Thri-kreen

From 1d4chan
Thri-Keen 3E.jpg

The thri-kreenTM are a race of sentient, mostly-humanoid mantis-people. They are NOT formians; they are proprietary to Wizards of the Coast, like yuan-ti. Their non-formian biology includes: poisonous bites, tremendous grasshopper-like jumping abilities, and a racial affinity for psionics and druidic magic.

These bugmen don't sleep, but their lifespan is only 30 years. To the extent they eschew cannibalism (against 'kreen) they love to chew on some tender non-'kreen - especially raw elf; though they aren't the crazed murder-munchers the Dark Sun halflings are. They prefer double-bladed lightsabers polearms, and make three-sided Xena-style boomerang-like weapons by mixing their venom with plant sap until it hardens. They've also gone through a few different body configurations over the years, starting out as basically praying mantises with hands and moving towards a notably more humanoid bent in recent editions. Thri-kreen are considered scary, but more due to alien biology and methods rather than anything intrinsically evil.

Thri-kreen first showed up in the "generic" D&D setting in the Monster Manual II for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition, and were then placed in the "Shining South" region of the Forgotten Realms. They really came into the public eye when they were presented as one of the core player races for the Dark Sun campaign setting, and are now overwhelmingly associated with it, even though they actually debuted into D&D a whopping 13 years before Dark Sun was launched.

Thri-kreen are the darlings of powergamers everywhere, as four arms means four weapons means all sorts of crazy builds focused on massive, nigh-unusable numbers of attacks each turn. It turns out four arms doesn't help with spellcasting at all, so they're actually not such a huge deal.

They were recently voted one of the three most-popular races to be added to 5e, perhaps because they're the hardest "core" Dark Sun race to just glue another's template over and call it a day. The designer admitted that doing so would be pretty tough, but that it had to happen eventually. Despite this, it took ten years to happen, when they finally showed up in a UA.

They're a favourite when some drawfag offers to sketch some erotica for /tg/, and wants to squick us out instead. Well, except for those corrupted by Slaanesh.

Thri-kreen Psychology[edit]

The psychology of the thri-kreen is very alien at a glance; the most in-depth source is the splatbook "Thri-Kreen of Athas", which breaks it down in exhaustive details, with subsequent publications largely condensing this information into more succinct points.

The two most important elements of thri-kreen psychology are this: they are natural predators, and they have a collective racial memory. The result is a strongly proactive goal-orientated mindset combined with a natural pack mentality; thri-kreen are individuals, but they have a strong instinctive need to belong to a group.

As part of this, thri-kreen are instinctively predisposed to look out for their social unit.

Social Instincts[edit]

Thri-kreen are not a hive-minded species but they do have, as mentioned, an extremely strong social instinct based out of their collective memory, predatory nature, and general "pack mentality".

The basis of thri-kreen society is "the clutch" - a group of individuals that are united as a single social unit. Thri-kreen form a "birth-clutch" upon hatching as the juvenile kreen instinctively band together to hunt for food and fend off predators. Upon maturing, kreen usually form at least one other clutch with other individuals they have come to trust, like and respect.

The clutch is the very foundation of thri-kreen society; a thri-kreen without a clutch is alone, lost and instinctively driven to find a new clutch to belong to. This is the most common source of thri-kreen adventurers.

"The pack" is the next step up from a clutch, and is made of multiple clutches working together, usually due to being interrelated. At the very least, each individual kreen in a pack belongs to at least two of the clutches simultaneously. The map of overlapping relationships can, frankly, be pretty confusing, and Thri-Kreen of Athas includes an attempt at a map of the pack structure.

Clutches are not egalitarian. The term TKoA uses to describe them is "democratic tyranny"; there is a distinct chain of dominance in the pack based on strength, skills, abilities, and even direct combat to determine who is stronger, and the clutch-leader expects to be obeyed implicitly. But, in counter, the clutch expects - demands - that the clutch-leader be strong and look out for their followers. Combined with their strong collective instincts, and thri-kreen don't engage in the "passing the buck" behavior of most humanoid hierarchies; the clutch-leader either specifically tells somebody to do something because they're seen as the best choice for it, or the clutch-leader gives a general order and whichever thri-kreen feels they are best suited to do it just steps up and does it.

Whilst the "law of the clutch" is instinctive to all thri-kreen, TKoA does include a writeup of it in a sidebar, to cover how a thri-kreen might explain it if they were asked to put it into words:

  • Protect and aid the clutch and other clutchmates.
  • Practice the hunt and other skills needed for survival.
  • In all cases when aid of any kind is required or requested, give first consideration to clutchmates, then to packmates, then to other kreen, then to other intelligent life, then to prey.
  • Follow the orders of the clutchleader.
  • For the good of the clutch, challenge the clutchleader who becomes weak, and be ready to assume leadership of the clutch from a weak leader.
  • Offer advice to the clutchleader, in case there is knowledge the leader does not possess.
  • Accept the results of a challenge without argument. There is no shame in being a clutchsecond, or even in being the weakest member of a clutch. Just as somebody must be the most powerful in a clutch, so must somebody be weakest. It is enough to belong to the clutch.

