Fear and Loathing in Athas
Thri-kreen minds, behavior, and physiology often seem bizarre to members of other races. But despite their fierce appearance, the insectlike humanoids can be loyal and courageous companions. Thri-kreen have most of the same needs and morals as do other races; they simply prioritize those needs and morals differently. Most important, thri-kreen judge others solely on physical and mental ability. The lazy and weak deserve contempt, regardless of race; likewise, strength and cleverness merit respect no matter who demonstrates these qualities.
Thri-kreen view everything through the lens of the hunt and the predator-prey relationship. Their basic social units are the clutch and the pack. A clutch is a small group (no more than six) to which an individual kreen has a close bond. The concept of the clutch combines “team,” “friends,” and “family.” Every thri-kreen has a birth clutch that consists of all surviving members of the group of eggs from which it hatched. Later in life, each kreen forms one or more other clutches, perhaps centered around adventuring groups or specialized hunting parties. A pack is a larger social unit that consists of any number of clutches. If deprived of a clutch, a thri-kreen is bio logically compelled to seek out a new group to join.
Obeying their pack instincts, thri-kreen try to find their place in any group.They use a series of challenges to determine the pecking order, assessing their possible clutch mates in secret or, when necessary, demanding trial by combat. Thri kreen seize eadership of groups in which they’re the strongest members, but they are willing to accept subordinate roles in the presence of powerful allies. They take orders from the pack or clutch leader without hesi tation, eager to fulfill the duties oftheir position. Despite the apparent autocracy of a kreen group, any member is free to voice its opinion and offer advice. Indeed, each thri-kreen is expected to have expertise in matters the others do not. All must contribute to the good of the clutch and the success of the hunt.
In thri kreen culture, combat is just another kind of hunt. Thri kreen rarely fight out of malice and see no need for aggression unless it is the best means of obtaining the resources they need to survive. Self- defense is another matter—a thri-kreen who has been attacked can’t fathom any response other than a vio lent counterattack. After a victorious battle, a kreen’s first instinct is to collect any useful possessions that belonged to the attacker or (in the case of beasts) to harvest the body for food.
Many thri-kreen develop psionic abilities. Those who fully pursue these gifts often become monks or battleminds, taking advantage oftheir physical talents. Some attribute this natural ability to racial memory. Each member ofthe race is born with the clutch mentality and an innate knowledge of the Thri-Kreen language. When a thri-kreen encounters a place or an item that played an important part in kreen history, itmightseeflashesofthepast anupwellingofracial memories long suppressed but present in all kreen.