New Mutant Monday #64 - Water Beetle, Giant

Chris Van Deelen

No. Enc: 2d4
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement: 180’ (60’) Flight
                     90’ (30’) Ground
AC: 2
HD: 6
Attacks: 1 bash or 1 mandible
Damage: 2d6+6 or 3d4
Save: L6
Morale: 6
Hoard Class: N/A

These gargantuan insects can be found everywhere, as long as there is water present. The creatures need water to survive, and it is where they mate and lay their eggs. Otherwise they can be found roaming everywhere, thanks to their wings and capability to fly.

The average creature is about 3 feet in length and can weigh in at around 100 pounds. They have a very tough shell covering a set of wings, and six legs, the two front legs are curved and powerful, acting almost like an oversized set of mandibles.

In combat the creatures will hop and attempt to ram a target. This is considered a ranged attack. If the attack hits, then the target must make a saving throw versus stun or be knocked prone, taking at least one round to regain their footing. While prone, the creature will automatically gain +2 to hit with the massive mandibles, and gain an additional +2 per dice damage. The tough shell of the creature will provide a damage reduction of 5 points against all physical attacks, and has a 20% chance of reflecting any energy-based attacks directed at it. The reflection is always random (use the grenade scatter table provided in WftW issue 11). If the reflected energy attack has a chance to go through an occupied space, the player who fired the weapon must make another roll to hit, be it friend or foe.

These creatures are quite aggressive, and are typically only active during the night. Light as strong as a campfire will attract them and they will fly around it, looking for other creatures to attack and feast upon. While attacking at night, they will gain a +1 to hit with either of their usual techniques. During the day, the creatures will retreat to sources of water and sleep, staying submerged. If they are disturbed during their slumber, they will attack to defend themselves, often attempting to grapple anyone or anything disturbing them, and hold them under the water to try and drown them.

During the early summer months the females will actively seek out the males and court them. The males will hunt for food, making them even worse than usual. This mating will last for a single month at which time the beetles will go as far as to flying into communities or even packs of animals to kill and bring presents back to the female. The larger and more deadly the prey, the more likely the female will mate with the male.

After the female has chosen the most aggressive male, she will mate with him and in 72 hours deposit 20d10 eggs upon the males back and then use a sticky resin that will harden into a cement-like compound. This renders the male earth-bound and he cannot fly.

The eggs take another month to hatch, at which time they will burrow out of the cement, consuming it completely and leaving the male un-harmed. All the young will have a single hit-point and will immediately fly away, looking for further prey to consume. They will live on small birds and rodents, other insects and grubs, larva and anything they can find. As long as food is plentiful, they will reach adulthood in 6 months, gaining a hit-dice per month. They also start out with AC 8 and it gets one better every month.

Mutations: Aberrant form (natural weapons), gigantism.