History Main / HiveCasteSystem

16th Sep '16 11:33:52 AM Morgenthaler
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* ''TechInfantry'' repeats most of the bug castes it borrowed from Literature/StarshipTroopers, but adds Guardian Bugs and Emperor Bugs, gigantic guards and mates for the queen; Drones, a tougher version of Workers that can fight by trying to bite enemies, and gives the Warrior bugs and larger castes the ability to use magic.

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* ''TechInfantry'' ''TabletopGame/TechInfantry'' repeats most of the bug castes it borrowed from Literature/StarshipTroopers, but adds Guardian Bugs and Emperor Bugs, gigantic guards and mates for the queen; Drones, a tougher version of Workers that can fight by trying to bite enemies, and gives the Warrior bugs and larger castes the ability to use magic.
21st Aug '16 10:53:29 AM nombretomado
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* On the opposite extreme, in ''{{Drowtales}}'' it's suggested that because most [[http://wiki.drowtales.com/index.php/Driders driders]] are sterile, there is a mass - egglaying drider queen, though they do not have many specialized castes otherwise.

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* On the opposite extreme, in ''{{Drowtales}}'' ''Webcomic/{{Drowtales}}'' it's suggested that because most [[http://wiki.drowtales.com/index.php/Driders driders]] are sterile, there is a mass - egglaying drider queen, though they do not have many specialized castes otherwise.
12th Aug '16 4:40:05 PM UmbrellasWereAwesome
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* The Yanme'e (Drones) from ''VideoGame/{{Halo}}''

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* The Yanme'e (Drones) from ''VideoGame/{{Halo}}''''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' are a downplayed version of this; they're divided into Queens, Protectors, Domestics, etc., but most Yanme'e castes are physically fairly similar to each other. Also, they use the same high-tech energy weapons as the rest of the Covenant.
30th Jul '16 4:47:52 PM nombretomado
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** Kreen are very social insectoids, but live in networks of small groups, not hives -- so there are basic roles, but no "castes". However, some DarkSun tohr-kreen create lots of SuperSoldier scouts, so modified that the term for them translates as "altered [[WhatMeasureisANonHuman near-person]]" ([[MemoryGambit but scouts don't know this]]).

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** Kreen are very social insectoids, but live in networks of small groups, not hives -- so there are basic roles, but no "castes". However, some DarkSun TabletopGame/DarkSun tohr-kreen create lots of SuperSoldier scouts, so modified that the term for them translates as "altered [[WhatMeasureisANonHuman near-person]]" ([[MemoryGambit but scouts don't know this]]).
7th May '16 8:19:51 PM Discar
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* The Slivers in ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' are pretty solidly this. The trope is played with in that their apparent home plane, Rath, is a DeathWorld, and so even the lowest of the low of them are deadly enough to kill and devour a human--there is no real "worker caste", just "specialized breeds that are useful in this particular tactical environment". Each breed also shares their adaptations with everyone else in the hive.
** Thrulls in [[TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering MotG]] also fit the bill. There are even some that exist primarily to be worn as armor by other creatures.

to:

* The Slivers in ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' are pretty solidly this. The trope is played with in that their apparent home plane, Rath, is a DeathWorld, and so even the lowest of the low of them are deadly enough to kill and devour a human--there is no real "worker caste", just "specialized breeds that are useful in this particular tactical environment". Each breed also shares their adaptations with everyone else in the hive.
**
hive. Thrulls in [[TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering MotG]] also fit the bill. There are even some that exist primarily to be worn as armor by other creatures.



* The ''Franchise/{{Alien}}'' series features several stages of life for Xenomorphs, from facehuggers through chestbursters to your standard double-jawed Giger nightmare. And then there was the Queen, who laid eggs and was [[MamaBear fiercely protective of her offspring]]. It was implied and then later confirmed in the movies, video games, and books that the xenomorphs take on characteristics from the host they gestate within. That explains why a chestbuster coming from a dog looks doglike and why one from a ''Franchise/{{Predator}}'' is bigger than those from humans and has the characteristic mandibles and dreadlocks.
** {{Novelization}}s and ExpandedUniverse material would feature more castes, such as tiny drones (who serve the Queen) and even a "Pretorian class," which was far tougher than the standard Xenomorph.

to:

* The ''Franchise/{{Alien}}'' series features several stages of life for Xenomorphs, from facehuggers through chestbursters to your standard double-jawed Giger nightmare. And then there was the Queen, who laid eggs and was [[MamaBear fiercely protective of her offspring]]. It was implied and then later confirmed in the movies, video games, and books that the xenomorphs take on characteristics from the host they gestate within. That explains why a chestbuster coming from a dog looks doglike and why one from a ''Franchise/{{Predator}}'' is bigger than those from humans and has the characteristic mandibles and dreadlocks.
**
dreadlocks. {{Novelization}}s and ExpandedUniverse material would feature more castes, such as tiny drones (who serve the Queen) and even a "Pretorian class," which was far tougher than the standard Xenomorph.



