With the release of Starfinder’s Alien Archive 3, which you can read a full review here on the site, we thought it’d be fun to choose an alien for this weeks Monster Manual article. One of the first races that jumped out of Alien Archive 3 upon reading was the Jinsul. Science fiction settings are no stranger to the classic insect-like monster, and it’s more of a trope at this point in the genre, but Starfinder takes an interesting approach putting their own twist on these creatures. The Jinsul are fanatically religious species. The imagery of a bug-like alien dressed in, what appears to be, religious iconography made me want to learn more, and at the same time, fear an invasion of insectoid murder-machines that want me to go to church. They should get along well with my mother…
Physically, the Jinsul are what you’d expect from an insect race: six legs, a set of forelimbs, and hooked pincers. What you didn’t expect was their bodies to be covered in eyes, which provides them with 360 degree vision. I had to laugh, because when reading the creature’s stat block, it says the Jinsul are “Unflankable”, and upon reading the description, we now know why. So, it’s an alien bug covered in eyes. Can this get any worse? Spoilers: Yes, it gets worse. Because the Jinsul aren’t terrifying enough, during a coming-of-age ritual, where most beings would be learning about themselves, or experiencing life’s first love, these arachnid-abominations decide to implant large blades into their arms, because fuck you, that’s why. Though, the Jinsul are not limited to simply killing you with their six bladed legs. Troops are equipped with energy rifles, while their star-ships have unique missile launchers. As unpleasant as the Jinsul sound, they are intelligent creatures who have begun branching out from their home-world. You know, your classic religious insect alien neighbors that go door-to-door to share the horribly-bad-terrible news of bug Jesus.
Background and Story Hooks:
As we have discovered, the Jinsul are fanatically religious, and worship a being named Kadrical. This protector deity raised what the Jinsul refer to as The Godshield around their system. It wasn’t until this Godshield was mysteriously deactivated, that the Jinsul began expanding outside their system. This perceived betrayal of Kadrical has caused the faith of some Jinsul to waver resulting in splinter groups, however, powerful prophets still work to rally the Jinsul in their beliefs. We don’t have much more information than this in regard to the Jinsul, but what we do have sparks a number of questions that can be explored at the table. Obliviously, the Alien Archive book only has about a page dedicated to descriptions and background, but I hope to see the Jinsul developed further in future releases. The reason being there are several story hooks contained in the few passages we have:
- Godshield Mystery: Players could stumble upon clues as to what may have happened to the Godshield. This puts a target on their back as the players are chased by Jinsul. Maybe the Godshield was not powered by a deity at all, but simply a highly advanced piece of technology from alien races past?
- Splinter Groups: The players could ally themselves with a splinter group of Jinsul who are attempting to flee the religious tyranny of their people, or vice versa, the players can take down these dangerous radicals in order to make peace with a Jinsul prophet.
- Expansion: The Jinsul feel their god has lowed the shield so they may go forth and claim the stars with divine right. The Jinsul are expanding into other territories, first offering peace if the locals choose to worship the Jinsul god, but if not… well the locals may be in need of experienced adventurers!
Non-Science Fiction Setting:
After reading the entry on the Jinsul, it became apparent to me that this race isn’t limited to a science fiction setting like Starfinder. If you take away the technology and guns: what do you have? Intelligent insect-like creatures, covered in eyes, that fanatically worship a god that protects their homeland with a magical barrier. I can easily see a Jinsul society rising in the under-dark to rival the Drow. When their Godshield goes down, they begin to push to the surface causing all kinds of trouble. You can even keep the insane ritual of welding blades to the fore-limbs. A DM can very much pull 80% of the content in this section to flavor the Jinsul for a fantasy setting. Whether I am looking at a monster or alien book, I want to be inspired to use these creates or even aspects of these creates in my own game, and the Jinsul certainly do this… also haunting my nightmares, they are going to do that as well.