July 11, 2015


Comments from the Thumb: One of my favorite characters I ever played was a thri-kreen warrior named Drik-Chkit (pronounced with as little emphasis on the vowels as possible. The rest of the group elected to just call him Clicky). When we swapped over from 3.5 to 5e, I still wanted to play Clicky, so the Finger and I sat down and, with the help of the folks over in the giantitp forums, created a quick and dirty race conversion.
     Since it was originally just a thing we made for me, we never elected to add any flavor text or actually write out the rules in clear and concise terms. So here you go. My first race conversion, complete with text from both the 3.5 Expanded Psionics Handbook and the 5e Monster Manual, and a few subraces I made myself.
     A small disclaimer. Thri-kreen are inherently at a mechanical advantage over other races. There is no way I can really nerf them beyond what I already have done without losing what makes them unique. Please, give me balancing advice if you think it's necessary, but keep in mind that while I can nerf features, I will not cut anything entirely.

Drik, nictck-chital. Prict chik-tic-tic-tic, pract nictck-ch bract ick-click. Pree nack chik-tick?
- Clicky, Thri-Kreen ranger
I have no idea what he's saying half the time.
- Hassleus Meddlit, Gnome wizard

Fierce hunters and faultless trackers, the thri-kreen are a race of insect-folk sometimes known as “mantis warriors.” They are inscrutable, alien creatures; those who do not know them well believe them to be bloodthirsty monsters. Nomadic folk who spend their brief lives roaming vast distances of the deserts, scrublands, and savannas of the south, thri-kreen are near-perfect hunters.

Mantis Warriors
A thri-kreen resembles a bipedal praying mantis. Its body’s exoskeleton is sandy yellow in color. Of the body’s six limbs, the lower two are used for walking, and the upper four end in four-fingered, clawlike hands. Thri-kreen have large, dangerous mandibles and compound eyes. Two small antennae sprout from the tops of their heads. They wear little clothing beyond simple harnesses for carrying weapons and equipment.

Tight-Knit Groups
Each thri-kreen forms deep attachments with a handful of other individuals, regarding them as clutch-mates, companions to be defended with one’s own life if need be. All others outside this small group of companions are strangers and enemies, although thri-kreen are intelligent enough to recognize that one traveling alone in the lands of other folk would be wise to keep such observations to oneself.

Thri-Kreen Communication
Thri-kreen employ a language without words. To show emotion and reaction, a thri-kreen clacks its mandibles and waves its antennae, giving other thri-kreen a sense of what it is thinking and feeling. Other creatures find this manner of communication difficult to interpret and impossible to duplicate. When forced to interact with creatures of other intelligent species, thri-kreen employ alternative methods of communication, such as drawing pictures in sand or making pictures out of twigs or blades of grass. More civilized thri-kreen take to learning Common, but cannot speak it, due to their mandible structure.

Limited Emotions
Thri-kreen experience the full range of emotions but aren't as prone to emotional outbursts as humans. Thri-kreen with psionic ability often demonstrate a wider range of emotions, particularly if they live near or interact with humans or other highly emotional creatures.

Thri-kreen view themselves as noble hunters and judge other folk on the simple relationship of predator to prey. They respect barbarians, rangers, and others who live off the land and treat the land with care. On the other hand, savage and evil races such as gnolls and orcs despoil the lands that should be hunted with respect, and thus earn the thri-kreen’s enmity. The mantis warriors generally regard city folk and farmers of other races as not-hunters, and therefore not worth their attention (but also unworthy of their enmity).

Thri-Kreen Names
Thri-kreen make no distinction between male and female names, and they do not use a surname.
Thri-Kreen Names: Chak-tha, Drik-chkit, Kacht-ta, Kat’chka, Pak’cha, Pik-ik-cha, Ptekwe, Tak-tha, Tik-tik.