In general, being a good clutchmate simply requires you to help the clutch survive and prosper.

Thri-kreen rarely break clutch bonds amongst themselves, although it can happen - usually when two members of a clutch decide they have very different goals and plans. Even then, formally severing the clutch bond is rarely taken, and when it does, often leads to fights. Non-kreen clutchmates are much more likely to be abandoned or expelled from the clutch, largely because the thri-kreen realize that humanoids don't think the way they do and so they are held to a lesser standard; sometimes, mistakes are made with non-kreen, and clutch-bonding with one was a mistake, the best way to fix it is to end it.

Predatory Instincts[edit]

Hunting is everything to thri-kreen. They live to hunt, and the typical thri-kreen clutch spends its time either preparing to hunt, hunting, or responding to the outcome of the last hunt.

Virtually any unintelligent animal is seen as potential prey to a thri-kreen, helped by the fact that their strangely shaped bodies and high speed means they have little need for steeds, and their lifestyle makes domesticated animals of little use.

Eating sapients is... not strictly taboo, at least not on Athas, but it's not a thri-kreen's first choice. In TKoA, they explicitly don't mind eating sapients, since thri-kreen basically don't view anything outside of their clutch or pack as "people", but the risk to reward ratio is too imbalanced towards the "risk" aspect to make hunting sapient prey practical. Odds are the prey will escape, turn and successfully fight, or escape and then get its friends to come and hunt the thri-kreen right back. No, thri-kreen only hunt sapients when they're hungry... and, when they're desperate, the more savage thri-kreen clutches will even hunt each other. Starvation can even cause the dissolation of a pack, as the clutches turn on each other in their hunger for food.

According to Thri-Kreen of Athas, the hierarchy of thri-kreen dietary preference is, in descending order:

  • Fresh meat from unintelligent mammal or reptile.
  • Fresh meat from an insect, arachnid or arthropod.
  • Dried food.
  • City food.
  • Flesh of non-kreen sapients.
  • Carrion.
  • Flesh of other thri-kreen.

Thri-kreen Culture[edit]

Much of thri-kreen culture is shaped by their predatory instincts and their communal memories, and like with their psychology, the best source to study up on this stuff is largely "Thri-Kreen of Athas".

In a nutshell, thri-kreen generally live as nomadic hunting tribals, with the biggest outliers being the settled tohr-kreen peoploes described in TKoA. Hunting shapes most of their culture; even things like trading or education are described in hunting terms, and leisure activity largely consists of physical games that hone hunting and fighting skills or song-and-dance ceremonies that recreate hunts, hone hunting skills, or reinforce ancestral memories.

Thri-kreen are completely egalitarian; there is no difference between females and males in their culture, save when the female is gravid or laying eggs, at which point she becomes protected. Thri-kreen select mates based on compatibility, and usually choose a clutchmate as a sexual mate - TKoA includes a brief assurance that thri-kreen genetics work in a way that they don't need to worry about inbreeding. By preference, kreen eggs are laid in kreen graveyards, as the kreen believe that this will aid the larvae in absorbing their ancestral memories.

Though their nomadic lifestyle and disinterest in most material goods outside of the utilitarian means thri-kreen usually don't amass very large collections of gear, they do have an appreciation for art. Thri-kreen art revolves around body painting, sand painting, and carving - in particular, large bodies of stone are often carved into reliefs over time as a thri-kreen clutch wanders that way in their hunting.

Thri-Kreen Religion[edit]

Ironically, despite getting a Wisdom bonus and being able to access the Cleric and Druid classes right from their debut as a PC race, thri-kreen are not a very religious people - they don't have patron gods of their own.

The first time that thri-kreen priests are touched upon is, of course, Thri-kreen of Athas, which notes that whilst thri-kreen do have shamans (elemental priests) and druids, they do not technically worship anything; the racial memories tell thri-kreen that the elemental powers are not gods, and whilst they respect the power they hold, the relationship between priest and patron, whether that be elemental or nature spirit, is much more "transactional" than anything - you do what your patron wants, and in return they give you power. Still respectful, but thri-kreen are not religious in the same ways as humans are - you wouldn't encounter a thri-kreen zealot.

Further shaping things is that, due to their racial memory, thri-kreen have an intuitive belief in reincarnation. A thri-kreen lies, dies, and is then reborn, and their collective memories are proof of this.

Despite this, Athasian thri-kreen do have an afterlife system, of sorts. They have a "heaven" called Dej, a vast peaceful place with abundant game that acts as a waystation for thri-kreen souls in between lives, and a "hell" called Kano, guarded by a frozen insectoid monster called "Galug" - actually a distorted racial memory of Caina, the frozen 8th Hell of Baator, and Gelugons, the thri-kreen-like ice devils that inhabit Caina.

In the "Dark Sun for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition" article series in Dragon Magazine #319, it's stated that thri-kreen never become Templars, because they view the Sorcerer-Kings as poor clutch-leaders who don't look after their followers. They also became prone to great conflict with druids, because the thri-kreen predatory appetite clashes with the druidic focus on preserving and expanding the population of native game. Only elemental clerics are implied to be "normal" for thri-kreen in this 3e Athas, and it's stated simply that they are "respected for their power".

