Archives of Nethys

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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 Queen

This towering, shapely, purple-skinned woman has an insectile lower body, antennae on her brow, and the wings of a bee.

Thriae Queen CR 18

Source Bestiary 3 pg. 267
XP 153,600
LN Huge monstrous humanoid
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft., detect secret doors, low-light vision, true seeing; Perception +37

Defense

AC 33, touch 8, flat-footed 33 (+25 natural, –2 size)
hp 312 (25d10+175); fast healing 10
Fort +15, Ref +14, Will +21
Defensive Abilities merope coat; Immune poison, sonic; Resist acid 20; SR 29

Offense

Speed 30 ft., fly 50 ft. (good)
Melee +2 axiomatic light mace +35/+30/+25/+20 (2d6+11/19–20), sting +27 (2d8+4/19–20 plus poison)
Space 15 ft., Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks launch merope, spawn soldiers
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 20th; concentration +29)
Constant—detect secret doors, true seeing
At will—daylight, detect thoughts (DC 21), greater scrying (DC 26), neutralize poison, remove disease, speak with dead (DC 22)
3/day—charm monster (DC 23), find the path, giant vermin (8 bees or 6 wasps), mass cure critical wounds, poison (DC 23), restoration, quickened slow (DC 22)
1/day—foresight, mass heal, regenerate

Statistics

Str 28, Dex 11, Con 25, Int 20, Wis 21, Cha 28
Base Atk +25; CMB +36; CMD 46
Feats Alertness, Combat Casting, Combat Expertise, Critical Focus, Greater Spell Penetration, Improved Critical (sting), Improved Critical (light mace), Improved Initiative, Improved Iron Will, Iron Will, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (slow), Spell Penetration, Weapon Focus (light mace)
Skills Bluff +34, Diplomacy +34, Fly +28, Knowledge (arcana) +30, Knowledge (religion) +30, Perception +37, Sense Motive +34, Spellcraft +30, Use Magic Device +34
Languages Common, Sylvan, Thriae; telepathy 300 ft.

Ecology

Environment any
Organization solitary or colony (1 queen, 3 seers, 11–20 soldiers, and 3–30 giant bees)
Treasure double (+2 axiomatic light mace, other treasure)

Special Abilities

Launch Merope (Su) A thriae queen can launch a stream of merope from a gland in her lower body in a 60-foot line as a standard action. A thriae queen using this ability can control the purity of the merope she launches, which makes it either harm those it touches or heal them. If a thriae queen chooses to make her merope harmful, all creatures in the area of effect take 20d8 points of acid damage (Reflex DC 29 for half). In addition, any creature in the area of effect is also staggered for 1d4 rounds (or 1 round if it succeeds at its Reflex save). If she uses it to heal, the merope heals all living creatures in the area of effect for 10d8 points of damage. A thriae queen can use this ability once every 1d4 rounds. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Merope Coat (Su) A thriae queen is covered in a thin layer of merope. This coating acts as a magical barrier between spells cast at the thriae queen, as though she were constantly under the effects of spell turning. The coat affects a maximum of eight spell levels—when a spell effect is turned, this coating is depleted by a number of spell levels equal to the level of the spell reflected. The queen regenerates this coating at a rate of one spell level per round. A spell in excess of what the merope coat can currently reflect is not reflected, and reduces the merope coat to a score of 0. Spells that fail to penetrate the queen’s spell resistance do not reduce the merope coat’s efficiency in this manner.

Spawn Soldiers (Su) Three times per day as a standard action, a thriae queen can spawn a large swarm of wasps. This functions as four separate wasp swarms (Bestiary 275) that occupy all of the squares adjacent to the thriae queen. These swarms do not harm any thriae, and while they move with the queen as she moves, the swarms cannot leave her side. The swarms last until they are destroyed or 1 hour passes, at which point the swarms die on their own.

Poison (Ex) Sting—injury; save Fort DC 29; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d6 Con plus staggered for 1 round; cure 2 consecutive saves.

