Xentorns are a human race very similar in many respects to Humans.
In regards to what organs and their arrangement, external anatomy, and basic biochemical matters they can be treated as Humans. There are, of course some exceptions, for example the stimulant hidroklin is a highly dangerous depressant to them, and they can safely inhale nearly four times as much jilorthi vapour as many humans.
They are, though, a distinct and separate species. Most notable is their pigmentation which is of a lilac hue and in sufficient concentration is a deep lavender shade. Their hair colour tends toward shades of pink, purple, and black.
Eyes have no fixed shade among Xentorns. The reason for this and the exact stimuli that trigger the process is largely uncertain, but the process itself is well studied wherein the Xentorn iris will, several times in a short period or less than twice in a korva, shift colour notably. These shades range through various colours of brown, green, hazel, blue, purple, and in some rare individuals there has been witnessed a very vivid red. Within these colours shade can very from one expression of the trait to the next.
Another profound difference is the Xentoran empathic sense. This sense seems to work from receptors located in the skin and is carried to the usual human brain structures as would be expected, though it should be noted the brain structures are smaller in Xentorn anatomy due (it is suspected) to their only needing that lobe for processing rather than for both reception and processing as it is in most other races. This tactile empathic sense is assumed by both xenopsychologists and xenosociologist alike to be the originating impetus for Xentorns being a notoriously sensualist race with an attitude and etiquette that skews to the physically expressive.
Another notable biological difference is the Xentorn circulatory system. First there is the heart, on average some ten percent or more larger than a Human’s in mass and total size, though the four chambers themselves are not significantly larger. The heart also beats much slower than many human species, averaging between twenty and forty-five beats per minute at rest. This slower, larger muscle beats much harder, though, giving a healthy, relaxed Xentorn a blood pressure somewhere in the neighbourhood of 260/175.
Finally Xentorns age somewhat unusually for a human. They mature at three different rates throughout their life. From birth to puberty they age at a rate comparable to Humans. Puberty for the Xentorn youth begins between the ages of six and nine (it should be noted that for purposes of this article the Terran year is assumed). This puberty is very rapid and generally only takes between two and five years from onset. Thus a Xentorn is quite grown up between the ages of eight and fourteen. The median for onset is eight with the median completion being around twelve. After this their ageing slows and one can expect a Xentorn to be ⅞ their age compared to a Human, though this ratio only begins to be a practical gauge after the Xentorn and Human being compared have reached somewhere between nineteen and twenty-five. Prior to this, obviously, the Xentorn is markedly older, biologically, than their Human chronological peers.
Psychologically Xentorns are quite interesting. They are one of only five races so little different from Humans who do not and have never colonised a world beyond their own star system, not counting those not yet capable of interstellar travel. They also build no hyperships except pleasure and trade craft. All Xentoran military vessels are entirely incapable of leaving the Xentoran star system, and would not survive FTL travel using even the most basic hyperdrive₁ engines of a primitive hyperbarge.
They believe in a deep unity of all life, but especially the unity of all Xentorns to one another. They all count both their homeworld and Xentor as their homelands and all Xentorns consider themselves subjects of The Seven Crowns. They are of one culture and Xentoran temples exist throughout the tri-galaxies to assist in the spiritual, linguistic, and cultural education of young Xentorns, or to help adults who begin to feel they are losing touch with The People and with Xentor (Xentor, it should be noted, is the name of their world and the spirit of that world who is said to have brought forth the Xentorn people).
To fully understand Xentoran psychology one must understand their spirituality. While, as with any race, there are varying degrees of devotion and faith, it is safe to assume any Xentorn you meet will fit the following description to some degree. The rare Xentorn who does not adhere to these philosophies will not take offence if you make such assumption as she will be well aware of how very odd she is.
The Xentoran religion is not unlike the faeshild faith, though it is lost to history if this has always been the case, meaning parallel development, or if one group influenced the other. Still there are a number of spirits that represent various aspects of life and creation to whom prayers are offered according to their powers and governance. Xentorns also believe that all life contains a spirit that is the essence of each being, a soul. This soul is immortal, though certain abhorrent breaches of very specific sacred vows will forfeit the soul and at that point the individual is counted among the dead regardless the health of the body. The Xentorns believe that the flesh is merely a shell the soul encases itself with to Experience. They believe the soul herself is only capable of experiencing memory and emotion. The soul selects a form to experience life through other senses and to gather new memories, and the body has no access to the memory of the soul, thus it is impossible for one to recall her prior lives while incarnate. When asked about this the priests point out that it would spoil the experience of living if one remembers already experiencing life, so the soul stores her memories away from the brain and memories of the body. They consider their empathy to be a capacity to hear the voice of the soul.
Xentorns have only an aesthetic regard toward gender. Fashion between the sexes varies little save in regards to cuts that better flatter the feminine form versus the masculine or vice versa. Xentoran itself has no gender specific pronouns, though it does have words (thought by most linguists to be for purely pragmatic purposes) for male and female, and they do not follow the usual Galfarran convention of translating this gender neuter pronoun into the gender neutral form, choosing “she” instead. Creative forces, like the soul, which they believe to be the origin of emotion, are feminine.
