Dark Horizon: Jurgann Species

The pre-contact history of the Jurganna is mostly lost in legend at this point, although considering the emphasis that Jurganna put in legend and retelling stories these may be surprisingly accurate. Tales tell of warring states that took their conflict to the stars and fought each other in epic space battles. These squabbling states were conquered by an emperor serving as a divine mandate who forged a single group from these disparate pieces. His conquest was the only thing to survive his rule, however, as both his religious reforms and military focus dissolved soon after his death. The unity that he inspired did not, however, and the Jurganna struck out for the stars again, this time as explorers.

As one of the founding species of the Vincularium, the Jurganna are widespread throughout the connected galaxy. They might drown out all other species through sheer population at this point, except that they prefer to live in their own communities following traditions. Like the tivanni (some say that this is a trait inevitable in long-standing interstellar species), the Jurgann have traditions that transcend local cultures and most of them prefer to keep to those practices when they can. That said, there are vast cultural differences among the Jurganna and they eagerly interact with other species.

One thing that is fairly universal among Jurgann communities, however, is hierarchy. The Trakherium, which includes the Jurgann home system, has a vast bureacracy with the Traktor at its head and lesser officials beneath. Even the smallest Jurgann neighborhood has a leader, however, called a Jorekor which means both “leader” and “role-model.” This person (chosen usually for personal achievements but sometimes through other means) decides all internal matters for the Jurgann community and settles disputes between neighbors. The Jorekor of a large system with billions of Jurganna is a more prestigious position than the Jorekor of a small colony with a few dozen Jurganna but there are no formal relationships between most Jorekora.

Whirlpool Galaxy - Messier 51
Image from NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI), and The Hubble Heritage Team STScI/AURA)

Physical Description

Hulking, strong creatures with heavy body masses, Jurgann may seem like brutes to more slender species like humans or dupalans. Their appearance is deceptive, though: Jurganna are agile and fast as well as strong, consummate hunters. They have flat faces with slitted noses for scenting and eyes that work as well in bright sunlight as fading dusk. Their bodies are covered with tough scales and their hard nails form claws that were used in past epochs to hunt down prey. Today, Jurganna mostly use them to pry open panels on ships or score personal symbols into their objects.

Psychology

The evolutionary ancestors of Jurganna are natural predators and they still view the world in terms of weakness and strength. While they have a reputation for violence and aggression, Jurganna are not bloodthirsty killers any more than other species. In fact, they have a philosophical streak in their society that transcends cultures across the galaxy. Jurganna place great store in reputation and legend, the tangible history of their people and the world around them. Where other species have a natural inclination to family bonds and emotional connections, Jurganna focus more on the legends of the past and those currently forming in the galaxy.

Play a Jurgann if You Want to…

  • be a large, dangerous alien that forges modern legends.
  • be a member of one of the founding members of the Vincularium with a long history.
  • have natural combat abilities and an aura of command.

Jurgan Species Abilities

Like a flavor, there are unique abilities available to Jurgann characters. These can be chosen whenever you would gain a new ability from your type or focus. If you would gain multiple abilities at a new tier from your focus, you gain one of these abilities instead of all of that tier’s abilities.

Tier One Jurgann Abilities

  • Heat Resistance: You resist extreme temperatures better than other species and even better than other Jurganna. You have a special +2 bonus to Armor against ambient damage from heat and radiation that would normally ignore Armor (see Cypher System Rulebook, p. 200-201 for more information). Enabler.
  • Oathbound (1 Intellect): You maintain the old traditions of patronage and service, making you especially skilled at functioning in a team. When you use a cooperative action (Cypher System Rulebook, p. 211) the difficulty of the task is decreased by one step. Additionally, when you spend a point of Intellect, one of your allies within short range modify the difficulty of defense tasks or attack tasks (your choice) until the beginning of your next turn. Action.
  • Sharpened Claws: All Jurganna have sharp claws but they lost the ability to seriously use them as weapons several evolutionary steps ago. You have genetweaked yours, however, to be dagger-sharp. Your unarmed attacks deal an additional +2 points of damage. Enabler.

Tier Two Jurgann Abilities

  • Durable Scales: Whether through natural inheritance or genetic treatments, your scales are more durable than normal. You gain 2 points to your Might pool and +1 to Armor.
  • Predator’s Focus: Jurganna come from predator stock, careful and focused ancestors that could fixate on prey and ignore anything else. You ignore the impaired condition of the damage track and treat the debilitated condition as impaired. Enabler.
  • Galactic Citizen (2 Intellect points): The Jurgann were one of the founding species of the Vincularium and they still maintain a reputation as well-traveled and knowledgeable members of the galactic community. You know how to leverage this into finding out information from groups of strangers. When you have time to ask around in a community, you can ask around about a topic and come away with useful information. You can ask a specific question or simply obtain general facts, such as local rumors or recent arrivals. You also quickly gain a sense of the physical layout of the community’s location. This ability takes about an hour to use.
Andromeda Galaxy - Close-Up
Image from NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope

 

