Rattataki

A collaboration between BlueTyger and Shimantha

  The Rattataki are a relatively new discovery, and only limited numbers are found outside of their native home. Rattatak, their homeplanet, is located in a barely explored region at the southwestern edge of Wild Space. There they fight for the planet’s limited resources with two other species – the near-related Vollick and the craniopodal Siniteen.   The planet was only known by some spacers and mercenaries, who sometimes used it as a hideout, until Darth Vich discovered the planet during the early stages of the Great Galactic War. Hundreds of Rattataki were taken from their tribes and reorganized into his personal army. After his failed vie for power, his army was disbanded and most were either executed or enslaved by the Sith Empire. During the post-war unrest, rumors spread that many Darth Vich’s force-sensitive rattataki had betrayed him in exchange for being taken in by the Sith for full training.   Today, Rattatak has become near-forgotten again, separating the descendants of Vich’s army from those still living on their native planet.  

Disposition

The climate of Rattatak has borne a strong influence on the disposition of its people, and by many the Rattataki are seen as brutal and uncivilized savages. True enough, many of them are used to hard competition and fighting for survival which has set its mark on their behavior and culture at large.   The typical Rattataki is rough, tough and persevering. Their strong wills, high endurance and tendency toward solving difficult situations with violence is their perhaps best-known traits. Paired with an inclination toward developing strong group identity makes them easily develop a “them and they” view of the world around them. Those outside their immediate community is then at best viewed with bias, and at worst with flat out hostility. They only respect fierceness, strength and tenacity in their enemies, and are known to seldom show pity or mercy.   Within their immediate community, a Rattataki still often exert a great deal of roughness in attitude, although this should not be confused with a lacking ability to show compassion or love toward their own. Their harsh living conditions contribute to a more earthbound and prosaic way of being.

Basic Information

Anatomy & Morphology

It has been established that the Rattataki and the Vollick are both near-humans and likely related. For this reason, many scientists believe the Rattataki and Vollick may originate from the human sleeper ships that got lost thousands of years prior.   The Rattataki have a humanoid body, not unlike the human. Their appearance still reflects their origins as deep cavern-dwellers, with their pale skin and eyes and lack of body hair. Their sensitive skin cannot endure long exposure to the sun and sunburn will leave dark, purplish blotches that can develop into bad scarring if not tended to. For this reason, they often remain most active during dusk and dawn. Instead of body hair, the Rattataki have developed a layer of fat right beneath the skin that helps to stop bleeding faster and also protects them during the cooler hours of the night.   They tend toward less diversity in body types compared to human, often having with slender statures and wiry musculature. Men tend to stand around 170cm in height and weigh about 70 kilos on average, with the women slightly shorter and sturdier. A part of their weight is due to their much tougher bone structure that make them hardier than humans.

Biological Cycle

As life is harsh on Rattatak, children have to grow up and become a contributing member of a tribe early on. At the beginning of their eight years, a child is expected to be grown up enough to start following adults around on lighter chores and will receive their first set of tattoos that marks out their belonging to a particular tribe and family.   They are considered adults at the age of 13, where they will go through a rite of passage and receive the rest of their cranial tattoos. These often further elaborate on their tribe identity and place in society. At the age of 40 and beyond they are considered middle-aged, and while they have a lifespan around 70 years though few live to see old age.

Additional Information

Social Structure

The Rattataki organize themselves in tribes, that can house between ten to one-hundred individuals. Usually a tribe stays stationary within their staked-out piece of land, where they build themselves shelters to hide and sleep under during the sunniest and warmest hours of the day.   It’s often easy to see how well a tribe does on their location, the design of their shelters and the number of individuals they hold. Larger tribes can often hold a water source as their own near the foot of a mountain and usually build longhouses out of rock and limestone. Shamans of larger tribes often have their own dwelling, out of respect and necessity both. Larger tribes additionally can often afford building protective walls around their village, making it easier to defend.   In contrast, small tribes tend to live farther out on the steppes and may only have access to rocks, bones and animal hides to build their necessary shelters. They also have to spend much more time searching for food and water, making it near impossible to put aside working hours to tend to defense.   Within the tribe, an individual’s worth is often based on a mix of their prowess, experience and their profession.  

