The Verdendrian people are a prime example of just bow diverse intelligent life can be. Evolved from plants, they are simple in motive yet mysteriously complex in reasoning. A star-faring race, they seem to have only a passing interest in colonization, however they are avid explorers. Carousing with a Verdendrian is almost completely devoid of value, but they can be found in starport taverns across the galaxy. Some species find them terribly fascinating; others, completely frustrating.
Typical Verdendrian Crewer
Agility 2D+1: acrobatics 5D, dodge 3D, firearms 3D, brawling 3D
Mechanical 3D+1: piloting 4D+1, sensors 4D+1
Strength 3D: climb/jump 3D+2, lift 3D+1
Knowledge 3D+1: astrography 4D+1
Perception 3D: investigation 4D
Technical 2D: medicine 3D+1, repair: biotech 4D
Strength Damage: 2D
Fate Points: 0
Character Points: 2
Body Points: 19
Wound levels: 3
Disadvantages: Achilles’ Heel (R3), requires 4 hours of sunlight or its equivalent per day or +2 to all difficulties and -2 to damage resistance totals per hour deficient, until get caught up on sunlight; Achilles’ Heel (R4), damage from toxic gases, atmospheric pollution, polluted water, alcohol, and the like increased by +3D (minimum of3D damage when exposed to such substances); Advantage Flaw (R1), Move reduced by 2 meters per limb lost; Advantage Flaw (R2), easily surprised and all surprise bonuses against the Verdendrian are increased by +2; Devotion (R1), to Root; Hindrance: Poor Hearing(R3), +4 to difficulties of hearing-based actions; Hindrance: Mute (R2), unable to speak with sounds; Quirk (R2), must make a Difficult willpower or Knowledge roll to overcome curiosity
Special Abilities: Accelerated Healing (R3), +3D to natural healing attempts, with Additional Effect (R1), can regrow lost limbs; Extra Body Parts (R4), 4 tentacles (for total of 8 tentacles), with Additional Effect (R12), all equally useful; Ultravision (R1), negates up to 2 points of modifiers for dim or dark conditions
Equipment translating device (provides languages 9D+2; 1 per team); plasma rifle (damage 5D; range 25/150/300; shots 50) or plasma pistol (damage 5D; range 10/25/40; shots 20); portable scanner (detects bio-signs, energy, gases, and ores range of 250 meters); med-kit (+1D to medicine attempts; 10 uses)
Total creation point cost: 4 points
Total defined limit cost: 1 attribute die or 4 skill dice
Disadvantages: Achilles’ Heel (R3), requires 4 hours of sunlight or its equivalent per day or+ 2 to all difficulties and -2 to damage resistance totals per hour deficient, until get caught up on sunlight; Achilles’ Heel (R4), damage from alcohol, heavily polluted air or water, and the like increased by +3D (minimum of 3D damage every other round when exposed to such substances); Advantage Flaw (R1), Move reduced by 2 meters per limb lose; Advantage Flaw (R2), easily surprised and all surprise bonuses against the Verdendrian are increased by +2; Devotion (R1), to Root; Hindrance: Poor Hearing (R3), +4 to difficulties of hearing-based actions; Hindrance: Mute (R2), unable to speak with sounds; Quirk (R2), must make a Difficult willpower or Knowledge roll to overcome curiosity
Special Abilities: Accelerated Healing (R3, total cost 10), +3D to natural healing attempts, with Additional Effect (R1), can regrow lose limbs; Extra Body Parts (R4, total cost 12), 4 tentacles (for total of 8 tentacles), with Additional Effect (R12), all equally useful; Ultravision (R1, cost 1), negates up to 2 points of modifiers for dim or dark conditions
Typical Verda Prowler
The prowler is a feline, similar to a panther, which excels at the art of stealth. It can virtually disappear in shady areas and lie in wait to pounce on a passer-by. Like most big cats, it goes for the throat first and drags its prey down to the ground to finish it off: Visitors have described them as having jewel-like eyes and ears like small wings. They are most often encountered at the outskirts of cities and in parks. Killing one in self-defense or for sustenance is entirely tolerated, but open pouching for sport or trade is not permitted.
