Tuesday, February 26, 2019


So I really liked Hollow Knight (even though I'm still playing through the midgame and haven't actually finished it yet), and now there's a sequel coming out, and I can't get my mind off of playing bugpeople doing bugthings in a twisted Soulsesque bugrealm. So today I'm gonna bug y'all by posting a d20 table of bugfolk, many of which stretch the technical (but not the colloquial!) definitions of a bug.
A waspfolk fighter, clad in garb given as payment for services rendered.
from zummeng on twitter

1. Antfolk: Reroll STR or INT. Can lift ten times body weight, and on a long rest near a hive can recruit (level)d4 more worker ants as hirelings (without class levels). Both you and your hirelings have 1 hit point, but you can switch to one of them if your character dies.

Antfolk build deep and strong, their smallest hives rivaling the greatest dwarfholds. At the behest of their queens, entire cities have fallen to legions of worker ants sapping foundations and carving out new additions to their hives. They take great pride in work, and community, and have no sense of aesthetic whatsoever.

2. Beefolk: Reroll INT or CHA. Can loudly hover, can sacrifice self to make a d12 piercing damage melee sting attack, and on a long rest near a hive can recruit (level)d4 more worker bees as hirelings (without class levels). Both you and your hirelings have 1 hit point, but you can switch to one of them if your character dies.

Nobles and monarchs think they understand the beefolk. The queens send emissaries from their hive-kingdoms, bearing treasures of golden honey to curry favor and request respect. Ambassadors returning from the hives report nothing but the most luxurious treatment and the fairest dealings. But the devotion beefolk have to their queen is nothing compared to peasants to their lords. Worker bees are lives to be spent in a grim calculus of survival and expansion. Seek out resources. Grow the hive. Feed the queen to grow more workers. And when necessary, even in the most trivial of circumstances, die to defend the hive. All beefolk outside the hive have a purpose, and when fulfilled they will return victorious, or they will not return at all.

3. Butterflyfolk: Reroll CHA or DEX. Can fly (costs 1 ration). Step down hit die.

Butteflyfolk live fast and die young. In the few short years they have in the world, they enjoy all the world's pleasures: the sweetest foods, the most beautiful music, the highest heights - and conversely, the lowest lows. All know they must make the best of the time they have, doomed to reproduce and die long before they can complete everything their hedonistic instincts tell them they must.

4. Centipedefolk: Reroll DEX or STR. You have a natural secretion melee attack that deals d4 acid damage, and move at double speed. Must eat 1HD of living creature for rations.

Vicious, voracious, solitary. The boogeymen of the bug world. A single centipede, to a hive, is a horrifying monster that will devour them all. If you're too big to eat easily, however, you'll find them surprisingly good traveling companions. At the very least, your campsite will be unnervingly clean.

5. Dragonflyfolk: Reroll STR or DEX. Can loudly hover, when hovering move at double speed and turn on a dime. Needs double rations.

Dragonflyfolk are consummate predators, never putting down roots for long, always seeking their next meal or next target. Many still rove across the coastlines as hunter-gatherers, as they have since antiquity, chasing migratory prey of many shapes and sizes, returning only to induct newly hatched hunters into their orders. They are noted for their bands' egalitarianism, as those of other species who prove themselves worthy are often inducted as well, provided they give themselves over to the hunt.

6. Fireflyfolk: Reroll CHA or INT. Can emit bright light in 20' radius. Step down hit die.

Fireflyfolk live deep in the dimmest forests and deepest chasms, blazing bright against the night. It is their religious calling to spread light to the darkest pits. Light is the highest good, darkness the lowest evil. As natural bearers of light, therefore, they are called to adventure. Few fireflyfolk escape the call to adventure and live peaceful lives to birth and train the next generation, but those that do are considered heroes in their own right.

7. Fleafolk: Reroll CON or DEX. Small, can jump as far as they can sprint in a round. Must drink 1HD of blood for rations.

Fleafolk parasitize entire communities, but not ones that would usually notice. Giants, dragons, and other megafauna play host to entire nations of fleafolk, living out their dramas and feuds unnoticed by their food sources. When they are, however, they unite quickly and efficiently, using their intimate knowledge of their host's body to utterly cripple any resistance, cause death by a thousand cuts, then embark on a great pilgrimage to a new host. Most fleafolk found outside their communities are explorers on the leading edge of such a migration.

