Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tenniffi: Soft Spoken Goatlings

The Tenniffi are rarely referred to by their genoculture's proper name and are most often called 'goatlings.' They are a diverse people, adapted to a wide range of environments and habitats and have been known to serve as sherpas to Dezhu teams attempting to scale the Aquaducts and Great Equatorial Towers of Xembor as well as acting as Guides to expeditions searching for the concealed remains of illicit arcologies within the Blasted Outback beyond the Etched Plateau of Riskail. They are a people who endure much and do it with a stoicism that most human descended genocultures cannot fully grasp nor fathom.

You see, the goatlings, the Tenniffi, are only minimally human-derived, being primarily animal descended hybrids and as such they have only a meager Inheritance if they even have one at all. The goatling-Tenniffi are truly an underpeople, one of the minor genocultures that tend to be relegated to the shadows. They tend to fall through the cracks and get overlooked. They prefer it that way.

Physical Appearance
Most goatling-Tenneffi are short, bandy-legged and they are usually covered in coats of luxurious hair that they self-harvest in order to make their own wool. Very often their legs and heads tend to resemble goats more than humans, but there is a great deal of variance in this, and it all comes down to their particular lineage and if it is one thing that a goatling knows, it is the soft sing-song recitation of their lineage back to the Progenitors, no matter how many generations it has been. All goatlings have excellent memories and they are shrewd observers who tend to keep their mouths shut. This capacity is encoded deep into their genome within the Golden Section and is one of the things that has come to define them as a people. Goatlings greatly value silence and enjoy the quiet moments so many bigger, more important peoples rush through to get somewhere noisy and busy. They notice things that others might miss or overlook, like how most of Polite Society often overlooks the goatlings themselves.

Goatlings tend to be especially well adapted to surviving in tough environments, not to the same level as a Umrazi, Vuko or Joing, but they do well enough in the marginal, often erratic, and less pleasant environments that they tend to seek out. The Tenniffi are able to digest celluose, chitin and a number of other organic substances that pre-Diaspora genocultures often could not use nutritionally. This ability gives them an edge in these desolate spaces of rocks and weeds.

Cultral Aspects
The goatlings are a quiet, unobtrusive genoculture on the whole. They tend to avoid detection or acknowledgement whenever possible, preferring to remain easily overlooked and rarely noticed. They cultivate the fine art of not being noticed and are very keen on the use of invisibility, stealth techniques or misdirection as a matter of course. To refer to them as merely being a shy people would be a gross understatement. The Tenniffi do not wish to be noticed and they pursue this passion for hiding in plain sight with an almost manic vigor.

Why? The goatlings remember how their people were treated during the experimental phase of their genoculture's development. They recall vividly the Terror that struck Old Earth, they remember deep inside their bones, each and every one of them the horrific consequences of incurring the wrath of Terrible Powers, and most of all they know that in the larger scheme of things they just don't matter.

To the goatlings, the Known Worlds and Connected Territories are vast wildernesses set up as the playgrounds for humanity's chosen children. These worlds were not designed for the Tenniffi. Nothing was ever intended for the Tenniffi. They were not considered worthy of such gifts.

Instead the goatlings find their own way in an uncaring and often harsh universe, moving from place to place, exploring the fringes and the Dregs, the unwanted Bleak Worlds or the abandoned ghost-towns along the River Networks and places that lack any names outside of the serial code-sequences used in the Public Access databases.

The goatlings find their own way and they sometimes show others how to do so as well, with kind hands, compassionate hearts, and soft smiles. They have known the worst of what lurks inside humanity in the past, and they are dedicated to finding the best within themselves on their own terms and in their own ways.


  1. Poor goatlings...so sad. I am peculiarly sympathetic to goatlings of all stripes, even the nasty perverted chaotic ones...

  2. So sad...poor goatlings. I am peculiarly sympathetic to goatlings of all stripes even the twisted perverse chaotic ones.

  3. Little bands of long suffering goatlings have shown up in our games for a long time now--don't let them fool you--some of them harbor very dark secrets...especially that green-eyed one from Xembor's Mote Land Districts...

  4. Ooh, dark secret, eh?
    --Pray, tell on...

  5. Gwen, the goatling in question, is from the campaign we ran four years ago for friends in St. Paul. She was exposed to a particularly nasty Macrolect dating back to the founding of a particular Core World that the group was exploring. She gained curiously luminous green eyes as a consequence of her increasingly troubling affinity/attunement to this entity. Eventually, Gwen became a priestess of her own cult and was last seen leaving that world through a gate. She, and her small band of followers were heading for Riskail...

  6. Quietist cenobyte goat-men of the hinterworlds. A nice change of pace from the priapic, psychopathic goat-men that infest so much fantasy.

    Pic (semi-)related: http://ursulav.deviantart.com/art/Eland-and-the-Vegetable-Lamb-18310984

  7. @Chris: Thank you for the picture link. It's excellent!


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