The Karthasians are the most unique race on Khoras. They are an insectoid life form and are divided into four main castes, each very different from the others. The four castes (or sub-species) are: worker, warrior, thinker and Queen.
The worker caste are the most common. They resemble short bipedal ants, standing only 1.5 meters tall and weighing a mere 40 kilograms. Workers are totally subservient and slavishly devote their lives to the service of the Hive. They usually will not fight unless ordered to do so.
A thinker caste greatly resembles a walking humanoid praying mantis. They have humanoid shaped bodies, stand approximately two meters high and weigh about 45 kilograms. They have complex eight part jaw/mandible structures, four digit symmetrical claws, four compound eyes and universal ball joints at most limb connections. Because of their unique joint structures, thinkers are very dexterous. The compound eyes gives a thinker 360 degree vision, making it impossible to sneak up on one from behind. Thinkers are, as one would expect, exceptionally intelligent. They are also the only caste (besides the Queen) to show true independent thought and personality. Very few karthasians travel to the outside world. Usually this is a group of thinkers, and they may take a few warriors with them for protection. On occasion, a thinker will choose to leave his Hive to go and explore the world. Thinkers are able to communicate between themselves by using their antennae to transmit low frequency electromagnetic waves. In essence, they are generating a biological form of radio waves. This is a very rapid form of communication and also allows direct mind to mind contact and the transfer of very complicated thoughts with no misunderstanding. This method of communication is only effective within about 50 yards or so
The warrior caste are much larger than most karthasians. They resemble great hulking beetles that walking upright. Their exoskeletal armor is thick and black. They walk on four stout legs and fight with two large arms that end in great pincers. A typical warrior will stand 3 meters tall and weight 250 kilograms. Warrior karthasians are not very intelligent and depend greatly on the worker and thinker castes to take care of them. However, in battle, these monsters can cut most opponents in half with a single pincer attack.
Finally, there is the Queen caste. Queens are exceptionally rare and they are the only deviant gender (all Karthasians are considered neutral sex except the Queens). A Queen is a massive, bloated insectoid creature unable to move under her own power. The queen appears to be some sort of fusion between spider and crab, but she is enormous. The body of a queen is 5 meters tall with six legs, each 3 meters long. Four short arms end in tiny claws. The head is crowned by a twelve large spines. The abdomen of the queen is a massive bloated whitish thing which is 13 meters long and 5 meters in diameter. The abdomen is coated in slime and typically glued to what the karthasians call a pedukash, or the Queen's throne, which resembles a huge raft. When the Queen wishes to move, the workers (several dozen of them) push and pull her, pedakush and all, to wherever she wants to go.
Karthasians tend to be obsessed with neatness and organization, constantly preening themselves. They enjoy most forms of jewelry and adore gems. They usually wear little clothing, if any. Karthasians have a tendency to keep no secrets. They are open and honest to the point of being taken advantage of by other races. This honesty sometimes creates unintentional conflicts with the rules of etiquette of other cultures.
The Karthasians worship no gods. And only rarely will a karthasian be found who worships a common deity or the deity of another race. Overall, they seem to be very unreligious and unconcerned with spiritual matters. For them, their queens are the most important focus of life and they are worshiped almost as gods.
Karthasians are fascinated by magic, but for reasons unknown, are not able to grasp the concepts to wield it. It has been suggested that Karthasians are too logical and mentally disciplined to formulate the mental part of magic. Other theories state that the life energy of the insectoid creatures is alien to the Khorasian ecosystem and therefore incompatible with the magical energy field. Karthasians are unable to perform even the simplest magical feats. Magic is totally foreign to them. Their culture has no wizards, no priests, no spell casters of any kind. For the same reason that they themselves cannot understand the workings of magic, many forms of magic are ineffective against Karthasians.
The only karthasian nation is the one for which they are named - the peninsula of Karth. Karthasians are common here, but the frequency of encountering Karthasians decreases the further one gets from Karth. Karth is a steaming tropical rain forest diverse in plant and animal life. It has few other resources.
The Karthasians live in communes known as tekauk. A tekauk is a community, much like a hive, which consists of many individual cells. Thinkers live alone in a cell. Workers and warriors live in groups in larger cells normally with their other podkin. Each tekauk is ruled by a queen and contains several hundred Karthasians. About 60% of a hive will be workers, 30% warrior, 10% thinker and one queen.A tek'auk is usually non-mobile and tends to grow and expand, merging with the jungle around it. As mentioned, the karthasians are divided into four castes - worker, warrior, thinker and queen. The caste system is quite rigid. There are no other castes and there are no crossbreeds.
The language of the Karthasians, Karthic, is unspeakable by most other life forms. It consists of a series of clicks and buzzes. When a Karthasian speaks another language, it utilizes a very proper, formal, organized pattern of grammar and often creates odd sentence constructions. The Karthasians attempt to follow the rules of grammar in any language to the letter. A Karthasian speaks other languages by simulating a voice (i.e. a low buzzing sound shaped into words). Occasionally, a clicking sound can be heard as well. Usually, thinkers will learn outside languages, but it is very rare for a warrior or worker to do so. Such would be seen as rising above "his" station. The queen will never learn an foreign language (it is beneath her) and always relies on a thinker caste translator. Likewise, the name of the queen is never translated into another language.
Karthasians have no inherent love or hate for any other race. They genuinely try to peacefully interact with all races, but find it difficult due to biological and cultural dissimilarity. Karthasians have managed to establish some successful trading practices with the phellysians, grum and some of the myrian tribes. Karthasians get along well with the scholarly and intellectualist groups of the world. Also, Karth and Kalimura are developing relations. However, due to their alien nature, the karthasians have been harassed and found bigotry in the eyes of many other races. For this reason, most karthasians stay in Karth or near it. When traveling, karthasian thinkers do so in groups for protection.