8. Grasshopperfolk: Reroll STR or WIS. Can jump as far as they can sprint in a round, move at double speed. Step down hit die.

In daily life, grasshopperfolk tend to communal farms, producing vast amounts of bountiful grain as they devour the pests that would otherwise diminish their harvests. They're high in demand as farmhands or ranchers, and assimilate into agricultural communities with aplomb. However, when times go bad, they unite in a fearsome pillaging force that none short of fortress-cities can resist - and their targets are far from any city. Swathes of farmland are indiscriminately stripped of all nutrition, from the harvest to the livestock to the farmers, when the grasshopperfolk embark on a Locust Crusade.

9. Larvafolk: Reroll a stat of choice. Whenever you level up, on your next long rest, roll a d10. On a 10-(level) or greater, you pupate and become another bugfolk race at random.

Most species of bugfolk live only half of their lives as their adult forms. Before then, they are larvae, birthed in the hundreds and thrown into the wilderness to be eaten indiscriminately. Only a lucky few survive to metamorphose into a true member of bug society. When one is adopted by a caring, eccentric couple on the edge of town, it knows not from whence it came, or what it will someday become. It only knows that it must eat, and survive, and learn, to prepare itself and will itself to change.

10. Mantisfolk: Reroll DEX or STR. Step up unarmed damage die and may deal physical damage type of choice. Disadvantage on manipulating objects, all weapons count as improvised.

The mantisfolk have diversified far from their warrior ancestry, but remain fearsome in martial combat. Their enclaves, in many major cities, are renowned as fortresses in their own right. This ignores the artistic tradition that runs deep in mantisfolk communities, using their powerful limbs to carve sculptures, throw paint at great canvases, and inscribe poetry on a grand scale. Most things they wear, make, or build are works of art in their own right, and they will fight to defend the beauty they create.

11. Millipedefolk: Reroll STR or CON. +2 AC. Can't run, halve walk speed.

Gentle giants of the forest floor, millipedefolk are stewards of vast regions of flora, cultivating entire forests unbeknownst to the mortals who would chop them down and use them for firewood. Some ignorant kings have sent armies to claim the natural resources held within the greatest forests, and emptied their treasuries only to break their blades on the impenetrable armor of millipede warriors.

12. Mosquitofolk: Reroll DEX or WIS. Have a natural proboscis melee attack that deals d6 piercing damage and sucks blood, can loudly hover. Must drink 1HD of blood for rations.

The old prejudices against mosquitofolk are grossly outdated. They pay for their blood these days, with laborers fallen on hard times able to supplant their wages with small transactions of their precious bodily fluids. Mosquitofolk villages, on the edges of cities, are welcoming and always, always open for business. Their nobles and merchants are very good at their jobs, funding militias and paying their taxes on time - sometimes even in full. Their food source depends on it.

13. Mothfolk: Reroll CHA or WIS. Can fly (costs 1 ration). Must save vs. distraction by bright lights.

The drabber, less adventurous cousins of butterflyfolk, mothfolk are a well-known and often quite prevalent demographic in large cities. While their flighty nature, especially around light fixtures, poses a constant personal challenge, being able to fly makes them great couriers, builders, and scouts. Their neighborhoods are dark, and often they volunteer to start lamplighter's guilds so that they can ensure that nightlights are in the least compromising locations. Have understandably complicated relationships and rivalries with fireflyfolk.

14. Pillbugfolk: Reroll CON or WIS. Can roll up and roll around at double speed, have +1 AC while rolling and deal d6+CON bludgeoning damage to whoever you hit, but can't use limbs while rolling. Can't roll up and unroll in same round. When frightened or stressed, save vs. rolling up until out of stressful situation.

More closely related to the crab and lobsterfolk of the deep seas, legend has it they were cast out long ago by their brethren for some unmentioned societal slight. The land bugfolk took them in with open pedipalps, but the scars of their escape remain in the collective pillbugfolk consciousness. They have deep-seated instincts for self-preservation, risk-averse to a fault, but their natural defenses are more than enough to give them an edge. A pillbugfolk colony under attack resembles nothing less than an avalanche.

15. Roachfolk: Reroll CON or INT. Advantage on all physical saves. Disadvantage on all mental saves.

Roachfolk claim to be the first species ever created by the gods, and they take pride in the fact that they'll also probably be the last left. They say that their creator regretted their creation, and sent a thousand thousand predators and plagues and disasters to utterly destroy them. Their numbers were culled, but they never went extinct, unlike dozens of other races unlucky enough to exist concurrently. Every day to a roachfolk is a battle against the world itself, and they spend their entire lives in defiance, spitting on gods and authority.

