H'Oskhikhil - A Minor Non-Human Race
Origins and History:
The H'Oskhikhil are natives of Storm (Reavers' Deep 1404). Their world's eccentric orbit has molded their lifecycle into two major phases: the civilized adult which, after reproducing, is consumed by the voraciously hungry juveniles. This process has kept the race from developing an enduring technological society until relatively recent times.
They have only recently begun to develop a culture because the adults developed armoured buildings against ravaging juveniles who eat them. Some of the adult H'Oskhikhil took to the cool caves of the Polar Regions during Storm’s hot periastron period and were able to survive the budding time. Learning from this the adults began to take steps to survive in the future, air-conditioning their armoured buildings.
A form of writing was developed several hundred years ago and the H'Oskhikhil has been busy recording their verbal history and achievements onto the walls of their compounds. Given the high level of intelligence of the adults the technology of the world is improving rapidly.
Physiology and Appearance:
The H'Oskhikhil are manhole-shaped beings, a half meter high by 1.5 meters diameter. They are furry with twelve appendages of various sizes arranged around the fleshy middle. None of the appendages act as legs, with the H'Oskhikhil gliding along their bases. Only the adult stage is intelligent and some of them also have the ability to act as natural computers. The juveniles are three feet tall and have tubular bodies. Two stalked eyes, four grasping appendages and four heavy legs protrude from their bodies. The juveniles do not wear clothes but do have the capacity to use simple tools. Both the juvenile and adult H'Oskhikhil has a preference for higher than normal ozone levels, the standard atmosphere on their homeworld.
The juvenile buds on the adults are triggered with temperature increases, hence the desire by the adult H'Oskhikhil to stay cool and delay the process. Once the budding has started the adult always die as the juvenile buds hatch to release the young. The dead parent then provides food for the offspring. As the comparatively short and hot periastron period ends the offspring mature and begin their metamorphosis into the long lived adult form.
It was originally thought by early explorers of Storm that the H'Oskhikhil had no language as they made no sounds. However later research by Imperial scouts discovered they do indeed have a complex language, all be it in the ultrasonic range. The adult H'Oskhikhil was able to listen in on the visiting humans and did learn Galanglic and they have built crude interpreters to allow them to communicate with offworld visitors.
The juvenile H'Oskhikhil will generally attack and attempt to eat anything that moves. Although the juveniles appear to be social, moving in groups as they do, this is little more than a pack mentality. They show little intelligence beyond using items as weapons to kill their food. The juveniles are not particular about what they eat either, whether that be the adults, other creatures, or even adventurers.
The long lived adults, on the other hand, are friendly and peaceful in nature. They are generally shy when first contacted but once they see that visitors are not a threat to themselves or their habitats the H'Oskhikhil will be eager to make friends. They have a natural inquisitiveness and learn new technologies quite quickly. While the adults are social creatures and always appear in groups they will abandon each other when threatened with over-heating.
Society and Government:
H'Oskhikhil adults live in large stone buildings that have the look of fortresses or mausoleums. These buildings are armored and air-conditioned refuges where they can live to pass on their culture and technology to the next generation. There are currently eight billion H'Oskhikhil living on Storm, living in one of the millions of air-conditioned compounds that dot the world. The adult H'Oskhikhil are very much a social creature, and will often be found in groups communing with each other.
The government of the H'Oskhikhil is a Feudal Technocracy, with the most intelligent individual of each compound elected as the compound’s leader. Compounds within a region will co-operate and trade with each other, with the most technically advanced compound leader becoming the regional leader. These regional leaders met on an ad-hoc manner for planet-wide matters. The most intelligent, based on select measures, is chosen to lead the council and to guide the members to resolve the issues they are meeting over. This leadership is only ever for the duration of the council meeting.
Military and Technology:
The adult H'Oskhikhil have never developed a military force as there is rarely any conflict between them. Many hundreds of years ago the adult H'Oskhikhil recognised the only way to protect themselves from the hoards of juveniles was to build armoured enclosures, rather than fighting them off. The armoured enclosures were the answer and it wasn’t long before the adults worked out how to air-condition and cool the enclosures. Once the adults had removed the only threat, they found no need to develop an army or other defensive forces.
As stated before the adult H'Oskhikhil are naturally inquisitive and this goes doubly so with regards to technology. The adults love new technology and are quite adapt at reverse engineering any they get their appendages on. This ability has meant the H'Oskhikhil have been able to advance their technology levels rapidly over the last three to four hundred years. They trade technology readily and it is expected the H'Oskhikhil will venture into space within the next couple of decades.