Search SJML Archives! (Powered by Google)

Previous Message: The new and improved Thruster Helm
Next Message: Sphere Map
Month Index: February, 1995

From:     RJPugh@???.com
Date:     Sun, 12 Feb 1995 15:02:44 -0500
Subject:  Re: Life of the Thri-Kreen (fwd)
Hi gang.

This article is forwarded from the Dark-sun list.  Since Thri-Kreen can be
found in Wildspace as well as the desarts of Athas, I thought this would be
appropriate here as well.


Rich [mod]
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 95 14:35:41 BDB
From: marcos@???.???????.br (Marcos A. Avila)
Subject: Life Cycle of the Thri-Kreen

(This is being cross-posted to ADND-L because I arrogantly believe  it's a
good read even if you don't play Dark Sun :-)

I was watching an interesting documentary about the Praying  Mantis  the
other day, when the narrator said something that  caught  my  attention: due
to its excellent camouflage, in medieval times it was believed  that the
Mantis was actually a modified leaf that had grown head and legs.  I
immediately thought  "what a neat creature  for  AD&D",  and  since  the
Thri-Kreen is blatantly  derived  from  the  Mantis,  it's  the  natural
candidate to explore the idea.

I wrote this in a similar format as in The Wanderer's Journal  from  the DS
boxed set, i.e., as if written by a sage of Athas and not by an  all-knowing
god, so that DM's may use it in  their  campaigns  whether  they want it to
be true or not.

     \ /
     ( ).       ,~;
      V \\   ,~  .~
      __| \~~   ,_/\
      \  `/-_--~    \_
      '   \   \
          '    \_

Life Cycle of The Thri-Kreen

    The Thri-Kreen are among the most mysterious beings  of  our  world.
Although we've known them for centuries and  today  the  more  civilized ones
 can  walk  relatively  unperturbed  among  the  populace  of  most
City-States and villages, very little is known about their more intimate
habits, relations and emotions.  Anyone bold  enough  to  ask  a  Mantis
Warrior about such things will either be attacked or get an answer  like
"It's not your business".  The following information was  gathered  from
stories told to me by an old and wise Halfling  Chief  from  beyond  the
Ringing Mountains, who claims to have witnessed  each  of  these  events

Birth, The Beginning of The Cycle

    In the Forest Ridge, it is the  way  of  the  trees  that  they  are
constantly renewing their foliage, letting the old leaves fall  to  give
place to greener ones.  On some rare, special trees, however,  the  fall of a
leaf means not its death, but actually the  birth  of  a  new  life
form, a young Thri-Kreen.  Protected in between a  myriad  of  withering
leaves, these chosen ones undergo the first metamorphosis, growing head,
mouth, eyes, antennae and powerful legs and arms.  When  the  change  is
over, a savage green predator walks out of the pile, ready  to  make its
first kill.

Youth, And They Reign Unmatched

    According to the Chief, in its  juvenile  form,  the  Thri-Kreen  is
actually the small insect that the halflings call Mantiki.  I have  seen
this creature personally and it is indeed very similar to the Thri-Kreen as
we know them.  Varying in size from 3 to 10 inches long and in  color from
light green to brown, they are the  most  formidable  predators  of their own
realm.  Walking on four  legs,  the  Mantiki  move  graciously between their
mother trees and blend perfectly between the leaves.  With a pair of
amazingly powerful arms, these solitary creatures will  strike out and snatch
anything that moves within range, including frogs,  small birds and other
Mantiki.  They  immediately  devour  the  prey,  usually starting by the
head, and there seems to be no limit to their hunger.

Adulthood, They Join to Form Nations

    It is unknown whether all  Mantiki  eventually  undergo  the  second
metamorphosis, or if only another group of chosen ones.   At  a  certain
point in their life, they stop eating smaller creatures and begin  their
final and greatest hunt in this phase.  Within a few days they must find a
suitable victim, typically 5 to 10 times their own size and many times their
weight.  Candidates are large lizards, rats  and  birds,  but  the Chief
believes that even lost halfling children may have fallen prey  to them.  If
a Mantiki cannot find a suitable victim, it will not return to its former
diet and instead dies of hunger.  But if  it  does,  an  epic duel begins.
 For what may extend to hours, the hunter  will  chase  its victim and repeat
a deadly ritual of moving in, biting and dodging  away from the larger opponen
t's counter-attack.  Many Mantiki die during  the duel, but each bite
delivers a small amount of paralyzing venom, and the victim eventually
becomes unable to move.  The Mantiki will then dig  or find a suitable hole,
and bury itself together with the  body.   For  an entire year, the creature
will be nourished by its catch and suffer  the second metamorphosis which
leads to an adult Thri-Kreen as we know them.

    When time comes, the Thri-Kreen emerges from its hole.   It  is  now
about three feet long, with one pair of long hind legs  and  four  arms.  It
is also an intelligent, sentient being, with no recollection  of  its former
life, but many of its feral  instincts  still  lie  within.   The
young adult then follows an urge to leave the forest and join  with  its
kin in the Thri-Kreen nations.  This is the more well known part of  the
cycle to us.  Thri-Kreen form hunting packs, younger ones preparing  and
preserving hunted food until they master the control of their  own  body and
their exclusive weapons; older ones running and  leaping  throughout the
world as they restlessly chase their prey.  Many eventually come  in contact
with us or are captured and used as slaves or gladiators.

Mating, The Final Metamorphosis

    It is  impossible  for  us  to  distinguish  Thri-Kreen  males  from
females, and many believe there  is  no  such  difference,  although  on
occasion I have seen one Thri-Kreen refer to another as "He"  or  "She". It
could also be that differences only appear during the mating  ritual, but I
am now only speculating.  It is well known that they can  live  up to about
30 years, but according to the Chief, at 20 years of  age  some of them,
again chosen ones, will form a mating couple and feel  an  urge to leave
everything behind and travel back to where they  were  born  in the Forest.
 After a few days of searching and if  they  aren't  killed, the couple finds
a suitable place and the  final  metamorphosis  begins. In what he described
as the most beautiful of mating rituals,  the  pair silently engages in a
slow, rythmic dance, which evolves for hours until at the climax they stand
up tall, embrace each other with their arms and sink their legs  deep  into
 the  soil.   Only  an  occasional  settling movement is noticed from then
on, and  by  nightfall  they  are  totally immobile and their bodies begin to
fuse.  By sunrise, all that  is  left is a young tree with a handful of green
leaves trembling  at  the  wind.

The cycle is now closed.

            - O -
     Mizar, the Brilliant

"Shine on, you crazy diamond..."

Previous Message: The new and improved Thruster Helm
Next Message: Sphere Map
Month Index: February, 1995

[ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]