Giant scarab beetles, like their mundane cousins, were round insects with black or brown carapace. Some rarer species had a bright blue shell with gem-like red spots, and each piece of carapace - countered in gold.
Giant scarab beetles could often be found in mated pairs or small groups, no bigger than four insects. Being reclusive creatures, they preferred to stay out of combat with predators. They often could be found in bigger-sized caverns, rolling large balls of dung, or hunting small critters.
Giant scarabs had vestigial wings, well protected by their carapace. The wings allowed them to fly short distances, or, to be more precise, to jump and hover as far as 360 feet (110 meters). When the beetles used the wings, they generated loud clacking and buzzing sounds.
When attacked, the giant scarabs attempted to flee most of the time, jumping away from danger. Their main defensive ability was creating a magical flare from under their wings. The bright light had a radius of 150 feet (46 meters) and dispersed any and all magical shadows or darkness within 10 feet (3 meters) from their bodies. The same magical light damaged undead, shadows, shadow fiends, slow shadows, darkness elementals, and similar creatures. This magical flare could last up to six minutes, burning the affected creatures continuously. When lit, the giant scarabs were unable to fly. Additionally, giant scarabs used their mandibles to deliver biting attacks.
Giant scarab beetles were omnivores and not picky eaters. In Underdark, they often fed on bat guano, various insects like cave crickets. Scarabs considered all smaller creatures to be their food source. When they came across undead and successfully laid the creatures, the scarabs fed on their remains. These insects could consume most undead creatures, from simple skeletons to vampires.
In the wild, giant scarabs were natural enemies of the undead and kept their populations in check in the vicinity of their habitats. Many worshipers of the Mulhorandi pantheon believed that these creatures were created by Re, the God of Sun, due to the beetles' instinct to swarm the undead opponents, burning them away with their magical flare light.
Giant scarab beetles could bee found in Underdark, Undermountain, and subterranean locations in Mulhorand. They preferred to nest in underground areas with abundant dung. The nests were simple round burrowed tunnels approximately 4 feet (1.2 meters) in diameter, allowing the beetles to move along, but nothing bigger could squeeze through, keeping them safe from predators. Giant scarabs were dung beetles and kept balls of it tucked away inside their nests, reeking up their tunnels. The dung balls were used to incurable the creatures' eggs, deposited inside. Their lairs were usually pretty dry and, on occasion, had stray treasure embedded into the tunnels' walls.
Mulhorandi used beautifully colored blue carapace giant scarabs to guard their tombs.
Outside of the Prime Material plane, giant scarab beetles could be encountered on Thanatos, 113th layer of the Abyss, in Naratyr. There they often were kept as guard pets. They could also be found in the Domains of Dread.
Mulhorandi considered scarabs, giant and regular, to be holy animals of Re, by various cults worshiping sun gods. These insects symbolized rebirth.
In 1370 DR, an agent of Khelben Arunsun encountered giant scarabs guarding the Tomb of Ankh-Kephra in Undermountain. The tomb was a home for Mulhorandi wizards Ankh-Kephra and Nephryt. The wizards constructed the tomb to spend their eternal undeath together. The wizards build the tomb in accordance with the designs and traditions of their homeland. One of the tomb's many protectors were beautifully hued guard giant blue scarabs from Mulhorand.
- Video Games
- Descent to Undermountain
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