Friday, May 9, 2014

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#119)

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

(This article skips "Utapaun" by virtue of this being a generic term for the Utai and Pau'ans together.)

1181. Umbarans, or Shadow People. The Umbarans are more or less human in appearance, albeit with funky skin coloration. Their homeworld, Umbara, is really dark, so they have extremely sensitive eyes that can see into the ultraviolet range (which I suspect is silly because if their world is dark, the surface of their planet will probably have less UV, not more) and are easily blinded by bright light. Also, they supposedly are naturally equipped with enhanced powers of interpersonal manipulation, implicitly involving some degree of Force sensitivity, and seem prone to being involved with the Sith.

Hilariously, it mentions in the "biology and appearance" section that they are known to often have a darker sense of humor than humans. Pretty sure that's more cultural than biological, guys.

Anyway, their society has about a hundred caste ranks and only the top ten can leave Umbara, hence their supposed rarity offworld. It's possible to change castes and advance in society by being good at screwing with the people ranked above you; you only get in trouble for such activities if you fail at them, in which case you're imprisoned and your whole family is dropped a caste.

As mentioned, the Umbarans seem prone to being involved with the Sith, particularly Palpatine; a fallen Umbaran Jedi apparently started the roughly thousand year long New Sith Wars, which immediately preceded the thousand year peace that led up to the movie era. Umbaran senators in the Old Republic apparently were highly influential because of their manipulative skills.

Also, apparently the soldiers of the Umbaran Militia that protects their homeworld dope themselves up with gas in their helmets. I find this amusing for some reason.

Rating: 1/5. Y'know what? I'm tired of automatic Darksiders, I'm tired of near-humans, and I'm tired of people whose hat is being better at [insert thing here] than everybody. Thus, I'm taking it out on the Umbarans' rating. If they hadn't been a confluence of those three things, they might have gotten as much as a 3/5.

1182. Underwater dwellers. The underwater dwellers of the Ewok cartoon are fairly generic fish people, other than the fact that most of them are Ewok-sized and one of them (as far as is known) is human-sized.

Well, generic other than the fact that they apparently exclusively eat "food pearls" which can only be grown using the light generated by a magic red pearl or a magic blue pearl.

What the crap.

Rating: 3/5. Mostly for the amusement value of their unsustainable cartoon fantasy economy. (There was only one red pearl which was then replaced with a single blue pearl.)

1183. Unets. They're insectoids who speak a language called Une, which makes me smile.

They were conquered by the Separatists at some point.

Rating: 2/5 because their language being called "Une" still makes me smile.

1184. Uogo. The Uogo are "humanoids" who regard themselves as the "Suffering Ones."

Considering that their planet was dominated for a long time by pirates, then purged of pirates by the Empire in such a way that it devastated the planet's population, then messed up by the Yuuzhan Vong because it was an easy target, I doubt it's being very melodramatic of them.

Rating: 2/5. I was amazed that I had the restraint necessary to avoid calling them emo.

1185. Uroths. The Uroths are bipedal cephalopods; this description begs an illustration.

Anyway, during the movie era, the Uroths were pretty primitive, and when a probe droid landed on their planet, they concluded from its deadliness that it was a manifestation of their god of death and that the end of the world was coming.

They didn't think this was a problem, because their religion promotes the idea of an afterlife; in fact, many of them pursued the probe in hopes of letting it kill them, and they eventually captured it. Assuming the events of the RPG campaign they were created for are canonical, this droid was eventually retrieved by a mercenary team hired by the droid's owner. There's no particular indications what kind of theological implications this opened up.

A hundred years or so later, their homeworld was part of the wider galactic society; presumably, they found this event a bit embarrassing if anybody brought it up.

Rating: 3/5. I really wish there was a picture.

1186. Utai. The Utai are much shorter, both in stature and lifespan, than their neighbors, the Pau'ans, and in fact have been nicknamed "shorts" in the overall Utapaun society. (Note that we don't actually know their lifespans; as Pau'ans can live to seven hundred, Utai could have two hundred year lifespans and still be short-lived by comparison.)

