Saljai : Descriptor

Published May 6, 2016 by

The Saljai are a species of ultraterrestrials who have recently begun visiting Earth. When asked the reason for their travels every individual gives a different answer, for the Saljai are a diverse people with motives as varied as those of humans.

Saljai typically stand slightly taller than average human height but are much thinner. Their rubbery skin ranges in color from bright yellow to reddish orange, and each color seems to correspond to a different ethnicity or nationality (Saljai of different colors have noticeably different accents as if they don’t share a native language). A Saljai skull is longer than a human’s and curves backward slightly. That large skull has room to contain two round black eyes twice the size of a human’s, one on each side of the head. Saljai noses consist of two vertical slits between and slightly below the eyes. There are no visible ears; a Saljai’s entire skin is sensitive to vibration. The lipless mouth is smaller than a human’s. Instead of teeth a Saljai has a file-like tongue called a radula – Saljai chew their food by licking it. The most notable feature of the Saljai is that they have four tentacles instead of arms. Each tentacle ends in a graceful hand that consists of four smaller tentacles. The Saljai foot has four toes arranged in an “X” pattern, two in front and two behind.

Saljai culture actually consists of many cultures. In spite of their technical and sociological advancement they have never unified into a single nation or creed. Their highest shared value is a love of diversity. Saljai feel that it is the differences between people that hold the key to enriching interaction. Because of this they are practiced at looking at situations from multiple angles and at seeing situations in other than simple black-and-white terms. Indeed, Saljai are uncomfortable with binary logic and therefore distrustful of computers and AI. The Saljai’s own computers tend toward quantum devices that use a three-valued system of logic. Their skill at attacking problems from multiple angles gives Saljai exceptional ability at spatial reasoning and solving logic problems. The Saljai love of diversity is undoubtedly why so many have traveled to the Ninth World and why they go adventuring with beings who are not of their species.

The reproductive biology of the Saljai is quite different from that of humans; the Saljai have three sexes. The bireni produce eggs, tobbani produce sperm, and kamdei gestate the young. Either a biren or tobban can engage in recreational sex with a kamde, but reproduction requires all three. A Saljai marriage usually consists of a triad – one of each sex – but there are cultures in which a marriage requires more of one sex or another. Multiple kamdei is the most common variation, but there are nations/tribes in which a single kamde will be attended by multiple bireni and tobbani. In almost all variations inheritance is traced through kamdei, and the children bear the kamde’s family name.

Saljai have keen minds and quick reflexes, but they are not strong. The combination of cartilaginous skeletons and low muscle mass makes them weaker, on average, than humans. One might think that Saljai make poor glaives because of this, but one would be wrong. Saljai warriors adopt fighting styles that depend on speed rather than brute strength, and the ability to wield multiple weapons makes them surpassingly deadly. Nor does their difficulty with machine logic prevent Saljai from becoming nanos; their agile minds allow them to find ways around this limitation. Even so, Saljai jacks are more common than Saljai glaives or nanos.

The greatest challenge of playing a Saljai PC is in dealing with binary logic. Saljai reasoning tends to assume that there are at least three options in any situation. This can allow them to find additional options in situations in which a human might assume that there are only two. On the other hand, a Saljai might be paralyzed by indecision if a situation truly has only two options.

You gain the following benefits:

You have +2 to your Speed pool.
You have four hands. Each one is equally capable of wielding a weapon, shield, or tool.  You suffer no off-hand penalties for using any of your hands.
You are trained in flexibility and contortion.
You are trained in solving puzzles and riddles.

You are not very strong. The difficulty of lifting heavy objects or applying brute force is increased one step.
You are unused to two-valued systems of logic. The difficulty of understanding or applying binary reasoning – including interacting with the datasphere – is increased one step.