* ''Literature/StarshipTroopers''. In the original novel, there were workers, who couldn't fight but were available in huge numbers and useful for diversions; Warriors, who fought with technological weapons equal to those of the Mobile Infantry; Brain Bugs, who psychically controlled most of the rest; and Queens, who laid eggs in huge numbers but did little else.
** Partially averted, however; workers and warriors (which compose 99% of the race) are nearly identical in appearance. This is actually a plot point, when a massive decoy force -- composed entirely of non-aggressive workers -- is used as a feint.

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* ''Literature/StarshipTroopers''. In the original novel, there were workers, who couldn't fight but were available in huge numbers and useful for diversions; Warriors, who fought with technological weapons equal to those of the Mobile Infantry; Brain Bugs, who psychically controlled most of the rest; and Queens, who laid eggs in huge numbers but did little else.
** Partially averted, however;
else. However workers and warriors (which compose 99% of the race) are nearly identical in appearance. This is actually a plot point, when a massive decoy force -- composed entirely of non-aggressive workers -- is used as a feint.



* The Parshendi from ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'' have a partial variant of this. Each Parshendi is able to assume one of several different forms using the {{Mana}} from the frequent highstorms. At the start of the series, they know five forms, plus a sixth. First is warform, which grants strength and causes them to grow plate armor. Workform has strength comparable to warform, but lacks the armor and has a mental block against violence. Mateform is used for reproduction, while nimbleform is quick and dexterous. There is also dullform, a baseline form with no advantages. Finally, we have slaveform, the near-mindless "absence of form" in which the vast majority of Parshendi exist, and which is used by the humans as a SlaveRace.
** [[spoiler: During the second book, they unlock stormform, which grants ShockAndAwe powers but [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity opens the wearer to possession by Odium]].]]

to:

* The Parshendi from ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'' have a partial variant of this. Each Parshendi is able to assume one of several different forms using the {{Mana}} from the frequent highstorms. At the start of the series, they know five forms, plus a sixth. First is warform, which grants strength and causes them to grow plate armor. Workform has strength comparable to warform, but lacks the armor and has a mental block against violence. Mateform is used for reproduction, while nimbleform is quick and dexterous. There is also dullform, a baseline form with no advantages. Finally, we have slaveform, the near-mindless "absence of form" in which the vast majority of Parshendi exist, and which is used by the humans as a SlaveRace. \n** [[spoiler: During the second book, they unlock stormform, which grants ShockAndAwe powers but [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity opens the wearer to possession by Odium]].]]



* The Tyranids from TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} don't have castes per se, but various different types of Tyranid creatures bred to do a specific job, ranging from enormous Hive Ships to not-quite-as-enormous (but still as big as most HumongousMecha) Biotitans to various Synapse Creatures (that control lesser Tyranid creatures) to tank-sized montrosities and smaller and more numerous warrior organisms. Non-combat Tyranid creatures include the Norn Queen (that breeds other Tyranids inside the Hive Ships), capillary towers and mycetic spores (organic drop pods). Even their weapons and ammo are Tyranid creatures.
** Granted, they are [[HumanoidAliens not]] bug people, but the [[ScaryDogmaticAliens Tau]] have a caste system where members of each caste possess different physiology. The military Fire caste are tall and strong, the pilot Air caste are slender and have better depth-perception and G-force tolerance, and the worker Earth caste are short and stocky.
* The [[LizardFolk Lizardmen]] of TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}} fantasy have the Skinks (drones) Saurus (warriors) and Kroxigor (workers) with the [[WitchSpecies Slann]] as the kind of 'Queen Bee'.
** Although all four of them will fight if called upon. The Skinks also act as scribes and overseers to the others, (and some can do magic) while the Kroxigor double up as [[GiantMook Giant Mooks]] in battle.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' has the Formians, an ant-like Outsider race with various specialized subtypes (worker, warrior, elite warrior, winged warrior, giant warrior, observer, taskmaster, and queen). All outsider types are specialized in a similar, although less overtly insectoid, way; Modrons are the most obvious.

to:

