WELCOME TO THE WILD:
An Introduction to the Whiphid Species
- - - - - - -The two Jedi walked slowly through the Temple, a short pudgy Twi’lek and an older, white-haired Coruscanti.
“Your new Padawan awaits you in the next room, Master Shtent,” said the Twi’lek.
“Very good,” Master Shtent replied. “You say he’s young?”
“Only thirteen. But he is very gifted in combat.”
The elder Jedi scoffed. “At thirteen? How could he possibly be gifted at that age?”
The two Force users entered a dimly-lit room. There sitting on a bench facing away from them was the hairiest sentient Master Shtent had ever seen, outside of Endor, that is. “He seems more than gifted at growing hair,” the Coruscanti said with the hint of a sneer.
The figure on the bench rose slowly to his feet, until his head was within centimeters of the ceiling. He turned around, all three hundred kilos of him, and looked down at his new Master, who was suddenly and noticeably leaning backward.
“Master Shtent?” the Padawan’s voice boomed. “Poruus Ghent, at your service.” The Whiphid bent his head low, but didn’t quite manage to meet the level of his Master’s own shocked face.
The Twi’lek held back a widening smile, then leaned close to the Coruscanti to whisper, “Please make sure to send me a holoinvite when you do your first sparring, hmm?”
- - - - - - -
• Biology •
• Culture and Society •
• The Whiphid Healing Trance •
• Fighting and Combat •
• Known Members •
• What the Future Holds •
For many centuries, the arctic planet of Toola, in the section of the galaxy known as The Slice, exported one rather innocuous resource: ice. The rest of the planet was too barren to support mining operations, and the indigenous hunters refused to allow any permanent settlements on the few areas open to off-worlders. But recently, the native hunters have begun to seek their fortune farther from home, and have discovered worlds where their unique skills have made them quite a valuable commodity.
They are the Whiphids, a race of immense, powerfully strong hunters inured to the hardships of a hellishly cold climate, who now turn their gaze to the stars.
• Biology •
At first glance, Whiphids appear to be some bizarre genetic mutation gone horribly wrong: with tusks thicker than a Dug’s legs, bodies more massive than a Wookiee’s, and sporting more hair than a dozen Ewoks, Whiphids can present a terrifying first impression. Averaging 2.5 meters tall and weighing up to a staggering 400 kilos, they are indeed physically imposing. The image of horrifying terror is capped off with dangerous claws in their three-fingered hands as well as their toes, and a pair of eyes set up high over dominating cheekbones like vultures surveying the land from looming cliff-tops.
What most sentients usually notice about them first, after their massive size, is their incredible hairiness. Their hair has proven to be an excellent insulator, as is their think layer of fat, both of which decrease as the short warmer season approaches. Off-world Whiphids have been known to lose so much of their hair that they almost appear to have gotten it cut, though such a mechanical attack on their bodies is abhorrent to all true Whiphids.
However, unlike other predatorial races blessed with great strength (such as Gamorreans and Abyssin), Whiphids are inherently cunning and smart, and use their natural tracking and survival skills to prosper in their ice-covered environment where few species could survive a single day. They display a surprising curiosity towards space-faring races where many hunting species shun any new technology. Those Whiphids still on their native world employ a relatively sophisticated language of around 6,000 words (which can be combined into many more compound-word meanings). Their intellect shows in the rate at which off-world Whiphids incorporate new words into their vocabulary as they make contact with hundreds of off-world sentients.
Stealthy, perceptive and cunning: the trifecta for good combat troops and mercenaries alike. But their tight-knit, interdependent social structure has taught them one other valuable skill: the ability to lead. Many Whiphids have found positions of influence outside of their home world, from military commanders to criminal masterminds, anywhere a clever mind and a powerful right hook can serve a sentient well.
There is little known about the species’ overall sensitivity to the Force, but there have been a handful of known Force users. Some have been accepted into the Jedi ranks, while others are feared to have fallen to the Dark Side. No doubt, as they spread across the galaxy, their racial genome will be swept up into the still-raging Derra Disease, which has the potential to pull millions more sentients into the Whiphid ranks.
• Culture and Society •
Whiphids have evolved to become one the most feared predator species in the galaxy. But such a weapon can’t be forged in warm sunshine and peaceful climes. The Whiphid home world, Toola, is a furnace of frigid temperatures and few edible resources, causing those who live there to develop vital skills in hunting, tracking and wilderness survival. Despite the ruggedness of their world, many Whiphids often survive well into their 250th year.
Whiphids live together in self-supporting tribes of from three to twenty mated pairs, situated (where possible) close by hot springs. They hunt across the icy terrain during the winter season, following local beasts like the caraboose and motmots, and living in tents made from animal hides and the bones from larger prey. In the warmer months, they gathered at traditional locales where sturdier buildings of stone and earth were used.
Tribal organization is based not just on brute strength, but also on the leadership skills needed to conclude a successful hunt. Therefore, each tribe elects an elder called The Spearhunter, who wins their position through years of proving themselves cool under stress, and creative in desperate situations. The Spearhunter chooses the best sites for setting their camps, as well as deciding which prey to hunt. Spearhunters are most likely to rise to positions of leadership and influence when off-planet, aided in no small part by their size and strength.
• The Whiphid Healing Trance •
Some Whiphids have also been known to display a unique healing ability sometimes called a “healing trance.” A Whiphid faced with fatal wounds would assume a comatose-like state, and after a short time (from as brief as a few minutes, to as long as a day to more), the Whiphid would emerge with their wounds healed by some internal process not well understood by outsiders.