Agility 3D+2: dodge 5D, brawling 5D+2
Strength 4D: climb/jump 5D
Perception 3D+2: hide 4D, sneak 4D+2, search 4D+1
Strength Damage: 2D
Fate Points: 0
Character Points: 0
Body Points: 32
Wound levels: 3
Natural Abilities: claws (damage +1D); bite (damage +20; +5 to combat difficulty); camouflage fur (+20 to hide and sneak in shadows or dark areas); can leap up to 10 meters horizontally or 2 meters vertically; large size (scale value 0)
Verdendrian soldiers and security personnel have +1D to all Agility skills listed and have armor with a value of +1D. Elite forces may have +2D to all Agility skills listed and +1D to two Technical abilities, such as demolitions and security. Overall combat tactics are solid bur very basic. As they generally have technological superiority over their enemies, they do not use complex strategic methods, though they may develop them if defeated several times.
On an exploration ship, the crew is made up of approximately one-quarter technical, one-quarter scientific, and one-quarter soldiers, with the remaining quarter are elders. Typically, the Verdendrians on exploration or diplomatic missions travel in groups of four or five.
An elder has +1D to +3D to all skills associated with his profession, as well as a leadership skill of +2D. Elders are hard to distinguish physically from any other Verdendrians, and adults in dangerous situations may “pose” as the leader if necessary to draw fire.
Each mission includes one elder. If the elder is killed, the adults can function normally, albeit with the loss of the most experienced member of the team. Nonetheless, they generally call for a replacement or return to base, if possible, before taking any substantial action.
Technical and scientific crew have +2D in three specialty skills, such as repair or medicine. They generally carry the translation device in any group. When asking questions of locals, the one using the translator relates all requests.
Verdendrian merchants are few, mostly seen on their colony worlds or near starports, and they trade almost completely on a barter system. They purchase foreign goods with food stocks, including plan ts and live animals, or with goods chat come into their possession from other traders and visitors. Unusual things can sometimes be found in their shops, items that some people wanted very much to get rid of. A Verdendrian merchant has +3D in bargain, but they do nor haggle as much as they establish a reason to set a price. Pieces of technology that may fall in a Verdendrian merchants hands cost the buyer more in terms of food stuffs, art objects, or data than like items.
Non-Verdendrian merchants are allowed to do business within the ground of their starports, mostly for items like fuel and replacement parts. These vendors do work on standard credits and may be the closest thing to a criminal element the planet has.
The Verdendrian is a wholly efficient and logically structured being, biologically speaking. Their bodies consist of a central body, or pod, which is vaguely ovular and approximately one meter tall The pod is covered in a thick layer of leafy structures that are tightly packed together and make a sturdy skin. Inside the pod is somewhat like a fruit, containing a complex set of pathways in which simple sugars and proteins flow. Here is where the brain resides, at the center of the pod.
Sprouting from the pod are eight vine-like tentacles, each about 0.8 meters in length, four of which are used as legs and four used for arms. Each tentacle has a set of cilia at the end, which can be used for fine manipulation, grasping. or support. The tendrils also form the initial digestive tract, absorbing nutrients like roots. In addition, there is a single, small head, or bud, in the middle of the pod; this bud houses a cluster of sensory nodules. The bud is directly connected to the brain via a short stem. If lost, the tentacles and the bud can fully regenerate in a few months without medical attention, assuming that at least one tentacle is left to eat with.
The tentacles provide the Verdendrian with exceptional balance. They can walk on as little as two tentacles and can stand on one. If knocked over, the tentacles typically used as arms can function as legs. In fact, a Verdendrian can re-orientate himself quickly if turned on end, and they perform equally well upside down. Tentacles that are not engaging in activity typically wave gently and are indicators of body language.
The bud houses all of the senses of a Verdendrian aside from touch, which is strongest in the cilia and tentacles. Their sensory range is different from most species. They see colors and have a highly developed sight in the ultraviolet spectrum. This makes some of their art difficult for many races to perceive, much less appreciate. Their sense of hearing is poor, and they possess no vocal cords. They communicate via a series of scent glands on the bud and have perhaps the most developed sense of smell of any sentient species known. Their peripheral vision, due the size of the body versus the bud-stem, is poor, but they can often smell other creatures coming as if they had eyes in the back of their pods.
They prefer to eat vegetation that’s fallen off of the main plant. They’re indifferent to carnivorous eating habits, but they have an elaborate code of conduct regarding the consumption of fresh vegetation. Off-worlders also are expected to adhere to these restrictions.
