Salvorathan - A Sci-Fi Take On Dwarves.

Gene-engineered for deep-space, the Salvorathan resemble nothing quite so much as the legendary ‘dwarf’.

Standing an average of four foot seven tall, with short, barrel like bodies, the Salvorathan have a strong resemblance to the dwarves of legend, though these dwarves were carefully designed by the bio-molders that sent out the first seed-ships into deep space. Carefully designed for the rigors of zero gravity and high radiation environments, the Salvorathan are comfortable in situations that would be lethal to Puregene Humans, with each variation from Puregene meant to give survivability to them, while the corporations that created them were careful to psych-imprint the love of space into them.

The first of space’s dangers the designers chose to address was the high radiation dosages inflicted by space travel. The Salvorathan’s first line of defense against this is his skin pigmentation. Dry and scaly, his skin ranges from gunmetal black to royal purple, flush with various melatonin and chlorophyll cross-derivatives that actually harness incoming gamma and x-ray radiation in order to generate various energy-suppling molecules. His second line is his physiology. With his internal organs redistributed in order to create a volume with a minimal surface area, he is exposed to less radiation, on average, than a Puregene. Finally, as a tertiary defense, his immune system is designed to purge any cells unable to make certain identifying proteins, serving as a partial defense against the most common cancers.

Second, the designers turned their attention to zero-gravity. First, careful manipulation of the circulation system tweaks the body’s blood pressure to be optimal in zero gravity, rather than 1 g. Unfortunately, this same design makes planetary gravity extremely unpleasant for the Salovarathan, as the blood in their body rushes to the legs, leaving them light headed, in a condition known as ‘Gravity drunkeness.’ Their skeletal system has likewise been tweaked in order to prevent the calcium leeching common in Puregenes during extended micro-gravity travel. A small redesign of the sinuses and ears, combined with a typical zero-gravity upbringing prevents vertigo and lack of orientation. Lastly, a small pressurizing organ allows an extremely limited form of natural rocket propulsion, enough to make sure that they are never ‘stranded’, though the force afforded by this organ is very small indeed.

Lastly, the designers turned to the effects of brief exposures to vacuum. The hard scaly skin of the Salvorathan allows extremely limited evaporation, and nictating membranes can close over the eyes and throat, purely through reflexive action. These closures are alway proceeded by an exhalation of any remaining air in the lungs. The liver of the Salvorathan pulls double duty, scrubbing excess oxygen from the bloodstream, where it stores it in the form of certain organic peroxides. A Salvorathan that has been breathing earth standard air for at least eight hours previous can survive up to ten minutes of hard vacuum, without suffering the ill-effects that set into a Puregene almost immediately upon exposure.


The Salvorathan do not have a unified ‘society’ or racial language as such, tending to take on many of the social customs of whatever Puregene society they have the most exposure to. However, there are certain common threads. As many ships are now crewed by single Salvorathan families, a sort of clannish substructure has appeared. Arranged marriages are common between ships that ply the same lanes, while the complex web of duties that appear in a ship only serve to strengthen the familial bond between Salvorathans.

The original love of space impressed upon them still holds, as well, and few Salvorathans choose to be landers, so long as the option of travel or at least station-side duty is available to them.

While the Salvorathan have no homeworld, as such, there are several stations of gathering throughout known space, where Salvorathans tend to congregate, though mostly for the purpose of finding their next employment. Lacking a homeworld or nation of their own, the Salvorathan tend to fall back on the patterns imprinted on their ancestors, often signing on with any available ship as mercenary pilots, engineers, and astrogators. While there is nothing in their genetics to dictate these, the education tends to pass from parent to child, stimulated by the commonly space-born childhood. Given the choice, a Salvorathan will typically prefer to serve on a massively constructed, heavy ship, the sort that can, theoretically, plow over most other ships and keep on going. Most are not given the choice.

The bizaare liver chemistry they possess also turns out to be extremely effective in eliminating alcohol and many other toxins from the blood stream, though that was never the intention of the designers. Like their fantastic counterparts, the average ‘space dwarf’ can drink even the most tolerant of Puregenes under the table. It’s an amusing game to many of them, in fact.

Puregenes tend to be tolerantly respectful of the Salvorathan, as while they are essentially a gene-engineered products, they have none of the mind-crippling functions that many of the other gene-products have, and are both expressly useful and out-of-sight on a day to day basis for the majority of the planet-bound Puregenes. Likewise, as Salvorathan interaction with Puregenes is relatively restricted, and usually in manners that the early psych-imprints marked as preferred, there is little resentment of the Puregenes.


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Article Codex

Captain Hwaln Fusionbelly By: Siren no Orakio
NPCs • Minor • Travelers

Just another Salvorathan captain, one of the surprisingly few, but entrenpenurial folks.

