Urdine (aka gassies, SGCs, )
+10 to any one Knowledge skill, Awareness and Survival, -10 to Resilience and Athletics. Urdine are very smart, have incredible sensory powers, and require very little in the way of physical comforts such as food and water. But as gaseous thought clusters they are easily dispersed under duress and unsuited to physical tasks.
Gaseous form: Urdines typically wear their thrameexis-designed survival suits when not floating in deep space. However, they are capable of leaving their suits for a limited period of time. A gaseous urdine can remain together in a typical game environment (an environment with 1 Earth gravity and a breathable atmosphere) for 3d10 minutes, after which the urdine is treated like a flesh character in deep space (see Dying in Space) as he breaks up until completely dissipated and “killed”. A creature occupying the same space as a gaseous urdine is seared by the incredibly hot plasma that makes up the urdine’s body. The urdine makes a reflexive Striking roll in reaction to the intrusion of the enemy. A hit inflicts fire damage with a value of 90. A miss still forces the interloper to resist fire damage with a value of 50.
Omnivision: Urdine can “see” in any wavelength of light in 360 degrees around their bodies.
Telepathy: Urdine project their speech as neurological impulses into other beings’ brains. This even works on the electronic brains of Sisters. Urdine cannot read nor hear other beings’ thoughts. Other creatures must speak out loud for the urdine to detect and interpret the sound waves if they want the urdine to hear.
Non-humanoid (gaseous): Urdine bodies and lifestyles are sufficiently different from humans that they require special accommodations, most notably either the vacuum of space or a special suit.
When humans first visited the Bear’s Paw Nebula, they were unaware that they were passing through the Urdine community. The Urdine are sentient hydrogen plasma, with the ability to control their local pressure using means still not completely understood.
When the humans facilitated contact between the Urdine and the thrameexis, the thrameexis, with human help, developed gravity-field generators designed to hover in the center of a man-shaped field of gravitation, to be inhabited by sentient clusters of Urdine gas. In this way, the Urdine entered a new age of interaction with the rest of the galaxy.
No one is sure how the urdine truly exist, but the best analogy is that the urdine duplicate, through the medium of hot electrically-charged gas, the same process achieved by the electrical impulses in the neurons of a human brain. Urdine are clots of gas that have distinctive thought processes and sensory ability. Urdine can perceive all wavelengths of light and can detect nearly every kind of particle and energy, when their natural body is exposed to it. First Contact required the explorers talk the urdine through the process of changing the mode of their perception until they were “looking” at the universe though the spectrum of visible light, and could see the spaceship and cosmonauts. Prior to this contact the urdine had not paid much attention to light waves at all, preferring to “see” each other via passing neutrinos instead.
Urdine seem to be functionally immortal. It is difficult to guess the age of an urdine because although they have an intellectual understanding of time they have no native measure of timekeeping. Some urdine may be tens of thousands if not millions of years old, having silently observed the turning of the cosmos for many contemplative millennia. Most urdine have absolutely no idea how old they are, nor any concern as to how long they have been doing something, how long something will take or when something is coming up. It is not known how or even whether urdine reproduce. Urdine can die if their plasma “body” is sufficiently disrupted, and urdine refer to the occasional “loss of a spark” that seems to indicate urdine can naturally cease to think and therefore die.
Urdine seem to sustain themselves metabolically by absorbing cosmic background radiation and by incorporating inert gasses into their thinking-body. Basically all that an urdine needs to stay happy and healthy is regular exposure to deep space, and occasional top-ups of hydrogen and helium. Even these requirements are not very severe, and urdine can go for many months without any attention to the state of their corpus.
As brains floating in space, urdine culture developed based mostly on philosophical wisdom, feats of logic, sound rhetoric and the “thought experiment.” Urdine are tremendously adept at storing and remembering facts, but have no native concept of empirical science. The idea of experimentally verifying philosophic theories had not occurred to them because it was largely impossible given the barren nature of their life adrift in space.
In their natural habitat, urdine cluster in groups of six to sixteen individuals. These clusters, known as symposia, drift about aimlessly as their constituent members chat, theorize, tell stories and argue. Such aimless contemplation seems to be the only component of native urdine society. In an urdine symposium, each individual urdine joins a single cloud of gas, mingling with fellow intellects in an indistinguishable blob. Urdine have very little concept of “personal space.”
Furthermore they do not assign great importance to their physical body. They point out that the electrified gas that makes up their being is replenished and recycled continuously, so they are not made of the same “dust” from day to day. In the same way, human cells constantly die and replenish themselves, such that humans grow a totally new body on a regular basis.
Adapting to interact with alien lifeforms was a challenge that deeply divided the urdine. Many became or remained isolationist, and violence has occasionally broken out over the protection of secret pockets of “untouched” urdine. But many urdine were eager to interact with new species and learn more. These urdine, who adapted well to gravity suits that allowed them to take a spectral humanoid form, were able to rapidly absorb language and culture from host species. These metropolitan urdine, skilled as cultural diplomats with no bias towards “any body”, are either admired or reviled by other urdine depending on the individual urdine’s temperament.
Those who work with urdine rightly criticize them as being impractical eggheads, prone to offering overly-complex solutions to simple problems and ignoring the realities of a situation in favor of a more elegant hypothetical view of things. But none can deny that the urdine are exceptionally clever and perceptive.