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The Onivero are an ancient species, one of the native inhabitants of Jaern from before its long journey across the stars. They are credited with ensuring the planet's survival upon entry to the Onra system, using their powerful psionic abilities. Though many Onivero did not survive the trip, a few still live on Jaern to this day.
A recommended racial block for playable Onivero can be found here. You do not have to use this block; other fitting combinations of racial traits can be used to achieve the same effect, as well as rate 50 allowances and/or magic items.
Overview & Biology
Onivero are a semi-aquatic mammalian species. Their bodies are covered with short fur, which is waterproof much like an otter's. They can come in colors from brown and black, to ginger and white, to even shades such as light blue and pink. Often, Onivero coats are patterned, with stripes or splotches or spots. People have compared the range of patterns to those of cats. Their “hair” is a gelatinous mass that can be shaped at will, with trailing tentacles many have compared to jellyfish. Similar gelatinous, translucent sections can be found on their bodies, with every individual having different translucent spots. Onivero have large eyes and slightly pointed ears, and most other races consider them exceedingly cute - some Onivero enjoy being seen this way and play into the cuteness, and others find it intensely offensive.
They have three fingers and a thumb on each hand (which resemble paws) and both their hands and feet are webbed. Onivero have tails, which are flat and serve to assist swimming. Despite not truly being able to breathe underwater like their lizardfolk neighbors, they can close their nostrils, use a set of weak gills, and swim underwater for 3-6 hours before needing to resurface. Additionally, they have one or two pairs of horn-like protrusions from their foreheads, which are thought to be organs that assist in projecting psionic power. They range from 4-5 feet tall as adults, and live about 150 years, maturing at about age 20.
Onivero have vocal cords, but prefer not to speak verbal language - although speaking out loud is a rite of passage, doing so with other Onivero can be seen as exceedingly casual or even rude. Around non-Onivero, they are more likely to speak out loud, but most prefer to simply maintain mental communication.
The bulk of Onivero communication is telepathic, and one will have to get used to a little voice in their head when traveling with one. While all Onivero are taught to speak telepathically, and all have the potential for psionics, this potential is not always realized, same as other mortal psions. Mastery of their innate cognitive abilities requires study and hard work. Community leaders are usually knowledgeable psions.
Onivero maintain a semi-hivemind within their communities, with each community member being connected to the others on a basic level; able to understand the emotions, basic thoughts, and goals of others. They maintain individuality, but this psychic connection has led to communities seeking the same goals and functioning so cohesively that scholars have long thought Onivero lived in true hiveminds. Only recently has this misconception been corrected.
The Onivero are “trioecious”; meaning they have three distinct biological sexes. These are referred to as Anvero, Pevero, and Tivero: respectively, they resemble what others understand as male, female, and intersex - having the traits of both. Individuals can change between these sexes at will with a simple psionic ritual - this is usually done for personal fulfillment or for the sake of the community. There are no gender roles associated with these sexes in Onivero culture, though some that travel outside of their communities and intermingle with other cultures may adopt a more conventional gender identity for the sake of convenience (or because they like the notion).
As mammals, Onivero experience live birth, with only one being born at a time. Twins and triplets are extremely rare, and considered omens of great change when they are born. Baby Onivero are small and larval in form, looking almost exactly like mundane jellyfish save for the pair of hornlike protrusions coming from their tops. As they grow, more of their mammalian form becomes apparent. Onivero are considered to be full adults when they are able to speak out loud, as the vocal cords are the last parts of their bodies to develop.
Most Onivero live far away from major population centers, and are cautious of other species. However, in more recent times, they have begun to veer closer to Jaernian cities, with some even making landfall and traveling from town to town hawking wares and offering psionic services. It is unknown what cultural shift caused this change. Caution is still prevalent - Onivero have a reputation for being flighty and nervous, especially when around crowds of non-Onivero. However, they also have a reputation for being incredibly empathetic and kind; perhaps because they can sense and understand the raw emotions others around them are feeling.
