[race] What are the Newts?

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[race] What are the Newts?

Postby Big Mac » Sun May 29, 2016 8:47 pm

I blame Dread Delgath for saying what he said to Havard in the [race] Aslan topic:
Havard wrote:
Dread Delgath wrote:A thread for each Traveller alien, Havard? I can see that for Aslan & Vargr, but the rest of them? Newts, anyone? ;)


I think a thread for each race is very appropriate. I know nothing about Newts, but I'd love to see a thread about them too :)


Bah! Now you two have me curious about something from Traveller, and I'm supposed to be concentrating on getting back to Spelljammer. <ShakesFist /> :lol:

So, what are Traveller's Newts like, and why does Dread Delgath think that they are not important enough to warrant their own topic. Are they a minor race that is only in one product? Or are they some sort of NPC faction? Or is there some other reason why I shouldn't be interested in Newts?
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Re: [race] What are the Newts?

Postby Khedrac » Sun May 29, 2016 10:24 pm

The only race I can think of that that might refer to are the Chirpers?
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Re: [race] What are the Newts?

Postby Ashtagon » Sun May 29, 2016 10:51 pm

Newts are an in-universe slang term for the chirpers.

Major spoilers below regarding one of the big "secrets" of the Traveller universe.

Chirpers are in fact the descendants of the ancients, a race also known as the droyne. As individual members reach adulthood, they are placed into various castes by means of a ritual using "coins". Chirpers are uncasted adult droyne. Loss of the coins and consequent ability to caste their young is part (and only part) of what led to the collapse of the ancients' civilisation.
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Re: [race] What are the Newts?

Postby BlackBat242 » Mon May 30, 2016 12:03 am

No, the "Newts" are not Chirpers - they are a different "minor race".

They first appear in a "Contact" article in the Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society (GDW's house magazine for Traveller), issue #11 (1982) - Newts by Loren Wiseman and William Keith.

Here are highlights from their entry in the Traveller-Wiki:
http://wiki.travellerrpg.com/Bwap

Bawapakerwa-a-a-awapawab: Intelligent minor race native to Marhaban (Empty Quarter 0426).

Known as Bwaps or Wabs (from their name for themselves, Bawapakerwa-a-a-awapawab), they are also known as Newts due to their appearance.

Bwaps average 1.4 meter in height and mass between 30 and 50 kilograms. They are an upright, bipedal, homoeothermic and bisexual, with an internal skeleton and a closed circulatory system.

Appearance: Body markings vary tremendously from clan (“tree”) to clan, each one having a distinctive pattern. The pattern is determined by genetic factors and the color is determined by careful manipulation of the mother’s diet during the formation of the egg. Greens, browns, yellows and blues are most common, usually in patterns of darker colors over a lighter basic color.

Reproduction: Bwaps are oviparous (egg-laying), each female incubating a single, non-amniotic egg in a special pouch on her lower abdomen. After hatching, the young remain in this pouch for several weeks, occasionally coming out to be fed, until they are strong enough to survive outside. The young reach maturity after fourteen years.

Humidity Requirements: Bwaps are uncomfortable in less than 98% humidity, as their skin must be kept moist. With special clothing, they can exist indefinitely in humidity as low as 25%, provided they have adequate water. This normally consists of a loosely fitting kaftan-like garment and a hood covering the head (giving rise to another nickname, “towel-heads”). The cloth of these garments is permeated with a network of fine tubes, through which water flows and keeps the cloth moist. In occupations where they must handle paper or other items which would suffer from moisture, Bwaps wear thin water-proof gloves. In humidity of less than 25%, they must use sealed environment suits. All clothing is colored with a stylized representation of their body, since recognition of body pattern is an important part of their greeting ritual.

Psychology (Cultural Sophontology): From the human point of view, Bwaps are obsessed with minutiae, patterns, and the order of things. Driven by this internal desire to see everything in its proper place, they make excellent bureaucrats, officials, mathematicians, bookkeepers, scientists, and historians.

