Thri-Kreen

Appearance

Thri-Kreen are humanoid insects that have 4 arms and 2 legs. They have dark compound eyes ranging in colors from black, red, green, and purple, two antennae, and carapace covered bodies. Most Thri-Kreen have camouflage based on their natural environment, typically shades of earth, though various greens can also be common. Though Thri-Kreen do not have chameleon-like adaptable camouflage, their carapace colors can change to match their environment within 1 generation, or if they undergo metamorphosis. Their appearance and build is dictated by their specialization. Warriors are taller, bulkier, and covered in tough carapace. Climbers are small, with small serrations on their limbs for climbing grip, and larger legs that are poised for jumping. Builders have more robust arms, with claws that are shaped uniquely, akin to tools. Scouts have large antennae, and slightly larger eyes. Intoners appear average, but have vastly different throats with unique vocalizing organs.  

Biology

Thri-Kreen are innately matriarchal, born by a venerated Hive Queen as vulnerable larvae during the birthing season. Colonies select their two strongest and most accomplished members, one male and one female, as their chosen. In a sacred ritual, the two chosen are sung to by the colony Intoners, who sing the Fhaedaspa, a song of tones and rhythms that awaken the reproduction process in their chosen. This ritual causes the chosen to grow temporary wings, which they use to fly to other colonies. The males reproduce with the Hive Queen of the foreign colony, if she will have them, and the females may challenge a Hive Queen to take her place. On rare occasions, these chosen males and females may begin a new colony. This process maintains genetic diversity, and also enforces a subtle peace between the colonies, as the production of larvae depends upon the chosen ones from other colonies. A Hive Queen's birthing season lasts 2-3 months, and can give birth to as many as 5,000 larvae in a birthing season.   In the larva stage, Thri-Kreen Intoners constantly speak to the larva in rhythmic cadences, a song called the Ghorhond, which activates genes within the larva, shaping their growth into a specialized body type that will suit the needs of the colony best. If a Thri-Kreen wishes to change their body type later in their life, they can undergo a metamorphosis with the aid of an Intoner, through the song of the Brhegrhond. Thri-Kreen mature rapidly, leaving the larva stage in 3 months, reaching adolescence within 1 year, and adulthood within 2 years. These early years are very important for a Thri-Kreen, as they are extremely impressionable in their early years, and conversely rigid in their adulthood. They are capable of learning amazing amounts of knowledge in the short period of their childhood, and rapidly forming their entire identity around what they have absorbed. Thri-Kreen rarely stray from the identity they grew in to. The nature of their birth means almost all Thri-Kreen in a colony are brothers and sisters, and Thri-Kreen from other colonies are usually cousins of varying degrees. Although Thri-Kreen do not share a hive-mind in the way bees and other insects might, they have a high attenuation to the emotions of their brethren, and a strong sense of duty towards their hive.   Thri-Kreen do not sleep, though they must still rest at times to recover their strength, and are able to see in dark or dim lighting up to 60 ft.  

History

Thri-Kreen are extremely present-minded, and keep no histories of their past. They venerate no heroes, leaders, or events. They have no written language, and seem to instinctively know the spoken Thri-Kreen language, even when raised apart from their own kind. Though they have no written language, they do adorn the walls of their lairs with carved geometric repeating patterns, which Thri-Kreen seem to find extremely aesthetically pleasing. These facts have naturally caused vast amounts of their history and ancestry to be lost to time.   What is known, mostly through study and recording by scholars of other cultures, is that Thri-Kreen society has existed since the 1st Epoch, during which they thrived in comparison to other humanoid societies. Their adaptability, and propensity for subterranean lairs allowed them to survive the wrath of the Dragons from that age. Ancient lairs of theirs have been found throughout the world, though now they live only in the arid regions of Weilonde, and countries such as the Shasarek Shogunate, Darnesian Sultanate, Rashwanan Caliphate, and Reshen Province of the New Sovereignty. During the 2nd Epoch, they experienced a decline, which may have been due to tyranny under the Sorcerers, though some have proposed an alternative. A well studied fungal disease of the 2nd Epoch, which caused the extinction of many insect species at the time, may have also affected the Thri-Kreen, and nearly driven them to extinction as well. Regardless of the reason, only the hardy Thri-Kreen in the arid regions of the world survived this age, and they have not managed to thrive in the world since.   In modern society, Thri-Kreen are tenuous participants. They do not seem to have absorbed the ideas of nationality, land ownership, and societal law wholeheartedly. Their reproductive cycle causes many Thri-Kreen to constantly cross national borders and migrate unpredictably, which has caused some incidents in history in which a nation has attempted to force Thri-Kreen to integrate into their society. These incidents have only ended in disaster. Even against overwhelming odds, Thri-Kreen fight to the bitter end defending their lairs. Most colonies live in relative peace under the loosely established rule of a nation, and allow their members to be subject to the laws and consequences of those nations when they stray too far from the colony. For the most part, outsiders do not interfere with their lairs, within which they are allowed to adhere to their own order. Thri-Kreen colonies are neutral entities in society, hardly contributing or draining any resources from the nations they occupy, and due to this most nations are content to leave them to their business rather than overcomplicate the situation. Local populations are slightly more invested, as a colony can have a noticeable drain upon local resources, even if that drain is insignificant at a national scale.   In a recent, dark twist, a black market has emerged for Thri-Kreen larvae. Due to the impressionability of Thri-Kreen during their early years, they can be easily indoctrinated, and trained into a personal or house-hold guard in the span of a year. Such indoctrinated guards are fiercely loyal, and their shorter life-spans, and inability to easily reproduce make them easier to control. Such Thri-Kreen are willing servants, and would not run even if they were given the opportunity without consequence. Their fanatic loyalty is highly coveted by any ruler who fears an attempt on their life, and it can be difficult to bring such people to justice if no evidence exists of their black-market purchase. Many such people claim innocence by the improbable story that they are simply fostering an outcast Thri-Kreen.      

