Jon Crane presents a new PC race for the Star Wars role playing game
THE FELIN RACE
The Felin are a race of humanoids that have descended from feline racial
stock, as opposed to the ape-descended humans. They originate from the 4th planet
of the Heleth System. This is an Earth-like world with some exceptions:
I. It's core is osmium rather than iron, and comprises 42% of the internal structure
of the planet, rendering it very dense and thus producing a gravity of about
2. It has an axial tilt of 47 degrees, making the seasons very extreme - even
at the equator.
As one might assume, any race rising to dominate such an environment would
be very tough and capable; indeed the Felin are such a race. In outward appearance
they look fairly human, but they do have nonhuman features:
1. Their eyes have vertically slitted pupils and are very light efficient. They
can see as well on a dark and cloudy night as a human can at dusk, and are protected
from bright light by a secondary eyelid. Their eyes also reflect light if it
is shined into them. They can perceive colours, but only very weakly
and because of this tend to wear loud colours when out of uniform.
2. Their senses of smell and hearing are more acute than humans, taste is about
the same and touch slightly poorer. Their teeth are somewhat more pointed with
slightly extended canines.
3. They have five digits, one being an opposable thumb, and retractile claws
(which add ID if used in hand-to-hand combat) as opposed to nails on their fingers
4. There skins can sometimes be mottled, either randomly (like a house cat)
or in patterns (like a tiger, leopard or cheetah), and they have an all over
coat of light, fine fur. The hair on their heads extends to about half to two
thirds of the way down their backs, tapering close into the spine as it comes
5. Their most unusual feature, however, is their curious ability to change
gender at will. They usually remain in the asexual mid stage, in which they
exhibit no sexual characteristics or behaviour, but when they shift becoming
either male or female, they become, by human standards, extremely so. This situation
would perhaps exist today
i.e. Males are broad shouldered narrow hipped and muscular, whereas the females'
shoulders and hips are roughly of equal width and have all the right curves
elsewhere! When shifted to a given sex, a Felin emits a strong pheromone
discharge which is sexually arousing to most mammals of the opposite sex (including
humans), and for this reason they spend the majority of their time in the neuter
state, because refusal (and claws) can sometimes offend a would be suitor. This
characteristic make female Felin much sought after for employment in
some less reputable entertainment establishments, but a Felin would have to
have fallen on very hard times indeed to take such a job.
There is one case record of a captured female Felin being kept massively
drugged and sold into slavery in a brothel. The brothel keeper was making a
tidy sum from this until a group of five adventurers (two of them Felin) chanced
by. On discovering the fate of their sister the two Felin reduced the
building to gravel and the keeper to paste - subtle they are not!
It takes roughly two days to shift one stage (i.e. male, neuter or female)
to the next. Once the shift has been triggered, it may be possible to
accelerate the process by conscious effort. Can Felin cross breed with other
races? Insufficient data!
6. The last notable difference between Felin and humans is their virtual immunity
to intoxication by alcohol and most (but not all, see 5 above) narcotic
and depressant drugs. They are, however, partial to alcoholic beverages because
it makes them feel loose - whatever that means. Among people who have
encountered the race, Drinking with a Felin is a term synonymous with
throwing your money away.
"Life among the Felin can he likened to living in an army barracks,
so said Professor Ty Rivial of the Faculty of Alien Cultures of the University
of Verren, one of the few human scientists to visit Heleth
To understand the reason behind this one must look at their history. Being descended
from large predatory cats, the Felin were once fiercely territorial of their
hunting grounds and being extremely clannish would fight, family against family,
to maintain the areas that each considered its own.
This led, as the population grew, to full scale wars of expansion, with some
of the larger clans completely destroying their weaker opponents. Because of
this way of life a cub would begin its training in the arts of war as soon as
it could walk.
if, about 900 years ago, the first (and to date only) great Felin Philosopher
Greel Ptavvishh (roughly translated the one with the blot over the eyes) managed
to assemble the clan leaders together, and made them understand that they were
heading towards racial suicide, and that they must all work together for the
He proposed establishing a global government comprising of the senior (i.e.
too old to hunt or fight) members of each clan. The High Command was thus set
up. The Felin then began to industrialise, mainly manufacturing weaponry which,
after contact with a scout ship from the Old Republic, became their principle
export. They began to import other goods and technological items and their culture
began to seem quite stable. This situation unfortunately didn't last, because
due to their inborn characteristics they began to suffer serious civil unrest.
