Skvik

Skvik [Black Rats of the Dark Hole]
On the spaceward side of Vaar’s Moon, anchored there regardless of the celestial body’s position in space, is the Dark Hole. It is a weak ‘black hole’ anomaly around which a thin ring of debris orbits, sluggishly sucked in by its greedy gravity. Never seen by the folk of Porphyra glancing up at the cursed moon, it is the home of the space-ratfolk people who call themselves the skvik, and they dwell in Maze Station, a tenuously-connected torus-shaped space installation within the black hole’s debris ring. Their origin is shrouded in myths of persecution and desperate flight from vague persecution, which probably led to the race’s overall xenophobic attitude, and the main units of Maze Station are of ‘Ancient One’ origin with large areas of jury-rigged skvik manufacture. The presence of unpredictable teleport gate-units within the old sections of Maze Station probably reveals more about why the skvik ended up in such a precarious place. The Dark Hole, embodiment of their capricious god ‘Naeyhm’ both sucks in celestial material and spits out objects from some unfathomable ‘other side’ of the galaxy, which fuels their morose religion and their ragged living space. That being said, their ratty little eyes are constantly fixed on the relatively fertile domain of Vaar’s Moon below, the glowing and vital eye of their god to their own dark orb, and constantly plan to wrest control of its resources from the annoying- and frightening- intrepid space kittens who possessively roam the ranges of the Red Moon!

Appearance and Physiology
The skvik closely resemble terrestrial ratfolk, but their spaceborne lifestyle and exposure to the foul radiations of the Dark Hole have changed them somewhat. Humanoid rodents, they have black fur and glittering red eyes- some say they have an inner light of their own. Taller but no heavier, they prefer to move in the three dimensions of light gravity and lash their pale white tails as a counterbalance as they clamber through the cramped passages of Maze Station. They clothe themselves in harnesses for holding gear, and those that can afford it wear space armor and void-gear, as one never knows how intact ones’ home containment will be in the ‘Station. Most subsist on nutri-paste rations or inventive fungus colonies, and they hunger for fresh meats and living foods, which makes them unsettling company in normal settings. Skviks have developed a language of their own, inspired by the static hissing of interference from the Dark Hole, called Darkchatter. Males and females differ little, as gestation takes little time among their folk- mating rights are determined by females who dominate the environmental-controls end of the Station, and they know best how population should be controlled. Males avariciously plan missions and raids, and thus rid the skvik of boastful troublemakers.

Random Skvik Height and Weight
Race Height Weight (lbs.) Mod. Dice Weight Mult.
Skvik 3 ft. 7 in. 58 lbs. +2d4 in. x3

Religion
Most of the skvik of the Dark Hole Maze are religious fanatics of a frightening god they know as “Naeyhm” (pronounced ‘Nim’) and whom they title ‘The Swallower’, ‘The Taker and the Giver’, ‘He of the Dark Eye’ and many other sobriquets that they constantly invoke. This, of course, is the New God Nemyth Vaar, though neither they nor their space kitten enemies realize they worship the same deity. Naeyhm is embodied to the skvik in the Dark Hole, the proto-black hole that their space home and asteroid field “The Maze” tenuously orbits. Priests whip up the sniveling denizens of Maze Station into whatever mad mission they can conceive of, commandeer a ragged craft, and off they go- usually not to return. Such missions, along with ill-conceived experiments on Ancient One or alien-salvaged technology, many advance the power of the skvik or relieve population excess… quite efficiently. Malcontents of the lesser living quarters have begun to secretly follow an even more bizarre god than Naeyhm, in the form of Najim, star-lost Elemental Lord of the Void. They cultivate oozes in their rat-holes, which doesn’t bode well for anybody!

Society
Skvik almost exclusively inhabit Maze Station, a ragtag conglomerate of Ancient One gravity-regulation technology (originally placed to moderate the destructive power of the Dark Hole) and salvaged starcraft and living habitat. Status is relegated on how close to the grav-reg modules one lives, though a lot of skvik can live in a small space, if necessary. Status is allocated as follows: Grav-reg (techknights and priests), Power generation (raiders and top technorats), salvaged spacecraft (scouts, assassins, techno-snipers) and jury-rigged living quarters within asteroids and containers (commoners and mad-ratfolk). Food is hard to come by on Maze Station, as matter-conversion units to produce nutri-paste are less efficient than porphyrite processors that the space kittens have. Many skvik get by on weird space-fungus or bizarre astro-bugs they breed for the purpose. Skvik constantly seek to repair and modify the space flotsam spat out by the Dark Hole, and regularly plan to raid Vaar’s Moon porphyrite and supplies. Skvik have easy access to short-distance spacecraft of dependable, if not attractive condition, and use them to scour the event horizon of the Dark Hole, swoop down to Vaar’s Moon, or occasionally raid Shankhil’s Chair, the larger moon of Porphyra.

