Friday, July 25, 2014

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#129)

The Massive Index (Posts #1-#100)
The Less Massive Index (Posts #101-#110)
The Second Less Massive Index (Posts #111-#120)

1281. Yuzzem. Yuzzem are very similar in numerous superficial ways to Wookiees, these ways including large size, furriness, an inability to speak Basic/English (but no trouble understanding it), great strength, and essentially universal enslavement by the Empire that doesn't tend to work out well because they're intractable and dangerous (but which is persisted in because they're very good workers when they're not rebelling). They also have the whole slightly uncomfortable honor code thing going on.

This leads to the bizarre in-universe belief that they must be related to Wookiees.

They don't look much like Wookiees, though, with long snouts, huge beefy frames that would make a bear blush (and none of the chub), and definitely not being adapted to tree-living the way Wookiees are. It's also worth noting that the Yuzzem featured in the one story with them that I've read are jerks in rather hilarious ways, such as hocking king-sized loogies at an Imperial governor.

It's notable that Yuzzem originate in Splinter of the Mind's Eye, the first piece of true Expanded Universe fiction, which was originally intended to be easy to adapt into a fairly-low-budget movie on the assumption that any sequels to A New Hope would have to work with comparable budgets to that first film. Ah, I can taste the irony from thirty-five years away. (It ages like a fine wine.)

Anyway, I like 'em.

Rating: 4/5. You'd think that there wasn't room for two big furry non-English speakers in one 'verse. You'd be wrong. Now, three might be stretching it...

1282. Yuzzums. ...Especially when one of them has nearly the same name as another. I've no idea if this is continuity weirdness or not.

Anyway, Yuzzums (note the different vowel and the more anglicized pluralization) are huge furry guys, but they're lanky, long-legged creatures and not really known for having impressive strength, though they do seem to be known for being rather fleet of foot with their huge strides. Because they've been depicted in a lot of different media and aren't especially well-known, they vary a lot in appearance, though gangliness seems universal.

Being a primitive species from Endor (where they naturally are known as antagonists to other natives, i.e. the Ewoks, whose children they are occasionally known to eat), they're mainly known offworld as pets, which as usual is disturbing. The singer from the Special Edition revision of ROTJ who did the big bellowing yelling note-holding was an unusually small Yuzzum, and they apparently have a certain reputation for being good singers.

Also, supposedly the language which C-3PO used to communicate with the Ewoks was actually a Yuzzum dialect.

Rating: 4/5. I like the Yuzzums, actually, mainly because they're less generic than a lot of the Ewok enemy set.

1283. Yvarema. Yvarema are pseudo-hiveminded entities which are difficult to class as anything in particular, although they're definitely not insect-derived, instead having reptilian/amphibian skin and shaggy manes. They are not universally bipedal.

They're "pseudo-hiveminded" by virtue of having a "queen" of sorts called the Majjvara, an apparently dominant entity in their collective, who is considerably larger and essentially immobile in the manner of an ant queen and originally laid eggs from which the other Yvarema were hatched; over time, successive Majjvara developed quasi-cloning technology and now have cut the egg-laying out of the process, but she retains her mental dominance. Each Majjvara lives for around four hundred years before replacing herself.

Other Yvarema are bred into specific castes, and while they are individuals and have distinct individuality, they are heavily reliant on proximity to other Yvarema, for their collective effectively amplifies their intelligence. A single Yvarema is a nonsapient creature and incapable of functioning. On the other hand, their collective causes their emotions to run rampant amongst themselves, and so some castes are designed to be unemotional to lessen the effects of a mass terror/euphoria feedback or the like. While only telepathic with each other, Yvarema can sense some degree of intent/feelings from non-Yvarema.

Rating: 4/5. While I think it's a bit silly that the entire species has only one "breeder," other than that I think these guys are really well thought out and neat.

1284. Zabrak, or Iridonians. It should be noted that it is unknown for certain whether the Zabrak are the same Iridonians as these Iridonians.

The Zabrak are a "near-human" species, which in this particular case does mean they can interbreed with humans; the hybrids are known as "Dathomirians" because the Clone Wars show could be ridiculous the majority of known individuals were found on Dathomir. (This is screwy because in the past, "Dathomirian" was any native of Dathomir. I guess it's a better explanation for why so many natives of Dathomir have been depicted with monochrome skin than most... It's still screwy.)

Interbreeding with humans feels a bit... squicky in this case, because Zabrak have horns. Think about that for a moment. (Of course, they actually grow in at puberty, but still...) Anyway, Zabrak also have a wide variety of racial groups, with numerous different skin colors, ranging from jet black to chalky white and a lot in between, and they're also infamous for wearing tattoos, the most eye-grabbing of which are Darth Maul's (yes, he's a Zabrak).

