The Kesu (key-soo) are an race with traits and abilities similar to many types of insects. They are rugged and durable, and can live in a wide variety of environments, but favor warmer and more arid climates. Despite their alien appearance, the Kesu are a kind and open people. Travelers within their lands are treated fairly, and those that prove their good intentions are often treated to a remarkable degree of hospitality. Some Kesu are driven to adventure by wanderlust and curiosity. Other adventure if some tragedy has befallen their nests, and they venture into the world seeking redemption (or vengeance).
Kesu have an average height of 5ft and weigh around 120lbs. Their bodies are supported by a segmented exoskeleton, which is further supported by a hollow boned internal skeleton in the legs, torso and skull. This exoskeleton comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns, with yellow, green, red, blue, and black being the most common. Most Kesu within a colony group share similar coloration. Every few years a Kesu will molt and regrow their exoskeleton, often with a slightly altered pattern or coloration.
Their hands are three fingered and they have a secondary set of small vestigial arms slightly below their main pair. They have large “primary” eyes, and a smaller secondary set that improves their vision in poor lighting. Their senses are heightened by their antennae, which are sensitive to scents and vibrations.
The Kesu have three genders; male, female, and drone. The approximately 50% of Kesu are Drones, with a even distribution of males and females within the remainder. Kesu males have a pair of iridescent wings, which are strong enough to allow gliding (or full flight in some cases). Kesu females have exoskeletons that are dramatically patterned, as opposed to the relatively flat colored drones and males.
Kesu normally do not need clothing, and do not wear any beyond the occasional cloak or robe. They do appreciate adornment, and spot necklaces, belts, and bracelets made of fine materials.
The Kesu are diurnal, but can adjust their sleeping patterns as needed. Their diets are primarily omnivorous and have a special fondness for shellfish and other types of arthropods. They also appreciate sweets and liquors.
Kesu reproduce sexually. Females are fertile primarily during the summer months (although early or late clutches are not uncommon). Kesu gestation lasts 3 months, after which the female lays a clutch of 4-6 eggs. These eggs hatch after an additional 2 months. Typically 50% of these eggs are sterile drones. Infant Kesu are larval, worm like creatures.Larva are largely helpless for the first 2 years of life, after which they pupate into smaller versions of their adult form. Kesu achieve maturity after approximately 13 years.
The Kesu are very social, and gather together in large communities. Their primary social grouping is the Nest which is an extended family group consisting of 1-3 females (the eldest is called Mother, while any others are called Aunts), their male consorts (each female traditionally has only one consort, but 2 or more males per female is not unheard of), and their off spring. Drones are genderless and sterile, but are honored as the caretakers and protectors of the Kesu. Most Kesu settlements are comprised of a large number of related Nests, with the leader of the settlement having the title of “Great Mother” or “Great Lord”.
The Kesu are commonly seen as good neighbors, trading freely and frequently with other races and communities. Even when confronting hostile forces, the Kesu will try to resolve things diplomatically before resorting to violence. The only exception to this is when dealing with the Zacti. “Zacti” itself is Kesu word meaning “Plague”, and the Kesu show no mercy when dealing with Zacti incursion.
Alignment & Religion
The Kesu are cooperative and have a respect for the life and well being of others, making most Good with a slight bias to lawfulness. However, threatening a Kesu nest or extended community can rouse them to violence, and most evil Kesu are ones who take these values to an extreme.
The Kesu do not worship any specific deities, but do honor totem spirits representing the elements of Air, Earth, Fire, Water, and Wood.
The Kesu are a versatile people, and can occupy many different roles with great skill. Kesu Warriors are typically Fighters, Monks or Rangers, but reserve a place of honor for Paladins dedicated to defending their people. They favor divine magic over arcane, and most Kesu spells casters are Clerics, Druids, Oracle, or Shaman, but they have a strong Bardic tradition as well.
+ 2 Constitution, + 2 Charisma, -2 Intelligence; The Kesu have impressive reserves of stamina and a keenly developed sense of community, but are somewhat literal minded and unimaginative.
Medium Size Humanoid (Kesu, Insectoid)
Speed: Kesu base land speed is 30ft. Kesu also have a base Climb speed of 20ft.
Low-Light Vision: Kesu can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
Empathic Instinct: Kesu have a natural talent for understanding the emotions of others, and always treat Diplomacy and Sense Motive as class skills.
Exoskeleton: Kesu get a + 1 Natural Armor bonus due to their durable exoskeletons.
Keen Senses: Kesu have large eyes and sensitive antennae, giving them sharp senses. Kesu receive a + 2 racial bonus to Perception checks.
Kesu Stamina: Kesu receive a +4 racial bonus on Constitution checks and Fortitude saves to avoid fatigue and exhaustion, as well as any other ill effects from running, forced marches, starvation, thirst, and hot or cold environments.
Aging Effects: Adult 13 Middle Age 30 Old 45 Venerable 60 Maximum 60+2d10
Languages: Kesu begin play speaking Esuro, Southern and one other language. Kesu with high intelligence scores can choose from the following; Draconic, Ignan, or Sylvan.
Alternative Racial Traits
Engineer: Kesu with this ability have a natural aptitude for devices and structures, and always consider Disable Device and Knowledge: Engineering class skills. This replaces Empathic Instinct.
Gliding Wings: Kesu males have wings that are developed enough to allow limited flight. They take no damage from falling (as if subject to a constant non-magical feather fall spell). While in midair, Kesu Males can move up to 5 feet in any horizontal direction for every 1 foot they fall, at a speed of 60 feet per round. The Kesu Male cannot gain height with these wings alone; he merely coasts in other directions as he falls. If subjected to a strong wind or any other effect that causes him to rise, he can take advantage of the updraft to increase the distance he can glide. This replaces Empathic Instinct and Keen Senses.
Hive Speaker: The Kesu is able to form an empathic connection with arthropods. This ability functions as the druid’s wild empathy, save that the Kesu can only use this ability on arthropods(creatures such as crustaceans, insects, and arachnids). The Kesu gains a +4 racial bonus on this check. Most arthropods are mindless, but this empathic communication imparts on them a modicum of implanted intelligence, allowing Kesu to train such creatures as pets, draft animals, and guardians. This replaces Empathic Instinct.
Pain Tolerance: Kesu with this trait have an withstand remarkable amounts of pain and physical trauma. The Kesu gains Diehard as a bonus feat (even if they do not have the prerequisite Endurance feat). This replaces Kesu Stamina.
Secondary Limbs: The Kesu’s secondary limbs are stronger and more nimble than usual, and can be used to carry objects. They cannot wield weapons with their extra limbs, but can retrieve small stowed objects carried on their persons as a swift action. This replaces Empathic Instinct.
Thick Carapace: The Kesu’s exoskeleton is thicker and denser than normal, granting a +2 Natural Armor bonus to AC and Acid Resistance 5. This replaces Exoskeleton and Keen Senses.