Legend has it the name “Thayarr” – which is both singular and plural – stems from one philosopher’s observation about their nature in her native language: “They are to us as we are to nothing.” Regardless of the veracity of this Statement, the sentiment is entirely right; to a race such as Thayarr who count the stars themselves as home, the concerns and thoughts of planet-bound peoples are almost too trifling to consider.
Constant, a relatively young Thayarr, hypothesizes that all creative processes in the universe – as in, those involving the act of creating – can be boiled down to one irrational number, which she calls “the ultimate constant.” To that end, Constant observes all manner of phenomena, ranging from galactic formations to new species being born to sentients’ flirtations. She believes if she can discover this Constant, then it should be possible to work out an inverse, with which she will be able to rid the Thayarr of the Curse forever. As such, she is continually trying to boil down all interactions into one Truth – preferably numerical. She tests her theories on various systems and species, leading one exasperated captain to call her “a Constant source of irritation.”
Agility 2D (+10): flying/0-G 4D
Mechanical 2D (+10)
Strength 2D (+l0): stamina 8D
Knowledge 4D+l (+35): intimidation 5D, tactics 5D, willpower 7D
Perception 3D (+35): investigation 6D, search 6D
Technical 2D (+35)
Metaphysics 2D+2 (+100): channel 5D, sense 5D, transform 5D
Strength Damage: 1D (+10)
Fate Points: 10
Body Points: 34
Character Points: 20
Wound levels: 5
Disadvantages: Advantage Flaw (R2), maximum range for Metaphysics is System; Bad Luck (R4), bad things happen on a Critical Failure or a roll (not including pips or bonuses) equal to or less than the die code of the skill; Quirk (R2), proud – Difficult willpower check to admit being wrong (do not include bonuses when making this check)
Special Abilities: Atmospheric Tolerance (R1), with Additional Effect (R10), suffers no penalties in any atmosphere including void of space; Flight (R50), flying Move 1000, with Additional Effect (R10) can reach interstellar speeds outside of atmospheric conditions with a “drive rating” of 5; Increased Attribute: Agility, Mechanical, Strength (R10 each), +10 to related totals; Increased Attribute: Agility, Mechanical, Strength (R20 each), +20 to related totals, each with Singularity (R3), may only use one of this group of Increased Attribute each round; Increased Attribute: Knowledge, Perception, Technical (R35 each), +35 to related totals; Immortality (R1), can be killed by massive rare gravitational phenomena, with Additional Effect (R2) does not need to eat or drink; Increased Attribute: Metaphysics (R100), +100 to related totals To represent a Thayarr that has been stripped of its access to the Thayarr Field (either voluntarily or through the actions of others), remove all Special Abilities and all Disadvantages except Quirk: Proud. They retain their ability to use Metaphysics as a natural part of who they were before they entered the Chrysalis. In addition, such a Thayarr would have no more than 1 Fate Point and 5 Character Points.
When encountered, the Thayarr most often cake on the appearance of the dominant humanoid race with which they are interacting. They prefer to retain a specific form for each race, so if the same Thayarr is met multiple times, it will resemble the same being. However, all evidence points to the Thayarr’s natural form being an energy construct, given form and shape by force of will. The exact humanoid form an individual Thayarr will take depends on its mood; some opt for a plainly clothed – even naked – form, while others choose flamboyant or meaningful personae from the humanoids’ past. They tend to adopt trappings or personae suiting how they perceive their roles; for example, a Thayarr who views itself as a scientist might adopt the appearance of one of the most famous scientists from their humanoids’ past.
Although the Thayarr had genders before their transformation to energy beings, they claim to be beyond such frivolities anymore. Some outsiders aren’t so sure; they point to the observation that Thayarr who assume humanoid forms always seem to choose the same or similar gender, if an analogous one exists for that species.
Thayarr prefer epic-sounding names that convey a sense of their magnitude and interest. Thus, one Thayarr with an interest in light and temporal phenomena calls himself “c,” while another who is studying sentients’ first inklings of thought calls herself “Notion.” This naming convention based around ideas has sometimes confounded those who encounter them, either by having a name that is a concept the race hasn’t encountered or experienced yet, or by having a name with a potential for misunderstanding. (It took one stubborn-minded captain almost 20 minutes before he finally comprehended that the being he was addressing was named “Yes.”)
The origins of the Thayarr are shrouded in mystery. An old race, they claim to be one of the first in the cosmos. Regardless of their origins, the Thayarr were not always the godlike beings of legend. They speak obliquely, if at all, of the Chrysalis – the point in their past when they stepped outside the shell of humanoid limitations and began anew as children of the stars. This process involved the dedication of the entire species and may have taken decades or even generations to bring to fruition. Their rebirth process was not unique, and the Thayarr have hinted that they interestedly observe another civilization on the cusp of achieving their own Chrysalis … although what “on the cusp” means to a race whose people live millennia is unclear.
