Ephyrans are a Jump-capable humanoid Species from the planet Sokar. They are widely known for their hedonistic culture where individuals live life to the fullest and should encourage others to do the same. While not necessarily pacifists, their military technology tends to favor disabling aggressors rather than killing them. Their homeworld is the capital of the Ephyran Eparchy.
Example Names: Almauk, Chauni, Dauta, Glauk, Kauza, Ornyt, Reban, Thersan, Yauril.
- Clumsy: Ephyrans are not known for their lithe or nimbleness. -2 Dex.
- Cold Adapted: Their tolerance for cold also allows them to handle temperatures up to 40 Centigrade degrees colder than humans with relative comfort. Aptitude on all checks related to survival in arctic conditions.
- Divers: Can hold breathe for CON Stat x 5 minutes.
- Durable: +1 HP/level.
- Heat Vulnerable: Ephyrans are not adapted to high temperatures and can die from prolonged exposure. -1 Str/hour in hot or arid conditions.
- Echolocation: Can see in the dark.
- Near-sighted: Cannot see far away objects, thus doubling any range penalties.
- Webbed Digits: Move as fast through water as on land.
Xeno-biologists have surmised that the ephyrans evolved from an aquatic mammalian species.
Prehistory until the Age of Tyranny
Ephyrans were once a tribal people, scattered among thousands of tiny islands and a single large continent. They remained as separate nations (oligarchies, democracies, and autocracies) until approximately 2,043 years ago when the planet was unified under Tyrant Paudani. A series of six tyrants, including Paudani, ruled Sokar for 491 years.
Age of Enlightenment until the Age of Exploration
Around 1,552 years ago, the last tyrant was overthrown and a representative democracy was established, led by the scholar Makkasori. The former provinces, called eparchies, were reorganized into regional democracies which in turn elected an eparch to the Metropolitan Assembly. A smaller committee, the Metropolitan Commission, was the highest legislative body. Many freedoms which were suppressed under the tyrants, were now protected.
When they branched out into their solar system, they found no inhabitable worlds, but plenty of mineral wealth which spurred further colonization. What they did find, however, was Precursor ruins on Kemur and Iat, the fourth and sixth planets of their solar system respectively, which gave the ephyrans a significant technological advancement. 1,186 years ago, they were able to reverse engineered the Jump Drive of a crashed alien vessel and became Jump-capable as a result. These new discoveries allowed the ephyrans to expand to all the planets of their home system and expanded into the Ogdoad Stream, colonizing four other star systems.
Age of Unification and Rise of the Elation Hymn
609 years ago, several ephyran colonies demanded government representation in the Eparchy and the Eparchy Colonial War began. The result of this conflict was an armistice between the two sides, another chamber of the Assembly was established for colonial representatives and the Status Quo was signed by both parties establishing an official constitution for the Eparchy.
With power vacuums to be filled from losses in the war and new rights guaranteed by the constitution, a new religion grew from relative obscurity to popular supremacy. The Elation Hymn, a cult turned religion, spread across the Eparchy with the promise of self-enlightenment and personal fulfillment. As its members swelled, it became able to grant professional advancement and political ambition. At the same time, resources from the colonies allowed the homeworld to gain new found wealth.
Age of Dynasts until Today
As democracy gave way to theocracy, a new faction arose from the ashes. Dynasts, wealthy patrons from ancient families which had been clawing their way back into power since the Age of Tyranny, became the plutocratic sponsors of political candidates which could compete with the Faithful which increasingly dominated politics. Financial support from the Dynasts allowed them to dominate the Old Assembly, while the Faithful held the Colonial Assembly. For the last 277 years, this uneasy power struggle has choked democracy out of the eparchy while a cold war threatens to split the nation into civil war.
Externally, Ephyrans resemble hairless, purple-skinned humans with sunken eyes and a large V-shaped protrusion starting at their nose and ending on the sides of their head. They have three large, partially webbed fingers and toes. Internally, they possess multiple, smaller organs comparable to humans (three hearts, three kidneys, three livers, etc). They store fat easily and many are protected by a layer of blubber, though advancements in dietary medicine have reduced the rampant obesity this species can suffer from. Given their development on a higher gravity world, their bones are denser and their overall strength is greater than humans.
Notably, ephyrans have no natural cooling mechanism other than panting in heat. They have no sweat glands. Their blubber keeps them warm in their naturally cold homeworld, but can die if exposed to sufficiently hot environments for prolonged periods. In addition, they have a low metabolism and store fat in the form of blubber easily and quickly.
While they are omnivorous, their diet is primarily based upon fish, crustaceans, mollusks and other sea-life supplemented by seaweeds and terrestrial grasses, berries, and fruits. In recent history, many ephyrans are adopting a vegetarian lifestyle.
