They are fairly "classic" protosimian humanoids. Descriptively they are of medium build, which means they seem quite stocky for lower gee people. In fact, they are only 160-165 cms tall (5'3"-5'5"). Their coloration is that of a light tan with orange hints, like a Taldaran (Mediterranean tan). Their hair ranges from white to medium browns. Culturally both genders wear it long and with a top knot or bun. The knots use to signify Kale or region of their family, but that tradition has fallen to the wayside. Their eyes are in the green to yellow ranges and can be quite vibrant. Their ears slightly pointed as most species are. Their notable difference is their nose. They are small, to the point of being nearly non existent. Some might call it a button nose, but really it is nothing but a small bump where the nostrils are. These nostrils can close internally, which was developed as a protection from the grand pollens that existed on their homeworld.
While they usually wear local clothing, or local clothing for the winter as they find most world cold, their native garb are thin robes and layers of robes, overrobes, split leg pants, and tunics. They tend toward stylish and colorful dress.
They evolved upon a .96G, 20 amino acid ecology, from the solar side of the lifeband. (A smaller than Earth sized, Earth like planet where spring and autumn temps are summer temps from the same latitudes on Earth).
Their world was quite lush with a high hydrographic percentage. The air was full of humidity and pollen (some of it quite large and virulent, as pollen goes). While the insect life was quite varied and robust, the animal life was less pronounced as ecologies go.
Their culture is mostly broken by the ravages of the war that occurred in their systems. These lovely people had the unfortunate luck of living adjacent to a zenophobic bug race and a species, Humans, that would defend their colonies. Their homeworld and five colonies were all ravaged by the confrontation.
The Valnorians are mostly dispersed to the eight stellar directions. Most have migrated into their "allies" space (read Human/ Confederation space). Much of their culture has been lost to them, but they keep bits and pieces. The two strongest pieces, since they never developed the concept of religion, are the Two Pillars of Thought.
-The Moral System is a philosophy emphasizing personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. Polquor's principles, as set down by the 4 Great Thinkers, include strong familial loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children (and, according to later interpreters, of husbands by their wives), and the family as a basis for an ideal government.
The key to the Moral system is simple well-known principle, "Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself" .
Beelsh or Legalism
is actually rather a pragmatic political philosophy, with maxims like "when the epoch changed, legalism is the act of following all laws", and its essential principle is one of jurisprudence. "Legalism" here can bear the meaning of "political philosophy that upholds the rule of law". There is a trinity of key beliefs.
Principle: The law code must be clearly written and made public. All people under the ruler were equal before the law. Laws should reward those who obey them and punish accordingly those who dare to break them. Thus it is guaranteed that actions taken are systemically predictable. In addition, the system of law ran the state, not the ruler. If the law is successfully enforced, even a weak ruler will be strong.
Method: Special tactics and "secrets" are to be employed by the ruler to make sure others don't take over control of the state. Especially important is that no one can fathom the ruler's motivations, and thus no one can know which behavior might help them getting ahead; except for following the laws.
Legitimacy: It is the position of the ruler, not the ruler himself, that holds the power. Therefore, analysis of the trends, the context, and the facts are essential for a real ruler.
The Valnorians apply these philosophies towards every government they are under. They like a good discussion. Most of the time, things work; but there are times when it causes extreme issues. Since the Two Pillars are all they have left, they hold on to them rigidly.
That is not completely true. The true key to their cultural survival is Cuisine. Now since they have dispersed to the 8 stellar points, there are Valnorians restaurants everywhere. They are patronized by Valnorians, Servicebeings who came back from The War with a taste for their food, and new neighbors who have find the cuisine delightful.
The Restaurant has taken the place of the "Community Pits" that were the social and political center of the Valnorian life. Here all the Weddings, Funerals, Coming of age rituals, and community discussions take place.
