Vesk1 are a humanoid race resembling lizards who hail from Veskarium, an interplanetary empire near the Pact Worlds.2
Vesk average about 7 feet in height.2 They are warm-blooded and have an imposing appearance, possessing tough green scales, powerful muscles, long, thick tails, small horns, claws and teeth. Bony spikes protruding from their lower jaws like beards protect the skull in combat. Those few vesk born with spikes running all the way down their back to the tip of their tail are said to be favoured by Damoritosh and destined for greatness.3
Female vesk are bigger and have brighter, more colorful scale patterns than male vesk. They otherwise have similar features and body types.4 Scientists argue that these features once helped them attract mates and produce strong offspring, and scale vibrancy continues to be seen as a sign of health and beauty.3
Female vesk lay three to seven eggs at a time, each the size of an ostrich egg. Dense shells protect the embryos inside, and are white when first laid, turning iridescent green as they develop. Traditionally, vesk parents construct nests in their home and incubate eggs with their own body heat; in modern times, most eggs are put in incubators, though recently a return to tradition has become fashionable. The eggs hatch after six months. Vesk mature at the age of 16 and can live up to 90 years, but tend to seek a glorious death in battle before that.3
Prior to the introduction of Drift travel, vesk conquered their own solar system's other races to form an interplanetary empire they named Veskarium. After Drift travelers established contact with Veskarium, the Pact Worlders shared with them the technology to build Drift engines. Veskarium engineers raced to update their existing starships with the new technology, and immediately initiated a war to conquer the Pact Worlds. This lead to the Silent War, and lead to the creation of the Pact Worlds as a defensive alliance. After centuries of combat, Veskarium later declared a truce to fight alongside the Pact Worlds against the larger threat of the Swarm.25
Vesk are matrilineal and tend to have large extended families. All vesk with the same mother are considered siblings (no matter the father), and have the tightest bonds with their clutchmates. In large households, each clutch might form a sub-family and compete with other clutches both inside and outside the family. Some clutches even form military units and detachments, living their entire lives in each other's company.3
Vesk have long struggled with overpopulation due to their reproductive biology; Vesk Prime lacks the resources to support such an ever-growing population. As a result, the vesk adopted a militaristic culture, turning their aggression toward other races, first on Vesk Prime, then on other planets. Population pressure remains an issue even after the vesk expanded to other worlds, so vesk society remains a strictly regimented military stratocracy.3
At the age of 10, vesk children are enlisted into the planetary militia and receive basic military training, including self-defence, unarmed combat, strategy, honour, and the importance of duty to the Veskarium. Vesk émigrés tend to send their children back home or form academies where they can be taught traditional values and fighting skills. Death is not uncommon during this period, as combat is dangerous.3 When coming of age, vesk most commonly enlist in the military; some instead enter a military academy, university or apprenticeship. Vesk tend to believe that youngsters will learn through the trials of life or die, and consider higher education a waste of time. While they recognise the need of other occupations and respect all professions as long as they serve the empire, prowess in battle remains the true marker of status, and political power is held exclusively by warriors.6 Military service remains the best career option for young vesk, who feed the Veskarium's war machine with their lives.3
Most vesk advance in their society through military service, as mercenaries or duelists, though some find more peaceful mercantile success. Most value honorable acts, efficiency, respect, and the rule of law, and while typically stoic in front of other races, vesk are prone to emotional outbursts in private or during battle. Since vesk culture does not prioritize education, many vesk who seek knowledge exile themselves from their home societies to travel the stars. Other vesk who leave Veskarium do so in pursuit of glory as mercenaries or adventurers.2
Vesk children usually keep a piece of their eggshell during their childhood, and ritually destroy it when coming of age as a sign of leaving childhood behind. Traditionally, this ritual is dedicated to Damoritosh; vesk who do not worship him or enter civilian occupations might dedicate this to another deity or remove the religious element altogether.6
Vesk tend to be fixated on social status, due to their hierarchical society. They tend to be honourable and duty but also proud, which sometimes lead to deadly honour duels. Vesk also take pride in their self-mastery and propriety, but particularly egregious insults can lead to a blood debt, which is only paid when the offender's family is exterminated.6
Due to their history, vesk believe that all other species are inferior to them, and that they have a duty to treat subordinates, even conquered ones, fairly. They seek to improve the lives of their subjects thorough education, trade and the rule of law, without considering whether the latter appreciate it or not.6
Modern vesk are omnivores descended from carnivores, and meat remains a staple of their diet. Many traditional vesk recipes have remained unchanged for generations. The preparation of meat is almost an art, and vesk have learnt techniques for cooking meat from almost all conquered planets.6
- ↑ The singular and plural forms of vesk are the same.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 James L. Sutter. (March 15, 2017). Unveiling a New Starfinder Race: The Vesk!, Paizo Blog.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Joe Pasini et al. (2020). Near Space, p. 8. Paizo Inc.. ISBN 978-1-64078-212-9
- ↑ James L. Sutter. (March 16, 2017). Comment on "Unveiling a New Starfinder Race: The Vesk!", Paizo Blog.
- ↑ Logan Bonner et al. (2017). Starfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook, p. 428. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-956-1
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Joe Pasini et al. (2020). Near Space, p. 9. Paizo Inc.. ISBN 978-1-64078-212-9