The "generic 3e" thri-kreen from the Expanded Psionics Handbook says that thri-kreen strongly favor druidic traditions over deities, with druids serving as their spiritual leaders.

The 3e Forgotten Realms thri-kreen from the 3e Shining South are stated to be largely irreligious, but there are a mixture of thri-kreen druids and clerics of Silvanus, malar, Tempus and Akadi.

In Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, or at least in the Nentir Vale setting, thri-kreen religious views are touched upon briefly in both the Monster Manual 3 and in "Winning Races: Thri-Kreen" in Dragon Magazine #411. Like their "Thri-Kreen of Athas" counterparts, thri-kreen are stated to not be a pious race and instead take more of a pragmatic "results-fueled" approach to worship. As a result, they favor the worship of the Primal Spirits over that of the deities, with two Spirits being particularly important: Sand Father (a kreen identity for Old Grandfather) is respected as the creator of the thri-kreen, whilst the Ancestral Khanate is the living embodiment of the thri-kreen racial subconsciousness and collective memory, making it the closest thing they have a racial patron god.

The Complex Kreen Family Tree[edit]

Whilst it's been obscured by time, the thri-kreen family tree is actually surprisingly large - and even more surprisingly complex. It's possible that this showcases some of the problems that TSR had with keeping their own lore straight.

See, first, there was the Thri-kreen, the nomadic mantis-folk introduced in the Monster Manual and the Dark Sun corebook. And that was all good.

Then, in the first Monstrous Compendium Appendix for Dark Sun, we were introduced to the tohr-kreen; bigger, stronger, faster, deadlier and smarter versions of the thri-kreen, also nicknamed "mantis nobles".

So, what did "Thri-kreen of Athas", the thri-kreen racial sourcebook do? It went and made it more convoluted.

See, it turns out that the proper racial name of the mantis-folk is "Kreen"; the "Thri" and "Tohr" prefixes signify the kreen's native culture; "thri" means "nomadic" and "tohr" means "settled".

That's not to say there aren't also kreen subraces. In fact, there's six of them: Jeral, To'ksa, J'hol, J'ez, Tondi and T'keech. The sourcebook itself is somewhat vague, but careful attention reveals that the default thri-kreen originally introduced back in the Dark Sun boxset actually refers to the To'ksa subrace. Because Jerals are the only other kreen subrace native to the Tyr Region, the sourcebook exclusively focuses on them and the To'ksa, with only minimal detail given to the other subraces. The reason why three of them have names starting with J and the other three with T is culturally; "J" names signify the kreen has an active and thriving nation, whilst "T" names indicate that kreen's nation has fallen, reducing them to living under the rule of the other kreen or pursuing an existence as thri-kreen.

To'ksa are the most aggressive and most barbaric of the kreen subraces. Almost uniquely amongst their kind, they have a leathery sheathing over their exoskeleton, giving their sandy yellow bodies a dull finish. Their breathing holes are located in the head - one pair between the eyes, and a second lower down, just above the mandibles. They have long necks and the longest antennae of any kreen subspecies; 18 to 24 inches long. It's believed these longer anteannae, and the greater sense of smell they provide, may explain their unique craving for elf-flesh; no other kreen species craves it the way that To'ksa do. They have large abdomens, bearing a spiky shell that runs its length; it's speculated this may be a vestigial wing-covering. Finally, To'ksa hands have four digits; an opposable thumb and three fingers. Their barbarity means that tohr-kreen universally look down on them, viewing them as "scum" for their lack of parental care and willingness to cannibalize their own offspring, amongst other feral behaviors.

Jeral are much more civilized and calm-natured than To'ksa, and are effectively the "true tohr-kreen" of the Tyr Region. Easily mistaken for To'ksa at a casual glance, there are differences. For starters, their chitin is the outermost layer of their body giving them a glossy sheen. Their breathing holes are located between their arms, their necks are short, and their antennae are vestigial. Finally, they have three-fingered hands, with each digit being full opposable, and smaller, smooth-topped abdomens.

J'ez are black-colored kreen probably closely related to the To'ksa, as they share the leathery skin over their chitin and they also have long antennae. Aside from their color, their most unique feature is their mouth; a circular orifice ringed with inward-pointing fangs and with mobile mouth-parts used to assist with eating. They are an aggressive species, culturally fond of combat, but also highly intelligent; they make up a large part of the tohr-kreen philosophers and military leaders, and highly prize reading.

J'hol are crimson-colored, three-fingered, large-antennaed kreen with narrow feet and small abdomens; they are arguably the most humanoid-looking of the kreen. Adapted for stony barrens and rocky badlands, they are not as effective in the desert as other kreen races tend to be. Their primary contribution to tohr-kreen culture is as builders and crafters.

T'keech instantly stand out amongst their fellows; they're green. Although they have adapted to cope with the barren landscape of Athas like their fellows, they were clearly jungle-dwellers in the ancient days of their world; to this day, they are the only kreen species that can comfortably survive in the Ringing Mountains, as they are immune to the chitin-rot and respiratory infections that befall other kreen in humid environments. To this day, they prefer to live in scrub plains and near oases, where their camouflage is still useful. Possessing four fingers to each hand and long antennae, they are perhaps the most peaceful of the kreen subspecies - though still capable of defending themselves. They mostly serve the tohr-kreen as laborers and builders.

