The Toaliralolo resemble mammalian centipedes. They have a varying number of legs, as many as twelve pairs or more in those who live longest. When they want to move fast, middle-aged Toa' (with at least four or five segments) can bend back and hold their tail in their mouth, and run and roll along with a fluid motion. Adults are about six to ten feet long. Each winter they will hibernate a couple of months while growing another segment and pair of legs. They have two sexes, and give live birth, with a gestation period of about six months. There are usually as many pups in a litter as the mother has hind-segments (one per womb), but fewer, if the father had fewer segments than the mother.
The Toa' are thought of by most aliens as impatient, excitable and irrepressibly cheerful except for about a day after the death of a close friend. They're talkative and songful, and are rarely silent or still for long unless they have a strong reason to be so (e.g., when hunting).
They live mainly in shallow caverns and in burrows. Their mouth and tongue are very versatile, as much so as the hands of some other races.
The Toaliralolo reach puberty after their first cocooning (see below), are considered mature adults at about 2 years of age, and die of old age around 10-12 years.
The Toa' are fairly strong when using all their legs together (for jumping, acrobatics, climbing and so forth), but are relatively weak in lifting things with a single foot-hand or with their mouth.
The Toaliralolo seem to have several brain sections separated along the length of their body. The primary brain is situated directly behind the eyes and between the ears, and seems to be where higher-level thinking takes place, sensory input is processed, and where personal and often-used memories are stored. The memory brain is a little further back, above the first pair of legs; it stores externally acquired memories, apparently in a form much denser than those in the primary brain, but slower to access. The thick bundle of nerves connecting the primary to the memory brain seems to be constantly carrying a compressed version of current sensory input, and occasionally requests for information (deliberate attempts to recollect things); it carries back memories and knowledge dredged up by association.
Small brains for the control of physical action are spread all along the spinal column; there is one for the head-segment, and one for each hind segment. These local brains regulate the beating of the several small hearts, coordinate the action of the legs, and do some preprocessing of tactile, aural and sonic information before sending it up to the primary brain.
Above the tasting-and-manipulating tongue is a thick bundle of nerves enclosed in protective skin which can extend to meet the "memory-tongue" of another Toa' for memory transfer. The flesh at the end of each retracts, bare nerves meet at the juncture, and skin closes over both while the transfer takes place.
The head segment of a Toa includes the first pair of legs (which are more dextrous for handling things than any of the others, because they are controlled directly by the primary brain), the primary thought-brain and the memory-brain, a heart and lung, the eyes and primary ears, as well as the mouth, tongue and vocal cords.
Each hind segment includes two legs, a local brain, a lung, throat and ear-nose (oinai), a heart, a few glands for various purpose, one waste-processing gland (similar to humans' kidneys), and a complete reproductive system. The digestive tract runs through the entire body, in a spiraling pattern; only the final segment has organs of elimination. The oinai of the hind segments consists of a single nostril in a rounded depression on the back. The inner parts filter dust from incoming air, and sense smells and sounds. These sensations are processed by the local brain and sent forward to the primary brain.
Newborn babies have only the head segment; they "cocoon" to grow their first hind segment after they finish nursing (about thirty-five to forty days). Subsequently, "cocooning" and growth of a new segment occurs each winter for healthy Toa' who are properly nourished but not gluttonous. The cocooning affects only the hind-part of the body; the fore-part is open, for breathing, while the hind-part covers with overskin under which the new segment grows. Very occasionally (about once in 10,000 cocoonings, or to about one Toa' in 1,000) one will grow out a hind segment of a different sex than earlier ones. Subsequent hind segments are nearly always of the same sex as the new one. The rate of androgyny is much higher in Caligo Kreis after the Blirthibo migration. (See Kreis: History.)
The Toa of tropical climates (such as those of Triyk) have thin straight hair, those of colder regions such as Kreis and Qualtos have thicker, curly hair.
