The Shield Beetle

July 17th, 2014

Alex Riggs

Exotic Encounters Archive

                It’s Shield Week here at Necromancers of the Northwest, and that naturally means a shield-themed creature. I was crushed to discover that my brilliant idea for a shield archon was not quite as unique as I thought it was, and as much as I was tempted to apply the shield golem template to lots of different constructs, that just didn’t really feel like enough. So, instead, I decided to take “shield” a bit less literally and focus on making a heavily defense-oriented creature, which I named the shield beetle, because it’s Shield Week, and it is, ultimately, a very big beetle.


Shield Beetle

                This immense beetle towers over you. Its beady black eyes are nearly as large as you are, and its massive shell is almost certainly thicker and harder to penetrate than many castles. Its body gleams with a strange iridescence in the light.

SHIELD BEETLE                              CR 15
XP 51,200
N Colossal vermin
Init -2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., tremsorsense 200 ft.; Perception +2


AC 34, touch 8, flat-footed 34 (+8 deflection, -2 Dex, +26 natural, -8 size)
hp 275 (22d8+176)
Fort +21, Ref +5, Will +9
Defensive Abilities fortified body, reflective shell; DR 10/—; SR 31; Resist acid 10, cold 10, electricity 10, fire 10; Immune mind-affecting effects
Weaknesses vulnerable in flight


Speed 40 ft., fly 80 ft. (clumsy)
Melee gore +18 (4d6+15)
Special Attacks rolling trample (4d6+15, DC 31)


Str 30, Dex 6, Con 26, Int —, Wis 14, Cha 7
Base Atk +16; CMB +34; CMD 50
Feats Awesome BlowB, Power AttackB
Skills Fly -8; Racial +10 Fly


Environment any
Organization solitary
Treasure standard


                Fortified Body (Ex): A shield beetle is not subject to critical hits or precision-based damage.

                Reflective Shell (Su): A shield beetle’s shell is highly polished and reflective, and radiates an aura of magical protection. The shield beetle gains a deflection bonus to AC equal to its Constitution modifier. Additionally, its spell resistance is 5 higher than normal for a creature of its CR. Further, whenever the shield beetle is the target of a spell, if that spell fails to overcome its spell resistance, the spell is reflected back at the caster, as though the caster had been the original target.

                Rolling Trample (Ex): A shield beetle can roll itself into a massive ball of armored flesh, crushing everything in its path. This functions as the trample universal monster ability, except that the shield beetle can move up to four times its speed while trampling, but must move in a straight line. The shield beetle cannot trample while flying.

                Vulnerable in Flight (Ex): A shield beetle must open its hard carapace in order to spread its wings and fly, and its underside is much more poorly armored than its top. These factors combine to reduce the shield beetle’s natural armor bonus to AC by 8 and its DR by 5 while it is flying.



                While these titanic insects are primarily known for being all but impervious to attack, their name actually comes from their appearance: when seen from great distances, a shield beetle’s rainbow-iridescent shell takes on a metallic sheen, and when seen from above, its form resembles a popular shape of shield, with the overall shape of a slightly elongated oval with a tapered bottom and three points at the top. On the beetle, two of these points come from the carapace on its back, which extend a dozen feet or so past the rest of its body on the corners, and the middle point comes from the beetle’s massive horn.

                These beetles are not malicious, and do not feed on humans. Instead, their diet consists of trees, which they leave stripped down to a stump in most cases (a shield beetle can strip a small forest in a matter of weeks). Because they do not actively seek humans out, and because they are so difficult to miss, they are rarely a danger to humanoid creatures, as long as those creatures are intelligent enough to get out of their way. That said, wandering shield beetles can be quite devastating to farms, and, in rare cases, even towns and cities, as they are all but impossible to stop, and crush everything in their wake. In a few rare cases, they have actually been known to develop a taste for buildings made of wood, and have devoured entire towns.