Klikral, the Master of the Mound

The enigmatic insectare are a race of insect creatures with an elf-like appearance, first appearing in the second Spelljammer Monstrous Compendium appendix (MC09). Little is known about them other than their reclusive nature and desire to rule the spacelanes by undermining the Imperial Navy and other organizations; neither is there much known about their deity, Klikral. I chose to explore what their connection to the elven peoples are in this writeup of that little-detailed instectoid god.

Klikral (PDF Version)
(The Master of the Mound, the Director of Secrets)
Lesser Power of Acheron, LE

Portfolio:                 Insects, hives, secrecy, organization, insectare
Aliases:                     None
Domain Name:           Avalas/the Great Mound
Superior:                   None
Allies:                       Dukagsh, the orcish and goblinoid pantheons
Foes:                           The beholder pantheon, the neogi pantheon, the Seldarine, the Wise Queen
Symbol:                     A humanoid eye lacking both pupil and iris with an antenna sprouting from each corner
Wor. Align.:             LN, N, CN, LE, NE, CE

The secretive patron of the spacefaring race known as the insectare is Klikral (CLICK-rahl), the Master of the Mound. It is a strange creature that has little contact with other powers, instead directing its race on their quest for domination through manipulation rather than direct conquest.

The Master of the Mound maintains a realm on one of the more obscure cubes of the first layer of Acheron. The whole cube is covered in thick forest; on one side a great earthen mound juts into the sky. The mound-side of the cube has never been known to collide with another cube while the dense forests of the other faces are restored within hours. To most inhabitants and visitors to the plane, this would seem like a near-paradise; however, few creatures brave these forests. For one thing, this cube always seems to be about as remote as possible; it is said it takes weeks to find for those who seek it. For another thing, the inhabitants are none too friendly. The forests are filled with vicious beasts and giant insects who are perfectly happy making a meal out of a visitor, even otherwise unpalatable beings like fiends. Besides that, the insectare petitioners who reside within the Great Mound and hunt within the forests for food are uninterested in visitors; any who make it to the surface and encounter their kind are politely asked to leave, and if they do not immediately do so, they are attacked on the spot. As such, no outsiders know what the interior of the Mound looks like, although rumors abound.

Just as the realm of the Master of the Mound is known more by rumor and supposition than fact, so is the history of Klikral and his insectare followers. The cube of his realm is not a new one but was only discovered within the last few centuries; it seems to have lain hidden in the far reaches of Acheron for some time. Similarly, his insectare have only become known to Prime Material folk within the same time period. The mystery of their mixed elven and insectoid appearance has baffled all who’ve met them, but the hostility they express towards elves has caused many sages to wonder if there is some magical connection between the groups. Other sages say the similarity is an ancient adaptation similar to the external mimicry of stick insects and other sorts of camouflaged creatures. No insectare or elf will speak on the matter, nor will Klikral respond to magical queries about the subject, but the truth does go back centuries to the darkest days of the Unhuman Wars when orcish witchlight marauders were ravaging elven worlds and fleets. At the time, the insectare had a fully insectoid appearance, much like a cross between a termite and a grasshopper, but with an upright, bipedal body plan, possibly related to races like the masgai or the mysterious ancient race responsible for the arcane constructs known to the people of Mystara as meks. At the time, they were unknown to the races of wildspace, having no native spelljamming capability, let alone magical abilities beyond their few priests. These priests formed a council of “queens” who directed the individual hives; the workers and warriors in the hives had a degree of individuality, but also shared a common consciousness with their fellows. This was how the elves discovered them; they apparently had some biological features unique to them and somehow compatible with elven physiology, and a bargain was struck between the two races: The elves would teach the insectare magic and spelljamming in exchange for the ability to research the insectare to better enhance their stunted work on spirit warriors. As both races tell it, the elven research was supposed to be completely harmless to the insectare. Here is where the tales diverge, however. The insectare hold that the elves viciously betrayed them by working a great ritual that completely transformed their race; magical abilities were indeed granted, but so was an elven appearance, complete individuality, and thus the loss of their hive consciousness. No longer were insectare born from their queens into specific worker and warrior roles; now all were alike, save their genders. The insectare have sworn vengeance upon the elves, and their hatred has further turned to a desire to rule the spaceways much as they see the elves doing. From the elven perspective, it was an act of generosity or payment that went tragically wrong. Due to the ongoing hostilities with the goblinoid spacefleets, the Imperial Navy attempted to act swiftly with powerful High Magic to get what they wanted from the insectare while also giving them what they desired. The ritual worked, after a fashion, for it was from this act that the first bionoids were created and the insectare gained the ability to learn wizardly magic. Unfortunately, the side effects were far greater than anticipated, whether through negligence or carelessness on the part of the elves who worked the magic.

