[RPG] How to ‘regift’ a group of highly dangerous gem scarabs across a continent? We don’t want them anymore


I need my group to transport several (8-10) gem scarabs across a great distance of ~800 miles from a desert. These are from the Monster Manual V, and for the record, they have a spell like ability (acid splash) usable 6/day, their carapace (shell) is "metalic & iridescent," & they have int 1. The group has access to their own magic as well as the ability to purchase whatever they need prior to setting out to capture the scarabs.

It sounds simple enough, but enough of a pain that I can't find a legitimate, reliable method to do this.

The group can't simply tie/cage the beetles as they'll eat through the containers, the rest of their gear & try to eat the PCs. Glass containers could work if I could find a way to squeeze 10 of these 2-1/2 ft creatures into a container large enough to contain them & still be able to travel with them… not likely.

Solutions that failed:

  • Bag of Holding/Portable Hole: These are living creatures that need to breath. There's not enough air to support 10 of these things for this long of a journey.

  • Flesh to stone: This would negate the breathing problem. However, Scarabs are beetles and possess no "flesh" as required by spell description.

  • Sleep: obviously easy to control creatures but at 1 min/lvl they don't have enough spells per day even if they had no other encounters on their trip.

  • Teleport: Combimed with sleep/bag of holding this will enable them to cover most of the travel time problems but they still can't Teleport exactly where they need to "plant" these creatures and will have to spend a fair amount of time walking there.


  • Books: hardback official 3.5 books only (Pathfinder pre-3.75 also ok)
  • Items/magic needs to be reasonablly attainable by 5-6 lvl characters. (If only a 7th level spell will work the answer will be accepted but preference will be given to lower level magic.)

Best Answer

Intelligence Damage

Intelligence 0 means that the character cannot think and is unconscious in a coma-like stupor, helpless.

This, combined with the fact that the beetles only have Intelligence 1 suggests an immediate method of control: reduce them to 0 intelligence. Ability damage (as opposed to ability drain) heals naturally at a rate of 1 point per day, which is good and bad: it means you don't need to do anything to "reactivate" the beetles, just wait a day, but it means you'll need to reapply the damage every day.

There are a variety of fairly stupid and complicated methods for inflicting Intelligence damage upon targets, including psionics, summoning certain high-level monsters, and tricking them into reading a vacuous grimoire. But far more easily acquired (both in terms of time and money) is id moss. Id moss is an ingested poison found in the DMG; it costs just 125 gp/dose and deals intelligence damage with a DC 14 Fortitude save. You may wish to use a spell that gives penalties to saving throws (e.g, crushing despair) or just repeatedly apply doses until the creature fails its save. Feed each beetle a dose of id moss with its food each day (for a total cost of 125 gp per beetle per day).

Possible drawback: every time you feed the beetles, you have a 5% chance of accidentally eating a dose of the moss yourself. Keep a cleric on hand to cast neutralise poison and/or lesser restoration.

Cheaper methods

With ten beetles, this does admittedly run you at least 1250 gp/day minimum. There are a few other poisons (most of which affect other stats) that are also possibly usable - but none of them are appreciably cheaper. A different source of poison is clearly required.

Summon Monster I is capable of summoning fiendish monstrous spiders and centipedes for several rounds at 6th level. Spiders have a venom that deals Strength damage; centipedes have one that deals Dexterity damage. On the first day, use id moss or another method of your choice to render the beetles unconscious. Then, summon a spider and a centipede; have the spider and centipede repeatedly bite the unconscious beetles until their Strength and Dexterity scores are also 0. For the initial application you may need to also use a wand of cure light wounds or similiar measures to prevent your spider and centipede from accidentally killing the beetles - they presumably have reasonable Str and Dex scores and so may require many many bites.

Every day from then on, you summon a new spider or centipede and have it bite each beetle down to 0 in Str or Dex respectively. For optimal results, use a spider every even day and a centipede every odd day - this way you can begin biting a beetle to make it Dexterity-drained before the Strength-drain wears off, thus avoiding the risk of the beetle waking up and killing your spider or centipede.