Ephyran’s have large vibration-sensitive bone protrusions on their heads that can detect sounds and vibrations well beyond the human range. The ephyran’s also emit high-pitched noises when they exhale (fortunately beyond the human range of hearing) which allows them a measure of echolocation. Ephyrans are never considered to be at a penalty in darkness. However, their eyes are underdeveloped and all ephyrans are near-sighted.
Sexual maturity is reached at age 7, though they don’t typically mate until their mid-teens. Gestation lasts 15-16 Earth months and results in a single off-spring (multiples are unheard of). Ephyrans are only fertile for one month every thirteen months (typically brothers/sisters develop to be on the same cycle unless separated). Their typical lifespan is 60-90 Old Earth years, though advances in cybernetics can double this figure for those who can afford it.
While superficially the government of the Ephyran Eparchy is a representative democracy, in practice, many have noticed that it functions as a plutocratic oligarchy. Many of the same Dynasts are elected to government positions, though the people are under the impression that anyone can run for office successfully, many also admit that they could not do so themselves.
Human sociologists have also cataloged that this delusional belief is present in the Dynasts themselves, who mistakenly believe that they earned their positions. The byzantine nature of ephyran politics makes this claim difficult to expose as false. The other faction in politics are drawn from the faithful of the Elation Hymn’s hierarchy of enlightenment. Many of them are entertainers, monks, and Dynasts who have turned their fortunes over to the Hymn.
Ephyran families are patrilineal and based upon two structures — the Harem and the Troupe. Monogamy is not practiced among the ephyrans — generally a man takes a harem of women. Unwed men usually form a Troupe comprised of bachelors, often their brothers and half-brothers, though troupes of unwed women are not unheard of. It is considered immoral for a troupe of females to bed more than one male and immoral for a male to bed females outside the Harem. Regardless, men and women are considered equal legally and socially.
Related harems are called Dynasties and usually trace their lineage back to a single male or a (rarely) particularly fertile female. Marriage outside your Dynasty is encouraged, but you are never considered apart of another Dynasty (though your children are). To keep track of this complex web of relationships and relatives, a Matchmaker is a necessary and celebrated occupation in ephyran society.
Generally, a Troupe of bachelors is related by a single father and many mothers. They learn, play and work together until maturity (around age 7-8) when they seek out a Troupe of unwed females (who are generally a group of sisters) who will choose one of them as their husband. Overall, troupes usually start large (10-20 individuals) and break into smaller groups over time. The most popular and desirable men can marry several troupes of females and have around 100 wives (though this is rare). While this may be the highest ideal for ephyran family, the lowest would be a single unwed male or female and many tragedies are written about these unfortunates deserted by their troupes or lost through war.
Homosexual behavior is common among siblings throughout their lives. In addition, homosexual troupes are estimated to make up as many as 10-20% of troupes though only 1-2% of troupes are declared as such. However, these are also usually the first to be drafted into military service, as they are seen as “non-productive” to society as a whole. Many troupes take pride in their military service.
Ephyrans used to worship ancestor spirits as patrons of the living. This belief has waned in the past few centuries as ephyrans have embraced the scientific method. However, they also have several wide spread superstitions in the form of curses that are considered both taboo and dangerous. Cursing an enemy is the ultimate insult and sociologists believe that many of these curses become self-fulfilling prophesies. Ephyrans still practice meditation, a belief in reincarnation, and (less frequently) animism — that inanimate objects can possess sapience or sentience.
While obesity was once valued in ephyran society, today, remaining slender and keeping one’s blubber low is a sign of affluence and status. Regardless, their low metabolism means that many ephyrans are obese.
Ephyrans are generally non-violent, though bravery is still a highly valued trait. Their artwork in tile murals and mosaics is renowned. Their primary form of entertainment comes in the form of gossip, especially surrounding politicians, musicians, scientists, and explorers. It is said that ephyrans love a good scandal. The only thing they love more is bathing and music.
Organized crime has become a major social problem as many downtrodden ephyrans turn to their Dynasties for support rather than the government. While many Dynasties act as legitimate family-based commercial groups, the poorest are increasingly focused on criminal activities.
Due to their homeworld’s rapid orbital period, the closest concept they have to a “year” is a single reproductive cycle, so linguists typically translates the term into the word, “cycles” unless referring to planetary orbits. They seem more comfortable telling time by month-long intervals.
Ephyran military strength is considered very weak compared to their neighbors. Their military is primarily space-based however, with very few ground-based weapons. Their starships are built for stealth, hit and run combat to make up for their lack of might or numbers. They also utilize electronic warfare and boarding parties quite effectively.
Their primary industry is mining from their home solar system (most planets have exceptional mineral wealth), but their homeworld produces exceptional textile-related products and are making a name for themselves in the field of cybernetics. Over-harvesting of their homeworld has led to food shortages, and now the ephyrans import food from outside their territory to make up for this deficiency.