Tondi are, without a doubt, the most striking and visually unique kreen subrace. If T'keech are jungle mantids, then Tondi are flower mantids; their mottled pinkish-purple chitin sports elaborate protrusions, especially on the abdomen, that allow them to mimic giant ohi flowers or outcroppings of rock crystal. Of all the kreen, they have the greatest love of nature, usually becoming master herbalists, and gravitate towards the power of druidic magic. Rarest of the kreen subraces, they are also the most isolationist, in no small part because they're an all-female species, reproducing through parthenogensis (virgin pregnancies, for the laymen).They have abdomens as large as the To'ksa, long antennae, and three-fingered hands.

J'hol, J'ez, Tondi and T'keech all received monster manual writeups in the 2nd Dark Sun Appendix for the Monstrous Compendium.

You're probably wondering by this point "Wait! Then what the hell were the Mantis Nobles in the first Dark Sun Monstrous Compendium?" Well, we're getting to that.

"Thri-Kreen of Athas" revealed that, in addition to the six Kreen breeds, there are also two other races of mantis-folk on Athas.

The Trin are primitive, four-legged, two-armed mantis-folk; little more than animals, they roam the land and eat anything they can catch. They've been described as resembling a juvenile kreen grown to an almost adult-sized stature, but without any mental development. Even the kreen don't like the trin much, because the kreen are on the trin's menu.

Then, there are the Zik-Chil. Shorter, more slender and a pale-sickly green color, the zik-chil are instantly recognizable because their upper arms end in a unique and exquisitely-articulate set of claws, where each claw can separate into six slender, multi-jointed "fingers". This allows for the most intricate of manipulation. More importantly, zik-chil have the innate ability to perform acts of fleshcrafting, manipulating their own enzymes and rebuilding & augmenting other races. The book is deliberately vague on whether these cold, emotionless, and ruthless mantids are somehow related to the Xixchil of Spelljammer.

The "tohr-kreen" first seen in the Dark Sun MC Appendix 1 are actually Zik-Trin; ordinary kreen who have been physically and mentally rebuilt into almost golem-like organic drones by the zik-chil. Specially, the creatures originally named as tohr-kreen are properly called Zik-trin'ta; they are created as scouts to spy upon the non-kreen nations of the Tyr Region and to try and civilize the roving thri-kreen packs. There is also another verzion of the zik-trin, the Zik-trin'ak, which is designed specifically for combat and is basically a kreen super-soldier.

Thri-Kreen of the Multiverse[edit]

As stated up-top, whilst the thri-kreen are heavily associated with Dark Sun, the setting that first gave them PC stats, they have been associated with other settings - in fact, they were first present in the Forgotten Realms a good thirteen years before Dark Sun ever existed! As such, 1d4chan is going to try and clarify the lore as it exists in other settings.

In the Forgotten Realms[edit]

Thri-kreen in the Forgotten Realms occupy the areas generally known as "The Shining South", pursuing an existence as nomads in the Eastern Shaar, the Shining Plains and north of the Lake of Steam, sometimes ranging as far east as the Hordelands. Thri-kreen are also believed to exist in lands beyond the northwestern badlands and deserts of Maztica, leading to the native Azuposi people telling fantastic tales about them - this subsequently inspired their existence as a native race in Anchorome.

The Spelljammer adventure "Skull & Crossbows" would ultimately reveal that the thri-kreen of Faerun (or at least the Shining South) are the degenerate descendants of a former spelljamming thri-kreen empire, who reverted to barbarism after being stranded on Toril.

In Anchorome[edit]

When the same madlads who updated Maztica to 5e decided to flesh out the hitherto untouched neighboring sub-setting of Anchorome, they had to turn their attention to one of the races mentioned alongside that setting's existence. Whereas the thri-kreen of the Shaar may be stranded spelljammers, those of Anchorome arrived via portal in the distant past, transported from a world all but stated to be Athas to a patch of territory formerly occupied by first the Batrachi and then the Aeree towards the climax of the Dragonfall War. Unpleased by this sudden shift in environment, they have dug in and made it their own as best they can, despite occasional clashes with the humanoids of Anchorome, and in particular successive waves of insectile invaders in the forms of the Abeil and the Baraca. For this reason, the realm these three bugfolk races collectively inhabit is known as "The Land of the Insect Men" to the humans of Anchorome and Maztica.

In fact, the arrival of the thri-kreen was caused by a combination of a splintered fragment of the god Jergal, which had rebelled against his stepping down from godhood and giving up his throne to Bhaal, Bane and Myrkul, and the Spellweavers - this fragment had possessed a mighty spellweaver lord named Al'Akar, and sought to exploit the spellweaver plan to reverse time in order to regain his divinity. But this plan centered around the need to find a lost gemstone artifact from the time before time, and for that, he needed laborers to dig into the depths of the earth to find it. With a single mighty psychic command, he has shaped the culture of the tohr-kreen, setting them to dig and dig until he finds what he needs.

As on Athas, the thri-kreen of Anchorome come in a number of subraces - some similar to their Athasian kin, others unique. Collectively, they are known as "Mantis-Folk".

