((The RP XP with MJ #47))
A while ago, I introduced you to “Sentient,” a unique character portrayal in that the player used armor combinations to create a “droid.” In case you missed it, you can find out how to create your own “playable droid race” here. Since then, BioWare has tossed RolePlayers a bone by introducing robotic limb replacements in cartel drops as cybernetic armor pieces. If you’re lucky enough to get an arm and a leg without paying an arm and a leg, you’re one leg up on Sentient.
But what if you’re not interested in creating a droid character? What if you want to take your RP to the next level, but you’re just not keen on the droid thing? What other options are there? RolePlaying as a human, cyborg, Sith Pureblood, Twi’lek or Zabrak is fine, but there are thousands of them out there. Once you’ve seen one former slave Twi’lek, one chip-on-his-shoulder Zabrak, or one Chiss with a superiority complex, you’ve seen ’em all. Hat’s off to those RPers out there who buck the trend and try for something outside the norm. Let’s face it, atheistic Mirialans or Force-deprived (read: “blind”) Miraluka, are pretty rare, but pretty cool to see acted out. The ability to jump Legacy boundaries makes for some fun as well. I recall once seeing a “blind” smuggler (Miraluka character played as a “blind human”) trying to “shoot” a “glass” off another character’s head. Now that’s BARPing at the next level.
I recently did some digging, and found more than 60 unique races in the Star Wars universe that you can create in-game using the human model. In many cases a twist on hair and eye color suffice, but it’s more in how you play the traits of the race that count.
Here are a few I came up with. See if they spark some creative RP possibilities for your next character. Most of these can be created with the baseline human without having to purchase hair or eye options separately.
Homeworld: Lorrd, in the Kanz Sector
Appearance: Medium to light brown skin.
Traits: Skilled mimics who use a sophisticated form of “kinetic communication.”
Canon Meter: Senator Nee Alavar appeared in the prequel films. She was Lorrdian.
Old Republic History: Around the time of TOR, the Lorrdians were involved in a sector-wide conflict called the “Kanz Disorders.”
Homeworld: Hapes, The Hapes Cluster in the Inner Rim
Appearance: Extremely Beautiful (Hapans have poor night vision, so dark eyes might help your persona). Keep in mind that it would be rare to find a male Hapan (though not impossible), and this race was considered pretty uniform in build (body type 2, I’d say)
Traits: Strong willed and independent.
Canon Meter: Mentioned throughout various E.U. publications and games.
Old Republic History: Hapan became a matriarchal society about 1,000 years before the events of TOR. Prior to that time they were dominated by the Lorell Raiders pirate gang. If you’re looking for a strong-willed female character, consider the Hapan.
Appearance: Tan skin, white hair, white eyes (will require buying the “white eye” option for humans, although you can disguise your character’s eyes by making your Arkanian a Cyborg with eye-concealing cybernetics). NOTE: Arkanians also have 4-clawed digits. This can be disguised by dressing your character in heavy gloves or gauntlets.
Traits: Extreme intelligence and capable of seeing into the infrared spectrum. Be mindful of “godmodding” with that “extreme intelligence” thing. As with anything new, be sure to explain the traits of your species OOCly to your RP partners before proceeding to give them a chance to respond knowledgeably.
Canon Meter: Mentioned throughout Knights of the Old Republic E.U. fiction as well as carrying a listing in the Star Wars Encyclopedia.
Old Republic History: Arkanians have a rich history dating back 17,000 BBY, so it’s not hard to imagine their active presence around the time of the Old Republic, though I couldn’t find any specific references.
Homeworld: Dathomir, in the Quelii Sector of the Outer Rim
Appearance: Pale white skin, silver or black hair (females). Red, orange or yellow/black markings and cranial horns (males). Use the human model for a female Dathomiri, a Zabrak for a male. I used the platinum blond hair option (extra fee), but you can probably get by with white, light gray or blond.
Traits: If you want to bend time-space a little, you can claim your character was an early version of the “Nightsister society” or the “Witches of Dathomir.” To be a little more vague on the subject, as well as special or unique, by opting for traits involving mysticism or alchemy. You can leave it at that without drawing a parallel to distant future canon.
Canon Meter: Star Wars: The Clone Wars canon. Savage Opress (brother of Darth Maul—and therefore also Darth Maul) were male Dathomiri. Asajj Ventress was a female Dathomir.
Old Republic History: Most Dathomiri history revolves around the Clone War era with references to breeding between Rattataki, Humans and Zabraks leading to the likes of Maul and Ventress. As to Dathomir during TOR-time? I couldn’t find anything solid, but there’s no reason the planet hadn’t evolved along the lines of others. If you create a Dathomirian, be cautious about your character’s background, and steer clear of references to things like the Nightsisters (who, by accounts, won’t be around for another 3,000 years or so).
Homeworld: Kiffu or Kiffex
Appearance: Facial tattoos, otherwise human-like in all other respects. Most of the Kiffar appearances seemed to favor Native American or African American appearances, though the Tonnika sisters from SWIV appeared as Kiffar with light skin and no facial tattoos. Instead, they sported long braided hair.
Traits: Psychometric abilities (They have a unique Force-like ability that allows them to pick up traces or impressions from objects touched by other beings).
Canon Meter: The Kiffar have been in everything from Old Republic E.U. material (Jedi Shigar Konshi in the novel Star Wars The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance) to Star Wars IV: A New Hope (The Tonnika Sisters who appear briefly in the cantina scene). They also appeared in episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Old Republic History: If you dig, you can find pretty extensive references to the Kiffar in Star Wars lore. During the Old Republic, the Empire annexed the worlds of Kiffu and Kiffex, meaning you can play your Kiffar as an Imperial loyalist, a freedom fighter or a refugee.
