|Homeworld||Marhaban (Empty Quarter 0426)|
|Reference||Journal of the Travellers Aid Society No. 11|
Bawapakerwa-a-a-awapawab: Intelligent minor race native to Marhaban (Empty Quarter 0426). Known as Bwaps or Wabs (from their name for themselves, Bawapakerwa-a-a-awapawab), they are also known as Newts due to their appearance.
Physiology & Environment (Ecology)
Bwaps average 1.4 meter in height and mass between 30 and 50 kilograms. They are an upright, bipedal, homoeothermic and bisexual, with an internal skeleton and a closed circulatory system.
Body markings vary tremendously from clan (“tree”) to clan, each one having a distinctive pattern. The pattern is determined by genetic factors and the color is determined by careful manipulation of the mother’s diet during the formation of the egg. Greens, browns, yellows and blues are most common, usually in patterns of darker colors over a lighter basic color.
Bwap bodies are filled with plasma and blood. Bwap blood hemoglobin is copper-based, a deep blue in color, making their skin a faint greenish-blue in areas without pigmentation.
Bwaps are oviparous (egg-laying), each female incubating a single, non-amniotic egg in a special pouch on her lower abdomen. After hatching, the young remain in this pouch for several weeks, occasionally coming out to be fed, until they are strong enough to survive outside. The young reach maturity after fourteen years.
Bwaps are uncomfortable in less than 98% humidity, as their skin must be kept moist. With special clothing, they can exist indefinitely in humidity as low as 25%, provided they have adequate water. This normally consists of a loosely fitting kaftan-like garment and a hood covering the head (giving rise to another nickname, “towel-heads”). The cloth of these garments is permeated with a network of fine tubes, through which water flows and keeps the cloth moist. In occupations where they must handle paper or other items which would suffer from moisture, Bwaps wear thin water-proof gloves. In humidity of less than 25%, they must use sealed environment suits. All clothing is colored with a stylized representation of their body, since recognition of body pattern is an important part of their greeting ritual.
History & Background (Dossier)
Bwaps can be found throughout the Imperium, more commonly in the region trailing and coreward of Capital (Core 2118). Fewer than twelve Imperial worlds are fully controlled by Bwaps; most of these are classed as religious dictatorships. Bwap merchants and administrators can be found throughout known space, but are less common outside the Imperium.
Prior to obtaining civilization, proto-Bwaps lived in densely wooded, mangrove-like swamps. They burrowed under and among the root systems of large trees, forming dens for the communal protection of their young. Their culture and ritual interactions began at this time. A shift in weather patterns caused the marshy areas to shrink, forcing them into increased competition with other animals in the region. The discovery of tools and then agriculture permitted the Bwaps to gain a tremendous advantage over their competition, and put them on the road to civilization.
First Imperium Contact
Imperial Date: -5000: The Vilani contact the Bwap on Pekawapawab-a Marhaban (Empty Quarter 0426). The native Bwaps have a world-spanning society at TL–5, but this rapidly progresses to TL–9 within a single century.
After being discovered by the Vilani, the Bwaps quickly reached TL–7 and stabilized. The introduction of advanced technologies such as jump drive had no major effect on their culture, and the Bwaps have prospered greatly in the intervening centuries.
Psychology & Philosophy (Mindset)
From the human point of view, Bwaps are obsessed with minutiae, patterns, and the order of things. Driven by this internal desire to see everything in its proper place, they make excellent bureaucrats, officials, mathematicians, bookkeepers, scientists, and historians.
However, their obsession with ritual and proper conduct can make them difficult to deal with. Those who violate the rituals will be lectured to, at length, on propriety. Dealing with Bwaps takes time, but trying to speed things up only takes more time.
Society is dominated by the Bwap world-view, which holds that each individual has a place in the Wapawab or tree - a view stemming from their habitat, but including phratry, bloodlines, country, and place of duty.
