Vektiss are clever, mule-sized insects that hunt in packs and attack at night. Fearfully lethal predators, vektiss are among the most dangerous naturally occurring creatures in western Immoren. Vektiss prey upon humans and animals alike. A hunting group of vektiss combines the ruthless efficiency of a hornet swarm with the cunning and tactics of a wolf pack.
An individual vektiss is an insect roughly the size and mass of a small horse or donkey. Its jet-black carapace is covered with dozens of thorny protrusions, and its limbs end in razor-sharp, chitinous scythes, which it uses to draw its prey into its chattering mandibles.
Vektiss are spread wide across the temperate regions of western Immoren, and they can be found in the depths of forests, caves, and even mountainsides. They range as far north as Ohk in Khador and as far south as the southern Scharde Islands, but the desert of the Protectorate of Menoth and the Bloodstone Marches, as well as the extreme cold of northern Khador, seem to provide a natural limitation upon the species. Colonies of vektiss are limited by only two factors: their proximity to a sufficient population of prey such as Skirovik mountain goats, ulk, or even livestock; and ruthless culling by human and trollkin villages. Indeed, an entrenched vektiss colony is so dangerous that even a hardened Tharn tuath will consider relocating.
Vektiss are typically encountered at night while hunting for prey or hosts for their young. Hunting vektiss are invariably male. Their natural camouflage makes them nearly undetectable in the dark, and a pack will surround its chosen prey in nearly complete silence. As one, they will descend upon their victim with tremendous speed, relying on both the shock of their attack and their paralysing venom to overpower their prey in a matter of seconds.
Any prey subdued or killed is dragged back to the colony’s lair. Prey selected to serve as food is consumed immediately or paralysed and bound in thick silk, similar to that of a spider, for future consumption. A worse fate awaits prey selected to serve as host for a vektiss egg. These victims are bound in a special chamber, where a female vektiss lays a single egg in one of their open wounds. The female vektiss then regurgitates a powerful soporific substance into the prey’s mouth. This substance paralyses the victim, which will be kept alive as long as possible. Even after the victim’s death, the poison inhibits decay, ensuring that the young vektiss will have sufficient food available when they hatch.
Vektiss are able to track their eggs with uncanny accuracy and will pursue an implanted victim for great distances, stopping at nothing to retrieve their young. Removing an implanted egg may throw a pack of vektiss off the hunt.