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Old February 12th, 2004, 04:11 PM
Todg Todg is offline
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[Note: This race was originally designed to appeal to the furry lovers, e.g. my 10 year old daughter. This materia was originally published on the author's website, http://www.travellercentral.com. The author grants full rights to anyone who wants use the material.]

Pikhans are small, rodent-derived sophonts possessing high manual dexterity, and noted for their mechanical and engineering aptitude. The typical Pikhan is approximately one (or slightly more) metre tall, and masses about 25 kilograms. Excellent night vision and acute hearing are provided by large eyes and ears. Pikhans are lightly built, covered with soft brown to grey fur, and are equipped with a prehensile tail.


That Pikhan developed any technology at all is amazing, considering their home world, Pikhandaru, is one of the most inhospitable planets to support. The planet is known for fierce windstorms of hurricane force, frequent flooding and earthquakes, and a large variety of other natural disasters; this has had a pronounced effect on Pikhan culture.

Firstly, the main social and political unit is the cooperative. Because a "we're all in this together" philosophy permeates Pikhan society, along with the need to cooperate just to survive, the typical Pikhan is cooperative to the group effort, doing what is best for the group. Additionally, since adversity often strikes, the Pikhan is generous to those in need. No Pikhan will deny the needy food, shelter, or necessities.

The term "Pikha" derives from the race's original language, and means "builder". Pikhans are probably best known as engineers. Equipment designed to survive on Pikhandaru has to be tough and reliable in the extreme, and that tradition continues to this day.

With the introduction of Imperial technology, life on Pikhandaru has been moderated somewhat, and the Pikhan have for the first time, leisure. Rather than abandoning their methodical engineering, they have used the time to refine it. The Pikhan engineer seeks to perfect each device, seeking the ultimate expression, balancing simplicity of form with complexity of action. As a result, Pikhans are rarely ever satisfied with any device. Everything can be improved. The workaholic Pikhans will constantly try to improve almost any device that comes their way, often without regard to the wishes of the owner. A Pikhan who has improved a device to the point that it can no longer be improved is accorded the title "Master Engineer", and his name is forever linked to the "Masterpiece" he develops.

It should be noted that the Pikhan does not build for profit. Indeed, the communal way of life on Pikhandaru never fostered the concept of "money", or even private property. The Pikhan economy functions as a system of communism and hierarchy of needs incomprehensible to the outsider, and indeed to most Pikhans. What matters is that what has to be done gets done - somehow. As a result, Pikhans have no concept of money or value or the free market, and can be compared to male Aslans in this respect. With the introduction of Imperial institutions, some Pikhans are adapting to the free market system, but the external economy of Pikhandaru still has to be managed by non-Pikhan administrators. Perhaps the greatest strike against money, and the are that has prevented its incursion into Pikhan society, is the fact that, as the Pikhans say: "It doesn't do anything."

With regard to the social structure of Pikhan society - there is none; at least no apparent one. There is no social caste. Instead, the Pikhan who seems to know the most about whatever activity is underway is, by general acclaim, in charge. Life on Pikhandaru has taught Pikhans the value of knowledge and experience. A Pikhan respects another being for his ability, and will ignore, for the most part, reputation, and noble or military rank.

This has interesting applications to the Pikhan military. There are no officers or enlisted ranks, indeed no ranks of any kind. Instead, the chain of command is highly fluid, with the most able Pikhan in whatever particular endeavour being pursued taking charge. Consequently, Pikhan serving in Imperial units must be vigourously screened, and placed in assignments where their "insubordination" can be politely ignored or minimized. Pikhan will tend to listen to, respect, and obey the most able officer or NCO, not necessarily the highest ranking.

Pikhan are rare, but not unknown in the Imperium, but are usually seen in the company of a non-Pikhan "keeper". Pikhans love gadgets, and will frequently have many, most in the process of being "improved". The Pikhan's own equipment will be the best he can get. He will make as much of it as he can himself, the rest he will improve. Pikhan are highly discerning of equipment.

Physically, Pikhans are bipedal monotremes (eg laying mammals). They have male and female sexes, but there is no external dimorphism to distinguish either sex except when the female is nursing. Because of the harse environment, Pikhans have developed an unusual mating cycle. Pairs mate oippotunistically, and the female has the ability to store the males genetic material as long a seven months before voluntary fertilization. A single round, leathers egg is laid about 170 days after conception. Because the egg is extremely tough, the kit has a tusk like projection from it's mouth that it uses to exit from the egg. The tusk falls away within a couple of hour of hatching.

Unlike many advanced species, Pikahns are relatively developed upon hatching and can crawl within minutes. Theya re able to eat solid food immediately, and take milk only as a suppliment, however it appears that the fat rich mothers milk is necessary for full brain development.

Pikhans mature at about 12 years, and live to about 60 years.

Notes on Pikhans.

Most Pikhans have no concept of money. They also have trouble with the concept of personal property.

Pikhans love gadgets. They also love to "improve" them. Pikhans are always seeking perfection, and hate to compromise. They are workaholics and are generally highly skilled. They also love to take things apart. One of the most feared creatures aboard a ship is a bored Pikhan with a screwdriver and a pair of pliers.

Pikhans respect ability, not titles. They aren't interested in ranks or titles. They are also natural enemies of bureaucracy.

Pikhans are generous. Often to a fault. Your Pikhan might give away your favourite vacc suit to a fellow who "really needed it". After making a few improvements, of course.

Pikhans are group oriented. A Pikhan travelling alone is probably disturbed. Pikhans tend to form close, long term friendships, and maintain primary loyalty to that group. This transcends racial lines. A Pikhan will support a non-Pikhan friend over a Pikhan stranger. This must be balanced; Pikhans will seek the greatest good for the greatest number, if possible. A Pikhan realizes, however, that sometimes painful choices must be made.

Pikhans are not necessarily non-violent. Don't fall into the trap of "cute and furry". Pikhans admire efficiency, and violence can be very efficient. Still, Pikhans are generally "nice". Violence can be also be wasteful!

Pikhans are generally naive about the Imperium. Pikhans have only recently ventured out from Pikhandaru. Not to say Pikhans can't learn from experience.

Pikhans are plucky. Pikhandaru is a harsh world, and a Pikhan learns early that "life goes on". This attitude can be annoying to others. "Look on the bright side" and "it could be worse..." are phrases that are not always appreciated by characters who've lost their ship or all their money.

Pikhans are trusting, especially of humans. The scouts who originally administered Pikhandaru were incredibly sensible, honest, and trustworthy. The impression they left on the Pikhans has continued to last.

The above is a guide only! Character and experience will change a Pikhan's personality.

Generating Pikhans:
STR 2D-3
DEX 2D+2
END 2D-1
INT 2D+1
EDU 2D
SOC *

*Pikhans do not have Social Standing per se. Imperial Pikhans begin with a Social Standing of 7, and this may be modified, but this effects only encounters with non-Pikhans. Pikhan/Pikhan relations are determined by what's going on and what skills apply. Usually the highest skill a Pikhan has will function as a sort of "Social Standing", according to the following scale

Pikhans in Imperial service have a marked preference for the Scout Service for historical and cultural reason, but may have any background.

Pikhan specific CharGen to follow.

A discussion of Pikhans occurred on the TML in June 2001. See http://lists.travellerrpg.com/pipermail/tml/2001-June/
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