The average Toaliralolo has a whole-body ST of 13 (worth 30 points) (for purposes of jumping, climbing and so forth) but a lifting ST of only 6 (worth -30 points) for each individual foot-hand or for the mouth. A Toa' cannot use more than two foot-hands (usually the foremost or rearmost pair) to lift anything. An average Toa' can lift about 30-40 pounds with the mouth or a single foot-hand, or 100-120 pounds with his front pair of foot-hands. He can jump about three feet without having to make a special jumping roll.
The average Toa' has a DX of 10 for whole-body movement or for his mouth and tongue, but of only 8 for his foot-hands for purposes of handling things. (-5 points.)
The Toaliralolo have the advantage Altered Time Rate (+100 pts; think twice as fast as aliens) and the disadvantage Accelerated Aging (-60 pts; begin aging rolls at 10 yrs). (The GM may wish to disallow taking points for these if the campaign is short-term or involves no non-Toaliralolo characters). They also have the disadvantage Horizontal (-10 points) Impulsiveness (-10 points) and the advantages Double-Jointed (5 pts) and Ambedexterity (10 points.)
All Toaliralolo get Acrobatics at DX (4 pts).
If a Toaliralolo PC takes the Eidetic Memory advantage, this applies only to memories acquired in the Toa' charaacter's own lifetime. In transfering memories, some information is always lost because there is not room in a single brain for an infinite amount of information (though the Toa' have far more storage capacity than any other race).
If a Toaliralolo PC takes one of the Lame disadvantages (One Leg, Crippled Leg, or One Hand), it is worth only 1/3 as many points and the consequent penalties are only 1/3 the values given in the GURPS basic set. (This assumes that the Toa' is *missing* one leg or hand, not that the has only one left. If a Toa' has only one good leg, he might as well be Legless or Paraplegic (-35 points).)
It costs --- pts to be a Toaliralolo.
The Toaliralolo worship a pantheon of eleven gods, two of whom are thought to be dead. They have a sacred book which is typically memorized rather than written. Its exact contents vary a good deal from one Caligo to another, except the story about the Old World and the traditions about funeral and worship fires, which are fairly consistent, so probably much older than the rest. Unless otherwise noted, the version represented here is that of Caligo Triyk.
Some excerpts from the Toaliralolo "Book of the Eleven"
Part 1: Thus it happened
Chapter 1: The Gods
Chapter 2: The Old World
Chapter 3: The New World
Chapter 4: The Sundering
Part 2: Thus shall you do
Chapter 1: Memory
(ethics of memory transfer, disciplines for renewing important memories, etc.)
Chapter 2: Fires: Lloramal, Mirarotho, Mirathanek
Part 3: Thus it shall be
(some apocryphal prophecies; the Plistrolamakiita writings are reckoned here)
Short list of gods:
Taramakato (eldest, now dead)
Merakasu (died during Sundering)
(Another version is in the language document.)
Eleven gods there were. They forged a world of glorious substance, marvellous and beautiful in every particular. It was as unlike the world we live in as may be imagined; and the beings that the Eleven made to inhabit it were strange and wondrous, very unlike the people that live in Caligo now; we call them the Marako, but who knows what they called themselves? For centuries beyond count they lived in that glorious world and worshipped the Eleven.
Some among the Marako looked at the Eleven and said to themselves, "Why do they rule the world while we live in it and serve them? Let us unite and slay them, and rule the world ourselves." They spoke to their fellows and found many hearers.
Centuries passed. More and more of the Marako joined in the blasphemous conspiracy, while the Eleven listened with sorrow; but they waited, to see who would be faithful and refuse to join the conspiracy.
Some held back from fear rather than loyalty, so the Eleven went away and conferred a long while. Taramakato propounded a plan to test who was cowardly and who loyal; but the others of the Eleven begged him not to carry it out.
"It is unnecessary," said Merakasu; "can you not hear their thoughts as loud as may be, some radiating fear through world after world, others love and loyalty?"
