Friday, April 25, 2014

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#117)

The Massive Index (Posts #1-#100)
The Less Massive Index (Posts #101-#110)

1161. Tulgah. The Tulgah are a naturally magical/Force-sensitive race (depending on which source you ask) whose homeworld is unknown. They have enclaves on Kashyyyk, the Wookiee homeworld (which had a Tulgah NPC in a game), and Endor.

As this more or less implies, a member of the Tulgah was a major villain of the Ewoks cartoon, Morag the witch.

The presence of fairly powerful magic on Endor raises at least one question, of course-why were the Ewoks so freaked out when Luke pulled a Force trick if Logray the shaman could use actual magic to fight the actual magical foes they ran into?

Not that it matters, I'm just curious.

Rating: 2/5. Mostly because the presence of actual magic in Star Wars amuses me, even if various sources try to retcon it away.

1162. Tunroth. The Tunroth are a race of mostly human-shaped dudes with weird, cool heads.

Their most defining characteristics are as hunters; while they adopted advanced technology some time ago, they have strong religious associations with traditional hunting weapons and thus avoided modernizing their armaments. They also have an ability they call "quarry sense" which apparently is at least a teense mystical.

The affection for primitive weapons they displayed made them militarily vulnerable, and during one of the various brush-war crises that cropped up during the Empire's reign (y'know, just a little twelve-planet affair, no biggie), the perpetrators committed genocide against the Tunroth, leaving them with a decimated population of just four million (out of an unknown amount, though several generations later the population of their homeworld was at least a billion-no word on whether the whole population was Tunroth, though), and the Empire intervened, rescuing the remainder (though not out of the goodness of their hearts; they stopped the group for their own reasons. This left the majority of the Tunroth as apparently reluctant Imperial supporters-they didn't necessarily like the Empire politically, what with the racist policies against non-humans that the Empire represented, but they probably saw them as a necessary evil in the name of stability.

They also started stockpiling weapons and retained a long-term hatred of the group that committed genocide against them.

Said group, incidentally, is apparently a human ethnic group called the Lortans (after their home planet Lorta) who seem to have some kind of crazy religious beliefs about evil and a messianic figure called the "Man-Hutt."

...I do not want to know.

Rating: 4/5. I like how the Tunroth look, they have a cool name and modestly interesting culture, their sociopolitical thing is textured and interesting, and they're associated with a group that they despise who apparently await the coming of the Man-Hutt. Their only real flaw is that while their culture is modestly interesting, it's also a concept that's overdone as heck.

1163. Turan. Turan have orange skin and may possibly be known for ethnic music, although it may also just be that there was a specific recognizable band made up of Turan.

Rating: 1/5.

1164. Turazza. Turazza are "reptilian" beings who are actually shorter than Ewoks, but noted as being roughly as strong as humans and also capable of running faster than humans, even though their shortness was a significant impediment.

Despite being speedy little bricks, Turazza are commonly regarded as stupid and little better than pets, possibly because they usually only speak their own language and have little hands that don't work well with human tools; it may also be influenced by the fact that Turazza hatch from eggs and imprint on the first being they see, making them dangerously easy to enslave. They are still highly competent when given the opportunity, though, at least as far as I can tell, and seem capable in positions requiring smarts even though basically everyone seems shocked when they take up such positions.

They're also adorable.

Rating: 4/5. Y'know, I'd be danged terrified if I lived in the same galaxy as these guys. Less than three feet tall, can lift hundreds of pounds, can outrun me or apparently anyone I know... Sheesh. Why do people underestimate these little guys, anyway?

1165. Turian. Turian are ambiguously canonical "near-humans." The only one to appear in a story (which was cut content) was dead at the time.

Rating: 1/5.

1166. Tursha. Tursha apparently have head-tails (much like the Togruta and the Twi'leks, who I'm covering a bit further down), and also have eleven fingers per hand.

That's probably the least human-like feature associated with any of the head-tail species that I can think of, even considering bright skin colors and patterns, horns, and retractable fangs.

Rating: 2/5. Eleven-fingered hands. That's a lot of fingers.

1167. Tusken Raiders, or Sand People. The Tusken Raiders are generally believed to be descended from the Kumumgah, with an intermediate less nomadic culture in between the two called the Ghorfa by anthropologists.

Tusken Raiders are one of those cultures that has been written 1) inconsistently, and 2) by people with twisted ideas of what can be successful cultures. Thus, there are cultural features among the Tuskens like people being put to death for tiny single mistakes or walking out into the desert alone upon promotion of one's apprentice.

The main things to know about the Tuskens are that they aren't human (occasionally sources get mistaken on this point, although there are also accounts of Tuskens adopting humans in certain circumstances), they wear their funky masks to be scary, they're primitive technologically but have nothing against stealing technology whatsoever (also, they apparently can make firearms of their own, it's just that they're primitive projectile arms rather than energy weapons), and they really like banthas. Like, they have a kind of freakish pair-bond thing supposedly going on with banthas where they tend to have children at the same time as their own personal banthas (so that their kids partner with the banthas' babies-and a married couple's banthas are supposed to be mates, I guess), wander off into the desert to die if their banthas die (and their banthas do the same thing if their Tuskens die), and stuff like that. There's a little bit of inconsistency regarding femininity among the Tuskens.

