The Kdatlyno are a fierce warrior race with a strict sense of honor similar in outlook to the Kzinti, who conquered them several centuries ago. At the time, Kdat was a fairly primitive world based around a ruling warrior caste, much like Medieval Japan. As they developed technology, one of their earliest actions was to set up a program designed to search the universe for intelligent life, which included several automated slow-probes and a radio beacon using the cold-hydrogen bandwidths. The kzinti, constantly on the lookout for new slaves, detected this unusual frequency and quickly subjugated the kdatlyno.
After several hundred years of slavery, the Man-Kzin Wars ripped through Kzinti space, and Kdat was one of the worlds freed as part of the armistice. As a former slave world, Kdat had very little to offer humanity, so humanity decided to offer something to Kdat: the opportunity to be self-reliant. In exchange for various mineral rights and minor concessions, Earth (and her sister colonies) would teach the kdatlyno to become an industrial world with a stable economy. They were given information on mining, farming, shipping, trade, and even the hyperdrive. This last, however, they decided they did not want. After centuries of slavery and forced labor off-world, most kdatlyno never want to leave their home.
The kdatlyno did have one commodity to offer humankind prior to their help: art. The kdatlyno have long practiced an art form unique to their species called touchsculpting. This art is derived from the kdatlyno method of sight--a sense much like a combination of radar an sonar--and is most often incomprehensible by regular sight. To humans and other races that use visible light for vision, this art form can only be understood (however vaguely) by touch--preferably by something more sensitive than hands (Puppeteers suggest the use of the tongue as an admirable substitute for radar). Such sculpture is almost unfailingly disturbing to human beings, as they are not prepared for touch (or taste) to transmit so many impressions. Fortunately, humans like to be disturbed and kdatlyno touchsculpture has found a large market on Earth and the colony worlds.
As for the kdatlyno themselves, they are a vision right out of human nightmares. Even more so than the kzinti or the bandersnatchi, humans find kdatlyno uncomfortable to look at and more uncomfortable to spend time with. In the words of galactic traveler Beowulf Shaeffer: "He [Llobee the touchsculptor] didn't look like an artist. He looked like a monster." To human eyes, kdatlyno resemble bipedal dragons; their brown hide is thick enough to turn a knife, their knees and elbows are capped wih curved horns, and their size is tremendous by human terms (kdatlyno sit on tables instead of chairs, and their knees still jut up to their chins). Worst of all, however, are their eyes: they have none. In place of where humans would have eyes and nose is a goggle-shaped region where the skin is stretched taut. This tympanum is the area where kdatlyno receive their radar/sonar signals.
Kdatlyno are very sensitive to insults; minor ones require immediate reparations, while major ones cannot be settled by anything less than blood (although artistic kdatlyno have a more subtle touch for vengeance). They are proud warriors with an ancient martial tradition and a strict code of honor. While the kzinti code dictates that the strong rule over and feed off of the weak, kdatlyno honor believes that the strong are strong so that they can better aid the weak. Kdatlyno are very family-oriented, and the first loyalty is to one's family (but the kdatlyno conception of family is vastly different than the human concept). Kdatlyno fear almost nothing, but desperately hate the kzinti and will always go out of their way to harrass and/or hurt them.
The only thing that kdatlyno truly fear is enclosed spaces. All kdatlyno are pathologically claustrophobic--with good reason. The special radar sense that they use in place of vision only works in a volume at least the size of a passenger starship; in anything smaller than 20'x20'x20' (and composed of a non-permeable material, like stone or lead), the radar sense bounces inward upon itself, driving the kdatlyno utterly mad within a few minutes.
Kdatlyno are not recommended as player characters due to this special limitation, and because in all the time since humanity has liberated them, only three have ever left Kdat (and all three were touchsculptors on tour).
Alignment: Any except Miscreant and Diabolic, but most often Scrupulous, Unprincipled, or Aberrant.
Attributes: IQ 3D6; ME 3D6; MA 3D6; PS 5D6+10; PP 3D6+6; PE 4D6+6; PB 2D4; Spd 4D6
Hit Points: PEx2, plus 2D6 per level
Natural Armor Rating: 17 against melee weapons such as swords, knives, fists, etc.; 12 against projectile weapons like arrows and bullets; none against energy weapons and ultra-tech projectiles like rail guns.
Magic: None. The kdatlyno's martial discipline left no room for something as fluid and random as magic. They don't even have legends about it.
Psionics: None. The kdatlyno nervous system and brain are structured differently than humans', making psionic powers impossible to develop.
Horror Factor: 15; kdatlyno are terrifying and ugly to humans.
Height: 9-14 feet
Weight: 500-1100 lbs.
Description: Kdatlyno look like bipedal dragons from the human point of view. They have thick, brown hide, no eyes or nose, and a slit for a mouth. Long, curving horns protrude from their elbows and knees, kept buffed and polished; sometimes tipped with silver, which is plentiful on Kdat. On their huge hands are eight retractile claws at the knuckles. Their arms are huge even in proportion to their great height, brushing their knees when they stand. Their feet are broad and flat; they have no toes, but their feet end in a thick bone-like wedge of cartilage strong enough to rend flesh.