Due to their environment, food procurement is not a problem. Karthasians have a floral based diet and do not eat any form of animal product. The workers gather food from the jungle and plant based food is easy to come by there. They find the practice of consuming the flesh, milk and eggs of other creatures disgusting. This has produced conflicts for them when dealing with other cultures.
Thinker karthasians have one strength... their minds. In some ways, they are the most scientifically advanced race on Khoras, surpassing even the dwarves and humans. Thinkers use logic, deduction and scientific methodology to analyze and understand the world around them. This leads to innovative processes, revolutionary designs and new ways of thinking. Thinkers seem to be more interested in pure science, theory and ideas than in practical applications of those ideas. Hence, they are very advanced in mathematics, science and linguistics, but are not generally regarded as skilled craftsmen. However, with the aid of the karthasians, Kalimura and to a lesser extent, Drakkel and Uthran, have developed advanced metallurgy, chemical explosives, simple rockets, complex acids and more.
Karthasians study animals from a biological and ecological perspective, but they do not use them.
A karthasian queen is able to send out a powerful pheromone which alerts karthasians to danger and gathers them to her. This pheromone has a range of several kilometers. The Queen is also able to telepathically communicate with any karthasian within 100 yards.
Two karthasian thinkers within 50 yards are able to transmit low frequency EM waves to transmit thoughts through a form of biological telepathy. This direct mind to mind contact is allows for an extremely rapid transfer of information.
Karthasians identify each other by pheromones (each has a unique scent).
Karthasians are not overly concerned with ownership or wealth. For them, money is only useful in that information and knowledge can often be obtained with it. Karthasians tend to purchase and own only what they need. Theft is almost unheard of in karthasian society. Inheritance passes to the queen of a hive and she redistributes possessions as she sees fit. Karthasians use a complicated debt/credit system which is numerically based and upheld by honor. To compliment this system, the karthasians use scales from the queen as a form of money.
The karthasians have no concept of gender. They are all neutral except for the rare queen karthasian (gender variant). The only gender difference would be between the standard karthasians and the queen karthasians. All karthasians serve (and almost worship) their queens. The karthasians have no gods, but the queen comes close.
Karthasians do not intermarry. And there is no known case of a karthasian marrying a member of another race.
Karthasians have no household forms except the tekauk which is similar to an extended family ruled by a maternal figurehead.
Reproduction is carried out by the queen. Pod-like eggs are laid in clusters and hatched together. Larvae of various types emerge from the eggs and exhibit differences between the four castes even in the earliest stages of life. Each egg produces one larvae of one type. All Karthasians are neutral sex with the exception of the queen (Variant gender). There are no twins. However, all karthasians born to a single egg cluster, known as podkin, are genetically identical and share a special bond. The members of a podkin typically eat, live and work together.
Queens are grown by feeding larvae a special type of jelly which alters their growth. Any larvae can be turned into a queen if they are fed the special jelly. A community creates a Queen when the old Queen decides it’s time or if the old Queen dies. Also, one might be created under exceptional circumstances.
A larvae that is fed the special jelly does grow and develop differently than other larvae. So, in a sense, there is a “princess” stage while it’s growing before it reaches maturity.
Each karthasian is a "child" to the queen who produced it. However, the relation is less like mother and child and more like servant and master. Karthasians are usually very protective of their queen and willingly die in "her" service. Karthasians are disciplined and educated by older karthasians in the same tekauk.
Karthasians have a unique custom surrounding death. When a karthasian dies, a ceremony known as the kkrumatai is performed. In this ceremony, the podkin eat the body of the deceased while praising his life and reciting memories of him.
Karthasians have only one name, the personal name, given to them by the queen. Sometimes, in order to facilitate intercultural relationships, a karthasian out in the world will adopt another name, one which is easier for non-karthasians to pronounce and remember.
Social stratification is rigid. The absolute ruler and deity of a Hive is the queen. She is served by a large number of thinkers who act as councillors, leaders, diplomats and scholars. Beneath the thinkers and the warriors and workers who are considered of equal rank. Both workers and warriors are expected to perform their jobs without question. Both are considered expendable. Only the Queen and the thinkers are valued as individuals.
Each karthasian community is ruled by a queen. She makes all laws, enforces them and deals out punishment as necessary (which is rare). Due to a weak empathic link the queen shares with each offspring, control of the community is maintained. However, this is not an oppressive or restrictive control. It is more of a passive relationship of cooperation between each karthasian and the community. Most karthasians want to serve and be useful. In every cluster, there are a few podkin that are born different. Scholars believe that the Drellis effect is to blame. These deviant podkin, almost always thinker caste, lack this empathic bond and usually leave to explore the world.
The military of the Karthasians is the warrior caste. A typical hive will have about 100-150 warriors.These are usually not necessary. Karthasians are protected from invasion and war primarily due to their remote location and the harshness of their environment. There has been no known instance of two hives making war on each other.
Beyond the kkrumatai, Karthasians have little that would qualify as a ceremony. Their queens do often gather the karthasians for various reasons, though.
The proceedings in the Queen's court are very formal and could be considered an ongoing ceremony. The karthasians have strict etiquette and protocol when dealing with the Queen and outsiders are expected to follow these rules:
|Even if outsiders are speaking to the queen through a translator, they must direct their comments to the queen, not the translater. To do otherwise is an insult to the queen.|
|One must never turn his back on the Queen. This is also a great insult. To exit the royal chambers, one must bow and walk backwards.|
|In the Queen's court, the Queen is always attended by two thinkers, twelve workers and twelve warriors.|
This website was last updated March 1, 2014. Copyright 1990-2014 David M. Roomes.