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ShiKahr Vulcan Resources

Basic rules

Game background

Character creation guide

Who are Vulcans?

Basic rules

General behavior:

Please do always respect fellow players. Everyone is entitled to make mistakes from time to time; be patient with others as you would expect them to be with you. Everyone is entitled to their unique view of the Vulcan culture as well; Vulcans are, after all, a fictional race.

Please do not hesitate to help a fellow player in need, whether it be a question on Vulcan culture/history or a request for a joint post.

Please do avoid creating and maintaining superhero characters, wielding the power to upset the balance of the universe with a movement of their hand. Do realize that it is not likely to come up with a cure for cancer, or for a superweapon to gun down all the Breen in one post.

Please do always speak up if and when you have a problem that may affect your membership in ShiKahr: The Emerald City.

Mailing list:

Please do not introduce topics in your messages that may be seen as harmful by fellow players. These include but are not limited to graphic violence (which does include blowing up a Rihannsu warbird in every post), cursing (which may be avoided by making up Vulcan words, rather than expressing yourself in Federation Standard), and others. If there is something you want included, please touch-base with other players and the game master before you do anything on the mailing list.

Please do announce it to the group if you are about to be away from keyboard for an extended period of time. Fellow players may be relying on your contribution, and it is only fair to warn them that you are not available.

Please do not use the electronic addresses of fellow players to send unsolicited business email (also known as SPAM), or otherwise harass the ShiKahr community.

Game background

ShiKahr: The Emerald City is set in Star Trek universe, on planet Vulcan (also known as T'Khasi or ah'Hrak, The Forge), in its capital city of ShiKahr (also spelled as shi'Kahr, ShirKahr, and in a variety of other ways as well).

The year is 2378. However, as you may notice, for the purpose of character development some characters tend to bend the laws of time. As long as that does not negatively impact on the other players in ShiKahr, that is acceptable.

Character creation guide

ShiKahr: The Emerald City is still in early stages of development as a game. While there is going to be our own guide here soon, for now please check the following links instead that describe how to come up with an outstanding concept of a character for a Star Trek universe-based roleplaying game:

http://writersu.s5.com/history/msl05.html
http://portholes.startrekrpg.org/bioguide.php

Who are Vulcans?

T'Khasi, the Homeworld
Physiology
Names
Clans and Houses
Privacy Codes
Government
V'Shar
V'Ket
Mental Disciplines
The old version of this guide

T'Khasi, the Homeworld
Do not be misguided by the number and size of 'seas' on T'Khasi; after the Rage most of water on the planet has evaporated, leaving but crusty seabeds as a reminder of what used to be there.
Imagine Gobi desert of Mongolia. Imagine Sonoran desert of Arizona. Imagine the worlds of Arrakis (from "Dune") and Tattoine (from "Star Wars"). Got the picture before your eyes? Now you know what is T'Khasi like. Ninety-six percent of that once lively planet is now barren rock and desert; sources of open water, reddish in color on this planet, are few and shallow. The temperature is hot, the air is thin, the gravity is high; few extravulcanians can sustain being on the surface without medications to aid them, whereas the natives appear to be completely comfortable. Would it suffice to say that Vulcannsu have never invented air conditioning, for there had been no logical need for that?

And yet, it is beautiful, in its own way; not something that any Vulcannsu would, in their right mind, trade for the riches of the Universe. As if in defiance of the dry and harsh climate, the flora and fauna are rich, and there are only a few places, The Forge being one of them, that are devoid of all life altogether.

T'Khasi is not a completely fictional planet... it may very well exist in the real world. Read up for yourselves.

Physiology
Vulcannsu are very similar to Terrans, and yet they are aliens. On one side it takes but some cosmetics and work with hair to make one look like an Earther; their tall and slim bodies are not that visibly unusual, and it's only the greenish skin and the pointed ears that you have to worry about ("But I swear, he is only preparing for the Halloween, officer!").

On another, it is hard to overlook that they live for up to 200 years and longer, that they have superb eyesight (at least when it comes to making out details; the color perception is somewhat handicapped, however) and hearing (Vulcannsu can hear a wider spectrum, too), while being not as perceptive when it comes to smells, that they are stronger and have greater endurance than humans. On a closer look one might pick up that Vulcannsu have only 28 teeth; that their heart is located on the right side of the body and beats 235 times a minute; that their veins are somewhat dilated; that their eyebrows are converging a bit too close together to completely pass for a Terran. Did I mention their rigid postures and unwillingness to engage in tactile behavior?

