View Full Version : D&D 3.x Other The Kho - Caste Based Insect Race

2017-04-15, 11:32 AM
Kho: Multi-Stage Insectoids

The kho are a strange race for most other humanoid races to understand, holding more in common to ants or bees than they do to many of the other races. Many who know of the kho believe them to be the result of a wizardly experiment to make a race of intellect insects, but the kho themselves say they were made before the others.

Preferring warm climates, especially deserts and jungles, the kho are a hardy race that lives to build sprawling cityscapes that are at least partially underground. Kho settlement habits tend to restrict their expansion immensely as they prefer to have fewer satellite villages in their territory but large urban centers where everything can be centralized.

Physical Description: The kho come in a multitude of forms, but among all of the adult forms, most humanoids would get the feeling that the kho are essentially chitin covered humanoids.

The physical descriptions of a particular caste or live stage will be covered later, but the general basics of adult kho are that they very heavily resemble an assortment of insectoid humanoids. The exact bodyplan varies, but unless otherwise stated, all kho are mostly humanoid in terms of layout, with long and slender arms and legs just a bit longer for their bodies. Kho possess 4 limbs, and maybe very vestigal forearms that serve no real purpose; it is common for some colonies to just remove them.

Carapace covers every inch save the slightly exposed muscle on every joint- the three fingered hands and fingers in particular almost resemble armored gauntlets.

Their chest and torso areas are decidedly almost humanoid, though a few castes possess vestigal gasters of their most buglike ancestors.

The mouths tend to be multipart plates, typically 5 and are able to shape themselves into a number of ways that no human could ever hope to replicate.

Kho society is complex and heavily rooted in biology.

To an outsider, the kho might seem like a collection of separate, though sometimes similar races.The truth of the matter is that kho are simply a race that has multiple distinct adult forms and a complex life cycle. The kho form a unique hive-caste society, where one’s assigned social role determined by education and the feeding of particular substances creates determines the traits they possess in adulthood: warriors are made strong and durable, foragers are made swift and attentive, knowers are intelligent and wise, and so on and so forth.

It should bear mentioning that kho do not have traditional gender roles as most races understand them, and most members of society do not identify as male or female.

What does separate the kho from the simpler insects they are tangentially related to is that unlike most insect hives, is that the kho may have multiple members of their society able to breed at the same time. Though such kho are part of the reproductive caste, they do not spend all of their time as mere egglayers as their primitive kin do, but also serve as leaders.

Kho society is lead by a Conclave of Matriarchs, the reproductive females of their race that have been determined to be the most wise and best suited for their station due to merit. The kho do not place value to humanoid monarchies due to their unique outlook; for to them, all members of society are essentially brothers and sisters already, the only proof to the divine right to rule there is if one could reproduce other kho.

The kho’s unique racial traits make seem rather aberrant to other races, though peace is possible once the initial cultural shock wears out. Still a few trends tend to occur.

In almost every case, dwarves simply do not get along with the kho. While the two races don’t have mutual kill on sight orders, the fact of the matter is, the two races often compete for the same territory and resources. Drow have a similar relationship, except more extreme due to the drow’s slaver society.

Humans are able to get along with the kho quite well, enough to make stable trade agreements. They are particularly fond of cheeses.

Goblins and kobolds have extreme distrust over the kho. Often times, for similar reasons as the dwarves, but this tends to be the result generations long warfare cycles.

Alignment: The kho have a slight law focus, relative to the other races. Their society is based on structured, communal child rearing and development.

Language: The kho language, is strange, just like they are. It is composed by a combination of buzzing and insectile chips augmented by a sense of small. It is near impossible for a nonkho to “speak” this language without assistance, but is fairly similar to other languages to learn.

There is no written form of this language. The kho make use of a different language to be literate in.

Religion: Kho religion is a complex subject. In their view, the act of reproduction and child rearing are seen as the holiest of acts and those who perform them are the priests of their society. Consequently, matriarchs often tend to be considered pulling dual roles as holy and worldly advisors.

The Kho possess a number of deities, but one in particular is known to all of them: Queen Mother - Abili (Alone Birthing Life), a manifestation of the first kho Matriarch who all others are descended from. Her tale is a story about how she gave birth to the world and then the kho.

Her Domains are Earth, Law, Plants, Protection, and Community (PF only).

Adventurers: Kho adventurers are a rarity, but a couple of themes are apparent. Largely, such adventurers arise simply due to a desire to no longer be bound by the rigid life cycle structure of kho society. Others do so to prove their worth, or to gain the right to bear young.

Names: As kho do not have proper male or female sexes, they bear only a single set of names. Unfortunately, said names tend to be incomprehensible or hard to write out. For simplicity of communication, kho names are translated as three words, in which the last word is a noun. The first syllable is then taken from each word to create a social name, similar to a first name.

