- "The Thumper got its name from the sound it should make when it runs. However, the remarkably agile creatures have such a light touch that they hardly make any sound at all."
- ―Voren Na'al
Cracian thumpers were bipedal herbivores used as pack and riding animals. Originally from the planet Craci in the Corporate Sector, they possessed clawed forelimbs and hindlimbs, and a powerful tail. Their large, padded feet allowed them to move very quietly, earning them their ironic name—the "thumper"—which implied it should have thumped as it ran. They were loyal creatures, and unusually bright for a beast of burden; they were capable of being trained to perform a number of different tasks, to recognize patterns, and to follow simple commands. Though normally inoffensive, their claws and tail made them deadly opponents when they were threatened or trained to fight.
The usefulness of Cracian thumpers as riding and pack animals saw them heavily exported, making them the most widely employed land mount in the galaxy. They were frequently used in the Rebel Alliance, where they were an important part of its live mount scouting program, and were also heavily utilized by Alliance SpecForce personnel. Cracian thumper racing was also a popular sport in urban areas such as the Tapani sector.
Biology and appearanceEdit
- "Sharp foreclaws and a whipping tail provide these creatures with remarkable offensive capabilities."
- ―Voren Na'al
Thumpers were agile, bipedal creatures, with a powerful whipping tail, and with hindlimbs and shorter forelimbs that were both sharply clawed. They were herbivorous and had hard, flat teeth for eating vegetable matter. Cracian thumpers in cold climates possessed long, thick fur; in warmer locales, this coat could be shed. Their feet were large and padded, features which gave the creatures their ironic name; Cracian thumpers should have thumped as they ran, but they made nearly no sound at all. A fully-loaded thumper could carry a load of one hundred kilograms, and could travel at thirty-five kilometers per hour. Cracian thumpers were thought to be genetic relatives of the rockhoppers of Roon and Biitu, which may have evolved from imported thumper populations.
- "They are extremely loyal and obedient animals. They can be taught to follow verbal or touch commands, and can even distinguish between friends and enemies if their masters train them."
- ―Voren Na'al
Cracian thumpers were very faithful, amenable, and largely non-aggressive creatures. They were quite smart for beasts of burden, with intelligence more typical of domestic pets. Versatile enough to be trained for a wide variety of tasks, thumpers were particularly adept at rudimentary pattern recognition. They could learn to follow verbal and touch commands, to distinguish between friends and enemies when properly trained by their masters, a task made easier when "enemies" had such easily identifiable characteristics as the hard white shell of an Imperial stormtrooper. Some could even be taught to attack on command.
When roused to fight, either when threatened or when so trained, thumpers were formidable opponents. A thumper would attack with its sharp foreclaws and by whipping its tail; the latter was capable of beheading a stormtrooper with ease. They were also capable of lashing out backwards with the sharp claws on their hindlimbs while at a full run.
- "When the Cracians decided to market them to the galaxy, Thumpers became indispensable for use as both riding and pack animals."
- ―Voren Na'al
Cracian thumpers originated on the planet Craci and could be found on all five worlds of the Craci system, an agricultural and industrial hub that was one of the busiest ports and trading centers in the Corporate Sector. Long used by the native Cracians as beasts of burden, thumpers proved to be indispensable mounts and pack beasts when marketed to the galaxy at large. By the time of the Galactic Civil War, there were millions of thumpers on Human-populated worlds, making them one of the most common riding beasts in the civilized galaxy and the most widely used riding beast on land. The inhabitants of the planet Rodia also used imported Cracian thumpers as live mounts in order to traverse the planet's jungles.
When the first colonists of Jomark left for their new world a few thousand years prior to the Galactic Civil War, they brought several Cracian thumpers with them. This small seed population soon bloomed, and by the time of the Thrawn campaign, herds of wild thumpers plied the forests of the main continent and a few of the larger islands of the planet, in addition to the many domestic thumpers still used by the colonists for a number of tasks. A colonist sent to bring a message to the Dark Jedi Joruus C'baoth in 9 ABY rode a thumper over the steep roadway to C'baoth's High Castle.
Cracian thumper racing was a very popular sport in urban areas, especially within the Tapani sector. Racing thumpers generally had their coats shaved off to reduce their weight and provide a sleeker appearance. The Tapani Arts and Sports Complex on Vycinyth maintained large stadiums and arenas suitable for a number of sports, including thumper races. The Heatherdowns Hotel and Track on Tallaan maintained a five-kilometer oval track for Cracian thumper racing, ringed by thousands of seats and bleachers. It also maintained gardens and training facilities in the center of the track.
During the era of the Galactic Empire, Rothana Heavy Engineering included Cracian thumpers in their catalog of mounted creatures available to Imperial base commanders. Around 0 BBY, Cracian thumpers were listed in the Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide, an Imperial commander manual, at 2,000 credits each, with specialty breeds ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 credits. Rothana advertised thumpers as being ideal for scouting an enemy line, as they remained calm under fire, could transport heavy loads, and could run steady paces for hours while also remaining quiet.