Thri-Kreen Traits
Your thri-kreen character has a number of abilities unique to the thri-kreen race.
     Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 1.
     Age. Thri-kreen have relatively short lifespans, reaching maturity after only 2 years. On average, thri-kreen live about 30 to 35 years, though there are Thri-kreen legends about one of their number who lived almost 4 times as long as normal.
     Alignment. Thri-kreen have virtually no social structure other than the clutches they form with their closest allies. The notion of sophisticated rules for social behavior is foreign to them. They are almost always chaotic in alignment, and often neutral with respect to good and evil.
     Size. Thri-kreen tend to hunch when walking around, appearing to be as tall as a human. When fully upright, a thri-kreen stands between 6 and 7 feet tall. They weigh about 150 pounds on average. Your size is Medium.
     Speed. Your base speed is 30 feet.
     Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
     Natural Jumper. Thri-Kreen have powerful legs, allowing for jumps that many other humanoids consider impossible. You have advantage on Strength (Athletics) checks made when jumping. You do not need a running start to perform a long jump or high jump.
     Four Arms. You have four arms with which to hold things. Two of them are smaller minor arms, and cannot hold shields or attack with weapons. The minor arms may manipulate objects and perform the somatic components of spells. These extra arms do not grant extra attacks beyond those which you are normally granted. Finally, you may interact with an additional object (like drawing or stowing something) each turn.
     Sleepless. You don't require sleep to function. As such, magic can't put you to sleep. You still must take long rests and can perform nothing more than a light task during said rest.
     Languages. You can comprehend, read, and write Common, and can speak Thri-Kreen. Thri-Kreen is a language that is seemingly wordless, where thoughts and ideas are conveyed through specific clacking of mandibles, waving of antennae, and gesturing of hands. Only thri-kreen have the physical features necessary to speak the language properly.
     Thri-Kreen Weapon Training. You are proficient with both the Gythka and Chatkcha. They are Martial weapons, and you may take them as starting equipment if your class allows you to take a martial weapon normally.
     Subraces. Thri-Kreen society is broken up into two subraces, the Psions, those endowed with psionic powers, and the Hunters, who patrol the savannas. Choose one of these subraces.

Thri-kreen of this subrace are stronger and tougher than other thri-kreen. They possess a potent venom used to subdue their prey, as well as a hardened exoskeleton. Thri-kreen hunters generally have a very simplistic view of the world and little to no empathy toward others. These thri-kreen are well-suited to the roles of fighters, rangers, or barbarians.
     Ability Score Increase. Your Strength or Constitution score increases by 1.
     Chitinous Carapace. Your carapace is thicker and more resilient than that of other thri-kreen. When you aren’t wearing armor, your armor class equals 12 + your Dexterity modifier. You cannot wear heavy armor due to your unusual anatomy.
     Dasl Weapons. You secrete a resin-like saliva called dasl. This saliva can be used to create a variety of slashing and piercing weapons. During a long rest, you may use your dasl to create one gythka, spear, or javelin from an existing quarterstaff, as well as maximum of 5 chatkchas or daggers. Dasl weapons are very fragile, and must be remade every 24 hours to maintain effectiveness. A non thri-kreen character is not proficient with dasl weapons. When you roll a 1 on an attack made with a dasl weapon, the weapon shatters and becomes unusable. dasl gythkas, spears, and javelins that shatter in this way become ordinary quarterstaves.

Thri-kreen of this subrace possess greater power of the mind than their kin, but are slightly weaker than their hunter counterparts. They develop limited psionic abilities and a natural camouflage ability. Thri-kreen psions tend to have a greater emotional and intellectual range than other thri-kreen, which allows them a more sophisticated view of their world. These thri-kreen make excellent scouts, assassins, and spellblades.
     Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom or Intelligence score increases by 1.
     Chameleon Carapace. You can change the color of your carapace to match the color and texture of your natural surroundings as a bonus action. Once changed, your camouflage lasts until your next short or long rest and grants you advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide in the matched terrain. Moving out of the matched terrain, such as by moving indoors or by moving to an area with different vegetation or rocks (usually any area over 100 feet from where you first camouflaged), you lose this advantage. You cannot wear heavy armor due to your unusual anatomy.
     Innate Psionics. You know the mage hand cantrip. Once you reach 3rd level, you can cast blur (targeting only yourself) once per day with this ability. When you reach 5th level, you may also cast magic weapon once per day.

Thri-Kreen Weapons
In the wilderness, thri-kreen create their weapons from a resin-like saliva they produce called dasl, but steel-bladed gythkas and chatkchas, while rare, can be found in some weaponsmiths' inventories. The prices shown below apply to steel weapons.
     Gythka. The gythka is a polearm with a crescent-shaped blade on each end. When you take the Attack action on your turn, you may use a bonus action to make an attack with the other end of the weapon, dealing an additional 1d6 slashing damage. You do not add your ability score to the damage of this second attack unless you have the Two-Weapon Fighting fighting style.
     Chatkcha. The chatkcha is a flat, triangular throwing blade with three serrated edges. During a long rest, a thri-kreen may create or maintain a maximum of 5 dasl chatkchas at one time.

Weapon    Cost     Damage       Weight     Properties
Gythka     40 gp   1d6 slashing    6 lb.       Finesse, heavy, special, two-handed
Chatkcha   3 gp    1d6 slashing    1 lb.       Finesse, light, thrown (range 20/60)

Optional Feats
If your DM allows the use of feats from chapter 6 of the Player’s Handbook, your thri kreen character has access to the following special feats.