Chieftain

The chieftain is seen as the official leader of a clan and is near always a man. His foremost role is directing his tribe toward growth and prosperity, and to lead during defense and attacks against other tribes.   The position isn’t hereditary, and instead is determined through combat in the gladiator pits where a prospect challenges the current chieftain for his position. Should a chieftain die of natural causes or in battle, the shaman will choose up to four warriors he finds best suited for the position, and sets them to fight for the title in the pits. Last man standing becomes the new chieftain.  

Shaman

The religious leader of a tribe, often with the same or even more power than the chieftain. They’re revered, awed and feared by their peers.  

Inkmaster

The third most revered position in a tribe is the inkmaster, the man or woman who is responsible for conducting the tattooing of any member inside a tribe. These are usually either a former shaman, or an acolyte that never got the position as a shaman. Most commonly they attend the various rituals performed by the shamans, and helps in ‘sealing’ the rite’s words in a tattoo to make it permanent.  

Carver

Another prestigious position in a tribe is the carver, a man or woman who has mastered the art of carving bone – and rarely, wood. Like the inkmaster, these are usually either a former shaman or an acolyte that never got that position. Their foremost work is decorating the items used by a shaman or the chieftain, and also to ‘seal’ the blessings made by shamans into weapons or tools, to make them permanent.  

Warrior

An important caste within the tribe is its warriors, and the vast majority of them are men. The warriors are charged with patrolling the tribe’s borders, seeing to its defense against insurgents, and to war against neighboring tribes at their chieftain’s or shaman’s demand. For this reason, the warriors usually have the highest mortality rate and few live past the age of forty.  

Hunter

Another caste dominated by men is the hunters, whose main concern is providing their tribe with enough food to survive. These individuals tend to travel in pairs and are usually away for an entire night, returning with their findings in the early morning hours.  

Gatherer

Mostly reserved to women, young adults and elders, is the work of the gatherer. These individuals usually do most chores closer to home, such as preparing prey brought by hunters, making weapons and tools, taking care of children and collecting water and material needed.   An especially sought-after profession among young adults is the role of dew collector. They are sent out together with a guard in the early morrows in order to collect moist.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

On Rattatak, the Rattataki are the most numerous and spread out of the three native species. They consider the foot of mountains the most desirable regions to live in, while the steppes are left for the smaller and weaker tribes to struggle for survival in. The deserts and flats are considered inhospitable.   Rattataki are fiercely territorial and guard their resources jealously from other tribes – be they of their own species or others. Outlanders that sometime visit the planet are regarded with superstitious fear, and if not cautious tend to end up dead one way or another.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Due to their adaption, first as cave-dwellers and later as nocturnal hunters, the Rattataki has excellent eyesight even in poor light conditions. This makes their eyes look very reflective and appear a shining silver. Instead, they have worse sight than the average human in normal lighting conditions. When seen under normal light, the Rattataki’s irises often go in different grey hues, from stormy grey to silver to near icy-blue.   In addition to their good low-light vision, the Rattataki’s auditory senses are heightened and they have been measured to have up to twice as good hearing as the average human. Particularly noisy environments can nullify this as they tend to have a greater difficulty in subconsciously filter out white sound.

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

In relation to their language, names tend to be short – usually only two syllables long – and are given to children at birth by their parents. Common names hold relations to their immediate environment, and sometimes the name can reflect the parent’s hope for the child’s future.

Average Technological Level

Rattatak is still primitive at large, with stone, chewed leather and bone being the primary material used for building and for weaponry. Wood is very rare and thus highly prices – among the Rattataki usually reserved for ceremonial items used by their shamans.  

Weapons
Most common weapons are stone daggers, clubs made from large femurs, axes made from bone and stone, bone spears and slings made from animal hides.  
Armor
Armor is very rare, as the only real material that can be used is either the bones or hides of animals. Only larger tribes can usually afford creating protective armor for their warriors, as most of the materials are needed for normal clothes, tools or weapons.  
Outside Influence
There have been cases where off-world items, weapons and material has been scavenged from spacers temporarily using the planet as a hiding place, but most of the time the Siniteen tend to get to these precious sources faster.   The tribes that do get their hands on such resources usually end up the most dominant in the region. Rattataki seldom have neither patience nor enough understanding of higher technology to implement it in other means than what seems most practically applicable: as tools, decoration, armor or weapons.

Major Language Groups and Dialects

Rattataki keep their own language, simply called Rattataki just like the species. It’s a language with a relatively small vocabulary and the words tend to be harsh and around two or three syllables long. This makes for sharp and guttural sounds, where context is sometimes determined by the usage of one of two distinct pitch patterns rather than word choice.   Written language exists, but only shamans and their acolytes tend to learn it. The alphabet is made out of angularly cut runes, and are mostly found carved into bone or stone, or tattooed on flesh.

Culture and Cultural Heritage

The Rattataki are on many grounds an earthbound people, where the day to day survival and their worship to the Unifier remains their primary concerns. They tend to gloss over and downright remain uncaring of matters that don’t directly concern them.  

TATTOOS

An integral part of Rattataki culture and identity is the usage of carefully crafted inks etched on the skin. These are made of thick, curving lines that may sometimes be formed to intricate patterns or made to depict animals, real or mythic. It’s also common to have runes tattooed as each rune (in addition of their function as an alphabetic letter) is thought to hold magical power.   Each tribe has their own unique cranial tattoo that makes it easy to determine the heritage of any one Rattataki. All young adults will receive the base of their tribal tattoo at the age of eight, and once they finish their rite of passage at the age of thirteen they’ll have the rest of it filled out.   Most Rattataki will get more tattoos in addition to the tribal one as they grow in age. As they require the aid of the inkmaster to get them, they usually will have to have a shaman’s approval before putting more ink on their skin. For this reason, most tattoos have some sort of symbolics or meaning behind them – be they expressions of important events that has transpired, marks of milestones reached, or blessing received from the shaman. Its common that men primarily tattoo the left side of their body, while women lean toward tattooing their right side.  

PIERCINGS

It the last few centuries it became common for rattataki men and women to wear piercings as decorations. Bone was the most readily used material and would be used in piercings of the lip, ears or nose. Piercing the tongue was uncommon but not unheard of. They were most often used as a cheaper means of accentuating a tattoo to mark an important event in the rattataki’s life.   In larger settlements, and the stone city, shiny metal pieces scavenged from outlanders or the siniteen would sometimes be used by higher ranking rattataki in place of bone. In these areas they would also sometimes do more daring decorations such as piercing cheeks, chins and the skull, if skill and better tools allowed for it.   Some clans began using piercings as a part of their tribe’s tattoo.  

THE FIGHTING PITS

Every tribe has a designated area, usually a dug cavity in the ground at the center of their dwelling, that serves as a fighting pit. All disputes between tribe members are settled in hand to hand combat – where the shaman or chieftain determine the winning condition: for minor offences its usually until first blood drawn, while major offences can be to the death.   Warriors and hunters, regardless of age, are often found training in the pits or even fighting each other for sport – although the latter tend to only be an occurrence in larger tribes where survival isn’t as harsh. It’s also very common to test the capabilities of youngsters, both men and women, by pitting them against caught live prey or each other.  

Religion

The Rattataki worship a single deity called the Unifier, an entity that sees, knows and unifies everything in the universe. Their deity is considered the highest existence, and to be far transcendent to humanity – Their deity is beyond constraint such as age, alignment, gender and other labels mortal men and women wear.   Every Rattataki is expected to revere the Unifier, and heed the words of the shamans who are considered the interpreters of the Unifier’s will. They are considered the only ones that can read the signs that the Unifier sends them and always hold considerable power and respect in any tribe. Force-sensitive rattataki almost always end up as shamans, though this is not a prerequisite for the position as a religious leader.   Shamans, in addition as interpreters of the Unifier, often also sit in a position as a tribe’s healer or medicine man/woman.

Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals

Rituals were an integral part of Rattataki culture and religion, and always the responsibility of a tribe’s shaman to conduct. While a great deal of them were universal and practiced by all shamans, it wasn’t uncommon for different tribes to keep a few unique ones, or faint variations of traditional ones, that were then passed onto the next shaman in line within the tribe only.

The First Hunt

A rite of passage all youths will have to pass once they reach the age of thirteen.  

Joining of Souls

Two souls entwined by the Unifier are recognized by the clan's shaman and confessed before the whole tribe.  

Return to the Unifier

Tribe members that have died, or been expelled, will all receive a special ceremony where the tribe’s shaman helps their spirit to return to the Unifier.  

Blood Siphoning

A ritual the shaman and his acolytes may perform in order to get closer to the Unifier.

History

The Rattataki are believed to be descendants from human sleeper ships that crashed on the planet, over 27,000 years ago. Although this is only speculative but the most commonly believed theory seeing the species’ status as a near-human.   It’s a known fact even among the Rattataki themselves that they first lived in caves – to shelter themselves from predators and the harsh climate. But as their population grew, food grew scarcer within the vast cavern systems, and infighting between community groups for resources became a serious problem. A shaman by the name of Rattatak managed to unite most of the tribes and led them to war against the gods and the storms of the surface to stake a claim for his people there. In honor of him, the first settlement raised was named after him and they started to call themselves rattataki – the people of Rattatak.   The handful of groups that decided to stay were regarded with contempt by those that left, and started getting called the “Vollick” – the time these two groups lived apart was enough to create such evolutionary divergence that they could be considered separate species with a common root.   It wasn’t until the early stages of the Great Galactic War however, around 28 BTC, that the Rattataki became known to the greater galaxy and it was also during this time that the entire planet received its current naming of Rattatak. This was during Darth Vich’s vie for power, where he discovered the planet and got fascinated by its savage people – and then took hundreds of tribes off the planet to train and transform them into his personal army. After his death, most of his forces were either executed or enslaved, and the planet Rattatak was forgotten again. Rattataki still encountered in the galaxy today are mainly descendants of Darth Vich’s forces.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Most Rattataki encountered outside of their homeplanet were part of Darth Vich’s army, or are direct descendants from those that were. The odd one may leave with outlanders, but this is a rare occurrence.   For this reason, in modern age, Rattataki are mostly seen as hard-working slave labor or fighters in gladiatorial games. Their force-sensitive is taken from their parents and thrown into Sith training, but are seldom expected to become anything but cannon fodder in the ongoing war. The only Rattataki known to have ascertained considerable power and respect in the Sith Empire as Sith Lords is Shimantha Xanadu and Ricoh Qoches.   Where populations of Rattataki do occur, they naturally tend to group together and keep apart from other species. And while likely able to procreate with humans or near-humans, it’s unheard of so far. They see purity of blood as very important, and half-bloods only serves to weaken a species and dilute its identity.

Biological Information

  Scientific Name:
Designation: Sophont
Type: Animal
Classification: Mammal
Ancestor: Human  

Physiological Information

  Expected Lifespan: 50 years
Biochemistry: Carbon
Respiration: Air
Diet: Omnivorous
Locomotion: Walking
Average Height: 170cm / 5"6'
Average Weight: 70kg / 154lb  

Sociocultural Information

  Numerus: One Rattataki, Many Rattataki
Languages: Rattataki
Religion: The Unifier
Ethnicities: The Grey, Fel Rattataki
Homeworld: Rattatak
Known Colonies: Nar Shaddaa, Dromund Fels
Prominent Members: Airayu, Ricoh Qoches, Yxakkar Qoches

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