Blue Iron Beetle (Bl-I-Be)
Fading Bitter Leaf ( Fa-Bi-Le)
Flying Stalking Hunter (Fl-Sta-Hu)
Mountain Hoarding Gold (Mou-Hoa-Go)
Wave Dashing Seeker (Wa-Da-See)



The most complex part about the kho’s race is that instead of standard age progression common to other races, the kho possess unusual juviline stages as well as a variety of adult stages.

This consists of a number of Immature stages and adult stages and castes.

All kho begin life as Eggs, which is a pre-birth stage equivalent. At this life stage, they are nothing more than eggs the size of watermelons. Effectively, they are considered objects.

Small Larvae are wormlike, underdeveloped kho that are far smaller than their adult stages, effectively serving as a Child stage equivalent. They are small size and follow the Larvae traits described below. They are too young to be productive members of society.
Large Larvae are still wormlike in form but are much bigger, generally larger and heavier than any true adult would be. They are medium sized and while still largely only really feed most of the time, are given basic socialization and education during this time. They are too young for adventuring and largely helpless. They possess larvae traits and large larvae are the equivalent of another race’s Youth age category.

After a certain point, Large Larvae cocoon themselves and become into papue to transition into adulthood, with their future caste being determined by their caretakers and rearers based on diet. The metamorphosis process takes a few weeks, and during which, the pupae hatches and emerges as a mature Adult, of one of a few different types, described in the appropriate sections below.

After reaching maturity, kho then start following aging rules as they would for other races, treating their emergence from the pupae stage as the start of the Adult stage. Afterwards, they gain age categories like ordinary creatures becoming Middle-Aged, Old, and then Venerable.

For those of you who plan on using a kho in any scenario that involves effects that can alter the age of characters, in particular de-aging a kho: yes, using them might essentially cause a kho to become a larvae again. And while characters from other race might suffer a loss of some capabilities, kho are much more vulnerable since they lose far, far more than size and stat bonuses since their unusual growth cycle leaves them as helpless worms that can’t even defend themselves.

It might be to your benefit to just treat them as retaining adult traits instead of reverting to larvae.

As stated before, kho are divided in different castes, but not all kho in the same caste are alike. To represent this. All kho receive the racial traits under Universal Kho Traits.

After that, they receive the traits associated with their Caste, gaining the ability scores and favored class bonuses (or which favored class list they emulate). They also receive their Caste racial traits, in addition to the default kho racial traits.

Before reaching maturity, kho are considered having “Larvae” as their Caste. This changes upon reaching maturity.

Size: Varies, determined by Caste.
Speeds: Varies, determined by Caste.
Kho are creatures with the humanoid type, with the kho subtype. They are also treated as intelligent vermin for the purposes of spells and effects that target vermin.
Internal Food Storage: All kho possess an internal secondary stomach that can store food. This cavity can store upto 3 meals worth of food, which the kho may regurgitate to feed another creature or himself. Non-kho must succeed in a DC 15 Fortitude save or be sickened for 1 hour after eating this meal.
Antenae: Kho possess long antennae that act as feelers and as a sensory organ. Kho are treated as having the scent special quality.
Languages:Khoshan. If literate at first level, a kho character gains one bonus language to be fluent and literate in, based on his choice of bonus language.
Kho with higher than normal intelligence may select the following as bonus languages: Aquan, Common, Draconic, Dwarven, Goblin, Terran

Larval kho are nothing more than overgrown worms, typically a sort of milky white with black underdeveloped eyes. About the only thing special about them are their phenomenal strengths for their growth.
Strength +2, Dexterity -6, +2 Constitution, -4 Intelligence, -4 Wisdom, -4 Charisma. Larval kho are near helpless worms that rely entirely on other people to feed them. These racial modifiers replace both the adjustments for being younger than Adult and are replaced entirely by an adult kho’s caste upon reaching maturity.
Small or Medium, depending on age: If small, in addition to the normal penalties for being small, the larvae gain an addition to the normal size penalties for being small a gain a -2 penalty to Strength and Constitution and a +2 bonus to Dexterity.
Base speed of 5 feet. If encumbered by anything heavier than a light load, the larvae may not move.
Larval Helplessness Larval kho possess no hands or feet and are thus unable to wield any melee weapons or use tools.
Near-Blind: Larval eyes are sensitive to shapes, but only to things in the near vicinity. Larval kho possess Darkvision 30 feet. Anything past 30 feet is treated as though it was blurry and indistinct. -15 on spot checks (perception for pathfinder) to see creature or object's past 30 feet.
Silk Spit: As a full-round action, a larvae may puke out a rope of silk. It is treated as a 10 foot length of silk rope, but is also treated as though it was covered in glue or adhessive. The silk lasts 24 hours before it dries up into uselessness and may be produced a number of times per day equal to the larva’s Constitution modifier.
Favored Class (3.5): None
Uses Favored Class Bonus (PF): of Adult Caste

