|Average Height||Males: 160 cm (5'3), Females: 175 cm (5'9)|
|Average Weight||Males: 45 kg Females: 54 kg|
|Hair Colour||Any. Depends on the cultivar being used by the individual.|
|Eye Colour||Usually black, dark blue or dark purple.|
|Distinctions||Entirely plant based. Blue skin, covered with a dark coloured bark carapace. Six arms. Network web.|
|Average Lifespan||Indefinite if well tended.|
|Habitat||Hot, wet tropical regions|
The Phyterca are a race of plant based, spider-like humanoids hailing from the planet of Arbrakna. They have six arms, each with two fingers and a thumb, four eyes and are capable of spinning large nerve fibre webs capable of quickly transmitting thoughts and signals from one individual of the species to another. They are roughly the same size as humans but display an opposite gender disparity in height, with females being the taller of the species and males generally being shorter and less muscular. Phytercans are also lighter on average than humans due to the relatively low density of the plant fibre musculature that animates their bodies.
Phytercan bodies are composed entirely of tough, pale blue, muscle-like plant fibre wrapped around a lightweight heartwood skeleton. The endoskeleton is not particularly sturdy but is supported by smooth, hard exoskeleton which comes in a rainbow of dark colours, the most common of which are black, dark purple and navy. While this exoskeleton has nearly fully body coverage, the underlying smooth muscle is plainly visible in the seams where the birch-like plates meet.
Phyterca are surprisingly durable given their light weight and fragile endoskeleton. They are capable of recovering from even the most dire of injuries, regenerating entire limbs in rare cases and broken or removed digits almost 100% of the time. If well cared for and given enough sunlight and water, your Phyterca can last almost indefinitely.
The most colourful parts of your average Phytercan is the hair. Despite how attached it seems to the Phytercan skull, the hair is actually a completely separate symbiotic species which is an inextricable part of the Phytercan respiratory system. While the traditional cultivar is a light blue colour, to absorb the most red light from the Arbrakna system's Red Super-giant sun, the prevalence of artificial light sources has led to the creation of many cultivars of all shapes and colours suited for every style and colour of light, depending on the sensibilities of the individual Phytercan.
As Phytercans are not mammals, they do not have breasts. Any Phytercan who looks as though they do is almost definitely a Wayfarer who has made a personal choice to try and emulate the appearance of another species.
Reproduction and Early Life
The Phyterca reproduce in a fairly typical manner for botanical life. The males produce pollen, which can be combined with the female ovule to produce a seed. These seeds, which are about the size of a fist, are then traditionally buried in a safe location with plenty of nutrients and sunlight over the course of about a year until the Phyterca is almost fully developed. Once the Phyterca awakens from their first slumber, they can then begin to be taught and integrated into society by the parents.
In times of hardship and war, and amongst the Wayfarers who have no reliable star, the traditional method is often foregone in favour of speed growing children by means of nutrition tanks and artificial suns. This more advanced method result in vastly increased growth speeds, bringing the year long process down to a single month. This appears to cause no physical harm to child but has a rather obvious effect on the colour of the offspring's skin, leaving a paleness that can take many years to properly subside. More conservative members of the species are concerned about the detrimental effect this might have on the mind of the child due to a lack of parental interaction before the first awakening.
Upon first awakening, Phytercans lack the bark exoskeleton and colourful hair that are so ingrained in the galactic image of the Phyterca. While the hair is often grafted to the child after mere days, the exoskeleton can take up to a whole year to start properly growing in and can feel uncomfortable for some months after completion. This makes newly awakened Phytercans very delicate. As such, they are usually kept sheltered from most public places for the first years of their lives. For the Phyterca, introducing a non-Phyterca to their offspring is considered a gesture of great trust.
The Phytercans are a very technologically driven culture. The old joke that the Phytercans are the only species to have invented the internet before the wheel is not undeserved. Their innate ability to connect to share thoughts with one another through means of their nerve-laden web has left them with a culture deeply rooted in creating and sharing knowledge with one another. In the past individuals were tasked with learning all they could and serving as knowledge centres for all who needed advice and information. When technology developed further these individuals were phased out and replaced with machines that could remember instead. Lifetimes of near innate connection to all known knowledge led to a deep dislike of the unknown.
