The ticata of Gaeleth are considered indigenous, although they probably originated from another world entirely.
Ticata Sketch, Used with permission, Karen Boyd, copyright 2004.
Centuar-like, furry, color varies from cool gray to fawn-brown, depending on the tribe and locality. Gray is more common. Hands have three fingers, plus a thumb. Average adult weight is about 150 lbs for females and 200 lbs for males, but their body form makes them significantly shorter than a human of similar mass and thus easy to underestimate. They are omnivorous but prefer meat, and have carnivore-style teeth. Their hands and forelegs have retractable claws, while the claws on their hind feet are not retractable.
Historically a nocturnal species, the Ticata have excellent night-vision. They are not excessively sensitive to daylight, however. All Ticata senses are sharp, their hearing and smell abilities being comparable to a domestic dog. Ticata are sprinters, fast and strong but soon tiring. They prefer to use stealth, tracking, and ambush when hunting.
The ticata can sometimes be found in the Tarsis Forest of northern Halganath, but smaller, more isolated tribes exist in other forested areas. They tend to see very well at night, and are considered nocturnal.
Ticata tend to be reluctant fighters, preferring to use ranged weapons to confuse enemies long enough for them to escape. When they do engage in close-quarters combat they tend to be ferocious, getting in close enough to use their Improved Grab ability, and then Rake with all four rear claws scrabbling against an opponent, at once.
Usually active, intelligent, and friendly. Not discriminating based on race, species, gender, or appearance of friends, but will not generally tolerate those with opposed alignments or those whose character they do not respect. Very unconcerned about modesty, as physical modesty has little application in their culture.
The Ticata live in a tribal culture, with subsidence agriculture and livestock raising supplemented by hunting and gathering during fruitful times of year. They wear clothing for adornment, protection, and carrying items, but not for modesty or warmth usually, as their fur is sufficient. While there are some traditional male/female roles, it is an egalitarian society and individuals are encouraged to pursue their best talents. Traditionally, leadership is evenly divided between male and female leaders.
The Ticata have high standards of character among their people. Their stripes, to them, are representative of the qualities they most value. Their neck stripe is for honesty and honor, their chest stripe for kindness and love, and their flank stripe for strength and willpower. The stripe down the center of their back represents the soul and the integration of qualities into the whole. Punishments for crimes or transgressions often include shaving the appropriate stripe, so until the fur grows back everyone will know that that individual is in disgrace, as well as for what general reason.
The Ticata tribes are generally in accord with one another, but warfare is not uncommon. When it does occur, it is generally organized and fairly ritualistic in nature. There is a lot of counting coup and dueling, as opposed to all-out, no-holds-barred slaughter of the enemy. When war is declared, the noncombatants begin to make war paint. This is actually a deep purple dye boiled out of local fruits. The warriors dye their fur according to rank and battle honors. Spots indicate a low rank, even below rookie. Circles are for first-time fighters, and others of neutral honor status. Veterans low in the command chain are painted in boxes, while leaders and fighters of high honor are painted in stripes. There are also specific symbols for earned honors that are dyed on various parts of the body. This practice leads to many figures of speech, such as accusing someone of having “striped fur and spotted skin,” meaning that their attitudes of honor and courage falsely hide their true nature as a cowardly scoundrel. The traditional (though by no means the only) weapon of the Ticata warrior is a short (staff-length) polearm, with a curved and hooked blade useful for slashing, stabbing, or disarming opponents, and a leather knob on the butt end used for counting coup. All young Ticata are trained in its use. The tuft on a Ticata's tail is often used for sign-language signaling during battles, raised above cover and decorated with beads and ornaments that indicate whose tail it is.