Thursday, May 29, 2014

They Always Get Their Man

The ngghrya are humanoids native to a world on the border of the Coreward Reach and the Vokun Empire. Their population has slowly dwindled under Vokun occupation. Today, ngghrya are confined to the montane forests of their world, but exiles and refugees are not infrequently encountered in the Expanse.

Appearance and Biology: Ngghrya are thin, almost skeletal in appearance with rough, nodule-covered skin that almost resembles carapace. Their thinness belies their strength and durability. Their skin is scaled in places with dermal denticles, but also has ridges and horns of calcium carbonate deposition that begin to form at puberty and elaborate as they age.


Ngghrya exhibit slightly less sexual dimorphism in terms of size than baseline humans, but some male ngghrya grow "tusks" of keratin from both ends of their upper lip.

Psychology and Psi: Ngghrya are a somewhat superstitious people, but do not revere gods or supernatural beings as such. Rather, they seek to avoid notice of spirit entities by the proper ritual behaviors and taboos (some of them idiosyncratic) except at certain times. 

They tend to be a taciturn people by the baseline standards but fairly accepting of other cultures so long as they are respected. The stresses of their current existence on their homeworld have led to increased substance use, violence, and a mistrust of non-ngghrya.

Some ngghrya (a disproportionate number found off-world) are trackers, bounty hunters, or skiptracers, thanks to a psi-like ability. They are able to track any quarry across any distance, even light-years of space. This ability (called yaa'hii by the ngghrya) is thought to be instilled by a ritual involving an hallucinogenic substance native to the caves of the mountains of their homeworld.

Psi-researchers believe this ability creates in their brains circuits the equivalent of time loop logic computer, using telepathic data sent back through time by their future self and the Novikov self-consistency principle for error correction. This theory is lent support by the assertion by ngghrya trackers that they cannot catch any quarry they haven't already caught. 



Stats: Stars Without Number:  Ngghrya have +1 to Constitution. Tracking: On a failed Mental Effects saving throw, the target will be found by the ngghrya. Note that being found doesn't necessarily mean capture or defeat. Escape may mean another saving throw, if the ngghrya is alive and still on the job.

11 comments:

Francis Lee said...

Another use would be as bailiffs and finding runaway fathers!

Tim Shorts said...

Nice Trey, I don't think there could ever be enough bounty hunters. Interesting race. Looking forward to the book.

Trey said...

@Fran - Deadbeat dads, look out!

@Tim - Thanks!

Deadstop said...

You might consider making a slight change to the name, as presently the spelling and implied pronunciation are a mite closer to the infamous racial slur than the Talislantan "Nagra" that was your likely inspiration.

Trey said...

Your point is well taken, though that's largely an artifact of orthography rather that pronunciation. The pronunciation is ng (like in rung) gh (voiced velar fricative like in the Arabic ghul ryah. I can make the offglide more evident in the spelling and (I probably should have anyway) which will distance the orthography a bit more.

seaofstarsrpg said...

I laughed at the explanation of how the tracking power worked. Beautiful, just beautiful.

Trey said...

Thanks! I was trying to make it different.

garrisonjames said...

These guys could make a real killing by going into gambling or the insurance racket. As actuaries, and with a little training, they'd know precisely whom to cover and for how long. They'd also bring a whole new meaning to the whole 'Pre-Approved' offers for credit and what-not. There's a ton of potential here for all sorts of behind the scenes financial skullduggery...unless there are laws preventing them from getting dragged into that end of things, or some sort of technology for scrambling their abilities, which would be worth a great deal to banks, insurers, casinos...

Chris C. said...

Cool. I really like the "time loop" concept behind the tracking. That "they cannot catch any quarry they haven't already caught" really sums it up nicely.

Plus I learned a new word (denticle) and I always dig that. I probably learn more new words from your blog than from anywhere else. :)

Trey said...

@Chris - Fun and educational is what I'm aiming for. ;)

Trey said...

@Jim - Ha, good point!