The World Inside
STR + 2
DEX + 4
WIS + 2
CHA – 4
INT – 2
Land Speed 40ft
Thri-kreen are a nomadic people who generally prefer living in arid desert climes, though it is rumored that there are a few small jungle tribes in the southlands. Individual tribes do not build permanent settlements, and instead follow the water and the prey, honoring a nomadic tradition maintained for thousands of years. Thri-kreen settlements are shared by all tribes, and are universally acknowledged as peaceful, neutral ground; the inhabitants of these settlements are tribes who are stopping to give birth and to raise their young, and those who have survived to become too elderly to be fit for nomadic travel any longer, but due simply to their age are the guardians of the wisdom, history, and oral traditions of the entire race.
Thri-Kreen are an insectoid race most closely resembling mantids. They have four arms, large eyes with lids of translucent skin that fold under their carapace, and three smaller eyes that fit in a triangle between their antennae that pick up light, shadow, and the ultraviolet and infrared spectrum. Their bodies are primarily built with compact, springy muscle that makes them incredible jumpers, and excellent warriors. Though spots of skin are visible, much of their bodies are covered in a tough exoskeleton, granting them some protection from sandstorms and even weapons. Their internal organs tend to be very tubelike in nature; their hearts, unlike a human heart, are located closer to the center of their body, and is a long tube with 6 arteries leading out of it; one supplies the brain with blood, four lead to each arm, and another leads down to supply the lower body and legs with blood. Their lungs are ring-shaped organs that connect along a single beam that lies behind the heart, the rings encircling it; there are three such rings; one connects directly to the heart chamber supplying the brain, another connects directly to the heart chamber supplying the arms, and the third connects to the heart chamber supplying the legs. Blood does flow from each part of the system to the other parts, however the direct pumping ensures that there is always high blood flow to all three. If one lung or one heart segment is ruptured, a thri-kreen can continue fighting and may even survive do to their highly modular nature, though death via bleeding, suffocation, and infection are still a very serious risk. The thri-kreen reproductive system is similarly odd; the female vaginal tunnel is, though typically a straight, very long tube, often slightly twisting and may even have a bend farther up, with a cervix that has a small tube extruding into the tunnel itself. This is the evolutionary result of the thri-kreen having evolved from creatures which utilized ovipositors for reproduction, and have, over the milennia, since inverted that system. To accomodate for this bizarre adaptation, thri-kreen males possess long, flexible penises that are ridged with flexible fleshy tendrils along the bottom of the shaft and with a tip surrounded by three prehensile tentacles, which will grab at and test whatever they come into contact with. During mating, the tendrils on the bottom of the penis work as sensory organs to grab onto ridges within the female’s vagina, aiding the penis in working its way towards the cervix; at the moment of ejaculation, the tentacles at the tip of the penis will grab onto the cervical tube and pull it into the urethra, forming a seal and pumping a large amount of thick, stringy semen directly into the female’s womb. Thri-kreen generally mate four or five times in one session; this is to ensure that the male system is properly cleaned and lubricated for the deposition of sperm into the female, and increase the chances of producing offspring. Children are typically born in clutches of 2 – 6.
When thri-kreen young are born, they appear as fleshy, tailed grubs, as of yet lacking a carapace or a fully defined body; the only thing that is truly defined are their large heads. In this stage, they have proportionally very large eyes, with their three sun-eyes large to the point of touching each other. Their antennae are long, slender, fleshy tentacles at this point, and the grub will use them as much as its eyesight in exploring its surroundings at this tender age. During the first 2 years of life, a thri-kreen will grow quickly in size, requiring large amounts of sustenance from its mother and whatever vegetation it can find, slowly growing its first carapace and elongating its limbs, gaining more of a structure. At two years of age, they will be fully able to walk and run, and will be as agile and nimble as a human child of 10 years; they will also move from eating primarily vegetation to primarily meat, making full use of their new, incredibly dextrous and many-segmented mouths to quickly disassemble chunks of meat. At 5 years of age, a thri-kreen will be almost full grown, standing about three quarters of the height they will be as adults, and will be sexually mature; at 10 years of age, thri-kreen have grown to their full height and are considered adults.
Thri-Kreen society focuses around three things: survival, the hunt, and the tribe. They place little importance on conquest or expansion, as they believe that such things inevitably lead to self destruction. Instead, they focus on the tribal life, and on honoring the ways of nature, which they worship as almost a god but more as an ideal, as simultaneously the Mother and Destroyer of all. Their lives focus around survival, introspection, and mastery of the self in both body and mind; very few thri-kreen take up the ways of clerical or arcane magic, their spiritual leaders preferring the ways of the Druid, and many more finding power in psionics through meditation.
Tribes tend to be small groups banded together by siblinghood and friendship; typically, they number around 14, and no more than 30. The tribes are individualistic and independent, but are united in Clans. While tribes are bonds of friendship and battle, clans are bonds of blood.