NO. APPEARING: 2-8 (50-120 (10d8+40) in lair)
ARMOR CLASS: 4
HIT DICE: 2+2
% IN LAIR: 40%
TREASURE TYPE: Q (X10) and see below
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1
DAMAGE/ ATTACK: 1-6
SPECIAL ATTACKS: +4 to hit with blistering spittle
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Nil
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard
SAVE: Fighter 3
SIZE: S (3' long)
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil
LEVEL/ X.P. VALUE: III/ 50 + 3/hp
Warrior: IV/ 85 + 4/hp
Slasher: IV/ 90 + 5/hp
Burster: III/ 90 + 3/hp
Nymph: I/ 10 +1/hp
Princess: V/ 225 + 6/hp
King: VI/ 350 + 8/hp
Queen: VI/ 550 + 10/hp
Thermites are giant social insects that greatly resemble giant termites and live in colonies made of earthworks, or in the ruins of buildings made by civilized creatures. There are several castes within a single colony of thermites. The most commonly encountered is the thermite worker. Indeed, 90% of encounters will be with thermite workers only.
Thermite workers can attack with a vicious bite, but they can also squirt an unstable metal based compound from gland pits located in their jaw muscles. This spit attack has a range of up to 2” and ignites on contact with air, causing 2-8 (2d4) points of damage. Thermites are so accurate that they are at +4 on “to hit” rolls when using this attack. Workers only have enough chemical reserves to spit once every four rounds.
Warriors are larger versions of the worker class, with huge brown to red-brown heads. They have armor class of 3, 3+3 hit dice, attack for 1-8 points of damage with a bite and can use their spittle attack once every other round, doing 3-12 damage with a successful hit (again, at +4 to hit). They should be treated as size M creatures, reaching almost five feet in length.
Some warriors, called slashers, have exaggerated mandibles. These are similar to other warriors, but have 4+1 hit dice, do 2-12 points of damage with a bite, and lack a spit attack.
Bursters are similar in size and appearance to workers, but are specialists in suicide attacks. Instead of spitting a chemical solution, they engage an enemy in close combat, then use their oversized jaw muscles to rip their glands apart. This destroys the burster, but also causes 4-24 (4d6) damage to their opponent. A save vs dragon breath is allowable to reduce this damage by half.
Repletes are specialized workers that are force-fed a diet high in fats and sugars. They act as an emergency food source, willing to vomit up the contents of their storage gullets to their fellows.
Nymphs are immature thermites. They have nearly translucent skin, a weak bite attack (1d3 damage), no effective spit, and only a single hit die. Most are two feet long or smaller. Nymphs are incapable of most worker functions, but can produce silk, which the workers use to help fabricate tunnel and hold back earthworks.
Royal thermites found within a lair will include 1-4 princesses, one king, and one queen. Princesses are similar to warriors in terms of size and other statistics, but have 5+5 hit dice. Similarly, kings will have 6+6 hit dice and queens will have 7+7. All royal thermites have at least average intelligence.
All thermites are capable of speech, though the lower castes are single-minded of purpose and unable to maintain a complex conversation. All thermites serve the royals with unquestioned obedience. They are entirely willing to die for the good of the colony at any time, and never question authority. Royals lack any sense of morality or civilization and see other creatures primarily as food sources. However, they will bargain with other intelligent creatures if they believe that doing so will help the colony.
Thermites can and do feed on plant materials, but due to their caloric requirements and need to produce their glandular secretions, they also need to supplement their diet with animal protein and metal substances. Thermites have also been known to grow fungus gardens on the decaying bodies of giant insects, or to steal eggs from the nests of giant ants.
Thermites do not value treasure, but they know that others do and they have been known to trade with men, dwarves, and humanoids. In addition to the gems described under treasure type, there is a 65% chance that a lair will contain 1,000 to 10,000 gold pieces worth of gold ore pellets. If they discover magic items, the intelligent royal family will make use of these items to the best of their ability.