Thri-kreen, or "nomadic kreen", are the most common subrace. These kreen, as their name implies, pursue a nomadic hunter-forager existence and are basically identical to the "standard" 5e thri-kreen, save for a more advanced language that has changed very little (if any) from their homeworld.

Tohr-kreen, or "settled kreen", are kreen who have fully embraced the call of the Great Dig and have settled into permanent hive-cities, mostly concentrated in the holy land of Yistl'cha, where they are digging down towards the batrachi city as Al'Akar commanded. These are sometimes known as the "Gigantea" subrace, being notably larger and stronger than their thri-kreen cousins. Rather than the traditional dasl, they favor gear crafted from the strange crystals they have dug up underneath Yistl'cha.

Zik-chil are a subspecies of small, pale-green mantis-folk who are immune to the psychic compulsion of the Great Dig and, in fact, are mostly united in standing against it, believing that whatever entity issued the command does not have the kreen race's best interests at heart. They are masters of psionics, especially the art of [psychometabolism and body alteration, and have secretly been sabotaging the Great Dig for generations.

Apleurus are the least common of the kreen subraces of Anchorome; a single pack that has, somehow, developed the ability to shapeshift into a mass of living sand and back again. Reclusive and xenophobic to the point they distrust even other kreen, they inhabit the most barren regions of the Land of Insects, and have used their powers to steal the secret of glassteel from the aarakocra.

Smaragtin are a species of amphibious kreen, bio-engineered by the zik-chil from common tohr- and thri-kreen origins to cull dangerous predators from the waterways. The experiment was a huge success, and these semi-aquatic mantis-folk are now true-breeding and even forging their own fledgling civilization.

Ulyssies are another zik-chil engineered subspecies, created specifically to inhabit mountain forests. Marked by their incredible leaping abilities, they were bred as scouts and advance warriors to conquer new territory, in the form of a mountain range that borders the southwestern corner of kreen territory in Anchorome.

In Nentir Vale[edit]

In the Nentir Vale, the thri-kreen claim that they were created by Old Grandfather, one of the Primal Spirits, who took a common desert beetle and filled it with wisdom and cunning before charging it and its children to conquer the badlands and savannahs of the world. They had a fledgling empire centuries ago, but the dragonborn empire of Arkhosia swooped in, kicked their collective asses, and made them into a vassal race. Then, after Arkhosia was destroyed in battle with the tieflings of Bael Turath, the now-free thri-kreen collectively went "fuck this" and abandoned civilization entirely, going back to their traditional hunter-forager nomadic tribal lifestyle.

Thri-kreen Stats[edit]

Thri-kreen have been present in every single edition since they were released for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons - unlike their unfortunate cousins, the Xixchil. In fact, except for 4th edition, they've actually had multiple appearances in each edition.

AD&D[edit]

From the Monstrous Manual

Thri-kreen were present in both the Original and the Revised versions of the Dark Sun campaign setting. The versions are fundamentally identical.

Ability Score Range: Strength 8/20, Dexterity 15/20, Constitution 5/20, Intelligence 5/20, Wisdom 5/20, Charisma 5/17
Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom, -1 Intelligence, -2 Charisma
Class & Level Limits: Cleric (12), Druid (16), Fighter (16), Gladiator (15), Psionicist (Unlimited), Ranger (12)
Base Armor Class: 5
Reduce Darkness/Blindness-based penalties by 1 point/5% - this does not apply to ranged activities.
Does not require sleep.
Cannot use magic items designed to be worn by demihumans.
Can make 1 Bite attack (1d4+1 damage) and 4 Claw Attacks (1d4 damage) per round. A thri-kreen fighter can attack with both weapon and bite, but multiple attack abilities only apply to its weapon.
From 3rd level on, can leap 20 feet straight up and 50 feet straight forward. Can't leap backwards.
From 5th level on, bite attack delivers a paralytic venom; creatures must pass a Save vs. Paralyzation or be paralyzed for rounds dependent on size (smaller than man-sized: 2d10, man-sized: 2d8, larger: 1d8, Huge/Gargantuan: 1 round).
Bonus proficiency with the Chatkcha gained at 5th level. If Chatkcha Proficiency is taken earlier, the thri-kreen gains nothing.
From 7th level on, can roll a 1d20 when fired at by physical missiles; on a 3+, the thri-kreen dodges the missile. Magical missile weapons modify this roll, subtracting their plus bonus from the thri-kreen's result.

"Thri-Kreen of Athas" would tweak the above by stating that the -1 Intelligence penalty signifies a kreen of To'ksa subrace. To play a Jeral, replace -1 Int with -1 Constitution. No rules for playing J'ez, J'hol, T'keech or Tondi were presented, alas.

3rd Edition[edit]

The thri-kreen was printed at least four times in 3rd edition. It was first printed as an NPC race in the Monster Manual II, and a second time in Savage Species. Its stats were then tweaked for 3.5e and it was printed for a third time in the "Expanded Psionics Handbook", which was also the first time when it was given a PC stat block. Its fourth and final printing was in the Forgotten Realms sourcebook "Shining South".