The Thayarr’s Chrysalis was not without its costs, and some Thayarr still speak wistfully of the loss of what they call “meatsense” – the sensations a physical body provides, which they claim cannot be fully replicated by their powers. The biggest and most long-reaching drawback to this rebirth, however, was what they call the Curse.
Every Thayarr, without exception, has horrendous and continuous misfortune. This Curse defines their every moment, with any access of the “Thayarr Field” (what they call the source of their energy) proving possibly disruptive. Unfortunately, given the scope of the Thayarr’s powers, their “probability distortions” can end up disastrous for more mundane life forms in the systems they visit. Equipment malfunctions on a global scale, solar flares, freak wormholes, incredible awkward coincidences, and the alteration of planetary tiles are all within the scope of the Curse. Even effects that are “impossible” for lesser life forms – all species in a radius spontaneously switching genders, or everyone gaining uncontrollable broadcast telepathy – are feasible, especially when the Thayarr is attempting something dynamic or unusual. However, minor effects – light bending in strange patterns, weird side effects from metaphysical manipulations, or echoes in the Thayarr’s speech when in humanoid form – are also common.
Some humanoid scientists who have survived contact with the Thayarr believe the Curse to be natural extension of the Uncertainty Principle, where the act of observing a phenomenon affects the observed. This theory notes that rhe mere power level involved in Thayarr observations can cause wild fluctuations in the space-time continuum. When a Thayarr is presented with this theory, it generally smiles, looking at the scientist in the same way as one looks at a child who just discovered a number greater than three.
Birds, Bees, and Beings of Pure Energy
Thayarr reproduce by a process they call the Fission, in which 10% of all Thayarr must agree to the creation of a new “child,” with one Thayarr – usually the being who proposed the Fission – serving as the “parent”; this collective channels its metaphysical energy into one massive manipulation, which divides off half of the parent’s essence into a new being. The offspring is entirely “grown” and able to participate as a full Thayarr immediately, even though it will take many years or even decades for it – and the parent – to regenerate to its form. Although possessed of knowledge and understanding of its powers, the new Thayarr is essentially a “blank slate,” free to form its own personality and mannerisms. The desire to reproduce does not drive Thayarr as it does other races, so all Thayarr thus produced are always the produce of considerable contemplation and often negotiation, given the numbers needed to spawn one. Since the Thayarr are unaging and seemingly immortal, and since the Curse so often causes disruptions that affect other Thayarr’s observations or experiments, the Fission usually only occurs when there is considerable need for a new form, such as when a new member’s unbiased observations are required or when an extant Thayarr ceases to be, causing a loss of numbers.
Although death – as it consumes biological life forms – is unknown to the Thayarr, their existence can still come to an end. The most common means is when the Thayarr itself chooses to stop being; by refusing to tap the Thayarr Field, it will usually succumb to the ravages of space quickly or, if planet-bound, the needs of whatever biological form it assumes. The rarer means of a Thayarr’s demise involve being caught in certain massive interstellar phenomena, such as a dual black hole or the birth of a supernova. Given the Thayarr’s near-omniscience, however, some speculate that it’s impossible for a Thayarr to be surprised by such events; being so caught is merely an alternate form of “suicide.”
Most Thayarr opt for primarily scientific roles, seeking to expand their understanding of the cosmos. How this knowledge is gained, however, depends on the mindset of the individual Thayarr. Some rake an active roll, seeing the effects of various cosmic phenomena such as sending a moon spiraling into a planet. Others take a passive roll, content to observe with a strict personal edict against interference. Still others dwell somewhere in the middle of activity and passivity, opting to watch some happenings, offer subtle influence or advice on others, and interact more fully when it suits their whims.
Some Thayarr pick other goals, such as explorers probing the unknown corners of the universe, thrill-seekers pushing themselves to new limits, or overlords, tormenting solar systems like a spoiled child teases an ant farm. Although most Thayarr view overtly selfish uses of the Thayarr Field to be an aberration, there is a sizable faction within the Thayarr who view any use of their powers to be de facto permissible, since there is no authority to which the Thayarr answer beyond themselves. Regardless, the only “law” within Thayarr society is the Solitude: no Thayarr may use its powers against another Thayarr without its permission. Minor unknowing infractions – such as destroying a comet another Thayarr was studying – are punished by requiring favors of the transgressor to the wronged. Larger or willing infractions – such as intentionally disrupting another’s experiment – are punished by exile from regions of space, the requirement to assume a humanoid form for a period, or other creative punishments. Judgments are meted out by a jury of summoned Thayarr – the first 12 beings who answer a call. A simple majority will suffice in most rulings, although a unanimous verdict is required to end a Thayarr’s existence.