The most significant lasting impact upon Klikral was its anger at the elven powers for what their children did to its own. This act led the Master of the Mound out of its complete isolation on Acheron, and it has established tenuous ties to the orcish and goblinoid pantheons in hopes of aiding each other in their conflicts against the elves. Klikral is actively feeling out other foes of the elves in search of more alliances, but as yet no firm ties have been established. By contrast, as the insectare have explored space, they have fallen afoul of many other organized dangers out there. This has caused Klikral to regard the pantheons of the various slaving races as foes as well.

Klikral has never been known to dispatch an avatar to the Prime Material Plane. Instead, it favors direct communication with the high priests of the insectare, advising them and informing them of its goals. If the Master of the Mound needs a direct intervention, it manifests its power or dispatches a proxy to whatever situation needs attention.

Klikral’s Avatar (Fighter 29, Druid 27, Mage 18)
Klikral appears as a tall, bipedal, humanoid-shaped termite-like insect with two arms. Its head is like that of a grasshopper, but with a pair of humanoid eyes. Its carapace is pale lime green in color with edges that turn to yellow, and four large wings sprouting from its back. Its limbs end in grasping claws, and it has powerful mandibles capable of chewing through steel. Klikral draws its spells from all schools and spheres but favors using those that deal with nature and natural forces.

AC −2; MV 12, Fl 12 (A); HP 195; THAC0 −8; #AT 3
Dmg 2d6/2d6/3d10 (claw/claw/bite)
MR 45%; SZ H (15 feet tall)
Str 22, Dex 19, Con 19, Int 18, Wis 18, Cha 22 (10 to non-arthropods)
Spells P: 11/11/10/10/9/9/5, W: 5/5/5/5/5/3/3/2/1
Saves PPDM 2; RSW 5; PP 5; BW 7; Sp 6

Special Att/Def: Klikral rarely engages in combat, preferring to direct its servants and proxies in battle instead. If combat is necessary, it will focus on utilizing magical powers first before engaging in melee, where it makes use of its powerful claws and bite. It never uses any other weapons in battle.

Klikral is able to summon insects and summon swarm at will, and once per turn it may cast giant insect. Further, once per day it can cast insect plague and creeping doom. It can issue a command to any single normal or giant arthropod within earshot in addition to any other actions it takes in a round, and it can charm any arthropod that meets its gaze.

No normal and giant insects will attack Klikral, and it is immune to weapons below +2 enchantment. Cold attacks slow Klikral unless it makes a saving throw versus spell, but it takes only half damage from fire attacks. Further, it is immune to mental spells, psionics, and attacks from non-insectoid creatures, and it cannot be poisoned.

Other Manifestations
Klikral speaks directly to the members of the Council of the Eye when it wishes to communicate with its followers. It sends no omens to its followers and never manifests its powers to aid them in any way, expecting them to make use of their own skills and abilities to survive and overcome obstacles.

Klikral is served primarily by ants, termites, and grasshoppers of all sorts (normal and giant), as well as ankhegs, aspis, bebiliths, bonespears, buzzjewels, carrion crawlers, cave fishers, fyreflies, garbugs, herex, hivebrood, hook spiders, isopterites, kalin, kocrachon baatezu, pedipalps, pernicons, rust monsters, solifugids, wall-walkers, and all other forms of normal and giant insects, arachnids, and other arthropods. The Master of the Mound displays its favor through unusual and patterned actions of ants and termites and grasshoppers, as well as the discovery of termite mounds and nests in unexpected places. The only form of displeasure Klikral displays is through the revocation of priestly abilities and directing the Council of the Eye to punish an offending follower; while they are informed of the offense, the form of the punishment is left up to the members of the Council.

The Church
Clergy:                      Clerics, specialty priests, crusaders
Clergy’s Align.:      LN, LE, NE, CE
Turn Undead:           C: No, SP: No, Cru: No
Cmnd. Undead:         C: Yes, SP: No, Cru: No

All priests of Klikral receive religion (insectare) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.

The priesthood of the Master of the Mound rules insectare society, much as the ancient queens once did. However, whereas each ancient hive was nominally independent, with the widespread changes to insectare society centuries ago, a new ruling paradigm was instituted. The insectare now form clans that live within the ancient mountainous hive-mounds with the priesthood administering these towns on behalf of the Council of the Eye, a circle of ten ancient high priests living in the capital mound. The true rulers of insectare society, they are ancient priests of considerable power granted directly by Klikral; in fact, four members of this council were originally queens from the largest hives before their bodies changed. The rest were chosen by the Master of the Mound over the centuries since that time as members passed away; the power that infuses all of these priests has caused them to grow to giant size, towering 12 feet in height. Outside of the insectare homeworld, Klikral’s priesthood is known almost entirely from rumor and speculation, as they only travel beyond the surface of their planet on the most important of errands.

