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Thriae

Source Bestiary 3 pg. 263
Highly spiritual creatures and keepers of the world's greatest secrets, the thriae are a race of female, beelike seers coveted for their powers of divination and prophecy. Roughly humanoid in size and appearance, thriae keep to the outskirts of civilization, tending to their mysterious rituals and maintaining a watchful—if passive—eye over the machinations of nearby societies. While possessing an eerie air of mysticism, thriae are nonetheless startlingly beautiful, their slender bodies giving an unexpected grace to the otherwise unsightly mannerisms of giant bees.

Settlements that find themselves near the hilly homes of thriae hives often send a chosen citizen to visit the creatures, hoping to glean helpful insight from the wise prophetesses regarding the growth of the settlement's crops, the prosperity of its people, or the strength of its warriors. Thriae have little interest in the affairs of most humanoids, but do aid those who come bearing offerings of gold or physically fit male consorts. All thriae are female, and so the queen must breed with humanoid males in order to propagate the colony. If a colony hasn't received an offering of a suitable consort recently, thriae sometimes visit nearby settlements in the hope of garnering young male volunteers to come and live with them for the rest of their lives—living with the thriae exposes chosen males to many of the mysterious race's secrets, so the prophetesses cannot afford to let them leave the thriae's domains once they have entered. The life of male consorts is one of comfort and luxury, however, as they spend their days in a blissful trance brought on by the mind-altering effects of the thriae queen's nourishing honey, a substance called merope. Once they are too old to continue their duties, the males are put in a deep, numbing sleep, whereupon the thriae painlessly devour the consorts' elderly bodies. Thriae generally do not have emotional ties to their humanoid mates, using them for procreation only—exceptions exist, particularly among non-queen thriae, who cannot lay eggs but sometimes choose a willing mate anyway. Only the queen can lay eggs; a typical queen produce 400 to 500 eggs in her lifetime. The life span of a typical thriae who does not die in battle is about 200 years.

Thriae choose particularly spiritual individuals to become seers, members of the colony who perform the rituals that allow them to divine their cryptic prophecies. These seers drink from merope and derive meaning from their spiritual hallucinations, traveling into the forests or mountains to decode various patterns among nature. Thriae hold a particular reverence for the structures and communication patterns of common bees, patterns which they often study intently while undergoing their merope-induced spiritual journeys. The bond thriae have with common bees and giant bees extends beyond this, however, as many powerful thriae possess the ability to call forth such insects when they are in need of aid, such as while protecting their homes. Thriae are extremely territorial, and disrupt their normally stoic behavior to passionately fight off intruders or creatures otherwise imposing upon their domain. Many thriae colonies can trace back their lineages thousands of years, keeping extensive archives hidden within the catacombs of their labyrinthine hives. The hives thriae reside in resemble the beehives of their miniature relatives, but constructed on a much grander fashion and scale. Since thriae fly wherever they go, they tend to build their most important chambers higher up in order to deter bipedal would-be burglars.

Thriae come in various shapes and sizes, their abilities ranging equally in terms of specialization. An individual thriae's occupation within the particular thriae society she is born into is selected by her elders when she reaches adolescence, several months after her development as a larva and then as a pupa. Once her occupation is determined, a young thriae is assigned a “mother,” and is trained by this elder to perform her tasks perfectly so as to keep the hive in fully autonomous order. Many thriae never see battle in their lifetimes, instead performing tasks such as recording scriptures derived from seers' verbal prophecies, cultivating the crops and herd animals that thriae use for food, or crafting elaborate crowns, necklaces, and other ornaments unique to thriae and renowned by jewelers the world over. Thriae have a fascination with all kinds of rare metals, and the intricate ways in which they utilize these alloys in building their wares exemplifies the race's passion and ingenuity. They do not regularly trade with outside societies except in times of dire need, such as during a feud or war that cuts off access to needed resources.

Thriae Merope

Merope, the magical honey produced by thriae queens, possesses numerous supernatural properties. Even among thriae, the effects of drinking merope are remarkably diverse. A specific amount of merope for one thriae may put her into a tranquil haze, while the same amount for another could set off a bout of insatiable rage. The effect of merope on a specific type of thriae is marked in a thriae's stat block.

To non-thriae, merope generally has similar effects to strong alcohol. The substance can be addicting to the weak-willed, and those who begin to rely on merope quickly become addicted thralls and servants bound to servitude within a hive. Some thriae claim to have developed merope with the ability to affect non-thriae with more potent effects, but such claims are regarded as something between blasphemy and treason by most thriae hives.

Creatures in "Thriae" Category

NameCR
Thriae Dancer6
Thriae Queen18
Thriae Seer11
Thriae Soldier4

Thriae, Thriae Dancer

This elegant half-woman, half-bee wields a glaive and is clad in flowing, gauzy garments. A veil covers most of her face, revealing only seductive, unnaturally beautiful eyes.