This rare healing ability has been mislabeled by those unfamiliar with the race as a “hibernation healing.” While the Whiphid’s body functions do slow down to the point where they appear comatose (and have even been left behind by comrades who thought they had died), there is no doubt that rather than hibernating, their internal organs are actually working rapidly to repair themselves in an as-yet not fully understood method. Tissue is regrown, fluids reconstituted, and gaping wounds closed. Even broken bones, which would often require multiple weeks of bacta treatment, are often knitted together in the relative blink of an eye. Only the Abyssin self-regenerating physiology comes close to what the Whiphid constitution can accomplish.
Such amazing capabilities explains why many Whiphids reportedly live to such an extended age.
• Fighting and Combat •
Though many Whiphids display a caring and nurturing side, welcoming as many as twenty mated pairs and their offspring into their extended family, the Whiphid race appears destined to be perceived (for the near future at least) as one of the preeminent combat species. But despite their predatory nature, they exhibit an oddly thoughtful approach to combat.
Compared to Gamorrean and Abyssin warriors (two of the species most often hired for mercenary work), Whiphids are calm and calculating when preparing for battle, and as a rule do not rush headlong into combat. They know their weapons well, knowing that the difference between death and survival As a result, they are found more often in bounty hunter roles, alongside species more known for using brains over brawn, such as Duros, Rodian, Kyuzo and Weequay.
The ability to successfully conclude a hunt -- upon which an entire tribe’s survival might depend -- has caused the entire species to evolve a surprisingly cunning and at times creative mind within their massive Whiphid frame. Combined with their above-average perception (which they apply both to seeing over long distances as well as studying their immediate surroundings), they are rarely surprised on the battlefield. “Like setting an ambush for a Whiphid”
is a common phrase used to describe a foolish, bound-to-fail action.
Despite their normally cautious and crafty nature, Whiphids are also know for a tendency to launch, on occasion, into a furious combat frenzy, surpassing even a Wookiee’s rage in intensity. These rare moments of uncontrollable violence have caused some of them to turn their back on more passive roles, such as Jedi counselor. Interestingly enough, there have also been reports of some Whiphids being so dispirited at the deaths of their comrades that they have withdrawn completely from all combat roles. Such reactions are considered rare, and those individuals most often return to their previous ways before too long.
As one Whiphid Jedi famously said, “Evil must be opposed.”
• Known Members (Last Updated: Y15, D110) •
As the Whiphids are still relatively unknown in the galaxy, their actual numbers are still somewhat hard to pin down. Rumors have surfaced that many governments have allowed one or two into positions of authority. No officials, however, would go on record for this report.
When more Whiphid members reveal themselves in their official positions, or when we are able to establish their location and position by other means with full certainty, we will amend this list with their name and rank.
• What the Future Holds •
No doubt when the Whiphid DNA becomes incorporated with the Derra Disease, we will see many more political leaders, generals, and even a few Moffs and Vigos who have grown a full meter and have added more hair than the floor of an Imperial induction center barber shop. Such an infusion of strength into already codified relationships will no doubt be upsetting: when that scrawny Lieutenant you used to pick on during every weekly fleet briefing quadruples in size and grows talons longer than your nose, relationships will enter a state of flux, to say the least.
One word of caution: the true, original Whiphids have spent their entire, and somewhat lengthy, lives growing up in the crucible of the fury that is the almost perpetual Toola winter, as well as the cradle-to-grave support of their large extended families. Such an environment has taught them more than perception and cunning: it has taught them patience, as well as tolerance. Those affected by the virus powering the Derra Disease will not have benefited from such training, nor will they have had the experience of such loving support. These “rogue” Whiphids will not have anywhere near the level of self-control and perception. In short, their newfound size and strength will more often than not be misused.
Perhaps the “original” Whiphids will be able to help train these “new” Whiphids the value of forbearance and forgiveness. A Whiphid without these will be as dangerous to the galaxy as a hungry Rancor with a toothache -- and just as hard to reason with.
- - - - - - -The Twi'lek hurried down the hall, then broke into an apology as soon as he opened the double doors that led to the training hall. "I'm so very sorry I'm late, Master Stemp. I was unavoidably --"
Master Shtemps was still on his knees, breathing heavily, his Whiphid Padawan towering over him. The Jedi Master's robe was turn in about a hundred places. His skin showed as many bruises as they did bloody gashes.
The Twi'leky was stunned. “Master? Weren’t you supposed to be using your lightsabers on the training settings?”
“We were,” the Coruscanti gasped, still trying to recover his breath.
“Then how did you suffer so much damage from his ‘saber?” the Twi’lek asked.
Master Shtempt grimaced. “Those aren’t from his ‘saber. They’re from his tusks.” He rubbed his calf muscle. “And his claws.” He wiped a wound on the back of his hand onto his leggings. “And his feet.”
Padawan Ghent cocked his head at the two Masters. “Are we through with today’s lesson, Master?” he said in his booming voice.
“Yes,” Master Shtempt answered, “yes, we most certainly are.”
The Whiphid cracked the knuckles of his left hand, causing a few Padawans in the corner of the practice hall to jump at the sound. “What will we be learning tomorrow, Master?”
The Coruscanti shook his head. “Perhaps tomorrow, Padawan,” he said, grimacing again as he got slowly to his feet, “maybe you could teach me.”
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Respectfully Presented by
Imperator Belloq Tull
Commanding Officer, Valkyrie Battlegroup, The Wraiths