The Jhray are deciduous, nut-bearing trees. They generally grow in deciduous forests near their kin and mingled with nonsentient trees. Their central trunk tends to be stout, with twisty branches extending from it at all levels. (Think of a dogwood or young magnolia.) Their bark is fairly smooth, of a mottled grey-black color. Their small, round leaves are green with a very faint bluish tinge in spring, and pale blue in autumn.
Most Jhray have strong telekinetic and weak (compared to the Jhotha) telepathic abilities (see under Humours). The Jhray live long lives, and continue growing as long as they live; they rarely die a "natural" death from disease, but are more likely to be blown down during storms if they are old and large. They are generally friendly with the Briacite in those Caligoi where they both live.
The Jhray live and think slowly, and consequently have difficulty communicating with aliens: few aliens have the patience to sit and converse with them.
The leaves, twigs and branches that the Jhray naturally shed during the course of their lives are highly valued for their magical properties. The Jhray generally have no objection to these being used for magic, but they usually want to deal directly with the mages who will be using them.
When a Jhray dies, part of his trunk-wood is sometimes given as an inheritance to one or two mages with whom he was friendly; most of it is buried near the place where he grew, so as to rot more rapidly and fertilize the new seedling who is planted in his place.
Long ago, the Jhray in Caligo Rectek were put under a powerful curse by a cabal of Zun mages, who wanted to make Jhray wood more easily available for magical use and wanted to avoid seeking Jhray approval for its use. (This same cabal, it is thought, cursed the race of Yith to make them easier to control and confine to a single area, because of their powerful humours for the negation of magic.) This was so long ago that the remembrance of the Jhray's sentience has been confounded with that of the Yith, and with the whispered legends about the Wexivinov, into a single legend of The Seventh Race. The TTambroc and Glaethryn remain unwilling to cut down a healthy Jhray for the use of its wood, but the reason for this is no longer clearly remembered.
Some Jhray are mobile in one way or another. These fall into two categories:
The 'dryads.' These Jhray have developed their telepathic and telekinetic abilities so that they can project a semitangible image at some distance away from their tree. This image is traditionally the form of a female Briacite with leafy fur; in those Caligoi where the Briacite don't live, there is a good deal of variety in the images chosen. Exactly how tangible the projected image is depends upon the strength and skill of the Jhray's telekinetic power. If the persons to whom the image appears are within close range of the Jhray's telepathy, a different image may be presented to each; but at longer range it becomes difficult to present separate images, and further off impossible to appear to more than one or two people at once.
The 'bonsai.' In the eastern land-mass of Caligo Torodoth, some Jhray live in large pots; their roots and branches are pruned and bound to prevent their outgrowing the pot. They are able to levitate themselves and move about using telekinesis, but they are less conveniently able than their earth-bound brethren to manipulate massive objects, because they have less mass themselves.
The Jhray religion is similar to that of the Briacite. They believe that the Great Tree causes world-fruits to grow upon itself. Animals were made to pollinate plants and help them propogate; other sentients were made largely to present interesting spectacles to the Jhray.
The Jhray hold that it's wrong to kill any mobile creature from which one gets telepathic impressions, no matter how incoherent or alien the thoughts -- unless it appears likely to harm a Jhray, in which case killing is ok if disabling is inconvenient. They think it generally wrong to interfere with another Jhray's gardening or autosculpture, but also impolite to stubbornly refuse all help and advice in such matters.
The Jhray telepathic languages consist of sensory signs, all based on smell/taste or their telekinetic tactile sense. Some of these signs are representative, others conventional. So, of course, none our phonetic representations of Jhray names, etc. are native. Many are from the Briacite language (q.v.), including "Jhray" itself. (If playing a Jhray character in a Caligo where Briacite also live, make your alien name from Briacite root words.)
Here is a loose translation of Jhray love poem.
the tickle of the insect in my open flower
the sweet taste of your fresh pollen
spurs my heartwood to ponder:
our nut, will it sprout into a sapling?
Each summer, the Jhray in each area select a few fertile nuts from their branches to plant. Some go in spots where an old tree has fallen down recently; some are planted in pots, to be trained as bonsai traders and ambassadors; some are given to trusted aliens to colonize new areas. Many, of course, are eaten by forest animals, and spread in their droppings. Most remaining nuts are destroyed, to prevent their being stolen by mobile sentients and raised in slavery.
