Monday, August 20, 2012

The Solii, a race for Stars Without Number

Solii

Appearance and Biology:
Solii are amphibious humanoids who stand about 1.5 meters tall. They have long, spindly, double jointed arms and legs and whip-like, prehensile tails. Solii have long, knife-shaped ears. Male Solii have skin tones that are various shades of blue and green, usually very dark. Females have purple or yellow skin colors. Solii prefer to walk on all fours, though they do not have to.

The Solii are a hermaphromorphic race, a trait evolved from having originated on a hazardous "death world." The Solii can also emit a seemingly universal pheromone that causes other sentient creatures to find them affable. Creatures with truly unusual (typically inorganic) physiology or who lack any olfactory perception are unaffected, while lifeforms that have strong olfactory perception find them particularly enticing. Having originally come from an amphibious genetic stock, Solii can hold their breath for an unusually long time, although they are no longer truly amphibious.

History: 
The Solii have nearly been wiped out many times in their existence. This Solii homeworld was constantly wracked by cycles of gigantic tsunamis, hurricanes, violent electrical storms, and volcanoes of near-cataclysmic proportions. The planet was also home to a curious variety of ambulatory carnivorous plant, whose migratory patterns happened to run through the few regions of the planet that were relatively free from civilization-destroying weather.
The Solii would have likely spent the rest of their existence staying one step ahead of annihilation had several migratory tribes not discovered alien ruins. It is unknown if this species were the original sentient lifeforms on the world, or if they were a failed colony, but their Pretech cities gave the migratory Solii a safe place to hide, settle, and begin developing technologically.
The Solii eventually learned how to build their own technology, though it was more than a millennium before they figured out how any of the high tech gadgetry worked. Eventually, the Solii reached the point where they could maintain the machinery, but they had no idea how it operated.
After living this way for another thousand years (and achieving Tech Level "3.5"), the Solii were faced with a dilemma: the Pretech weather regulators were beginning to fail, meaning that the Solii would soon be plunged back into a dangerous nomadic existence that they no longer knew how to navigate. The elders made the decision to take the Solii into the stars.
The Solii have since spread throughout space. Nobody knows the current location of the ships, and the Solii seem to have happily forgotten the location of their homeworld. They have been quite happy to integrate into other societies. They appear to have had some contact with the Terran Mandate before the Scream.


Psychology:
 The Solii are viewed through the cultural lens of Joy.Despite their species' high mortality rate in ages past,they have embraced everything the galaxy has to offer. Solii have intense but short relationships with other people and accept death and separation with an aplomb that other races often find shocking. To the Solii, you simply enjoy what you have while you have it. While they seem flippant to other species, this is not true; no experience is trivial to a Solii, but they understand that life is a series of moments, and you can't waste any dwelling on things that are past or will never be.
The Solii seem uninterested in finding a new homeworld for their species. Communities of Solii tend to collect on the stations and worlds of other, more established species. Many Solii spend part of their lives wandering from place to place, though it seems that older Solii begin to desire a permanent home among other Solii.
Solii are remarkably adaptive and often assimilate into the dominant culture around them.
Solii are virtually alone in being sentient hermaphromorphs; the more mischievous and spiteful among them relish the discomfort that this can cause other sentients.

Flavor:
The Solii can easily be played as either wanton hedonists or playful wayfarers. They are a race that fits the consummate "space wanderer" role. Solii are often found as fast-talking merchants, sage bartenders, or even unlikely spaceship crew members. 

Solii as Player Characters:

*Solii have +1 to their Charisma modifier, but suffer a -1 to their Strength modifier. 

*Solii have a prehensile tail. This gives them an extra hand, though it doesn't give them any extra attacks or actions. The tail lacks a hand, so there may be some tasks for which it is unsuited.

*Solii can change gender. This is a painful process that takes 1d4 days, during which the Solii must do nothing but rest. (The character cannot train a skill, do research, etc.) If a Solii is female and ends up impregnated, it cannot change back into a male until it has given birth.

* The Solii are no longer true amphibians, but they can hold air in their bodies for up to an hour without needing to breathe.

* Once per day, the Solii can emit a targeted burst of pheromones at a creature within melee distance. The creature must make a Physical Effect save or else it believes the Solii to be a friend and ally. The creature will not hurt itself or put itself in undue danger for the Solii, but it will stop attacking. If it is attacked by the Solii or any obvious allies of the Solii, it will snap out of it. The duration is generally 1d6 hours, reduced by 1 hour for each point of Constitution above 12. (The GM must use discretion for creatures) If the duration is reduced below 1 hour, the effect instead lasts 1d4 rounds. Anyone in a vacc suit or similar independent breathing apparatus is automatically immune, as are creatures that don't need to breathe or have any olfactory capability. The GM might also deem that a creature with sufficiently unusual physiology (living crystal, for instance) might be immune as well. A creature who saves against a Solii's pheromones is immune to them for a week.

*Solii may not be Psychics; no Solii has ever displayed any such ability.

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