Also, there's a less-well-known group called the Grave Tuskens who are blatant video game enemies; they apparently don't wear the scary masks, and so we can see that they have crummy mid-1990s computer graphics vaguely catlike heads. But then, Grave Tuskens also use modified Wookiee bowcasters for no apparent reason, so... dubious, I think.

Rating: 3/5. I think the image of the Tuskens as presented in the movies had no real problems with it (they come across as pretty much a normal society there), but the over-fondness that EU writers have for revisiting Tatooine and associating weird crap with them detracts from them quite a bit.

1168. Twi'leks. Okay, let's just get this out there: We can't have a discussion of Twi'leks without mentioning the fact that they're probably the biggest single sex symbol in Star Wars media other than the metal bikini (and the metal bikini's supremacy is a bit questionable; it's probably partly a function of the fact that it's an easier costume than a Twi'lek costume just to wear-at least according to a cosplayer I know [head-tail "wigs" are apparently murder to wear]-and easier to make, too).

The Twi'lek association with women as sex objects is pretty skeevy: In-universe, Twi'lek orphans are commonly sold as slaves on their homeworld, and make their way to other places where slavery is legal, such as Hutt-controlled worlds. This is made more understandable in an in-universe cultural sense by the fact that Ryloth, the Twi'lek homeworld, is in some form of tidal lock with its star, and thus has only a small strip of modestly habitable area on its surface; most of the planet is too hot or too cold, and all the habitats are built underground, which is difficult and laborious. (Just how life developed on a planet like this is questionable, but it's possible that Ryloth has a history somewhat like Tatooine's, mentioned in the Kumumgah entry linked earlier.) Selling children as slaves is pretty horrid, but the scarcity of space and food on a planet like that is a pretty severe crisis, and it's a pragmatic choice. (It'd probably be easy enough to move the whole populace to some nicer planet with no native population, but you know how dumb characters in science fiction can be, and Ryloth is also apparently the main/only place to find the spice/drug ryll, which is apparently largely recreational but has important medicinal uses.) It's also possible the use of slavery was influenced by the Hutts, who had conquered their planet at some point.

Anyway, even without the creepiness of the sex slave thing, we have male Twi'lek who are primarily presented as ugly or sinister (a third or fewer of the prominent male Twi'lek listed in the "Members" box on their page are sympathetic characters, and half or more of the negatively protrayed ones at least are fat, sometimes grotesquely so, or leanly creepy) while all but two out of ten to fifteen female Twi'lek are strongly sexualized (and the two that aren't include a little girl and a woman who is still quite attractive). I'd look through the full character list, but there are over 650 Twi'lek characters, and the time cost of that would obviously be prohibitive.

That's not to say it's all bad; there have been Twi'lek fighter pilots, Twi'lek Jedi (usually attractive women, though, it must be said), Twi'lek Sith (unfortunately usually creepy/ugly dudes or Darth Talon, whose character design speaks for itself), Twi'lek merchants (unfortunately often slavers), and just generally a decent amount of diversity character-wise. (There'd have to be, with the number of characters.)

Anyway, Twi'leks are omnivorous, and have multiple stomachs that allow them to eat nearly anything. They have a language that involves their head-tails; supposedly, many of the headdresses we see Twi'leks wear are actually designed by slavers to prevent them from using this language, though the truth is that they're part of the hat that holds them on the actors' heads, I'm pretty sure. The head-tails have sufficiently dense nerve clusters that injuries to them can potentially cause something that at least resembles brain damage; you'd think that they'd come up with a special protection of some sort for the things, but I've never seen any evidence of such; it should be noted, though, that they can be repaired with medical technology from the setting.

There apparently was a machine of some sort that at least claimed to have created the Twi'lek and other races; multiple of these races appeared before this machine would have, however, including the Twi'lek. (The machine was built by the Rakata when their Force powers started vanishing with orders to start doing genetic engineering to figure out how to stop the degeneration.) There are other genetic oddities with regards to the Twi'lek, most notable among them being the fact that it's not consistently established whether Twi'leks and humans can interbreed or not, and/or whether genetic therapy might be necessary for the process.

Rating: 3/5. ...Honestly, writing that makes me want to see a chubby Twi'lek lady.

1169. Tynnans. Tynnans are diminutive otter/seal/rodent people. They apparently have something of a hat of being bureaucratically efficient paperpushers. This likely roots from Odumin, an immensely efficient administrator from the Han Solo Adventures who was very powerful in the politics of the company-run Corporate Sector but wandered around pretending to be a minor but competent employee of a debt collection agency. (He was a bit annoying sometimes, but also pretty awesome.)

Rating: 4/5. ...I don't have that much more to say; Tynnans are great by weight of Odumin.

1170. Ubasameir. Ubasameir apparently are naturally good with kids, and thus are often found in daycare.

...Really? Their hat is daycare?

Rating: 2/5 for the amusement factor and uniqueness.

-Signing off.

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