|CR||By class level|
Source: Alien Archive 3, pg(s). 100
Individual spathinae zooids are an inch long and vary greatly in appearance, resembling wasps and moths among others. Each colony can change its shape; most take humanoid form, speaking with a buzzing, layered voice from a faceless head. They prefer armor adjusted so each zooid can wear one component.
Each spathinae zooid is little more than an insect, but in a swarm of thousands, they organise into a biological and neural network. Each colony has one consciousness, one personality and one set of memories. Sufficient damage to a spathinae colony's network can 'kill' it as the connection fails and the intelligence fades (barring magic that brings the colony to life and reunifies the consciousness). Surviving zooids dissipate and might join other colonies, but the connection to the previous one is ephemeral. Each individual colony lives for more than a century, but might choose to disperse and reform for the greater good.
Spathinae have forgotten where they originated, the records lost to the Gap. They currently inhabit several planets in the Vast, but have no idea if any of them is their original home. Most spathinae care little about their lack of history, as evolution continues with no regard for the past, except for a few who feel that they need to seek and learn from their origin in order to find a purpose.
Most spathinae are aware that solitary organisms can have difficulty seeing a distributed sapience as a group with the same purpose, instead of a single creature that acts like a swarm. They usually use the colony's name without pointing each zooid's individual name. Most societies recognise spathinae colonies as individuals with rights and obligations, except a few like the Azlanti Star Empire, who refuse to see them as more than a swarm of insects or accord them rights.
Many spathinae worship Oras and see life as a constant process of change. They do not mourn their dead as constituents make sacrifices for the colony's sake, and colonies take risks, face challenges, adapt and dissolve to advance the whole species.