Previews06/01/2006


Previews for June and Beyond



Alchemy Beetle

Alchemy Beetle

What at first glance appeared to be an enormous insect is actually some sort of construct. A black iron exoskeleton holds a glass hemisphere churning with a molten green liquid. Smoke rises where the construct's mandibles drip this liquid to the ground.

ALCHEMY BEETLE CR 2
Always N Small construct
Init +0; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Listen +0, Spot +0
AC 15, touch 11, flat-footed 15
(+1 size, +4 natural)
hp 21 (2 HD)
Immune construct immunities
Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +2
Speed 40 ft. (8 squares)
Melee bite +4 (1d3+1 plus 1d6 energy damage) and
2 claws -2 each (1d4)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +1; Grp -2
Atk Options alchemical bite
Special Actions alchemical blast
Abilities Str 13, Dex 10, Con --, Int --, Wis 14, Cha 8
SQ construct traits
Feats Weapon Focus (bite)[B]
Skills Hide +4, Jump +5, Listen +0, Spot +0
Advancement 3-6 HD (Medium); 7-12 HD (Large)

Alchemical Bite (Ex) An alchemy beetle's bite deals an extra 1d6 points of damage of a type determined by the alchemical fluid it holds (acid, cold, electricity, or fire).

Alchemy beetles can deliver roughly 100 bites before running out of fluid. The giants knew the secret of refilling the beetles, but no record of the process currently exists.

Alchemical Blast (Ex) When an alchemy beetle is reduced to 0 hit points, it explodes in a 10-foot-radius burst. Any creature in the area must succeed on a DC 11 Reflex save or take 3d6 points of damage of a type determined by the fluid the beetle holds. A successful save results in half damage. The save DC is Constitution-based.

An alchemy beetle whose fluid supply has been exhausted deals no damage when it explodes.

The giants of ancient Xen'drik created countless magical and alchemical innovations. One of these creations, the alchemy beetle, still wanders the continent.

STRATEGIES AND TACTICS

Alchemy beetles are mindless constructs programmed with insectile cunning. They attack primarily with their bite but sometimes use their hooked forelimbs for secondary attacks. They automatically spread out as much as possible to minimize damage from exploding allies.

SAMPLE ENCOUNTERS

Alchemy beetles can be found anywhere in Xen'drik, either alone or in clusters of up to ten individuals. They are common in the ruins of giant settlements or near the sites of ancient battles between the giants and quori.

Guardian (EL 2): An alchemy beetle has been programmed to guard a particular area of a giant ruin. It attacks any Medium or smaller creature that moves within 30 feet.

Cluster (EL 4-9): On one of the ancient battlegrounds of the quori-giant conflict, alchemy beetles ceaselessly patrol. Still following their millennia-old orders, they attack any creatures not wearing the insignia of the giant clan that once controlled them.

ECOLOGY

Alchemy beetles are mindless constructs that do not eat, sleep, or breathe. Created as guardians, they cannot speak or comprehend languages. They follow their original programming until destroyed.

Environment: Though originally constructed for guard duty in giant settlements, alchemy beetles have wandered into every corner of Xen'drik.

Typical Physical Characteristics: An alchemy beetle is 4 feet long and 2 feet wide. It has a black iron head similar to a stag beetle's, but with a flared ridge behind the skull reminiscent of that of a triceratops. Six jointed black iron legs, the front two tipped with hooks, support a metal framework. A glass hemisphere sits in the framework, fused to the beetle by what look like black metal veins.

The glass hemisphere is filled with an alchemical mixture such as alchemist's fire, alchemist's frost, alchemist's spark, or acid. When the alchemy beetle attacks, this liquid drips from its mandibles.

Alignment: As mindless automatons, alchemy beetles are always neutral.

TYPICAL TREASURE

Alchemy beetles do not carry or store treasure of any kind.

FOR PLAYER CHARACTERS: ALCHEMY BEETLE CONSTRUCTION

A black iron framework and thick glass carapace make up an alchemy beetle's body. The carapace holds 4 gallons of alchemical liquid. 1,000 gp of raw materials is required, along with successful DC 15 Craft (blacksmithing) and DC 15 Craft (glassblowing) checks. The alchemy beetle's creator can give the construct a simple command to govern its actions, such as "Remain in an area and attack all creatures that enter." The creator can give the construct a new command at any time the construct is within 30 feet.

CL 5th; Craft Construct (MM 303), fireball, caster must be at least 5th level; Price 7,000 gp; Cost 4,000 gp + 240 XP.

ALCHEMY BEETLE LORE

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (arcana) can learn more about alchemy beetles. When a character makes a skill check, the following lore is revealed, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (Arcana)

DC Result
12 This creature is an alchemy beetle, a mindless construct incapable of independent thought. This result reveals all construct traits.
17 Alchemy beetles were constructed by the giants of Xen'drik to act as guardians but now wander the continent unguided. They are so named because each has an alchemical bite fueled by liquid stored in a glass bubble on its back.
22 Any combat against an alchemy beetle is a losing proposition. If destroyed, the construct explodes, dealing damage to all adjacent creatures.

NEW MONSTERS OUTSIDE XEN'DRIK

The new monsters presented in this section can be equally challenging to adventurers outside Xen'drik. To transplant these creatures to other areas, consider the following options.

Alchemy Beetles: Created by House Cannith during the final days of the Last War, groups of alchemy beetles still roam the Mournland. Wealthy nobles in large cities sometimes use alchemy beetles as guards.

Jungle Giants: Giants are uncommon on Khorvaire, but a few jungle giants might live in the deep forests of the Eldeen Reaches.

Tentacle Spiders: Druids have spotted tentacle spiders in the Gloaming of the Eldeen Reaches. Tentacle spiders also live in the Khraal rainforest in Darguun.

Yuan-Ti Wretchling: The yuan-ti of the Talenta Plains are horrified by the experiments carried out by their cousins in Xen'drik. A few escaped wretchlings now live with the Talenta yuan-ti, who struggle to find a way to reverse their mutation.

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