comment by Wildbow on Spacebattles
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Crawler was one of the two group members who had yet to rejoin the group. He was engaged with a young man with a glow that suffused his hair and emanated from his eyes and mouth. White flashes appeared with little accuracy and devastating effect, carving spherical chunks out of the brute. This only encouraged the monster, and Crawler eagerly paced closer, his wounds closing together with a startling rapidity. So few things could hurt Crawler these days that Jack rarely got to see the regeneration in full effect. Crawler’s healing powers appeared to play out in fast-forward when compared to even the regenerators who could heal wounds in seconds. Hundreds of pounds of flesh were replaced in one or two heartbeats.

    One eruption of light hit Crawler in the dead center of his chest. It made him pause, no doubt removing one of his hearts and some of his spinal cord. The boy with the glowing hair pushed his power into overdrive, calling forth a series of flashes that exploded in close succession. One caught Crawler in the face, revealing only a cross-section of his head, complete with a bisected brain, a skull six inches thick and the interior of Crawler’s mouth. Crawler collapsed.
    [...]
    Crawler’s brain grew back to its full beach-ball size in one or two seconds, followed closely after by the healing of the skull, the reappearance of his facial muscles, then his skin, hair, spines, scale and armor plating, roughly in that order. He shook his head like a dog with water in its ears and looked around, searching for his quarry. - Excerpt from Interlude 12
  19. 19.0 19.1 Xexlif: On simple terms its easy.
    Restore health, and give resistance to whatever hit you.

    Not to make it real like crawler has, with changing more than just piling on some resistances, that would take work.

    Wildbow: For every X points of resistance, gain a mutation from a list. - Conversation with Wildbow on Sufficient Velocity, archived on Spacebattles
  20. 20.0 20.1 Organic nanotech is also a part of what lets geckos crawl on walls. - Comment by Wildbow on 26.x (Donation Interlude; Saint)
  21. 21.0 21.1 Trickster added, “I read up on these guys after you mentioned them the other night. Crawler eventually becomes immune to whatever was hurting him, and he’s that much less human, afterward. He wants to get hurt, wants to further his transformation, like a crazed masochist or someone with a death wish. Throws himself into suicidal situations and then comes out stronger. Which may be why he’s here. The soldiers?”

    Coil shook his head, “He’s immune to conventional ammunition and explosives, and most likely to most unconventional forms of ammunition and explosives as well. The laser attachments might have some small effect, but not enough to draw him here.” - Interlude 11f
  22. greatwyrmgold: Crawler–How does his regeneration “work” if, say, he is cut in half? Which half regenerates? Does he have a “core” like Echidna’s, or does one of his organs function as such? If so, what happens when his Core/brain/heart/spleen is cut in half or destroyed?

    wildbow: Crawler – Q1A1.
    His form is monstrous because the adaptations aren’t purely defensive. His power provides the ability to defend himself better. Multiple legs to give him more stability so he can’t be knocked over, etc. - Comment by Wildbow on Extinction 27.4
  23. 23.0 23.1 He can be killed if annihilated, but by the time he shows up in story, he's been at it for a few years, hanging with a pretty nasty group calling themselves the Slaughterhouse Nine. You basically need to dig into the unconventional weapons (ie. stuff made by tinkers; stuff-makers like Iron Man) or very specific powers that can work around armor that can take a small nuke. - Reddit comment by Wildbow
  24. “And Crawler?” Legend asked.

    Piggot spoke, “Legend, Ursa Aurora, Prism, Weld, Assault and Battery will occupy him until we can contain him. He’s still vulnerable to physics. I’m hoping the white phosphorous explosive will keep him in the area long enough for us to put measures in place
    [...]
    The plane wasn’t as fast as I’d thought it would be. It appeared from the clouds and crossed the skyline a distance away, at an altitude not much higher than me. It left a muted roar in its wake, and the payload of bombs. Black specks, smaller than I would have guessed, but more numerous. Fifty? A hundred? I couldn’t tell from my vantage point, and I doubted I could have made an accurate estimate.