Taramakato replied: "Action, not thought, is the final test of character."
"It is unnecessary," said Yelasako; "from whatever motive, they refuse to join the blasphemous conspiracy. Spare them."
Taramakato replied: "Those now wicked and cowardly may later be wicked and bold."
"It is unnecessary," said Wainoramek; "let us destroy all of them, for they are all of the same kind, and if some rebel now those we spare may rebel later."
Taramakato replied: "The innocent must not be slain with the guilty."
In the end they conceded he was right. So they went far away, while he walked alone among the conspirators, feigning that he knew not of their plans.
"Where are the other Ten, Great One?" they asked, "we would worship them also."
"They have gone," he said, "to forge ten new worlds, and I have stayed to watch over you and protect you."
Hearing this, they rose up and killed him. He cried out, as if in surprise, loudly enough that every one in the world could hear him; and then, wounded horribly by these creatures that he had made nearly as great as himself, he died. Taramakato is the first and the greatest of the Dead Gods whom we honor.
After this the conspirators rejoiced, and all but twenty-nine of the remaining Marako joined them. They were making ready to go to other worlds in search of the other ten gods, and the remnant of twenty-nine were about to go ahead of them to warn the gods; when the ten remaining gods came suddenly and terribly. The thousands of conspirators they changed horribly, into feeble, fragile creatures of mist; the world they smashed into the smallest of pieces, never to be formed again; and the twenty-nine loyal Marako they carried to the new world they had been forging.
The twenty-nine cried out in delight, who had only moments before wept when they heard Taramakato's death-cry. "A beautiful world it is!" they cried, "strange and delightful, wondrously different from the world we lived in! But our shapes -- we are not suited to it --"
"Hear and wonder," said Yelasako, who was the brother of Taramakato. "You shall be changed; not all of the same kind, as before, but of several different kinds. Behold!"
The ten gods then spoke in turn to each of the twenty-nine. They became male and female Toaliralolo, male and female Pliv, male and female Blirthibo, and so on; when a single one was left, she became a Yith.
For many centuries they lived peaceably together.
[The chapter of "The New World" is here omitted, as it is mostly genealogies and so forth.]
The evil ones who had plotted against the Eleven had been confined in a small island of mist for many generations. All of those who had been Marako were now dead, except for the eldest Yith, who required days now for a thought. A small tribe of Toa' lived eleven days' journey from the mist.
There had been many months of dry weather, and food became scarce. One day, a hunter several days out from the village chanced upon a galvorn and pursued it. All day and all night he followed, till near dawn he closed upon it. They were then drawing near the mist, and a mist-being leapt out and devoured the soul (tawilo) of the galvorn. The body of the galvorn, deprived of sense, ran on a bit further and faltered at last inside the mist.
The hunter, tired and sleepy, cried out in anger, for he was deprived of the food that he had counted upon. He was very near the mist, which he had before seen only from a distance, and he tried to think of a way to get the meat of the galvorn. The mist-beings heard him thinking, and said: "If you will take several of the stones from the wall around the mist, you can come in safely and get the meat unharmed by the mist." So the hunter picked up several of the stones which ringed the mists, put them in his pouches, and walked in to where the galvorn lay. True enough, neither the mist nor the mist-beings harmed him. But when he had butchered the galvorn and loaded up much of the meat, he looked back and tried to return. Though he had only been two body-lengths from the outside edge, he could no longer see it. He continued on, and, after a long walk, he finally got to the edge. He saw that he was on the far side of the village, what should have been twelve or thirteen days away. Behind qhim were mists as far to east and west as he could see, and, as he watched, they advanced further and covered over the place where he stood. Again they did not harm him, but he hurried on out of them again, and kept running.
It seemed to him that the mists had escaped their bounds and flooded the valley, including his village. He looked back and saw the mists creeping forward, covering up all of the land he knew; then he ran on into places unfamiliar to him.
