Tyria is a planet steeped in magic, it flows through the very earth and air in bands of glittering light known as Ley-Lines. Where they intersect forms areas steeped in immense power. As the Pact pushed into the Heart of The Maguuma, they discovered areas of impressive Ley activity. The creatures that inhabit this section of the jungle thrive under the Ley presence and it has influenced their biology to the extent that they are quite unlike anything seen in the jungle before. These are the Chak, a group of insectoid creatures that can harness the magic of Ley Lines and use it to their distinct advantage Chak are social creatures that live in giant colonies never far from others of their kind. From the smallest Chak that patrol the perimeters of their hives to the giant, legendary fighters called upon in times of need, each different type of Chak is built to specialise in certain roles. And all of them work to ensure the survival of their kin. Their bodies vary in size and shape, but most Chak have four to six legs, long antennae, and some form of bio-luminescence. Colours vary from rich orange, to vibrant purple, and soft pink and green. And it is hypothesised that their colouring is used in communication between members of the colony. The larger Chak in particular appear to signal with the lights emitted from their antennae. Sometimes they flash one colour, and sometimes two, and sometimes, often after acts of aggression, they do not glow at all. What they cannot communicate by sight Chak transmit via song calling out to each other across the caverns and tunnels in their peculiar, distinctive voices. Chak live in giant, sprawling structures called hives that interweave the Ley Line infused stones. Access to the colony is limited to a few opening pathways, and the Chak patrol these tunnels to attack anything that tries to enter. Sometimes, the Chak block unused tunnels with hardened blue goop, sealing access and keeping any potential dangerous visitors out. Deep underground, there is even a Chak hive cloaked in a poisonous cloud secreted by members of the colony. The insects are impervious to its effects, but any visitor without special alchemical training will succumb quickly. Chak lay their eggs in these areas where they have access to uninterrupted Ley energy. The developing embryos require high levels of magic to properly grow. Chak eggs absorb magic voraciosly, and eggs can even be induced to develop more quickly by bathing them in more magic. When walking through Tangled Depths, the eggs are visible floating through the Ley Lines in gaps in the hive’s tunnels. These eggs are roughly oval shaped, and glitter with an iridescent sheen. Sometimes, the Chak lay or move their eggs into clusters and protect them with rock like armour. They appear to cocoon these eggs in congealed ley energy thought to aid their development. Here and there between these clusters are combs filled with Ley energy, and both the newly hatched babies and the adult Chak can feed here. Chak are believed to be a Eusocial species, a term given to creatures that live in colonies with distinct characteristics. Notably, they appear to share the burden of caring for their young and members of the colony have highly specialised abilities that differ between them. At the bottom of the hierarchy are the smaller Chak that act somewhat akin to soldiers. Their physiology allows them to transform the magic within Ley energy into methods of attack, which they use to protect their hives from threats and outsiders. The Chak zapper uses consumed magic to focus its energy into a beam of powerful energy. The spines on its head spark and pulse with this magic, which can be used to form a shield around the Chak whenever it is threatened. And the Chak Slinger produces and stores a vibrant blue goop that it secretes and throws at outsiders. If coated in this goop, a creature may become overwhelmed and stuck, unable to move as they are slowly suffocated, or crushed by the swarming Chak. Above them are the Blitzers and the Lobbers. Much like the Zappers and Slingers, they utilise magic to concoct powerful attacks. The Chak Zapper has an elongated abdomen with specialised organs used to store and manipulate Ley energy. They can focus magic into a sphere that can be directed into a shield, or thrown towards an intruder. And the Chak Lobber’s potential for destruction is aided by its production of acidic goop. It rushes at its foes and stomps them into the ground, and covers them in burning, clinging liquid. Other Chak are specialised to support their kin more than attack aggressively. These Chak Bracers and Sappers are smaller, winged Chak that house Ley magic in the four protrusions on their backs. Their elongated tail like appendages can direct this power into a beam that either weakens foes, or strengthens allies. It provides a jolt of magic that energises Chak, and these flying creatures are seen flitting amongst the Chak both inside and outside their hives. The Chak Lurker on the other hand, uses camouflage and patience to monitor the approaches to their hives. They hide, high on stone pillars and walls and wait for passers by. If anyone approaches, they jump down and attack, using their armoured front legs to jab and stab at threatening foes. Other Chak are impressive because of their commanding presence, and unrivalled manipulation of ley energy. The Chak crown, one of the highest ranking Chak in the colony, is rarely seen. When it ventures from the hive it wreaks devastation in its path. and all other creatures flee from its presence. It is thought to emerge when it senses disturbances in the environment, and it always brings an entourage of Chak with it. The crown produces goop similar to the lobbers that accompany it, but it can also eject pockets of magic that explode on impact with devastating results. It’s ability to incapacitate is second to none. Perhaps the only Chak that can come close to the Crown’s grandeur are those Chak called upon in the most dire of defensive circumstances. As the Pact looked from Tangled Depths to Dragon’s Stand, their increased activity drew unwanted attention. The soldiers and scholars needed to harness the energy of the Confluence hub to power machinery in order to open a pathway to the Dragon’s Domain. But there are creatures here who had already laid claim to the magic. And they are fiercely protective of it. They saw the soldiers as encroaching on their territory, and responded with force. The Chak unleashed the Gerents, towering beasts with heavily shielded heads and thick, powerful tails. These Chak are built for attack, with forward facing eyes, giant jaws, and crushing forelimbs. They burrow underground, unseen, until they are provoked. These Chak will throw themselves into a fight, rushing headfirst into entire units of soldiers; even the towering Golems of Nata Novus do little to disuade the Gerents’ wrath. The Gerents often emit pheromones that expand and envelopes an area, poisoning everything that touches it, and what the poison doesn’t kill, the walls of swarming, chittering Chak soldiers will. The Chak seem voracious and aggressive when viewed from an outside perspective. Their actions in Tangled Depths and Dragon’s Stand, and the sheer size and of their giant hive structures paint their colonies as invasive, pervasive and sprawling. Yet, when put in context of the environment it becomes easier to see them in a different light. Chak, creatures of adaptability and resilience, are simply predisposed to utilising their habitat in the best, most efficient way. They reproduce very quickly to make the most of gluts of food, ever aware of the likelihood that the magic will shift in flow and disappear at any time. Standing in one of their old, abandoned hives drives this fact home. Here, the arching coral-red structures are dull and chalky. A few lonely Chak remain, lurking in the shell of their abandoned home, but nowhere near as many as would be in a healthy hive. Whether you view Chak as aggressive pests or fascinating, complex creatures, there is little disputing the fact that they are wonderfully adapted to their habitat. Their propensity to flock to sources of magic reflects a tenacity to cling to any promise of survival that they can. And their magnificent adaptations give them the best arsenal for both defense, and attack.