Steve Jackson Games GURPS – Generic Universal RolePlaying System


(Since the racial stuff abou Syree is so long, it's at the bottom of the page.)

Syree cost 1 point!


DX: 11 [10]


Manual DX +1 [3]
Night Vision [10]
Versitile (+1 to skills involving creativity) [5]
Strong Will+2 [8]
Fearlessness +1 [2]

Disadvantages and Racial Quirks:

Pain in Bright Light (minuses to anything requiring vision) [-5]
Fragile [-20]
Chummy (react at +2 to others, -1 to IQ when alone) [-5]
Sense of Duty (Children) [-5]
Attentive Quirk (stick to task till done - +1 bonus when working on long tasks, -1 to notice any important interruptions) [-1]
Responsive Quirk (able to imagine feelings & motivations of others) [-1]
Pregnant = Careful and Self-defense only. Maybe Coward. [0]

The physical description is accurate, but the cultural description has some holdovers for when they were intended to be a First Contact race - feel free to make them spacefaring.

(All this stuff is Copyright 1996 Elizabeth McCoy, with permission granted for others to make personal use of it in role-playing games, so long as you don't make a profit from it and this copyright notice is perserved intact. Permission is *not* granted to publish stories about Syree, since I've got plans in that direction myself.)

Mammalian, look rather like graceful, elongated humans with large eyes, narrow faces, and close-feathered heads; adult males have a mohawk-like crest of feathers. Feather color ranges from white, down through shades of red, to black-red. A rare mutation that springs up is pure yellow feathers, with orange only a little more common. [Equiv to Albino?] Skin color is usually pale, by human standards.

Their eyes are very large, about twice the size of human eyes, and are mostly pupil and iris (dark, browns predominating). Instead of eyelashes, they have thin flaps or "feathers" of skin that often reach two inches for the outer corner-"wing" This outer wing, the largest, is anchored at the outer third of the eyelids, and folds when the eye is closed, leaflike. Their sun is dim, and they are at home in what a human would think to be near-twilight. [Night Vision] Brighter ambient light makes Syree uncomfortable unless "sunglasses" of some sort are available. [Pain in bright light] They also prefer a somewhat cooler climate, with 60F the comfort median.

The hands have five digits, but two of them are opposing thumbs - they never had a problem with making gloves right&left handed, or shoes for that matter. They are very dextrous at fine-work. [Increased Manual DX+1]

Both males and females can lactate - semiconsciously! [footnote 1] - though the female mammeries are more pronounced [footnote 2]. Females have fairly narrow hips; too narrow to deliver an intelligent baby of human-baby development. Males have a pouch (with a milk-supplying nipple). At about 5 human-months, a pregnant female will deliver the baby - usually directly into the pouch of the male, where the fetus will remain for another five months before emerging at roughly human newborn development [footnote 3]. Childbirth is almost painless physically for the mother, very safe, and emotionally pleasent. Being "em-pouched" is considered The emotional high point for males [footnote 4]; it is also a prerequisite for male "maturity" in many groups [footnote 5]. The children are usually safe if the transition into the pouch is quick - but if it is delayed or ommitted, fatalities quickly rise to 90% or worse. Standard birthing position is female standing and male kneeling beneath her, pouch positioned to catch the child. The positioning is instinctual, and males are further caught by the crooning sounds a female in labor produces [footnote 6].

Children, even bigger-eyed than their parents and exceedingly cute, are universally adored by Syree. This would extend to alien children, too. [Sense of Duty: Children] They are the embodiment of hope for the future and the race, symbols of the bond between two (or three) people [footnote 7], and adorable as all getout. This attitude is, unfortunately, slowly leading to overpopulation of the planet: while every child is a wanted child, lots of people want them!

Syree do not menustrate. Male genetalia is all kept in a feline-like pouch (tempature of the little wrigglers is male body temp - females are usually a degree or two higher than males, to "wake up" the wrigglers), and it is extremely hard to tell the differences when dealing with babies (especially pouched ones). Names are rarely gender-based.

Political structures vary, but almost all of them "look ahead" to the future. Wars are rare between countries; only a truly psychotic Syree would do something that endangered children so wantonly. (Males who have never been pouch-fathers are considered unstable enough to initiate such insanity - captured male leaders of rebellions or invasions are often empouched at the first opportunity [footnote 8].) This does not mean that Syree are pacifists - merely that they are fond of efficient, clean strikes; tactical assasinations; and organized, "sporting," battles. Poison that might get out of hand is a *major* no-no. Pregnant Syree (male or female) tend to be self-defense pacifists, with the males moreso [footnote 9]. Cowardice is common in pregnant Syree, and all are at least Careful (quirk). Pregnant females are compulsive about having a male around with an empty pouch - it doesn't matter *how* pregnant she is, either, so long as she knows she is.