He cried out to the Eleven, asking them to forgive him for releasing the mists and to make them stop flooding out. Then Merakasou appeared to him, and she said:
"Child, you have done very ill to listen to those wicked mysts. Many people have died, and many more will die before we can trap the Mists again, for we have not recovered our full strength after making this world and trapping the Mists. We must also try to rescue the souls (tawilo) that the mysts have eaten, and it will take long to heal them. Take the stones which you took from the island's wall from your pockets, and walk parallel to the advancing wall of Mist, laying them upon the ground at a body-length's interval."
He did so, and the Mists advanced no further along the region that he blocked; but they spilled around this wall on either side, and trapped him. So he took up the stones and ran on, till he was out of the mysts again.
Then Merakasou instructed him what sort of stone to look for, and all the gods appeared to various mortals in all the world telling them to collect these stones and make walls around their habitations. The gods themselves stood in front of the walls of Mist, holding them back by main strenth. Merakasou herself strode into the Mists and rescued many souls from the mysts, but was at last defeated and killed by the sudden concerted efforts of all the mysts.
So at last the advance of the mists were stopped, in all the regions where the rock which could keep them away was abundant; but most of the world was covered by mists, and the safe havens were cut off from one another. To keep the walls from being disturbed again, Wainorameka made them invisible.
Every third night, a long while after sunset when it is very dark, the Toliralolo light Lloramal fires in honor of the recently dead. Every eleventh night, they light Mirarotho fires in honor of the gods. When these two festivals coincide (as they do every thirty-third night) it is a specially sacred occasion, as they honor the dead gods. The fires of the thirty-third night are called the Mirathanek fires. Lloramal fires are made by burning yiramal leaves with jhray twigs; Mirarotho fires are made by burning gwultay leaves with jhray twigs; and Mirathanek fires are made by burning both yiramal and gwultay leaves with jhray twigs.
All Toaliralolo are not expected to come to every Lloramal fire, but they always go when a close friend or relative has died in the last three days. If a couple of Toaliralolo are on a journey far from their homeland, and one dies, the other will light a Lloramal fire on the proper night in the next three days for him.
The Toaliralolo distinguish three souls or parts of the soul, each of which has a different destiny after death. They can roughly be translated as memory, imagination, and will. Outo, personal memory and experience, must be transferred to some other person before the other two parts can go on about their business. Raimo, reason or imagination, can then become a wandering, benevolent spirit which gives poetic and scientific inspiration to people (not just Toa'). (Some think that joyriders, leaf-pile spirits and similar playful creatures are raimo.) Tawilo, hope, will, or desire, returns to the gods to be judged according to deeds and thoughts. Some tawilo return to the Caligoi, a few are banished to the Mists, but most remain with the gods.
Toaliralolo children are unique in becoming sexually mature before they learn to talk. This poses unique problems for marriage and child-rearing. We look here at how the Thau of Akael in Triyk handle them, with occasional notes on the customs in Kreis and Mar.
Children are betrothed by their parents while they are still nursing. These betrothals are elaborate multi-pathed contingency plans, since the sex of children is unknowable (at least with the technology available in Triyk) until they have cocooned (malogau-mera) and grown their first hind-segment (nuu). One attempts to match children who will be emerging from their cocoons within a few days of one another and who are as distantly related as possible. When children are weaned, they are taken to a special cocooning nursery cavern. A single cavern contains only children who are cocooning, and will be emerging, within a few days of one another. These are watched the day around by the parents of the several children, each taking a shift. When the children emerge, each receives memories from his or her arranged godparent (lit. thelathau mou, first memory-parent), which may or may not be the same as the biological parents. After they have eaten (one is always hungry after growing a new segment, especially the first time), each betrothed pair is left alone together to consummate the marriage.
