This page contains extra information about individual species in the Spaaaace Puuuuulp universe. Seems people wanted to know, so here it is. This is mostly just junk sketches I made with some quick notes. They're naked because that's how I sketch the initial species for reference.
Firstly, though, all sentient species derive from a shared ancestor. Here is a rough sketch of the tree of life.
The Baramik are the largest and heaviest species in the Space Federation. They are obviously very strong and tough, but they don't have the bullet resistance that slabheads do.
Baramik are a very common species planetside, but they're almost exclusively lubbers. In space they are quite rare.
Baramik tend to settle on desert or ice planets, and reduce all hostile environmental effects by one level. They are not particularly resistant to toxins or radiation, though.
They gain a massive bonus to strength and endurance, but a huge penalty to speed and agility. Their large size means that all ranged attacks against them have a bonus to hit.
Baramik tend to use specialty weapons due to their very large hands and excessive mass. Baramik weapons deal double damage as compared to normal weapons of the same category, although their mass is also three times more. Baramik armor is similarly twice as effective, but three times as heavy.
Baramik personality tends to be pretty conservative. Most of them think in terms of living a stable life as part of a stable system. They express themselves not through their work, but through their hobbies - most Baramik have a hobby that they spend inordinate amounts of time on, and it more or less defines their social group. Hobbies vary widely, and it's said that the Baramik audience is what drives the movie industry.
Biologically, the Baramik are a bit unusual in that they grow to full adult height by puberty. At puberty, they actually stop growing vertically and instead become much denser, more than doubling in mass. This leads a lot of people to thinking a young Baramik is actually an adult.
The Burbic are very populous, and exist both as lubbers and spacers. They are large, gray, and surprisingly durable. Their skin is kind of a cross between blubber and velvet, and acts as kind of a makeshift armor, reducing all incoming damage by one point regardless of category.
The Burbic get a bonus to strength and spirit, but lose out a lot on intelligence.
They have massive jaws and slablike teeth - the Burbic can perform a biting attack dealing 2d6 lethal damage if they can get an enemy's limb or face near their mouth.
The Burbic are a very common species, and are often considered the baseline when comparing other species. When the Space Federation was forged, the Burbic were a major force, having settled hundreds of star systems. They freely joined the union, and their lands became the backbone of Space Federation territory.
You'd think that'd mean the Burbic had a lot of status and power. However, there's a problem: the Burbic are really dumb. Arguably the dumbest spacefaring species. So they migrated into the lower socioeconomic brackets.
It's not that the Burbic are incapable of learning technical skills - they were a spacefaring race on their own, after all. It's just that there's a short circuit in their head where, once they decide something, that's the way it is. It's very difficult to change their minds.
As a petty example, if a Burbic decides they're going to stop by the mall after work, then they'll try very hard to do that even if it doesn't make any sense. For example, if pirates attack the starbase, that Burbic will still try to go to the mall, and get irritated that they are closed due to pirate attack.
A bigger example of this is that once they decide someone deserves their loyalty, they literally can't think critically about the orders they receive. They follow them automatically, and even come up with rationales as to why it's a good order. The biggest example of this is Pirate King Strakh, who makes all his pirates dress in red minidresses. To them, this is the same category of order as him ordering them to fire all mass cannons during a naval battle.
You'd think this would make them excellent soldiers, but that's just not the case. Although large and durable, they tend to form new loyalties pretty regularly, and have a hard time choosing between them. So the commands of your CO wouldn't have a higher priority than the requests of some random local you met yesterday and took a liking to.
This is a neurological weakness, not a personality trait. Their personalities run the gamut, but they are all limited by this weakness. This makes it very, very easy to take advantage of them, which is why Burbic all watch out for each other. Unless in a position of command, the Burbic are always very careful to only gently suggest things to each other.
Burbic find hair, especially red hair, very sexy. They universally carefully primp and preen the short tuft of red fur on their head. Although other species can't really tell much difference between any given tuft, the Burbic themselves have a complex set of social communications associated with it.
