The Guild‘s first contact with the Kryll almost ended in tragedy. When Guild starships encountered a Kryll hiveship, the preprogrammed hive warriors immediately attacked, precipitating a massive response by the House of Dha. A small band of Dha adventurers, along with the Shanask warlock Shakna, managed to contact the Kryll‘s hive queen and avert disaster, and today the Kryll have been accepted both into the Guild and the House of Dha. (For more information on this incident, see Shakna — Assault on the Hive.)
Kryll are an insectoid race, resembling an enormous cross between ant and praying mantis. Weighing around 360 pounds, most Kryll are only four to five feet tall, but five to six feet in length. The head of a Kryll has large, serrated mandibles and glittering red, yellow or green, multifaceted eyes. Its chitinous exoskeleton is covered with multi-colored markings unique to an individual‘s hive. The outer layer of a Kryll‘s exoskeleton is constantly molting, giving it a somewhat ragged appearance, as if it was wearing a shredded suit of clothes. Kryll‘s bodies bear numerous nutrient glands and pores. These have evolved over the generations to provide nutrition to the Kryll‘s various symbiotic bio-items. These regions secrete a nutrient slime which the Kryll‘s symbiotes use as food. Of all the Kryll, only a hive-queen and her drones have real gender. Ordinary Kryll workers and warriors are genetically female, but incapable of reproduction, so are best described as "neuter."
Kryll do not wear anything which might be considered clothing. For formal events, a Kryll will polish its chitin to a high sheen. Biotech organisms can function as armor, and Kryll will sometimes use physical shields. Attributes Kryll are below Anthropos norms in most areas, although they are extremely strong and hearty. A Kryll‘s six legs enable it to climb steep slopes, or even walls (provided there are sufficient handholds) without difficulty.
Kryll senses are more primitive than Anthropos, but once more, Biotechnology helps fill in the gaps. A Kryll sees slightly farther into the ultraviolet spectrum than an Anthropos. Kryll also have a 360 degree field of vision. They have virtually no sense of touch, and smells are detected by a Kryll‘s antennae. Warrior Kryll have smaller, degenerate antennae which still have significant olfactory abilities, and contribute to the race's relatively good Awareness.
The Kryll have several modes of communication. Their "spoken" language, a combination of clicks, rasps, and snaps of various body parts, is virtually impossible to duplicate without a translator Kryll or translation device. Kryll are able to reproduce most languages sufficiently to be understood. Kryll also communicate biochemically. Each Kryll can produce a wide range of pheromonal secretions, which are detected by nearby Kryll, and may be relayed over long distances. This form of communication works best within a Kryll hive, where the queen may give and receive orders with extreme speed. Kryll queens can also analyze the pheromonal output of hive members, and instantly determine if new workers, drones or warriors are needed. Pheromonal communication nodes are found throughout Kryll hives. These are biochemical "intercoms" which can relay information at phenomenal rates. The pheromone message of one Kryll is instantly transferred with the speed of a highly efficient nerve impulse, to any place in the hive or ship, and to any other Kryll which require communication. A special caste of worker has also been developed, the translator. These individuals are capable of reproducing virtually any sound, and may be pheromonally programmed to speak to any species. Non-Kryll are often surprised when they meet their first translator, and hear an alien, insectoid creature speaking in a highly cultured version of their own language! The translators are also important to Kryll society, for they are capable of receiving telepathic communications from their hive-queen, and transmit messages to Kryll under their control. For this reason, translators are often thought of as "officers" in Kryll military units, and occupy a vital role in the life of the hive. Rumors of free-willed translators have begun to circulate, but have yet to be confirmed.
Activity Cycle Edit
Kryll do not sleep. They appear capable of round-the-clock activity without the need for rest. True omnivores, Kryll will eat virtually anything. Their highly efficient digestive system (modified with symbiotic organisms) can break down any organic material into its basic nutrients. Their major requirement is moisture content. If food has sufficient liquid, they do not need to drink. Kryll metabolism is high, however, requiring an individual to eat several pounds of food every five to six hours.
Kryll have no real inherent powers. Their skill with Biotechnology, however, makes them a highly potent race.