However, their obsession with ritual and proper conduct can make them difficult to deal with. Those who violate the rituals will be lectured to, at length, on propriety. Dealing with Bwaps takes time, but trying to speed things up only takes more time.

Goals (Motivation): Wapawab ("Tree"): Society is dominated by the Bwap world-view, which holds that each individual has a place in the Wapawab or tree - a view stemming from their habitat, but including phratry, bloodlines, country, and place of duty.

The literal tree is intricately tied into the planetary ecology, providing shelter and oxygen, converting water and minerals into food, etc. The figurative tree is much harder to define, but is roughly equivalent to a clan or tribal group. Both sorts of trees are part of a planet, which is part of a solar system, which is part of a cluster, which is part of a galaxy, which is part of the cosmos.

Everything the Bwaps do reflects this complex, wheels-within-wheels outlook. Each individual takes great pride in being one small, functional and unique cog in a vast, ever-changing universe of interlinked patterns. Their ritual of greeting, for instance, seems like meaningless formality and windy chitchat to non-Bwaps, but communicates: “I am in this place, and doing my part. Where are you and what are you doing?”

Expectations: Criminal behavior is extremely rare, and is considered the worst form of mental disorder among Bwaps, since it disrupts the proper order of things.

Their world-view means that their definition of crime is often at variance with Imperial norms, but, fortunately, most Bwaps courts consider exile to be sufficient punishment, especially in the case of aliens such as humans.

Social Organization: Adventurers: Bwaps encountered away from their homeworlds are often in service to the Imperium or other interstellar entities as merchants and administrators. Such Bwaps serve as ideal Merchant and Professional characters.

Language (Linguistic Sophontology): Very little is known about the Bwap language.

Bwap merchant are known for their facility with the languages of other sophonts. Many Bwap merchants are renowned for their ability to speak a wide variety of languages flawlessly, without accent.

Military & Intelligence (Force Projection): All Bwap worlds maintain a local constabulary and many are garrisoned with Imperial military units.

Martial Tradition: The Bwap need for high humidity make Bwap soldiery less flexible than those of other species although that doesn't stop the martial spirit of many Bwaps.

Many Bwaps serve in the Imperial military, although mostly in support roles rather than as combatants, and even Bwap mercenary units are known. However, as previously mentioned, Bwaps most excel when put in charge of materials or organization; they most excel as administrators, logisticians, quartermasters, and in supply roles.


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Re: [race] What are the Newts?

Postby Big Mac » Wed Jun 01, 2016 2:12 am

BlackBat242 wrote:No, the "Newts" are not Chirpers - they are a different "minor race".

They first appear in a "Contact" article in the Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society (GDW's house magazine for Traveller), issue #11 (1982) - Newts by Loren Wiseman and William Keith.


Thanks for the clarification. :)

They seem like the sort of race that could be raided for other space games. ;)
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Re: [race] What are the Newts?

Postby BlackBat242 » Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:38 am

Yes, they could... any civilization needs paper-pushers and the like.

However, their compulsion for order, proper conduct, and "being in your proper place, doing your assigned task" makes for a very boring and limited "adventurer", so they would be almost exclusively NPCs - hence DD's dismissal of them as PC material.

However, a creative Ref could make great use of them, to alternately aid and hinder the PCs - depending how they approach their dealings with those Bwaps they must deal with to get things done.
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Re: [race] What are the Newts?

Postby The Dark » Sat Jan 28, 2017 3:19 am

The one time I've seen a good Bwap PC (not played by me) was when two players did a Wooster and Jeeves style duo of a low-Int, high-Soc Noble and his practical Bwap manservant.
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Re: [race] What are the Newts?

Postby Dread Delgath » Mon Jan 30, 2017 5:16 pm

I'd have to play one like Kip from Futurama. An oppressed, depressed and cynical servant of a brainless yet arrogant hero-type.
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Re: [race] What are the Newts?

Postby The Dark » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:54 am

Dread Delgath wrote:I'd have to play one like Kip from Futurama. An oppressed, depressed and cynical servant of a brainless yet arrogant hero-type.
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