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Cast

Basic Information
N/A Magical experimentation Unknown Anything Swarm Cast. Apex Cast
Physical description
Varies Earth tone to bone colored Chitin. Glowing eyes.
Cultural
N/A
Out-of-character information

The militaristic Swarm, the independent Apex hierarchies.
In some ways similar to each other, in other ways complete opposites.
Where the Swarm is strict and act with an insectoid sort of hivemind the Apex are free and bound only by basic instinct. Uniformity versus chaos.
While the Swarm works towards the goals of a queen that guides and controls the hivemind, the Apex are all but aimless, tribalistic, divided and individualistic only ruled by the strongest leader.

"Nature doesn't just adapt. Nature cheats, changes the rules, and slips out the back door with your wallet while you're still trying to figure out what the hell happened."
- Maren Ayers: StarCraft

Overview: The Swarm

How does one imagine a hivemind? How can an independent thinking creature comprehend the oneness and completeness that it is to be connected in mind and spirit to the whole?
It is to have your mind added to the collective. You are no longer yourself, you are the many. You are no longer you, you are them, you are us, you are we... We are the Swarm, and the Swarm is you.
No longer are you a single organism, but many bodies all at once and all connected by the single mind that is the hivemind. A single organism with a single will among many millions of bodies.

Language

The majority of the drones of the cast swarm are animalistic and have no knowledge of words or language, but they are connected telepathically with each other and the queen or hierarch using pictures and emotions.
In addition to this, those who had lives previous to the swarm retain the languages they knew before.

Appearance

The swarm appear in many uniform strains. They create specific codes of genetic essence and store them to be used over and over again as a cast for creating uniform drones of the swarm.
The cast comes in nearly every shape and form, but they don't seem to be able to properly fit into any sort of racial classification, having traits or appearances of reptiles, insects, plants, and even mammals. They can be humanoid or animalistic.

The Swarm Cast is far more uniform and organized than their Apex brethren. Each Cast is designed and specialized for specific tasks. Warriors are optimized for combat at the expense of other proficiencies, Builders for construction or gathering and so on it goes. The swarm creates great multitudes of a single cast of creature with the same set of uniform adaptations which lends to why they are called a swarm.

Habitat

The Cast can live in nearly any habitat but they thrive in hot and damp conditions and will strive to provide such environments for their birthing chambers and evolution pits.
The cast race is based on one tenant: "Survive or die". Therefore the cast can survive in nearly any environment where it is at all possible for life to exist.

Racial Traits & Weaknesses

The Hivemind: The Swarm cast can communicate telepathically with each other and even see through each others senses for a hundred mile radius so long as one of the psionic hierarchy is present. They are thus able to act as a single creature with many bodies under the direction of the psionic. The Swarm Weird has the benefit of hindsight, they are able to see the stored memories of other hive members who have failed before them and learn from their mistakes.

Active Adaptation: By consuming the flesh of a creature or consuming genetic material into their system their body will take only one of the most beneficial genetic codes from the material and assimilate that trait into themselves. They can then communicate this trait telepathically with the hivemind so that the entire swarm could use this trait to evolve. (Example: A cast consumes the meat of a Basilisk. The genetic essence is assimilated into the cast creature and they gain the ability to turn other creatures to stone on eye contact, or resist the effects of being turned to stone themselves, but rarely both. They send the construction of this genetic trait to the hivemind, where the trait could be replicated and added to the rest of the swarm should it prove useful.)

Passive Adaptation: They are very biologically adaptive creatures. When placed in hostile environments such as fire or ice their bodies automatically begin adapting defenses against them, such as flame retardant secretions or heat shielding chitin, or quickly growing thicker fur coats or adapting their muscles to naturally create more heat when exposed to the cold.

Wild Physiology: Their senses are like that of dangerous predators, heightened senses of smell dominate their other senses, but they are capable hunters. The Weird is an animal, one with considerable cunning, intelligence, and dangerous natural weaponry that it uses to deadly effect.
Psionic Counter: Every creature in the swarm is connected, they have one mind. Through this connection it is possible for it to also be a vulnerability.

Helpless Animals: The majority of the swarm (the drones) have no intelligence outside of the hive and are in nearly constant connection to the swarm to receive direction and instruction. Otherwise they revert to their basic instincts and go insane. Together with their hive the drones are intelligent and perform like a well oiled machine, but alone they are only rabid animals and will even attack each other. Most cast creatures of the swarm are only strong in great numbers. While alone they shouldn't be underestimated, they are considerably weaker without a tactical advantage.

Achilles Heel: Due to the nature of natural armor it is possible to find a weak point in their shell.

History

Background

The Cast race was discovered by ancient gnomes who delved too deeply into the magic of Entomancy. The well that gave birth to this new magic was a pit/pool of entropy, a place of origins and change. They experimented with this substance and magic until they came to a resulting creature that nearly destroyed their civilization in the very ancient days of Belgrath.

The Cast burst from their caves in countless numbers, mindless alone, but intelligent together. They attacked and consumed anything that challenged them, the strengths of their enemies became their own as they grew and expanded, leaving their Apex kin behind, leaderless and beastial. While the swarm took genetic material and advanced in a uniform and organized fashion, the Apex devoured for survival, anything and everything, even each other. The strong ruled the weak as nature took its course and eventually packs were formed, led by the most powerful of their kind.