Recognising the fact that there was no way to remove their basically warlike
nature, the High Command ordered that each family organise itself into a military
company, and then offered these families! companies for hire as mercenaries.
It is on this basis that Felin society exists today. In the intervening years
the Felin have developed a strict code of conduct for their families/companies:
1. Each Company Commander (Colonel) is responsible for the conduct and discipline
of its family (this will usually, but not necessarily, be the oldest member
of the clan) and be answerable only to the contractor or, in the absence of
such, Felin High Command.
2. A Colonel, and thus the Company, will obey the orders of the contractor,
with the single exception that an order to attack Homeworld will result in a
breach of contract on the part of the contractor. This means that if hired by
opposing factions, two Felin units will quite happily fight to the death although
in practical terms they will have normally wiped out any nonFelin soldiers on
the opposing side first. If such a situation should occur then the all Felin
force would surrender.
3. Each Company has its own internal rank structure and chain of command. Should
any senior member be killed then all lower members move up the chain accordingly.
In theory, should the rest of the Company be killed, the youngest private becomes
Colonel - see Felin as Player Characters for further discussion of this.
It is a general rule that as part of its duty to the Company each Felin will
sire one cub, bear another and, having fulfilled this obligation, will be free
to pursue whatever
relationship may please it. It sometimes happens that a given Felin will decide
to remain in a fixed state, rather than shifting gender on a frequent basis,
and in these instances for a pair of opposing sex to mate. When this happens
it is usually done for life, which involves one partner tran.sferring from
one Company to another. It seems to be unimportant which partner makes the move,
but once accomplished all ties to the old family are totally severed.
If a Company member is no longer able to fight, either due to age or infirmity,
then they will either fill administrative positions within the Company or, if
senior enough, be promoted to the High Command. As with any other transfer
this severs all previous family ties.
It is a source of amusement to other races that, because of their very closed
and sheltered upbringing, a young Felin, who has had most of its thinking done
for it, will be extremely naive about almost any matter that is not military
oriented. Thus it is likely, if taking R&R on a civilised world, to get
fleeced for most of its money, and not be unduly worried since that's what they
think money is for, much to the delight of the natives.
If one is going to fleece a Felin, it is wise to make sure that you know what
you're doing because should you upset one, the combination of massive strength
and their inhumanly (literally) fast reflexes, makes them very dangerous to
brawl with. Remember Felin have retractable claws, and are not afraid to use
them. There is no such thing as an unarmed Felin!
The Felin language, much like that of the Wookies, is fairly comprehensible
to other races if they take time out to learn it, but almost completely impossible
to speak (Difficulty 30) because only the Felin throat is designed to emit the
purrs, hisses and growls that make up their speech. They also practice a complex
hand signalled battle talk which can be used by anybody with five digits
FELIN AND THE FORCE
That the Force exists there can be little doubt, since the power wielded
by the Jecli until they were decimated during the Clone Wars al-c a matter of
recorded history, yet to the common being it is a mysterious thing and the subject
of mu c-h scepticism and superstition.
This is an extract from a lecture on the Felin delivered by Professor Ty
Rivial (University of Verran, Faculty of Alien Cultures), he continued: so
it is strange to find an entire i-ac-c who are, as the Jedi would have put it,
strong in the Force. There /Lre - -
We will at this point leave the esteemed Professor, since the lecture continued
for a further 3 hours - insomniac students make a point of signing up for these
Why the Felin are strong in the Force is unknown. It may be that Heleth
4 is a nexus of the Force but this is impossible to confirm since there
is no real way of measuring it. To the Felin it is simply something they do
from birth. They do not tend to develop the range, or level of strength and
control, of powers professed by the Jedi of old, and there is no record of any
Felin being trained as a Jedi Knight.
The average Felin spy knows there's something dangerous around the corner
or if wounded, you concentrate to make it heal faster. Weapons seldom jam
in Felin hands because they are kept free by telekinesis, and on the battle
field there is little use for a communicator when you and your kin/comrade know
what one another is thinking.
They have no conception of the Light and Dark sides of the Force.
To them these abilities are as natural as sight or hearing. An individual Felin
may develop its powers to higher than normal levels by constant use of an extended
period or they may increase during the stress of battle. It definitely seems
to be the case that the older the Felin, the more developed its powers are.
