Strike up the band!

LADIES AND GENTLETHINGS! They're HEEEERE! You know them. You lust for them. They're going to ROCK. YOUR. PANTS-ANALOGUES. OFF. Let's hear it for the Tungsten Trousered Troubadours of Trilaxa!'

The most metal band in the history of space, the history of dwarves, the history of space dwarves, and for that matter, the history of any variety of short, hairy midgets anywhere, the Tungsten Trousered Troubadours can be described well by only a few words. Most of them eventually come back to ‘metal', as they cut a path through the crowds, sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively.

Created when Thorin Stardust, a struggling young guitarist, beat the crap out of some distracting mafia hit-men while practicing with his laser-guitar, the TTToT are exploring the delicate balance between the symphonies of music and the harmony of warfare. Or quite possibly smashing it over the head with a hammer. Or a guitar. It's kind of hard to tell. It doesn't really matter, though, as trench-side tickets to their shows are among the hottest commodities in known space, despite the 20+% death rate for battle-goers. It's just that awesome to watch them play and fight, activities which are synonymous for them. They're just that metal!

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Thorin Stardust

Rocker. Warrior. Lead Guitarist. Axeman. DWARF.

The lead guitar and vocalist for the Tungsten-Trousered Troubadours of Trilaxa is none other than the renowned, the feared, the stubby, Thorin Stardust. Standing four-foot eight with skin the color of wine and a brilliant shock of verdigris-green hair, Thorin tends to draw all eyes to himself, even before he begins to move and shout. Using great, sweeping motions, and tones of voice that range from shout, to yell, to scream, Thorin's definite tendency is to be the absolute center of attention, holding the eye and ear as trapped as light beyond the event horizon.

His dress, too, is loud, being mostly silver-and-gold colored synth-leather, stitched over with tungsten heavy alloy rings, in a crude approximation of old-style mail. This is only augmented by gigantic, spiked shoulder pads of the same metal, matched by a mercifully un-spiked heavy alloy codpiece and bracers. At all times, even when he's sleeping, Novascream is within reach.

The veteran of a hundred concert-battles, Thorin has slain untold numbers of foes, all the time screaming and wailing away on his axe. Somehow, someway, at least 25% of these battles wind up on the Galaxy's Top 100 list, an awesome spectacle of noise, carnage, and brilliant riffs.

Why? Because Thorin liked the guitar. He liked to brawl. It just got away from him when he started combining the music and the fighting, and turned his band into a war-squad... But it seemed to make so much sense at the time.

Note: At any given time, there is a 1-in-10 chance that Thorin has imbibed something illegal, possibly 'performance enhancing', possibly intoxicating, probably both. This chance rises to 1-in-3 at a concert-battle.

Tongue-Tied Grummo on Percussion. DWARF.

Grummo's skin is the color and texture of chipped onyx. His hair is an enormous, bristling shock, an uber-afro, chartreuse, with glittering platinum streaks. His beard shorn off, Grummo instead wears a tungsten-alloy chin guard. He is dressed in black leathers and rubber, beneath a mail shirt of glistening razors.

A Milk-yellow, nano-snake coils around his neck and drapes across his shoulders at all times. This odd, but harmless creature is deaf, and serves as a 'tuning snake', being as it is, one of the few of the galaxy's creatures, which can arrange the proper currents around the drums. ‘Bucky Buckets', Grummo's percussion set, possess a high thermal and oxidative stability, extremely resilient and relatively impervious to damage. They do not react with corrosive compounds and are capable of absorbing and releasing electrons without being harmed or changed.

An extreme stammerer and stutterer, Grummo takes his verbal frustrations out on his ‘Bucky Buckets', a bizarre contraption, comprised of small, inter-connected drums, made up of trillions of fullerenes, arranged in an ergonomic, semi-circular arc, filled with countless micro-explosives. Grummo wields this bizarre drum set by employing a carbo-filament thread, upon which the explosive skins are strung, juggling his sticks, like a spider along a many-sectioned staff. His sticks, when he chooses, can telescope out to a maximum length of nine feet, in order to reach the ‘back nine' as he calls them. They can also serve to effectively pummel or stab undesirables, encroaching upon the stage.