The Naalt are mostly lubbers, but not the slow-paced lubbers that most people think of. Their culture is powered by an official religion which is rather technofetishistic: the Naalt believe that progess is good, period.
The Naalt are large, but not particularly strong or durable. They are slow and clumsy, but receive a bonus to intelligence. Their big advantage is cyberware: the Naalt do not suffer cybersystem conflicts, and therefore may install any variety of cybernetic systems. Also, they start with 10 free points of cyberware.
Naalt have six tentacles on their shoulders/backs. These unusual appendages allow the Naalt to count as their own assistant when performing skill checks. This is a major part of their prowess: a Naalt working alone is like two people of that skill working together.
Like most mandibular species, the Naalt do not need to sleep, but instead have a sort of “idling” mode. Skill checks while idling have a major penalty, as if drunk. It takes 1d6 rounds to come out of idling mode if the Naalt decides she needs to wake. They must idle roughly as much as others need to sleep.
Naalt look like horrors, but they are very sociable and friendly, and a little manic. Their biology is from the mandible branch of the shared galactic tree of life, so they are generally not considered very attractive, and don't have the slightest chance of interbreeding even with scientific help. So, in short: you'll often have a Naalt friend, but you'll never want to marry one. The Naalt don't usually have much interest even in each other, and are said to keep the personal robot industry alive with the force of their cash. Like most mandible-branch species they have a lot of children, so the species population is still growing anyway.
Galactically, the Naalt tend to take up positions of leadership, engineering, and research. They are pretty well-respected for a variety of reasons. They are hard to buy off, they are sociable and tend to speak openly, and they don't usually pander. The skills required to dissemble and lie convincingly are just not interesting to the Naalt.
Naalt are certainly not perfect leaders. They'll often ignore, circumvent, or cancel the laws which get in the way of what they consider to be progress. However, their natural inclination to chatter openly about everything means they have a hard time doing that if anyone's paying any attention. The bigger problem is that the Naalt will step on toes by speaking too frankly.
The Naalt's religion is a rather vague one, allowing it to be compatible with a wide variety of personalities and beliefs, even other religions. At its core, the religion is a bit nihilistic - a core tenet is that all living things die, and that's terrible. To leave an indelible mark on the universe, you must create something that those who live after you will use. Technology, buildings, cities, regulations.
Basically, you are not measured by what you do, but by how many people use the tools you create.
A variant is popular galactically, called Naal Naal. Naal Naal religion downplays the death aspect and widens the scope of how you are measured to include how many people benefit from your work, not just how many people use it as a tool. Naal Naal is especially popular among the Salu Salu (who founded the church and named it), and the Naalt aren't terribly shy about the fact that the little green women are pretty cute to them.
For some reason, there is no record of any psycher Naalts.
If there is a species that can be dismissed as the green space elf that Captain Kirk screws, the Salu Salu are that species. However, if you can look past the fact that they are a very humanlike, predominately female species, they're a pretty complicated group.
If you don't care, the short version is that the Salu Salu are a spacer combhead species that is smooth, shiny, green or gold, and widely considered quite attractive. Their skin purifies the air of toxins that accumulate due to the rigors of living in space - everything from the trace poisons most species exhale to the chemicals in the exhaust of a washing machine. Because they radically reduce the filter load, the Salu Salu are very popular among spacers, and usually get a stipend or tax cut simply for living on a ship or space station.
Statistically, the Salu Salu are average, with a bonus to charisma and spirit. Playing a male Salu Salu costs your fate point, and your charisma is doubled when dealing with other Salu Salu (male or female).
If you do care, here we go!
The Salu Salu are homebodies at heart, and spent a very, very long time more or less satisfied with their homeworld, not really venturing out into the galaxy much. However, a rogue planet pulled their homeworld into an elliptical orbit, making it inhospitable. Before, during, and after this happened, the Salu Salu were evacuating. Surprisingly few died.