While their religion and its festivals, holidays, spirits, and their gods may hold little importance among some of the race, the spiritual beliefs with regards to the soul, emotions, and the Xentorn place in the universe is what is central to this people. Thus it is nigh impossible to meet a Xentorn who is not a strict vegetarian. They will eat animal products, and unfertilised eggs, but no flesh at all. There is debate regarding consumption of plants that must be killed to consume, but it is argued that all such plants are root vegetables and that it is exceedingly rare not to harvest these in a way that does not leave some behind for the plant to regrow. They are, biologically, omnivorous and in dire straits will eat meat and can be rather adept hunters since they have the remarkable ability to sense the emotional state of even remarkably alien species and so have an easier time locating prey.
The Xentorns, as has been stated, are a very sensual race. While they prefer pleasures, some will actively seek out any sensation, both pain and pleasure. In fact some Xentoran holy days are celebrated in ways that deliberately involve discomfort or pain. By and large, though, Xentorns revere the emotions of love and the feelings of pleasure above all else. They seem genuinely incapable of feeling jealousy themselves, though they are able to sense it, the closest racial feeling being envy. Thus monogamy did not develop in the Xentoran culture, though on rare occasion it does get practiced, and those who fall deeply enough in love with a monogamous partner of another race will agree to exclusivity, though the non-Xentorn partner usually needs to be aware that sexual exclusivity is a separate concept and is less likely to be agreed to as certain holy celebrations are quite sexual in nature and it might deeply hurt and offend the Xentorn partner to ask her to sexual exclusivity that also precludes those celebrations. This leads to their language having an estimated seventeen different words for parents, and nearly twenty words for siblings each denoting different permutations of relation, though some of these are archaic and not commonly used today leaving about a dozen of the former and around fifteen of the latter in day-to-day Xentoran. Many a derogatory word, phrase, or attitude about or for the race involves this sexual promiscuity and the very early age in which the Xentorn is likely to have her first sexual experience; most amount to various ways of calling them whores or sluts, and a few insinuate the race to be inbred and to engage in bestiality.
Xentorns do not posses last names. While the race and their family are important, the notion that the soul moves on, and may not even be the same species next lifetime, or even sentient, means they hold no special regard for ancestry. They concern themselves only with the living. This lack of regard to history has frustrated many people trying to study the Xentorns as they keep records only of those events they felt were really interesting and little else. The Xentorn’s single name is assumed to be unique. This, especially now with so many spread through the accessible universe, is at times not actually the case and in the fullness of time assumed to be impossible, but it is simply not done to name a child after someone, though as a show of great affection for someone you might base the child’s name on that person’s name. The name is constructed by her parents and is chosen simply on aesthetics. It is also not done, one should note, to name a child a word, though again a word with an enjoyable sound might become the basis for a name. When in situations where a surname must be offered all Xentorns have the family name Xentor, though at times one who feels a desire to stand out a little may choose the world they were born on or currently reside on instead. This is thought to be part of the belief that the race is highly inbred, along with their willingness to engage in non-procreative sex with even very close family, and to include certain sexual acts as mere expressions of affection. They are known to find even procreative sex between second cousins or similarly distant relation perfectly okay, and close cousins are only thought to be a little odd. The only taboo pairings are direct ancestor and descendants (parent/child, or grandparent/grandchild, etc.) or full blood siblings. Though it should be noted that with the exception of those rare violations of spiritual propriety that results in keau’li (souldeath) that “taboo” means “discouraged as not an exceptionally wise decision”.
Another curious quirk of the race is that they generally do not wear shoes or any other footwear. It seems that the race never really invented them. Not as a fashion or daily use item, at any rate. Protective footwear for various situations, yes, but these are merely the podiatric equivocal of a hardhat, radiation suit, or coat. This is not to say the race cannot understand wearing shoes, and on worlds where going barefoot is either impractical or is taboo they will readily adopt local fashion and public custom, though once they arrive home the footwear is, typically, removed immediately and on worlds where bare feet is acceptable most will elect to remain so rather than go shod. This is mostly, in these days, a conscious cultural decision relating to cultural identity, though some xenopsychiatrists and xenopsychologists do note that many of the race seem to find shoes distinctly uncomfortable regardless of situation or style and thus argue that there might be some inborn aversion.
Xentor is not a hot world, but it is warm and as such Xentorns tend to prefer subtropic to tropical climes. While they are biologically adapted well enough that they do not have an appreciable difference in tolerance to heat or cold from a Human, they do tend to be more comfortable approximately five to ten degrees Fahrenheit higher than a Human of similar mass and dress. This preference is sometimes attributed to the fact that Xentorns consider clothing to be little more than a fun decoration of their forms. They will readily go nude when they can, but just as often will wear clothing that either flatters and enhances their form, or traditional Xentorn fashions which mostly involve very loose garments, robes, or drapings of very light and gausy materials which clearly show the body beneath.