This is the second in our weekly series introducing the playable species of Crucible. Last week we featured the Akrasi.
The insectoid Skirr are the most populous species in Crucible, and one of the friendliest. Skirr live communally, in hives ranging from dozens to thousands of individuals, and there are few cities in the world without sizable Skirr populations.
Skirr are enterprising and inventive. They live surrounded by objects that, while appearing to be junk to other species, can at a moment’s notice be turned into something of use. Freestanding Skirr structures are giant mounds built from scavenged materials, while city hives tend to repurpose existing buildings.
Skirr society is divided into castes, typically including workers, guards, egg-nurses and builders. Most Skirr, while sentient, are happy to fill the role they were born into. Some are bred to a more flexible role to respond to the unexpected, or simply reject the caste imposed on them and leave for greener pastures.
Skirr Suzerains are a combination of governor and community progenitor, and can be male, female or both. While some communities have solitary rulers who birth the entire hive, others have a group working together and come up with their own internal rules and religions. Suzerains of large hives or those in densely populated areas will often breed an advisor caste to manage things while they engage in local politics. Most castes are infertile, and juvenile Suzerains are often used by their elders in arranged unions to secure alliances between hives.
For Skirr, the world is rich with the scent of a vast communal network of information. Aside from the vocalisations and stridulations other species can hear, Skirr release a complex pattern of pheromones that convey position in the hive, their current physical state, the urgency of their current task and myriad other details that enrich their understanding of the local community and environment.
Skirr are constantly aware of this undercurrent of communication, like being awash in gossip and trivia, and can usually pick up the feel of a population even if they don’t know the local spoken language.
For decoration, individualisation and status, Skirr often engrave their exoskeleton with script or patterns meaningful to their hive. Those who can afford it inlay these marks with precious metals or resins mixed with gemstone dust.
Despite the huge variety amongst Skirr, they share one thing: a fascination with the night-time Lumen. From hives who spend each night aloft in giant kites to daring individuals building balloons or pedal-powered ornithopters, or the many workers who end their toil in time to watch the blaze of day fade, more Skirr tales of adventure begin with “As the Lumen turned to silver…” than anything else.
Where Akrasi are experimental and scientific in their approach to the world, Skirr are more practical, and far more likely to sell you some cobbled-together contraption than perfect it.