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Apari Constituent

CR: - XP: -

N Tiny vermin

Init.: +4 Senses: darkvision 60 ft. Perception: +7

Defense

HP: 20

EAC: 13 KAC: 15

Fort: +6 Ref: +4 Will: +1

Offense

Speed: fly 30 ft. (Ex, perfect)

Melee: claw +10 (1d6+4 S)

Ranged:

Offensive Abilities: fungible

Statistics

Str: +2 Dex: +4 Con: +1 Wis: +0 Int: - Cha: +0

Skills: Acrobatics +12 (+20 when flying), Intimidate +7, Survival +7

Ecology

Environment: any land

Organization: collective (10+ plus 1 apari)

Special Abilities

Fungible (Ex) An apari constituent can change its physiology to take advantage of its opponent’s weaknesses. As a move action, it can alter the type of kinetic damage it deals with its claw attack (bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing).

Hive Dependency (Ex) An apari constituent can’t voluntarily travel more than 200 feet from the apari that spawned it. If taken beyond that range against its will, it gains the sickened condition and becomes single-minded in its focus on returning to its apari. An apari constituent can survive for only 1 hour after the apari that spawned it dies (unless it finds another apari).

Reincorporate (Ex) As a standard action, an apari constituent adjacent to an apari can become part of the hive once again. The constituent’s current Hit Points are added to the apari’s, and the constituent is removed from play.

Description

An apari is a living hive, its gigantic beetle-like carapace animated by generations of tiny insects for whom it serves as both home and queen. Nestled within every apari’s exoskeleton is a mass of millions of writhing gray maggots, each no larger than a grain of rice. A constant stream of chemical signals, ferried by the living neurological system of the apari, directs the development of these maggots into the myriad forms needed both to support the hive’s gestalt biological functions and to maintain a flexible population of individual bugs, each of which has an extremely specialized role. Aparis can be found on multiple worlds with various climates throughout the galaxy. So far no Pact Worlds entomologists have been able to trace their evolution back to a particular planet, though the fossil record seems to indicate that their original diaspora must,have happened well before the Gap. A few fringe theories posit that aparis are progenitors of the Swarm, though this claim is contentious at best.

How the unintelligent creatures might have traveled between solar systems is anyone’s guess: some scholars believe they were deliberately seeded as livestock by a spacefaring race, others theorize they may have been placed there by planar travelers (likely insectile spellcasters from the city of Axis), and still others think they are the deliberately devolved children of a spacefaring race that chose regression into unthinking beings rather than face some species-wide threat or existential quandary.

Aparis quickly become a formidable force in almost any ecosystem to which they are introduced. Their constituents can forage for food (usually rotting vegetable material or carrion), while the hive itself hunts animals. Perhaps most disconcerting is when the two methods combine, with the apari tearing into a beast while its constituents stream into the wounds and devour it from the inside out. Additionally, aparis’ considerable mutability provides them protection from threats that would seriously endanger more sedentary collective species, such as flooding or an intelligent competitor’s targeted attempts at extermination.

When the resources available to a single apari permit it to create more constituents than its body can efficiently support, it travels to a location in the center of its feeding territory and becomes temporarily stationary. Some of its constituents burrow into the ground beneath it and begin ferrying portions of the parent apari’s key biological systems—including half of its maggot core—while others continue to forage in the surrounding area to provide a steady stream of nutrients to the nascent hive. When the new hive is ready, the two aparis split the current hunting ground and expand the territories outward from that core, never explicitly working together but also not directly competing. Additionally, these aparis remain chemically linked, so that if disaster befalls one of them, surviving constituents can potentially join a linked hive and continue to thrive. In this way, entire planets have fallen to supercolonies of aparis whose influence spread across continents. Despite their mysterious presence on a variety of worlds, including both Triaxus and the insect moon of Nchak, aparis in the modern era are unable to colonize new worlds without an intelligent race to assist them. Fortunately for them, fried apari grubs are a delicacy in many Pact Worlds cultures, and attempts to hunt or ranch the creatures are dangerous but lucrative.

Encountering Constituents

It is possible for PCs to encounter constituents on their own, as they range from their hives to scavenge for food. While constituents spawned by an apari during a combat grant no additional XP, a single constituent is a CR 2 creature (worth 600 XP) and is usually encountered as a solitary creature or in a group of two to four.