Dromites might be mistaken for halflings at a distance, due to their diminutive stature. However, closer scrutiny reveals dromites to have hardened, chitin-encrusted skin, compound eyes like those of an insect, and two small antennae protruding from their brows. Called “bug-men” by the ignorant, dromites share far more traits with humans than they do with insects. One major difference between dromites and most other races is their androgynous physiology. Aside from their Grand Queen (female) and their Elected Consort (male), dromites are genderless and possess no sexual characteristics.
Personality: Dromites vary in their temperament, but each usually exhibits one of four personality types, depending on the caste that dromite eventually joins. Those of the Fire Caste are often quick to anger, but also quick to laugh and forgive. Those of the Ice Caste are analytical, slow to make decisions, but often right. Those of the Voice Caste are consummate artists, reveling in all types of performance, especially song. Those of the Glimmer Caste always move at high speed, rarely resting in their pursuit of life’s tasks. Each caste identifies with the energy type associated with its creed: fire, cold, sonic, and electricity, respectively.
The four major castes are important to dromites, but are not the race’s only form of social organization. Despite being a sexless society, dromites form close emotional bonds with others of their race, especially within the confines of self-selected groups known as life bonds. These relationships are similar to what other races refer to as marriages, but a life bond usually contains more than two members. As older members of a life bond die, new members are brought in, so a life bond persists long after the original members are no longer a part of it. A single life bond may contain members of several castes.
Physical Description: Dromites stand about 3 feet tall. They are essentially humanoid in appearance, if a bit thin. Their chitinous skin provides dromites with some protection against injury. Dromites have no body hair; where a humanoid might possess a head of hair, a dromite has a thin coating of convoluted chitin that smoothly rises from its skin and extends down the back of its head, neck, and the rest of its body. Dromites are not fully covered in chitin, but it is noticeable on their shoulders, torsos, the backs of their hands, and other vulnerable spots (including their heads).
A dromite’s eyes are striking—sparkling, almost luminescent orbs, subdivided into hundreds of tiny cells. Two small antennae sprout from its head; they move in accordance with the creature’s actions or moods. They wear heavy boots and light clothing, sometimes nothing more than a sturdy harness for holding and carrying gear.
Relations: Dromites are accepting of other races, though other races sometimes find them a bit too exotic (giving rise to the derogatory term “bug-man”). Half-orcs and humans seem the most prone to using the name, apparently acting out of some inner fear of or prejudice against insects—despite the dromites’ nearly humanoid appearance.
Alignment: Dromites tend toward no particular alignment, not even neutral. The best and the worst are found among them.
Dromite Lands: Dromite city-hives can be found under any land, but are usually secret and have only a few openings to the surface or to some other subterranean location. Since dromites are naturally psionic and adherents of the psionic arts (especially psychokinesis), some city-hives have no physical outlets to the surface or surrounding subterranean tunnels—dromites use permanent psionic portals and psionic powers to get into and out of these most secure city-hives.
Despite the location of their hidden cities, dromites have no particular desire to remain underground, and in fact seem driven to spend at least some time on the surface. Thus, some dromites may be found living temporarily or permanently in a humanoid community—if it is one that accepts a variety of races.
Each dromite city-hive contains at least one Grand Queen with female characteristics, and one Elected Consort with male characteristics. Both queen and consort are elected on a yearly basis from a pool of the most prominent city-hive residents. After participating in a special communal ceremony, they take on titular leadership roles and assume their gender characteristics. Their most important responsibility is to provide a year’s worth of dromite eggs, which hatch in wellguarded nurseries located in the city-hive’s core. From the eggs come dromite infants, which look more or less like most humanoid infants (except that they have antennae).
Religion: Dromites hold their Grand Queen and Elected Consort in highest regard, almost as if deities. Because the Grand Queen and Elected Consort are almost completely occupied by their responsibility to keep the race populous, they rarely make pronouncements as a true leader would—but when they do have something to say about a topic, everyone listens.
Language: Dromites speak Common. Some learn Terran, which allows them to better communicate with other creatures of the subterranean world.
Names: Dromites, when born, are chosen from the nurseries by adult dromites who have entered life bonds. The adopted dromite is named by its new “parents” according to the traditions of the life bond. Thus, dromites have a first name and a life bond family name.
First Names: Demisse, Elimu, Fela, Gebre, Idi, Idrissa, Kato, Matunda, Obi, Sefu, Vita, Xolu.
Life Bond Family Names: Adanech, Dedanech, Fanech, Gyalech, Marimech, Massawech, Nikech, Ulech.
Adventurers: Dromites who are curious about life beyond the city-hive have little trouble securing permission to venture forth and seek their fortunes. Unless a city-hive is actively expanding its borders, an excess of population leads to cramped quarters. Thus, even the less than willing are sometimes pushed out into the world, on a mission not of their choosing.
DROMITE RACIAL TRAITS
- +2 Charisma, –2 Strength, –2 Wisdom: Dromites are selfwilled go-getters, but do not always show the best judgment.
- Monstrous Humanoid: Dromites are not subject to spells or effects that affect humanoids only, such as charm person or dominate person.
- Small: As a Small creature, a dromite gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but it uses smaller weapons than humans use, and its lifting and carrying limits are threequarters of those of a Medium character.
- Dromite base land speed is 20 feet.
- Chitin: A dromite’s skin is hardened, almost like an exoskeleton, and grants the character a +3 natural armor bonus to AC and one of the following kinds of resistance to energy: cold 5, electricity 5, fire 5, or sonic 5. The player chooses what type of energy resistance is gained when the character is created. (This choice also dictates which caste the dromite belongs to.) This natural energy resistance stacks with any future energy resistance gained through other effects.
- Naturally Psionic: Dromites gain 1 bonus power point at 1st level. This benefi t does not grant them the ability to manifest powers unless they gain that ability through another source, such as levels in a psionic class.
- Psi-Like Ability: 1/day—energy ray. A dromite always deals the kind of energy damage that its chitin has resistance to (for example, a dromite who has resistance to cold 5 deals cold damage with its energy ray). Manifester level is equal to 1/2 Hit Dice (minimum 1st). The save DC is Charisma-based.
- Scent: Its antennae give a dromite the scent ability. A dromite can detect opponents by scent within 30 feet. If the opponent is upwind, the range increases to 60 feet; if downwind, it drops to 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at triple normal range. When a dromite detects a scent, the exact location of the source is not revealed—only its presence somewhere within range. The dromite can take a move action to note the direction of the scent. Whenever the dromite comes within 5 feet of the source, the dromite pinpoints the source’s location.
- Blind-Fight: Its antennae also give a dromite Blind-Fight as a bonus feat.
- Compound Eyes: This feature of its anatomy gives a dromite a +2 racial bonus on Spot checks.
- Automatic Languages: Common. Bonus Languages: Dwarven, Gnome, Goblin, Terran.
- Favored Class: Wilder.
- Level Adjustment: +1.
Source: Expanded Psionics Handbook