Sciences EditBiotechnology involves the manipulation and modification of living matter, transforming plant and animal species into useful symbiotic devices. Kryll scientists have perfected numerous biological implants, which Kryll can use to help digest food, exist in hostile environments, resist damage, enhance their strength, or improve their sensory apparatus. Many races have experimented with Biotechnology, such as Anthropos modification of certain bacteria to fight disease or digest toxic waste products, but only the Kryll have developed the science to such an extent. Some bio-items function as weapons, with natural bodily secretions transformed into deadly acids, bioelectrical organs charged as energy projectors, and spiky chitinous protrusions modified as the blades of melee weapons. Given the sheer variety and frightening nature of bio-weapons, many races are glad that the Kryll fight for the Guild, rather than against it.
Kryll are deadly fighters even without their biotech enhancements. Their spiked claws and mandibles can inflict considerable damage, and Kryll‘s substantial strength enables them to hold their own with most other galactic races. Many bio-weapons are unique, so their exact function may remain a mystery until an enemy actually has to face them. Symbiotic insects may launch eggs filled with a caustic substance. A long, whiplike creature grafted to the Kryll‘s abdomen may lash out to stab and inject poison or acid. An innocuous-looking pouch may gush forth a horde of stinging, biting insects. Bio-armor may also have offensive functions, ejecting darts or deadly gas while protecting its wearer. In all, Kryll Biotechnology has the same effect as the Draca‘s cyber-enhancements, taking a fearsome fighter and making it still more deadly.
Personality and Culture Edit
The concepts of personality and culture are difficult to accurately describe, as most Kryll are part of a true hive-mind society. Only in the past century have any individual Kryll attained self-awareness, but these individuals still serve their hive and their queen with single-minded devotion. Most Kryll function in response to pheromonal secretions from their queen, and those around them. When isolated from their hive or translator-caste Kryll for an extended period of time, an individual will either die (simply stop eating and starve to death in a matter of hours) or become independent and somewhat self-aware. Genetic imperatives to defend the hive remain active, however. Individual Kryll do not form friendships as we know them. A Kryll may, however, adopt companions as a sort of surrogate hive, and grant loyalty to varying degrees. A Kryll "friend" is one of the most dependable allies known. Many different types of Kryll exist; new ones are produced almost daily, depending upon the task they serve in the hive. Most common are queen, drone (fertile male), worker, warrior, nursemaid (cares specifically for eggs and young Kryll), translator, etc. The only Kryll known to venture beyond the hive to any extent are translators and warriors. Adventuring Kryll are warriors. Kryll deal with other races in a very pragmatic way. If friendly relations benefit their hive, they will follow such a course. If a species is hostile, it will be fought to the death. If no benefit can be found for the hive, a species may be ignored or simply bred as cattle. This last tendency has been modified somewhat since Guild contact, for the Kryll queens realize that coexistence and living within Guild law is a great benefit to their hives. Presently, the Kryll inhabit a bio-world known as the "Kryll-Hive." The Kryll-Hive is mobile, and may move at slow speeds utilizing biological propulsion units. A special sort of bio-engine is also used to generate an FTL field, enabling Hive to move (albeit relatively slowly) between stars. The hive is a vast living organism, linked together by huge filamentous tunnels. It does not require a sun, as many of its internal life forms provide biologically-based light, and a massive, radiant entity at the center of the hive provides limitless quantities of energy. The hive constantly grows and can reach enormous size over the course of centuries. The hive is rulled by a single queen. The queen communicates pheromonally, or with her translators through a form of telepathy. Lately, more and more warriors have been allowed to leave Hive and adventure within the Guild, even qualifying as independent members of the House of Dha, leading observers to suspect that a major change in Kryll psyche and society may be imminent. Kryll have absolutely no understanding of the concept of religion, and not even free-willed individuals express any interest in practicing any faith beyond absolute loyalty to the hive and the queen.
Motivations are difficult to assign to the Kryll. Individuals — even those who have attained self-Awareness — have few motivations beyond the good of their hive and queen. If a Kryll is required to sacrifice its life for the good of the hive, it will do so without hesitation. Money, power, honor, freedom — none of these usual motivations hold any meaning to an individual Kryll. While a single Kryll may undertake a task, such as to retrieve an object, destroy or capture a certain individual, or explore a distant world, it is always done with the welfare of the hive in mind. Contact with the Guild has changed Kryll society in subtle ways, however. Some theorists suggest that the Kryll queen is slowly coming to the realization that the Guild, and indeed, all sentient races, could be considered a sort of "Common Hive," worthy of service and protection. Should this occur, the Kryll may become the staunchest and most valued defenders which the Guild has.