The Utai are basically ugly-cute pink beings, and as they make up the bulk of Utapau's population, they also do the bulk of the grunt labor while the Pau'ans run the place. They don't seem to have any problems with this arrangement, and as far as anybody can tell the Pau'ans make sure they're taken care of; in fact, while the Pau'ans implicitly sort of conquered the Utai, they also helped their technology leapfrog.

Considering that the Pau'ans are huge scary guys, this is kind of neat, even if aspects of it are kind of uncomfortable to modern sensibilities.

Rating: 3/5. This is because of the associations with the Pau'ans.

1187. Uteens. They resemble eels and are associated with the New Republic.

Rating: 1/5.

1188. Uukaablians. The illustration of an Uukaablian inexorably reminds me of a frog, even though it doesn't really look like one at all.

Anyway, the Uukaablians, aside from having a wonderful name, were once warlike and divisive, until they wrecked their own homeworld. They then dedicated themselves to medicine and medical technology and also tend to learn the art of conversation, making them a positive and friendly bunch.

Rating: 3/5, mostly because I kind of like how they look and their name is wonderful.

1189. Vaathkree. Vaathkree are born as amorphous nonsapient creatures called stonesingers. As they grow, they incorporate minerals, i.e. rocks and metals, into their bodies, becoming more rigid over time; at the age of nine, they're still flexible, but becoming more rigid, and have attained sufficient sapience that the adult Vaathkree start educating them. By the time a Vaathkree becomes an adult, its body hardens and becomes covered in mineral-based armor, and it must choose a form; because of contact with other species, they're usually roughly humanoid, and thus rather vaguely resemble the Thing from Marvel comics. Their lifespan ranges from three hundred to three hundred and fifty years.

The Vaathkree follow a religion known as the Deal, which centers around barter and trade. As a result, they're generally adept at trade. They also created an art form known as "flatsculp," which is apparently a form of two-dimensional sculpture, as its name rather suggests.

Rating: 5/5. Fantastic. I think my favorite part is that they're roughly human-shaped entirely by choice, and that opens up the possibility that they might not be if they don't want to be.

1190. Vagaari. Ah, the Vagaari. These assholes (excuse my language).

Compared to the galaxy at large, the Vagaari are primitive, but as inhabitants of the Unknown Regions, they saw little opposition when they decided to become the biggest jerks in space.

In all seriousness, these guys make the Yuuzhan Vong look like rank amateurs in the "we're jerks for the hell of it" business, in fact being the only guys in the whole galaxy who were happy with the Yuuzhan Vong invasion, making an alliance with the invaders to get access to their biotech and thus benefiting from both their invasion and the chaos caused by their defeat. Even before their alliance with the Yuuzhan Vong, contact with other species had granted them use of heavily engineered creatures, including the hilariously named wolvkils. (Also, they would use any technology they could get their hands on regardless of its origins. I like this because I like pragmatic villains, even if I also like groups like the Ssi-ruuk for the opposite reason.)

They wandered the galaxy as a race of pirates, enslaving and wantonly slaughtering other species; usually more primitive and poorly armed ones, but regardless the body count they racked up was likely impressive. They were severely devastated by an attack by Thrawn when he still was part of the Chiss Ascendancy; for complicated reasons, decades later this would result in the Vagaari getting mixed up with Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade while investigating the doomed project known as Outbound Flight.

When I call the Vagaari jerks, it's because they're truly amazing. An apparently common tactic they use is to put their slaves into transparisteel (super-tough glass equivalent) bubbles on the outside of their spaceships and leave them there, so that when their enemies show up to engage their ships in combat, they'll be forced to shoot through gaggles of innocents to hit the ships themselves. They're also sneaky enough and shameless enough to pass themselves off as members of species they've slaughtered, such as the Geroons.

They seem to like the "sh" sound being at the end of their names, which makes me look at those names and imagine them being spoken with a lisp.

Rating: 4/5. Rock on, you stupid jerks. I hope you all die in entertaining ways.

-Signing off.

No comments: