Thri-Kreen 5E: Four-Armed Bugs in Space

One of the most interesting new races offered in Spelljammer: Adventures in Space is the Thri-Kreen. Of course, this race is hardly new. Thri-Kreen have been around since 1E, but their addition into Spelljammer is something of a surprise. Learn more about this playable race in our Thri kreen 5E Guide.

Thri Kreen 5E

thri kreen 5e

Of all the races released in Spelljammer: Adventures in Space, the Thri-Kreen are probably the most familiar to the majority of players. After all, this bug-like race is more commonly linked to several other settings compared to Spelljammer. that said, they are a fun fit for a swashbuckling space campaign.

What are Thri-Kreen in D&D?

Unlike the plasmoids and astral elves, the Thri-Kreen are not new to D&D. In fact, this race has been around since the first edition and is prominent in far-flung parts of the Forgotten Realms. The Thri-Kreen are unique for their two sets of arms and insectile features. This race also has the ability to subtly alter the color of their carapace to blend in with their surroundings. They do not need sleep, instead relying on short periods of inactivity to recharge.

Thri-kreen are not able to speak. Instead, they communicate with each other through a combination of clicking their mandibles and waving their antennae. This type of communication is difficult for non-Thri-kreen to understand. Thankfully, they also have a limited form of telepathy to communicate with other species.

Building a Thri-kreen

Every new race in Spelljammer: Adventures in Space takes a new approach to ability score bonuses. Instead of hardcoding bonuses to specific races, Wizards of the Coast has adopted a new approach that gives you the choice of ability bonuses. Like with the Giff and the Astral Elf, this approach allows you to pay a Thri-kreen without worrying about an inability to optimize your character. The Thri-Kreen is the only Spelljammer option that allows you to place as a Monstrosity.

Ability Scores

There are two different options allowed for in character creation. The right option is entirely up to you. One option available to you is to give a +2 bonus to one ability and a +1 to another. For example, if you are going for a transmutation wizard, you might take +2 to your intelligence and +1 to Dexterity. Alternatively, you could instead take a +1 bonus to three different abilities.


Thri-kreen are unable to speak any discernable language, but that does not mean they can’t understand or write them. When creating a Thri-kreen character, you know common as well as a second language of your choosing. Although you cannot speak it, you have the ability to communicate using those languages to willing creatures using a limited form of telepathy. More on that power below.

Thri-Kreen Traits Breakdown

Thri-Kreen Traits
  • Creature Type: You are a Monstrosity.
  • Lifespan: Your lifespan is roughly 100 years.
  • Size: You are Medium or Small. You choose the size when you select this race.
  • Speed: Your walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Chameleon Carapace:While you aren’t wearing armor, your carapace gives you a base Armor Class of 13 + your Dexterity modifier.

    As an action, you can change the color of your carapace to match the color and texture of your surroundings, giving you advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide in those surroundings.

  • Darkvision:You can see in dim light within 60 feet of yourself as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You discern colors in that darkness only as shades of gray.
  • Secondary Arms:You have two slightly smaller secondary arms below your primary pair of arms. The secondary arms can manipulate an object, open or close a door or container, pick up or set down a Tiny object, or wield a weapon that has the light property.
  • Sleepless:You do not require sleep and can remain conscious during a long rest, though you must still refrain from strenuous activity to gain the benefit of the rest.
  • Thri-kree Telepathy:Without the assistance of magic, you can’t speak the non-thri-kreen languages you know. Instead you use telepathy to convey your thoughts. You have the magical ability to transmit your thoughts mentally to willing creatures you can see within 120 feet of yourself. A contacted creature doesn’t need to share a language with you to understand your thoughts, but it must be able to understand at least one language. Your telepathic link to a creature is broken if you and the creature move more than 120 feet apart, if either of you is incapacitated, or if either of you mentally breaks the contact (no action required).

There are plenty of interesting traits with the Thri-Kreen. There a few mundane powers like Darkvision and a form of Sentry’s Rest. Outside of these common options the rest of the traits are fairly unique. For starters, not many character options give you two sets of arms. This is useful, although your second set of arms have limited uses.

Thri-kreen also receive a limited form of telepathy. The range is 120 feet, but it can only be used to communicate with willing creatures. While you know two languages to begin with, using this telepathic link allows you to communicate with any creature so long as they know at least one language. This is an interesting option. You could find yourself unable to understand a spoken conversation in a foreign language, but you could easily communicate with all of the parties involved using telepathy.

As a Thri-kreen, you also gain a natural carapace. This natural armor is the same that comes with other races like the autognome. Chameleon Carapace offers more than armor. You can also change the color to give yourself advantage on Stealth checks.

Best Classes for Thri-Kreen

Because you have free reign to choose your own ability score bonuses, you are not limited to certain class choices. This frees you up to play the race and class combination you prefer without worrying about optimization. Still, the racial features of the Thri-Kreen could make for a few fun options.

A soulknife rogue immediately comes to mind as a strong option. You will naturally want high dexterity, which powers your natural armor. Speaking of Chameleon Carapace, having the option to secure regular advantage on rolls to Hide is fantastic.

If your DM is a stickler for spellcasting rules, having a second set of arms allows you to carry weapons while having hands empty for somatic casting. There are other situations where carrying weapons can be especially powerful. For example, you could rely on two-weapon fighting while also carrying a shield as long as one of the weapons has the Light feature.

How to Play a Thri-Kreen

Thri-kreen often keep to themselves in Wildspace. Your character might have spent very little time around non-Thri-kreen prior to your adventuring days. This could be an important part of your backstory, especially if you previously lived communally among your kin.

The Inability to Talk

The inability to talk can trip up a lot of players, but it should not hinder your ability to play a thri-kreen. For starters, it is simple to set a home rule that when you are out of combat, any time you speak at the table to the other characters, you are forming a telepathic link with each one individually. It is better to avoid constant clicking noises. However, you could describe simple gestures your character might use to communicate.

Thri-Kreen Names

Unlike previous releases, Spelljammer: Adventures in Space does not provide suggested names for Thri-Kreen characters. Thankfully, previous editions have gone into greater detail about the naming structure for these buglike creatures. Thri-kreen names are typically made up of clicking sounds. these names do not vary by gender, and they do not use surnames. Some examples of names include Chak-tha, Chit’al, Drik-chkit, Gulnik, Kacht-ta, Kat’chka, Kiktul, Klaktuk, Krik, Pak’cha, Pik-ik-cha, Pok, Ptekwe, Tak-tha, Tal’tich, Tilnak, and Tik-tik.

Concluding our Thri-Kreen 5E Guide

That’s it for our Thri kreen 5E Guide. This fun, insectoid race has unique features like color-changing carapace and two sets of arms. If this appeals to you, the Thri-Kreen might be the best option moving forward. If you need a new background, see our Astral Drifter Guide for ideas.

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