The explosives are both his weapons and his amplifiers, adding a timorous peal and a deafening boom to his pounding beats.

Grummo is a raging lunatic when playing his drums, a maniacal virtuoso. He will often follow Stardust's lead, and when the axe-man begins unleashing destruction, Grummo follows with his own special brand of devastation. Kaboom!

Sksssh Ryleh

One of the band's support members, Sksssh is responsible for the manipulation of the Voltaic Theramin, a strange and poorly understood instrument-weapon. No one in the band itself is quite sure of what Sksssh actually looks like, for his body is cloaked in a dark, roiling mist, from which a myriad of uncountable tentacles writhe, gleaming and glistening with a metallic, hot pink color. The creature, whatever it is, almost never 'speaks', for it possesses no natural way of producing sounds, and it is only through deep and complex effort that it is able to create sounds that even begin to approximate Gal-Standard. Those educated enough to guess peg him correctly as a Ctin, the incomprehensible inhabitants of the strange worlds that hang not from the stars, but from the hunks of dark matter that dot the universe.

Unable to speak, or even dress as loudly as his bandmates, Sksssh is none-the-less content to allow his body and instrument to do his speaking for him. The roiling mist and precision-writhing mass of tentacles that enwrap his Theramin are a compulsively hypnotic horror, as they bring forth dread sounds that hover on the edge of unconciousness, occasionally rising with the drums in a great crescendo of thunder and sparks, the electrical weapon carefully controlled by the pattern of the tentacles that enwrap it, and it seems that Sksssh never misses his target.

His motivations are a mystery to the public and to the band itself, though fans speculate that he is feeding in some manner by his actions. However, Sksssh is mostly along for the thrill of the ride, and because the humans and their sub-breeds intrigue him, though the groupies confuse him badly. Fufilling his predatory urges by playing at being mercenary soldier only makes the deal sweeter. Eventually, he plans to retire and fund a cultural exchange mission to the humans with his share of the proceeds from rocking out. He also considering attempting to adopt a kitten, although the puppy experiment went very badly...

Scarlat Redhatch,The Mad Piper of Trilaxa!

Pilot, Piper, Explorer of Unusual Mental States, few space dwarves can compare with mighty Redhatch! Even fewer would want to!

In the radiation hell that was the surface of Gemma II, homeworld of the long-extinct species known as the Predathien, even the resilient Salvorathans could barely survive for long. It was there, in the midst of one of the lost culture's incomprehensible places of worship, that they found the Pipes. Most of the party died right there, shredded by the alien artifact's unearthly power, but the drug-addled assistant pilot named Scarlat Redhatch survived. Strangely drawn to the bizarre musical weapon, he wrenched it from its primordial tomb and seized it for his own...

...and the rest, as they say, is history!

Master of the Pipes

Standing a towering 4'6' in his gunmetal blue trousers, gleaming golden codpiece and platform boots, the black-skinned Salvorathan named Scarlat Hedhatch is covered with intricate tattoos in phosphorescent shades of red and gold that perfectly match his striped hair and beard. The intricate designs are almost impossible for the eye to follow, as they cross his bare chest, weaving drunkenly in and out of each other. Even Scarlat can't make sense of the bizarre images inscribed upon his skin, images he sketched from dreams he received soon after acquiring his unique instrument, the Predathien Pipes.

The Pandimensional Pipes of the Predathien

A bizarre agglomeration of dozens of gleaming, golden tubes protrudes from a gleaming red synthleather bag of Redhatch's devising, transforming the alien instruments into a sort of bagpipe. Winding in uncanny undulations, the instrument's tubes seem to fade in and out of visibility, stretching into alien dimensions and realities. The unearthly pipes follow no comprehensible system, instead following the patterns of madness-inducing, non-Euclidean symmetries.

A less powerful set of lungs would be inadequate to provide the air needed for this inefficiently converted device, but Redhatch's lungs are far more potent than a normal Salvorathan's: For years, Scarlat has been recklessly ingesting hundreds of strange alien drugs in his quest for 'celestial oneness' and 'deeper reality, man!'

