The Mallek are intended to have a Conan ish Byzantine ish culture. Only, in tunnels. They are enlightened and artistic, quiet except when in their"Nobel Savage" adventuring years. It's a Byzantine barbarian bug rumspringa!
Armored burrower. Mandibles and claws maximized for digging. Drones can exude a glue like substance that coats the dirt behind them and glue it together into permanent cemented tunnels. Live in burrows and tunnels usually fairly close to the surface, but occasionally intersecting with the upper portions of the Dismal. Large family units. Drones, warriors, queens, etc.
They live primarily in badlands, scrublands and desert areas, building huge tunnel complexes all throughout an area. Their burrows are beautifully sculpted, the concrete walls swirled into the crickets' flowing cursive script. The Mallek literally write their history behind them as they go forwards.
They have a complex and sophisticated society. Though their culture is generally quiet, contemplative and communal in nature, their youth often take a period of several years to explore the world and eventually bring knowledge and riches back to the hive. They have agriculture, primarily fungi, molds and algaes that they grow in vast horizontal and vertical fields, almost entirely covering their huge, vaulted farm caverns. They cultivate animals, including other insects. They do however take and keep slaves, of their own or any other race, usually as a manner of resolving debt or punishing criminals. Slaves have some basic rights and a position in the hive, being seen as an important commodity for the tribe.
The drones are a quiet, thoughtful and artistic people. Their warriors however can call upon and find strength in a feral savagery when pressed into battle. Their magic culturally leans towards shamanism/necromancy.
Mallek lore masters are essentially librarians. Culturally, they were raised from birth to recall where all of the stories are told in all of the tunnels. They also do much more, acting as a queen's advisory council, and are traditionally her mates. There is not one single queen. The Mallek are more oligarchical than anything else. Any give city or hive can usually support anywhere up to about a dozen queens, each with her retinue of lore masters, warriors and drones. Mallek rarely make war against each other, and the various queens, soldiers and drones usually live harmoniously.
Mallek age ranges:
11-15 young adult
31-45 middle aged
61 and up Ancient
Trait: 4 arms
Trait: armored (thick carapace)
Trait: Natural Weapons
Trait: tough hide (thin carapace)
Drones gain +1 sp per term that they can out into a domestic or artisan skill.
Queens are immobile, NPC only.