The decor in the Restaurants are always classic Valnorian: earth tone yellows and green, soft lighting, low tables, sitting pillows, and a warm temperature. There is often a waterfall in the background, creating a gentle white noise. The restaurants are often "rented out" for special social events for the Valnorians community (for a tiny fee). They are used for classes in Bailen (Valnorian standard), cultural dancing, and other events between lunch and dinner.
see Ochell's Authentic as an example of restaurant and the comments on it to understand why they are important to your campaign.
A few more details to help you capture their feel.
The older the Valnorian the slower they will move and the more easily tired. This is not a function of their age, it is beause they are used to a lower g environment. The young have lived most of their lives in a full G environment, rather than a native .96.
Their lights tend to be amber hued, to match their old sun.
There planet was on the interior of the Lifeband, so it was still quite warm. Thus they tend to wear thin robes and layers of robes and clothing as day and night temps were dramatic (due to axillary tilt).
They were a very formal people, so politeness and strict observance of their own social/ legal rules (as well of those of their "hosts" - the people they now live amongst) are the norm. They dislike people who take liberties with the social rules.
They are community oriented, now more than ever.
They seem to have a switch in their head. Most of the time they "fit into" the local culture with normal, but stylish, dress and modes of discussion. Then they will simply change as easily as some races smile, and act completely Valnorian. (Many refugee or forced immigrant communities have adapted this mode of self preservation. The Valnorians have just taken it to a notable extereme.
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? Responses (8)-8
I am unsure if they should be coded in the Minor Races and Race Ideas codex or left as a notable race. Chime in with your opinion.
At first, I thought that there was a gap where the rampaging bugs were, and the effect they had on the Valnorian community. After a moment of thought I can see a wizened old woman, a survivor of the bug infestations who quite plainly refuses to remember any of it, almost a communal block-out of those events.
(Tangent)In a way, this reminded me of my grandfather, as he fought in the Korean war, and it wasnt until I was almost an adult before I learned of this. I never thought twice when he played with me and my tanks. It made alot of sense later when my father told me he was a tank commander there. He saw alot of bad things, and never speaks about any of them, even if you ask him. I see the Valnorians being much the same way. (/Tangent)
That is a position I had in mind, but it is not something that most people easily understand... unless they expereinced something like it.
I do see a lot of Vietnamese and Korean parallels. Big powers fighting wars in their territories. They are just "in the way". Sure one is "on their side", but they are fighting for their goals. So nothing is left for them. Droped warp cores from ships, missed "wave motion gun" shots, atomics, and genocidal bugs (who would rather destroy than let anyone else have an livable planet), destroyed their homes. They evac out on random ships or get a lift from Confedeation forces. Culturally they are kind of in shock. They cling to little bits of their olds life, and wear them like thread bare but familiar clothes. They know they change clothes, but they are the only comfortable things they have.
If you don't understand this, just bypass it. The people's worlds were blown out. They were rescued. They cling to their old ways, yet are pragmatic enough to embrance the new. You can gloss over the uncomfortable parts and move on.
Poor them, their planet destroyed in the "Starship Troopers" war.
Hmm. I'm getting a distinct whiff of Eau-de-Half-Elf from these guys, and I'm not sure why. Also, they make me think 'American Jew', which is not a bad thing.
Can we get a character made with one of these, to demonstrate how their legalistic morality affects them in the surrounding human culture? Maybe a lawyer, or a police sort?
I think Siren needs some nasal drops with that whiff.
The legalistic morality is actually derived from Chinese Culture, where Legalism was actually codified. Pokor is kind of a mismash of Confuscionistic ideals. So if you need a handle, think Chinese.
A well detailed minor race - they feel like they could easily be part of the Bab5 universe, especially the post series timelines. The 'bugs' could easily have been the Shadows. Can't say more without being a spoiler..
I could so see that. You are very right about that. They have just enough going on to be a B5 race. They have built in drama that can be simple or infinitely complex. They have enough wiggle room that the writers/ GM could fill in anything they need to fit their stories.
Now I should try to run a B5 campaign and see how they work.