Shadow World “Krylite”: Race or Monster?

Image result for fantasy insect creature with gun

It’s been 4 years since I’ve blogged on “Race vs Monster”, the last time we discussed “Neng“. So today I wanted to review Krylites, an insectoid race that is classified at an “alien race” in the SW Master Atlas (page 131). Described as non-native to Kulthea and non-humanoid. They have professional limitations of no Essence or Channeling, but that makes common sense for a non-native race.

Krylites are grouped in 3 classes: Workers, Defenders and Minds. Apparently there are total Minds that direct and lead the collective through a hive mind. The most interesting aspect of the Krylites is their knowledge of advanced technology-specifically electricity. One group of Krylites works in cooperation with the Itanian Warlocks and trade resources for some of their technology.

The Apsis from Slave Pits of the Undercity.

So clearly, Krylites have quite a few limitations and perhaps don’t make the best PC race, but is it possible? Certainly there would be limitations when interacting in normal societies and settings, but a Krylite would definitely be a cool PC to play for a one-shot. Perhaps the “Hive Minds” need help against the Trogli and have sent a Krylite warrior on a mission with the PCs? Or a Krylite might be a good race for my “Monster Squad” idea. Maybe just fleshing out the Krylites and their society would allow them to be PCs in a more Mieville inspired Shadow World setting.

What are your thoughts? It would be great to do an adventure hook or one-shot with a Krylite or Krylites.

3 thoughts on “Shadow World “Krylite”: Race or Monster?”

  1. I love Krylites! My friend always wanted to play a Krylite Evil Mentalist, and although he never got his wish, I actually ran players who had never played in Shadow World through the caverns of the Krylites, as they got involved in the struggle between them and the Trogli. There were lightning guns too. It was a lot of fun.

    I think most people familiar with the Thrikreen from D&D would be fine with Krylites as PCs.

  2. I’ve GMed in Shadow World for years, and I think my players don’t even know that Krylites exist.
    To add one as a player character would mean the Mind would need to detach partly from it, give it some independence. This reminds me of how robots work in the Dune prequels, independence brings individuality.
    As far as looks are concerned, it might not be that much harder that most hideous flaws some characters end up picking. It’s just a matter of combining rags with some well placed façade spells.
    They might also work in a high level campaign where the rest of the party already know about the race, and the encounters are with even more alien creatures.
    And a last idea, make a whole party of Krylites, maybe even mixing types, so the whole “town” goes adventuring, for example if they were attacked and nearly decimated by Trogli, the few remaining could be the players searching underground for the next place to settle, maybe make contact with another colony, and nothing prevents them from encountering connections to the ash lairs, old K’ta’viir ruins, etc.

  3. I’m not as familiar with Shadow World as other aspects of Rolemaster, but I used a similar eusocial race in a custom RM world one time. Voriig mentioned it, but the idea of detachment might play really well with Krylites. The angle I took with my race (the Antilons), was that upon meeting non-eusocial races, a mental disease of sorts (individuality) spread amongst the race, and roughly 5-10% of the essentially defected from the hive mind (becoming “Rogues”). This little world-building twist alleviated the need for them to be bound by the strictures of the racial description.

    As an interesting part of the history in our campaign, I made it an ongoing motif that the Hive wanted to recapture and reintegrate the Rouges into the collective (Star Trek TNG: I, Borg… anyone?). This made for some interesting developments as the party would periodically have to deal with a xenophobic, Hive-minded species relentlessly pursuing them.

    Would some sort of adjustment to their background to do something similar be acceptable in Shadow World? You could even run with the idea that they are detached to act as emissaries if the fugitive concept isn’t appealing. Just a thought…

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