The Sesheyans call it aikeita, the day of ghosts. They came from the sky, they came with bright lights and incomprehensible magic. They promised much and seemingly wanted so little.
It was the Earth year 2274 when the VoidCorp discovered Sheya and the primitive indigenous species that called it home. Ecstatic at the discovery of sentient beings in their sphere of influence, the corporation was quick to negotiate the annexation of Sheya, bringing the Sesheyan people into the light of modernity. Every July 13th, Sesheyans throughout the corporation are invited to celebrate their annexation day with a free desert at any company cafeteria.
At least that's how VoidCorp PR tells it.
To the rest of known space, the Sesheyans are lamented as the first species enslaved by humanity. Inseer activists make regular attacks on the VoidCorp grid protesting the Sesheyan plight, and not a day passes without fresh condemnation from Orion politicians calling for Sesheyan liberation.
Within the corporation, the Sesheyans live a haunted, cursed life. Their once comforting world of dark jungles filled with game is now overrun by bright lights and strange beings. Those Sesheyans who leave their tribes to find work with the corporation are mourned for dead and unwelcome should they attempt to return.
One group of free Sesheyans does exist beyond the grasp of VoidCorp, on the planet Grith in the Corrivale system. Claiming to have been taken from their world by unknown means in the distant past, they are in actuality a group that escaped VoidCorp during the confusion of the Second Galactic War. This is something of an open secret that has drawn protest from VoidCorp, however the Galactic Concord has extended its protection to the free Sesheyans while simultaneously recognizing a pre-war territorial claim over the system from the Hatire. While the corporation sees the settlement on Grith as an intolerable state of affairs, the reality is that Corrivale is far from VoidCorp's territory and their trade and exploration ships in the region are insufficient for a military engagement with the formidable naval force the Concord has deployed to the Verge.
The situation on Grith is complicated. During the long silence of the Second War, the fledgling Hatire colony of Diamond Point was subjected to orbital bombardment by a VoidCorp cruiser, and the few survivors of that attack were driven off for other worlds a decade later by the Sesheyan refugees. While the Hatire aren't exactly thrilled to share the world with uninvited guests, the fact that VoidCorp had bombed their colony to begin with left the Hatire inclined to cooperate with the Concord and accept the Sesheyans as long as they abide by Hatire law. Grith being a hot and humid world of jungles and landlocked seas, the Hatire settlements are concentrated in the temperate polar regions, leaving the rest of the world to the Sesheyans.
The Sesheyans are nocturnal avians. Until only recently they lived in small tribes in the dark forests and jungles of their homeworld, hunting in groups and worshiping a pantheon of animistic gods under the leadership of their shamans.
Being naturally adapted to the dark, most Sesheyans in human environments are unfortunately often turned towards life outside the law as smugglers, thieves, and sell-swords. In the Star*Drive setting most free Sesheyans are hunted beings, constantly on the run from VoidCorp.
In Dragon Magazine #251, the Sesheyans were converted into a playable race for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons; this was the first of the "AD&D Game Aliens" article series, which attempted to convert Alternity races to AD&D - sadly, only the Fraal and the T'sa would follow in the Sesheyans' footsteps before the series was cancelled.
Sesheyans are a sinister-looking race; thin humanoids with black or brown skin, a pointed muzzle adorned with eight eyes and fanged mouths, a long fan-shaped tail, and bat-like wings. However, despite their sinister appearance, they are actually a very peaceful people, with no malice in them.
The sesheyan race are nocturnal hunter-gatherers with a Stone Age cultural level, native to tropical jungles and rainforests. They live in isolated outposts rarely numbering more than a couple of hundred souls, which express extreme disinterest in interacting with each other; this is why sesheyan culture remains remarkably unchanged, as tribes that do adopt to more advanced technologies don't pass this on to other sesheyan communities.
Despite this, they do share a remarkably common religious belief; a form of animism based on totems and ancestor worship, where ancestor spirits merge with archetypal totemic deities that they are viewed to have embodied in life. This complicated theology is maintained by the Obeahs, a shaman-type class also introduced in this article, which serves as a combination of priest, historian, story-teller and leader.
As a result, sesheyans are extremely superstitious, seeing the hand of the spirits in all things around them. They can seem distant at times, due to their contemplations of the spirits. However, they are not a people inclined to brood; sesheyans are headstrong, with a strong dose of independnet spirit. They think nothing of days or weeks spent alone far from the comforts of home, and wandering is common for hunters and those whose curiosity leads to exploration.
AD&D Sesheyan PC Stats
- Ability Score Minimum/Maximum: Strength 5/16, Dexterity 6/19, Constitution 3/14, Intelligence 3/16, Wisdom 9/15, Charisma 3/16
- Ability Score Adjustments: +1 Dexterity, -1 Constitution
- Racial Class Limitations: Fighter 14, Ranger 12, Druid 8, Obeah 14, Thief Unlimited, Bard 6
- Multiclassing Options: Fighter/Druid, Ranger/Druid, Fighter/Thief
- Racial Thieving Skill Adjustments: Pick Pockets +5%, Open Locks -5%, Find/Remove Traps -10%, Move Silently +5%, Hide in Shadows +10%, Detect Noise +5%, Read Languages -10%
- Natural Armor Class: 10
- Movement Base: 12, Fly 24 (C)
- Limited Flight: A sesheyan can only fly without pause for 1 hour, after which they either become exhausted or can con tinue flying by making a Constitution check, at the DM's perogrative. Under the later system, they must make Constitution checks with a cumulative +2 penalty for each subsequent hour spent flying, and after landing they must remain ground-bound for time equal to that spent flying.
- Dark-Adjusted Eyes: Sesheyans suffer a penalty to all actions, including attack rolls, when not in darkness equivalent to twilight or darker. They suffer a -2 penalty in Overcast Day, -3 in brighter light, and -4 against blinding effects and spells such as Continual Light.
- Limited Weapon Proficiencies: Sesheyans may only begin play with the Spear, Quarterstaff, Whip, Knife, Shortbow, Blowgun and Dart proficiencies.
- Limited Nonweapon Proficiencies: Sesheyans cannot begin play with nonweapoin proficiencies that would not be available to a Stone Age jungle tribe society with no talent for arcane magic, such as Agriculture, Mining, Blacksmithing, Forgery or Spellcraft.
- Barterers: A sesheyan starts with 5d4GP worth of equipment instead of money, as their tribes practice a barter-based system rather than using currency.