Created by: Chris W. McCubbin in GURPS Aliens. Modified by Garry Stahl and Jay P. Hailey
Number of Members: About 1.5 billion
Nature of Members: Banduch are large quadrupedal herbivores. Their bodies are about the size of a cow's (3 hexes) and they resemble a small brontosaurus, with a long neck, small head, four short, sturdy legs and a long tail. A large hump at the base of the neck is the creature's braincase. Their skin is soft with a texture like grainy leather, and ranges in color from pale gray to medium brown.
Banduch mate casually, without commitment, during an annual (approximately once every two Earth years) mating season that lasts about a month. Young are born the next (Banduch) year, and raised by the entire community.
Psychology: The Banduch are peaceful, mute, swamp-dwelling vegetarians. They "toil not, neither do they spin." There are no Banduch buildings, clothing, tools or artifacts. In fact, there is little outward evidence that Banduch are sentient at all.
Banduch are strict vegetarians. They must graze both land vegetation and shallow water plants to stay healthy; consequently their paths of migration follow major rivers, and generally end in swamps. Banduch begin to age at about 55.
Organization: The Banduch would be dismissed as hopeless backwoodsmen, and left alone in their primitive paradise, were it not for one thing, they are one of the galaxy's most powerful naturally psionic race. All Banduch are strong Telepaths, almost all are powerful Psychokinetics, ESP is common, and Teleportation and healing are not rare.
Government: There is no government, and little social structure among the Banduch. After each migration they form into herds of 12 to 200 individuals, and live as a community until the next migration. There is absolutely no individual leadership except that provided by the linked minds of the community; while individuals have their own distinct personalities, none of them is in any way the "boss or even leader.
Culture: The Banduch do have an ancient and advanced civilization - it's just not physical. It exists in the minds of the race. The Banduch are telepaths, "speaking" in concepts rather than symbols for concepts. They have a culture - countless myths, legends and stories passed down from generation to generation by an eidetic-memory-endowed "troubadour" class. They even have art - some have said that it's the ultimate aesthetic experience to perceive the elaborate psychic mandalas of concepts, sensations and emotions which serve the Banduch for poetry, song and painting.
Although the Banduch civilization is mostly mental, that does not mean that they don't control their outward environment. Although a Banduch swamp just looks like a swamp to the human eye, a naturalist can tell that it's actually a controlled, comfortable environment. There are no predators and no pests. The foliage is lush and healthy, food is plentiful, and even the weather usually stays within a reasonable band of comfort. For the Banduch, it's paradise. This is all accomplished through the collective psychokinetic energy of the Banduch community.
On a physical level Banduch life is incredibly boring. They sleep about half the time and graze the entire time they're awake (even among other races Banduch usually wear "feed bags" which allow them to nibble regularly). Nonetheless the whole time they're awake they're communicating, observing, philosophizing, creating, and improving their environment. Social status is meaningless among the Banduch, though older, wiser individuals are respected. Likewise artistic talent, eloquence, and psychic skill are recognized by the rest of the community. Raw psychic power is respected, but very powerful individuals are viewed with some alarm until they have the age and experience to fully control their power.
Following ancient instincts, Banduch migrate about every six years. Males migrate in the direction of the planet's rotation, females and young in the opposite direction (it is possible on the Banduch homeworld to circumnavigate the globe by land). This constant reshuffling of communities helps keep the gene pool fresh. Female young often stay with their mothers their entire life; males stay until they reach physical maturity (at about age 14) and reverse the direction of their migration.
The Banduch cannot lie and have almost no material needs, so it's not surprising they are never criminals. In isolated circumstances a Banduch has allied with other sentients in an activist cause, or even aided in a non-violent revolution, but such activism usually ill-suits the Banduch's phlegmatic personalities.
There are no Banduch schools. Young learn from the ambient thought of the community. The delicate Banduch minds mature more slowly than their bodies, and an individual's psychic powers are not fully realized until about age 25. At that time the new adult formulates a "name" for himself and shares it with the community. A few Banduch have gone offworld to study in specialized fields, but it is not common.
Banduch are curious about other intelligences, but generally prefer to send out a few observers and mentally share their observations, rather than emigrate or visit in great numbers. At any time more than 99.99 % of the galaxy's Banduch remain on the homeworld, and those that do leave generally don't stay away for more than a few years.
Names: Banduch (singular: Banduch), being mute, don't have names. They identify themselves with a momentary, non-verbal psionic transmission that conveys the essence of their personality identical in nature to the Ane Icon. However, they recognize the psychological necessity of names to verbal races, and they will adopt nicknames for use among those races. These nicknames are sometimes descriptive (Speedy, Sleepy, Fats), but are usually simply random common names (Norman, Bob, Ralph). Their "official" names are usually written, for instance, "Norman of the Banduch."
The race, by the way, is named for the human who discovered them. Most racial names translate to "men," "us" or "The people." but can still be used because of the different languages involved. The Banduch racial designator, like their personal names, is a non-verbal psionic pattern.
