Chronicles of Orion's Arm
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The Cidi are the tiniest sentient vertebrates yet discovered. They stand 5 to 8 inches tall and weigh from 1 to 2 pounds. They have large, dark eyes, a snout resembling a bear’s, pointed ears and sharp teeth. They are completely covered in short, soft fur, ranging in color from a golden blond to a deep brown or russet. Their hands are like humans’; their bodies tend to be plump. Their legs and tail make them uniquely suited to both life on the ground and life in the trees – they resemble a terrestrial kangaroo rat, and a Cidi can hop for short stretches as fast as a man can run. At the same time, the feet have sharp claws and the tail is prehensile, making the race excellent climbers.
The Cidi come from a dry planet with .9 Earth atmospheres, 1.2 G, and an average temperature of 85 degrees.
Cidi are very dexterous, good at manual manipulation, but not at all strong. Their miniscule size makes them hard to hit but frail. They have the prehensile tail, and decreased life support, night vision, and climbing. They suffer from their extremely small size; other race’s equipment is too large for them. Cidi hate to be patronized, and they are also curious about new people. Cidi adopt human names for common use.
The entire race is particularly frustrated by a racial tendency among humans to regard them as clever pets – this has been a source of friction between the two races for many years (this is mild, however, compared to the Cidi’s feelings about Kaa and Gormelites, both of whom tend to regard the race as appetizing snacks).
The Cidi are descended from forest animals who lived in the trees but foraged on the ground. Consequently, the race is remarkably fast at both climbing and hopping. Modern Cidi have not lost their primitive ancestors’ speed or agility, or their ability to hide rapidly and effectively.
They are omnivorous, though their meat protein is usually limited to insects and certain small fish and crustaceans.
The Cidi are pulled two ways culturally. Their gregarious and intelligent nature causes them to adapt readily to other cultures. But their communal family structure tends to keep them together, and their size makes it difficult to interact freely with other races.
On worlds dominated by larger races, resident Cidi will buy a single large dwelling and convert it into a community, a Cidi city within a city. A Cidi community will need an internal support industry consisting of the trade or manufacture of Cidi-scale technology. On a Cidi-dominated world, the situation is naturally reversed.
When a Cidi needs to go armed, he generally uses a hand weapon modified for use as a Cidi-sized rifle. The race tends to avoid projectile throwers with recoil, which can be catastrophic at their size.
The Cidi are excellent technologists and spacefarers. Their small hands allow them to quickly finish jobs that a human would require precision tools for. It is also easy for a Cidi technician to get at a problem behind a wall or a bulkhead. On commercial spacecraft Cidi will often sign on as electricians, engineers, computer operators or communications technicians.
There are several Cidi colony worlds, granted independence as soon as they can prove economic independence from the homeworld. The colony then pays back the expenses of colonization (decades). Some Cidi colonies never petition for independence.
Cidi have served honorably in the military of many worlds. Their size makes them unsuitable as line troops, but they are useful as technicians, scouts, and intelligence agents.
Cidi Character Creation
All Cidi start with the following:
• They have 7 rather than 6 starting Ability points.
• 3 of their starting ability points are assigned to Quick due to their natural agility.
• They have an additional starting skill of Climb 1, due to natural aptitude. They still get the usual six more skill points (2 for job and four to choose as the player desires) to assign.
• Their Strong can never increase above 2.
• They can never have more than 4 Hero Points at any one time. Additional points are automatically lost.
• Cidi are very small, causing both detriments and benefits. Defence +1, Health -1. They have difficulty manipulating large objects.
• They also have a prehensile tail, allowing them to grasp things without using a hand.
• They see in reduced lighting with no penalty.