The long lifespans and quick development of the Phyterca fast tracked them through history, leaving them a very young culture when they first took to the stars. They never quite lost sight of their roots because of this. Phytercan technology is often well hidden throughout the cities, with buildings and amenities being signposted by specially engineered flowers and trees, the cold steel and brickwork of buildings being hidden entirely. First time visitors to Phytercan settlements often struggle to find places to set down as landing pads are often incredibly non-obvious, looking more like grass auditoriums, or pairs of natural hills than spaceship docks.
The interior decor of Phytercan ships is often heavily inspired by the home world. The steel corridors of their ships are often full of greenery and life, sometimes even having small waterfalls and streams running down corridors all while the ceiling projects the void outside, shining down the ambience of the local star.
From space, entire cities seem to be swathed with a translucent blanket of silk. A closer inspection reveals the blanket to simply be the Phytercan web. The web is one of the most integral parts of the Phytercan society informing not only the minds of its children, but the future of its race. This often planet-wide data transmission network has been mostly replaced with reinforced sections of artificial web and wireless communications over time, but in any place where traditional Phytercans congregate the communal act of "Maintaining the Web" is sure to follow. Maintaining the Web is a social gathering where Phytercans crawl out on to the city wide web network and share their knowledge with one another, reporting findings and gossiping all while fixing any strands that might have been damaged over time.
Traditional Phytercan dress consists of grass skirts and sandals, serving little purpose other than preserving a small amount modesty while exposing the majority of the Phyterca to the sunlight. A space-bound Wayfarer is more likely to be seen wearing a jumpsuit, a swimsuit or some other piece of clothing emblematic of another race than this traditional garb.
New Phytercan colonies are always seeded with ancient individuals and data servers from Arbrakna. This is to ensure that the history of the Phytercan people is not lost in the creation of a new species home world. This "Sharing of the Web" creates cultures on colony worlds that are incredibly similar to the one present on Arbrakna, ensuring the continuation of Phytercan tradition.
The fast reproduction rate, long lifespan and drive for knowledge resulted in the Phyterca being one of the first races of the Galactic Council to create faster than light travel and spread out through the universe. The long periods of cultural divergence between planet-bound and space-faring Phyterca resulting from this has created a lot of tension between the two factions.
Young Phyterca are incredibly impressionable and influenced heavily by the webs they're raised in. Planet-bound Phyterca have far more conservative webs, focusing heavily on traditional Phytercan culture, clothing and media. The webs of the "Wayfarers", as they have come to be known, are not so in tune with the ways of their ancestors. Many ships have webs influenced heavily by other species, resulting in Phytercans who wear incredibly non-traditional clothes and who even shape their own bodies in the image of other species. The Wayfarer tradition of speed growing new Phytercans, combined with these oddities make them easily distinguishable even to outsiders.
The Wayfarers are the most visible faction of Phytercan present in Galactic Society, a fact that draws ire from planet dwellers as they are considered very "Un-Phytercan" by some.
- The Web Wars
When the first Phytercan computers were invented the Web encountered an untenable conflict of a interest. The ability to record and control the information which people were receiving from the Web had afforded the remembering castes - Memorants - a lot of power throughout Phytercan history. For the first time ever a technology had arisen that allowed the Phyterca to distribute massive amounts of information without any need for any one person, or group of people, to remember it. For certain people who had enjoyed privileges prior to this point, it was not a pleasing development. They painted the new technology as an attempt to corrupt the Phyterca.
Soon discord was brewing in the ranks of the Phytercan peoples. The creators of the technology insisted it was the next great step in the progression of the species. The Memorants fear-mongered and criticised the machines, calling them the death of all that was Phytercan. Soon the species began to split into two factions. Those with loyalty to technological progress and those with loyalty to the Memorants. The war that followed was swift and brutal.
While the Memorants had the advantage of time and experience on their side, the ease of replacement and speed of access of the new technology proved simply too much an advantage to overcome. As the Memorants perished one by one and their followers lost knowledge, they started to panic and defect. Many years of research and history were lost to this conflict. The only solace was how short lived it was.
- Reaching the Moon
- The First FTL Drive
- The Galactic Council
- Role on the Council
- Perception in the Galaxy (Mixed on both Wayfarers and Traditionals)
- On other ships