    The bombs were targeted at the parking lot where Jack and Bonesaw had been. They detonated across the surrounding neighborhood, a carpet of explosions and flame that ripped through everything. In a heartbeat, an area that had been drowning in stagnant water was lit up by fires that rose higher than the smallest buildings.
    [...]
    “Crawler’s probably taken worse. I can picture him crawling into an incinerator and sitting in there for long enough that he can take this.”
    [...]
    Crawler- I could see him prowling the streets, soaking up the flame without a care. He was headed in the general direction of the parking lot where the heroes were, taking his time, his movements languid. - Excerpt from Prey 14.5
  25. We reached the scene of the ongoing fight with Crawler. Sundancer was off the dog and on the ground the second we could see him, creating her orb and increasing its size. She was fireproof, but she didn’t have the ability to grant that benefit to others. Once she was standing, the orb was free to grow.
    [...]
    “Don’t use your orb on him,” Tattletale cautioned. “Won’t do us any favors, and it’ll only make him stronger for the future.” - Excerpt from Prey 14.5
  26. Wildbow: Crawler's testicles?
    Wildbow: They'd be positioned like ovaries are.
    Wildbow: The dangly bits dangle because our body needs to contract/drop them to adjust their temperature.
    Wildbow: (This is also why they shrink in the cold) - Crawler's too advanced for that. - Comment by Wildbow on Spacebattles
  27. Question by braincraft: What classification is used for enhanced or expanded senses? There are a lot of characters in Worm that have something along those lines, and outside of Worm there's stuff like Superman's telescopic vision, x-ray vision, and enhanced hearing, or Wolverine's ability to track by scent.

    Answer by Wildbow: Thinker. In some rare cases they'd fall under a Brute classification. - RPG.net comment by Wildbow.
  28. Crawler had reached Grue and was scaling the side of the building with surprising speed. I’d taken him for a quadruped, but apparently his joints were modular. His proportions were more simian, now, and he was climbing up the side of the building twice as fast as I could have run it if it were laid out horizontally. - Excerpt from Snare 13.6
  29. I could sense Regent’s group, running to cover. Ballistic was bombarding Crawler, relying on the impacts to drive the brute back. Crawler was fast -and he was agile, with preternatural reflexes- but Ballistic was unloading on him with projectiles that moved faster than sound. Crawler dodged only two in three, and Ballistic followed up on any successful hits with a series of shots to pound Crawler into the nearest available surface and pin him there. Genesis had formed a body that was winged. It resembled a pterodactyl with arms, a griffon or something in that vein. She was making an effort to drop large chunks of rubble onto Crawler. He was strong enough that it barely slowed him down, but time he spent hauling a section of wall off of himself was time for Ballistic to get his hands on material for another shot. Shatterbird offered support with a constant hail of glass to harry Crawler and keep him from finding traction on the pavement. - Excerpt from Prey 14.4
  30. I had a single grenade, and I knew that wouldn’t even make Crawler flinch.

    Crawler spat a caustic spray onto Cache and Clockblocker. I could see the mucus fizz and pop from my vantage point high above.
    [...]
    Maybe he’d anticipated that, but he couldn’t have anticipated the acid spittle. Holes began to appear in the fabric of his fireproof costume.

    He managed to maintain his composure- I had no idea how. I couldn’t imagine how it must have felt to be down there, feeling the heat and smoke coming in through the widening holes in the fabric. He began using his power, calling up the shadowy geometry that would deposit the heroes onto the battlefield.
    [...]
    I was so busy tracking Mannequin, looking for an opportunity to shoot him again, that I nearly missed what happened next.

    Crawler got close enough for Glory Girl to swing a punch. She took the bait and swung, then twisted in mid-air to deliver a kick. He pulled just out of reach of both hits, then opened his mouth to retch spittle and bile all over her.

    It had the same effect on her costume that it did on Cache, only far, far faster. In moments, she was down to the skin-tight costume she wore beneath her white and gold dress, her forcefield protecting her.

    I pulled a grenade free. Maybe it could distract him long enough for her to-

    Crawler surged forward, slamming his head into her. Like a spiked volleyball, she slammed hard into the ground.

    I could see her skin turning red, then black, where the spittle had covered it. Flesh melted away to reveal muscle, then the acidic vomit began to eat away at that. She screamed, frantic, thrashing, oblivious to the flaming patches of ground that she was rolling into. - Excerpt from Prey 14.5
  31. “I can’t- can’t figure out what this venom is. I can’t touch it to see if it’s organic, um, I can only see what it’s doing. At least part of it is enzymes. It’s denaturing proteins in her cells and using the byproducts to build more enzymes, and it’s breaking down lipids as a side effect, shit. Oh god, and there’s more to it. The fluid the enzymes are swimming in is some kind of acid.”

    “Can you fix her?” Tattletale asked.

    “So much to do,” Amy mumbled, “Have to counter the acid with some kind of physiological byproduct, have to stop the enzymes from liquefying her entire body, and repair the damage. Trying to make some kind of firebreak to stop the spread of the venom, withdraw the proteins the venom is using to propagate itself. There isn’t enough tissue in her body for everything I need to do to fix her.” - Excerpt from Prey 14.6
  32. A second Azazel opened fire with a cutting laser, separating the bus into two sections. The first Crawler was rising from his seat when the laser passed in front of him, cutting his face, chest and stomach. Blind, already regenerating, he tipped forward into the gap between the two sections of the bus. The Azazel was already laying down two rails that the nano thorns could spring from. The Crawler landed right on top of them, and was summarily reduced to a red mist. - Excerpt from Interlude 26.x
  33. He was struck by the Azazel that still approached, caught by a long tail and flung down at the ground. He rolled, and in doing so, he rolled into the same nano-thorn rails that had taken down his brother. Half of his body was disintegrated in an instant.