Homeworld: Berchest (or Mrisst)
Appearance: Characters or markings on their foreheads (I found only certain “scar” options with the Sith Inquisitor revealed something similar to what the Berchestians have).
Traits: Not much is known about the Berchestians. I only included them in this list as an example of how deep you can go into your Star Wars character creation and still maintain a unique “simplicity.” Perhaps having a Berchestian Inquisitor is enough and you don’t need special abilities to stand out in your RP. There are several races like the Berchestians–like Corellians, for example–who seem like “nothing special” on the surface. Then again, remember that Han Solo was Corellian. I’d say that’s pretty special.
Canon Meter: Berchestians are only mentioned in some E.U. materials and games. Wookieepedia has a very small entry about them. They were first mentioned in the Thrawn novels.
Old Republic History: Since not much is known about them, there’s no reason to say they didn’t exist during the time of the Old Republic. Unless otherwise specified, if the race you choose isn’t specifically referenced as not appearing until after the Old Republic era, it should be a safe bet that they were around. Maybe they kept to themselves. Who’s to say?
Homeworld: Zelos II
Appearance: Striking emerald green eyes.
Traits: Zelosians have chlorophyll for blood, and they’re blind in the dark. That’s right, they’re plants. There are a lot of really creative things you can do with a character like this, and imagine the fun you can have BARPing with a Zelosian. (“/e bumps into the man next to him // “Hey, what’s the deal!” // “Sorry, friend. Just trying to get closer to that light. /sigh.”)
Canon Meter: Mentioned throughout the E.U., particularly in novels and short stories.
Old Republic History: Zelosians make an appearance in Star Wars The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance.
Homeworld: Umbara (within the Ghost Nebula)
Appearance: Pale skin, white hair (males) or bald (females) and white or pale blue eyes.
Traits: Ability to influence others (think Jedi Mind Trick without the Force), ultraviolet vision. If you’re going to use the Umbaran ability of mind control, be sure to clear it OOCly with your RP partner. Explain to them that your character is an Umbaran and what they can do. Be conscious of their character too. It’s possible their character has a strong enough will to resist an Umbaran’s mental strengths, or at least detect them. Don’t make that decision for them. That’s godmodding. Talk it out before you act it out.
Canon Meter: Supreme Chancellor Palpatine used an Umbaran named Sly Moore as his Staff Aide. Umbarans also figured prominently in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, in the Bane novels and various other resources.
Old Republic History: According to Wookieepedia, “Umbarans have had a presence in galactic affairs since the dawn of the Galactic Republic.” One of my characters is Umbaran and I play her as a secretive and meddlesome little spy.
Appearance: Chalk pale, or dark skin; white or dark hair, silver eyes. (The dark hair/skin varieties were considered an offshoot of the original Eschani race. Read the Wookieepedia articles on them for more (I’ve included a link below)).
Traits: Extremely good tacticians (almost to the point of predicting an opponent’s next move). The ability to read feelings and emotions during combat. Again, be sure to clear this OOCly before surprising your RP partner with your character’s “mystical prowess.”
Canon Meter: Echani first appeared in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and have appeared in several other E.U. publications from the Bane novels to Star Wars: Darth Plagueis. Rumor has it that the Emperor’s elite red guard were Eschani under those crimson helmets.
Old Republic History: Echani were HUGE during the time of the Old Republic. If you’ve played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, you may recall that many vibroblades and light armor were “Echani” made. I’ve actually come across two RPers on my server who were sporting Echani characters.
MIX AND MATCH
(Example: HALF CHISS)
I know there are those of you who will wag a finger and cry “Foul!” to the notion that different Star Wars species can actually cross-breed and create new offshoots. To that, I point to two irrefutable canon references from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The season two episode, “The Deserter” featured a human clone raising a family with the Twi’lek he took as his mate. The Clone Wars is also the canon linchpin for the Dathomir (who were created as a result of breeding between Humans, Zabraks and Rattataki). There are even references in Wookieepedia that point to the Arkanians being related to the Echani. The Clone Wars always had the Notorious G.L.’s thumbs up on everything. So… there you go.
The bottom line is: have fun with it and don’t worry about notions of “canon” unless you plan to break it by creating a black and red Dathomir you name “Darf Mall.” …Seriously. Don’t.
There are more than 60 references to “near human” species in Wookieepedia, so I guarantee you there are probably some really cool ones that you can create using the tools in SWTOR. Look through them, read about their traits and abilities, then see what you can come up with in RP. You can also consider something totally unique like my “half Chiss” pictured above. Pale (blue tinted with a little tweak of his “dark side corruption”) skin, shrouded eyes (because there are no all-red eye options for humans), black hair. Father, human. Mother, Chiss. This is a great solution for those of you out there who don’t have the Legacy cred or funds to create a Chiss character in the class you want, but who want to utilize your vast knowledge of the Chiss Ascendancy.
RESOURCES: There would be too many footnotes to list individually, so I’ll just make it simple for you. Here is a LINK to Wookieepedia’s “Near Human” category. You’ll find expanded information on the races I mentioned here, and more. If you come across a unique race you’d like to share, let me know about it. As an RPing altaholic, I’m always game for more.
((The RP XP with MJ)) appears exclusively on swtor-life.com every Friday. If you’d like to share some ideas with MJ, you can contact him directly via Twitter @MJswtor, or you can write to him at swtorliferp-at-gmail or mjtorrp-at-gmail. MJ answers your RP questions every 10 issues of the RP XP, so send them in early and often!
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