The literal tree is intricately tied into the planetary ecology, providing shelter and oxygen, converting water and minerals into food, etc. The figurative tree is much harder to define, but is roughly equivalent to a clan or tribal group. Both sorts of trees are part of a planet, which is part of a solar system, which is part of a cluster, which is part of a galaxy, which is part of the cosmos.
Everything the Bwaps do reflects this complex, wheels-within-wheels outlook. Each individual takes great pride in being one small, functional and unique cog in a vast, ever-changing universe of interlinked patterns. Their ritual of greeting, for instance, seems like meaningless formality and windy chitchat to non-Bwaps, but communicates: “I am in this place, and doing my part. Where are you and what are you doing?”
Criminal behavior is extremely rare, and is considered the worst form of mental disorder among Bwaps, since it disrupts the proper order of things.
Their world-view means that their definition of crime is often at variance with Imperial norms, but, fortunately, most Bwaps courts consider exile to be sufficient punishment, especially in the case of aliens such as humans.
Culture & Society
Bwap Social Organization
Adventurers: Bwaps encountered away from their homeworlds are often in service to the Imperium or other interstellar entities as merchants and administrators. Such Bwaps serve as ideal Merchant and Professional characters.
See Atapas-atta-wapawab, or the Grand Council of Crèches, for more information.
Government & Politics (Leadership)
The Atapas-atta-wapawab is characterized as having a high degree of centralization, which sets uniform policies that direct the entire multi-system state and disregards local (planetary) differences. The Atapas-atta-wapawab government is usually classified as a Federal Republic, a form of a Unitary State, with theocratic tendencies.
The Bwap government is an enormous bureaucracy, but it seems to work for the Bwap despite a massive body of law and regulation. Bwap seem to have a natural talent for navigating their Byzantine maze of laws and regulations, which confound foreign sophont species.
Language & Letters (Communication)
Very little is known about the Bwap language. Bwap merchant are known for their facility with the languages of other sophonts.
Calendar & Timekeeping
Very little is known about how the Bwaps form a calendar or mark the passing of time although it is assumed that the Bwap calendar is based upon the planetary rotation of their homeworld, Marhaban (Empty Quarter 0426). Bwaps, with their analytical minds, seem to be able to juggle the calendar and time systems of many other sophonts with great facility.
Technology & Trade (Economy)
The Bwaps did not discover fire until late, due to their environment, which hindered development of metalworking and similar pursuits. When discovered by the Vilani, the Bwaps had reached TL–7 and stabilized. The introduction of advanced technologies such as jump drive had no major effect on their culture, and the Bwaps have prospered greatly in the intervening centuries.
Most Bwap worlds are TL 7 to TL 11 averaging TL 9 to TL 10.
Bwap merchants and administrators can be found throughout known space, but are less common outside the Imperium.
The Bwap use a Base-8 system of mathematics, including mathematical logic, arithmetic, statistics, particle mechanics, and other branches of mathematics.
The Bwap possess an advanced knowledge of the sciences that includes:
- A formalized method of scientific inquiry.
- Marhaban (planetary) and Space sciences, including astronomy, cosmology, and geosciences.
- Social sciences, including psychology and sociology.
- Life sciences, including biology.
- Physical sciences, including chemistry and physics.
- Formal sciences, including mathematics and logic.
The Bwap are known to posses particularly advanced forms of the statistical sciences and are renowned for designing proprietary algorithms capable of predicting long-term economic activity with great accuracy.
Some believe that the Bwap use this advanced statistical science to experiment with pychohistory.
Military & Intelligence (Force Projection)
All Bwap worlds maintain a local constabulary and many are garrisoned with Imperial military units.
The Bwap need for high humidity make Bwap soldiery less flexible than those of other species although that doesn't stop the martial spirit of many Bwaps.
Many Bwaps serve in the Imperial military, although mostly in support roles rather than as combatants, and even Bwap mercenary units are known. However, as previously mentioned, Bwaps most excel when put in charge of materials or organization; they most excel as administrators, logisticians, quartermasters, and in supply roles.