Tungsten-Trousered Troubadors of Trilaxa By: Murometz
NPCs • Minor • Artistic/Performance

Space-Faring, Hard-Rocking, Metal-Grinding, Star-Tripping, Deathdealing, Dwarves.

? Responses (17)-17

Goto Author

Wow, this is a great race for space travel, I really like your attention to scientific accuracy and some of the detail choices, like the skin pigmentation.

So these Salvorathans have no planet, what do they fight for? Do they have a safe haven, ports or space stations, how well do they get along with other races, who are their enemies, Do they have their own language?

I love the vacuum adaptations

Goto Author

Heh, I've always thought about what would kill you first if you were spaced... The pressure change, oxygen deplation or the Cold/Heat..

A lot of interesting adaptions, though all of the developments for allowing hard vacuum exposure seems a lot of work for something that should not happen. How do they deal with the extreme temperatures accompanied by space exposure - either ridiculous heat or cold?

With the hard scaly skin what mechanism do they use for temperature regulation?

Goto Author

Getting spaced, you have the following to deal with, in roughly this order of priority:

Explosive Decompression

Oxygen deprivation.

Ultra-rapid Dessication.

Hot / Cold - While the temperature gradient between the body and a hard vacuum is very hard, there exists very little heat transfer, your body can only effectively lose heat by boiling its fluids into space - This happens, though, thanks to effects of pressure.

Goto Author

The dark pigmentation absorbing radiation might have an odd side effect: They might REQUIRE high radiation levels to maintain optimum health.

A race that can survive for ten minutes of hard vaccuum seems hard to credit: While the body structures might be 'reinforced' to avoid the worst effects of explosive decompression, the eyes and lungs would suffer tremendously, as anything similar to human norms would be vulnerable to the pressure differential. That suggests that this species might be able to SURVIVE hard vaccuum, but would suffer tremendous, potentially life-threatening, injury. They could live, but then require prompt medical treatment to repair these delicate structures.

Another threat to spacefarers exposed to pressure changes is 'the bends': Damage caused by gas bubbles forming within the bloodstream. Resistance to this would also have to be designed into the race.

Goto Author

Updated: Well. It feels like it still needs a little something, but releasing this away.

Goto Author

This is so freakin' out there, hence, I approve wholeheartedly. Its kinda funky, and yet, makes you think. Kudos. Details...key!

Goto Author

Quite a few solid thoughts were born here, thanks for the inspiration. The adaptations to space are all okay, with the discussion hopefully continueing. If I may add a bit, space ships and their crews encounter not rarely high gravity (or substitute forces), when speeding up, or maneuvering. Hence I would expect the Salvorathan to have some resistance to such effects, if they are short. However, a long exposure to high G would result in drunkenness as described - and they still get planet-sick.

Now, I am only afraid someone will inevitably come up with spacey Elves...

Goto Author

Sadly, the world of science fiction is already full of Space Elves. They're all over the place.





There are even space Drow, like the Kohlinar of the Brainship series.

Goto Author

Perish the thought Manfred!

Good job Siren!

Goto Author

Hey, Stonebeard, we've got a pressure leak on the starboard nacelle...

Damn hard vaccuum always makes my skin go all flaky and dry after I get back in the ship.

you could wear a space suit like the rest of us.

And what, look like a monkey in a bag, no thanks gravitoid.

Goto Author

Heh, monkey in a bag...

Goto Author

A nice addition to our stable of 'variations' on a classic theme.

Goto Author

Very nice! Far more interesting than some Warhammer 20K race variations and the like. If you needed to add anything, it would be some details about their ships. Do Salvorathan favor certain starship designs? It seems they'd want specifically something that doesn't use artificial gravity, but I wonder if there's historically certain ships they prefer to use.

You mentioned 'a small pressurizing organ allows an extremely limited form of natural rocket propulsion'. I'm curious: where is that located and what does it look like? Though I'm sure it wasn't your intention, I'm picturing flatulent dwarves rocketing themselves through space...

Goto Author

I have pictured them as a race of wage-slaves and freelancers, intertwined with humanity - While I'll tag in their 'personal' preferences, the majority of Salvorathan should be serving on ships that belong to someone else. While Glorin might -prefer- a P-47 Thunderbolt to a P-51 Mustang, if the boss says 'get in the Mustang' he gets in the Mustang.

Now, for the pressure organ, I had thought of a fairly ugly bone-and-flesh structure, probably vaguely circular, roughly between the shoulder blades, with a little bit of vector direction. Flatulant space dwarves works, though. =D

Goto Author

Concise, clear and written in fashion that suggests more than it gives, such that for me at least , seeds a desire to explore the characters further through gaming. Nicely done.

They are a lot like dwarves. Maybe they are dwarves....