+2 Strength, +4 Dexterity, -2 Intelligence, +2 Wisdom, -4 Charisma
Monstrous Humanoid
Medium
Base Land Speed 40 feet
Darkvision 60 feet
Immune to Sleep
+3 Natural Armor
Multiple Limbs: Four arms, qualify for the Multiweapon Fighting and Multiattack feats.
Natural Attacks: 4 Claw Attacks (primary, 1d4 damage), 1 Bite Attack (secondary, 1d4 damage), a weapon-equipped thri-kreen can use its natural attacks as secondary attacks.
Poisonous Bite (Ex): Once per day, can deliver poison via its bite with initial damage 1d6 Dex, secondary damage paralysis for 2d6 minutes, DC 11 + thri-kreen's Con modifier.
Leap (Ex): +30 racial bonus on Jump checks.
Weapon Familiarity:
The 3.0e version of the race came with exotic weapon proficiencies for the Gythka and Chatkcha
The 3.5e version of the race treats these weapons as Martial Weapons, not Exotic Weapons.
Naturally Psionic: 1 bonus power point at 1st level.
Psi-Like Abilities: In a psionic campaign, Thri-kreen gain psionic abilities that vary from book to book as follows...
In the MMII and Savage Species, they may use Chameleon and Know Direction at will, and Displacement and Lesser Metaphysical Weapon once per day. A Thri-kreen also "gains additional attack and defense modes as if it were a psychic warrior or a psion with psychometabolism as is primary discipline". Manifester level 10th; save DC 8 + power level
In the Expanded Psionics Handbook, they may use Chameleon and Know Direction 3x per day, and Psionic Displacement and Metaphysical Claw once per day. Manifester level is equal to 1/2 Hit Dice (minimum 1st). The save DCs are Charisma-based.
In Shining South, they have 3/day chameleon and know direction and location; and 1/day greater concealing amorpha and metaphysical claw. Manifester level is equal to 1/2 the thri-kreen’s Hit Dice
Racial Hit Dice: 2 levels of Monstrous Humanoid, which provide 2d8 Hit Dice, BAB +2, Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +3.
Racial Skills: A thri-kreen starts with (5 * (2+Int modifier)) skill points and its racial class skills are Balance, Climb, Hide, Jump, Listen and Spot.
+4 racial bonus on Hide checks in sandy/arid settings.
Racial Feats: Deflect Arrows and 1 bonus feat.
Favored Class: Psychic Warrior in a psionic campaign, Ranger otherwise.
Level Adjustment: Thr-kreen in a non-psionic campaign have a level adjustment of +1. Thri-kreen in a psionic campaign had a level adjustment of +3 in 3.0e and +2 in 3.5e

4th Edition[edit]

Thri-kreen player 4e.jpg

Thri-kreen made their return to the D&D stage stage in the 4th edition Dark Sun Campaign Setting, joining Muls as the only Dark Sun races that got brand new racial write-up for the new edition; this was likely due to their popularity in previous iterations. Comparatively speaking, in addition, aarakocra and pterrans were forgotten or ignored, and Half-Giants had nothing mechanically unique enough that they couldn't just be reskinned from Goliaths, an argument used to justify reflavoring Dragonborn as 4e's Dray.

Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity, +2 Strength or Wisdom
Size: Medium
Speed: 7 squares
Vision: Low-light
Skill Bonuses: +2 Athletics, +2 Nature
Multiple Arms: Once per turn, you can draw/sheathe a weapon or stow/retrieve an item as a Free Action instead of a Minor Action.
Natural Jumper: You are always considered to have a running start when jumping.
Torpor: You enter a torpor-state instead of sleeping, leaving you aware of your surroundings. You only need 4 hours in torpor to gain the benefits of an extended rest.
Racial Power - Thri-kreen Claws: 1/encounter, as a minor action, make a melee 1 attack against up to 3 opponents. You can choose whether this attack keys off of Strength, Dexterity or Wisdom at character creation. You gain a +3 attack bonus per tier and inflict 1d8 damage per tier (plus Chosen Ability Score modifier). You gain a bonus to the damage roll equal to the number of targets.

The thri-kreen's racial Paragon Path is the Thri-Kreen Predator. At 11th level it gains a Climb speed of 4 squares, +2 damage bonus with Thri-Kreen Claws, and the ability to make a jump as a free action as part of burning an action point to take an extra action. At 16th level, when the thri-kreen is adjacent to an enemy that is also adjacent to one of the thri-kreen's allies, the thri-kreen is considered to be flanking that enemy.

Its level 11 attack power is Capturing Claws (as Thri-Kreen Claws, but grabs the target), its level 12 Utility power is Insect's Spring (make a jump check as a minor action 1/encounter), and its level 20 attack power is Paralyzing Bite (inflict 2d6 + Chosen Ability Score poison damage, target is Stunned until end of your next turn and takes ongoing 5 poison damage, save ends).

Thri-kreen also had a "Winning Races" article in Dragon Magazine #411. Staunchly setting neutral, allowing it to apply to the Thri-kreen of both Athas and the Nentir Vale, it examines their culture and biology, and in particular how it shaped by the existence of a racial hive-mind. It also introduces the Ancestral Khanate, one of the Primal Spirits and the closest thing to a patron god of thri-kreen, being the embodiment of this racial collective subconsciousness. It also came with a bundle of racial feats that empowered various aspects of the thri-kreen, from improving their mastery of gythka and chatkcha to being able to use throwing weapons and hand/light crossbows with their secondary arms.

