Monday, 13 November 2017

Monster Man Comp: The Hex Beetle for AD&D

James Holloway over at the Gonzo History: Gaming Edition blog is having a monster design competition. The hook is, like Gary Gygax of old, you have to base the monster on a cheap toy. Sounds fun, so here's my quick and dirty entry, the Hex Beetle for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons:

Hex Beetle

Beetle, Hex

Frequency: Very Rare
No Appearing: 1-6
Armour Class: 1
Move: 12"
Hit Dice: 4
% in Lair: Nil
Treasure Type: See below
No. Of Attacks: 2
Damage/Attack: 1-12, plus 1-8 (zap)
Special Attacks: Nil
Special Defences: Phase (see below)
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence; Low
Alignment: Neutral
Size: M(8')

The Hex Beetle is a 12-legged armour encased, insectoid crystaline life form that spends most of its time asleep on the ethereal plane. When the Hex Beetles dull senses detect a magic item in the vicinity o its equivalent position in the prime material plane, it awakens, enters the physical plane and attempts to sniff out and consume the magical device, however it has little sense of direction, and will scurry around bumping into things senselessly until it finds its quarry. The Hex Beetle must remain on the prime material plane in order to consume a magical item, which may take 1-6 turns.

If attacked whilst physical, the Hex Beetle will attempt to phase to an ethereal state (75% chance), which will stop its feeding. When out of phase they are impervious to nearly all forms of attack, although a phase door spell will cause one to remain in phase for 12 melee rounds. They are not particularly intelligent and will phase back to the material plane and attempt to locate the item and continue feeding in 1-2 turns, even if the threat has not passed.

If successfully defeated, the crystal innards will shatter leaving 1-12 randomly determined gems (DMG P.25), plus one gem of the same type which is the ‘brain’ of the creature. This possesses the properties of a Gem of Seeing (DMG P.145) and will detect as magical. The metal casing appears mundane, but will also detect as magical, each Hex Beetle corpse supplies approximately 1/3rd the amount of metal required to create a suit of Plate Mail of Etherealness (DMG P.164). There is a 50% chance of these items being cursed.

The Hex Beetle is somewhat biddable, and if promised magical items to consume may carry out simple tasks, but will not attack others unless it carries a magical item for the Hex Beetle to feed on.

James has contracted an impressive list of sponsors and prizes, for the competition, including many familiar names, such as Chaotic Henchmen Productions , Oakbound Studios,  Otherworld Miniatures and Grant Howitt . The full rules of the competition are here - it doesn't have to be AD&D,  I considered writing up the Hex Bug: Nano for Cyberpunk 2013 (Scavenger Bot), Empire of the Petal Thrones (The Interminable Devourer of Eyes!), and Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader (Insectoid Warp Beast) before settling on AD&D, and Hexbugs aren't really cheap either, so I might have disqualified myself there...

Well worth entering, not just for the chance to win cool prizes, but the fun of transforming a toy into a gaming thing. The competition deadline is Sunday, 26 November so still plenty of time to dive into the toy box and write up something!


  1. Impressive work. My children love those beetles. I've yet to introduce them to D&D, but sooner or later it will happen.

    1. Cheers! My goodness those things eat batteries... the hexbugs, not the kids.

  2. I remember the bad old days when my DM would stay up nights devising monsters like the Hex Beetle to eat up our surplus of magic items.

    Hands off my loot, DM! Of course I need four different magic swords, you dink.

    1. I thought I was being more cunning and less obvious than that! Mwah ha ha ha ha!