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A formian appears in the Harrow Deck.
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Formians are a race of territorial, expansionist, ant-like eusocial monstrous humanoids native to the Colonies, a continent located in southern Castrovel.12


Formians possess the upper body of an insectile humanoid and the lower body of a giant ant. More powerful and influential formians are bigger. They speak a language that consists of scent glands and complex clicks that a humanoid's mouth finds hard to pronounce.3


Formians are divided into five main castes, each specialised on a nominated task. Each hive's queen is its ruler and sole egg-layer, and serving her are the myrmarchs, taskmasters, warriors, and workers. All members of a formian hive coordinate through a shared telepathic link.4 In unprecedented circumstances, a formian queen can create mutant castes with abilities adapted to the situation. One such example is the formian mageslayer, specialists trained to fight the King of Biting Ants.5

Formians mostly feed on fruits harvested above their hives, and sometimes supplement their diet with the flesh of predators.6


In ancient times, members of formian hives constantly fought against both each other and Castrovel's other native race, the lashunta. These civil wars ended with the Meeting of Queens, where the leaders of several large hives agreed to work together in service to the concept of an Overqueen, the ultimate authority figure of the formian race. The newly unified Colonies then turned their conflicts toward the lashunta,7 who recognize the formians' Everlasting Queendoms as a perpetual threat.8


Formians build elaborate underground hives that can stretch up to hundreds of square miles. Formians hide the entrances to their hives and keep the ground above largely intact, so from the surface it can be difficult to recognise if one has entered formian territory.6

Formians fiercely defend their territory from intruders and poachers and incessantly seek to expand their presence across the universe. In order to do this, they hollow out asteroids; populate each with a single queen, a few myrmarchs and taskmasters, and hundreds of eggs; shield them with magical protection; and then launch them toward other planets. Not all such attempts succeed, but this has allowed them to spread across the galaxy.16 Successful seed ships often establish colonies beneath the surface of these alien worlds,1 and abandoned formian cities sometimes serve other races, such as the ysoki of Akiton.9


The queen of each formian hive is its absolute monarch. All hives are theoretically independent, though allegiances are common and weaker hives often have to defer to stronger ones.3 Formians that lose their hive for any reason rarely survive long, but those who successfully adapt to the wild or other species tend to become quite powerful.10

On Golarion

Most people on Golarion are unaware of either the formians or lashunta of Castrovel.11 However, formians do live beneath Golarion's surface, particularly around the Beehive in the Barrier Wall mountains of western Katapesh112 and Stonespur in the Hold of Belkzen.13

In magic items

A storykin vision of the Harrow Deck Queen Mother.

The fabled Harrow Deck of Many Things contains a card known as the Queen Mother, which depicts a formian. Drawing this card from the deck causes formians to appear and provide aid, although they are unlikely to share a language or culture.14

In the Great Beyond

A colony of three sterile formian queens live in the Vault of the Onyx Citadel, within a region known as Greensend.1516

The infernal duke Furcas of Forked Pyre uses the adamantine claw of an ancient formian titan named Legionnaire as the gate to the hellmouth Voulgaz.17


For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Ethan Day-Jones, Jim Groves, Jonathan H. Keith, Andrew Romine, David N. Ross, and James L. Sutter. (2014). People of the Stars, p. 14. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-674-4
  2. James L. Sutter. (2012). Distant Worlds, p. 11. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-403-0
  3. 3.0 3.1 Michael Sayre. (2021). Adventure Toolbox. Doorway to the Red Star, p. 82. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-375-1
  4. Dennis Baker et al. (2013). Bestiary 4, p. 108ff. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-575-4
  5. Michael Sayre. (2021). Akiton the Red. Doorway to the Red Star, p. 70. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-375-1
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Dennis Baker et al. (2013). Bestiary 4, p. 108. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-575-4
  7. James L. Sutter. (2012). Distant Worlds, p. 12. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-403-0
  8. Benjamin Bruck, et al. (2015). Inner Sea Races, p. 185. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-722-2
  9. Ethan Day-Jones, Jim Groves, Jonathan H. Keith, Andrew Romine, David N. Ross, and James L. Sutter. (2014). People of the Stars, p. 15. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-674-4
  10. Michael Sayre. (2021). Adventure Toolbox. Doorway to the Red Star, p. 84. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-375-1
  11. Ethan Day-Jones, Jim Groves, Jonathan H. Keith, Andrew Romine, David N. Ross, and James L. Sutter. (2014). People of the Stars, p. 10. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-674-4
  12. Stephen S. Greer & Amber E. Scott. (2009). Dark Markets: A Guide to Katapesh, p. 7. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-166-4
  13. Tyler Beck, Jason Garrett, Alex Greenshields, and David Schwartz. (2015). "Bestiary". Belkzen, Hold of the Orc Hordes, p. 55. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-710-9
  14. F. Wesley Schneider & Paizo Staff. (2008). Harrow Deck of Many Things. Crown of Fangs, p. 73. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-109-1
  15. Crystal Frasier. (2017). Continuing the Campaign. Vault of the Onyx Citadel, p. 68. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-952-3
  16. Paris Crenshaw, Kalervo Oikarinen, and Larry Wilhelm. (2017). Bestiary. Vault of the Onyx Citadel, p. 83. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-952-3
  17. F. Wesley Schneider and Jerome Virnich. (2015). Hell Unleashed, p. 41. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-757-4