|CR||By class level|
|Images of verthani|
Source: Alien Archive, pg(s). 118-119
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Verthani are the dominant race of Verces, the fifth planet of the Pact Worlds system. As their homeworld is tidally locked, the verthani population is concentrated in the Ring of Nations, the heavily urbanised terminator line between the Fullbright scorching desert and the Darkside frozen wasteland.
Verthani are 8-feet tall humanoids with delicate features, gangly limbs, and pure black mouse-like eyes. The pigment of their skin can be changed: young verthani display bright, expressive patterns and colours depending on their mood, while adults can control them at will. Cybernetic augmentation is common among the verthani.
The verthani have long been the pioneers of cybernetics and space travel in the Pact Worlds system, even before the Gap and the advent of Drift travel. Although other worlds have since caught up up, verthani pilots, explorers and their massive shipyards at Skydock retain their reputation. When the Absalom Pact was signed, the success of the verthani Ring of Nations led to the Pact Worlds adopting both its structure and the peacekeeping Stewards.
Each verthani chooses to be a member of one of these castes in adolescence:
- Augmented: a futuristic caste that uses technology to modify their bodies
- Pure Ones: the most populous caste; rejects bodily augmentation and is most concerned with government, farming, and commerce
- God-Vessels: clerics who bear permanently branded holy symbols on their skin
Traditionally, the Augmented and the God-Vessels are only allowed to marry Pure Ones; the resulting balanced, shared understanding of each caste contributes to their societal stability. Though this caste system is now seen as archaic and has lost most of its importance, with cybernetic augmentation and free marriage being common, the traditions still carry some cultural pride, proudly worn by some verthani.
The temperate portion of Verces is composed of 27 different sovereign states, united under the Ring of Nations, with different cultures which have nonetheless long been more homogenous than those of many other planets, due to the dense population. Verthani culture, generally peaceful, curious and welcoming towards outsiders, is a model of independent, democratic cooperation: cramped on a narrow line of their planet, the verthani have long learnt not to rely on violence to solve disagreements.
While the Ring of Nations holds the entire hospitable territory on Verces, not all residents of the planet recognise its authority. They are collectively known as the Outlaw Kingdoms and try to scrap a living over the inhospitable Fullbright or Darkside. They see the residents of the Ring as soft and decadent, and are in turn considered to be backward and inbred by those ordinary verthani.