While they, as a race, know nothing of the aspects of the Force, there have
been cases in the past of individuals taking to the Dark Side. These
sorry creatures are generally torn apart by their peers for their criminal attitudes
before they become dangerously powerful.
Although it would be unprecedented, assuming a master were to train it, a Felin
would be more than capable of becoming a Jedi, having as they do a very disciplined
outlook on life and, when aroused, a very deep commitment to what ever they
undertake. Without the guidance of a master it is very unlikely that a Eelin
would take to the Jedi Way.
FELIN AS PLAYER
The first thing to decide if you wish to play a Felin is why is it adventuring
in the first place. There are only two ways that a Felin can be away from its
I. It is a renegade, a deserter that has gone rogue and as such will be Death
Listed by High Command and killed by any right thinking Felin that it should
come across. This makes for a dangerous lifestyle, but could be fun if you like
living on the edge. It also gives the referee a few interesting plot
tools to use.
2. It is a survivor, usually sole, of a Company that has been wiped out. This
is what happened to Ferris, my first Felin
character. Its Company were under contract to the Empire, and rather than pay
them the imperials killed them when they were being taken off planet after the
job was done. The character escaped because it was in hospital at the time of
the raid. If you use this option, you could have a group of up to three Felin
- any more than this would have to report to High Command in order to begin
reporting the Company. Survivors of this type should of course go home and transfer
to a new Family! Company but would not be Death Listed like the first
type of character above if they failed to do so.
A sole survivor can avoid the obligation to return to Homeworld if it is contracted,
since it is the default Company Commander. For example, Ferris mentioned above,
is contracted to Silverblue (a freelance pilot) for the sum of one credit. The
fact that she is its friend is coincidental('?)
Playing a Felin character can be quite fun, but there are some points that should
be noted if such a character is not going to upset the balance of the game because,
if mishandled, it could be far too powerful in the early stages of the campaign.
To illustrate this point we first need to have a look at the basic characteristics
of the Felin:
As you can see the total number of dice split down is 17, as for any character,
and unless your referee says differently you will get additional dice to allocate
to individual skills as a PC. Please remember when allocating skills, if players
are to portray the race in the manner intended, that they should not select
skills that they could not have reasonably learned as soldier. For example:
Any Dexterity and Strength skills are reasonable, as are any Perception except
Bargain and Con. It is a by-product of the strongly telepathic nature that they
have no concept of, or use for lying and they are also very literally minded.
From the Knowledge skills, reall~' only Survival and maybe a little Technology
to. Some language skill is very useful - because of the Force Difficulty Table
they need to be able to speak verbally to anyone not of their own race unless
they are experienced in telepathy. In fact it is very hard for the average Felin
to communicate telepathically with others not of their own Family/Company. From
Technical, only really Security, Medicine or Demolition, and then only if it
was a specialist in one of those areas. A new PC Felin will have no Mechanical
skills at all (the ability to maintain weapons etc. is assumed in the skill
to use them). Of course any skill points acquired during play can be spent on
any skills at all, these restrictions only apply to Felin who have never been
far away from their fellows. Unless playing a rogue Felin, I would not allocate
any of the initial skill points into the Force skills, because of the instinctive
way they are usually used, and if playing a rogue, if its force skills are too
high its probably well on the way to the Dark Side. I would recommend for a
first time, that a young inexperienced Felin is best. In this instance the character
needs to have a close friend, to watch out that it doesn't fall foul of its
naivet? too often and to prevent it from making lethal blunders with technical
equipment it doesn't understand, (A case of curiosity killing the cat ?) e.g.
Silverblue (a pilot) has just spent half an hour plotting a particularly complex
course, Ferris (a Felin) leans over the console; Ferris: What happens if! press
this button? Silverblue: You trash half an hour's work, my friend. Ferris: S'pose
I'd better not then. Silverblue: That's right, Ferris, you'd best not. (Slaps
hand to forehead) If you are going to set up a pair like these two, then one
rationale you can use is to have the friend hold the Felin's contract. i.e.
be its employer, if only for the piece of mind of the friend because this makes
the Felin easier to handle, at least in the early part of the relationship.
That concludes this article. The material here has been extensively play-tested
and can make for some fun sessions. I will reiterate the caution that, if abused,
these characters can become one man armies and ruin the enjoyment of fellow
players. With this in mind I hope you have as much fun playing Felin as I have.
If anyone has any questions or criticisms of this piece I will be happy to respond
to them through Last Writes.