For beings who left behind the limitations of humanoid life, the Thayarr certainly appear to have a fascination with it. Although many Thayarr concern themselves merely with cosmic phenomena, most of chem seem to prefer to interact with sentient beings. (Of course, some scholars note that we may merely think they favor sentient life, since without sentients, there is no one to report on the Thayarr’s activity.) Several Thayarr like to provide tests and challenges, which usually revolve around some easily summed koan:
> “No matter how powerful you are, you don’t know as much as you think.”
> “Sometimes the most wisdom that can be gleaned is within one’s own mind.”
> “Death is a natural transitory state of life.”
These lessons often seem cruel and pointless, at least to the recipients. To prove that death is a transitory state, a Thayarr might kill half the crew on a ship, observe the remainder’s reactions and emotional responses, and then bring the deceased back. Or to show the crew of a ship that they are not as powerful as they feel, they may teleport the vessel to be next to another ship halfway across the galaxy … one with vastly superior weapons. How these lessons resolve is up to the individual Thayarr.
Some Thayarr seem content to let their subjects die, especially if they do not arrive at the “correct” conclusion. Others are more gentle and will restore everything back to as it was before, regardless of the enlightenment (or lack thereof) of the test subjects.
The purpose behind these lessons is unknown. There are two working theories among more philosophical species. The first is that the Thayarr are attempting to guide “lesser” beings to some altered state – perhaps a raised awareness that is akin to the Thayarr itself or at least a precursor. The second theory is that the Thayarr enjoy the enlightenment that comes from watching others struggle; this premise posits that the Thayarr would rather be the ones achieving additional insight, but at their current state such is impossible. “Who can test those who test?” one quick-thinking captain asked a Thayarr one time, which caused him to disappear with a slight huff. (The third view – that they just enjoy making sentients scurry like ants – is too nihilistic to contemplate.)
Some scientists believe that the second, and perhaps greater, mottvat1on for the Thayarr’s interaction with humanoids is that they may somehow be instrumental in removing the Curse, either from an individual Thayarr or from the entire species. To that end, the Thayarr may request humanoids to turn over an interesting object they have found, or report on a locale they visited. There have even been accounts of humanoids being asked to perform tasks, such as keeping an orbiting space station safe for a week; whether these were tasks designed to help the Thayarr in some way – or merely another of their tests that the victims couldn’t understand – is unknown.
Regardless, it seems that whatever force has instilled the Curse has also ensured that the Thayarr are unable to remove it themselves. Of course, whenever the subject of the curse arises, humanoid philosophers often nervously ask one question: Would removing the Curse make the Thayarr less obnoxious, or is that the only force keeping their pride in check?
All the Thayarr’s special abilities come from their access of the Thayarr Field. Although they claim to be omnipotent, they do seem to have some limits; it’s unknown whether these boundaries are real or self-imposed in some way. If they are truly limitless in their power, perhaps they avoid doing certain things because they know the risks associated with the Curse are too great; the magnitude of the Curse does seem directly proportional to the extent they are tapping the Thayarr Field.
The first limitation is that the Thayarr seem to be unable to act beyond the scale or range of a star system. They prefer to “fly” from system to system, although they often teleport within a system. Likewise, they seem unable (or unwilling) to observe anything outside of a system-wide scale, except for macro events. Thus, if there is an interesting stellar phenomenon happening in a system, the Thayarr favor being at least as close as a terrestrial vessel studying the same phenomenon, if not closer.
Those scholars who propose that the scope of the Thayarr’s powers are self-limited have a few theories: Perhaps the Thayarr are afraid they will “miss” seeing something interesting if they merely teleport or ace from afar. Perhaps the sensory abilities of tapping the Thayarr Field differ greatly from their”normal” senses, or perhaps they are afraid the Curse might distort their findings, calling entire centuries of research into doubt.
The second limitation is that the Thayarr seem unable (or unwilling) to modify the minds of a sentient being directly; they do not cause someone to do something they are unwilling to do. Thus, a Thayarr has never forced someone to kill another or commie suicide. There are some ways around this limitation; for example, the Thayarr may amplify everyone’s emotions tenfold, making someone who normally would not act on murderous rage suddenly turn into a killer. (The Thayarr might then argue that he was trying to prove a point about the potential lurking beneath everyone’s surface.)
Third, the Thayarr seem to require concentration in much the say way that sentient beings do. Hence, it’s possible to overwhelm a Thayarr with too many decisions or required actions. The threshold seems to be about five simultaneous activities or observations. Of course, five actions at a time for a near-omnipotent being is still a lot.
Finally, the Thayarr seem unable to provide clear answers to future events. They can offer excellent projections and guesses, but it seems that’s all they can do; they can still be surprised, sometimes by physical phenomena but usually by sentient actions and decisions. Perhaps this is another application of the Uncertainty Principle, where tapping the Thayarr Field to see the future will necessarily change it enough to make those observations worthless.
Regardless of these limitations, the Thayarr are still one of the most powerful, and dangerous, forces in the universe. Anyone who encounters one of these beings should tread lightly.