They live approximately 125 to 150 standard solar years and are a single-sex race. To reproduce, any two adults can copulate and produce seedlings that look like small pods. Each coupling results in two to four seedlings, though typically 25% of all seedlings fail to achieve maturity and escape the soil. The seedlings are planted in highly fertilized soil until they grow tentacles and a bud. They then dig themselves out of the ground after about six months.
Homeworld and Colonies
A visit to the lush world of Nerda has its own special delights and perils. The planet is quire beautiful, littered with rainforests containing flora of every color and intriguing fauna. However, several of the planes are extremely poisonous to many humanoids; before approaching them, a botanist should be consulted. More importantly, as the carnivores of Verda do not care to eat the Verdendrians themselves, the animals are generally free to roam wherever they wish. Visitors have known to be mauled by a Verda Prowler in starports, museums, and even in medical facilities, though, in all fairness, the occurrence of such incidents is somewhat rare. Predators are far more likely to ambush those in a park or zoo (which to the Verdendrians are much the same thing).
The cities of Verda are rather unique in comparison to the architecture of other civilized species. From a high altitude, they look like auburn fields of crops. Their buildings are based on plant structures: call, lean, having branches that interconnect with the branches of many of the surrounding buildings. While they may vary in height and complexity, they are always uniformly laid out in rows based on the elevation and terrain. Navigating a city on Verda is not very difficult, though some get confused by the similarities in buildings. In fact, no two structures are the same, but the differences are not often considerable.
The Verdendrian colonies are all very much like Verda itself: green, heavy rainfall, and warm climate. The Verdendrians do nor care to try to bend nature to their will through terraforming or conquer the elements via technology. Planets that do not naturally have a strong water supply, good soil, and ample sunlight are studied but not settled. This has allowed some species, friendly to the Verdendrian government, to colonize some of the harsher worlds closer to Verda that may sustain life.
The Verdendrian society is founded on their family structure. Families, or “Roots,” are comprised of hundreds of members who live in the same dwelling. Their unity is based on historical and genetic bonds. A Root typically has a name for the place its ancestors came from.
For example, the “Root of Ko” originates from the forest known as Ko in the western hemisphere. On modern Verda and in her colonies, many Verdendrians have transplanted themselves; thus a “Root of Ko” in many communities. If a member of the “Root of Ko” must leave one city to work in another city, he will typically join the “Root of Ko” in the new city. In the rare instance that his Root is not in the new city, the individual joins a Root of his new to-workers. Sociologists from other species often classify a Root as a clan more than a family, but the Verdendrians do not make a distinction.
Individual naming conventions always carry the Root name as the suffix. The prefix of the name is generally one or two syllables, and they are very simple; examples for the Root of Ko would be DiKo, JuRiKo, NeKo, TuLaKo, and so on. Verdendrians do not introduce each other; they do so individually.
Within a family unit, the adults and elders take turns caring for the seedlings and adolescents, including all preliminary education. As the young grow, the caregivers evaluate their potential and, at a certain stage of their development, they are apprenticed to Root members of like abilities. For example, the education of a Root adolescent showing aptitude in science is taken over by a family member who is a scientist. The mentoring continues until they are adults and are ready to work outside the Root (if they so desire). Adulthood is achieved at approximately 25 solar years.
The life of a Verdendrian is purposeful and well defined. Once in a profession, they rarely change their vocation – only their assignment or project. No job is considered beneath another. While planetside, they spend most of the day of their 30-hour cycle working or caring for the young. depending upon the needs of the community at large. At night, they become dormant to save energy and finish processing food, much like sleep. They can adapt to other “sleep” cycles as needed. Little changes over the years.
When they die, they are ground up and placed into the soil of the nursery of their Root, to nourish the seedlings. Moreover, anything that dies is used as fertilizer, including animals and deceased aliens. Any body, which is not quickly claimed by visitors, is mulched and added to the soil of a nearby Root. Even when encountered off world, a group of Verdendrians may ask locals if they can eat their recently deceased friend. This is probably because the bio-gel rations of Verdendrian ships are considered to be satisfactory but hardly flavorful.