5th Edition?[edit]

No official 5e thri-kreen stats happened for a long, long time, resulting in multiple fan-made attempts released on the DM's Guild plugging the gap. The first attempt at an official Thri-Kreen race for 5e finally came in October 2021, as an Unearthed Arcana.

Unearthed Arcana: Travelers of the Multiverse[edit]

Being a post-Tasha's race, these thri-kreen have no ability score modifiers, and instead get a generic +2/+1 or +1/+1/+1 of the player's choice.

Creature Type: Monstrosity
Size: Medium or Small (choose at character creation)
Speed: 30 feet
Darkvision 60 feet
Chameleon Carapace: Your base unarmored AC is 13 + Dexterity modifier. As an action, you can change your color to mimic your surroundings, gaining Advantage on Stealth checks.
Secondary Arms: You have a set of secondary arms, which work like normal arms, but can't use shields and can only use weapons with the Light property.
Sleepless Revitalization: You do not require sleep and can choose to remain conscious during a long rest, though you must still refrain from strenuous activity to gain the benefit of the rest
Thri-Kreen Telepathy: You can communicate mentally with willing and visible creatures within 120 feet. A contacted creature doesn’t need to share a language with you, but it must be able to understand at least one language. Your telepathic link to a creature is broken if you and the creature move more than 120 feet apart, if either of you is incapacitated, or if either of you mentally breaks the contact (no action required).

Anchorome Mantis-Folk[edit]

Thri-kreen PCs from the Anchorome setting have the following PC stats... weirdly, despite letting players play the incredibly rare sand-shifting Apleurus, there is no statblock for the Zik-chil as PCs.

Ability Score Increase: +1 Dexterity
Size: Medium
Speed: 30 feet
Four Arms: You have 2 extra arms as mantis-folk. You can use them to carry extra objects in your hands like a torch, ammunition, components, a holy symbol, a potion and even weapons. However you gain no benefit from holding multiple weapons or shields in your extra arms and no extra attacks besides from the extra attacks from your class or other special circumstances.
Mantis-Folk Weapon Proficiency: You have Proficiency in the chatkcha and gythka.
Poisonous Bite: You can make a bite attack that causes 1d4 + Str modifier Piercing damage plus 1d4 Poison damage.
Subrace: Choose the Thri-kreen, Tohr-kreen, Apleurus, Smaragtin or Ulyssies subrace.

Thri-Kreen:

Ability Score Increase: +1 Dexterity, +1 Strength
Fleet-Footed: Your base speed increases by +10 feet, giving you a base speed of 40 feet.
Standing Leap: Even without a running start, you can long jump up to 30 feet and high jump up to 15 feet.
Chameleon Carapace: By spending a bonus action to blend into your backgrounds, you can make a Stealth check with Advantage to hide.

Tohr-Kreen:

Ability Score Increase: +2 Strength
Powerful Build: You count as one size larger to determine your carrying, dragging, lifting, pushing and pulling capacity.
Abolishing Might: Your melee attacks do double damage to structures.
Complex Builders: You gain Proficiency in one set of tools of your choice.

Apleurus:

Ability Score Increase: +2 Intelligence
Sand Born: You can spend an action to shapeshift into the form of a pile of sand. This transformation lasts for 10 minutes or until you use a bonus action to shift back. In sand form, you are indistinguishable from ordinary sand so long as you remain motionless, but your speed becomes 10 feet, you can move through spaces as narrow as 1 inch wide, you cannot attack or cast spells, your hit points are equal to your level, and your AC becomes 10. If you drop to 0 hit points in this form you are transformed back and the remaining damages carries over to your normal form. You regain this ability when you finish a short or long rest.
Sand Strider: You ignore difficult terrain and any hazards based on mundane sand, such as sinking into sinkholes.
Glass Specialist: You have Proficiency with Glassblower's Tools and gain Advantage on History checks made in regards glasswork and pottery.

Smaragtin:

Ability Score Increase: +2 Constitution
Aquatic: You can breathe air and water, and have a Swim speed of 30 feet.
Superior Darkvision: You have Darkvision to a range of 120 feet.
Sunlight Sensitivity: You have Disadvantage on attack rolls and on Perception checks that rely on sight when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.
Natural Armor: When not wearing armor, your Armor Class is 13 + your Dexterity modifier.

Ulyssies:

Ability Score Increase: +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom
Fleet-Footed: Your base speed increases by +10 feet, giving you a base speed of 40 feet.
Standing Leap: Even without a running start, you can long jump up to 30 feet and high jump up to 15 feet.
Chameleon Carapace: By spending a bonus action to blend into your backgrounds, you can make a Stealth check with Advantage to hide.
Climber: You have a Climb speed of 30 feet.
Tremorsense: You have the Tremorsense (10ft radius) vision trait.

