Idealized by many other humanoid races and gifted with innate psychic abilities, lashuntas are at once consummate scholars and enlightened warriors, naturally divided into two specialized subraces with different abilities and societal roles.
Ability Adjustments: See below (Dimorphic)
Hit Points: 4
All lashuntas gain +2 Charisma at character creation. Korasha lashuntas are muscular (+2 Strength at character creation) but often brash and unobservant (–2 Wisdom at character creation). Damaya lashuntas are typically clever and well-spoken (+2 Intelligence at character creation) but somewhat delicate (–2 Constitution at character creation).
Lashuntas can mentally communicate with any creatures within 30 feet with whom they share a language. Conversing telepathically with multiple creatures simultaneously is just as difficult as listening to multiple people speaking.
Size and Type
Lashuntas are Medium humanoids with the lashunta subtype.
Playing a Lashunta
- Deeply value learning, self-improvement, and the practice and perfection of skills and powers.
- Are a natural leader—calm and charismatic if damaya, loud and boisterous if korasha.
- Sometimes find other races’ reliance on audible language exasperating.
- Are a good judge of character and bond deeply with those worthy of your trust.
Other races probably...
- Simultaneously admire and resent your natural charm and your force of personality.
- Expect you to know everything or see you as frustratingly posturing and patronizing.
- Fear you’ll use your telepathy to read their minds.
- Question the influence of corporate power on your supposedly enlightened meritocracies.
To survive on the predator-rich world of Castrovel, the telepathic humanoids called lashuntas evolved adaptive genetics that allow children to develop into one of two subspecies, depending on the stresses they endure at puberty: either the tall, intellectual, and adaptable damaya—who make up most of their race’s political leaders and ambassadors—or the short, burly, headstrong korasha, who excel as warriors and explorers. Both feature short forehead antennae that focus their natural telepathy, as well as colorful swirls and raised markings on their faces unique to each individual. Due to natural pheromones and lashuntas’ almost perfect physical symmetry, most humanoid races find lashuntas of both subspecies subconsciously (and sometimes unnervingly) attractive.
Both clades of the species bear the same genetics, allowing them to intermarry and have children. While all lashunta children inherit complexions and certain distinguishing features from their parents, their subspecies is not one of them. Through psychic ritual and force of will techniques applied at puberty, modern lashuntas have mastered the ability to determine what subspecies a child will grow into, activating certain epigenetics and shutting down others. While some lashunta city-states attempt to steer children in particular directions, such as via government-run aptitude tests, most lashuntas believe passionately in a child’s right to choose. In ancient lashunta history, their starkly divided gender roles led to subspecies almost universally correlated with gender, but as lashunta culture has grown more egalitarian, gender balance between the two subspecies has become roughly equal.
Lashuntas form the most prominent race on Castrovel, and have long been organized into independent city-states for protection against the planet’s many apex predators. At the same time, thanks to their large number of magical portals, lashuntas regularly ventured to other worlds even before the advent of space travel, and they have developed particularly close bonds with societies on Akiton.
Society and Alignment
Though lashunta societies usually characterize themselves as meritocracies, their leaders have traditionally been women and are usually damaya except in times of war. Both damaya and korasha lashuntas see education as one of the highest callings, making lashunta scholars renowned across the solar system. Military service is also valued, since Castrovel’s dangerous ecosystem and lack of overarching governments mean that settlements need warriors to protect them from jungle monsters. Of these soldiers, the most iconic are the traditional shotalashu cavalry, lightly armored riders who form telepathic bonds with and take their name from their saurian mounts.
On the whole, lashuntas’ focus on self-improvement, honor, and communal defense leads them toward good alignments, with damaya tending to be more lawful and korasha more chaotic.
Lashuntas believe that every culture has something to teach, and thanks to the legendary prowess of lashunta diplomats, most other races respect them and consider them allies, or at least reasonable associates. Vesk admire their warriors, androids and kasathas value their logic and learning, and humans respect their scholarship but risk embarrassing themselves trying to deal with lashuntas’ disconcerting attractiveness. Shirrens are the main exception to this pattern of mutual respect—though lashuntas’ millennia of warfare with the insectile formians has finally ended, many lashuntas are still uncomfortable interacting with similar races and worry that “the bugs” may one day unite against them.
When a lashunta leaves home, it’s often to grow—in knowledge, prowess, or simple enlightenment. Experience is the best teacher, and the thrill of discovery means that a lashunta adventurer is as likely to be drawn to a new world by a rumor of lost lore as by the promise of wealth. Of course, this quest for wisdom sounds less noble once it’s understood that the prestige associated with bringing significant new knowledge home to Castrovel all but assures a lashunta the finest creature comforts for the rest of his life as a corporate consultant or professor at a university. Lashunta adventurers are most frequently envoys, technomancers, and mechanics, but soldiers and operatives are also common, the latter being trained and employed by the numerous powerful lashunta-owned corporations that have surpassed many city- states as the primary political powers on Castrovel and beyond.
Lashunta naming conventions vary widely among city-states, but often tend toward soft sounds with tonal elements that make them sound musical and elegant to other races. Some sample lashunta names are Domash, Hesori, Kima, Kopalo, Maenala, Nomae, Oraeus, Raia, Shess, Soryn, Taeon, and Varikuara.