The tosculi are a race of wasp-folk that share the Golden Song of the hive, which unites them under the command and iron rule of their queen. Each hive has its own song, and most tosculi hives are predatory, dangerous places-quick to turn to banditry, cattle theft, and raiding against small villages.
Those few tosculi who do not hear their queen’s song are driven out of the embrace of the hive to attempt survive on their own.
Tosculi drones are the workers of the tosculi hive; the smallest, weakest, least intelligent, and most abundant of the wasp folk. Their carapaces are mostly iridescent blue with gold abdomens and lower legs. A drone stands between 3 and 4 feet tall, and weighs around 50 lb. They have only vestigial wings, so they can glide but not truly fly.
One-Way Scouts. Drones function primarily as menial workers but, during time of war, they also act as highly expendable scouts and soldiers. Because the warriors know whatever a drone knows (thanks to the hive-queen), a drone doesn’t need to survive its scouting mission to deliver useful information.
Tosculi warriors are overseers of work crews and battle groups of drones, directing activities and relaying commands from higher up in the hive mind. They are entirely subservient to the hive-queen’s orders, but if ordered to act independently or to follow their own best judgment, they’re capable of doing so. Warriors are almost never encountered without drones, and tower over them. They stand 4 to 5 feet tall and weigh up to 70 pounds.
Host Finders. The warriors’ most important role in the hive, however, is procuring live hosts for tosculi eggs to hatch in. Creatures paralyzed by warriors are brought to the queen’s chamber to have eggs implanted in them. An egg hatches in 1d6 weeks, and the ravenous larva devours its still-living (but mercifully unconscious) host.
Tosculi elite bow raiders are smarter and more capable than drones and common warriors, with midnight black or deep green carapaces that shine with colorful iridescence. Their wings are blood red, streaked with dark crimson veins. Elite bow raiders also tower over common tosculi-they stand over 5 feet tall and weigh 130 lb.
Warband Leaders. Elite bow raiders lead larger raiding parties of warriors and drones to gather slaves and sacrifices. As rare and prized members of the hive, a bow raider’s life is never thrown away like drones’ or risked unnecessarily. Seldom does a tosculi warband contain more than a handful of these elite soldiers, and they frequently hold positions of command. Elite bow raiders always lead the honor guard for their hive-queen, both within the hive and on those rare occasions when the queen ventures outside.
Center of the Hive. The hive-queen is the nerve center of a tosculi hive-city, simultaneously one of a hive’s greatest strengths and weaknesses. The hive-queen serves as a unifying force. She binds her swarm with an ironclad sense of purpose through the hive mind, the psychic web that links all tosculi within a hive.
Deadly Inheritance. A hive-queen typically has several immature daughters as her potential heirs at any given time. When she nears the end of her life, the hive-queen selects the most promising of her heirs and feeds her a special concoction. This speeds the heir’s maturation and makes her ready to become a full-fledged hive-queen. The daughter’s first action upon assuming power and control over the hive-city is to devour her mother and all her sisters.
Hive Chaos. If a hive-queen dies with no heir to anchor the hive mind, the city plunges into chaos. Tosculi bereft of the hivemind go berserk. A few fortunate ones might escape and become lone renegades, but their existence without the comforting presence of the hive is miserable and short. Unless one of the hive-queen’s daughters is mature enough and ruthless enough to step in and assert control, the hive is doomed.