Monstergirls?[edit]

Thri-kreen "monstergirls" are one of those areas where /tg/ inevitably gets into a debate about the definition of monstergirl vs beastfolk vs furry. Born out of a memetic attempt to mess with people's heads that lead to thri-kreen erotic art (and at least two human-on-thri-kreen porn-fics) showing up in /tg/, thri-kreen have retained that memetic infamy that sees lewd commentary and requests invariably brought-up in thri-kreen threads. The issue is that such material always goes hard-core xenophile, depicting thri-kreen as their canonical near-humanoid bug-selves instead of the more human-like forms commonly seen on monstergirls, which invariably sparks the anti-beastfolk brigade to come out of the woodwork and start yapping, just like what happens when threads about the cuteness of kobolds, gnolls and minotaurs pop up.

Publication History[edit]

The very first thri-kreen.

The very first appearance of the thri-kreen was in 1982, when Paul Reiche III created them for the second set of Monster Cards. One year later, in 1983, they made it to the tabletop game in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition Monster Manual II.

In 2nd edition, the thri-kreen appeared as a monster native to the Forgotten Realms setting in the 1989 Monstrous Compendium Forgotten Realms Appendix - this info would later be reprinted in the 1993 Monstrous Manual. Dark Sun debuted in October 1991, with the Athasian thri-kreen first receiving a monster writeup in an article in Dragon Magazine #173, which debuted a month earlier. 1995 was the big year for thri-kreen in 2e; they were ported over as a "generic D&D" PC race in Players Option: Skills & Powers, were part of the Expanded & Revised Dark Sun boxed set in October, had an Athasian monster writeup in March's Dark Sun Monstrous Compendium Appendix II: Terrors Beyond Tyr, and got their own dedicated racial splatbook in April's Thri-Kreen of Athas.

In Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, thri-kreen again appeared in the 2002 Monster Manual II for 3.0, and received a PC writeup in Savage Species. In 3.5, they appeared in the Expanded Psionics Handbook in 2004; in the same year, they also appeared as a PC race in the Dark Sun articles in Dragon Magazine #319 and in the 3e Shining South splatbook for the Forgotten Realms. They also received a racial class in 2006's Complete Psionic.

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition saw them appear in 2010's Dark Sun Campaign Setting and in the Monster Manual 3; they also had a "Winning Race: Thri-kreen" article in Dragon Magazine #411.

Finally, in 2014, Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition had the thri-kreen appear in the default Monster Manual for the first time in their entire history. They then had to wait the better part of a decade for PC rules.

Gallery[edit]

Thri-Kreen of Athas Poster
LamiaMonstergirl.pngThis article or section is about Monstergirls (or a monster that is frequently depicted as a Monstergirl), something that /tg/ widely considers to be the purest form of awesome. Expect PROMOTIONS! and /d/elight in equal measure, often with drawfaggotry or writefaggotry to match.
PROMOTIONS-small.pngThis article contains PROMOTIONS! Don't say we didn't warn you.

See Also[edit]

Thri-Kreen Erotica

Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Races
Core: Dwarf - Elf - Gnome - Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling - Human
Dark Sun: Aarakocra - Half-Giant - Mul - Pterran - Thri-kreen
Dragonlance: Draconian - Irda - Kender - Minotaur
Mystara: Aranea - Ee'ar - Enduk - Lizardfolk (Cayma - Gurrash - Shazak)
Lupin - Manscorpion - Phanaton - Rakasta - Tortle - Wallara
Oriental Adventures: Korobokuru - Hengeyokai - Spirit Folk
Planescape: Aasimar - Bariaur - Genasi - Githyanki - Githzerai - Modron - Tiefling
Spelljammer: Dracon - Giff - Grommam - Hadozee - Hurwaeti - Rastipede - Scro - Xixchil
Ravenloft: Broken One - Flesh Golem - Half-Vistani - Therianthrope
Complete
Book of X:
Alaghi - Beastman - Bugbear - Bullywug - Centaur - Duergar
Fremlin - Firbolg - Flind - Gnoll - Goblin - Half-Ogre - Hobgoblin
Kobold - Mongrelfolk - Ogre - Ogre Mage - Orc - Pixie
Satyr - Saurial - Svirfneblin - Swanmay - Voadkyn - Wemic
Dragon Magazine: Half-Dryad - Half-Satyr - Uldra - Xvart
Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Races
Player's Handbook 1: Dragonborn - Dwarf - Eladrin - Elf
Half-Elf - Halfling - Human - Tiefling
Player's Handbook 2: Deva - Gnome - Goliath - Half-Orc - Shifter
Player's Handbook 3: Githzerai - Minotaur - Shardmind - Wilden
Monster Manual 1: Bugbear - Doppelganger - Githyanki
Goblin - Hobgoblin - Kobold - Orc
Monster Manual 2: Bullywug - Duergar - Kenku
Dragon Magazine: Gnoll - Shadar-kai
Heroes of Shadow: Revenant - Shade - Vryloka
Heroes of the Feywild Hamadryad - Pixie - Satyr
Eberron's Player's Guide: Changeling - Kalashtar - Warforged
The Manual of the Planes: Bladeling
Dark Sun Campaign Setting: Mul - Thri-kreen
Forgotten Realms Player's Guide: Drow - Genasi