Chronicles of Orion's Arm
Previous: Cidi Next: Gerodians
Fasanni are bipedal rodents a little smaller than humans. Their ears are long and pointed, their eyes are large, brown and bright. Their muzzles are conical and bewhiskered, like a Earthly rodent’s. They have short, hairless tails. Their legs end in clawed feet, but their hands are close to human. Their short, course fur can be any shade of red, shading through pink to white. They usually only wear clothing on their upper body. Customarily, Fasanni clothing closely matches the clothing of whatever culture the Fasanni are among or are most fond of.
The Fasanni are native to a 1.1 G world with about 1.2 times Earth’s atmosphere and an average temperature of 75 degrees. Their native star was a dim K-class sun, considerably brighter and hotter than Sol, and they prefer brighter light than is found inside most human buildings.
Fasanni are dexterous but not strong. They adapt to other cultures rapidly and possess an innate intuition. They can also fast talk individuals. They also have Bard, Savoir Faire and Writing. The race is color blind, overconfident and are pacifists (but capable of self-defense). They have the quirk of preferring to dress like whatever race they are among.
Fasanni are cultural chameleons, taking on the characteristics of whatever race they happen to be living among. The race is known for producing some of the galaxy’s most articulate, incisive writing. Fasanni are often employed as reporters, envoys, personal secretaries, salesmen, and in other communications fields.
In spite of, or perhaps because of, the ease with which they adopt other cultures’ ways, the Fasann have little culture of their own. All that remains of the aboriginal Fasann culture is the language, which is still used for names, though not often in daily speech. The only reason the Fasanni still learn their ancestral tongue is to allow them to communicate privately among themselves.
Fasanni are often rather contemptuous of members of other races, considering their adherence to a single set of racial customs quaint and provincial. This opinion is generally not apparent to anybody who doesn’t speak Fasanni, since in other languages the race tends to be flawlessly polite.
Few creatures care to offend a Fasann, for the race’s barbed wit and gift for parody is legendary. An individual who tries to match wits with a Fasann will soon find himself a laughingstock, the butt of all the popular jokes. Frequently, the only thing that can save the reputation of such an unfortunate is the intervention of a (very expensive) Fasanni public relations firm.
The Fasanni ability to assimilate other languages and cultures is completely instinctive, and appears almost psychic to members of other races. The smallest behavioral clues can tell a Fasann volumes about an unfamiliar culture’s habits and etiquette. Within a day of contact with a new culture, the Fasann is already adapting to local customs and manners, within a week, he’ll have picked up whole phrases in the new language. True fluency, of course, takes much longer!
The Fasanni don’t always simply ape local customs. Among the Truul, for instance, a Fasann would adopt a dominant personality, meeting that race’s need for direction. Among the ancient, wise and rather arrogant Engai, on the other hand, the Fasann would behave in a much humbler fashion, as befits such a shorter-lived race.
There are limits to the race’s ability to absorb culture. A Fasann who spent a year on a mining colony would possess a wealth of mining lore and miner’s customs, but to actually mine minerals he would need to go down into the tunnels and learn to use the equipment like everybody else.
There seem to be moral limits as well. A Fasann among Gormelites would behave aggressively, but not violently. Among the Markann, they would not acquire that race’s scientific callousness.
Almost the only universal trait among Fasaani seems to be a disdain for violent methods. A Fasann tends to think he can out-talk or out-think any potential threat, and will resort to violence only as an absolute last resort (this will not stop him from making extravagant and bloodthirsty, but convincing, threats).
When forced to go armed, Fasanni tend to favor stunners, rubber bullets, cudgels and other non-fatal means of self-defense. Judo is the martial art of choice.
Fasanni seem to have somewhat of a racial penchant for crime and unscrupulous behavior. Many Fasanni make their living as confidence men, industrial spies, or embezzlers. However, many are also superlative detectives, tracking down Fasanni and non-Fasanni criminals with equal skill.
They are not a technical race. They tend to avoid occupations like mechanic or computer operator (although they have no problem learning enough to operate a word processor or help crew a spaceship), and are almost never scientists or engineers. They frequently excel at the social sciences — history, sociology, xenology, etc.
Fasanni writers are famous throughout the galaxy. The race produces tremendously popular writing, particularly humor, inspirational non-fiction, and genre fiction. However, serious Fasanni writers are much rarer.
Fasanni are most known for their accurate and incisive journalistic work. The inquisitive and persistent Fasann reporter is respected and feared throughout the galaxy. They also make excellent editorial and speech writers, with an uncanny ability to incite the populace for or against a certain cause. Fasanni public relations and advertising firms are particularly falued for their ability to actually become ardent proponents of a certain cause or company, at least while they’re working on that account (although they seldom become ardent enough to reduce their fee).
Fasanni voices are not melodious and the race has little talent for music (though they make excellent lyricists). Likewisethey show little talent in the visual arts, including film and its various descendants. They are natural actors, and often appear in dramatic productions under the direction of some other race.
The aboriginal Fasanni religion was a rudimentary totemism, and is now completely dead. Fasanni often adopt local religions with apparent zeal, though the more dogmatic faiths are often appalled by the Fasanni tendency to change religions when they change address.
