Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Saguaro

Maricopa Indians gather Saguaro
Photo by Curtis Scott (1907)

Intelligent, bi-limbed or multi-limbed plant people, the Saguaro evolved from sedentary cacti to the mobile, intelligent species we know today. Their point of emergence into sapience is in the far future, in an age when Humanity has declined and diminished after a great Cataclysm, hemmed in by insect races and increasingly under the hegemony of the Plants and their Green Gods.

The Saguaro spread out through time and space. They somehow backtimed, and can now be found on many worlds within and beyond the Empire. Humans and many other species are never entirely comfortable around this spiny green species. While the Saguaro apparently lack eyes to see, ears to hear, and mouths to speak, they are always aware of and responsive to what is going on around them, thanks to a sophisticated psi-sensorium granting them clairvoyance, clairaudience, and plant-telepathy. More than a few humans have experienced the intrusive, resonant, fibrous voice of a Saguaro in their minds, finishing their thoughts for them.

Although Saguaro are from time-to-time hired our as mercenaries - and some even serve in the Legions of the Imperial Sovereign - typically the Saguaro keep to themselves, living with their own kind and other plants in open roofed hexagonal adobe sanctuaries. Humans who visit Saguaro enclaves are usually indentured servants, priests and shamans, or food scientists. Indeed, there is often a ring of huts and small workshops around the Saguaro's Hex Enclaves for these human visitors and servants.

Food scientists play a particularly important role in supporting Saguaro communities. The Saguaro are unable to meet their nutritional needs exclusively through photosynthesis. Certain additional nutrients are required, although neither the Saguaro nor their human food scientist hirelings are forthcoming about their specific requirements.

These cactus people are inspired by Nathalie Henneberg's The Green Gods (1961). Henneberg's work is a rather obvious inspiration for the cactus people of China Mieville's Bas-Lag.


The Saguaro
Intelligent cacti (neutral)

  • High Concept: Intelligent, ambulatory cactus
  • Trouble: Special food requirements
  • Aspect: Like sun but hate fire
  • Aspect: Covered in thorns
  • Aspect: Two or more limbs
  • Careful: +3
  • Clever: +2 
  • Flashy: +1
  • Forceful: +2
  • Quick: 0
  • Sneaky: +1
  • Limb Regeneration - Once per session, a Saguaro may regenerate a lost limb, or grow a new one.
  • Plant Telepathy - Saguaro can communicate flawlessly with any nearby plant; communicating with animal species is a Clever Action with a difficulty of 2.  
  • Psi-Sensorium - Saguaro have 360 degree perception (sight, sound/vibration, heat) for up to 3 zones; declines by 1 step for every successive zone after 3

Note: Saguaro may know two Planar spells for every additional point of Refresh spent.

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