16. Scarabfolk (d3 for subspecies): Reroll STR or CON. Disadvantage on ranged attacks.
1. Dung Beetle: Can wield two-handed weapon or other large item in one hand.
2. Goliath Beetle: Size of horse, +6 to encumbrance limit.
3. Stag Beetle: Natural horn melee attack that deals d8+STR bludgeoning damage.

Beetles come in thousands of shapes and sizes, but the scarabfolk are by far the largest and most prominent. Their empires and feudal states are said to cover continents, regimented into strict caste systems based on scarabfolk subspecies. Some built great aqueducts from nest to nest, others carry supplies as thinking, living beasts of burden, yet more fight in ritualistic duels to fulfill the terms of brutally simple yet effective legal systems founded on might making right.

17. Scorpionfolk: Reroll STR or INT. Have a natural stinger melee attack that deals d4 piercing damage and forces a save vs. paralysis with (level) uses per daily rest, step up unarmed attack damage die. Disadvantage on manipulating objects, all weapons count as improvised.

Scorpionfolk have been the shock troopers of empires across history. Conscripted, given all the smaller bugs they can eat, and pointed at weak points in enemy lines, they were more than happy to fight and kill in the name of whichever cause paid them a better wage - and then feed on their employers when the fruits of conquest inevitably ran out. No empire has risen in an age that has dared take on scorpionfolk mercenaries, and they see no reason to form one themselves, so they live their lives beneath the dunes as ambush predators, preying on creatures many times their size and eating like kings.

18. Spiderfolk (d6 for subspecies): Reroll DEX or INT. Have spider climb, can spin sticky webs (1 min per level*10ft of web). Step down hit die size twice.
1. Black Widow: Has paralyzing venom melee attack, forces save vs. paralysis, with [level] uses per daily rest.
2. Diving Bell: Webs are waterproof, trap air.
3. Orb Weaver: Can make webs as combat turn instead of taking a minute.
4. Peacock: Webs can be any color you want, have fine control as painting or sculpture.
5. Tarantula: 4 manipulator arms, can't spin webs. 
6. Trapdoor: Can burrow through loose earth, can't spin webs.

Spiderfolk are famed as masterminds, with leverage over the rich and powerful from their subterranean lairs. Architects of dark places, creators of great networks, invisible until you are trapped in their eight-legged clutches. One might ask why we know of them through these tales, rather than something more positive, if they control the narratives through which we see them. The spiderfolk that interact with mammalian civilizations tell a more terrifying tale: of humongous spider-gods with eight thousand eyes and eight thousand legs and eggbloated abdomens, wrapped in miles of silken webwork, warring over the fate of the spiders from lightless caverns - the tales told of all spiderfolk are but a piece in their game, to isolate the spiderfolk from the world and drag them into the great game, far from the light, to be spent as little more than chess pieces.

19. Waspfolk: Reroll DEX or WIS. Can loudly hover, and have a natural stinger melee attack that deals d8 piercing damage, with (level) uses per daily rest. Needs double rations.

Waspfolk have long memories and longer stingers, or so the saying goes. Slights never go unpunished, and their vengeance comes swift and painful. Their papercraft is known throughout the land as source of some of the lightest, strongest armors. Enthusiasm is barely dampened by the knowledge that chewing the paper and spitting it out is part of the crafting process. Waspfolk hive domes are truly awe-inspiring - or fear-inspiring, if you've wronged them.

20. Wormfolk: Reroll CON or WIS. Can burrow through loose earth, have tremorsense within 30'. No hands, but you can hold one thing in your mouth.

Wormfolk are very happy living their solitary lives, eating dirt and never interacting with another living soul. But sometimes wormfolk are driven out, by disaster or prejudice or predation, and they find the surface world too seductive to leave behind forever. Some find there to be more to life than being a dirt connoisseur, and go out to learn about the world they once only knew through underground vibrations and unfortunately-placed basements.

Hollow Knight Concept Art #2 by teamcherry
An elder pillbugfolk dispenses wisdom while tending to its young.
from teamcherry on deviantart
Related image
The eldest of the mantisfolk are also the most deadly; their glee in demonstrating their martial prowess more than compensates for the ravages of age.
from timelordjikan on deviantart

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