The Fasanni’s ancestors were burrowing mammals.Xenologists speculate that their cultural adaptability began as the ability to mimic other races’ defense behaviors (to discourage predators), and mating calls (to attract prey). They are true omnivores, able to eat almost any animal or vegetable protein, a trait that has proved most useful in adapting other cultures’ dietary habits.
Contact with interstellar civilization ended a long evolutionary plateau for the Fasanni. Archaeological evidence suggests that the race had been sentient for 2,000,000 years or longer, and almost 1,000,000 years of poetry and literature exist, yet the race had barely technologically advanced when they were found by other beings. Contact provided a catalyst, and within a generation the race had become fully assimilated into galactic culture.
Fasanni mate to raise children. A couple will have one to three young, usually in rapid succession. The children stay with their parents for about 10 years. Fasanni do not attend elementary school, since those institutions primarily teach social skills and basic literacy, which a Fasanni picks up instinctively. The children leave their parents to attend secondary school; They are generally finished with their education in 5-7 years and ready to enter the work force. After all the children are sent to school, the parental couple has no further formal obligation to each other, though they will often remain together for convenience or affection’s sake. Male Fasanni sometimes mate twice, though this is rare unless the first union proved infertile. Fasanni also often adopt the mating customs of the culture they live among.
Fasanni begin to age at about 55.
Although lacking in the outward displays of habit and custom which normally define culture, the Fasanni retain communication among themselves, and a keen awareness of themselves as a unique race.
The aboriginal Fasanni society appears to have been, for all practical purposes, an anarchy. Wars were small and local, authority was earned and unofficial.
The Fasanni were discovered by a corporate-sponsored scout ship. Shortly thereafter, the race incorporated their world, and it remains a corporate bureaucracy, exploiting the planet’s mineral and botanical resources. The corporation also includes several colony worlds.
Many Fasanni, however, left their world out of an insatiable curiosity about other races and civilizations, and rapidly became absorbed in one or several alien cultures. All cultures are sources of fascination to Fasanni, but they seem particularly enamored with the chaotic variety and dynamism of humanity.
The race tends to favor the middle classes.
In addition to their mark on the journalistic and literary worlds, Fasanni have also become important to galactic industry as public relations specialists and troubleshooters, bridging the gaps between potentially hostile cultures and communities.
In space Fasanni are greatly favored as communications specialists, and no major scout expedition is considered complete without a Fasann xenologist along to evaluate new sentient and semi-sentient races.
The race is at great pains to keep lines of communication open between Fasanni enclaves in different cultures. Most of the race are fanatic correspondents with several dozen “pen pals” throughout the galaxy. These are usually about 50% members of other races, and 50% Fasanni on other worlds.
Fasanni almost never use their native language in the hearing of outsiders. Those few linguists of other races who’ve been able to both learn Fasaan and overhear private conversations say anything said in that language is almost certainly uncomplimentary of the host culture. Friendly mockery of other beings’ ways is a favorite Fasanni pastime, though one those other beings seldom hear. The native language is quite beautiful and expressive, and its only other current widespread use is in poetry, which many Fasanni compose as a hobby.
Some xenologists have suggested that a “hidden” Fasanni culture exists — that the races writings contain a subtextual thread that only other Fasanni can perceive and understand. These scientists say this hidden meaning can occasionally be observed when a Fasann, in an unguarded moment, reacts to a literary work by a fellow Fasann in a seemingly inappropriate fashion. Laughing uproariously at a piece of serious editorialization, for instance, or pondering over a seemingly obvious burlesque. Fasanni xenologists are of no help confirming or denying this hidden culture — while the race is capable of rigorous analysis of other cultures, they refuse to undertake more than the most superficial examination of their own.
The Fasanni have become all but indispensable in galactic politics, particularly in the diplomatic branch. Their ability to comprehend both cultures in a conflict is a great asset, often allowing them to pinpoint solutions which those involved might miss. A Fasann is also able to instantly translate between any two languages he knows.
Often employed as translators, attaches and similar specialists, the Fasanni seldom reach ambassador rank. Their identification with the host culture is considered a bit too complete for these positions, where a certain amount of objective distance, as well as unswerving loyalty to one’s native culture, is considered necessary.
The race’s consummate skill at spying is both a blessing and a curse, as some Fasanni are not above being bought off by enemy powers. The race would not be so indispensable to the world of counter-espionage if they weren’t so good at espionage.
Fasanni make excellent soldiers. Their commando units are legendary for their ability to analyze the behavior patterns of the enemy and use them against him. Although Fasanni will not directly engage the enemy unless cornered, a small commando unit behind enemy lines can hide for weeks or months, gathering valuable intelligence and playing havoc with troop movements, construction, and lines of supply.
Although Fasanni specialists are often of officer rank, they tend to avoid command assignments unless the unit is all Fasanni — in which case “command” tends to be a meaningless concession to military tradition rather than actual leadership.
Fasanni Character Creation
All Fasanni start with the following:
• They have additional starting skills of Language 1 and Entertainer 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.
• They can never have more than 4 Hero Points at any one time. Additional points are automatically lost.