Onivero communities tend towards the smaller size, usually being around 200-500 people - though a few larger cities are thought to exist. Most are communistic, with personal property existing but each individual being expected to share with the community to ensure everyone's survival and comfort. They are rather more technologically advanced than most of Jaern, being more comparable to Cahyali in terms of technology.
When Onivero are born, they are given child names, which are usually monosyllabic and are considered diminutive. Many are common nouns, translating to natural objects such as “Wave”, “Sky”, “Kelp”, etc. After growing up and becoming full-fledged adults, they are given a new name or choose it. Most Onivero names remain one or two syllables long, with extra long names being considered pretentious and annoying.
Onivero do not have last names, as entire communities are considered to be one family. However, when multiple villages meet, a hyphenated form of a name is normally used to avoid confusion: for example, an individual named Pekpek from the Seafoam Village would be referred to as “Seafoam-Pekpek” or “Pekpek-Seafoam” during multi-clan meetups.
Technology and Architecture
Prevalent across Jaern is the material Prempek, which was invented by the Onivero and shared with the rest of the world. It is composed of refined kelp and shells, which is carefully molded and reinforced to create a light material similar to wood in strength. Many Onivero dwellings and ships are built from prempek. Some communities settle down in shallows or on island chains, while others construct impressive ships and live in massive “village-fleets” that can drift and sail about the Jaernian seas.
Onivero homes are positively whimsical in the eyes of other races: little squat places built in round, organic shapes with small, twisting decorations and splashes of gardens. Many Onivero report being confused when showing their home to a human friend, only to be met with cries of “It's so cute!” and “Will I get stuck in the door?”
Medical technology is also quite advanced. The Onivero have a solid grasp of things such as germ theory, pharmaceuticals, and surgery - however, many Onivero remedies are built specifically for Onivero biochemistry and don't work well, if at all, on other races. Some enterprising individuals, though, have taken the initiative to share their principles and basic knowledge with the rest of the world. Medical students the world over clamor to watch Onivero lectures.
While most Onivero who have close interaction with other folk train themselves to speak in a manner more palatable and understandable to non-Onivero, Onivero language in its natural state is rapid-fire and difficult to make sense of in the moment. They do not pause for punctuation in their words, instead speaking much like a telegraph. They also place adjectives and adverbs after the words they describe, and usually forego articles. For example, to mean “I saw a large lizard on the beach. It quickly ran away to the north,” an Onivero might say “Saw lizard beach on large I stop ran north quickly away it stop”.
While Onivero have historically used the word “alien” to refer to any intelligent non-Onivero, more recent generations consider this an offensive term and prefer to use the same words to refer to other races that they use to refer to themselves. Onivero, having no concept of gender in a social sense, use one pronoun (usually translated as “they”) to refer to themselves or others.
Onivero art is much like their language, heavily steeped in telepathic content and meaning. For the most part, it appears dull and meaningless to humans. On the other hand, Onivero are always amazed and bewildered by how beautiful human art can be without the telepathic component.
Dancing, however, is a purely physical endeavor for Onivero, and is often performed along with percussive, rhythmic instruments reminiscent of steel drums or bongos. The Onivero dance form is considered extremely difficult, yet rewarding to master by humans. It involves hard stomps on the ground, quick and large movements, and athletic leaps and spins.
Onivero music is also highly percussive, though it is sometimes accompanied by woodwind instruments. Playing an instrument also involves a level of telepathic “singing”, to better accentuate the emotional impact of the piece. Simply listening to an Onivero folk song has been known to bring others to tears.
Though the Onivero are aware of the existence of the Jaernian gods and recognize them as powerful beings, they do not revere or worship them. The most a god is afforded is a basic level of respect: the same respect that a human might afford a lion.
The Onivero have a few folk superstitions and believe in spirits of the land, the sky, and the sea that suffuse the world and are responsible for many wondrous happenings. Due to this, they tend to get along quite well with nomads. They also revere a mythological hero from antiquity, named Jaern. It is unknown if the planet is named after them, or if their title is that of the planet due to their widespread influence on Onivero culture.