* The Tyranids from TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} don't have castes per se, but various different types of Tyranid creatures bred to do a specific job, ranging from enormous Hive Ships to not-quite-as-enormous (but still as big as most HumongousMecha) Biotitans to various Synapse Creatures (that control lesser Tyranid creatures) to tank-sized montrosities and smaller and more numerous warrior organisms. Non-combat Tyranid creatures include the Norn Queen (that breeds other Tyranids inside the Hive Ships), capillary towers and mycetic spores (organic drop pods). Even their weapons and ammo are Tyranid creatures.
**
creatures. Granted, they are [[HumanoidAliens not]] bug people, but the [[ScaryDogmaticAliens Tau]] have a caste system where members of each caste possess different physiology. The military Fire caste are tall and strong, the pilot Air caste are slender and have better depth-perception and G-force tolerance, and the worker Earth caste are short and stocky.
* The [[LizardFolk Lizardmen]] of TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}} fantasy have the Skinks (drones) Saurus (warriors) and Kroxigor (workers) with the [[WitchSpecies Slann]] as the kind of 'Queen Bee'.
**
Bee'. Although all four of them will fight if called upon. The Skinks also act as scribes and overseers to the others, (and some can do magic) while the Kroxigor double up as [[GiantMook Giant Mooks]] in battle.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' has the ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'':
** The
Formians, an ant-like Outsider race with various specialized subtypes (worker, warrior, elite warrior, winged warrior, giant warrior, observer, taskmaster, and queen). All outsider types are specialized in a similar, although less overtly insectoid, way; Modrons are the most obvious.



* Hivers in ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars'' are organized in clans centered around a princess, who has birthed all members of that clan. Aside from birthing princesses, hivers come in three kinds: Workers (scientists, engineers, artists, etc.), warriors (heavy manual labor, high-risk work, soldiers, etc.) and princes (sexually active and otherwise basically big, intelligent warriors). Each of the castes can apparently be further divided, as the princess is able to modify her eggs to slightly specialize the role of the hiver that hatches from it -- she can, for instance, make a clutch of soldiers slightly more radiation-resistant than normal to work in fallout clearance, but she can't make soldiers with wings and acid-spitting. Hivers thus use a panoply of technology (guns, tanks, starships, armour, etc.) roughly equal to those of humans and tarka, and nothing strictly prevents a worker from picking up one of their guns and using it... Apart from the problem that said gun was likely built for a soldier and weighs a bit more than your average worker can handle.

to:

* Hivers in ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars'' Hivers:
** Hivers
are organized in clans centered around a princess, who has birthed all members of that clan. Aside from birthing princesses, hivers come in three kinds: Workers (scientists, engineers, artists, etc.), warriors (heavy manual labor, high-risk work, soldiers, etc.) and princes (sexually active and otherwise basically big, intelligent warriors). Each of the castes can apparently be further divided, as the princess is able to modify her eggs to slightly specialize the role of the hiver that hatches from it -- she can, for instance, make a clutch of soldiers slightly more radiation-resistant than normal to work in fallout clearance, but she can't make soldiers with wings and acid-spitting. Hivers thus use a panoply of technology (guns, tanks, starships, armour, etc.) roughly equal to those of humans and tarka, and nothing strictly prevents a worker from picking up one of their guns and using it... Apart from the problem that said gun was likely built for a soldier and weighs a bit more than your average worker can handle.



*** Reborn Hivers usually keep their original name with the infix "zo" added. For example, the novel ''Deacon's Tale'' features a prince named Chezokin, who used to be a worker named Chekin.

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*** ** Reborn Hivers usually keep their original name with the infix "zo" added. For example, the novel ''Deacon's Tale'' features a prince named Chezokin, who used to be a worker named Chekin.



* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' has had insectoid races since its first incarnation, beginning with the Silithids and their more advanced cousins the Qiraji, which are differentiated into such castes as worker, flyer, tank, soldier and queen.

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* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'':
** The game
has had insectoid races since its first incarnation, beginning with the Silithids and their more advanced cousins the Qiraji, which are differentiated into such castes as worker, flyer, tank, soldier and queen.



* ''WesternAnimation/RoughnecksStarshipTroopersChronicles'' The animated TV series kept all the new bugs from the movie, and added the Transport Bugs, huge bugs that serve as [[LivingShip Living Starships]]; Ripplers, acid-dart-spitting variations on the Hoppers; Firefries, bugs that spit flame, and Ice Bugs, huge bugs that hide as ice-covered asteroids and live in a symbiotic relationship with the Firefries. There are various other insectlike species on several planets, but it's unclear if they're part of the Bugs or just dangerous animals; the Bugs can [[YouWillBeAssimilated assimilate other species or absorb traits from them]], so variations in appearance don't tell you much.
** The last two campaigns introduced Bugs based on human DNA, infiltrators that on Klendathu needed to wear MI armor to pass for human but could actually shapeshift in the Earth campaign.