    It regenerated swiftly as he scrambled away on his three remaining limbs. This time, as the flesh swelled out and took form, there was a blur around his right arm, red, more at his shoulder, along his leg. - Excerpt from Interlude 26.x
  34. The Azazel struck out with a tail, and he blocked the blow with the newly grown arm. The tail sheared off as it made contact with his newly grown defenses. The chunk of metal rolled into one of the cars further down the road. Still, Crawler stumbled from the force of the attack. To avoid being disintegrated, he drew his freshly altered arm back towards the barrier behind him. Where his blur met the blur that extended from the rail, the two nano-growths merely pressed against one another, almost springy, neither severing the other. - Excerpt from Interlude 26.x
  35. He reached back with his unaffected arms and intentionally disintegrated them. They regrew, with alterations matching the ones he’d grown on the other side of the body. Better equipped, he stalked towards the Azazel that had laid down the rails, his back to the one that had struck him from the roof of the bus. - Excerpt from Interlude 26.x
  36. Then, before he could do anything further, the two Azazels launched a combination attack. A laser from the Azazel atop the bus made the Crawler’s own nano-thorn evolution burn away in an instant. In that same moment, the Azazel in front of him took off, firing every thruster. The force of the blast sent him flying back into the barrier.

    Red mist. - Excerpt from Interlude 26.x
  37. Part four of the plan? Avoid direct confrontation.

    “Trickster,” Grue said, the one word buzzing over the walkie-talkies.

    Crawler disappeared, and an empty pickup truck toppled from the edge of the roof to the ground. Crawler was back in the vicinity of the other Nine, not far from Sundancer’s burning orb. Blocks away from Grue and Ballistic. - Excerpt from Snare 13.6
  38. Crawler reached the base of the building only to be switched with yet another car, resetting his position a second time. He roared in frustration, then turned toward the miniature sun, breaking into an all out run as he charged for it. - Excerpt from Snare 13.6
  39. “No,” he said, with more ferocity than she had expected. “Pitter isn’t here to administer it, and won’t be until this situation is over. Listen. Chance that we survive Crawler’s attack if my soldiers use the laser attachments I’ve provided? The purple beams?”
    [...]
    “Thirty Nine point one-”

    “If I deploy the Travelers that are on site at the moment?”

    “Thirty point-” - Interlude 11f
  40. Coil raised his hand to silence Trickster. “Pet, the chance that Crawler would seek out Noelle first, given the opportunity?”

    She felt the images filter out until she was looking at a pattern of scenarios. The vague shape of the hulking figure, the open vault door. The images snapped into two groups, one vastly larger than the other.

    “Ninety three point four percent.” - Interlude 11f
  41. Shards are situated on Earth, reaching through realities for corona pollentiae. Powers don't really go into space, because, well, you've got the shard situated on the planet, and their reach is stretching, stretching up & out to the person with the shard. Do they exceed the shard's reach?

    Broken shards don't care so much, some powers can draw energy in other ways, but by and large, powers stop being responsive or start getting fucky at some point between the upper atmosphere and 400k km out. Many powers are manton limited so they don't actually get out into the vacuum. - Wildbow on Reddit, archived on Spacebattles
  42. Wildbow: What GWG said.

    For one thing, powers can't reach into space. For another, if I was GM, I would have Cauldron step in, borrow the character, and have them reappear later in the capacity of a bad guy. Something that powerful shouldn't be left unchecked.

    TheSneakySeal: BOOM. So crawler would die in space. WoG

    Wildbow: No, not quite like that. But Crawler would find his shard didn't provide the mechanisms for him to gain flight and escape Earth's atmosphere. - Conversation with Wildbow on Reddit, archived on Spacebattles
  43. “Powers don’t work in space,” I told him. “We’re tethered to the agents and if you move far enough away the power doesn’t feed in. You wouldn’t get any tinker inspiration. When Sphere was trying to build the moon base, he had to build on Earth and send stuff up.” - Breaking 14.12
  44. Nearly three weeks of work down the drain.

    Already, she was figuring out how to solve the problem. She’d have to stagger it, introduce memories in phases, starting with earliest and working her way forward. Maybe it would be easier, organized. She could consider each member of the Nine in turn and decide if they had been treated well as babies, if their home and school lives were comfortable… that would be a yes for someone like Mannequin, less so for Ned, for Crawler.