A few million Salu Salu still cling to their homeworld's surface out of a sense of duty, but basically they have become a spacefaring species. To survive the crushing devastation of losing the most precious thing in their culture, they had to undergo an extremely radical and carefully manufactured cultural shift. The result is that the Salu Salu have a very peculiar and widely shared philosophy.
One part of their philosophy is that all living beings make the universe slightly better and richer just by existing. Sure, you can screw it up, but unless you're actively trying to make the situation worse, you're making the universe better just by being you. Even if you lose absolutely everything that ever mattered to you, just continuing to exist will make the universe a better place.
This is extremely easy for the Salu Salu to accept, because they do. Just by existing on a ship or space station, they filter enough toxins out of the air that it would more or less pay for their food and shelter if compared to the cost of filters.
Salu Salu have a wide variety of personalities, and they consider it fine to have whatever personality they have. They also consider it fine for others to be that way, and are remarkably gifted at getting along with people that other species would consider difficult jerks. This is one of the major reasons they play a big role in a lot of fantasies. Of course, these fantasies often overlook the fact that Salu Salu often have annoying personalities, as well...
Salu Salu are rarely interested in being in charge, since in their view, you make the universe better without any guidance. But, hey, if someone else wants to be captain, well, that's probably fine. The Salu Salu are fine with whatever.
They can be absolutely icy cold and brutal if they think you're making the universe worse. This is rare enough that it is shocking to see. And that's the scope of the first tenet of their philosophy.
Another part of their philosophy is the acceptance that Salu Salu will often be on their own, or at least separated from other Salu Salu. Therefore, Salu Salu reproduction is almost 100% artificial insemination. To the point where even if a Salu Salu man and woman are married, they often use artificial insemination anyway. Sex is for love and pleasure. Turkey basters and drugs are for having kids.
Raising a kid in an unusual environment is considered par for the course. While there are some “typical” Salu Salu marriages (man Salu + woman Salu), the vast majority of Salu Salu live in less common configurations. This is especially true because around 70% of the species is female. Anyway, raising a kid is considered an important duty and joy, so the Salu Salu rarely wait for the perfect configuration to come around. They often raise a kid on their own, something made a bit easier by further tax breaks or incentives due to the kid's filtering.
Salu Salu men are not a big part of the fantasies that have made Salu Salu women famous, so they more or less fly under the radar. They often have no jobs at all - there's always a call for their sperm, and although the income from that and their purification is not much, it's usually enough to get by if you don't actually care about money.
The third part of their philosophy is that being in space is important. Salu Salu are good at being in space. They have an important role to play in space. All the other species love them in space. This mantra allowed the Salu Salu to integrate well into spacer society when their planet was evacuated, and continues to serve them well today.
But... the heart of a Salu Salu is a lubber. Salu Salu who visit rural or wild areas of a planet almost invariably fall in love with the planet. So there is always this incredible pressure to settle down.
Their philosophy makes this a difficult proposition, though. Partly because it feels like betraying the sacrifice of their homeworld, and partly because the Salu Salu actually don't get along with lubbers. At all. Lubber philosophy is pretty much diametrically opposed to Salu Salu philosophy in every way. And the Salu Salu know it.
The skinless are actually four different species that all occupy the same branch of the shared tree of life. They look like creepy insects, but they are not insects at all. They are the same as any other Space Federation species, but have evolved to inhabit high-gravity corrosive environments.
The most notable feature of the skinless is what appears to be an exoskeleton. This is actually a set of interlocking stiff plates. By “interlocking”, we really mean “interlocking” - using small muscle-like organs, the skinless can cause the plates to shift such that they brace against each other. This is their solution to high-gravity environments: their internal bones are helped along by interlocking external plates. It also gives the skinless their thin, stiff appearance.
The skinless are not properly skinless, but their skin is very different. Its primary purpose is to resist corrosion, so it tears rather easily when scratched at. This is not a big issue - the skin doesn't bleed, and regenerates in a matter of hours.