The Cracian thumper was used for several functions within the Rebel Alliance, which turned to the thumper and similar beasts as replacements for hardware made unavailable by Imperial restriction. It was one of the primary live mounts used by Rebel scouts; live mounts like the thumper were more difficult for Imperial sensors to detect than vehicles like speeder bikes, and, if detected, were likely to be dismissed as a wild animal. The ubiquitous presence of thumpers on planets across the galaxy meant an Imperial sensor operator would not find the presence of the beast out of place on nearly any world on which he was stationed; if lazy, there was less than a fifty percent chance he would send a patrol to investigate. Among the outposts where the Alliance used thumpers were the planets Fangol, Nishr, and Dankayo. The success the Rebel Alliance had with the Cracian thumper and other pack animals led them to quickly domesticate several of Hoth's tauntauns as mounts when establishing Echo Base. Alliance General Carlist Rieekan, commander of Echo Base, would later note that thumpers were significantly more agreeable than tauntauns in margin notes he wrote in a copy of Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide that had fallen into the hands of Alliance High Command.
Thumpers were also popular with Alliance Special Forces. Their frequency of appearance meant Wilderness Fighters and Pathfinders could use them on thousands of planets without drawing attention, while Infiltrators enjoyed the incredibly stealthy nature of the creatures. General Crix Madine, the Supreme Commander of SpecForce, was experienced in riding the animals, as was the Jin Foster Agent Dutra Zeneta, legendary veteran of SpecForce's Scandium Team.
Barosa Warren, the Morellian founder of the galaxy-renowned Galactic Outdoor Survival School, was familiar with Cracian thumpers. The Rodian tour guide Meebo kept a dozen Cracian thumpers at his facility on Dalicron-4 and used the beasts for his hunting trips. When Rebel agents sent by Luke Skywalker came to Dalicron-4 approximately four months after the Battle of Hoth, Jhara, the granddaughter of the man who sent for Skywalker, acquired several thumpers from Meebo as transportation from the village of Dalia to her family farm. Upon finding her grandfather dead, Jhara and the Rebels set out on these same mounts to find Caeleb, a child with exceptional Force potential and the objective of the Rebels' mission. The phrase "like a mad Jedi Knight on Cracian thumperback," was a metaphor for someone coming to another person's rescue in a reckless, impulsive manner.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Cracian thumpers were first described in the The Rebel Alliance Sourcebook published by West End Games in 1990, with their visual representation drawn from unused concept art for the tauntauns seen in The Empire Strikes Back. They were repeated in a number of other roleplaying game sourcebooks, but made their first appearance in Timothy Zahn's novel Dark Force Rising, published in 1992. Capitalization of the creature's name has varied between "Cracian thumper," "Cracian Thumper," and "cracian thumper" across sources.
Thumpers share a very similar outward physiology to another riding beast, the rockhopper of Biitu and Roon, a similarity that was acknowledged as likely genetic relation in a section on rockhoppers in Wizards of the Coast's 2010 publication The Unknown Regions.
- "Side Trip"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 12 (Mentioned only) (as an insult)
- Tapani Sector Instant Adventures
- Child of Light
- Dark Force Rising (First appearance)
- The Rebel Alliance Sourcebook (First mentioned)
- Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition
- Dark Force Rising Sourcebook
- Galaxy Guide 9: Fragments from the Rim
- Dark Empire Sourcebook
- Star Wars Miniatures Battles
- Star Wars Miniatures Battles, Second Edition
- The Rebel Alliance Sourcebook, Second Edition
- Star Wars Miniatures Battles Companion
- Alliance Intelligence Reports
- Galaxy Guide 5: Return of the Jedi, Second Edition
- The Truce at Bakura Sourcebook
- "ISB Intercepts"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 9
- The Jedi Academy Sourcebook
- "Cracken's Rebel Operatives"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 10
- The Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook
- Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded
- Shadows of the Empire Planets Guide
- Star Wars Gamemaster Screen, Revised
- Lords of the Expanse
- Rules of Engagement: The Rebel SpecForce Handbook
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Rebellion Era Campaign Guide
- The Essential Atlas
- The Unknown Regions
- Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook
- Star Wars: Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide
- Stay on Target
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 The Rebel Alliance Sourcebook
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Tapani Sector Instant Adventures
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 The Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Rebellion Era Campaign Guide
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Rules of Engagement: The Rebel SpecForce Handbook
- ↑ Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded
- ↑ The Unknown Regions, p. 63.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 The Essential Atlas
- ↑ Shadows of the Empire Planets Guide
- ↑ Dark Force Rising
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Lords of the Expanse
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 Star Wars: Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide
- ↑ 14.0 14.1
- ↑ Dark Empire Sourcebook
- ↑ "Cracken's Rebel Operatives"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 10
- ↑ Alliance Intelligence Reports
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 18.2 Child of Light
- ↑ "Side Trip"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 12
- ↑ Dark Force Rising Sourcebook
- ↑ Compare this image. Commentators who have noted the similarity include Curtis Saxton, who mentions it in the Highlights: The Great Heep page at his Star Wars Technical Commentaries.