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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 Taskmaster

This centaurlike creature is equipped with an ant’s mandibles and antennae.

Formian Taskmaster CR 7

Source Bestiary 4 pg. 111
XP 3,200
LN Medium monstrous humanoid
Init +2 (+6 with hive mind); Senses blindsight 30 ft., darkvision 60 ft., hive mind; Perception +16 (+20 with hive mind)

Defense

AC 20, touch 12, flat-footed 18 (+2 Dex, +8 natural)
hp 85 (10d10+30)
Fort +6, Ref +9, Will +10
Resist sonic 10

Offense

Speed 40 ft.
Melee sting +13 (1d4+3 plus poison), 2 claws +13 (1d4+3)
Ranged dart +12/+7 (1d4+3)
Special Attacks poison
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th; concentration +14)
3/day—detect thoughts (DC 16), sending (to the hive queen only)
Bard Spells Known (caster level 7th; concentration +11)
3rd (2)—confusion (DC 18), good hope
2nd (4)—heroism, invisibility, sound burst (DC 16), suggestion (DC 17)
1st (5)—charm person (DC 16), comprehend languages, cure light wounds, hideous laughter (DC 16), silent image (DC 15)
0 (at will)—dancing lights, daze (DC 15), detect magic, mending, message, prestidigitation

Statistics

Str 17, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 13, Wis 16, Cha 19
Base Atk +10; CMB +13; CMD 26 (30 vs. trip)
Feats Combat Casting, Point-Blank Shot, Quick Draw, Rapid Shot, Spell Focus (enchantment)
Skills Appraise +6, Bluff +9, Climb +11, Craft (armor) +9, Diplomacy +14, Perception +16 (+20 with hive mind), Sense Motive +8, Spellcraft +6
Languages Common; telepathy 120 ft.
SQ formian traits, mental motivator (20 rounds/day)

Ecology

Environment warm or temperate land or underground
Organization solitary, work crew (1 plus 6–12 workers), band (1 plus 3–15 workers and 5–8 warriors), embassy (2–6)
Treasure standard (10 darts, other treasure)

Special Abilities

Mental Motivator (Su) A formian taskmaster can inspire competence or inspire courage as a 7th-level bard (typically 20 rounds/day). The taskmaster’s performance is purely mental and only affects formians from its own hive within telepathic range.

Poison (Ex) Sting—injury; save Fort DC 18; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d4 Dexterity; cure 2 consecutive saves.

Spells A formian taskmaster casts spells as a 7th-level bard. It favors enchantment and illusion spells.

Description

Formian taskmasters are merchants, traders, diplomats, and spies, and particularly talented taskmasters may even advise the queen. Taskmasters can often be found outside the hive engaging in commerce or routine diplomatic missions. While traveling, a taskmaster is usually accompanied by 3–5 workers and at least 5 warriors.

When dealing with other creatures, formians recognize that their telepathy can be offputting and use normal speech, although their mandibles are not well suited for the task and their voices are often hoarse and difficult to understand.

Like myrmarchs, taskmasters are highly competitive and take great pride in their successes. Notable accomplishments are carved into their carapaces and highlighted with the use of bright inks, precious metals, or gems. Formian society is largely free of the crime that is common in other humanoid societies, but formians do have occasional duels within a caste.

Two taskmasters might have a duel over promotions, a trade route, or an insult. These duels are rarely lethal for fear of weakening the hive, and taskmasters who are too aggressive attract the wrong kind of attention from the myrmarchs. Dueling victories are often recorded on taskmasters’ carapaces alongside their other major accomplishments.