Chitrachs

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Native to the lower caves, these enormous insects live in dens throughout the caves and kill and eat whatever men or beasts they come across. When the Vahnatai Resting ended and the Vahnatai began to drive the chitrachs away, the creatures began to appear in Exile and even, in a few isolated cases, on the surface.

Physical Traits

Chitrachs mature very quickly. For this reason, they are rarely seen in the first few stages of their life: the egg, larva, and pupa stages. However, they are laid in prolific amounts. An adult chitrach is equipped with powerful mandibles, serrated portions of chitin on the forearms, and an ability to ensnare its prey in web-like goo. They are slow-moving when compared to smaller insects, although their speed is great enough to match any Empire soldier. This is because of their especially thick shell, called chitin, which repels most sword strokes and must be punctured by a spear. A rapier may also serve to slip between two plates and shred the organs within.

Behavior and Society

Chitrachs are highly social insects; they nest in colonies and coordinate their actions. While hunting and while defending their colony, chitrachs have been known to communicate in a kind of chittering language. They will live in nearly any structure which is available, and will dig new ones if none are to be found. Some varieties of chitrach build small nests within their larger colonies. These nests are made out of anything available; items such as shields and paper have been known to form a part of the nests when chitrachs move into an abandoned settlement. Chitrachs are bold enough to attack any creature which enters their territory, as their large bodies and larger numbers guarantee a beneficial outcome against almost any enemy.

Chitrach populations are replenished by a very small number of queens, usually one per colony. However, the eggs are laid constantly and a large number survive to adulthood. When a colony becomes too large, a group of mature chitrachs may leave the colony and begin to build a new one distant from the original. If they survive a period of time and food is available, a chitrach will somehow be selected out of the horde and be fed a special liquid. This liquid interferes with the worker's chemistry, causing it to change its anatomy and chemical makeup. It will then begin laying eggs and eventually be indistinguishable from any other queen chitrach. Effectively, chitrach societies function without any mating or males.

Relationship to Other Races

Almost all races consider chitrachs to be a vicious hazard because of their instinct to hunt down prey of all sizes and because of their destructive nature. The Vahnatai are particularly malignant towards chitrachs, having apparently dealt with them for millenia.

Two races have less typical relationships with the chitrachs: the giants, and the Giant Intelligent Friendly Talking Spiders. The giants kill and boil them with their shells (but remove the razor-sharp claws and spines on their forearms), and serve them as a delicacy much like a lobster. The Giant Intelligent Friendly Talking Spiders have an altogether more natural relationship; they are locked in constant warfare and in competition over the same resources. Chitrachs and Giant Intelligent Friendly Talking Spiders can live in almost the exact same habitats and compete for the exact same resources, those being giant bugs.

Varieties of Chitrachs

Chitrachs are a species with a high number of visible variations among individual members. The most common variation is an enlarged, especially tough outer plating seen in plated chitrachs. Other chitrachs may have enlarged teeth or pedipalps, differing rates of secretion, or more rarely, differences in coloration.

Null Bugs

Null bugs are highly unusual creatures. Physically they are almost identical to chitrachs, but they project an antimagic field when hunting or scared. Nothing is known about the cause of the field, or about the origin or lives of the bugs. Their physical similarities suggest they are either a modification or a cousin of the chitrach.

See Also