Relations
The skvik are xenophobic in nature, believing that they are the foremost race in Naeyhm’s esteem, and that they will be the last beings swallowed by the Dark Eye (an alternate term for the Dark Hole) when the Taker and the Giver decides it is time to end all things. It is perhaps a genetic revulsion that makes skvik dislike m’YowR so much, and the feeling is mutual. Skvik are jealously envious of the technological power of the spaceborne xenarthan, and can be somewhat groveling in their presence. Other sentients are seen as nasty threats sent against the skvik as a test of their loyalty to Naeymh, or just a grim trick by their fickle god. Intelligent creatures are seen as either tools to be manipulated or threats to be annihilated- and broiled in an atom-rotisserie!

Adventurers
Most Skvik live a hard-scrabble life on their ragged space station, and jockey for the privilege to get on a crew to explore or raid. Any eligible classes can be found in any combination within a skvik party, and it is a charismatic or cruel skvik indeed that can exert enough control to be a leader. Technorats and priests are as common as gunners or fighting-troops, as all must fight for their status, living space, mating rights, and the glory of The Swallower!

Names
These are common names of the skvik of Maze Station.

Male: Aegas, Nikademas, Jennyr, J’nath, Timmith, Vortex
Female: Chiik, Frisbi, Nimi, Zuzu, Fizzik, Mizzen


Skvik Racial Characteristics
Skvik player characters are defined by class levels—they do not possess racial hit dice. As a skvik, you have the following racial characteristics.

  • -2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence: You are twitchy and sharp-witted, enabling you to survive in a hostile environment.
  • Ratfolk: You are a humanoid with the ratfolk subtype.
  • Size: You are a Small creature. You gain a +1 size bonus to your AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty on combat maneuver checks and to your CMD, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.
  • Slow Speed: You have a base speed of 20 feet.
  • Darkvision: You can see in areas of low-light and darkness without penalty.
  • Gravity Defiers (Sp): Living of the fringe of the all-consuming Dark Hole has caused the skvik to develop powers that defy gravity. You may use mage hand as a spell-like abilities three times per day, and may use feather fall and levitate as spell like abilities once per day.
  • Treacherous Rats! (Ex): You have a reputation for slyness and treachery… and receive a +2 racial bonus to Deception and either Sleight of Hand or Sense Motive. You must make this choice at 1st level.
  • Technologist (Ex): Your race has developed futuristic technology, and you are proficient with technological weapons, armor, and devices. You begin play with a biogun or a level 1 tech device.
  • Languages: You speak Common and their own language, Darkchatter. Skvik with high intelligence can choose from the following languages: Abyssal, Draconic, Elven, Femanx, Mewlan, Orcish, Xenarch

Alternative Racial Characteristics
The following alternate racial characteristics may be selected in place of one or more of the standard racial traits above. Consult your GM before selecting any of these new options.

Silent as Shadows (Ex): You blend easily into their environments, and move with surprising grace. You gain a +2 racial bonus on Stealth checks, and take only a –5 penalty on Stealth checks made to hide from creatures they have distracted with a Deception check (rather than the normal –10 penalty). This racial trait replaces treacherous rats.

Voidmind (Ex): You have been irreparably changed by the Dark Hole, and no longer think like other sentient beings. They gain +2 racial bonus to your Will saves, and once per day can use silent image as a spell-like ability. This replaces gravity defiers.

Wraithskin (Sp): Your molecular structure damaged by the weird energies of the Dark Hole, you can use alter self as a spell like ability at-will, though their ability scores do not change. This replaces gravity defiers.

Zero G Reflexes (Ex): The ragged space station that is the skvik’s home, circling the Dark Hole has undependable gravity conditions. Skvik with this characteristic can stand up from prone as a swift action which does not trigger an attack of opportunity. This replaces treacherous rats.

OPEN GAME LICENSE Version 1.0a - All text is Open Game Content.