Vulcannsu are known to be pretty uniform; their is only one prominent race on T'Khasi. The word 'prominent' is there for a reason; some Vulcannsu, particularly the ones choosing to live in the deep desert regions have been subject to stronger solar radiation than their city-dwelling counterparts. Of course, it is still early to speak of any visible differences...

More on physiology.

Names
Vulkannsu have very complicated compound names, which are revealed in full only when necessary. Whereas a Vulkannsu may introduce herself/himself to an extravulcanian as (for example) Sorak of Vulcan, during a particularly revered ceremony, such as marriage, the same name becomes (for example) Sorak (1) cha'Sator (child of Sator) (2) hei-Kehlevt (of the House Kehlevt) (3) Talek-sen-deen (of the noble Clan Talek-sen-deen) (4).

(1) The first name is chosen by the child's parents. As far as boys are concerned, the more Surakian families prefer names in the form S _ _ _ K, that is, names starting with S, ending with K, and having five letters total. Other formats, such as S _ _ _ L, S _ _ _ N, S _ _ _ R, and S _ _ _ T are widespread as well. However, there are exceptions; not all Vulcannsu boys have 5-letter names and not all Vulcannsu boys have names starting with S. As far as girls are concerned, there is greater liberty when it comes to naming one, although it is expected that a name should not be longer than 6-7 letters. Some girls receive a T' prefix added to their names from birth, others get it when they undergo their first bonding ceremony. In the latter case, if and when the bond is broken, the female has an option of discarding the T' to indicate that is free to choose a new partner if she so desires.

(2) The parental name is inherited by the child. If one's father was (for example) Sator, then the child's parental name is thereby cha'Sator. Once again, there are exceptions. Some Vulcannsu choose not to have a parental name; some have two, or more. Some Vulcannsu use only one parental name on a daily basis, and during particular ceremonies they recite as many as thirty ancestors one after another. Some Vulcannsu prefer to trace their lineage through their mother's side, obtaining names such as (for example) cha'T'Lain.

(3) The House name is inherited by the child depending on which parent had to leave his/her House as a result of marriage. It is typically the male who leaves his House; however, there are exceptions. It is not uncommon (although frowned upon) for a Vulcannsu to claim allegiance to a House other than his parents' House.

(4) The Clan name is inherited by the child as well, just like the House name. The only peculiarity is that if a Vulcannsu is tracing the Clan name through her/his mother the middle part of the Clan name becomes ken (e.g., Talek-ken-deen), whereas if s/he is tracing the Clan name through the father, it remains sen (e.g., Talek-sen-deen).

Clans and Houses
Some cultures have races, some have nations, some have both or something else. Vulcannsu have Clans and Houses. Blessed (or cursed?) with a united planetary government, and lacking racial variability, Vulcannsu are organized in the same way they have been for thousands of years on the basis of feudal allegiance. The days of vassalage are history, but the traditions are here to stay.

Currently, there are 8 Clans and 47 Houses. Each Clan consists of a number of Houses that it has conquered and/or acquired in another way; the dominant House within a Clan is referred to as High House. The eldest female of the High House rules each Clan, although over the years the reigns have grown quite lax.

Some of the Clans are Alar-sen-dasmeen, Ansa-sen-tar, and Talek-sen-deen. Some of the Houses are Archenida, Balev, Duveh, Evekh, Galsh, Kehlevt, Krivakh, Lan, Lassiriheh, Sidak, Surak, Yehenik, and Zayus.

The sigil of the House Kehlevt The sigil of the House Krivakh The sigil of the House Surak

Privacy Codes
Vulcannsu are a very private race. Some speculate that Vulcannsu consider that a problem may 'go away' if it is not spoken about, others blame it on their low self-esteem... whatever is the real reason, Vulcannsu have ruled quite a large number of topics out of the information they make available to the extravulcanians. If an extravulcanian inquires about a topic with a Privacy Code invoked, the Vulcannsu shall merely keep silence; should the extravulcanian persist, it might just be considered very rude to the point of an official complaint to the respective embassy. There have been cases like that.