Thriae Dancer CR 6

Source Pathfinder #81: Shifting Sands pg. 90
XP 2,400
LN Medium monstrous humanoid
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +10

Defense

AC 19, touch 13, flat-footed 16 (+3 Dex, +6 natural)
hp 60 (8d10+16)
Fort +6, Ref +9, Will +7; +4 vs. mind–affecting effects
Immune poison, sonic; Resist acid 10

Offense

Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft. (good)
Melee mwk glaive +12/+7 (1d10+3/×3), sting +10 (1d8+3)
Special Attacks inspiring dance, poison
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 8th; concentration +11)
Constant—detect secret doors
At will—lullaby (DC 13)
3/day—calm emotions (DC 14), charm person (DC 14), hypnotism (DC 14)
1/day—deep slumber (DC 16), suggestion (DC 16)

Statistics

Str 15, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 16
Base Atk +8; CMB +10; CMD 23
Feats Combat Reflexes, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Weapon Focus (glaive)
Skills Acrobatics +11, Diplomacy +11, Fly +11, Perception +10, Perform (dance) +11, Sleight of Hand +6, Stealth +12
Languages Common, Thriae

Ecology

Environment any
Organization solitary, duet, trio, or troupe (4–8)
Treasure standard (mwk glaive, 3 doses of merope, other treasure)

Special Abilities

Inspiring Dance (Su) Three times per day as a standard action, a thriae dancer can consume a dose of merope (honey from the thriae queen) to channel her connection to the natural world into an awe-inspiring dance. This dance may have a variety of effects depending on which of the following performances she chooses. Once she has begun, the thriae dancer may maintain her dance as a free action, and the effects of the dance persist as long as the thriae performs her dance. A thriae dancer can dance for a number of rounds equal to her Hit Dice before becoming fatigued. After that, if she continues dancing for that same number of rounds, she becomes exhausted. A thriae dancer may switch between performances as a swift action. Targets must be within 60 feet and able to see the thriae dancer in order to be affected by her dance. This is a mind-affecting effect.

Dance of Fervor: This performance affects all nonthriae creatures within its range with the effects of both confusion and rage (Will DC 17 negates). When this effect ends, affected creatures are fatigued for a number of rounds equal to the length of time they were affected by the dance of fervor. A creature may not be affected by the same thriae dancer’s dance of fervor more than once in 24 hours. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Dance of Grace: This performance grants all thriae within its range (including the dancer) a +1 insight bonus to AC and on Reflex saving throws. This bonus increases to +2 if three or more thriae dancers are performing a dance of grace within range of the target.

Dance of Passion: This performance grants all thriae within its range (including the dancer) a +1 insight bonus on attack and damage rolls. This bonus increases to +2 if three or more thriae dancers are performing a dance of passion within range of the target.

Poison (Ex) Sting—injury; save Fort DC 16; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d3 Str; cure 1 save.

Description

For as stoic and pragmatic as the thriae may be, they do appreciate art, grace, and beauty. This is exemplified not only by their ornately crafted weapons, armor, and jewelry, but also by their renowned dancers. These talented individuals are the most honored performers of their race, and they grace the halls and temple chambers of every thriae colony.

While all thriae can be considered the epitome of alien grace and charm, thriae dancers are always among the most beautiful of their kind. They are typically 6 feet tall and weigh 140 pounds.

Ecology

Other races may scoff at the fact that thriae dancers seemingly rely on merope consumption in order to channel their mystical power into their dances, but there is much more to this act than one might realize. A thriae dancer’s reliance on merope to execute her awesome performances is akin to a ballerina’s reliance on her specialized shoes—while a ballet can be performed without them, the final result lacks a certain amount of finish without this integral element. So too does a thriae dancer’s use of merope enhance her performance, with the potent serum pushing her body to its utmost limits. As the merope courses through a dancer, she channels her mysterious art into a spiritual energy capable of thrusting viewers to previously unknown heights of pleasure, awe, and sorrow. It’s true that thriae are a stoic, nigh-unf linching race, but in the middle of a thriae dancer’s performance, it’s rare to see any thriae witnesses unmoved by such a powerful spectacle.

Habitat & Society

Like all thriae, a dancer’s role in the colony is chosen for her during adolescence, and she’s thereafter cared for and trained by elder members from the same occupation until ready to perform on her own. A dancer’s training takes many years of concentrated effort and tutelage from her superiors, during which time she’s permitted to see no one but her fellow dancers. Thriae seers reason that dancers must be completely virginal in order for them to channel only the purest forms of nature’s secrets. All training takes place within a special temple room in the thriae colony, where incense derived from merope is burned constantly to ensure the dancers’ focus is sustained for hours on end.

Dancers train in troupes, and most performances are choreographed group pieces performed once a month in the colony’s largest hall, with an audience of thriae from all parts of the colony and caste system. The buzz of wings and even the sound of twitching antennae become muted as thriae soldiers, seers, and workers eagerly witness the highly spiritual dance ceremony. Drones—those humanoid men inducted into thriae society—are not permitted to witness thriae dances, as to behold such beauty would surely drive them irreparably mad.

Only the most talented and coveted thriae dancers are permitted to perform alone—there’s typically only one such dancer in the entire colony, though some colonies might host a pair of honored performers. The solo or duet performances of these honored individuals are considered sacred affairs, and are typically attended only by the queen and upper class thriae such as seers, royal consorts, and generals. Venerated by their peers, these dancers are known as thriae terpsichoreans, and occupy the upper echelons of thriae society. Thriae terpsichoreans typically have levels in bard, are at least CR 9, and have access to the following spell-like abilities: 3/day—heroism, suggestion; 1/ day—zone of silence.