The Jiivahar were a sentient species descended from hairless simians. They were excellent climbers, with a number of physical attributes that facilitated that ability. They had a streamlined body, with hollow bones, giving them a light frame. Their long limbs were flexible and were covered in tiny pockmarks that provided additional grip. The Jiivahar also secreted sarvin from the pores of their hands and feet. That substance was a strong adhesive that adhered to virtually all materials.
The Jiivahar were native to Carest One of the Inner Rim Territories. Their society was organized around talins, aggregates of five to ten families. Talins were semi-nomadic, roaming freely among the thykar conifers during the warm months, but returning to permanent, yet primitive, settlements for the cold months. Talins annually redistributed material goods among their membership, in festivals known as Kinn-taas.
Carest One was a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors with its beautiful towering forests. Some Jiivahar, such as Jannpyr, offered their services as guides to these visitors. That interaction with offworlders also led to the introduction of advanced technology to the Jiivahar. Those technological items amazed the Jiivahar and disturbed the community equilibrium achieved by the Kinn-taas, as individuals refused to redistribute them to others. A number of Jiivahar traveled out into the galaxy to satiate their curiosity. Some became involved in the Alliance to Restore the Republic, while others found work in the underworld, such as Klevb, a terrorist-for-hire.
Biology and appearance
The Jiivahar were a sentient species that evolved from hairless simian mammals. They had a narrow, streamlined body, with a light frame. That was due to their hollow, bird-like bones, which also made them quite susceptible to physical damage. They averaged 1.55 to 1.85 meters tall, a normal size range for a humanoid species of their type, but they were relatively more fragile than other such species. The Jiivahar had long limbs: two arms and two legs, with each ending in four thin digits, which were capable of wrapping completely around small tree branches. That gave the Jiivahar a lanky and ungainly appearance; however, their flexible and limber bodies were well adapted to climbing, and they could race along the canopies of the large thykar trees of their homeworld with speed.
The Jiivahar cranium was flat and elongated, and it had two large cones at the back. The sides of the head had arched grooves beginning near the front portion and progressing toward the rear of the head. They had large, lidded eyes, which were pupil-less, round in shape, and widely spaced.
Jiivahar skin pigmentation was influenced by geographical location and varied from light green to dark brown. Superficially, the hairless skin appeared smooth; however, it was actually covered in tiny pockmarks that aided the Jiivahar in climbing. Another characteristic of the Jiivahar that facilitated climbing was their secretion of sarvin. That sticky substance came from the pores of their hands and feet and could adhere to all but the smoothest of surfaces, providing extra grip when climbing or holding other living beings. Sarvin could also be washed away by the Jiivahar through controlled perspiration. Although the Jiivahar were omnivores, the staples of their diet were the large vine-nuts and sweet berries from the trarra plant.
Society and culture
The Jiivahar had very little social organization. The largest social unit was the talin, a community of five to ten families. That had some characteristics of a formal tribe or clan; however, membership was fluid and was not exclusively along family lines. Any individual could join or leave a talin at any time. The talins were semi-nomadic, and during most of the year, Jiivahar roamed the tree canopies of their region following seasonal variations. However, during the cold season, they returned to permanent settlements located near water: the shores of lakes, rivers, and oceans. Those permanent settlements were primitive, consisting of wooden huts, insulated with bark and thick leaves. Jiivahar stored their accumulated goods within these huts.
Talins could have one or several leaders. They were not an inherited or popularly elected positions, but rather individuals were selected who had the most wisdom or experience. Such leaders had no official title or regalia and were generally considered equal to all other members of the talin. Their limited authority consisted of the right to call festivals and to settle disputes. Their decisions could not be forced on their talin; leaders relied on persuasion and the respect of their peers.
That characteristic of talin leadership was due, in part, to the lack of any written legal system in Jiivahar society. Instead, there were only basic guidelines on how a Jiivahar should live. There was a community focus, with individuals expected to act on behalf of the community. Individuals were also expected to respect the rights and health of others in the community. The talin physically branded any Jiivahar who breached or ignored these guidelines and expelled them from the talin. The introduction of offworld technology placed a stress on those community guidelines, with some individuals resorting to theft.
