Kzinti

Kzinti evolved from a plains-hunting felid on a slightly colder, drier planet than Earth. The Kzin word for their home planet translates as Homeworld. The world is often known as Kzinhome by the Kzinti themselves. The Kzin home world is the third planet orbiting the star 61 Ursae Majoris.

The Kzin civilization was at a roughly 20th-century technological level when an alien race called the Jotoki landed and made stealthy First Contact with a tribe of primitive hunter/gatherer Kzinti. The Jotoki were interstellar merchants looking for a species they could use as mercenaries.

Once the Jotoki had taught the Kzinti how to use high-technology weapons and other devices including spacecraft, the Kzin rebelled and made their former employers/masters into slaves, as well as the occasional meal. The crest of the Riit (Royal) family appears to be a bite mark, but is in fact a dentate leaf, with the words ‘From Mercenary to Master’ written around it in Kzinti script.

Kzin society is extremely male dominated. The leader of the race is called the Patriarch, which is a hereditary title. The Kzinti call themselves ‘Heroes’ or the ’Hero’s Race’ and because they believe themselves to be ‘heroes’, their society places a very high value on ‘Acting Heroic’ and behaving in a heroic fashion.

To Kzin society, ‘heroic’ means being honorable and having integrity. Kzin honor is similar in many ways to the samurai code of Bushido. Strakh serves as almost a sort of currency or favor system, since they do not use money in their culture. For example, if the Patriarch gets meat from a sellers’ market stand, the seller gains considerable strakh which will bring honor to the seller allowing him to get better customers – which leads to more strakh, which gives the seller a higher status within the community.

Kzinti are often described as anthropomorphic tigers, but there are significant and visible differences. Kzinti are larger than humans, standing around 8 feet (2.4 m) tall and weighing around 500 pounds (230 kg). These tiger-sized bipeds have large membranous ears, a barrel-chested torso with a flexible spine, and large fangs and claws. One human gave an apt description of Kzin as ‘eight feet of death’.

They are covered with a thick coat of long fur that comes in various combinations of orange, yellow, and black. Full black coats are rare, however, and all who have them are taken are expected to do great deeds.

Their tails are naked and are similar in appearance to a rat’s tail, and their noses are black. Kzinti ears have fur only on the outside of the ear and only about half-way up the ear itself, usually appear pink, and are shaped liked a segment of a Chinese parasol (or cocktail umbrella; they are also sometimes described as ‘bat-winged’); they can fold back flat against the head for protection during a fight.

They speak in a hissing language called the Hero’s Tongue, which in its written form resembles commas and periods.

Most Kzin females (s. Kzinrett, pl. Kzinretti) appear sub-sapient, with a vocabulary of fewer than a hundred word/sounds and primarily instinct-driven behavior, and are treated as chattel by males (s.Kzintosh, pl. Kzintoshi). This is more of a cultural phenomenon than actual reduced mental capacity. The females are simply taught, through violence, to be subserviant and silent.

Kzinti Species Template
Attributes
  • Fitness 4(6)
    • Strength +2
    • Vitality +2
  • Coordination 2(6)
    • Dexterity +1
  • Intellect 1(5)
  • Presence 1(5)
    • Empathy -1
  • Psi 2(6)
    • Focus -1
  • Force 0(5)
  • Essence 0(5)
Skills
  • Culture: Kzinti 2(3)
  • History: Kzinti 1(2)
  • World Knowledge: Kzin Homeworld 1(2)
  • Athletics 2(3)
  • Unarmed Combat 2(3)
Typical Traits
  • Language: Kzin (Fluent/R/W) (+4)
  • Toughness (+2)
  • Code of Honor: Fight to the death when in hand-to-hand combat (-3)
  • Intolerant: Herbivores and Pacifists (-2)
Naming Convention

Kzintoshi are born without names, which they must earn through valorous deeds. They are originally known by their relation to their father when they are kittens. After maturity, they are known by their rank or occupation. A Kzin who has performed a great deed will be granted a partial name by a superior; a further, greater deed earns a full name, the second of which is the family name.

In rare instances, a sufficiently illustrious accomplishment will earn a nameless one a full name in one fell swoop. An example of this is the granting of a full name to Trainer-of-Slaves, who single-handedly delivered a fully working hyperdrive to the Patriarchy thus earning the full name Graaf-Nig.

An exception to this rule seems to accrue to the members of the Riit family, who have held the office of Kzinti Patriarch for uncounted generations. These appear to earn names upon reaching adulthood.

Only those Heroes that have earned a full name are allowed to breed.

An example of a Kzin’s naming transition would be:

  • Birth description: Third-Son of Khral-Hrag
  • Occupation description: Weapons-Technician
  • Partial name: Frep-Technician
  • Full name: Frep-Hrag

Kzinti

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