Cranifer (of Terrus)

as found in the pages of the Zd10 Wiki
Xenonym Cranifer
Status Neutral
Home Plane Terrus
Morphology Insectoid Biped
Typoid Insectoid
Native Languages No Native Language
Lifespan 12 Years
Height Data 4'2" — 6'2"
Weight Data 120lbs — 310lbs
Chitin Colors Light Brown, Dark Brown, Amber, Black
Markings Colors White, Brown
Eye Colors Amber, Brown, Black
Physical Distinctions Reinforced legs, nearly vestigial wings
Racial Subcultures White Skulls, Bilgers, Dungrunners, Reptandians
Favored Terrain Any Non-Cold or Non-Desolate
Properties Cranifer Properties

I hate the Craniferi. I loathe them. They were our greatest mistake. When talkin' with folks and I mention that I am Terrusian, they always ask me if that is the homeplane of the Craniferi.

Yes, it is.

But damn it, Terrus is our world. We should have left them the hell alone. Now they are everywhere.

Some legacy we've left...

Xabier Aristizabal, Basajaun Merchant: "Interviews with Terrusians, Vol. XI"


Craniferi are anthropomorphic cockroach-like humanoids that originated on Terrus. Their carapace typically is a shade of brown, though black is also common. While most of them tend to have very minor markings, different circumstances can lead to some having visibly striking examples. This can be dependent on breed, gender, and age. Females are often lacking markings but are usually larger than the males.

Typically they use their top two arms for holding larger objects such as weapons and the like, while their smaller secondary arms are used for fine manipulation. Though they have wings, they are incapable of flying; though they can use them to reduce their speed if they are falling. Their legs are very muscular however, allowing them some capability of leaping, especially when combined with the use of their wings.

Originally from the Reptandic Islands on Terrus, they had no interaction until Humanity began to explore Terrus on a greater scale during the Second Age. During this time, the Reptandic Islands, a chain of islands found off of Malus was discovered. The tropical climate found here had given rise to a wide variety of insect life in the isolated jungles, though none were as numerous as the Craniferi. The explorers managed to catch a small number of them and the sailors made the innocent mistake of thinking they could use the Craniferi as cheap labor on their ship. Little did they know, the Craniferi would eventually spread to a point where they could be found on nearly every plane, all from a small number abducted off of an island.


Originating in a tropical climate, this is their preferred environ and allows them to thrive at their fullest extent. However, due to their tenacious eating and breeding habits combined with their durability, they really can survive anywhere other than regions that are severely barren or in severe cold.

Due to Craniferi eggs being extremely durable and able to survive long periods before hatching, a Craniferi swarm can be destroyed only for it to come back into existence several years later. This also allows their eggs to survive transport rather easily which undoubtedly assisted them in spreading as far and wide as they have.

Luckily, Craniferi are extremely xenophobic which leads them to build settlements away from the cities and towns found on Terrus. They are more comfortable around smaller villages and hamlets which are usually the most ill-equipped to deal with them as a problem. The Craniferi are a nuisance and treated as such.


Craniferi females are larger, stronger and more intelligent than the males of their kind which leads to them having a matriarchal existence. They tend to manage aspects of tribal life while the men act as guards, hunters, and soldiers if need be. Male Craniferi are easily susceptible to pheromones which the females use to control and guide them, given that male Craniferi are extremely dimwitted and shortsighted. They tend to have rather simplistic personalities, usually only focusing on keeping themselves well-fed. They are also aggressive and they are known to enter a sort of frenzy when extremely hungry.

Cranifer constructions are typically large dome-like structures made from mud, dirt, and wood, with more important members of the tribe having larger homes. They will also typically use salvage from their raids that they have no other use for as decorations. Combat wise, the Craniferi prefer the use of spears, with smaller melee weapons being used if their spear is lost or destroyed. They do not use shields, as they prefer to use their speed to avoid damage. The only ranged weapons they tend to use are sharpened sticks which act like javelins.

Of the Craniferi swarms on Terrus, four are the most widely known of to the point where they have earned unique names. There are others on Terrus, though nowhere near the level of the White Skulls, Bilgers, Dungrunners, and Reptandians.

White Skulls

Perhaps the most feared of the Terrusian Craniferi, the White Skulls are thusly named due to a unique marking amongst their kind. Starting on the back of their heads and going down their thorax, they have a white marking that looks almost like a human skull. Thankfully they are not as numerous as some of the swarms present on Terrus, given that they happen to also be the most aggressive.

White Skulls are known to raid settlements and kidnap individuals to eat them. This seems to be a drastic measure though, but given it is one they are known to take, fear of the White Skulls amongst the general populace is warranted.


Known for their limited knowledge of using captured boats, the Bilgers are an annoyance at sea and on land. Known for taking over a vessel, they will lie dormant hoping another ship will investigate. Upon doing so, they will flood the other vessel in an attempt to take it over. While they have some capability of sailing, they have no notions of maintenance, care or proper protocol so a Bilger vessel will fall apart quickly.

Bilgers will sometimes raid coastal settlements. They are often the butt of many jokes amongst sailors as their lack of navigational skills often involves them piloting the ships right up to the shallows, grounding them and leaving them there to rot.


Dungrunners are the most numerous of the Terrusian Craniferi. Living underneath the larger Terrus metropolises and cities with the residents generally being completely unaware of an almost secondary undercity thriving underneath, infesting with Craniferi. They have seemingly developed a less xenophobic tendency which makes them less predictable than other Craniferi.

Given the resources and materials able to be found in the places above where they reside, the Dungrunners are the best equipped of the Craniferi on Terrus. This doesn't mean they have amazing equipment though, but sharp metal attached to a pointy stick is more effective than the pointy stick on its lonesome.


The Reptandic Islands is an area of Terrus that had once housed several nations but sank beneath the waves. During the Second Age, they rose above again, seemingly larger than before. The Reptandians spread from a nearby island covered in jungle (where it is assumed the Craniferi came into existence) to these isles, a combination of ruins, undersea terrain, and cursed lands. Existing in such an area has led the Reptandians to sometimes take on hideous, mutated and chaotic forms.

Luckily, the Reptandians see no need to leave their homes and spread beyond. They are content worshipping a sunken god they call "Kucchamarooch" and living peacefully on the Reptandic Islands.


Craniferi have no supernatural abilities. Their carapaces make them difficult to kill and they are especially resistant to energy damage. They can eat almost anything, including other Craniferi and their excrement if it is necessary. They do have multiple limbs, but their smaller arms are used more often for fine motor control as their larger arms are not able to be used in this manner. They are exceptionally adept at leaping, useful for ambushes or when trying to escape.

Craniferi do possess different abilities and traits based on their genders. The females are smarter, with some capable of reaching a level of intelligence to interact with civilized beings and adventurers. They are also capable of releasing pheromones which they use to guide and direct the more simple-minded males. Males can be whipped into a battle frenzy like state either when hungry or at the whim of a Craniferi female.


Craniferi can be used to fill several roles, but due to their nature, they serve best as either being annoying pests or raiders. Though they are capable of eating anything they prefer tastier foods, so this combined with their scavaging nature makes them natural raiders. Adventurers can have dealings with the more intelligent females, but it will generally only be due to the Cranifer female reaching out for it.

Due to their natural armor and the tendency for the males to enter a battle frenzy, they can be quite dangerous. This combined with the fact they rarely are encountered alone means they should not be underestimated.

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