Anyway, Zabrak have two hearts and great resistance to pain, which explains at least partly how they fanficked Darth Maul back to life. (Aside: There was a fancomic made, like, probably less than a full year after Episode I, and almost literally the first thing that happened in said fancomic was Darth Maul biting his lightsaber to overcome the pain of being cut in half and then super-healing himself. ...It's kinda part of why I can't take the Clone Wars show seriously.)

It's claimed by the Rakatan construct known as the Mother Machine that the Zabrak were among the species it created in an effort to figure out why the Rakata were losing their Force powers; since other species of which this claim was made predated the machine, it's a bit dubious. However, the Zabrak had already colonized a number of other planets by the time they made contact with the post-Rakata galactic society, and the Elomin may be descended from a lost Zabrak colony.

Zabrak are generally known for being kind of fiercely independent and competitive, and the inhabitants of Iridonia are also known for being a bit more warlike and aggressive than other Zabrak, which actually lends credence to the idea that the other Iridonians are in fact Zabrak. Iridonian Zabrak are even known to be among the best hand-to-hand combatants in the galaxy, which makes it funny that Darth Maul is actually supposed to be one of the Dathomir Zabrak. (Then again, Obi-Wan did totally punk him.) Their independence meant that as a people, they strongly resisted the Empire, and continued to do so despite the occupation of their planets, the destruction of their industries, and the taxation into impoverishment that the Imperial government tried to use to subdue them. They thus became a more united people after the Empire fell, joining the New Republic for the sake of ensuring they'd never be dominated again.

It is worth noting that there have been a lot of Zabrak Jedi and Sith, including the incredibly named Jedi Master Wolf Sazen. (It's also worth noting that Wolf Sazen has quite a mane of hair for a Zabrak.)

Also, Zabrak have often been playable species in Star Wars RPGs.

Rating: 3/5. Well, they really are just humans with horns and crazy skintones...

1285. Zambarti. Zambarti sound as if they're mostly big, bulky human-ish beings, except they have wing-shaped ears, lavender skin, and multiple hearts.

One, an old associate of Han Solo's, was known as Big Bunji. Take that as you will.

Rating: 2/5, because at least there's a few details.

1286. Zandor Rockers. Okay, what's your mental image when you hear "Zandor Rockers?"

I'm curious.

Is it...


Just curious.

Anyway, as you might be able to guess, these guys are from a comic tie-in to the Ewok cartoon, and thus more natives of Endor. As with most of the smaller and "cuter" inhabitants of Endor, they're friendly to the Ewoks, and also actually fairly dangerous, as they can disguise themselves as normal rocks, jump at enemies to strike them with their bodies, harming them with their mass and density, and rapidly spin at sufficiently high rates to drill through the ground. I wouldn't screw with them, myself.

They don't like it when people throw rocks, either themselves or ordinary ones, for what should be obvious reasons.

Rating: 4/5. I'm terribly amused.

1287. Zanibar. The Zanibar look a bit like Greys by way of the mind of H. R. Giger.

Which is appropriate, because they apparently follow a religion demanding sapient sacrifices, and take bounty hunting jobs which only accept sapients as payment.


Rating: 4/5. I really like how they look. They're frankly hilarious.

1288. Zarian. They're straight-up frog/toad people. In fact, they apparently prefer to move quadrupedally, and are slowed down when they need to carry things.

At least one Zarian was a con artist who knew that he looked funny and nonthreatening, and used that to his advantage.

Rating: 3/5.

1289. Zarracines. The Twelfth Pius Dea Crusade was when an axe-crazy government of the Old Republic decided to lay waste to the Zarracines' homeworld for resisting their attempts to conquer the place. The Teirasans objected, and so the government messed up their stuff too.

The Zarracines would maintain hatred of the Old Republic for roughly twelve thousand years, and many joined the Separatists during the Clone Wars, particularly a group of assassins.

Rating: 2/5. That's quite a grudge.

1290. Zeetsa. The Zeetsa were symbiotes to the X'ting, originally essentially playing nonsapient aphids to the X'ting's ants; however, over time they developed sapience for whatever reason, some of them joining the Cestian society.

Zeetsa are apparently ball-shaped, "knee-high," and have malleable faces that they can use to mimic human faces. They also apparently get around by bouncing and such, which together with the face alteration ability makes them sound rather a lot like they're basically cartoon characters.

And they aren't even from the Ewoks or Droids cartoons.

Rating: 4/5. That's super-entertaining.

-Signing off.

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