to:

* ''WesternAnimation/RoughnecksStarshipTroopersChronicles'' The animated TV series kept all the new bugs from the movie, and added the Transport Bugs, huge bugs that serve as [[LivingShip Living Starships]]; Ripplers, acid-dart-spitting variations on the Hoppers; Firefries, bugs that spit flame, and Ice Bugs, huge bugs that hide as ice-covered asteroids and live in a symbiotic relationship with the Firefries. There are various other insectlike species on several planets, but it's unclear if they're part of the Bugs or just dangerous animals; the Bugs can [[YouWillBeAssimilated assimilate other species or absorb traits from them]], so variations in appearance don't tell you much.
**
much. The last two campaigns introduced Bugs based on human DNA, infiltrators that on Klendathu needed to wear MI armor to pass for human but could actually shapeshift in the Earth campaign.
22nd Jan '16 8:43:31 PM HeraldAlberich
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[[folder:Film]]

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[[folder:Film]][[folder:Film Animated]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Antz}}'', even though the ants are PettingZooPeople, soldier ants are about twice the size of workers and have {{Heroic Build}}s. The Queen has an enlarged abdomen and gives birth every ten seconds, though Princess Bala does not yet look any different from a worker.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film Live-Action]]
17th Jan '16 6:48:39 AM Sharlee
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* Some species of tiny gall-infesting insects (aphids, thrips) and three species of sponge-parasitic shrimps live in colonies of closely-related or clonal individuals, some of which develop enlarged mandibles/pincers to serve as a "soldier" caste and defend the colony.

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* Some species of tiny gall-infesting insects (aphids, thrips) and three species of sponge-parasitic shrimps live in colonies of closely-related or clonal individuals, some of which develop enlarged mandibles/pincers to serve as a "soldier" caste. As breeding isn't restricted to a single female, inbreeding and mutual defense of a "fortress" gall or sponge seem to be the drivers for caste and defend the colony.evolution in these instances.
17th Jan '16 6:45:44 AM Sharlee
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Added DiffLines:

* Some species of tiny gall-infesting insects (aphids, thrips) and three species of sponge-parasitic shrimps live in colonies of closely-related or clonal individuals, some of which develop enlarged mandibles/pincers to serve as a "soldier" caste and defend the colony.
* One Australian beetle (''Austroplatypus incompertus'') is now known to demonstrate a simple form of eusociality, with a single breeding female producing lots of offspring that excavate tunnels in trees and care for her young.
14th Jan '16 10:07:08 AM Piando
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* The manga version of ''ChronoCrusade'' mixes this trope with FantasticCasteSystem for the demons. Although we're never told the details of the system, demons often talk about the "rank" of themselves and other demons, and the higher the "rank", the less beast-like and more intelligent and powerful the demon seems to be. There also seems to be clearly defined roles for demons--among the ones the audience learns about are Pursuers (which seem to be Demon Cops of some sort), soldiers, Sinners (outcasts), and Pandaemonium, the HiveQueen.

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* The manga version of ''ChronoCrusade'' ''Manga/ChronoCrusade'' mixes this trope with FantasticCasteSystem for the demons. Although we're never told the details of the system, demons often talk about the "rank" of themselves and other demons, and the higher the "rank", the less beast-like and more intelligent and powerful the demon seems to be. There also seems to be clearly defined roles for demons--among the ones the audience learns about are Pursuers (which seem to be Demon Cops of some sort), soldiers, Sinners (outcasts), and Pandaemonium, the HiveQueen.



* The Slivers in ''MagicTheGathering'' are pretty solidly this. The trope is played with in that their apparent home plane, Rath, is a DeathWorld, and so even the lowest of the low of them are deadly enough to kill and devour a human--there is no real "worker caste", just "specialized breeds that are useful in this particular tactical environment". Each breed also shares their adaptations with everyone else in the hive.
** Thrulls in [[MagicTheGathering MotG]] also fit the bill. There are even some that exist primarily to be worn as armor by other creatures.

to:

* The Slivers in ''MagicTheGathering'' ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' are pretty solidly this. The trope is played with in that their apparent home plane, Rath, is a DeathWorld, and so even the lowest of the low of them are deadly enough to kill and devour a human--there is no real "worker caste", just "specialized breeds that are useful in this particular tactical environment". Each breed also shares their adaptations with everyone else in the hive.
** Thrulls in [[MagicTheGathering [[TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering MotG]] also fit the bill. There are even some that exist primarily to be worn as armor by other creatures.



