Zakdorn

Zakdorn, the original homeworld of the civilization of the same name, was rendered uninhabitable by a terrorist attack in 2170. Survivors of the catastrophe migrated to several Class-M planets in nearby systems, where they embarked on the Grand Project: the construction of an artificial planet which in every way duplicated the features of their lost home.

Zakdorn evolution was plagued by an aversion to the basic social bonds that tie together members of other species. Their primate ancestors lived solitary lives, only coming together for brief and awkward mating. Most humanoids develop language, then agriculture, then communities. The Zakdorn did it their own stubborn, backward way. They found language only after they invented communities, which in turn came about when the first individuals to plant crops reluctantly banded together to defend themselves from other individuals who’d begun to raid the first farmers. Then the raiders banded together to fight the farmers better. Zakdorn standoffishness faded as technological innovations made society more complex, but it never truly disappeared. By their 19th century, this planet of wary, territorial specialists had cobbled together a sophisticated, technological infrastructure. Its crowning achievement was a worldwide audiovisual, interactive communications network, which allowed the Zakdorn to interact with one another without ever leaving their single-occupant housing units. It also permitted them to argue vociferously with one another. Zakdorn formed interest associations over the network; each group soon became a forum for infighting and bitterness, or found another group to berate and harass.

After about a decade the largest group on the newsgroups was the one devoted to dismantling them. In 2170, a group released an atmospheric bomb supposedly intended to emit an electromagnetic pulse to knock out the network for days. Instead, it catalyzed a chemical chain reaction that caused a hole in the ozone layer. Over the next five years the hole spread and the atmosphere evaporated. The Zakdorn reluctantly and hastily banded together to build the spaceships needed for a complete planetary evacuation. Over the next 150 years, the Zakdorn worked separately on individual units of the Grand Project: they would build an artificial world to mimic Zakdorn as it had been, place it in orbit on a 180 degree angle to their former homeworld, and settle it. In 2320 it was finished, with several glitches the Zakdorn couldn’t fix but could live with. They had done it. They had learned the value of working together. Separately. The Zakdorn joined the Federation in 2344.

Zakdorn live alone. They are not monogamous and do not cohabitate with their mates. Liaisons are negotiated by long-distance communications, and are preceded by the signing of a lengthy contract detailing the obligations (or lack thereof) the two participants will afterward owe to one another. Children are usually raised by the father until the age of eight, whereupon the child leaves to set up his/her own household. Zakdorn work alone, and prefer to interact with others as consultants or independent operators, instead of as teammates.

Although the Zakdorn Template includes Presence skills, Zakdorn are assumed to understand the skill intellectually, not practically. A Zakdorn with the Diplomacy skill, for example, knows the theories underpinning the practice of diplomacy. They tend to make terrible negotiators, however. When using a Presence skill intellectually, the Presence attribute applies. Narrators should apply the various penalties when using the Presence skills to influence others, however.

Zakdorn are bald-headed humanoids with pouches of thick, fibrous tissue on their cheeks. They usually have three pouches per cheek. Zakdorn mature quickly, reaching puberty at age six and full adult size and weight four years after that. Zakdorn gestation periods, on the other hand, last anywhere from 18 to 24 months. Modern medical technology has extended the Zakdorn life expectancy to about 90 years. Zakdorn tend toward extreme compulsiveness; when challenged or proven wrong in their chosen areas of expertise, they respond with almost childish pique. They also display a boorishness or petulance when dealing with others. Zakdorn antisocial tendencies seem to be innate rather than cultural. Half-Zakdorn children raised according to the norms of other cultures still avoid emotional ties to others.

Zakdorn Species Template
Attributes
  • Fitness 2(5)
  • Coordination 2(5)
  • Intellect 3(6)
  • Presence 3(6)
    • Empathy -1
    • Willpower +1
  • Psi 0(5)
  • Force 0(5)
  • Essence 0(5)
Skills
  • Culture: Zakdorn 2(3)
  • History: Zakdorn 1(2)
  • World Knowledge: Zakdorn 1(2)
  • Sciences: Any 1(2)
  • Choose One of:
    • Any Intellect-based skill 2(3)
    • Any Presence-based skill 2(3)
Typical Traits
  • Language: Zakdorn (Fluent/R/W) (+4)
  • Choose One of:
    • Engineering Aptitude (+3)
    • Mathematical Aptitude (+3)
    • Scientific Genius (+3)
    • Tactical Genius (+3)
  • Arrogant (-1)
  • Competitive (-1)
  • Renown +4 (Skill Aspect)
Example Names

Zakdorns favor oddly melodic multi-syllabic names, like Sirna Kolrani and Klim Dokachin.

Zakdorn

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