The full list of topics is quite compehensive; generally, Vulcannsu do not speak of any trouble that has affected their household. Whether a family has had a fight (if Vulcannsu ever get that far - one would expect them to get stuck in logical debates), or there has been a grave illness, it is not revealed to outsiders. And just as Vulcannsu are curious when it comes to science, they are anything but that in Private Matters. Soran can't continue to work for the Trade Commission? Duly noted. Anything else?

And it is not just problems and mishaps that are 'overlooked'; some topics, such as one's age or sexual preferences are 'classified' as well, no matter the status of the individual. Did I mention that to an extravulcanian a Vulcannsu would almost never reveal his House and Clan names?

Government
The term in the Terran language that can describe the Vulcannsu government the best is, perhaps, that of Constitutional Monarchy. On one side, the life of Vulcannsu is governed by the three-chamber Vulcannsu Planetary Legislation whose members are chosen by popular votes. On another, certain positions are inherited by the ruling Clans, such as the title of the Head Priestess of Gol and the seats on the Vulcannsu High Council (also referred to as Vulcannsu High Command). The Vulcannsu Planetary Legislation has the reigns of power when there is sufficient time to debate a topic, usually at least seven T'Khasi days; when the time is short, the Vulcannsu High Command (Council) makes a decision. There are times, however, when both the Vulcannsu Planetary Legislation and the Vulcannsu High Command (Council) attempt to enact a decision.

Vulcannsu Planetary Legislation consists of three chambers: the Proposal Group, the Rectification Group, and the Expunging Group. The Proposal Group consists of 5,986 Vulcannsu, representing T'Khasi as well as all of the Vulcannsu Colonial Worlds. It is responsible for putting forth proposals for new legislation. Historically, this has been the most educated part of the Legislation, and, unavoidantly, the hardest chamber to get through. Whatever project does go through this chamber, it is then forwarded to the Rectification Group. The Rectification Group consists of 4,618 Vulcannsu, and is responsible for reviewing legislative projects that come from the other two chambers. It is here that the laws are polished and perfected, to be further sent to the Expunging Group. The Rectification Group is known for the most heated (if one could call any Vulcannsu discussion heated) debates. The Expunging Group consists of 2,096 Vulcannsu, and is responsible for making a final decision as to whether a particular law should be enacted or vetoed. Did I mention that only a Vulcannsu-by-birth is eligible for election to the Legislation?

Vulcannsu High Command (Council) consists of eleven council members, each being a representative of her/his own clan. The power that each of the Vulcannsu on the Council holds is somewhat proportional to the power of the respective Clan; more than once the Council had to amend its decisions to ensure the support of the more affluent of its members.

V'Shar
Take all the information you can. Give none.
V'Shar is Vulcannsu Intelligence. One of the remnants of volatile past, V'Shar is more of a major thinktank at the moment. It has representatives on a large number of worlds with missions to collect information of all kinds. The resulting data is sent home, sometimes electronically, sometimes over courier vessels, should the contents be judged as particularly important. The information is processed once it reaches T'Khasi, and then is made available to Vulcannsu legislature, Vulcannsu Trade Commission, Vulcannsu Diplomatic Corps, and so on. V'Shar does not intend in military espionage; corporate espionage, on the other hand, is a fair game.

V'Ket
Whereas a shield has been the traditional embled of V'Ket, security and protection are hardly their only contribution to the Vulkannsu society.
Quite a few might find it very ironic that the largest Security Agency on T'Khasi has once been a guild of assassins and terrorists. The first professional warriors in the history of Vulcannsu, V'Ket have quickly rised in power, becoming second to none when it came to sabotage, hostages, extortion... if one believes that a language accurately portrays a culture, then the fact that Vulcannsu have 267 various words for terrorism is quite revealing.

V'Ket has suffered the most of the Vulcannsu choice to convert to pacifism; the demand for bodyguards has just never been the same since then. A number of adepts of V'Ket have chosen life on the Vulcan colonial worlds where the nature was still wild and uncontrollable, in Starfleet, or even among S'Kanderai.

