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Formian

Source Bestiary 4 pg. 108
Giant, antlike interplanetary expansionists with an alien hive intelligence, formians are not evil, but they are aggressive in the propagation of their kind into new territories. The formian homeworld is a lush green jungle planet teeming with life both above and below ground level. Formian hives create vast tunnel systems, turning the subsurface of the planet into a honeycomblike structure. After colonizing every habitable piece of land on their home world, formians looked to the stars for additional lands to infest.

This instinct to expand and propagate often causes conf lict with their neighbors. Though the formians believe it is their right to annex into new areas, they have no patience for those who move into theirs. Formians claim and fiercely defend verdant areas of land around their hive because much of the hive’s nutritional needs are supplied by surface agriculture and hunting. In spite of this, intruders often don’t even notice they have entered formian territory. The ground above a formian hive appears unoccupied—formians conceal entrances to their hives and prefer harvesting fruits and berries in a way that leaves the land largely untouched. Meat that lands on formian tables typically comes from expeditions to drive off or hunt predators. Formians of the warrior caste organize these campaigns and these warriors have little patience for poachers.

Formian society is a strict matriarchy. Though each hive’s queen is theoretically independent and her rule absolute, allegiances are common between hives, and less powerful hives often grudgingly defer to more powerful matriarchs. Hundreds of worker and warrior formians serve even the smallest of hives. Larger hives number in the tens of thousands, and have complex tunnel systems with interwoven corridors connecting territories that might span over hundreds of square miles on the surface alone.

Each formian hive is designed primarily to protect the queen. Approaching the center of the hive can be exceedingly diff icult. Paths are designed deliberately to lead encroachers away from the queen’s hidden lair. In addition to deceptive corridors, formians often build traps and place complex magical protections, decoys, and illusions to protect the queen’s inner sanctuary.

Evolved to procreate on a massive scale, a formian queen is barely able to move under her own power. On the rare occasions she leaves her throne, a small army of workers assist and defend her, but formian queens are by no means defenseless. They are massive and powerful beings, and have the ability to possess any worker or warrior in the hive. A queen uses these thralls as her eyes and ears, and can cast spells through them. Creatures that invade a hive might find themselves the equals of the queen’s myrmarchs and taskmasters only to be laid low when a mere worker unleashes the queen’s tremendous magical power, employing the full force of her cunning and wrath.

Larger than typical warriors, formian myrmarchs are the chief guardians of the hive. They serve as trusted advisors to the queen and as generals of her armies. Warriors are the formians outsiders most frequently encounter. The warriors of the hive follow the orders of the myrmarch, and defend the hive from all encroachers. They also serve as hunters within formian lands and protect workers that venture beyond the hive.

Taskmasters serve the queen as overseers of projects that require greater intelligence and more liberated thinking than workers possess. Each taskmaster oversees workers bred with specif ic skills, directing tasks like expanding tunnels, repairing damage to the hive, or undermining the lands of dangerous creatures.

Workers are by far the most common formians, and perform a vast number of basic tasks, but they avoid interacting with those outside their hive.

Interplanetary Expansionists

After thoroughly occupying their home world, formians came up with a creative solution for alleviating population pressures. The most powerful queens coordinate their efforts to build dozens of massive asteroids, each loaded with a queen plus several myrmarchs and taskmasters, along with hundreds of eggs. The occupants are then placed in stasis, unable to wake until the asteroid crashes on a new world. The asteroids are then ensconced in layer after layer of magical protections and flung at nearby planets, serving as interplanetary seedpods for the species.

After years, decades, or even centuries in transit, an asteroid ship reaches its destination—or misses its mark entirely and continues off into the depths of space, the occupants safe though trapped in the asteroid until they reach a habitable planet. Most of these seedpods crash on their intended planets, though even then some of the seedpods meet with calamity. In rare instances, either the stasis or the protective magic fails, making the seedpod vulnerable to violent entry into a planet’s atmosphere. Other times the seedpod lands in an ocean or some other region of the planet inhospitable to formians, leaving them to drown, freeze, or meet some other calamity.

