Just a little something inspired by the By Swarm community name & logo...
Buzzkin are beastfolk created by mingling human stock with that of honeybees. They were originally created to fill a vital role in the Sascrian Mageocracy’s agrarian workforce, namely they were experts in cross-pollination and the interbreeding of new plant species. There are three sub-types of Buzzkin - queens, drones and workers. Queens are the largest Buzzkin and are responsible for leadership and reproduction in a hive. Drones are the male Buzzkin, and they mate with the queens and do most of the manual labor in a hive. Workers are all females who are not queens - the smallest Buzzkin - charged with much of the labor and defending the hive from intruders. With the exception of queens, Buzzkin rarely work independently, and rather form small teams that act as a single unit.
Buzzkins tend to short in stature, and almost childlike in appearance. They have the torso & wings of a bee with the arms, legs, and head of a human, and are capable of flight. Buzzkin tend to prefer warmer climates, and are capable of hibernation in colder weather. Buzzkin drones are able to build hives, pollinate flowers, and produce honey in the same manner as normal bees, while Buzzkin queens are able to birth entire generations of Buzzkin larvae. There are typically only one or two queens born each generation in a given hive, and all but one of the queens are normally driven off and must found their own hives.
History & Relations
Sascria's original intent was to breed only queens and drones - 'surplus' female larva were killed off magically and alchemically. Over time, the queens were able to communicate via drone messengers between hives, and hatched a plan to raise a generation of worker-warriors and win their freedom from the Magocracy. The Buzzkin learned the alchemical formulas used to kill the 'surplus' female larva and created antidotes in secret, administering them, and raising the resulting female warrior-bees in secret.
The revolt was sudden and violent, but once the Sascrian overseers were stung to death, it was an easy task for the Buzzkin to pack up their meager belongings and simply fly away, founding new hives in remote areas of Gondal. There, they opened up limited trade with Humans and other Beastfolk, trading special hybrid crops, honey and alchemical admixtures for raw materials and crafted goods. Many Beastfolk who fled Sascrian captivity ended up living near Buzzkin hives, and alliances were formed, most notably with the Ursians.
Over time, the desire grew for vengeance against Sascria, but the idea was rejected time and again because of the incredible arcane power of the Magocracy and the Arcane Schools.
Then, there came the Collapse...
Personality & Society
Buzzkins are often noted as accomplished artisans and crafters, especially in fields relating to gardening, herbal healing arts, alchemy and the cross-pollination of new plant strains.
The Buzzkin share a hive mind mentality with other members of their hive, which they use for limited communication (see racial traits below). Regardless of hive mind connection, however, Buzzkin are very tight-knit and share a very rigid and complex social structure. Under the old mageocracy, Buzzkin queens were accorded status and privilege akin to that usually reserved for artisans, master craftsmen, or even minor nobility, while Buzzkin worker drones were at best treated as a marginalized worker class and at worst treated as a slave caste.
Despite being extremely intelligent and quite capable of complex reasoning and problem-solving, Buzzkin worker drones typically have a very limited sense of independence. A typical drone lives to serve his queen and better his hive by performing the tasks assigned to him to his utmost capabilities. The average Buzzkin drone simply wouldn’t choose to seek personal advancement over the advancement of his hive.
Buzzkin queens, on the other hand, are allowed far more independence, and are free to act on individual goal separate from those of the hive. They are trained to think “outside the collective” in this fashion so that they may deal with threats to the hive and make decisions that affect the future of their hive. In this manner, Buzzkin queens are praised for their creative problem-solving skills.
The new breed of Buzzkin workers seem to fall somewhere in the middle ground between the queen and drone breeds. They are much more self-reliant than drones, but still subservient to their queens. Their role as tacticians also allows them to think in a much more non-linear fashion that the average Buzzkin drone. Buzzkin workers also recognize the need for personal strength and advancement as an extension of their duty to better defend their hives, as anything which makes them stronger also makes them better defenders.