The Swarm evolved for the benefit of the whole. But as they waged war with the gnomish nation there arose intelligence among their ranks. Individuals of the swarm who rose above the drones, their intelligence allowing them to help further guide the evolution of the swarm. Soon these intelligent creatures grew in number to the great benefit of the swarm and a hierarchy was able to be formed, with the drones under their command and a solid foundation of intelligence to guide them they quickly broke the defenses of the gnome defenders.

Since those days the Swarm Cast have had victory and defeat, but eventually they were driven back to their caves in Belgrath and sealed away, forced into deep sleep with powerful enchantments to entomb them deep within the caves and secret tunnels beneath the mountain.
Hidden in the warrens and tunnels below the city the swarm slept.
The Apex Cast fared better, but they too were driven underground and sealed away.
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For centuries the swarm slept in a aestivated state deep in the caves where they were sealed across Arethil, indeed many of them would never awaken again. But the presence of the swarm even effected plants and surrounding flora, instead of dying the swarm became flowers baring the spores of their rebirth. Over time these plants seeded and spread, effecting beyond their imprisonment. Effecting the water in one place, infecting the animals in another, tainting the air itself in another location.
Across Arethil these infested places are popping up, bringing about a plague that can't seem to be cured or healed by any known medicine or magic.

Lore

The swarm cast takes the genetic information of their prey, either through consumption or assimilation, and in doing so incorporate the desired strengths into themselves.
It operates like a single massive organism. It's not merely the drones and creatures that live and serve a purpose, but the hive itself. It's like their own form of technology, using plant matter mixed with cast DNA to create myriads of living tools and weapons designed for general or specific purposes.

The swarms are as complex as their strange abilities and nature, but are capable of great diversity between different hives, broods, and swarms.

Overview: The Apex

The Apex is to be powerful, to seek perfection through survival of the fittest.
Two beasts fight, one dies and the other consumes his essence, becoming greater than either of them.

Appearance

The Apex Cast is different from the swarm, free to pursue their own genetic perfection in their own way and so they optimize themselves according to their own chosen lifestyles, whether it's hunting, stealth, or combat. They aren't a swarm and don't obey the hivemind, but they will often form nomadic packs where the strongest leads the pack and makes the pack even stronger.

Habitat

The Apex Cast lives in any climate it finds itself in since they live for themselves or their pack and are not tied to a specific cast. They are more nomadic and find mammalian reproduction suits their needs better.

Abilities, Traits & Weaknesses

Passive Adaptation: They are very biologically adaptive creatures. When placed in hostile environments such as fire or ice their bodies automatically begin adapting defenses against them, such as flame retardant secretions or heat shielding chitin, or quickly growing thicker fur coats or adapting their muscles to naturally create more heat when exposed to the cold.

Wild Physiology: Their senses are like that of dangerous predators, heightened senses of smell dominate their other senses, but they are capable hunters. The Weird is an animal, one with considerable cunning, intelligence, and dangerous natural weaponry that it uses to deadly effect.

Active Adaptation: By consuming the flesh of a creature or consuming genetic material into their system their body will take only one of the most beneficial genetic codes from the material and assimilate that trait into themselves. They can then communicate this trait telepathically with the hivemind so that the entire swarm could use this trait to evolve. (Example: A cast consumes the meat of a Basilisk. The genetic essence is assimilated into the cast creature and they gain the ability to turn other creatures to stone on eye contact, or resist the effects of being turned to stone themselves, but rarely both.)

Primal Immortality: The Apex Cast are in a constant state of change. Whatever they eat brings change, and change is what makes them strong. But since they are constantly changing, constantly evolving, constantly being renewed, they do not age, they do not grow old, they do not die out. The only release they find from this life is at the edge of a blade.
Passive Adaptation: If the environment changes quickly enough the Weird will not be able to adapt in time before they die. If they can survive, they likely won't be vulnerable to such a change again.

Achilles Heel: Due to the nature of natural armor it is possible to find a weak point in their scales.

History

Background

The Apex Cast found themselves cut off, again. Their history is storied and known by few, but those who did know are either dead or one with the Weird race.

The Apex Cast were independent creatures, they were the first creations of the gnomish tinkerers and entomancers. They were primal predators, alone, independent, and free. Then the gnomes took them and gave them the swarm. All but the most cunning were bound by the hivemind, but the majority were enslaved as the swarm broke free of their masters and brought destruction to the ancient world.

But war has many unknown paths, and many of the swarm found themselves cut off from the hivemind. Those creatures went wild for a time, but eventually returned to their true nature as Apex Cast. Once more independent they went out into the world, they formed packs, they grew strong, they fought, they adapted, they became apex predators.

Lore


References

Roleplays:
Swarm - The Birth Of A Race
Extermination Or Expansion

Creatures:
Swarm hounds
Swarm Devourers

Swarm Carrier
Havilah
Groups:
The Swarm

Notes

This entry is under renovation. Changes are imminent.

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