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Contact! Submit your favorite original Minor Alien Races for others to use in their own Traveller campaigns.

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  #1  
Old May 16th, 2020, 12:16 PM
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Post Dhaen

A member of the Dhaen have been a feature in a game I run...initially as a pet then, as the crew realised its intelligence, as an NPC crewmember.

Natives of Dhaen/Provence 0718, these sophonts are 55kg natives of a planet that is cold at the equator and frozen at the poles. They are bilaterally symmetrical with two arms and two legs, stand just 1.2m tall, have relatively long bodies and shorter limbs than the anthropomorphic stereotype. They are uncomfortable at temperatures over 15 degrees C but able to survive well in temperatures as cold as -50 degrees C.
The Vargr who control this world debate whether these are sophonts or clever animals. The IISS has classed them as Sophonts and the ownership of them is thus, legally, slavery on Imperial worlds. Despite this, there is a trade in servants drawn from a number of Dhaen castes throughout Provence and Tuglikki Sectors and into Corridor and Deneb. They are used in roles that would be filed with Domestic Robots within the Imperium. (The Vargr feel better being seen to be superior to a creature than to a machine.)
The Dhaen are genetically predisposed to specific roles in their society, and perform within those roles well. The particular castes may differ noticeably from the statistical norms for the race.
Dhaen are unusual in that they can significantly alter their metabolism. They can operate to conserve energy, when they are particularly slow, but utilise lower levels of life-support; in a general mode; or frenetically when they are much faster but require twice the life support to normal.
Dhaen are relatively weak, as befits their small size, but are dexterous. Their small bodies lack the reserves to have a sustained endurance, but their metabolic variability helps overcome this.
Dhaen are not as intelligent as many sophonts, and learn instinctivey within the skills required by their caste.
Because of the location of the Dhaen homeworld, the IISS has not been able to undertake a full study of this race. Despite of, or because of their lack of intelligence, the Dhaen are found in small numbers throughout the Provence, Tuglikki and occasionally Corridor sectors particularly those of the various servile or worker castes.
They are not likely to last long into the future as their home-star is classified as F8 IV and is thus about to expand and wipe out the creatures homeworld. They have very poor vision in the red end of the spectrum but can see well into the long-UV spectrum by way of compensation.
Dhaen have a good sense of hearing and can vocalise, their base notes are audible to Vargr but not Humans and their top-notes are so high-pitched that they count as Ultra-Sound. Any conversation between Humans and Dhaen requires a pitch-altering mechanism; between Vargr and Dhaen is manageable (just) without. This communication issue has been part of the problem in getting Dhaen recognised as Sophonts on some/many worlds.
Dhaen social groups contain many individuals and a fully functioning unit appears to have about 120-300 individuals from around 60 differing castes. The Dhaen's homeworld culture had been almost static for about 30,000 years before contact by the Vargr, and it has not changed significantly since - despite the introduction of Vargr 'guidance'.
Native Dhaen culture is notorious for the use of a number of fast-acting neuro-toxins in hunting and warfare. They may be low tech, but they are potentially very dangerous. Dhaen taken from their homes as young and raised within Vargr packs seem to accept their lowly place well, provided they are not pushed outside their genetically-expected roles.
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Old August 1st, 2020, 02:37 AM
BwapTED BwapTED is offline
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I like them.

Questions:

What sort of body covering do they have?
Any other salient features?

(I'm trying to form a more definite mental image)

What's their native technology like? TL 0? 1?
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Old August 1st, 2020, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BwapTED View Post
I like them.

Questions:

What sort of body covering do they have?
Any other salient features?

(I'm trying to form a more definite mental image)

What's their native technology like? TL 0? 1?
They have black faces, hands and feet; white fur on the rest of them. Proportions: Legs 25%; Body 50%; Neck 13% and Head 12%
Two Blue eyes with circular pupils half way up head.
Bilaterally symmetrical
Three toes on each foot with claw, fourth (thumb/big-toe) with no claw
Three fingers and one thumb on each hand

About 4.5 times as high as wide

TL when contacted by Vargr they would be TL-1 at best with many hang-overs back to TL-0 (e.g. Wooden Spoon, Crockery Cooking/Storage pot). I'm not convinced they would ever have managed "Scientific Method" without the prompting of environmental change of alien invasion. Dhaen is TL-A in 1105.

Dhaen is just 24 parsecs from Lair - but isn't on the J2 route to anywhere else so probably got contacted by them quite late. It's population is just 6 - but the Vargr wouldn't count the Dhaen in that value as they aren't Sophonts in their eyes.

When contacted
I'd envisage they have a complex interweaving of craft skills based on Leather/Fur/Bone/Clay/Stone/Sinew - A planet that varies between +15 and -50 regularly would have plants as a seasonal (summer) thing growing fast in one season or slow and hibernate.

Arts might include fur-dying, tanning, painting, sculpture, scrimshaw.

They are sophonts, so they have construction. Little or no timber means stone arches and lintles, hide doors on frames of the bones of giant animals. Some summer "Grain" in clay-sealed pots; summer meats stored overwinter in deep-freezes.

They have evolved while they have been settled. (They have 60 castes). That they have a set of service castes implies that they have a complex and static social structure - so they aren't just hunter-gatherers - but I'd think the cold season food would have to be supplemented by that means.

Anything else?

(And the one in my campaign has Steward-3 and likes to add a dash of household bleach to its coffee. - Don't do this at home guys!)

Last edited by BackworldTraveller; August 1st, 2020 at 01:27 PM..
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Old Yesterday, 07:25 AM
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This is a gem of a find. It's going into My Traveller Universe though I don't know how or when.

The Dhaen work better than the Hlanssai for sure, (grumble, grumble, grumble).
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Old Yesterday, 09:40 AM
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Got to ask, Can I put this into the wiki? It would go great with the other races.
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Old Yesterday, 05:28 PM
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https://wiki.travellerrpg.com/Campaign:BTC/Dhaen

Please feel free to promote to the main wiki.
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