There are three major habitable landmasses on the Syree's planet, and three major governments - a prototype technocracy is on the smallest of the landmasses (it was established about five generations ago, and seems to be doing exceedingly well), while an Athenian Democracy and a Representitive Democracy share the largest landmass. The third is portioned out to varous constititutional monarchies, bureaucracies, and communes, along with other democracies. There are two major languages, and a host of lesser ones that are only used in the country they were started in. There are efforts to create a very easy "trade language," but it hasn't caught on yet.

Control Rating is usually 4 for weapons, 3 otherwise. People will look at you funny if you go to the store with a stunner, though. Monagomy is the norm, but three-way monagamy (one female, two males to trade pouch-father and gene-father responsibilities) is also "mainstream." Where polygamy is found, it is usually in the form of one female and many males, or group marriages with more males than fertile females. Population-wise, the number of males to females is about even, which is why polygamy is somewhat unpopular. (Since pouch-fathers rarely care about who the gene-father of their child is, one of the constitutional monarchies is attempting a breeding program, where artificial insimination is used to spread the genetics of "superior" individuals throughout the community. So far, no-one's grumbled too much, but the neighboring country has a *very* large stock of genetic samples from males who didn't quite fit the standard. It's a very lucrative business.)

The planet has one small moon and three moonlets - two of those moonlets are from the asteroid belt an orbit out, and were deliberatly (and very recently) moved into orbit around the planet. One of the asteroids is fairly high in radioactives (for fueling ships from orbit, instead of letting them take off [fueltank-powered] and maybe blow up and scatter radioactive dust all over the planet), and the other is rich in industrial and light metals. The original moonlet (thought to once have been part of the astroid belt) has some industrial crystals, but not really enough to bother with. The moon is a hunk of rock, possibly suitable as a base from which to mine the moonlets.

The planet is meduim-iron compostion, and only half the surface is covered with water. 4.6 = density. The sun is a MV star (mass: .3), and the planet's orbital radius is .2 AU. [may change this, say to a dim K V, which will change the AU stuff as well] There is a 18 degree tilt (which makes for very little seasonal variation), and a 28 hour day. A "year" is 51 local days. (6 Syree years = 1 human year.)

The three major governments are cooperating to build spacecraft capable of getting out-system, to provide an outlet for population pressures that will start to be visible in another few generations. They are experimenting with stargates, but aren't quite there yet. However, they want to send out a modified generation-ship - the passengers would be adults (3 female, 4 male, in case of pregnancy) who would use braintape and cloning technology to sustain them through the long trip out. They would also carry genetic samples that would let them establish a colony if they needed to, or replace an entirely lost crewmember. All would be taking contraceptives, since the lifesupport is not meant to hold much more than the crew [footnote 10]. The planned ship *is* armed, since the Syree are of the opinion that it is better to be paranoid than sorry; they aren't *quite* a perfect society themselves.


[1] Communal nursing is common in some societies, and family nursing (where pubescent children may nurse their siblings) is almost universal.

[2] This is thought to be a sexual attractant; males are attracted to such shapes. The crest of males is also an attractant, though the focus seems to be more on the display of color, not shape or size. Shade is less important than intensity and purity, and is mostly a matter of taste. Males usually have clearer feather colorations than females.

[3] The placenta is also delivered, and forms a protective layer at the top of the pouch - it also provides oxygenation at this stage, as there is still considerable fluid around the child, both from delivery and secreted by the male (this supports and protects the child). Nutrients are provided through the nipple, and children have a very strong suckling instinct.

[4] The process of transferring the fetus to the pouch creates strong emotional bonds between the mother and the pouch-father. See note 6.

[5] Most political groups will not permit a male to hold high offices unless he has been empouched at least once. Many consider pre-pregnant males to be quick-tempered, irresponsible, and impulsive; Status -1: kid.

[6] Thought to be additional incentive to persuade a pre-sentient and active male to hold still and "think of england."

[7] Seed-/gene-father, mother, pouch-father; if the mother and pouch-father weren't friends before the birth, they are afterwards, due to the emotional charge of the process - another instinct to keep the babies alive, most likely.

[8] Female leaders of rebellions are more problematical.

[9] They're the ones who are taking care of a highly-developed fetus, instead of a mess of protoplasm that might not even be noticed yet. They get the kid at the higher half of the growth, and are more hampered by having a "big belly."

[10] But there is still a chance of failure; while a child could be dumped into a clone-tank till it was "newborn" level, this is considered problematical for the child's mental health - hence the greater number of males in the crew. A mind-blank clone which will have a braintape read into it is not a problem. While they have the capability to establish a colony, they don't want to have to do that.

(Back to Racial Designs)

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