Mental Disciplines
Undoubtedly, the most fascinating aspect of the Vulcannsu culture - and I am using the word with the same meaning that Spock would have, with fascinating meaning unexpected, unknown - is their mental disciplines. A heritage of centuries upon centuries of radiation-caused mutations and generations of applied eugenics, Vulcannsu have a number of gifts (or shall I say, curses?) available to them. Some are innate, some take almost a lifetime to learn, others are very elusive. Some are sought after, some are shied away from. Most are only useful at close ranges, and take a lot of effort and training to be used from the distance.

The most basic one is Mind Touch. Available virtually to any Vulcannsu, it is an ability to perceive and/or exchange the outermost thoughts and feelings with another sentient being. Depending on one's skill, s/he may or may not have to touch the subject. The more skilled adepts may go as far as confusing and/or influencing the others. This is not an ability that can be turned off; a lot of times it is a curse, forcing Vulcannsu to avoid being close and, especially, touching other individuals who do not have sufficient control over their emotional states and thoughts.

The more advanced version of Mind Touch is Mind Meld. There is nothing held back here, usually; the two conscious beings share everything they have, including their innermost desires. A Mind Meld requires proper training and discipline; it is not always that one may want to reveal all of herself/himself to the partner. While it is extremely challenging to keep a part of oneself locked away, it is not unheard of. Depending on one's training level, s/he may Mind Meld even with psionically-handicapped individuals.

Mind Touch and Mind Meld require a touch - or being in extremely close to each other; Mind Bond is different, for it is where distances does not matter any more. Mind Touch does not leave traces, Mind Meld leaves some (as you can never really forget the one you have melded with), Mind Bond rarely goes away - sometimes it lasts even after the death of the partner. It takes two individuals who are extremely affectionate towards each other; once they undergo a Mind Meld they become aware of the other from then on; depending on one's level of training and psionic ability this may range from merely being aware that your bondmate is alive to knowing the exact state of her/his mind - no matter how far the partner is. How do Vulcannsu manage to remain sane, especially in the old age when they have had several bondmates and have gone through a number of Mind Melds, is a mystery. As Spock would, once again, put it, 'fascinating'.

Telekinesis is a mental power available to a select few Vulcannsu. Once it has been rather widespread; however, T'Khasi has seen quite a few times when a particularly devastating war has brought the numbers of Vulcannsu below the minimum survival level. It is rumored that the adepts capable of moving objects with the sheer power of their minds have been a casualty of one of those wars, although who knows?

There are few mental abilities that are abhorred more than Mind Kill. It is a very rare ability, surfacing once in several generations. A child rarely reaches the adulthood, falling prey to her/his own destructive abilities. The ones that do survive, try their best to hide the curse within them. Mind Kill is one of the few gifts that turns on involuntarily; there is no real way to say when is it going to activate next. It does appear only when the individual is particularly distressed - but once again, far from every time that happens.

Body Control is, perhaps, the most widespread mental ability that Vulcannsu possess; some go as far as claiming it is completely innate. What it involves is an individual's full control over her/his glands, ranging from increasing/decreasing one's metabolism at will (for example, to control the body temperature), to increasing/decreasing the heart rate. The only gland that is always independent is the thyroid one, however, suggesting that Vulcannsu have no control over their reproductive urges.

One of the mental abilities based on Body Control is Healing Trance. When injured, a Vulcannsu enters a trance-like state during which all of the bodily processes are slowed down; in fact, the Vulcannsu appears all but dead, for all energy is channeled at regeneration. This is not panacea, however; if not treated by Healers, a Vulcannsu in a Healing Trance may die, sometimes with and sometimes without becoming conscious for the last time just before death.

Mind powers are not easy to learn, and are not easy to use; one can easily burn out, should s/he forget to meditate daily, preferably alone, in the dark, and in comfortable clothing, for at least an hour at a time.

Part III: Philosophy

Logic and reason

Vulcans rely on logic and reason to guide their lives, rather than emotion, at least some of the. All expression of emotions was completely forbidden, negative or otherwise. That stance was not accepted by all Vulcans, however. Several groups, including Romulans (also known as Rihannsu or the Sundered) were a group of Vulcans chose to split away rather than accept the philosophy of logic and reason. This does not mean that Vulcans have cast away all emotions they once had; they have merely made a choice not to let those emotions influence the decisions they are making.