Temples built in honor of the Master of the Mound can be found in every insectare settlement. They are large structures most commonly built in a deep, centrally located spot. They have a large central hall that is oblong or a long hexagon in shape, with a tall statue of a bipedal insectoid creature dominating the far end of the chamber. Pews line a central aisle and are placed at an angle facing the statue. These chambers hold religious services and governmental meetings under the watchful eyes of Klikral. Stretching away from this hall are maze-like passages leading to the domestic chambers of the priests and administrative chambers for government operations. Many insectare maintain small household shrines as well, featuring smaller figures of their deity, typically 6 to 12 inches in height. These are usually placed in an oval or hexagonal niche in their home’s wall.

Novices in the service of Klikral are called Unmolted, while full priests are known as Hiveleaders. The clergy of the Master of the Mound are strictly hierarchical but use no titles; rank is determined precisely by the age of individual priests, which can be quickly determined by touching antennae. The exception is the Council of the Eye; they operate as a democratic group regardless of the age of the individual members. Specialty priests are called klikeraks, a term that means “Chosen of Klikral” in the insectare tongue. Females (60%) are drawn to the service of the Master of the Mound in somewhat higher numbers than males (40%). Only insectare may join the clergy of Klikral, which is dominated by specialty priests (77%), leaving much smaller numbers of clerics (16%) and crusaders (7%).

Dogma: A great injustice has been inflicted upon the insectare by the villainous elves. Work behind the scenes to wrest domination of the spacelanes from them. Work with their enemies when possible, but stay hidden and disguised. Stay close to Klikral and obey the words it speaks.

Day-to-Day Activities: Priests of Klikral serve as leaders, administrators, and advisors of their communities. They interpret the will of the Master of Mound for their people and direct them in the actions it desires. However, much of their activity involves mundane bureaucratic activity rather than ceremonial tasks, such as directing new construction and handling criminal punishments. The Council of the Eye handles most of the tasks directly related to affairs off their homeworld, directing other members of the society in their actions to undermine the Imperial Elven Navy and other organizations and factions in Known Space.

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Insectare have regular ceremonies honoring Klikral every month on the full moon, called simply Klikral’s Mass. These ceremonies are held at sunset and typically last an hour as priests recite some historical anecdote or bit of history designed to foster unity and cohesion. Once per year on the day of the spring equinox insectare priests lead a ceremony called the Great Loss. This ceremony commemorates the great change that came over the insectare at the hands of the elves. During this ceremony, insectare renew their drive for vengeance and instill hatred in each other for their foe.

Major Centers of Worship: Each communal mound on the insectare homeworld has its own temple of Klikral, but other than the temple in the capital mound city, none are seen as more or less important than the others. Further, the insectare have no concept of pilgrimage; as such each temple is ultimately a very local site of worship, even the great temple in the capital.

Affiliated Orders: Since the insectare faith rules and administers daily life, many organizations could be considered sponsored by the church of Klikral. However, they have no formal martial or monastic orders attached to the temples themselves, although all crusaders form the basis of an elite force dedicated to defending the insectare homeworld; this group is officially attached directly to the insectare military rather than the temples in each mound city.

Priestly Vestments: When conducting services, priests of Klikral wear voluminous robes of bright green and yellow. Their heads are always uncovered and their antennae unrestricted. No symbols of rank are used by the priests, except for the Council of the Eye, who each wear a gold circlet to denote membership on the council. The holy symbol used by the priesthood is a small medallion of a humanoid eye with two antennae sprouting from each corner.

Adventuring Garb: Priests of Klikral rarely leave their homeworld. In the rare event that one would do so, they are nearly indistinguishable from their brethren, wearing the same robes and using the same weapons and equipment. Their exoskeleton protects them as well as most humanoid armor, so they never use anything other than a shield in combat. Only their normal humanoid eyes and holy symbol are the only things that make them identifiable as priests.

Specialty Priests (Klikeraks)
Requirements:          Wisdom 12, Charisma 9
Prime Req.:                Wisdom
Alignment:                LE
Weapons:                   Any
Armor:                       Shields only
Major Spheres:         All, animal, combat, divination, elemental (earth, water), healing, summoning, wards
Minor Spheres:         Charm, creation, elemental (air), law
Magical Items:         Same as clerics
Req. Profs:                Administration (Player’s Option: Spells & Magic)
Bonus Profs:             Local history (insectare)