Razor Claws
Prerequisite: Thri-kreen
Your clawed hands and feet are sharper and more resilient than normal. Your unarmed strikes made with your claws deal 1d4 slashing damage. In addition, you may make a second unarmed strike as a bonus action. You do not add your Strength modifier to the damage of the second attack.

Exemplary Jumper
Prerequisite: Thri-kreen (thri-kreen hunter), 4th level
Your legs are highly developed to accommodate long jumping. Your jump distance is doubled.

Superior Psionics
Prerequisite: Thri-kreen (thri-kreen psion), 6th level
Your psionic powers are superior to those of your brethren. You can cast jump and invisibility (targeting yourself only) once with this ability. You regain the ability to cast these spells when you finish a long rest.

Venomous Bite
Prerequisite: Thri-kreen
You can use your powerful mandibles to inject your foes with a potent paralytic venom. Unarmed strikes made with your bite deal 1d4 piercing damage. On a hit, the target of your bite must make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the target is Paralyzed for up to 1 minute. At the beginning of each of its turns, the target can make another Constitution saving throw to end this effect early. On a successful save, the target is Poisoned until the beginning of your next turn. Once you use this feature, you must complete a long rest before you can use it again.

Changelog 7/11/2015: Changed the age section of the thri-kreen traits. Changed the effects of the Hunter's venom on a successful save. Removed the Psion's invisibility and put it into a feat. Changed the wording under Thri-kreen Weapons and added rules for dasl weapons. Added optional feats for thri-kreen players.

7/13/2015: Lowered the AC bonus to Chitinous Carapace and the DC for Venomous Bite by 1.

7/14/2015: Made chatkchas finesse, which should have been done originally. Rewrote Four Arms. Lowered Gythka damage and chatkcha range. Reworded venomous bite.

9/11/2015: Made Venomous Bite an optional feat, replaced it with weapon creation ability.

11/14/15: Chameleon Carapace includes the restriction on heavy armor.


  1. thank you so much, I love the Thri-Kreen and usually put them in any world I can as desert hunters.

    by the way, you said that the minor arms can be used for somatic components of spells twice

  2. Perhaps balance them by emphasising and/or adding vulnerabilities. One thing that stood out to me is that playing a thri-kreen chaos sorcerer would be horrible (lack of synergy aside) as the random aging on the wild magic table is far more likely to kill you.

    1. I am not too familiar with this races lore, but one solution is to make them like lobsters: they don't really have an old age part of their lives, they usually are killed within a number of years first. The finger could edit the text to fit this by taking out the bit about old age at 25 and add this in to the last sentence of the age entry: "though there are Thri-kreen legends about one of their number who lived almost 4 times as long as normal."

    2. Good idea. I'll edit that in.

  3. I am just so tempted to make a hunter thri-kreen Great old one warlock, since telepathy. Oooo! or a hunter thri-kreen fiend skin warlock!

    1. Imagine how horrifying that'd look. A mantis covered in red, leathery skin stretched over its carapace. Eww.

  4. One Idea to balance this is to tone back the strong carapice from 13 +dex to 12 or 11 +dex. You could also tone back the venom bite to parilyze for a shorter amount of time or maybe change which status effects it inflicts.

    1. The venom was taken directly from the monster manual. I think it's fair, because the save DC isn't that high and you can repeat the saving throw every turn. I will however lower the DC by one point.

      As for the carapace, I originally had it at 12 + DEX. I guess I should change it back, since it's supposed to be on par with light armor.

  5. Could a thri-keen use its action to make a bite attack, then use its bonus action to attack with the "other end" of a gythka?

  6. Just to settle a matter of some debate, are all Thri-Kreen unable to wear heavy armour, or just the Hunter subrace?

    1. I ask because RAW it would seem that only Hunters have this limit, but friends I have discussed this with automatically interpreted it as a restriction to the whole race.

    2. You are correct on both accounts; this is due to an error in editing that I'll fix ASAP. The sentence 'You cannot wear heavy armor due to your unusual anatomy.' is meant to follow both Chintinous Carapace and Chameleon Carapace, but was accidentally dropped in a rewrite of this feature.

      No thri kreen can wear heavy armor.

  7. The line: "When you make an attack, the creature you target gains no bonus to armor class from its armor." is repeated twice in the pdf.

  8. maybe +2 dex base?

    1. You don't think that's too much? It does get an awful lot of features.

  9. Having both Finesse and Heavy properties on the Gythka doesn't sit well with me. It's not exactly optimal(I'm sure someone can find a way to make it more viable) but it would allow both GWM and Sneak Attack damage apply to an attack, if I'm not mistaken.