Religion: They have no formal religion, but appear to be pantheists. They frustrate dogmatically religious beings by their habit of agreeing with almost any theological theory put to them.
Game Role: Possible encounters.
World Role: The anchor of the Kurr Association
Relative Influence: Major. They are considered the real and physical ethical base of a very ethical society.
Public or Secret?: Public if not forward
Publicly Stated Goal: To live quiet lives of peaceful contemplation.
Relative Wealth: They hold no property, however in the Kurr Association sphere Banduch are considered "Highly contributing" by standing there breathing.
Race Advantages: A powerful Ethical base. More than any other race encountered the Banduch are defined and driven by their ethics.
Special Abilities: Powerful Psionic Abilities. They run the full range of abilities.
Race disadvantages: Physically Handicapped. This is overcome with telekinesis to varying degrees dependent on the individual.
Special Disadvantages: A powerful Ethical base. They will not put this aside for any reason, even racial survival.
- As'lan -- Officially part of the Trantorian Empire the land hungry felines are considered a threat, and rightly so.
- Chuongui -- Cautious. A race believed related to the Tonagi. they are aggressive, but back down if formidably confronted. This bothers them. The necessary forcible part.
- Kurr Association -- They can be said to "be" the Kurr Association, in that it would not exist without them.
- Norg Republic -- Aggressive to avoid being aggressed against. Prone to Real politik. Something that bothers them greatly.
- Senet -- Aware of them. They approve of the peaceable ways of the Senet, but you do not bother those people, it is not wise.
- Trantorian Empire -- The frank warlike expansionist Trantorians are viewed with considerable trepidation. There are races within the empire they have contact with the Empire would likely wish they did not, like the Naraped.
- UFP -- Friendly if cautious. They see the Ane as a [people that should have a similar position to themselves. But the Ane are not pacifists, something that disturbs them. While Federation goals are laudable, execution of those goals is spotty and needs work.
- Wanderers -- They are taken on a case by case basis. The friendly one are replied to in kind. Mostly live and let live.
Area of Operation: The Kurr Association sphere.
Headquarters Location: Band: The Banduch world is a 1.4-G greenhouse planet, with an average temperature of 90f degrees (Banduch are uncomfortable below 60f degrees, and may wear blankets). Its atmospheric pressure is 1.2 times Earth normal.
Public Face: Highly ethical philosophers.
History of the Race: The Banduch evolved towards the end of their planet's equivalent of the Cretaceous era, and were so marvelously suited to survival that they survived their larger, stupider brother reptiles. Now their planet is well into the age of mammals - fortunately, the planet is not given to ice ages. Scholarly opinion varies widely about how long ago the Banduch evolved. Theories range from as little as three million years ago to a long as 10 million years! At any rate, it is obvious that the Banduch are one of the galaxy's oldest sentient races. The race exists in a rather timeless continuum, never having needed to keep exact chronicles of their history. Their "literature" or remembered cultural heritage, goes back to the birth of Banduch sentience.
Banduch appear to have never warred among themselves. They will not physically harm a fellow sentient for any reason. However, if threatened, they will use any special psionic skills that may be useful. Individuals with no defensive psychic powers are able to mentally call for help at a "volume that it's impossible to misunderstand or ignore. Since they are social beings that generally gather in herds, help is usually forthcoming. When threatened Banduch have been known to put the enemy to Sleep, stave him off with a PK Shield, Teleport him to another location, or knock him unconscious with a Mental Blow. In rare and very extreme cases the enemy has been completely Mindwiped back to infancy.
Although the military would love to recruit such powerful creatures, even as non-combatants, the Banduch absolutely refuse to have any but the most casual and temporary contact with any military or paramilitary organization.
The Banduch have been known to galactic culture for about 300 years; however the first team to contact the race contained no telepathic sensitives, and the race's intelligence was seriously underestimated. Since their homeworld contains no remarkable natural resources, there was no further contact for almost a century. At that time the Banduch culture was finally fully perceived, and the race was welcomed into galactic society.
At first, when the Banduch seemed completely acquainted with off-planet cultures, it was assumed that they were reading the contact team's mind for the information (as indeed they were). Gradually, however, the Banduch revealed knowledge of certain things which nobody on the contact team knew. Investigation revealed that the Banduch had been aware of interstellar civilization for centuries - long before first contact, and had gathered information via seemingly impossibly long-range Telepathy, Clairvoyance, and Astral Projection.
There is even some evidence that isolated Banduch have physically visited other worlds without recourse to technology - an almost unimaginably powerful feat of Autoteleportation.
There is a spaceport on the Banduch homeworks where several thousand non-Banduch live. Many of the permanent residents make their living locating powerful native psychics and bickering their services.
The Banduch are currently considering a plan to colonize a second planet, provided a comfortable world that won't require extensive alteration can be found. They have been invited to live in the swampy areas of Ane non-blue worlds.