The essence of their logical society is in arriving at the truth through logical process. Emotion is illogical, thus making them impure, and deterrent to truth. However, Vulcans are born with the same emotions that afflicted their violent ancestors, but the continual mind conditioning, the t'an s'at, gives them the impassivity sought after by all Vulcans. The t'an s'at is an intellectual decontruction of emotional patterns, a lifelong process that strives for absolute detachment from all emotion. Though not all can arrive at the penultimate pure logical state, the exacting process of mental control gives Vulcans enough to conform to the ideals of Vulcan society. Vulcans of this creed are impervious to greed, deception, anger, and all other vices that still plague the Terran psyche well into the 24th century.

Vulcans also believe knowledge to be the only defense against unknown dangers, and pursue them with the intellect and logic that makes them some of the finest scholars in the Federation. Their pursuit of knowledge and impassivity of emotion are the driving forces in a Vulcan's life.

Further reading on logic: http://members.tripod.com/~tshala/lyras.html, http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Academy/7086/vulclect.html, http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Academy/7086/vulcsur1.html, and http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Academy/7086/vulcspo.html.

Part IV: Culture

General tendencies

Vulcans are pacifists.

Calendar

The days on Vulcan is about 18 Vulcan Hours or 25.3 Earth hours. There are no weeks on Vulcan and therefore no Week-ends. Vulcan calendar was established approx. 943 Vulcan years ago. The length of the year was first established as 252 sunrise to sunrise cycles. Vulcan has no real seasons changes on their calendar.

1 Vulcan Year = 252 Vulcan Days = 266.4 Earth Days = 0.73 Earth Year (Earth Years)
1 Vulcan Year = 18 Vulcan Hours = 25.3 Earth Hours = 1.058 Earth Day

Vulcan month names:
1 Z'at (Start of year)
2 D'ruh (?)
3 K'riBrax (Fast one)
4 re'T'Khutai (Fourth Month)
5 T'keKhuti (Before T'Khut)
6 Khuti (Dedicated to T'Khut)
7 ta'Krat (Seventh cycle)
8 K'ri'lior (Bright one)
9 et'khior (Nine stars)
10 T'lakht (Dedicated to the solar flare (rage))
11 T'ke'Tas (Before end-year)
12 Tasmeen (End of year).

Penal system

Crimes rarely committed on Vulcan, nearly unheard of, because almost all of the Vulcans are very peaceful and logical. However, there are a few exceptions... Crimes against the Federation, are dealt by the Federation representative on Vulcan. Petty crimes are usually dealt with by the individual's clan or the family circle. All other "crimes": immoral acts, acts against the Vulcan philosophy and tradition, are dealt with by the family or the individual's teacher.

Religion

Though there is no one official unifying religion, there are many unorganized cults. First of all, there is a belief in the katra, the sould and consciousness of a person, which is transferred psionically just prior to death. Second, there is a belief in the creator, referred to as One Who Does Not Speak, One Who Does Not Hear, or One Who Is Not Present. Third, there are many other minor cults, including the cult of the Goddess of War.

Marriage and Pon Farr

Vulcans have chosen mates by the age of seven, selected by their parents, the mates are joined in a ceremony that links them telepathically. When the two come of age, the link compels them to follow through with full marital rituals, which cement their relationship. The total disengagement of emotions Vulcans adopt must be relieved every seven years, in what is known as pon farr. Vulcan males must mate (or die), and the natural choice is of course their chosen mate.

Part V: Likes/Dislikes

Food preferences

Vulcans are mostly vegeterian.

Part VI: Education/Careers

Psionic training

All Vulcans are given rigorous mental training to develop psionic/mental abilities like emotional compulsion and psychic image projection. Wherever a Vulcan may have been brought up, most return to Vulcan for rigid training which develops their concentration, meditation, and telepathic abilities. There are a number of psionic institutions, called Sohk-Paks or "schools of the mind". The first great Sohk-Pak was supposedly founded by Sorinak 7200 years ago. Besides these psionic training, some non-telepathic training allows concentration of strength, blood and antibodies into injured organs in self-induced hypnosis when wounded, which accelerates regeneration to an astonishing speed.

Meditation

Meditation is a way for a Vulcan to relax, to achieve inner peace.

Further reading on meditation: http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Academy/7086/vulcmed1.html and http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Academy/7086/vulcmedi.html.