Jhray poetry/music is pretty nearly impossible to describe, as their language is based on telepathically transmitted aural and tactile perceptions. A more obvious art form is autosculpture. Jhray use their telekinetic power to shape and direct their own growth throughout their lifetimes; some use this, when young, to make bonsai of themselves, so that they can become mobile for a while. Finally, they also engage in conventional gardening, using telekinesis to plant and encourage some flowers and uproot others. (They tend to supress those which compete most directly with them for the attention of pollinating insects.)
The Jhray have very little government, except when it comes to negotiating with aliens. There is lengthy discussion prior to selecting one of the elder Jhray in each forest as ambassador, and perhaps preparing a seedling as a bonsai to be a mobile ambassador.
Unlike ghosts of many other races, Jhray ghosts are not tied to the place where they died. Many Jhray become ghosts in order to seek revenge upon their murderer, if they were killed for their wood and their neighbors and relations were unsuccessful in punishing the murderer; but they do not necessarily leave the Caligoi after accomplishing their revenge. Sometimes they wander about seeing places that they could only hear about when they were alive. Jhray ghosts in Rectek are very rare, mostly because they remember nothing of their death (or life for that matter), and have no reason to stick around.
Thiojh -- This humour allows the Jhray to communicate telepathically with one another and with aliens (though the appropriate language skills are required). The average range is 100 meters. The Jhray are not adversely affected by the dreams of aliens, as are the Jhotha; many find them pleasant and ask mages to sleep a night or two under their boughs as payment for the cast-off leaves and twigs that they sell. (Advantage cost: 10 levels (100 meters) of Telepathy, 50 points - or more or less for more/less than 10 levels.)
Hwithmo - This humour allows the Jhray to telekinetically move things about, and sense the insides of things at a very fine-grained level. It allows them to read Jhotha tzelyund messages if they know the Jhotha language. An average Jhray can lift objects of up to about two kilograms in weight, but several Jhray working together can move much larger weights. (Advantage cost: 7 levels of psychokinesis (limited to telekinesis skil) at 4 points per level, +50 points for telekinetic sense, 78 points.)
Plithvok - This allows some Jhray to learn spells dealing with plants (the Plant College in GURPS magic). It also grants them special resistance against attacks by such spells. Advantage cost: 10 for the first, 5 points per level after that, up to 6 levels. Each level after the first gives them a +1 to IQ when learning plant spells.
Why would you want to be a Jhray? I don't know, maybe you like having all those points left over to spend on mental skills... :) Anyway, here are stats for creating Jhray NPCs (and, if you're into roleplaying VERY inhuman aliens and the Jhotha aren't odd enough for you, PCs as well).
The Jhray language is a Very Hard skill for all aliens (except Jhotha, for whom it is merely Hard), and all alien languages (except Jhotha) are Very Hard for Jhray characters. This counts as a disadvantage to Jhray characters worth -6 points (acts similarly to -3 levels of Language Talent).
The Jhray have basic attributes of ST 0, DX 0, HT 18, and IQ 15. (These balance out.) They have 4 points of DR and 6 points of ablative DR (bark) that regenerates 1 point per day (18 points). They have 15 points of extra fatigue (45 points).
'Dryad' projection is a mental/average telepathic skill with no default.
The Jhray have the advantage Unaging (15 pts) and the disadvantage Altered Time Rate (-100 points; they think about half as quickly as aliens).
They have the disadvantages Blindness (-50 points), Deafness (-20 points) and Mute (-25 points), and the advantage Acute Taste/Smell (6 points for +3 bonus; they taste/smell through both roots and leaves). Note that the Blindness disadvantage is balanced by their telekinetic sense humour, and the deaf-mute disadvantages are more than balanced by their telepathic humour. See Humours. Their rooted immobility is the Sessile disadvantage (-50 points). ('Bonsai' characters don't have this disadvantage.) Bonsai must have at least 12 levels of the Hwithmo humour to lift their own weight with their pot and dirt.
The Jhray do not sleep at night, but they are dormant during the winter. A Jhray is at -5 to any alertness roll during the winter in temperate climates (e.g., to react and telekinetically defend himself against a wicked mage who wants to cut him down for his wood), and will not willingly do anything except defend himself from such danger during the winter. Cost: -10 points.
Jhray resist hostile plant-magic at HT plus however many levels of Plant-college magery they have. (See below under Humours.)
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