Description

The most powerful individual within any given thriae colony, the queen is a divine soothsayer, a provider of life, and a destroyer of those would seek to disrupt the order of the colony. Viewed by her children as a benevolent matriarch rather than a mother, the thriae queen is the only fertile member of the colony, and thus the sole reproducer should the colony’s population meet a devastating blow, whether through plague, famine, or war. A queen is revered by soldiers and seers alike, both for her physical might and her divine power, and she exemplifies the very best of thriae society in terms of strength, insight, and magnetism. While a queen is often too busy to entertain guests of a thriae hive, those intruders who do catch a glimpse of her are captured by her beauty and grace, and many would follow her if only to be by her side. But those who are allowed to enjoy the queen’s company are few, and those few are carefully selected from among the hive’s greatest warriors and priestesses, soldiers and seers whose powers have shown them to be skillful as well as loyal.

Most thriae colonies only have one queen, though particularly large or far-reaching hives have been known to have as many as three at any given time. Thriae queens are the ultimate authority within a hive, and make most of the major decisions regarding the colony’s growth. Only the wealthiest and most respected outsiders are granted an audience with the ever-busy queen, whose numerous duties around the hive are analogous to those of any other ruler of a small kingdom. They grant only audiences regarding matters of the utmost concern, matters that stimulate the curiosity of a thriae queen and require not merely the cryptic readings of seers but a true divination as only a queen can provide.

When not divining or performing governmental tasks, a thriae queen can often be found in her private chamber, where she lies with male consorts, lays eggs, cares for her larvae, and creates the vast stores of merope used every day within the hive. Consorts are chosen carefully, as they are constantly within extremely close proximity to the queen, who is far from vulnerable in her own right but nonetheless often prefers to avoid conflicts with would-be assassins or burglars.

A thriae queen lays fertilized eggs in one of the waxy, golden cells of her chamber walls. Thriae eggs go through several stages of growth before becoming fully formed thriae—the longest stage of development is the larval stage, which is a crucial point in determining the formation of a thriae. Most larvae are fed merope while they grow, but in the height of her power, a thriae queen selects a single larva to be her successor, and she feeds that individual a special substance secreted from her merope gland called royal merope. This thick, jellylike substance strengthens the larva and causes it to grow greatly in size, and when it pupates and hatches, it does so as a fully grown thriae queen.

The mother queen teaches its successor in the ways of divining as well as ruling a colony. The successor then faces a choice—either remaining in the colony she was born into and furthering the growth of the hive, or setting out on her own to establish an allied colony. If she does the latter, the remaining queen must birth another successor, which is not considered so much a bother as it is an unavoidable circumstance. Queens do not look upon successors who leave as deserting daughters, instead viewing them as future allies for the colony down the road.

Thriae Larvae

Larvae who are fed regular merope become soldiers, seers, or other contributing members of thriae society. While more susceptible to harm in the larval stage, thriae larvae still pose a threat to unwary intruders who find themselves among the cells of numerous unhatched thriae. Creatures that succeed at a DC 15 Perception check or Knowledge (nature) check notice larvae embedded in the hive’s waxy walls. Unhatched thriae larvae can detect disturbances outside their cell walls, and burst from the cells in order to prey upon the nutritious intruders. Any creature within 5 feet of a larval cell must make a DC 15 Reflex save to avoid becoming infested with the larvae. A creature that becomes infested must make a successful DC 15 Fortitude save each round to avoid taking 1d2 points of Constitution damage and falling asleep—additional Constitution damage from feeding larvae does not wake sleeping victims. Feeding larvae can be detached from the creature they cling to by cutting them off with a slashing weapon (which requires a DC 20 Heal check that deals 1d4 points of damage per larva attached) or by dealing cold damage to the larvae at any time, which also deals half damage to the creature the larvae are covering. Remove disease or a similar effect kills any thriae larvae on the host.