Due to the Verdendrian scent-based communication system, dealings with them have been difficult. Their scent bursts arc largely incomprehensible to all bu ta handful of species. At best, a range of scents can be understood to indicate a broad topic. For example, when a Verdendrian creates a burning odor, it means that there is a problem of some sort; however, the nature of the problem, intensity, and details would be lose on a species with as limited a sense of smell as Terrans posses.
Conversely, Verdendrians interpret speech based mostly on volume. Shouting and loud noises are thought to be representative of trouble, while whispering is thought to be an indication that things are good. As they do not talk, a lack of sound is of no concern to them and their ships are very quiet on the inside – so quiet that it can be unnerving to most guests of other species.
When sophisticated translation devices are available, communication is possible, but grasping the Verdendrian thought process takes intuition and experience. They often use some metaphor in their speech and many questions must be worded precisely to get detailed information. If a Verdendrian is asked,”How old are you?” he will respond,”I am spring” if he’s an adolescent, or “I am summer” if an adult, or “I am autumn” if an elder. The term “winter” refers to death or the dead. To get the precise information, this question should be worded, “How many solar years has it been since your birth?”
Beyond the careful consideration in which words and smells are exchanged, those dealing with a Verdendrian have to keep in mind that they are not an emotional species and the nuances of diplomacy are virtually useless. They do not lie, and if they give a simple explanation to a question, they expect it to suffice. When one of their ships is found doing a scientific exploration in restricted territory, their explanation will be that “we seek to know.” It’s their answer for much of what they do outside of their own space.
Encounters with their research vessels, and crewmembers, are the most common contact most other species have with the Verdendrians. They are very curious and think nothing of approaching any situation to do a full series of scans on anything and everything involved. When on deep space explorations, they dock at foreign ports and venture out in small groups to observe the most basic of daily activities with great interest. Incidents of exhaustive questioning regarding the consumption of breakfast cereals have been known to ensue from these outings, among other odd topics.
While tedious at times, this is the preferred way to meet a Verdendrian, or one of their ships. Other meetings typically take place in front of the barrel of a recently discharged plasma weapon. Even though these people are inherently peaceful, they think nothing of extinguishing a threat as calmly as one would snuff out a lit march in a child’s hand. This does not mean they shoot at any armed vessel encountered, but if they detect a ship or fleet in an aggressive posture, they only give one warning before dispassionately vaporizing the offenders. In addition, they have been known to engage in preemptive strikes against species preparing invasion forces to launch against them.
Trade and Relations
Trade with Verda, the homeworld, and its few colonies has been abysmal. The Verdendrians have no monetary system and little interest in foreign products. They have a community in which there is no poverty, and nearly everything is recycled. Their economy is virtually a perfect form of socialism. The only things exchanged in abundance are food, art, and knowledge. Though not very emotional, they appreciate culinary and aesthetic experimentation greatly. However, they do not grasp the concept of the difference in value in food and art; to them, a Monet is equal to a child’s crayon drawing, and processed meat substitute no less important than the raw eggs of a rare fish.
If another species is willing to teach them information they consider worth knowing, they will reciprocate in kind. Their knowledge of celestial phenomenon is vast, and their medical prowess unsurpassed. While the exchange of information is generally done between governments, at times ,the Verdendrians will deal with organizations and individuals they deem have good relations with their explorers. The only exception is that they do not share their technology, making them the envy of many scar powers.
The Verdendrians hold some of the most advanced bio- technology of any sentient race in the galaxy. Their ships are virtually living creatures with brain-like computers and the ability to self-repair through a regenerative process. Technicians on a Verdendrian ship are more like surgeons than engineers, stitching damaged components back together so that they heal correctly, or replacing parts in a manner similar to organ transplants. In addition, their weapons are powerful; their organic firearms and cannons use superheated plasma, which burn through conventional armor with frightening ease. Their missile systems are based on intelligent mini-craft that doggedly pursue their targets and deliver heavy payloads of explosives. Those who have tried to take this technology by force have paid a heavy price.
Laws and customs
Their legal system is very basic, in that it does not exist in the common galactic definition. With no interest in personal wealth or property, they have existed without crime throughout their history. Warfare internally is now unheard of, so they do not understand the need for codified regulations and laws. Even things as simple as building regulations or food inspection are not even considered. If a building is destroyed by natural disaster, they simply build the next one stronger than the last. If food becomes tainted, they destroy the food and make more. The introduction of visitors has not changed these attitudes.