In contrast to their hideous appearance is their love of fine art and a discerning taste. Kdatlyno have fine, quick minds and an almost eidetic memory. According to appreciators of touchsculpture, the only thing wrong with the kdatlyno asthetic sense is that they have no grasp of color. Critics say that color would only make the things worse. (Note: Fans and foes of the sculptor Lloobee got a chance to find out after the adventure which took place in the short story "Grendel.")
Enemies: The kdatlyno hate the kzinti with an undying passion. Virtually the entire species has declared a blood feud against them, and those that haven't are too young.
Allies: Humanity is liked and respected by the kdatlyno, but they are not understood. Many kdatlyno have adopted an almost human system of ethics from their association with them, but is is usually skewed in some manner.
- Radar Sense: Kdatlyno are blind in the traditional sense of the word, unable to see in the visible light spectrum. However, they emit an ultrasonic frequency from their bodies which bounces off nearby objects. This, combined with their perception of various other spectra, give them an ability roughly equivalent to radar, except that it allows them to "see" through walls as well as perceive depth, size, speed, and angle. Abilities include:
- Interpret Shapes: 96%
- Estimate Distance: 70% +5% per level.
- Estimate Direction: 70% +8% per level.
- Estimate Speed: 60% +8% per level.
- Estimate Exact Location: 56% +8% per level.
- Bonuses: +4 to initiative; +3 to strike; +2 to parry/dodge; +1 attack per melee; no penalties in darkness.
This radar sense is combined with an electromagnetic sense which allows the kdatlyno to perceive through walls, around corners, through cloth, etc. The only things impermeable to this sense are stone (at least two inches) and metal (at least four inches of any metal except lead, or half an inch of lead). Also, electromagnetic dampeners (such as those used on radio scrambler systems and the Wolfen Quatorias' psionic dampener) effectively blind the character, but do not send him into cataleptic shock.
(Note: Kdatlyno cannot sense colors, determine light levels, or see 2-D images [like paintings, print, and television] through the use of this power. Kdatlyno writing is composed of raised characters, like Braille.)
Range: 800 feet, plus 50 feet per level.
Duration: Constant and automatic.
- Perfect Memory: Kdatlyno have a perfect memory for faces, textures, and other tactile/radar-sensed phenomena. This means that they always remember a face, the shape of a maze, directions in a cave system, and other similar things. This gives them a bonus of +15% to any tactile skill they take (including sculpture, whittling, pick locks, etc.).
- Vulnerabilities: Kdatlyno all have the insanity of Claustrophobia. Their fear of enclosed spaces is such that they will kill to avoid being placed in any area smaller than twenty feet, cubed (20x20x20 feet, or 8000 cubic feet). This is justified, as any space smaller than that will quickly drive a kdatlyno insane beyond any ability to help. For each melee round spent in an enclosed space, the kdatlyno must make two saves versus insanity. The first save is made at no penalty, but each subsequent save is subject to a cumulative penalty of -1 (ex: the first save has no penalties; the second is at -1; the third is at -2; the fourth is at -3; and so on). If any save is failed, the character is rendered completely and utterly insane, permanently (either nonreactive, motionless catatonia or screaming, bloodthirsty rage).
While kdatlyno can breathe Earth air with no difficulty (although an atmosphere with as much nitrogen as ours smells bad), they cannot eat Earth food--all of it is completely poisonous to them. This means that a kdatlyno leaving Kdat must bring along a supply of food to last their entire stay away from home (and most bring extra, just in case). This is not as bad as it seems, since kdatlyno can easily go for an Earth week without eating with no discomfort, and food concentrates allow a supply lasting over two months to weigh less than four ounces. Earth water tastes terrible, but can be imbibed unfiltered.
Kdatlyno follow a strict code of honor: Any insult must be avenged; any slight must be paid back in kind. Family comes before all; my family gave me life so that I might protect their lives and honor. Protect those you have sworn to protect, even at the cost of you own life; death before dishonor. Do what is good and just, whatever the cost; death before injustice.
- RCC Bonuses (including radar bonuses from above): +4 to initiative; +3 to strike; +2 to parry/dodge; +1 attack per melee; +2 to perception rolls not requiring the identification of color; +3 to save vs. poison; +4 to save vs. psionics; -1 to save vs. magic; +20% to save vs. coma/death; +15% to tactile skills.
Combat: Equivalent to Hand to Hand: Martial Arts, plus physical skill bonuses; +1 attack
- Punch: 2D4 +PS bonus
- Kick: 3D6 +PS bonus
- Claw Punch: 3D4 + PS bonus
- Knee: 3D4 +PS bonus
- Elbow: 3D6 +PS bonus
OCCs: Any non-magic, non-psionic OCC that does not require bionic implants can be chosen by a kdatlyno. Most fall under either the Headhunter or the Vagabond (with lots of emphasis on art skills)
Skills of Note: Hand to Hand: Martial Arts; Art: Touchsculpting (at an amateur level; must be chosen again for professional quality); Language/Literacy: Kdatlyno (which no other race can speak, because it uses ultrasonic sounds and electromagnetic forces); Language: Interworld (+15%; understand only, but can use translators).
Cybernetics: None ever. Kdatlyno are spooked by the things. If a replacement part is needed, the technology they received from humanity is usually enough to grow a new one.
Equipment: as per OCC
Money: as per OCC
XP: as per OCC