Formian

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Formian
A formian appears in the Harrow Deck.
(Creature)
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Formians are a race of territorial, expansionist, ant-like eusocial monstrous humanoids native to the Colonies, a continent located in southern Castrovel.12

Appearance

Formians possess the upper body of an insectile humanoid and the lower body of a giant ant. More powerful and influential formians are bigger. They speak a language that consists of scent glands and complex clicks that a humanoid's mouth finds hard to pronounce.3

Ecology

Formians are divided into five main castes, each specialised on a nominated task. Each hive's queen is its ruler and sole egg-layer, and serving her are the myrmarchs, taskmasters, warriors, and workers. All members of a formian hive coordinate through a shared telepathic link.4 In unprecedented circumstances, a formian queen can create mutant castes with abilities adapted to the situation. One such example is the formian mageslayer, specialists trained to fight the King of Biting Ants.5

Formians mostly feed on fruits harvested above their hives, and sometimes supplement their diet with the flesh of predators.6

History

In ancient times, members of formian hives constantly fought against both each other and Castrovel's other native race, the lashunta. These civil wars ended with the Meeting of Queens, where the leaders of several large hives agreed to work together in service to the concept of an Overqueen, the ultimate authority figure of the formian race. The newly unified Colonies then turned their conflicts toward the lashunta,7 who recognize the formians' Everlasting Queendoms as a perpetual threat.8

Habitat

Formians build elaborate underground hives that can stretch up to hundreds of square miles. Formians hide the entrances to their hives and keep the ground above largely intact, so from the surface it can be difficult to recognise if one has entered formian territory.6

Formians fiercely defend their territory from intruders and poachers and incessantly seek to expand their presence across the universe. In order to do this, they hollow out asteroids; populate each with a single queen, a few myrmarchs and taskmasters, and hundreds of eggs; shield them with magical protection; and then launch them toward other planets. Not all such attempts succeed, but this has allowed them to spread across the galaxy.16 Successful seed ships often establish colonies beneath the surface of these alien worlds,1 and abandoned formian cities sometimes serve other races, such as the ysoki of Akiton.9

Society

The queen of each formian hive is its absolute monarch. All hives are theoretically independent, though allegiances are common and weaker hives often have to defer to stronger ones.3 Formians that lose their hive for any reason rarely survive long, but those who successfully adapt to the wild or other species tend to become quite powerful.10

On Golarion

Most people on Golarion are unaware of either the formians or lashunta of Castrovel.11 However, formians do live beneath Golarion's surface, particularly around the Beehive in the Barrier Wall mountains of western Katapesh112 and Stonespur in the Hold of Belkzen.13

In magic items

A storykin vision of the Harrow Deck Queen Mother.

The fabled Harrow Deck of Many Things contains a card known as the Queen Mother, which depicts a formian. Drawing this card from the deck causes formians to appear and provide aid, although they are unlikely to share a language or culture.14

In the Great Beyond

A colony of three sterile formian queens live in the Vault of the Onyx Citadel, within a region known as Greensend.1516

The infernal duke Furcas of Forked Pyre uses the adamantine claw of an ancient formian titan named Legionnaire as the gate to the hellmouth Voulgaz.17

References

For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Andrew Penn Romine, et al. “Other People of the Stars” in People of the Stars, 14. Paizo Inc., 2014
  2. James L. Sutter. “Chapter 1: The Solar System” in Distant Worlds, 11. Paizo Inc., 2012
  3. 3.0 3.1 Michael Sayre. “Adventure Toolbox” in Doorway to the Red Star, 82. Paizo Inc., 2021
  4. Paizo Inc., et al. Bestiary 4, 108ff. Paizo Inc., 2013
  5. Michael Sayre. Akiton the Red” in Doorway to the Red Star, 70. Paizo Inc., 2021
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Paizo Inc., et al. Bestiary 4, 108. Paizo Inc., 2013
  7. James L. Sutter. “Chapter 1: The Solar System” in Distant Worlds, 12. Paizo Inc., 2012
  8. Benjamin Bruck, et al. “Chapter 3: Rare Races” in Inner Sea Races, 185. Paizo Inc., 2015
  9. Andrew Penn Romine, et al. “Other People of the Stars” in People of the Stars, 15. Paizo Inc., 2014
  10. Michael Sayre. “Adventure Toolbox” in Doorway to the Red Star, 84. Paizo Inc., 2021
  11. Andrew Penn Romine, et al. Lashunta” in People of the Stars, 10. Paizo Inc., 2014
  12. Stephen S. Greer & Amber E. Scott. “Land of Adventure” in Dark Markets, A Guide to Katapesh, 7. Paizo Inc., 2009
  13. Tyler Beck, et al. “Bestiary” in Belkzen, Hold of the Orc Hordes, 55. Paizo Inc., 2015
  14. Paizo Inc. & F. Wesley Schneider. Harrow Deck of Many Things” in Crown of Fangs, 73. Paizo Inc., 2008
  15. Crystal Frasier. “Continuing the Campaign” in Vault of the Onyx Citadel, 68. Paizo Inc., 2017
  16. Larry Wilhelm, et al. “Bestiary” in Vault of the Onyx Citadel, 83. Paizo Inc., 2017
  17. F. Wesley Schneider & Jerome Virnich. Furcas (Infernal Duke)” in Hell Unleashed, 41. Paizo Inc., 2015