The makluk race has always had a difficult time understanding, and being understood by, the upworlder races. The majority of them live their entire lives hundreds of feet below the surface of the earth. As such, their physiology, mentality, and even perception of the world is radically different from most other sapient races.
Physically, makluks resemble their larger cousins, the umber hulks. (Note that makluks and umber hulks are related approximately as closely as humans and apes, or kobolds and dragons.) Their general body shape is that of a powerful, squat humanoid, with adults ranging from 4.5 to 6 feet tall. Their arms and legs end in large claws that are capable of both gripping cave walls, allowing them to hang at any angle, and cutting through stone at an alarming rate. Their heads resemble that of a massive, misshapen beetle, with enormous mandibles and a dizzying array of eye-like depressions. The skin of a makluk is somewhere between carapace and scales, and colors can range from a yellowish-brown to a deep rust.
Makluks have no eyes, and hence have no appreciation of light, color, or the written word. However, the pits on their face are actually ear-like organs, giving them a remarkable sense of their surroundings through echolocation and tremorsense. Underground, this allows them to accurately “see” everything within approximately 90’, including anything that is moving behind walls. Above ground, this sense is less accurate, only extending 20’ with accuracy (treat as though seeing with full light to 20’, dim light to 60’).
Food is a perennial problem for the carnivorous makluks. Hunting for large cave insects, worms, and oozes is sparse at best. The makluks will often dig shafts to the surface. They then will spook a herd of animals towards these shafts, delivering a bounty of flesh to the colony below.
The society of makluks is one of strict castes, highly formal interactions, and firm gender roles. However, the details get very specific, and can vary from colony to colony. A given person belongs to at least three different castes: one based on family line, one based on profession, and one based on age. A person may also belong to castes based on religion, hobbies, marital status, veteran or hunter status, and wealth. These caste memberships interact and overlap in numerous ways, establishing fixed distances of intimacy and rank for every social event. Outsiders who attempt to master these systems are often baffled. The makluks are similarly baffled by the comparatively loose systems of class used by other races, and frequently feel uncomfortable and adrift without their strict codes of behavior.
Gender roles among the makluks are strictly enforced. Women are in charge of the home and the family (including acting as the head of the household). Priests are also almost exclusively women, as men are seen as insufficiently nurturing. Men are in charge of activities outside the home, such as hunting, war, commerce, and crafts. Men and women dress differently, speak differently, and in some colonies even use different tunnels for travel. It is worth noting, however, that many of the makluks encountered in the upworld are those that specifically are rejecting these expectations and restrictions.
- +2 Str, -2 Cha
- Blind, blindsight 20’ (60’ underground), tremorsense 20’
- Burrow 10
- Natural weapons (claws)
- Natural armor 2