** Novelisations and ExpandedUniverse material would feature more castes, such as tiny drones (who serve the Queen) and even a "Pretorian class," which was far tougher than the standard Xenomorph.

to:

** Novelisations {{Novelization}}s and ExpandedUniverse material would feature more castes, such as tiny drones (who serve the Queen) and even a "Pretorian class," which was far tougher than the standard Xenomorph.



* In ''BabylonFive'' the insectoid race Gaim is divided into several castes like queens, warriors, workers and the only humanoids ambassadors. [[AllThereInTheManual Not that you'll know this from the show itself.]] There is also fan speculation about a caste system among the Drakh, because of the very different look of the leaders and soldiers.

to:

* In ''BabylonFive'' ''Series/BabylonFive'' the insectoid race Gaim is divided into several castes like queens, warriors, workers and the only humanoids ambassadors. [[AllThereInTheManual Not that you'll know this from the show itself.]] There is also fan speculation about a caste system among the Drakh, because of the very different look of the leaders and soldiers.



* The Skrall in ''{{Bionicle}}'' are a gender-segregated version of this. Among the males, there are the nameless "warrior" Skrall, which make up most of the population and serve as {{Mooks}}, then the Elite Skrall (Bigger, more powerful Skrall ), and finally the enormous Leader Class who are in charge of the Skrall society. The females [[LadyLand live separately]] to the males, and it's implied that the only interaction between the genders consists of fighting or mating. The [[GenderRestrictedAbility females also have]] PsychicPowers.

to:

* The Skrall in ''{{Bionicle}}'' ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'' are a gender-segregated version of this. Among the males, there are the nameless "warrior" Skrall, which make up most of the population and serve as {{Mooks}}, then the Elite Skrall (Bigger, more powerful Skrall ), and finally the enormous Leader Class who are in charge of the Skrall society. The females [[LadyLand live separately]] to the males, and it's implied that the only interaction between the genders consists of fighting or mating. The [[GenderRestrictedAbility females also have]] PsychicPowers.



* {{Pikmin}}. They're far cuter than most examples on this list, they're [[PlantAliens plant-based]], and they're stuck on the bottom of the food chain without the player's guidance. With the player's guidance, they quickly fly up the food chain.

to:

* {{Pikmin}}.VideoGame/{{Pikmin}}. They're far cuter than most examples on this list, they're [[PlantAliens plant-based]], and they're stuck on the bottom of the food chain without the player's guidance. With the player's guidance, they quickly fly up the food chain.



* Hivers in ''SwordOfTheStars'' are organized in clans centered around a princess, who has birthed all members of that clan. Aside from birthing princesses, hivers come in three kinds: Workers (scientists, engineers, artists, etc.), warriors (heavy manual labor, high-risk work, soldiers, etc.) and princes (sexually active and otherwise basically big, intelligent warriors). Each of the castes can apparently be further divided, as the princess is able to modify her eggs to slightly specialize the role of the hiver that hatches from it -- she can, for instance, make a clutch of soldiers slightly more radiation-resistant than normal to work in fallout clearance, but she can't make soldiers with wings and acid-spitting. Hivers thus use a panoply of technology (guns, tanks, starships, armour, etc.) roughly equal to those of humans and tarka, and nothing strictly prevents a worker from picking up one of their guns and using it... Apart from the problem that said gun was likely built for a soldier and weighs a bit more than your average worker can handle.

to:

* Hivers in ''SwordOfTheStars'' ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars'' are organized in clans centered around a princess, who has birthed all members of that clan. Aside from birthing princesses, hivers come in three kinds: Workers (scientists, engineers, artists, etc.), warriors (heavy manual labor, high-risk work, soldiers, etc.) and princes (sexually active and otherwise basically big, intelligent warriors). Each of the castes can apparently be further divided, as the princess is able to modify her eggs to slightly specialize the role of the hiver that hatches from it -- she can, for instance, make a clutch of soldiers slightly more radiation-resistant than normal to work in fallout clearance, but she can't make soldiers with wings and acid-spitting. Hivers thus use a panoply of technology (guns, tanks, starships, armour, etc.) roughly equal to those of humans and tarka, and nothing strictly prevents a worker from picking up one of their guns and using it... Apart from the problem that said gun was likely built for a soldier and weighs a bit more than your average worker can handle.
8th Jan '16 12:53:28 PM nombretomado
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* Averted in the ''{{Spellsinger}}'' books, where the social ranks of Plated Folk are determined by what ''species'' of insect they are, rather than what caste within a species.

to:

* Averted in the ''{{Spellsinger}}'' ''Literature/{{Spellsinger}}'' books, where the social ranks of Plated Folk are determined by what ''species'' of insect they are, rather than what caste within a species.
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