  • Klikeraks must be insectare.
  • Klikeraks are not allowed to multiclass.
  • When casting spells from the Animal sphere, klikeraks are treated as two levels higher for the purposes of duration, damage, area of effect, and other variables if the spell affects arthropods such as insects, arachnids, and crustaceans, as well as elves and half-elves. When affecting all other types of creatures, they are treated as being two levels lower.
  • Once per day, klikeraks can cast command (as the 1st-level priest spell) or spider climb (as the 1st-level wizard spell).
  • At 2nd level, klikeraks can summon crawling and flying insects and direct them to attack a single target up to 30 feet away. The insects arrive the following round, and deal 1d8 points of damage to the target (no attack roll or saving throw needed), and they continue to bite and sting for 1 round per level the klikerak has achieved. They can perform this summoning once per day.
  • At 4th level, klikeraks can cast dig (as the 4th-level wizard spell) once per day.
  • At 6th level, klikeraks can cast earthmaw or giant insect (as the 4th-level priest spells) once per day.
  • At 8th level, klikeraks can cast insect plague or transmute rock to mud (as the 5th level priest spells) once per day.
  • At 10th level, klikeraks can cast move earth (as the 6th-level wizard spell) once per day.
  • At 11th level and accension to the Council of the Eye, a klikerak may cast creeping doom (as the 7th-level priest spell) once per week.

Klikralite Spells
2nd Level
Harden Carapace (Pr 2; Alteration)
Sphere:                    Animal
Range:                     Touch
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 4 rds. + 1 rd./level
Casting Time:          5
Area of Effect:         Creature touched
Saving Throw:        None

When this spell is cast, the chitinous exoskeleton of insects and other arthropods is hardened against blows. The carapace of the creature touched gains 1 AC for every three levels of the caster (i.e., +2 at 6th level, +3 at 9th level, and so forth), to a maximum of AC 0. Further, the recipient of a harden carapace spell gains a +1 bonus to all saving throws against physical spells and attacks, except those of a cold- or ice-based nature. The Armor Class bonus does not function in conjunction with other magical means of protection that also grant Armor Class bonuses. This spell can be cast on any arthropod or partly arthropod creature, including insects, arachnids, and crustaceans.

The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and a molting from any arthropod.

3rd Level
Boreholes (Pr 3; Invocation/Evocation)
Sphere:                    Creation
Range:                     10 yds.
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 1 rd.
Casting Time:          6
Area of Effect:         Square of wood, 6 in./level, 1 in. thick/level
Saving Throw:        None

When this spell is cast, the priest creates small beads of force similar in size to termites. These beads then launch into a targeted section of wood and begin boring through them in winding passageways that greatly reduce the integrity of the wood. When they have reached the extent of the area they can affect, the beads of force wink out of existence. The beads enter the wood in such a way that they are difficult to detect; unskilled observers have only a 1-in-20 chance to spot the holes even if looking closely, while a successful carpentry proficiency check (or similar relevant skill) with a −3 penalty can detect the holes and the damage. All wood affected is dramatically weakened, suffering a −6 penalty to crushing blow saving throws. Force that wouldn’t normally cause a saving throw vs. crushing blow now does so; such activities are up to the adjudication of the DM based on the wood thickness and type but might include characters walking or running while moderately encumbered or weighing 200 lbs. or more.

The caster can affect a square of wood 6 inches to a side per level. Thus, at 8th level, they can cause boreholes to weaken a square section of wood that is 4 feet to a side. The wood can be no thicker than one inch per caster level. Magic that preserves the state of wood or prevents insect infestation blocks this spell. It also fails against enchanted or magical wood.

The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and a dead termite.

Droning Insects (Pr 3; Illusion/Phantasm)
Sphere:                    Animal
Range:                     30 yds.
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 1 turn/level
Casting Time:          6
Area of Effect:         1 creature
Saving Throw:        Neg.

By means of this spell, the caster causes the phantasmal sound of hundreds of buzzing, chirping, and droning insects that only a single target can hear. The sound is low enough of a volume to not completely drown out conversation but is loud enough that the target of the spell is only able to pick up 75% of a nearby conversation that is held at a normal volume; however, it effectively blocks whispered conversations 90% of the time. By contrast, shouted conversations are audible without issue. The noise is irritating and can cover up the soft sounds of another creature’s approach, inflicting a −1 penalty to the victim’s surprise rolls. Further, the distracting noise can cause irritability in a target, inflicting a −2 penalty to NPC reactions, and it affects the individual’s ability to perform complex tasks. Any creature affected by this spell who attempts to cast a spell, utilize a psionic ability, or perform a dangerous or complex task calling for an Ability Check or a Proficiency Check has a harder time succeeding. All such tasks are 10% harder, corresponding to a −2 penalty to relevant rolls. In the case of spellcasting, the creature has a 10% chance of spell failure. Attack and damage rolls, as well as saving throws, are unaffected. Finally, memorizing spells and regaining PSPs is impossible while afflicted by this spell. Only a remove curse or more powerful magic can end the droning insects spell before it has expired.

The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and a dead cricket, grasshopper, cicada, or katydid.

2 Responses to Klikral, the Master of the Mound

  1. EnragedEggplant says:

    This is exactly what I needed. Thank you for your work in general and this post specifically.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *