Tycho are refugees on any world. As descendents of those who fled the threat of extinction on their ancestral homeworld in the Plane of Shadow, they are attempting to make a place for themselves while always remembering where their history lies. They are consummate researchers; their society is controlled by technocrats whose primary goal is rescuing those tycho who might remain on the Plane of Shadow. One thing that can’t escape notice is their shadow arms; an extra pair of arms beneath their normal arms that are an obvious tie to where they came from. The second thing is their height; on his best day a tychan is no taller than a halfling. The last is their glow. The skin of the tycho is covered in unique patterns that can glow in many different colors and variations.
To those used to the flora and fauna native to Theia, tycho can appear disconcerting. The bodies that once incorporated shadowstuff are impossibly thin, with skin tight on pelvises and rib cages. Their legs and arms are proportionately far longer than any other race’s, each ending in three digits. They balance lightly on the tips of their toes, and their long fingers move in quick, graceful gestures. Most unusual, perhaps, is their coloration. Their skin, in most light, is an utter black, though bright daylight reveals hints of red, turquoise, or violet lying beneath, while their eyes are a milky white with no irises and mere pinpricks of pupils. Speckled along their flanks, heads, necks, arms, or collars are tiny bioluminescent patches like stars on the clearest night. These constellations are unique to each tycho, and pulse along with their heart. In the past, on the Plane of Shadow, tychos’ bioluminescence was bright enough to provide illumination, but after their mutation in the Cataclysm of Shattered Iron it dimmed. Now it is merely a hint to their emotion, like a human’s embarrassed blushing or tiny twitches of a smile, or, for the elites of the technocracy, the epitomes warped by the planar energies they research, a means of rapid communication. In addition to their spindly physical limbs, tycho have two limbs made of shadowstuff attached just below their ribcage. These waver like shadows cast by a candle flickering in the wind and are barely substantial. To most tycho, losing access to their shadow arms is as inconceivable as a human losing their thumbs, but the epitomes somehow do without. Exposure to the planar energies linking Theia to their home plane return them to their ancestral state, more individually powerful but also lacking these limbs. Tycho have a nervous system that is unlike other races of Theia. While they have a primary brain in their head, nerve bundles in each physical limb, their heart, and their liver coordinate autonomous responses and rapid movement. These dedicated systems allow them to react much faster than other species, and the ability to conscript their secondary brains to enhance conscious thought gives them a considerable advantage in intellect.
Genetics and Reproduction
Reproduction, for tycho, is not so much a matter of romance as it is access. Tycho spawn in communal pools, where their genes mix almost at random. Various groups of tycho maintain their own pools. Some are egalitarian, open to all, while others are more exclusive, offering elites the opportunity to mate only with their own. Some few pair-bonded tycho will create a small pool in their home for them alone, but most tycho regard this as deviant behavior, an inappropriate adoption of foreign practices.
Growth Rate & Stages
From a freshly seeded spawning pool, the resulting jelly-like eggs fall to the bottom until they hatch into aquatic larvae that will, after a decade of growth, leave the water and join their community a child tycho. Children tycho are half the size of their adult forms and will grow to the adult form within a single year.
Ecology and Habitats
Tycho thrive in high moisture environments but do no more than appear to "dry up" in moisture poor environments. Most tychan dormitories have bowls of water, a thicker water-like sludge, and frozen water globules readily available along with tools and implements to apply them to the skin.
Most of their lives, the tycho are not impacted by the passing of time. However, when the Plane of Shadow is coterminous with the material plane, they begin feeling a sense of fear or dread nearly fully as a species. In addition, while the Plane of Shadow is coterminous and a portal is opened to it, any tycho within 100 miles senses a tug in the direction of the portal.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
Tycho prefer to live in moist regions or settlements in which water is readily available. Most tycho on Theia live in Respite and Restoration. Nearly 20% of their population works in foreign civilizations, and 10% at any given time are out in Barshiin conducting field research.
Tycho are arguably the most intelligent of the civilized sentient species of Barshiin.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Tycho can analyze information exceptionally well, this include knowledge about their environment.
Civilization and Culture
Tycho commonly have two names and a title associated with them. Tychan primary names are granted to them by their favorite parent. As the community raises newly hatched tycho as a group, this can take some time to occur. Tychan secondary names are self designed and are frequently in their native tongue to honor their ancestors. Their titles are directly associated with their most valuable research discovery, contribution to the technocracy, or feat that directly benefited their local group.
Tycho tend not to care about gender or acknowledge it as a factor except when attempting to be considerate of the feelings of other species.
Every class, study group, research opportunity, or shared project is a chance for a tycho to court. Courting among tycho is less emotional as it is practical. As they don't consider gender and mating as a topic in their relationships, tychan relationships can be of multiple partners, different genders, and even different species.
Tycho relationships are a joining of minds for mutually beneficial access to information. They will live together to be surrounded by the information they seek. These relationships tend to last a significantly long time as they do not leave a set up relationship until the group as a whole agrees that a given member can leave. Out of respect for the intellectual needs of the others, the member who wishes to leave the relationships nearly always respects the wishes of the group.
Average Technological Level
Major Language Groups and Dialects
Tycho speak the language of the region they are in. Before their migration, tycho had many different languages. However, the majority of the tycho who came to the material plane were from their capitol and spoke a regional dialect. This language has evolved over time on Barshiin and is now officially called Tychan Common. Those tycho who specialize in historical events commonly speak Ancient Tychan in an attempt to keep their ancestral language alive.
Common Dress Code
Tycho dress in as few clothes as possible. They are not bashful about nudity and find clothing to remove their ability to communicate as clearly with their kind. The covered luminescent patterns on their bodies loses some of the communication.
Culture and Cultural Heritage
Tycho have several rituals associated with their coming to Barshiin, their study habits, and daily life. Much of their mind is so structured most tycho have ritualized a significant portion of their life. A tycho without a morning ritual is extremely odd, and finding a tycho begin research without their hour long set up process is unheard of. Some of these rituals have been shown to provide actual benefit to the process involved and have been spread enough to become a commonality among their kind.
Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals
The Cataclysm of Shattered Iron was a sudden and unpredicted apocalypse in Theia, but in another world it was a glacier, its movement obvious and inevitable. On the Plane of Shadow, the ancestors of the tycho were facing crisis. The details are now lost in the shadows of over two millennia, but what is certain is that their fertility was plummeting, and the lack of new citizens was threatening to topple their burgeoning empire. Two organizations stepped forward to study and resolve this problem. The tychan priests found their divinations into the future of the Plane of Shadow blocked and their gods unresponsive. The scientists and arcanists, on the other hand, discovered that their physiology was changing, slowly becoming intolerant to the very shadowstuff they lived upon. Some blamed natural changes, others perverse scheming by the pursuing enemy, and others remained agnostic to the cause. The only solution the technocrats saw was to take advantage of the upcoming phase when the Plane of Shadow would be coterminous with the material plane, to migrate to that world of light via a portal called the Pool of Midnight. This proposal was not received warmly. Aside from those loathe to leave their homes for a strange world, the priests found that their divinations, though blocked when directed at the Plane of Shadow’s future, revealed that Theia was about to undergo one of its periodic cataclysms. While those who clearly saw the threat of demographic collapse argued strenuously that the risk of the cataclysm was far less than that of remaining, most of the population chose to dismiss the warnings as alarmism. The Emperor forbade further research into transplanar migration. A few researchers ignored the dictum. Working in secret over centuries they built their portal and then waited for it to open. It did, and the researchers, their families, and a scarce two thousand believers stepped through it onto strange soil. Their leader, Hlapraska, activated a device anchoring them to their new home, and they became, truly and irrevocably, Theians. Finding themselves in an uninhabited region of Barshiin, the tycho refugees immediately set about the grim business of survival. They planted gloomberry trees and rows of blackbutter leaf, dug irrigation trenches, and filled spawning pools with more broods than any of them could have expected. Their children were laying their first clutch when the Cataclysm swept over Theia. They changed then, the remnants of shadowstuff in their bodies migrating and forming an extra pair of arms, and developed the ability to reach into a tiny demiplane in their homeland. In the centuries that followed, they established themselves among the great civilizations of Theia. They built the metropolis Respite and then Restoration above it. They began trade and information exchange. And, most importantly, they continued research, this time to rescue any tycho who might remain stranded on the Plane of Shadow.
Common Myths and Legends
Interspecies Relations and Assumptions