The bizarre chemical barrage that he has exposed himself to has somehow caused his lungs to mutate, causing him to have twice the lung capacity of others of his species.

An alien artifact of awe-inspiring might, Scarlat's bagpipes are more than a mere musical instrument. In Scarlat's hands, it can not only deliver blasts of nearly deafening cacaphony, but he can shape the device's alien energies into lethal blasts of gravitic force, serving as a gravity lance with the power to crush objects and foes with hundreds of gravities of shattering power. Powerful enough to level city blocks, the pipes are also precise and accurate enough to burst the lids off of storage canisters without harming the contents in any way ( ability that Scarlat enjoys displaying with distressing frequency, especially when meeting new people in foreign spaceports).

Please Fasten Your Accel Harnesses, Dudes!

Scarlat Redhatch, the most skillful pilot in the quad... the syst... on the shi... in the band, regularly pilots the intrepid members of the Tungsten-Trousered Troubadours in their travels, despite the fact that interstellar authorities revoked his pilot's license years before. This occasionally causes them some problems, as he has a tendency to flee from any ship that appears to be on official business. Fortunately, fans of the band have become accustomed to occasional delays while the band's members are bailed out of the local hoosegow.

At any given time (Particularly when piloting: Flying makes him nervous), Scarlat is certain to be intoxicated in some way. He is particularly fond of opening himself up to 'new experiences', and will eagerly sample bizarre alien substances. Occasionally, these intoxicants will broaden his perceptions, but usually they just leave him befuddled and courting a hellacious hangover. When he can't get access to strange alien highs, he'll be addled by more ordinary (if not more legal) substances.

PAX-42235 - AKA "Blink"

Every band needs a keyboard player, and the TTTs are no exception to this rukle - although like everything else this mad band does, they do it in their own freakishly flamboyant style. In this case, the keyboard player is the keyboard itself - a mechanical intelligence very distantly descended from a runaway series of Von Neumann machines. Given how poorly most of their attempts at interacting with the organic races have tended to turn out - being shot at, worshiped, or treated as dangerous rogue 'drones' by any number of races - the entire PAX line is considered utterly insane by Blink's own people, since they're the ambassadors to the rest of the universe. Somewhere along the way the already-insane machine took a liking to heavy metal music, and then joined up with the TTTs without so much as a by-your-leave. They put up with him at first because he's got all the talents you could want in a roadie, with mechanical strength, perfect timing, and a built-in ability to make even the balkiest old gear work right after some tuning - and then when they found out he could play, well, that was just a bonus.

The Look

Blink certainly looks the part for being in the TTTs - his formerly space-battered hull has been recoated tungsten, silver, and gold, interspersed with the strobing lights that give him his Gal-Standard name. Floating off the ground on an antigravity drive, bristling with booms that have everything from amps (the better to keep the band's sound on the move in a fight), pickups (likewise), lasers (special effects and weapons in one, what more could a battle band ask for?), and other more exotic gear, Blink looks more like a piece of equipment than a musician - but don't tell him that, because you're likely to get a keyboard solo burned in your face by a laser. And if it needs to be obvious... Well, he can always fit half a dozen prehensile limbs and wail on a regular keyboard with the rest of the band.

The Music

Blink has, amid the massive onboard gear, a full set of synthesizers. He tends to rely on this fairly heavily, keeping the keyboard line going even in the middle of the heaviest fight. And being free from certain... Failings of purely organic life, he can keep up with every member of the band at once in a mind-twistingly complex dance of synthesized notes. That he can keep this up on the regular keyboards when he's restricted to using six prehensile limbs rather than his onboard suite just helps keep his place when other keyboarders try to oust him - not that this stops any of them. If anything, Thorin apparently gets a real kick out of watching the wildest keyboarders get their butts whipped at keyboarding and slink off with a laser hole through their boards.

The Weapons

Blink has, primarily, a set of lasers supported on various booms sweeping around it, each one capable of cycling from microwave to high UV frequncies. Most of the time it just uses them for the special effects pyrotechnics it specializes in, carving a wild, precise ionized pattern in the sky to the music. Of course, in the middle of a fight, those same lasers can focus a lot of power on whoever Blink thinks would look good with sheet music burned into them...