Guests of Verda who misbehave are summarily dealt with based on how serious the act, with no trial and little, if any, investigation. Assaulting a Verdendrian without provocation, using nonlethal force, results in permanent banishment from the planet without appeal. The same applies for attempts to steal technology from the planet. As they freely give visitors food and shelter, there is nothing else of interest to rake. Banishment typically covers all colonies and the homeworld of the Verda.
Off-worlders who attempt to kill a Verdendrian are hunted down and killed, unless they surrender without incident. Those who surrender are banished. Oddly enough, should visitors slay one another without posing any threat to the public (such as by stray gunfire), they are generally left alone. The Verdendrians consider such acts to be of no consequence to them, unless a foreign government protests the crime. In this case, the Verdendrians often hand over the offender to the protesting authority or its nearest representative to deal with in its own way. This sometimes results in unsuspecting visitors having to pay for the hospitality of Verda by keeping a prisoner, as Verda has no prisons, or transporting an offender to another planet for prosecution.
Recently, as the Verda starports have started to become havens for criminals, especially smugglers who take advantage of the lack of any trade regulations, the Verdendrians have adopted a practice of restricting guests from traveling around the planet armed. Enforcement is typically stronger in areas that have had more trouble. Generally, punishment involves confiscation of equipment and its immediate destruction. If the offender appears to be heavily armed, banishment may occur outright. If a single member of a crew is pronoui1ced banished, his ship may stay in port as long as he is kept aboard under house arrest. Should he be later found wandering about the area, his ship will be made to leave immediately and may face being barred from returning to the planet in the future.
The elders are the leaders of the entire race and are simply the oldest of the Verdendrians. Elders make all decisions regarding infractions committed by off-worlders, as well as the trade of information and diplomatic activity. When there is trouble in a city, a group of elders in the community are summoned to make final decisions for long-term problems that other species might consider the domain of judicial and government officials. The Verdendrians refer to the elders as “the Ones of Autumn.”
Elders command ships, manage cities, lead research institutes, and head of families. They are chosen for their duties by evaluation of other elders based on their experience. For instance, the ruling body of elders over the entire planet is comprised of the most experienced diplomats, scientists, explorers, artisans, and soldiers. This council has hundreds of members, with four of the very oldest at the head. All of the local elders report to the ruling body in an unwritten hierarchy.
While authority of any local elder encountered is generally restricted to certain areas, almost any group of them can pronounce judgment over an issue on the spot if it’s not of planetary importance. For instance, a group of family elders can have an off-worlder banished and their actions will have the complete support of the ruling body. However, to lift a banishment (which is a rare occurrence), make a treaty, exchange knowledge, and so forth requires dealing with members of the ruling body. Gaining audience to them takes patience and strong reasoning or the credentials of a visiting dignitary. Note that forging credentials generally results in banishment.
Verdendrians do not seem to have romance, fiction, or sports to entertain themselves. The young play, but play seems to be a mostly learning experience for them; it’s like an exploration of their capabilities and environment.
Apparently in ancient times the Verdendrian people had diverse religions based on deities that governed the aspects of the sun, the weather, seas, and land. Not much is known about them, but it’s rumored the followers of each aspect at one rime or another warred with each other over the importance of the aspects and for resources. In time, scientific advancement brought the aspects together to an understanding of a holistic environment in which all aspects where part of a greater unit.
These days, the Verdendrians can be seen paying some homage to this past in small ways, through art and family, but perhaps it’s this past that drives them to learn. It could be said that, through exploration, the people of Verda worship at the temple of the universe itself.
The moniker Starfish was assigned by some Terrans because the vessel resembles a starfish in most respects. Looking more like a five-pylon starbase, this vessel’s engines reside under the central hull, propelling the vessel such chat the “top” moves in the direction of travel. This allows its guns and torpedo launchers to face forward, giving the ship an excellent field of fire. In combating this ship, it’s best to attack at the point of one of the pylons to limit the number of guns that can be brought to bear. The Starfish-class cruiser is the standard fleet ship of their armada. Ir’s believed char larger versions of this vessel exist, probably as command ships or space stations, but there are no confirmed sightings of such ships.
