|No. of Attacks:
|M (5' long)
|S (3' long)
|S (3' long)
Death watch beetles are jet black in color, except for a single patch of white (on the back of their carapaces) that resembles a human skull.
Combat: The death watch beetle is feared more than any other giant beetle for two reasons. The first is its cunning ability to disguise itself. When a death watch beetle finds a place to hunt, it gathers items from the area (mainly earth, fallen branches, and the like). As it acquires these things, it uses a natural form of cement created with its saliva and soil to affix them to its back. When it finishes this process, it is well camouflaged and can lie in wait for hours until prey passes near. When the death watch beetle makes its attack, its opponents suffer a -2 penalty to their surprise rolls.
Far more deadly than the death watch beetle's ability to surprise its foes, however, is its death rattle (a deadly sonic vibration). When the creature is in combat, it vibrates its carapace very rapidly, setting up an unusual clicking sound that resembles a gong. Victims are unlikely (only a 10% chance) to locate the beetle by this sound alone. This noise is very destructive at close range. One round after the beetle begins to make its rattle, anyone within 30 feet must roll a successful saving throw vs. death magic or be instantly slain. Those who succeed suffer 5d4 points of damage, as well as muscle pains and tingling sensations in their limbs for several hours after the battle. The creation of the death rattle is very tiring to the creature, requiring it to rest for 1d4+1 hours before it can produce the horrible noise again.
Habitat/Society: The death watch beetle is a solitary creature that lives in the temperate woodlands of the world. It does not particularly enjoy wetlands, but can be found there on occasion. Overall, the death watch beetle lives a nomadic life. It stops in one location only long enough to hunt and then moves on. In fact, the beetle will abandon a selected hunting location after 4d4 hours if there is no sign of prey in the area.
Ecology: While other beetles fulfil many roles in the natural system, the death watch beetle is first and foremost a powerful hunter. It is high on the food chain, as few animals or monsters are capable of engaging it in combat with any hope of victory.
The wings of the death watch beetle are highly valued by skilled armorers, who can fashion them into very effective shields. If an expert armorer is provided with both of a death watch beetle's wings, he can manufacture the equivalent of a body shield +1 (although it is not actually enchanted).
Slicer beetles are distant relatives of death watch beetles. Over the course of time, they have lost all traces of their wings and now look much like six-legged centipedes. Their bodies have developed a hardened exoskeleton that is more than adequate protection in combat. Otherwise, the slicer beetle is quite similar in many respects to the stag beetle. It is generally black or very dark gray in color. The slicer beetle's hearing and eyesight are poor, but it will attack anything it identifies as prey, or anything that attacks it.
Combat: The mandibles of the slicer beetle are highly dangerous because of their powerful muscles and keen edges. When in combat, any natural attack roll of 19 or 20 indicates that the slicer beetle has nipped off an adversary's limb.
If the slicer beetle is engaged in any combat that seems to be going against it, the creature will grab up any limbs it has managed to sever and hurry away, hoping to evade its attackers.
Habitat/Society: The slicer beetle's lair contains many bones and 1-6 types of normal weaponry. The lair is 25% likely to have one or more magical weapons and 1% likely to have magical boots. It may also have such sliceable items as gauntlets and rings. Items normally found in pairs, such as gauntlets and boots, are only 5% likely to be an intact set; other apparently matched pairs will test normally but have unpredictable results at awkward times: a gauntlet of dexterity may attempt picking pockets with a 50% success chance, a boot of elvenkind might go up on tip-toe, and so on.
Ecology: Like the stag beetle, the slicer beetle will often raid cultivated lands. However, instead of stripping wood and grain, the slicer beetle seeks the flesh of livestock, peasants, and any other creature unfortunate enough to get in its way.
The stink beetle is a dead ringer for the slicer beetle in appearance and behavior. However, its exoskeleton is not as hard and it has no deadly special attack. When slain, the stink beetle discharges a noxious fluid from between its mandibles, soaking anything in front of it within 10 feet. The stench is awful, but harmless, though it doubles the chance of attracting other predatores until it wears off - about 8 hours. This time can be reduced to as little as 1 hour if vigorous cleansing activity or cleansing magic of up to 3rd level is employed. For example, a wizard using cantrip for a full hour could completely scrub the stench from an affected comrade.