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A cephalume

By class level
Methane atmosphere
Source: Interstellar Species, pg(s). 56

Cephalumes are a race of aberrations native to the planet Luminar, a gas giant that orbits a red giant sun in Near Space.1


Cephalumes superficially resemble squids or other cephalopods, but this apparent similarity is belied by their plantlike physiology. They are roughly humanoid in shape, with a muscular torso, two tentacle-like upper limbs, and a single foot ending in up to a dozen tentacle-like toes. The limbs and toes which resemble tentacles are more like the vines of a plant than the tentacles of an octopus, however.


Cephalumes master the control of their skin's bioluminescence by age 5, needed to communicate in their native language, Lumos. Their brains and other major organs are composed of fibrous strands which stretch the length of their bodies. Due to the darkness and cold of Luminar, cephalumes metabolize low-level background radiation through their skin to provide the energy for life rather than through photosynthesis like most plants.

Cephalumes often bond with symbiotes known as krikiks which provide certain benefits similar to more traditional augmentations. Krikiks, however, are intelligent, living creatures, although their intelligence is not well understood. They experience pleasure and pain, yet have no culture of their own. They are typically 2 to 3 feet long, though their appearance varies widely.


Luminar has three layers:

  • the outer atmosphere (called "sky" by the cephalumes), a hot hydrogen and helium layer;
  • the inner atmosphere (where cephalumes live), a methane layer kept liquid by atmospheric pressure; and
  • the core, a mix of frozen methane and other chemicals at a temperature below -300 degrees.

It is unusual for a planet to grow steadily colder as atmospheric pressure increases--indeed, it runs contrary to the known laws of physics--though a small number of other gas giants have been found that also exhibit the "Luminar Phenomenon," which has yet to be explained.


Cephalumes have a relatively unusual culture, having never needed to develop fire or use money (although the idea of currency was known as a theoretical possibility). Traditional cephalume heavy construction relies on the use of the corpses of their ancestors, and their early starships were no exception (albeit with the assistance of magical preservation from the rigors of space travel). Most of their ships still use this method, as most cephalumes are unsettled by travelling far without ancestors to share the journey.

Sex and Gender

Like most plants, cephalumes have both male and female reproductive organs and any cephalume can fertilize any other cephalume. Traditionally, cephalumes rely on the randomness of Luminar's methane currents for fertilization, though there are tales of romantic pairs who defy this tradition throughout cephalume history.


Cephalume names are in Lumos and therefore best communicated with light. They can include colors only visible at very short ranges and rapidly changing glyph patterns that resemble strobe lighting. Cephalume names tend to be much longer than names in other species if translated, since they can convey a large amount of information rapidly in their native language. Therefore, they tend to adopt nicknames in Common when interacting with other species, often echoing some small part of their full name. These nicknames are typically a series of glyphs that repeats. Some examples include Boribori, Kekemomo, Ronto-Ronta, and Tunu-Sunu.


  1. Rigby Bendele, et al. “Chapter 2: Species” in Interstellar Species, 56. Paizo Inc., 2022