Massiffs were reptilian creatures found on Geonosis and Tatooine. The species' original world was unknown; however, the Geonosis and Tatooine populations were by far the most numerous. Canine in appearance with an armored hide, the beasts could be domesticated and used for sentry and guard tasks. On Geonosis, possession of a massiff was a sign of authority and aristocracy. The Geonosians and massiffs had a somewhat symbiotic relationship; in exchange for shelter, the creatures would rid the hives of pests. It was easy to tell the age of a massiff, for they grew a new pair of antlers every standard year.
Biology and appearance
In addition to being introduced to Malastare, the massiff was domesticated by the Tusken Raiders of Tatooine. Researchers believe that an interstellar freighter carrying the animals crashed in one of the planet's sandstorms around 222 BBY. The resulting slaughter by the Sand People left only one survivor, while a small portion of the massiffs were kept by the attackers. Their senses being attuned to the clear conditions of Geonosis, massiffs were useless as sentries in Tatooine's constantly blowing sand. Instead, they found their niche as camp defenders, attacking any intruders on sight. The presence of massiffs was a contentious one among the Tusken clans, as many felt that they were a departure from tradition. Because of this, warring clans would often try to slay each other's pets as gestures of insult.
The proximity of Geonosis and Tatooine undoubtedly led to the migration of the creature from one world to another, most likely the result of careless traders introducing the animal into a new ecosphere. On Geonosis, massiffs were emblems of the Geonosian aristocracy, and domesticated massiffs were used to rid the hives of vermin. On occasion, massiffs were used in arena fighting. On Tatooine, they were similarly domesticated as camp guard animals.
During the Clone Wars, at least one massif was used by the Grand Army of the Republic for military purposes, being handled by an ARF trooper accordingly nicknamed "Hound." He was used to track Jedi Ahsoka Tano on Coruscant.
Behind the scenes
The massiff design originated first as an orray concept. When it was deemed too vicious-looking for the simple pack animals, the massiff instead became a dog-sized lizard that was to attack Obi-Wan Kenobi during a scene ultimately cut from the film.
Rather than discard the work already done on the massiff, the creature was transplanted to Tatooine. The computer-generated model was used instead as a Tusken Raider guard dog, replacing a creature design originally called a faybo.
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Notes and references
- Massiff House Pet on the SWG Wiki
- Star Wars Galaxies - General 3D artist & UI, by SWG 2D/3D Artist Christine Chugon