The safe arrival of a seedpod often creates a period of destruction and chaos for the natives of the formians’ new home. When the seedpod’s protections relax, the eggs hatch, and the formians move forward with ruthless efficiency toward creating their new hive.

Creatures in "Formian" Category

NameCR
Formian Myrmarch10
Formian Queen17
Formian Taskmaster7
Formian Warrior3
Formian Worker1/2

Formian, Formian Myrmarch

This horse-sized insect has a brilliant red carapace, and its monstrous face ref lects great intelligence and confidence.

Formian Myrmarch CR 10

Source Bestiary 4 pg. 109
XP 9,600
LN Large monstrous humanoid
Init +8 (+12 with hive mind); Senses blindsense 30 ft., darkvision 60 ft., hive mind; Perception +18 (+22 with hive mind)

Defense

AC 27, touch 16, flat-footed 22 (+2 deflection, +4 Dex, +1 dodge, +11 natural, –1 size)
hp 126 (12d10+60)
Fort +11, Ref +14, Will +13
Resist sonic 10

Offense

Speed 50 ft.
Melee sting +16 (1d8+5 plus poison), 2 claws +16 (1d4+5/19–20), bite +16 (1d6+5)
Ranged javelin +15/+10/+5 (1d6+5 plus poison)
Space 10 ft., Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks poison
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 12th; concentration +15)
At will—charm monster (DC 17), clairaudience/clairvoyance, detect thoughts (DC 15)
3/day—hold monster (DC 18)
1/day—feeblemind (DC 18)

Statistics

Str 20, Dex 19, Con 20, Int 17, Wis 16, Cha 17
Base Atk +12; CMB +18; CMD 35 (39 vs. trip)
Feats Dodge, Improved Initiative, Mobility, Quick Draw, Spring Attack, Vital Strike
Skills Climb +20, Diplomacy +15, Knowledge (arcana) +15, Perception +18 (+22 with hive mind), Sense Motive +15, Spellcraft +15, Stealth +15
Languages Common, telepathy 150 ft.
SQ formian traits, inspire hive, undersized weapons

Ecology

Environment warm or temperate land or underground
Organization Solitary, team (2–4), platoon (1 plus 7–18 warriors and 6–12 workers), or royal guard (4 plus 12–20 warriors)
Treasure standard (9 javelins, other treasure)

Special Abilities

Inspire Hive (Su) Once per day, a myrmarch can affect all warriors and workers in its telepathic range as if they were under the effect of a greater heroism spell (CL 12th).

Poison (Ex) Javelin or sting—injury; save Fort DC 21; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d4 Dex and sickened; cure 2 saves. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Description

Myrmarchs are an elite caste of the formian race. They serve as direct agents for the queen, acting as advisors and generals, or administrating tasks where complexity or propriety renders taskmasters unsuitable. It is myrmarchs who answer the call when a particularly skilled diplomat or emissary is required to carry the queen’s words outside of the territory of the hive to the dangerously disorganized races.

While myrmarchs make up the aristocracy of formian society, this does not make them pampered intellectuals and bureaucrats. On the contrary, they are even more deadly than the warriors they often command, and do not hesitate to use their considerable might to aid and protect their kin. Myrmarchs facing combat apply their natural poison to their javelins, making them even more lethal.

Like other formians, myrmarchs record their life’s history upon their carapaces. Between their greater opportunities and longer lifespans (roughly as long as those of humans), myrmarchs can cover nearly every inch of their shells with great deeds accomplished, foes overcome, and service to the hive. Some myrmarchs actually run out of space for new records: some die shortly thereafter, knowing that they have served their queen to the utmost, while others add new artificial plates to their carapaces to continue their epics.

The most accomplished, trusted, and battle-tested of their race, myrmarchs form the queen’s elite bodyguard. In a small hive, these bodyguards likely have the same statistics presented above. In the oldest and largest hives, however, most possess class levels.

A myrmarch has an enlarged thorax and abdomen, which give it the same general size and weight as a large warhorse, though its upper body is not much larger than that of a formian warrior’s. Myrmarchs stand about 8 feet high and weigh about 1,200 pounds.