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The Mantu (Canidamysticus sapiens mantu; also known as "the Darkness" by the Kilrathi) are an enigmatic alien race with territory located somewhere beyond that of the Kilrathi Empire, generally believed to be opposite the Terran Confederation and somewhat to coreward. Before their first contact with the Terran race, the Mantu were the only species able to hold their own for any period of time against the Kilrathi, fighting two major wars that both ended in stalemate. As a result, the Kilrathi "aggrandized, vilified and generally mythologized their former foe". The existence of the Mantu weighed heavily on the Kilrathi psyche for much of the Terran-Kilrathi War; one of the motivating factors behind the construction of the Hakaga-class of carriers was to quickly end the war with the Confederation so that the Mantu would not attack while the Empire was already engaged. Though there is some evidence to suggest that the Mantu are technologically superior to most of the species in Known Space, there is little to suggest that they are as fierce as the Kilrathi have made them out to be. Indeed, they seem to be an insular, somewhat paranoid race of explorers and prospectors that simply reacted to Kilrathi aggression with extreme prejudice.

  • Personality: While some members of the species seek solitude, most Mantu are highly gregarious. Like most canids, the Mantu form "packs" with the basic social unit being a periodically monogamous mated pair and their offspring; it's the female in this pairing (the matriarch) that holds authority over the pack. New packs are formed when an offspring from one pack is pair-bonded with a member of a different pack of the opposite gender. Packs rarely adopt outside members; usually when it occurs, the new member is either immature or considered no threat to the matriarchal pair, or an unusual situation exists (such as what occurs on a Mantu ship - there, the "pack" is based on the ship's command structure). Packs are very careful about whom they choose as allies. Proto-Mantu used scent markings to denote their territory; though this behavior is now secondary to the rules of their civilization, they remain highly territorial with little forbearance given to those who encroach upon it. Friendship with a Mantu pack is possible, but it requires a respectful, non-aggressive approach and proper due deference to the matriarch. Failure to do so by an outsider generally results in a fatal encounter. Lone Mantu tend to be easier to befriend, though they will need to see some mutual benefit to the relationship and it will take time to garner their trust.
  • Physical Description: The Mantu are a canid race, generally about 1.5 meters tall and 70 kilograms in mass on average. They are covered in a pelt of tawny fur that varies in color from grayish-brown to yellowish-gray with blackish tips and a stripe of black fur along their backs, with tufts of white and reddish-brown in other areas of their bodies. Mantu exhibit many of the standard canid traits, particularly in their head and facial areas; they have large, pointed ears proportionate to their heads, a tapidum lucidum to assist in night vision and an enlarged olfactory bulb. Their senses are on par with the coyotes of old Earth. Mantu are predominantly carnivorous, though they are not obligate carnivores and can exist for extended periods on a diet devoid of meat. As might be expected, they can inflict a serious bite wound to most other forms of animal life, though it is a rare occurrence when they are forced to resort to the actual hunting of prey given their level of technological development. Their gustatory organs double as an apparatus for normal auditory communications. Mantu are bipedal; they are capable of speeds up to 36 kph in short bursts. Their forelimbs have a level of fine motor control on par with Terrans. While not particularly tough physically, they are very intelligent and can learn new skills quickly. Mantu females are monoestrous, remaining receptive for 2-5 days per Terran year during which mating occurs. The gestation period lasts for approximately 60 Earth days, after which time the female gives live birth to a litter of up to 5 pups. Mantu practice periodical monogamy, with "marriages" lasting between ten and fifteen years on average; there are some mated pairs that choose to remain together for life.
    • Motor Appendages: 2
    • Visual Organs: 2
      • Field of Vision: Optimal 144 degrees forward, Peripheral 240 degrees forward.
    • Auditory Organs: 2
    • Olfactory Organs: 1
    • Gustatory Organs: 1
    • Propulsive Appendages: 2
    • Reproductive Organs: 1
  • Relations with Other Races: For most of the species in Known Space, the Mantu remain little more than a Kilrathi legend. This is true even among the Kilrathi slave species and their allies, of whom none have ever had an encounter with the Mantu and returned to tell the tale. Only a few species are nominally aware of the Mantu: the Terrans, who have lost a few explorer ships to coreward due to action with the Mantu, the Kilrathi, who see the Mantu as evil itself, and the Nephilim, who have given the Mantu some trouble of their own. It is thought that the Double Helix and the Mantu are at least aware of one another, though the exact nature of their relationship is currently a mystery.
  • Territory: The Mantu are not extant to Known Space; almost nothing is known about their territorial holdings. Mantu very rarely venture into Known Space; when they do, it's usually in pursuit of a perceived threat.
  • Onomastikon: Information on Mantu name structure largely comes from Kilrathi records. As a rule, Mantu names consist of a single three-syllable word, with any method of distinguishing between two individuals with the exact same name currently unknown as are the circumstances under which an individual Mantu receives their name. Vowels in Mantu names are pronounced short with the only exception being the long "E" sound (represented in Romanized form by the letter "y"). Favored consonant sounds include hard "C", "CH", "D", "L", "N", "R" "S", "SP", "T" and "V", though it is possible for a syllable to forego a consonant sound and even possible for a Mantu name to contain no consonant sounds whatsoever; repeated sounds in Mantu names are also possible. There are no known variations in name sounds used by the species based on gender. Overall, more study in this field is clearly warranted.
    • Name Elements: a, ca, cal, ce, chry, cte, cu, cy, do, du, l, lo, ly, n, ny, o, r, ro, si, so, spe, te, to, u, vu,
  • Motivation: The biggest motivation most Mantu have for leaving the safety and comfort of their pack is the opportunity to begin a new one of their own, which is always a risky proposition but necessary for the continuance of the species. Other Mantu simply wish solitude or want to serve the greater good by defending the territory of the race as a whole. A very few want to see what is out there among the black, to prove their worth (and worthiness) by daring to face the many dangers that space has to offer.

  • Basic Characteristics:
    • Size Class: C5
    • Base HP: 50
    • Base HD: 50/50/50
    • Physical Attribute Building Point Pool: 125
    • Mental Attribute Building Point Pool: 200
    • Discipline Building Point Pool: 260
    • Genders: 2
    • Life Stages: Adolescent at 11 years. Adult at 13 years. Middle age at 31 years. Old Age at 52 years. Venerable Age at 66 years.
    • Lifespan: 70+4d10 years.
    • Height: 1.12 + (2d5 * 0.08) meters.
    • Mass: 50.25 + (same 2d5 from height) * 3.35) kilograms.
    • Speed: Runner (Biped) - 9 kph (15 m/rd); 3 (short-range combat), ½ (long-range combat)
    • Trade Value: ¤1,275
    • Racial Abilities and Restrictions:
      • Sharp Teeth. Mantu have a set of sharp teeth (Bite, 9 Lethal Damage).
      • Bad Rap. Thanks to the Kilrathi, most species in Known Space believe the Mantu are evil itself; they have Reputation -10 in relations with other races.
      • Night Vision. Mantu have a tapidum lucidum; they have Enhanced Visual Sense (Low Light).
      • Leave the Pack Alone, or Else. Mantu will respond to any violence against them with extreme prejudice; they have Intolerant (Invaders) at -25.
      • Advanced Knowledge. The Mantu are more advanced than many of the other races; a beginning Mantu character may have up to 10 free building points in any of the "Sense" Talents.

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