Alignment & Religion
Buzzkin have an extremely strong work ethic, and tend to be lawful in alignment. If they have a religion, it is entirely unknown to outsiders. Occasionally a small swarm of Buzzkin workers might develop an independent streak, and these are the most likely to become adventurers.
Buzzkin adventurers are most likely to be of the worker breed. Indeed, some worker Buzzkin have begun adventuring as a means of bettering themselves and their hives. Occasionally, a Buzzkin queen might venture out from the hive, either to further her own agendas or for trade or diplomatic relations, but such an expedition will almost always be accompanied by a contingent of worker-warrior guards and drone servants.
Buzzkin drones can become superb Alchemists and powerful Bards, though their musical taste is alien to say the least to most Humans and other Beastfolk. Buzzkin workers who take up a life of adventure are often Barbarians, Fighters and Rangers.
Buzzkin drone and worker names tend to be short and often involve doubled letters which are attempts to transliterate sounds from the Buzzkin lanugage. Names like Zzak, Riik, Vvrax, and Sevv are common. Buzzkin queen names tend to be just the opposite, usually filled with vowels and very flowery - Lulorieni, Felianne, Siliansili and the like.
Buzzkin Racial Traits
Small Humanoid Swarm
Drones are always male and workers are always female.
-2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom. Buzzkin working together are about as strong as other Small races, but they are very nimble and perceptive.
(~4pts) Hive Menality: Though the Small swarm is composed of, on average, four Tiny individual creatures, they cannot accomplish anything complex individually - nothing more complex than scouting ahead or gathering tiny objects.
(~2pts) Pheromone Communication: Buzzkin can communicate with each other silently as long as they are no more than 10' apart via pheromones. This is the equivalent of telepathic communication, and occurs at the same approximate rate as speech.
(~0pts) Swarm Traits: Small Humanoid Swarms have the vulnerabilities of all swarms. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/swarm.htm). Small humanoid swarms such as Buzzkin function for the most part as if they are small humanoids. Small humanoid swarms do not attack by engulfing an opponent's square in combat, but can attack like any other Small creature, and have a base reach of 1 with any weapon. In combat, each individual memeber of the small humanoid swarm wields a tiny weapon - the aggregate of these multiple tiny weapons are treated as a small weapon for the purposes of calculating damage. Unlike other swarms, a small humanoid swarm is subject to both flanking and critical hits. When there is a rules-related question, treat the small humanoid swarm as a small humanoid creature.
(-4pts) Vulnerable to cold: The temperature at which buzzkin must make Survival rolls to avoid damage from cold weather is 20 degrees higher than for other (mammalian) races. Cold attacks deal 150% damage to Buzzkin.
(4pts) Wings: Fly speed of 30' with perfect maneuverability (ability to hover, etc.)
(~3pts) Drones: Drones receive +2 to Craft: Alchemy and all of their Alchemical bombs (including alchemist fire/cold/etc.), extracts and mutagens have +1 to numerical effects or their duration multiplied by 1.5 - chosen at creation.
(~6pts) Workers: Worker Buzzkin are individually smaller than drones, but have stingers which drones lack. A worker's sting is only usable once per day. The workers can attack with their stingers at their full attack bonus, dealing 1d4 damage. If they hit and deal damage, they deliver their poison. The Fortitide save DC is equal to 10 + 1/2 Buzzkin class level + Wisdom bonus. The damage is initial and secondary 1d6 Dex. Unlike their smaller cousins, Buzzkin workers who sting do not die, they simply cannot produce more than one dose of venom per 24 hour period.
Queen Amara is a Buzzkin who currently leads the largest of the Buzzkin hives and hold dominion over sever smaller hives. As a youth, she was taken captive by one of the warring human tribes during an invasion of her hive. Intended as a concubine, she was instead forced to compete in...
The Swarm War is basically, an idea for a future campaign, building upon seeds given in the Buzzkin racial write-up & the character profile for Queen Amara of the Buzzkins.
The idea would be to slowly build up towards the campaign by revealing info in small doses. Maybe a...