The Jiivahar society was egalitarian, having developed in the tranquil and largely predator-free forests of their homeworld. In order to remedy wealth inequalities, the Jiivahar redistributed personal goods once each year in festivals called Kinn-taas. Kinn-taas were called by the leaders of each talin, and individual Jiivahar were compelled by social pressure—although not by law—to give as many goods as they could to the leaders. The leaders then redistributed those goods to members of the talin according to need, leveling the wealth across the talin. The more an individual gave during Kinn-taas, the more prestige and respect they received.
The Jiivahar were a peaceable species, pursuing both inner and societal peace. They were curious, actively seeking out original experiences. The absence of native predators meant the Jiivahar never developed a high sense of caution or suspicion. Consequently, during first encounters with non-Jiivahar, they were too trusting and on numerous occasions were taken advantage of by smugglers and gamblers.
The Jiivahar had little advanced technology. It mostly included hand-powered tools that aided in fishing and foraging. They developed few weapons. The Jiivahar wore various degrees of clothing. For some Jiivahar, tha consisted of something as simple as a loin cloth. Other Jiivahar wore pants and tunics, with visible stitching. Jiivahar also wore accessories such as toe rings, bracelets, and piercings. Some additionally carried bags slung over the shoulder.
The Jiivahar evolved from a simian species in the forests on the northern continents of Carest One, the first planet of the Carest system. Their homeworld was located in the north-eastern portion of the Inner Rim Territories, near the Vaathkree Trade Corridor and the Obroa-skai system. The lack of predators on their planet led to the development of a peaceful society, with the exception of two wars in their history, both during periods of great scarcity. By the time of the Galactic Civil War, the Jiivahar population on Carest One numbered in the millions, but they did not have a large population offworld.
The giant conifers of Carest One could grow up to 150 meters tall. Those verdant forests were full of wildlife, with population numbers kept in check only by the massive storms that swept through the region every decade. That lush environment became a favorite vacation spot for tourists across the galaxy and led to contact with the Jiivahar species. Tourism became the largest industry on the planet, and many enterprising Jiivahar made a profitable career working as guides to the frequent visits of offworlders, such as the famed tour guide Jannpyr.
Tourists brought with them advanced technology, which was subsequently acquired by individual Jiivahar. Such items were highly valued and regarded as "wonders." Some Jiivahar refused to contribute such goods to the annual Kinn-taas, and the items were subsequently stolen by other Jiivahar. That development placed a stress on the traditional community orientation of Jiivahar society. An additional problem arose when several Jiivahar outcasts acquired advanced weaponry from offworlders. They then used this weaponry to terrorize Jiivahar talins.
Jiivahar in the galaxy
The natural curiosity of the Jiivahar led a number to leave their homeworld to seek out adventure. Those Jiivahar typically kept on the move, visiting world after world. Their inquisitiveness occasionally caused trouble—sometimes fatally so—particularly with Wookiees, Houks, and other species with short tempers. Some Jiivahar in the galaxy became involved with the Alliance to Restore the Republic, viewing the Galactic Empire as oppressive and opposed to their beliefs. Such Jiivahar worked as pathfinders and wilderness fighters. The Jiivahar Klevb was an outcast from his community and became a terrorist-for-hire.
Behind the scenes
The Jiivahar were created by Trevor J. Wilson and Craig Robert Carey for their article Alien Encounters in Star Wars Adventure Journal 14, published by West End Games in 1997. Pablo Hidalgo illustrated the Jiivahar in this article. Much of this material was reproduced, although somewhat modified, in the sourcebook Alien Encounters, published in 1998. The Jiivahar also received an entry in 2008's The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia.
In the West End Games roleplaying game, Jiivahar are given statistics for players to use them as their own characters. They are weaker than Humans and have reduced aptitudes for technical, mechanical, and knowledge-based tasks. They are, however, slightly more dexterous than the average Human.
- "Alien Encounters"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 14 (First mentioned)
- Alien Encounters
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
Notes and references
- Alien Encounters, pp. 75–77
- Alien Encounters, p. 182
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. II, p. 163
- "Alien Encounters"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 14, pp. 187–191
- The Essential Atlas, p. 19
- Alien Encounters, Space-Farers Index, pp. 183–184 The Jiivahar are absent from this index, signifying that they do not have "large populations roaming the stars."
- Alien Encounters, p. 77 compared with the Human attributes in Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded, p. 212.