The young mates live with adults, sometimes the parents of one, but often other relatives, during their first year or so. (In Kreis, it is the custom for the newlyweds to live with the wife's parents.) They have memories from their godparents, but they have to learn to walk, to talk (they know their language, but have to train their vocal cords), and so forth, besides sorting out what in their borrowed memories is current and what is outdated. When they have done this, and found work to do, they look for another place to live. Siblings (or first cousins) of the opposite sex are not raised in the same household at once.
This cocoon-marriage is not expected to last for life, though it sometimes does. It sometimes ends after the first set of children are raised, and nearly always if one mate grows out of sync with the other (grows new segments faster, or becomes an androgyne).
Toaliralolo almost never travel alone, for fear of dying and being stuck in the Caligoi without having given away their memories.
A popular board game among the Toa', which in some Caligoi has been adopted by other races as well, is Tokwomau. This is played upon a board of 121 holes, an 11x11 grid, upon which each player may place up to 11 pebbles or marbles. Each must be a distinct color; races with less acute color vision use stripes or dots to distinguish them. Each turn a player either places a new piece on the board, or moves one of his pieces already in place. The modes of moving and capturing are determined by the name of each piece, which must be one of the hundreds of names recognized in the rules. The tricky part is that the other player (or the player to one's left, if three or more are playing) is godparent to the new piece, and gives it its name. The exact number of names accepted in play and the powers that attach to them vary from time to time and place to place. The object of the game varies slightly according to what names are in play at the moment, but it usually involves being a certain distance ahead in captured-pieces score (that is, having captured N more enemy pieces than your opponents). The initial target score is 3 pieces, but when certain pieces are in play this target changes.
If a game lasts so long that all of the available names have been exhausted, the players begin making new ones for pieces added into play after that point.
muugau: can move any odd number of spaces in an orthogonal line. captures by landing on the odd space just beyond a piece which is an even number of spaces from him.
Raal: can move exactly six spaces in a move, in orthogonal legs of 3, 2 and 1 spaces (not necessarily in that order); at each transition he must change direction. Captures any piece by circumnavigating it with the three legs of his move, the two-space leg being in the middle.
Ruumo: can move up to seven spaces in an orthogonal line. Captures pieces by landing upon them. Must capture (even if a friendly piece) if he has the opportunity. this forced move to capture counts s his players optional move
Terro: Each move, must move 1-3 spaces toward the nearest piece (if adjacent to a piece, mayn't move). May at option of player move additionally up to one less than the number of moves he made at the beginning of the turn (e.g., moved two spaces toward nearest piece; may only move one space in optional phase). Captures by ending his forced move next to a piece and jumping it with his optional move.
Besou: Can move up to three spaces plus the number of pieces on the board that MUST move at the beginning of a turn. Ordinarily moves diagonally (may change direction in mid-move), but captures by taking his maximum move orthogonally and landing just beyond the target piece.
Mautani: If this piece's godfather is older than it's controlling player, it may move diagonally, if younger, it may move orthoganally. either way, it can move from 2-5 spaces, and captures by moving fully past a piece that he was not adjaccenmt to at the beginning of the turn.
Semau: Any time he moves he must move as far as possible. He captures by "Bumping" into a piece.
Yimuul'imau [Delight in ball] is a ball game played by Toa' in many places, originally adopted from the Slithu and Briacite, but adapted to Toa' physique. The players try to keep one or more imau (cloth balls) in the air, striking them with foot-hands or catching them on the ear-nose and then throwing them with a puff of air, but not using the mouth. The simplest variant, played by small children or by adults when there isn't a quorum of players, is like hackey-sack: one or a few players just tries to keep the ball going for as long as possible. The more complex version is more like volleyball: spaces are marked out on the ground for each player, in a large grid (there must be at least nine spaces, sixteen or twenty-five being preferable; however, some players might occupy more spaces than others, if there's much difference of ages and lengths). Everyone starts with eleven points. The ball must be tossed to another space each time it's struck (but not necessarily to another player); if a ball falling in a particular space isn't struck back up by the player who occupies that space, he loses a point. If the ball lands outside all spaces, the player who tossed it loses three points. As a player runs out of points altogether, he leaves the game, and the remaining players pack in more closely so as to have no vacant spaces in the middle.