Character Creation

Ability Scores. Determined by Specialization; Con +1
Size. Medium, 5'6"-6'6"
Speed. 30 ft.
Age. Thri-Kreen live to be 25 years on average, but may live as old as 30.
Alignment. Thri-Kreen are typically Lawful, valuing order and service to a group or a cause. Their extreme impressionability makes them malleable to the environment they are born into, leading to a high range of between evil, neutral, or good alignments.
Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it were dim light. You discern colors in that darkness only as shades of gray.
Sleepless Revitalization. You do not require sleep and can choose to remain conscious during a long rest, though you must still refrain from strenuous activity to gain the benefit of the rest.
Extra Arms. You have two additional arms, which can be used for any function an arm normally could, such as to make a grapple. These extra arms can only wield a weapon with the light property, and cannot wield shields. If you start your turn with a free arm, you may draw/stow a weapon or item one additional time before you are required to resort to the Use Object Action.
Specialization. As a larva, you are shaped into a role by the Intoners, who awaken dormant genes through ritualistic singing to shape your growth. This grants you a specialization, which determines your ability score improvement, and another unique feature to that specialization. You may change your specialization in a ritual that lasts 1 whole day, in which a Thri-Kreen Intoner invokes a metamorphosis within you once more, shedding your old skin for a new one. The process is taxing on your body, and you immediately age 1 year upon completing the metamorphosis. If you are proficient in the Performance skill, you may perform this ritual yourself.
  • Warrior: Str +2. Your height increases by up to 2 ft., and you gain a hardened carapace, which grants you an AC of 13 + your Dexterity modifier when you are not wearing armor.
  • Climber: Dex +2. Your size becomes small, and your height reduces 2-3 ft. You gain a climb speed equal to half of your speed. Your Jump distance is doubled, and when jumping you are always considered to have had a running start (as though you had moved 10 ft. immediately before the jump).
  • Builder: Int +2. Your height decreases by 1-2 ft. Your arms become more robust, and your fingers lengthen slightly, ideal for skilled labor. You grow claws that are shaped differently upon each finger, akin to tools. Your hands can function as both Mason's Tools and Carpenter's Tools while in this specialization (though you are not automatically proficient in these tools), and you gain a Burrow Speed of 10 ft., which you can use to burrow through non-magical, unworked stone and dirt.
  • Scout: Wis +2. Your antennae grow larger and more complex, capable of perceiving subtle vibrations. You gain tremorsense out to a range of 30 ft., allowing you to sense vibrations through the ground and air. This can alert you to the location of an invisible creature, or a creature on the other side of a barrier. This sense is less precise when there is vibrational pollution or density, such as in a populated city, near an active volcano, or near machinery. If you suffer Thunder or Force damage, your senses are overwhelmed, and you lose tremorsense for 10 minutes.
  • Intoner: Cha +2. Your throat develops a unique set of resonating tubes and stridulating cords, allowing you to produce clicking sounds so rapid they sound like a continuous tone, which you can near-perfectly modulate to a high range of pitches. Through an instinctive process, you can utilize these tones to supplement your natural conversation, subtly enhancing and manipulating the emotional context of your words to maximum effect. Using this technique, you may gain advantage on a Charisma ability check once per Short Rest. Through your heightened emotional attunement, you have gain the ability to communicate mentally with any one willing creature you can see within 120 feet of you. A contacted creature doesn't need to share a language with you, but it must be able to understand at least one language. Your telepathic link to a creature is broken if you and the creature move more than 120 feet apart, if either of you is incapacitated, or if either of you mentally breaks the contact (no action required).