    She typed on the computer for a minute. Special disposal procedures for Crawler. The rest could be boiled to death. - Excerpt from Interlude 25
  45. Who says Crawler hasn’t duked it out with one of the Endbringers? - Comment by Wildbow on Snare 13.10
  46. Interlude 11f
  47. Crawler threw himself into the point where the crowd was thickest. Bodies flew as he moved on his two rearmost legs and swept the other four claws and two tentacles through the ranks of the Merchants. When everyone within his broad reach was dead or suffocating from the paralytic venom, he turned toward the wrecked aircraft and began advancing with a more measured pace. Each of the hundred eyes along the length of his body blinked to clear away the blood and dust that had spattered him in his all-too-brief spree.Jack watched as someone drew a gun and pointed it at Crawler, then reconsidered. - Excerpt from Interlude 12
  48. Snare 13.5
  49. - Excerpt from Snare 13.8
  50. Crawler’s pause to grab concrete had bought me time to get my bugs into position. They swept over Crawler, laying down braided ropes of silk joined by adhesive lines and thin gossamer. Even caterpillars began offering their assistance, using the silk they produced for cocoons.

    He was a big guy, but it was a lot of silk.

    I could see how it hampered his movements. There was even something approximating surprise on his face as he dropped down so all six legs were firmly on the ground, and his forelimbs didn’t extend as far as he’d expected. He tried to run and found himself hampered further.

    Crawler sported two or three tons of physical prowess, and his power had fine tuned him into a physical specimen like few others. My bugs had millions of years of evolution to refine the quality of their silk and their ability to produce it.

    For now, at the very least, I had the advantage. - Excerpt from Prey 14.4
  51. Interlude 15
  52. Interlude 26.x
  53. “I wouldn’t say that, Chevalier,” Jack responded, his voice carrying through the vast chamber with two or three hundred vats spaced evenly throughout. “See, we mixed things up a little. There’s a specialized cleanup area that can kill the Crawler clones. We gave them their powers right off the bat. Mixed them in with the others. You’ll have to be fairly discerning, and devote manpower to the task.”

    I thought about using my power, but there weren’t any bugs native to this area. I was limited to the ones that I’d brought with me. Not enough to cart two or three hundred children off to some special device.

    “A distraction,” Defiant said. “There’s another option. A bomb. If we track down the device Dodge used to create and maintain this dimension, we can collapse it.”

    “How fast?” Chevalier asked.

    “Fast,” Defiant answered.

    “Poor sportsmanship,” Jack rebuked them. “Let’s try a different distraction then.” - Excerpt from Sting 26.6
  54. “You will help,” Defiant said. “After. When you work, it’s going to be with supervision. Panacea can check your work and vice-versa.”

    Bonesaw sighed. “My lab. The alternate dimension, the cloning vats-”

    “Destroyed,” Defiant said.

    “You’re serious?”

    He didn’t respond.

    Bonesaw scowled. - Excerpt from Extinction 27.4
  55. The first draft extended from the day that The Brockton Bay Brigade found Amy to the day she got her powers. Kind of unique among those early stories because it remained relatively unscathed through multiple drafts & the worldbuilding that followed. Almost to the point that I could point to it and call it all canon. This was where I first introduced the Nine. Jack (Jack Knife), Crawler (‘Skitter’) and Shatterbird (‘Breaker’) and Mannequin were all in the group, more or less as they are here, along with others that included Nice Guy and Murder Rat. - Comment by Wildbow on Prey 14.8
  56. The first iteration of the Nine, back when I was writing a story with Glory Girl and Panacea as protagonists, the members included many of the same people. Crawler (then named ‘Troll’), Shatterbird (‘Breaker’), Bonesaw (The Maiden) and some who aren’t in this iteration. - Comment by Wildbow on Interlude 13.5 (Donation Bonus)
  57. 1114: [...]Why oh why author did you give creepy evil mass murderer psychopaths TWO unstoppable guys? [...]
    Wildbow:Why did I give them two unstoppable guys?

    I’m a sadist. I admit it. I’ve got a bit of a streak of schadenfreude in me. I enjoy being mean to my characters.

    But I’m also glad when they rise above whatever I’ve decided to inflict on them, so it tends to balance out, thankfully. - conversation in Interlude 12

Site Navigation[]

Slaughterhouse Nine
Leaders King Jack Slash
Members Bonesaw Breed Burnscar Cherish Chuckles Crawler Crimson Damsel of Distress Gray Boy Harbinger Hatchet Face Hookwolf Mannequin Miasma Murder Rat Nice Guy Night Hag *Nyx Psychosoma Screamer Shatterbird The Siberian Skinslip *Winter 
Bonesaw's Hybrids Hack Job Laughjob *Murder Rat Nighty Night *Pagoda Snowmann Spawner Tyrant 
Clones Damsel of Distress II Damsel of Distress III Harbinger Clones  (Harbinger I Harbinger II  • Harbinger III Harbinger IV Harbinger V )
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