Echtinik are subterranean creatures bearing arachnid features. They are not exactly evil, but very alien in their thinking compared to most societies. Their thinking and goals often bring them into conflict with other kinds no matter the moral alignment.
Echtinik come in two different sub-types: Echtinik and Tinikean. The Echtinik are humanoid in appearance with two arms and two legs attached to a torso in roughly human proportions. Their faces are wreathed by a halo of antennae that at first glance appear like hair, sideburns, and a full beard depending on the age of the Echtinik. Many of their features are closely reminiscent of spiders. They have no hair, thin carapaces, and five phalanges per limb.
Tinikean, on the other hand, are less humanoid and closer to spider in their form. They walk on four legs which protrude from the abdomen. Two pairs of arms are attached to the thorax. Their heads appear more anti-like than spider.
The Echtinik society is something akin to a caste system. The Echtinik are at the top with a monarchy, generally a queen, who rules the entire swarm. Below the monarch are the advisers, diplomats, and mages. Next are the warriors, then civilians. Civilian Echtinik are free to do whatever they wish outside of the higher caste professions. Echtinik are relatively slow breeders and are not large in numbers.
Below the Echtinik are the Tinikean workers. They include laborers, crafters, and kitatica weavers. Tinikeans are all considered of the same lowest caste within Echtinik society. In a normal swarm, Tinikeans outnumber Echtinik ten to one or more, but they are almost absolutely peaceful. There are instances when Tinikeans are found separately. For information, see here.
As Heroes Edit
Echtinik rarely venture from their swarms deep underground. So much so that they were virtually unknown on Loar until just a few hundred years before the Sundering. In the worlds they inhabit, they prefer to avoid confrontation as it takes too much work. However, the drive to accumulate wealth and power does force some from the higher castes out at the strong urging of their monarch.
Even more rare is the Echtinik that will answer the call to be a Hero. Such an individual is considered an aberration in Echtinik society as the concept of "Hero" is not within their vocabulary and alien to their thoughts. There have been perhaps only two Echtinik heroes on Loar pre-Sundering.
Tinikeans conversely, are not allowed to leave Echtinik society on pain of death. Their generally passive demeanor does not draw them to adventure or heroism anyway. After the Sundering, however, this changed drastically. Benevolent monarchs arose from among the Tinikeans in the absence of their Echtinik overlords. These monarchs are biologically distinct from the rest of the hive: bigger, stronger, magically powerful in some cases, and independent thinkers. These monarchs are the heroes of Tinikean society.