Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Races: Beetlemen

Background

Beetlemen are a colony race of hybrid insectoids that live among the vast sand warrens, worshiping the gods of the wastes. If encountered, Beetlemen will attack with intent to capture so as to bring any bounty back to their queen who likely will decare prisoners to be sacrificed in order to appease the gods. Beetlemen will fight until they lose 2/3 their number and if not reinforced, will retreat.

Horns have yet to grow for this young adult.
Occassionally, a beetleman will wander so far from his colony that he'll not be able to find his way back. After 24 hours he will lose the scent of his people and they will disown him. Self-sacrifice is a sin without the queen's direct order, so they typically have no other choice but to wander in search of a purpose or adventure.

Livelihood/Society

Beetlemen live in vast underground and tunnel colonies which are divided into subgroups (clans) of as many as 500 individuals. A hundred or more subgroups that make up a supercolony (city). There are, perhaps fewer than three dozen supercolonies left on Benu. They have a long gestational period as larvae. Their nurseries are constantly tended by feeder bugs (giant beetles) that bring food to fat, grub-like young, which are under careful protection by heavily armed guards. Young adults are thrown into single combat rounds to determine the strongest. Weak individuals are not killed, but merely ignored by the colony. They become as ghosts and are not fed or cared for, dying from neglect.


Beetlemen are scavengers and horde hunters that fan out across the great deserts in search of food and hardware they can use, in addition to collecting intelligence about other races--such as their sworn enemies, the Bando.

For Queen and Glory
Their queen has never before been seen by other species. It's unknown if she is the same queen that has ruled since antiquity or if there are new queens with every generation.

Though they fight enemies in large numbers, beetlemen relish fraternal combat. They'll hold sparring sessions as a means of proving acumen in single combat. They fight for status and preferential treatment from the queen.

Appearance/Physicality

Beetlemen have heads resembling several varieties of stag and "rhino" beetles, but stand erect as hominids. They are bulky at the shoulders with two narrow primary limbs (arms). It appears their secondary limbs have evolved to become a set of shorter arms just underneath--nearly at the same joint.

Their exoskeletons appear as black, brown, and the darkest red and so may be hard to spot until it's too late. They also have a pair of thin, rapid-beating wings that don't provide full flight, but do allow them to hover for short periods (no more than 12 meters high). A beetleman's exoskellatal thorax (torso) provides protection to his chest and back.

Super Strength
They are extremely strong and agile, owing to their insect-like physiology. They stand a mere 1.5 meters tall, but can lift and carry up to 20 times their own weight for up to 1d0+1 rounds. Their hind legs allow them to leap up to 30 meters at a time.

Senses
Beetlemen have an innate tracking ability based on scent and detection of ground vibrations for up to 4 kilometers. They can communicate using microvibrations when in complete darkness at about the same range. They have excellent senses hearing and sense of smell (see below) but are susceptible to gas-based weapons.

Methods of Attack

Beetlemen like to surprise and surround their prey, overwhelming them with their numbers. Because their powers of flight aren't a tactical asset in surprise, they prefer to burst from underground--being proficient diggers--in large numbers.

Raiding parties generally attack, gravitating towards the footsetps (vibrations) of their intended targets. Camps and villages with lots of activity at night should be extremely cautious that they don't attract unwanted attention.

Attackers will first attempt to close in on enemies using electro-stun spears and nets. If things go badly and foes are not rendered incapacitated in 6 rounds or less, they will resort to more violent methods to bring prey under control. On the ground, they are quick and adept in combat, despite their slow speed in the air.

Rumors

Beetlemen were the result of ancient alchemical experiments performed by the Ancient Kings. Legend has it that when the rulers of old laid eyes on their creations, they recoiled in horror and sought to erase their mistake. One King took pity, and convinced the court to merely banished them to the wastes. Over the eons, the Beetlemen took this as a divine mandate and consider the wastes a holy land.

It's said that the Beetlemen worship a silent but imposing god--an ancient nuclear weapon--buried deep within their warren catacombs. The device's armament, range, and condition remain unknown.

Subgroups have their own altars at which they make offerings to the gods, but supercolonies are said to have elaborate underground temples for sacrificing their prisoners.

It's believed that the smell of garbage dumps and junk piles can attract a raiding or scouting party if not properly buried or burned.

In recent years, Bando traders have heard that the beetlemen have an unlimited supply of radium and metal in their great hives. It's thought that while they possess little knowledge of weapon making and so some prisoners must be kept as slaves to mine and forge.

If encountered as a monster:

STATS
FREQUENCY: Common
NO. APPEARING: In colonial subgroup (500); Raiding party (20-40); Scouts (3-9)
ARMOR CLASS: 10
MOVE: 7 on ground, 4 in flight
HIT DICE: 1d8+2
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1 per drone, 2 per champion
DAMAGE/ATTACK: Pincer claws, 1d6+1; mandible bite 1d8; common weapons include stun-ray spears, tridents, electro-stun nets, obsidian-bladed short swords or daggers; champions (1d20) carry long handled maces or battleaxes with large obsidian-carved heads. 1d6 subgroups is an elite troop that will carry radium rifles.
SPECIAL ABILITIES/SKILLS: Sense of hearing and vibration detection up to 3 kilometers. Can smell and identify most species up to 5 kilometers away with ease. Mandibles can create microvibrations to communicate at hypersonic register, reverbartory surfaces can extend this method for miles while underground.
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Hard carapace shell acts as a armor (see Armor Class).
MAGIC RESISTANCE: None
INTELLIGENCE: Average
ALIGNMENT: Lawful evil
SIZE: M
PSIONIC ABILITY: Rare, only 1 in 1d100 exhibit psionic abilities, but lesser beings may equate their special abilities with "magic".

If played as a PC:

Prime Requisite Requirements: PHY 15, AGL 10
Hit Dice: Add +3 for hard exoskeleton and constitution
Max Level: None