Tier Three Jurgann Abilities

  • Natural Sentry (2 Intellect points): The naturally slow rhythms in Jurgann bodies make them prone to sluggishness at low temperatures but you can also use your biochemistry to your advantage sometimes. When you watch an area without moving you gain an asset to all tasks related to perception or avoiding notice. Your “silent hunter” benefit applies equally well when hiding in underbrush or sitting in a crowded cafe, so long as you keep still. The benefit lasts for one hour or until you move. Action to initiate.
  • Soundsense: Your species’ natural sensory abilities have been heightened in you and you can feel vibrations acutely around you. This provides an asset on perception tasks for targets within short range and for stealth tasks. On the other hand, the difficulty of defense rolls against sonic attacks is increased by one step. Enabler.
  • Stress Response (4+ Might points): Your chemical stress response (equivalent to the adrenaline fight or flight response in humans) allows you to summon renewed strength when in a dangerous situation. If you succeed on a Might defense roll to resist an attack, you gain an action. You can use the action immediately even if you have already taken a turn in the round. You don’t take an action during the next round, unless you apply a level of Effort when you use Stress Response. Enabler.

Tier Four Jurgann Abilities

  • Acute Muscle Control (4 Might points): Your muscles are strong but also contain a nanofiber implant popular among Jurganna. For the next ten minutes you are trained in one physical task of your choice. For example, you can choose running, climbing, swimming, Speed defense, Might defense, or attacks with a specific weapon. Action to initiate.
  • Heroic Reputation: Jurganna traditionally put great stock in personal achievements and yours have garnered you a reputation throughout the galaxy. When someone recognizes you or you reveal your identity you can use this as an asset in social situations where this reputation would benefit you. For other Jurganna, this is a formal arrangement where you offer a token called a Jaressim to someone in exchange for a favor (see sidebar for more information). Appropriate favors include gaining important items for free, transportation to your next destination, or the dismissal of criminal charges. Enabler.
  • Metallic Claws: Your natural claws are replaced with metallic carbon-alloy talons that are much sharper and stronger. This provides an asset on unarmed attacks and can be combined with other abilities related to your claws such as the Tier 1 ability Sharpened Claws. Enabler.

Jaressim

Jaressima are personal symbols from a Jurgann, normally with slivers of claw or shed scales incorporated into them. The most common form is a metal coin, but they vary by culture and even individual taste. These tokens are used as signs and proof that the recipient is part of an important story in progress, something they can show later in life when they are telling the story to grandchildren. Any Jurgann can make a Jaressim and it is most commonly used in marriage ceremonies or joining ceremonies between individuals. When given by a hero, however, they are public badges of honor and formally exchanges for favors. Those who accept and lend a favor are now part of a legend, someone who will be included in the beloved stories of the future.

Mechanically, Jaressima cost nothing since they do not need to be made from anything particular. Jurganna may choose to make gold or crystal Jaressima if they wish but the personal connection is the most important thing. A Jurgann can make a new Jaressim with a few hours’ work (according to the GM’s judgement) and can give out as many as they like. Giving out too many (twice your tier is a good approximate limit) reflects poorly on one’s reputation and might affect future attempts to request favors. Giving out a Jaressim and then later returning the favor, however, is seen as a heroic exchange.

Tier Five Jurgann Abilities

  • Choterza: You are recognized by a Jurgann authority as a Choterza, a householder who claims a lineage of Jurganna. Unlike noble houses or aristocratic families, a Choterza is a merit-based position that has nothing to do with genetics. You gain the right to audience with Jurgann authorities throughout the galaxy, from the Jorekor of a particular system to the Traktor of the Trakherium (though wait time would increase dramatically). In addition, you have a level 3 warrior companion who serves as your bodyguard and protege. On your action, if the companion is next to you, it serves as an asset for one attack you make on your turn. If the warrior companion dies, you gain a new one after at least two weeks and some effort on your part to recruit another. Enabler.
  • Digital Predator (5 Intellect points): You are one of the Jurganna who have taken your species’ natural hunting prowess into the digital realm. When you use this ability to apply your focus on the “digital hunt” you reduce the difficulty of hacking tasks to infiltrate and damage other computer systems by one step. You can only affect one computer or specific system (such as “security cameras in the lab” or “the other ship’s navigation array”) but you can affect multiple systems at the same time by spending Effort when you use this ability. The benefit applies for ten minutes. Action to initiate.
  • Silicate Scales: You receive a nanite-treatment to replace portions of your scales with silica, significantly improving their strength. You gain an asset on Might defense rolls and you gain +1 to Armor.

Tier Six Jurgann Abilities

  • Wormhole
    Photo by Kristof Wesely

    Air of Authority (6 Intellect points): Your presence reassures your allies and keeps them together and focused. All allies within short range who can see you immediately gain a recovery roll, gain an immediate free action, and have an asset for that free action. The recovery roll does not count as one of their normal recover rolls. Action.

  • Fleet Commander (5 Intellect points): You have the tactical, spatial mindset of your species but in a manner that can apply to fleets of starships. When you use your action to coordinate vessels under your command that are within short range of each other, the difficulty of all defense actions is reduced by one step for those ships and they inflict 2 additional points of damage with their attacks. This benefit lasts for the next minute as long as the starships remain within range. Action to initiate.
  • Master Hunter (5 Speed or Might points): All of your hunting and combat enhancements combine to make you a truly deadly predator, something that channels the hunters of your genetic past. You automatically strike a target level 3 or lower and it is killed outright. Action.
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