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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 Soldier

This creature has the upper body of a woman and the lower body of a bee. She wields a longbow with uncanny skill.

Thriae Soldier CR 4

Source Bestiary 3 pg. 266
XP 1,200
LN Medium monstrous humanoid
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +9

Defense

AC 17, touch 13, flat-footed 14 (+4 armor, +3 Dex)
hp 42 (5d10+15)
Fort +4, Ref +7, Will +5
Immune poison, sonic

Offense

Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft. (good)
Melee sting +10 (1d8+7 plus poison)
Ranged composite longbow +8 (1d8+5/×3 plus poison) or Rapid Shot +6/+6 (1d8+5/×3 plus poison)
Special Attacks merope consumption

Statistics

Str 20, Dex 17, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 15
Base Atk +5; CMB +10; CMD 23
Feats Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot
Skills Fly +13, Intimidate +10, Perception +9, Stealth +9, Survival +9
Languages Common, Sylvan

Ecology

Environment any
Organization pair, troop (3–8), or company (9–20 soldiers, 2–4 rangers of 3–5th level, 1–2 rogues of 4–6th level, and 1 fighter commander of 5–8th level)
Treasure standard (chain shirt, composite longbow [+5 Str] with 20 arrows, 1 dose of merope, other treasure)

Special Abilities

Merope Consumption (Su) Once per day as a standard action, a thriae soldier can consume a dose of merope in order to enhance her combat abilities for 1d6+3 rounds. Starting on the round after the merope is consumed, the thriae soldier gains a +2 insight bonus on attack rolls and saving throws, and gains fast healing 3.

Poison (Ex) Sting or arrow—injury; save Fort DC 15; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d2 Str; cure 1 save. As a free action, a thriae soldier can apply her venom to an arrow as she fires the shot. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Description

The guardians of the thriae colony and its treasures, thriae soldiers make up the backbone of a hive’s defenses. Whether patrolling the perimeter of the hive or protecting its queen and seers from attackers, soldiers are a crucial asset ensuring a colony’s survival, and so it makes sense that they compose the majority of thriae populations. While not as spiritually powerful as their seer and queen kin, soldiers possess remarkable agility and skill with the bow. Guards remain stationed in pairs outside doors to important areas, such as the meditation chambers of seers and the enormous private quarters of the queen, and when their duties take them outside the walls of the hive, they travel in large convoys.

A thriae soldier’s stinger carries within it especially potent venom similar to that of giant bees, and the soldier can easily apply this poison to her weapons. While most soldiers carry bows, they are also trained at an early age with a multitude of both melee and ranged weapons, and some prefer the feel of a sword or hammer. Regardless of the type, all thriae weapons and armors are expertly crafted, made of steel and gilded with intricate decorations of gold and amber-hued gems. Thriae soldiers are often talented artisans as well as warriors, and most create their own weapons to bear in combat.

Since there are exponentially more soldiers than seers in any given colony, thriae queens ration merope sparingly to soldiers, whose use of it doesn’t provoke the divine insight cherished by thriae culture, but rather inspires courage and brute strength on the battlefield. When a thriae soldier consumes merope, her reflexes quicken, her wits sharpen, and she gains a second wind, so most individuals save their rationed doses for times of dire need. When circumstances are especially grim, commanders of thriae militias will order all of their troops to consume their merope at once, giving the company the final burst of strength it needs to turn the tide of battle.

Thriae soldiers are heavier-set than most of their slender thriae sisters, and average individuals weigh about 200 pounds and measure 6 feet from head to toe.