I danced all night about the fire
And near the dawn my grandpa came,
Appearing in the steam that rose
Where llora' fire was doused with rain.
"I knew you'd be here, grandson,
I knew you'd come for me --"
But then the fire was wholly out,
And no more could I see.
I came again the third night past,
And lit another fire.
So long I danced and waited
To see my father's sire.
One other ghost I saw that night;
He asked of me my name.
"No relative of mine," he sighed,
"But here you are by flame --
[This story is not considered part of the Book of the Eleven, though it is more or less consistent with it.]
When the first two Toaliralolo were made from two of the loyal Marako, they had only two legs, being newborn. At first they feared they had been cheated in the distribution of arms and sexual parts, when they saw the Briacite, Llegesia and so forth getting started on building houses and begetting children. They remained for some little while thus, crawling about clumsily. Then Merakasou came to them and offered them her teats, and they drank of the divine milk. So they cocooned and each grew a hind-segment, one male and one female; then they ate simai and poipunya and grew more.
[This tall tale is current in Kreis. Translations of meanings of names are in brackets. ]
Yoimaralai [Life-dance], in her particular year, walked openly in the world. Soisota [Laughing water] had advised her to do something silly and unprecedented. So she resolved to grant the first wish she heard as she walked among mortals.
Nousemo [Long tunnel] said to his friend Dlagezno [God chooses], "I wish I might live as long as you Pliv." Yoimaralai heard him. "How long might you grow in that time?" asked Dlagezno. "Oh, not too long," replied Nousemo, "if I might live to meet your grandchildren." (Dlagezno had been a friend of Nousemo's ancestors for three generations.)
Eleven years later, Yoimaralai walked in the world again. Nousemo had twelve segments, and was a patriarch of three generations. "Do you recall wishing that you might live as long as a Pliv?" she asked him.
"Yes. To which occasion do you refer?" he asked. "I suppose I have lived to see as many generations as most Pliv do, but I don't expect to see another."
"We shall see," said she.
Another eleven years, and Yoimaralai found a giant of nineteen segments, the nineteenth female. Nousemo had three wives and an infant husband. It was enjoyable, but the time-lag from his front-brain to his end segment was beginning to be a problem. He slept in a great coil like an elder Yith.
Another eleven years, another six segments. Nousemo slept out of doors; he could no longer coordinate his hind segments in long tunnels. One night his last three segments were assaulted, and, by the time the news reached his front-brain, he was pregnant.
The eleventh year came again. Yoimaralai found Nousemo at the naming-day ceremony of Dlagezno's youngest grandchild. At least, his head-segment was at the ceremony; her end-segment was above ground, a long way up the tunnel. Later that day, he needed five young Pliv to help him back up out of the crooked tunnel.
Give for safekeeping
a secret to a Pliv,
a song to a Yith,
a dream to a Jhray,
a garden to a Llegisia,
an orchard to a Briacite,
an image to a Slithu,
a memory to a Toa.
Memory is long, life is short.
A new hind-segment! It is like dawn seen from a new hilltop, or an old song from a new voice.
Speak not of
change to a Llegisia,
winter to a Jhray,
bright places to a Pliv,
or forgetting to a Toa'.
Before you marry a second time, remember your opposite-sex- memory-ancestors.
Woe to the watchman who sleeps and leaves molting cocoonlings unattended! It were better if he bit off his memory-tongue.
Leave not alone together
fire and dry wood,
a Jhotha and Pliv,
a Llegisia and Blirthibo,
or opposite-sex-birth-siblings when they are new-molted.
A Toa' who raises no children is like a Yith whose fission-children are inchlings: less remains of them than one hopes.
Stealth and quiet in the hunt, and rambunctious singing in the feast.
The elders, or advisers, are the ones with the oldest memories.
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