Their eyes are shielded by a faceted set of lenses, and can see mostly infrared and ultraviolet. Visible light rarely leaks though heavy atmospheres, so they don't see that spectrum very well.
Skinless cannot speak in normal phonemes - they use the “click” phoneme set. It's still common, it just sounds funny. However, many skinless, especially in mixed environments, will get a simple chip implanted which speaks in a normal phoneme. Since this can be customized to any voice, the skinless often have very suave, interesting voices.
Statistically, skinless lose agility due to their plating, but gain speed, strength, and endurance. They halve all incoming basic damage due to their armor, and are not affected by high-grav penalties. They are immune to acid, corrosion, and grade 1 heat.
Some skinless choose to have some simple surgery done to remove the locking elements of their plating. This negates their agility penalty, but also means they cannot resist gravity penalties any better than any other species. This is a free option.
If skinless purchase wealth or status during character creation, it only applies in skinless society.
Skinless almost never wear clothes or tattoos, although sashes are popular.
The four species do vary in pattern and color, but the biggest variance is in their leg support system and feet. This determines the maximum gravity they can safely operate under, and it varies from 12g to 30g depending on the species. Anyone who sees them operate under these conditions will be impressed: they lock and unlock limbs such that they're always supported or supporting with a locked limb even while another limb unlocks to move. This has led to a popular street dance style and a number of skinless-only martial arts styles.
Skinless tend to be pretty oppressed or dismissed in spacer society. While they do live in all the same places as everyone else, they tend to be cloistered off in their own section and left to fend for themselves. On their worlds, however, they are usually the only species that can easily survive, and there they have civilization, art, music, politics...
They share the mandibular branch with a number of other species, but few look quite as exotic as the skinless. Like all mandibular species, they have an interesting relationship with psyching. All their psychers are, for some reason, biomorphic only. Don't know why.
This has brought them grief. They are endangered by the various psycher-boost drugs, and the same drugs are often tested on their population.
As with most mandibular species, skinless bear a lot of children and feed them on sweat rather than milk. The skinless can rapidly breed a massive population, but generally choose not to.
There are almost a hundred unique species of slabhead in the Space Federation. “Species” may not be the right word, as they are often quite capable of interbreeding.
If considered as a single unit, slabheads are the most populous spacer group. They are rare on planets, but nearly every ship has at least one slabhead serving aboard it. There are a lot of theories as to why slabheads come in such a variety and are so common, but it probably has something to do with durability and short childhoods.
Slabheads all share the same basic biology, obviously. The biggest defining feature is their subdermal armor. It's a unique material which gives pretty easily when pushed, not even as stiff as a plastic knife. However, when hit by anything with significant velocity, it stiffens to an incredible hardness. This means that slabheads degrade all lethal damage to basic damage, unless it is a critical hit.
Slabheads tend to be unusually large and well-built for a primarily spacefaring species, and are the most common “space marines”. And space pirates, for that matter. As a spacefaring species, their shared culture and common disposition is extremely comfortable in space. They don't tend to care about lubber concerns like decency or law, and instead care more about spacer concerns like emergency assistance and loyalty to your crew.
When creating a slabhead, you don't have to choose a particular species - although you are free to. However, you should pick a color and a category of slabhead:
1) Lightly armored slabheads only diminish 1d6 lethal damage to basic damage from every hit. However, they have an easier time moving, and don't suffer an agility penalty.
2) Some species have degenerative issues, especially with their eyes. These universally become cybernetic slabheads, and may freely select 10 points of sensory/neural cybernetics.
3) Some species are just plain big and nasty. They have better strength and endurance, but suffer charisma and spirit penalties.
Some people think slabheads are genetically modified, because their armor is such an unlikely evolution. But there's no hint of it in their genetic code. There are a few “near-slabheads” such as Gillarians and Gisoglassicans. These also show no signs of genetic modification, but they are are much more subject to that kind of attention, even from other slabheads.
"Slabhead" is generally considered perfectly acceptable by slabheads, but many lubbers feel uncomfortable using the term and instead use "armored citizens" or other PC terms.