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The Ashoriath


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The Ashoriath 

 

The Ashoriath are large sentient spiders that have evolved to manipulate and dominate other sentient creatures into doing their bidding. The earliest records of their culture come from the civilizations of adjacent species, regarding the arachnids as divine beings after falling under their sway. An Ashoriath would use their influence to war with the thralls of other Ashoriath in the region, not out of hatred or the desire for more resources, but simply for sport or to impress a potential mate. 

 

The Ashoriath might have existed indefinitely in isolation if not for the eventual evolution of Force sensitive members in their species. Even without proof, they instinctively knew that there was a larger theater upon which to perform their grand manipulations, and they hungered for an existence of true greatness. The Ashoriath have an inherent connection to the Dark Side, and while their initial fumbling flirtations failed, they eventually managed to design blood rituals that would beckon explorers to cross the expansive void and bring their world into a grander game.

 

Biology

 

An adult Ashoriath’s body can be anywhere from one and a half to three meters long, composed of two segments, the cephalothorax and abdomen. They have eight eyes and legs, can see in multiple spectrums, and possess powerful sensory organs designed to register sound and vibration. Internally, a veritable chemistry lab of pheromone replicators and hallucinogenic/euphoric compound excretors provide the Ashoriath with the means to disorient and control the weak minded of prey species. These chemicals could be dispersed into the air around the spider, or injected directly into a victim for a significantly more intense dosage. A stinger in the abdomen can inject a paralyzing venom into prey that also serves as a predigestion agent, turning their insides into soup.

 

While older Ashoriath are capable of weaving vast webs, younger generations have evolved away from that method of hunting, retaining only limited web production capabilities that they generally only use for limited mobility enhancement and creating a personal lair/nest area after inhabiting an area for some time. Most Ashoriath have black carapaces with brightly colored monochrome patterns on their abdomens, and their eyes can be a range of colors such as red, blue, green, orange, or yellow. Their eyes and carapace markings can generate bioluminescence, serving as a threat display and additional layer of expression when communicating. 

 

Ashoriath are capable of near immortal life spans, and so their mating habits are focused more on the availability of territory to expand than replacing older generations. Females display parasitoid behaviours, implanting their eggs in prey species. While the hatchlings are consuming the host they instinctively replicate the neural pathways related to language, allowing them to communicate with that species without having to learn the language. In their galactic expansion, this makes polyglots particularly valuable hosts. There is also an unverified belief that using Force sensitives as hosts will increase the chances of the hatchlings also being Force sensitive. For centuries on their homeworld this led to extreme isolationist behavior, but now that they have gained the ability to colonize other worlds they are beginning to develop communal behaviors. Amongst themselves, the Ashoriath communicate in a combination of infrasound, clicking sounds, and bioluminescent pulses. When communicating with prey species they use a short range (thirty meters) form of local telepathy.

 

Culture

 

Heavily associating their culture with the mentality of apex predation, the Ashoriath regard anything that they can kill or dominate as a prey species, regardless of sentience. While territorial, they are unlikely to directly lash out at each other or create any situation that could be read as vulnerability by outsiders, instead preferring to establish power dynamics through the manipulation of catspaws. There are, however, traditions in place to allow for a truly weak member of the species to be culled if a unanimous consensus of its neighbors find it deficient.

 

Despite being megalomaniacal murder spiders, the Ashoriath are extremely egalitarian in terms of gender. Females of the species are judged by the same metric as males, and the self sufficiency of hatchlings along with the ability to indoctrinate attendants mean that female Ashoriath are largely free to pursue their own agendas even when raising hatchlings. The instruction of hatchlings was seen as a communal responsibility even in the old days, with education being a way to further secure the species’ dominance. Ashoriath hatchlings use their telepathy on prey species as a sort of white noise to disrupt their ability to process what they are seeing. Ashoriath lose this ability upon entering adulthood.

 

Despite their superiority complexes, the Ashoriath do appreciate the cultural output of prey species, often curating vast collections of art and music, and using their influence to support artists that appeal to them. The Ashoriath language is itself particularly melodic for those that can hear it. Among their own kind, the Ashoriath see their great games as their cultural art, a medium that expresses their superiority. The exception to this are the Force sensitive Ashoriath, who find deep satisfaction from using the Force to create on their own terms without intermediaries.

 

Ashoriath and the Force

 

The Ashoriath regard Force sensitivity among their own as just another means to become a better predator. They have no interest in its religious aspects, and to them it seems completely logical that the universe would hand over control of its laws to the most powerful species. For obvious reasons, the Ashoriath consider the Sith to be natural allies with similar philosophies.

 

There is a mutant offshoot of Ashoriath that suffers from albinism and severely underdeveloped pheromone replicators, leaving them unable to manipulate prey species like the rest of their species. They’ve compensated by retaining the web production capacity of the older Ashoriath, and tend to hunt along the outskirts of civilization. Ironically, they often develop more symbiotic and genuine relationships with what the other Ashoriath would consider prey species, and it would not be impossible for such an open minded being to potentially consider the Jedi path if it was Force sensitive. Regular Ashoriath tend to disregard these mutants, as they aren’t a threat to territory and technically aren’t a prey species.

 

Both light and dark Ashoriath Force users prefer strategy and planning to brute force, and often consider other species rash and impractical. Dark Ashoriath tend to disdain fieldwork, preferring instead to work behind the scenes as strategists and sorcerers. Despite their terrifying appearances, Ashoriath Jedi would be of great use in subduing criminals and other threats without killing them.


 

   

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