Crew: 10,000 (pilots, navigation, gunners, sensors, communication, repair, administration, and support staff)
Passengers: 2,000 (scientists, exploration pilots, dignitaries, and paid passengers)
Cargo: 60,000 cubic meters, including equipment, storage, supplies, and Manta Ray Explorer vessels
Life-Support: 2 years
Weapons: 25 plasma cannons (5 per pylon, forward arc, gunnery bonus +2D, range 10/30/50, damage 6D); 10 torpedo launchers (2 per pylon, forward arc, gunnery bonus 0, range 1/3/7, damage 9D); 5 sensor probe launchers (1 per pylon, forward arc, gunnery bonus +2D, range 2/16/14)
Interstellar Drive Rating: 1.0; backup: 0.1
Hull Toughness: 6D
Atmosphere Capability: None
Length: 500 meters
Cost: 300,000,000 credits/Price Difficulty: 30020
Also named for the similarity to a creature found on Earth, the Manta-Ray Explorer is the most common vessel encountered in the Verdendrian fleet. Ir functions primarily as a research craft and can be sighted near any astrometrical anomaly or curiosity. In addition, several of these craft are housed on each Starfish-class cruiser to act as expeditionary vessels, launches, and gunships against heavy fighter assault.
Life-Supporting Modules: group airlock (4 areas, 2 tons, 0.4 eu, 300 cr); bridge (4 areas, 2 tons, 0.4 eu, 100 cr) with +1D navigation and +2D piloting upgrades (3 eu, 2,700 cr); primary science duty station (4 areas, 2 tons, 0.4 eu, 100 cr) with +lD comm and +2D sensors upgrades (3 eu, 2,700 cr); secondary science duty station (4 areas, 2 tons, 0.4 eu, 100 cr) with +1D sensors upgrade (1 eu, 900 cr); 2 weapons duty stations (8 areas, 4 tons, 0.8 eu, 200 cr) each with +1D gunnery upgrades (2 eu, 1,800 cr); laboratory (8 areas, 4 tons, 0.8 eu, 3,000 cr); single-person lounge (6 areas, 3 tons, 0.6 eu, 300 cr) with food processor upgrade (25 cr); medical bed (3 areas, 1.5 tons, 0.3 eu, 400 cr) with +2D medicine upgrade (2 eu, l,800 cr)
Cargo Modules: bulk (equipment, storage, and weapons lockers, 10 areas, 10 tons, 1 eu, 250 cr)
Life-Support Supplies: food storage (2 areas, 1 ton, 1 eu, 20 cr); snack food supply (10 persons/1 month, 1 ton, 600 cr); atmosphere (19 people-areas/1 month, 1,900 cr)
In-System Drive (14 areas, 14 rons, 36 eu, 12,500 cr)
Move: 12 (space), 600(atmosphere, 1,750 kph)
Maneuverability: +2D (12 eu, 3,600 cr)
Interstellar Drive: 1 (12 areas, 36 tons, 100 eu, 51,000 cr)
Weapons: 4 blaster cannons (16 areas, 20 tons, 76 eu, 64,000 cr, 1 top and forward arc, 1 top and rear arc, 1 bottom and aft arc, 1 bottom and port arc, range 10/35/52, 6D damage) 1 sensor probe launcher (2 areas, 3 tons, 2 eu, 10,000 cr, forward arc, range 2/6/14) with 5 replacement sensor probes (25,000 cr) in 5 ammo bays (5 areas ,10 tons, 2 eu, 500 cr) 1 torpedo launcher ( 4 areas, 6 tons, 4 eu, 10,000 cr, forward arc, range 1/3/7, 9D damage) with 10 replacement torpedoes (10,000) in 10 ammo bays (10 areas, 20 tons, 4 eu, 1,000 cr)
Total Energy Requirements: 245
Power Plant: 280 energy units generated (20 areas, 37 tons, 38,500 cr)
Hull Toughness: 2D+l (96 tons, 48,000 cr)
Atmosphere Capability: streamlining (24 tons, 9,600 cr), landing gear (20 tons, 7,200 cr)
Armor: +1D (18 tons,18,000 cr)
Shields: +1D (2 areas, 3 tons, 3 eu, 27,000 credits)
Total Tonnage: 321
Total Area Units: 138
Length: 35 meters (wedge)
Total Cost (new): 349,195 credits/Price Difficulty: 55