Matronly kho are unique amongst their kin for being entrusted with propagating and leading their species. Of all kho, they are the only ones with any formal biological gender. Larger than most others except the soldiers, matrons stand tauric and feature notably bloated or enlarged abdominal cavities, the only nonvestigal gasters of their whole race.
+2 Charisma, + 2 Wisdom, -2 Dexterity. Matrons are wise leaders, but not tasked with being swift on their feet.
Base speed of 20 feet. This speed is not reduced when wearing medium or heavy armor or carrying a heavy load.
Quadrupedal Matrons are treated as quadrupedal creatures for the purposes of standing or carrying capacity.
Favored Class (3.5): Cleric, Druid
Uses Favored Class Bonus (PF): Elf

Small and vicious, hunters are almost mantis like in appearance, being more spindly. They are known for their viciousness and preference to using webs and traps and deception.
2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, -2 Strength. Hunters are swift and quick on their wits in the fatal moment, but this comes at the expense of strength..
Base speed of 30 feet.
Webbing: As a standard action, hunters can regurgitate clumps of adhesive net which when unpacked may be used for a number of purposes. The hunter may shoot out a web, as if he was throwing it. Treat as a regular medium sized net that last for 24 hours. The hunter kho do not take any penalties from utilizing their racial net ability and may produce up to their Constitution in nets bet day.
Hidden Predator: Hunters are adept are lurking and hiding. They receive a +1 bonus to Hide and Move Silently. (+1 Stealth in Pathfinder)
Favored Class (3.5): Ranger
Uses Favored Class Bonus (PF): Gnomes

By far the most humanoid though still covered in darken chitin, the Laborer is by far the most common caste, representing the bulk of the overall colony. They completely lack gasters. Other than their strange dark eyes and chitonous skin and vestigal forelimbs, one could almost make the mistake of calling them human.
+2 Strength, +2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma. Laborers are made to be strong and attentive, but not at all assertive of their own will.
Small or Medium.
30. Unencumbered by heavy and medium loads. Armor still encumbers them as normal..
Strong Upper Back Labourers are treated as being able to carry 3 times the normal weight of what normal characters are expected to carry and lift. This only applies if what is being lifted is not struggling or not able to resist. Their move speed is not reduced because of carrying loads of these values.
Favored Class (3.5): Fighter, Barbarian
Uses Favored Class Bonus (PF): Human.

Made as leaders and planners, all other parts of the thinker’s body has been built around their overly large and cumbersome cranials that extend into their chests. This is due to their lack of necks, with their heads essentially merging with their chest cavity with their brains etending to where their heart should be. All of this brainpower comes at a cost of physical size and endurance, however.
+2 Intelligence, +2 Wisdom, -2 Constitution. Thinkers possess vast intellects but frail bodies.
Base speed of 30 feet.
Wild Talent Thinkers receive Wild Talent as a bonus feat.
Favored Class (3.5): Wizard, Psion
Uses Favored Class Bonus (PF): Elf

Much rounder than their other kin, the Seekers are more beelike and possess strong hovering wings that buzz rapidly. Their torsos tend to be elongated cylinders ending in a vestigial stinger with the other limbs poking out from the front.
+2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, -2 Constitution. Swift, beautiful, yet fragile, seekers are meant to search and lead.
Base speed of 10 feet. This speed is not reduced when carrying a heavy load.
Winged Flight Seekers may fly with a fly speed of 30 feet with a maneuverability of poor. Wearing medium or heavy armor or carrying a medium or heavy load prevents flight.
Favored Class (3.5): Rogue
Uses Favored Class Bonus (PF): Tengu

Strong and beetle-like, soldier kho make up the largest part of their race’s armed forces. They noted for their hardened chitin and use of natural weapons and their strong forms.
+2 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Wisdom. Soldiers are made to be strong, tough, but at a cost of attentiveness.
Large size
Base speed of 30 feet
Hardened Chiton Soldiers have a natural armor of 2
Scything Talons Soldiers bear 2 1d4 claw attacks on each arm.
Favored Class (3.5): Fighter, Paladin
Uses Favored Class Bonus (PF): Dwarf


Random Starting Ages





6 years




Aging Effects

Middle Age



Maximum Age

26 years

32 years

40 years

+2d6 years

2017-04-15, 11:53 AM
I think the largest problem here is that the different castes aren't anywhere near balanced in regards to one another.

You could also use more description in the castes themselves, and for the race as a whole. How many limbs do they all have? Do they have a head, thorax, and abdomen? What sort of colors are they? What does the "cranial [extending] into their chests" look like? Are their antennae thin or fluffy? Do they have have compound or multiple eyes? What sorts of mouthparts do they have? If buzzing is part of their speech, do non-Seekers still have vestigial wings?

2017-04-15, 02:19 PM
For variety, would you consider making either the Laborers or the Soldiers large? I think it could fit with either archetype.

2017-04-18, 04:09 PM
Added some updates then to make things more clear.

Not quite sure on how to adjust the balance. I was kinda more going for lore, but I should have done more thinking on balance.