Archives of Nethys

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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 Warrior

Armored from head to toe in gleaming black-and-red chitin, this insectile warrior’s tail ends in a wickedly barbed stinger.

Formian Warrior CR 3

Source Bestiary 4 pg. 112
XP 800
LN Medium monstrous humanoid
Init +3 (+7 with hive mind); Senses blindsense 30 ft., darkvision 60 ft., hive mind; Perception +7 (+11 with hive mind)

Defense

AC 17, touch 13, flat-footed 14 (+3 Dex, +4 natural)
hp 30 (4d10+8)
Fort +3, Ref +7, Will +4
Resist sonic 10

Offense

Speed 40 ft.
Melee sting +6 (1d4+2 plus poison), 2 claws +6 (1d4+2 plus grab)
Ranged javelin +7 (1d6+2 plus poison)
Special Attacks deadly grasp, poison

Statistics

Str 14, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 12
Base Atk +4; CMB +6 (+10 grapple); CMD 19 (23 vs. trip)
Feats Skill Focus (Acrobatics), Step Up
Skills Acrobatics +10 (+14 when jumping), Climb +8, Intimidate +8, Perception +7 (+11 with hive mind), Stealth +7
Languages Common; telepathy 60 ft.
SQ coordinate, formian traits

Ecology

Environment warm or temperate land or underground
Organization solitary, pair, band (5–8 plus 3–15 workers and 1 taskmaster), or patrol (3–12)
Treasure standard (6 javelins, other treasure)

Special Abilities

Coordinate (Su) Once a formian warrior has acted in a combat, all allied formians within the hive mind are no longer considered flat-footed. When a formian warrior attacks a creature in melee, allied formians gain a +2 insight bonus on melee attack rolls against that creature until the start of the warrior’s next turn.

Deadly Grasp (Ex) When a formian warrior has a foe grappled, it deals sting damage when it succeeds at a grapple check to damage its opponent.

Poison (Ex) Javelin or sting—injury; save Fort DC 14; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d2 Dex; cure 1 save.

Description

Composing the fighting caste of the hive, formian warriors grow from grubs hatched in the flesh of carnivores and similar fierce creatures. All are sterile females, although in rare circumstances they spontaneously become fertile after the death of their queen. In the rigid hierarchy of the formian hive, they rank above the worker caste and below all others. Allowed independent initiative to better hone their battle skills, formian warriors have more latitude in following commands than many other formians. Owing to this latitude, formian warriors are more likely to chafe under hive strictures than workers and taskmasters.

All formian warriors ultimately answer to the myrmarch caste and, through them, to the queen. Beneath this layer of command, the warriors have a command structure of their own. Formian warriors advance in rank through a complicated formula that references their achievements in battle, personal prowess, and years of service to the hive.

Formian warriors engrave their chitin with insignia depicting their rank and notable deeds. A disgraced warrior has her markings gouged out and her stinger torn away.

Formian warriors stand 7 feet tall and weigh 200 pounds. Their carapaces resemble suits of armor as much as insects’ exoskeletons but cannot be enhanced with magic as if they were armor. The striped patterns of a formian warrior vary from individual to individual, although formians belonging to the same hive usually bear similar markings.

Warriors mature quickly and have short life spans, becoming too infirm to fight around 15 years of age. Old warriors are expected to end their lives for the good of the hive, either by taking on a fatal mission or through voluntary starvation. A few of the most exceptional warriors receive permission to live out their remaining years as teachers and drill instructors, passing their skills on to new generations of formian warriors.