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Science-Fiction Adventure in the Far Future

Traveller - Minor Human Race - Thaggeshi original article by James Maliszewski Traveller: the New Era updates by Chris Griffen

Homeworld: The Thaggeshi are a minor human race in Vland sector. Their homeworld has a B starport and a fair degree of technology. Their home system is a trinary system.

Physiology To talk of Thaggeshi physiology is somewhat difficult since the members of this race display a wide range of variation. While the range of genotype variations is by no means as extensive as among the Solomani, the range is much larger than has come to be expected among the minor human races. This variation is one thing that sets the Thaggeshi apart from the other minor human races.

Height and weight: Thaggesh possesses a marginally lower gravity than 1G, and this has affected the Thaggeshi physique. The average Thaggeshi stands about 1.65 meters tall and weighs about 65 kilograms. Females stand about 1.55 meters tall and weigh around 60 kg. By no means, however, does this average preclude variation. Depending on the region of Thaggesh from which they come, Thaggeshi exhibit a great deal of variance. The aforementioned is merely a statistical average.

Appearance: Again, one cannot make generalizations. Most Thaggeshi have somewhat swarthy skin tones (given that Thaggesh is part of a trinary star system). Thos from more northerly regions have lighter skin tone, while equatorial and southern Thaggeshi have darker skin. Hair is usually dark, even among northern Thaggeshi, and straight hair predominates. A chance mutation gave about 5% of the Thaggeshi population platinum-coloured hair. This hair colour looks more striking among the dark- skinned inhabitants of the equator and farther south.

Diet: The Thaggeshi exhibit omnivorous dietary habits. The native life is not completely compatible with human biochemistry. Consequently, the Thaggeshi learned (or were taught by the Ancients) the skills needed to make the food ready for human consumption. Unlike the Vilani, however, no shugilii- type class developed, since the Ancients also transplanted to Thaggesh a few animals like the bovine herbivore called an ashat, which has become domesticated, and a staple of the Thaggeshi diet. Thus, the Thaggeshi subsist on both specially prepared native foods and a few transplanted animals and plants.

Reproduction: Thaggeshi differ little from Vilani-Solomani norms. Females bear live infants after a nine-month gestation period. Their lower level of medical knowledge resulted in a number of taboos and superstitions about pregnancy and childbirth , some of which survive to this day. Chief among these is the belief that the unborn child is capable of contact with God before birth. Thus, how the child kicks or moves have been interpreted in various ways as auguries and divinations coming directly from God. Other, similar ideas consist despite Thaggesh's technological advancement under Vilani supervision.

Senses: Thaggeshi senses are about the same as other humans: they show no real differences in sensory abilities. They believe, however, that there are six senses, not five. This sixth sense is somewhat analogous to common sense. They say this sense gives them their innate ideas about the world around them. The Thaggeshi do not adhere to the "blank slate" theory of epistemology. Instead, they believe that one is born with certain ideas, and that one can come to conclusions about the universe from extrapolating those ideas.

Anatomy: No major deviations from norms found elsewhere. Like the Zhodani, however, they have only 32 teeth. Their teeth are somewhat larger than Solomani and Vilani teeth. Blood types include F, G, H, N, and P, with the dominant types being F, G, and H.

Lifespan: Typical lifespan is between 80 and 90 years. Thaggeshi with mixed Vilani blood and those who live in the northern latitudes show greater longevity. The reason for the latter has been deduced to be dietary, since these Thaggeshi eat native wildlife almost exclusively: the ashat cannot survive in the colder climes.

Psychology Despite the lack of homogeneity among the Thaggeshi in physical terms, one is somewhat surprised by the existence of what one can call a Thaggeshi mindset. Yet the Thaggeshi do have several aspects of their psychology that one finds all over their homeworld. The extent to which one adheres to this way of thinking determines membership in the Thaggeshi community. Offworlders of even non-human extraction who follow Thaggeshi ways would be considered more of a "true" Thaggeshi than a human from Thaggesh who had abandoned the traditional ways. First, Thaggeshi are a very traditional people. They have great respect for their ancestors and their accomplishments. Ancestor-worship is a common form of piety: most Thaggeshi have small shrines in their homes dedicated to their famous and influential ancestors. Thaggeshi are rather slow to change. If something works, there is no reason to change it in any way. Early Vilani explorers found this aspect comforting. Unlike the Vilani, however, the Thaggeshi have rather ritualised their respect for tradition. Many taboos and superstitions still exist, because they have always existed and they seem to be in keeping with the truth. Second, ritualism and traditionalism have made Thaggeshi society somewhat stagnant. When the Vilani contacted them, the Thaggeshi had been at tech level 1 for several thousand years. Even the Vilani considered them somewhat backward and plodding. Under their influence and encouragement, Thaggesh has advanced in technology without any real change in the basic Thaggeshi mindset. Third, technology is seen as another form of magic. The principles are a little different, but the basic concept is the same. Technology is kept in the hands of a few, but is used for the benefit of the whole. Thus, technology is not used as a means to enslave lower classes. In keeping with their shamanistic past, the Thaggeshi merely passed control of this new magic onto a special group. Fourth, Thaggeshi have great respect for their planet and its nature. From earliest times, the Thaggeshi have been acutely aware that upsetting the delicate balance of their planet would result in their deaths. With only a few animals edible without preparation, one tends to be very much concerned about keeping those plants and animals healthy. One reason that magic and technology were always kept in the hands of a few was to prevent its misuse. In this way, the Thaggeshi developed a kind of ecological mindset that is often found among primitive peoples. The advance of technological sophistication has not altered this thought pattern as it often does in other races. Such would not only be a violation of tradition but just plain stupid.

Society and Culture Society revolves around tradition. The government of choice is autocracy. The autocrat knows, however, that abusing power would not be good for him or his people. One might call Thaggeshi government an "enlightened despotism." The concept of tyranny is one that the Thaggeshi do not really understand. For this reason, the events of the Rebellion around them seems very odd. First, they do not comprehend the idea of killing a leader. (Such has never occurred in Thaggeshi history). Second, they don't understand there being such a thing as a bad leader. Thaggeshi society has no really distinct classes with the exception of the priestly class of technologists and the rulers. The remainder of the population has no distinctions other than that of occupation, and one can easily change occupations. No lower class really exists, since Thaggeshi mindset holds that one should help the less fortunate. This principle is a logical extension of the governmental principle of enlightened despotism. If one were to ignore the less fortunate when one is himself able to help, then someday one may be in the same situation and without anywhere to turn. Furthermore, society as a whole would be seen as failed in some way of a lower class were allowed to develop. The priest/technologist class is charged with the handling and advancement of technology. Entrance into this class is determined through various traditional divining methods at birth. These people are trained from an early age in the ways of technology and its proper uses in society. The remainder of the population has little or no understanding of technology beyond what they need to lead their daily lives. Even then, what the Thaggeshi may know id mostly by rote and of a "black box" mentality. This stems not from any specialization ideal like the Vilani, but rather from a desire to use technology properly. To many, the Thaggeshi seem a living clich