The face of everything from small local businesses to the galaxy-encompassing Gerualdi Union, the noctras are reputed for their typical cultures that groom the next generation of politicians and businessmen. They are prominent throughout Ealdremen with some population estimates putting them at the most populous of all races. Because of how established they are, it is often difficult to tell how much of noctra cultured is influenced by the businesses they run, or if they were the ones to essentially create business culture in a mirror of their own.
Etymology and Other Names
The name noctra comes from their nation of origin, Nicta, and its associated language, Nicta-slio. Prior to increased influence from other languages, Nicta-slio predominately relied on consonants to determine the meaning of words; noctra and Nicta share almost every consonant, with the R in noctra denoting that it is a derivative of Nicta.
The prolific nature of the noctra race means that most other languages use the term noctra for them; in the war-torn days of the First Galactic War until roughly the Third Galactic War, noctras were sometimes called Gerualdians for being the race that mostly came from that planet and interacted with outsiders.
Noctras are a small people with little visible muscle. They have short torsos relative to the rest of their body, and the general slow metabolism of the race means many of them easily put on a lot of weight, making their already-short torsos seem even more stout. A noctra's limbs might be seen as gangly as a result. The seeming disproportionate ratio of their limbs and torsos is augmented by how short their fur is. Most noctras have only a thin layer of fur that is especially sparse on their thin tails, if the tail has any fur at all. A noctra's tail is usually slightly longer than their legs, and many of them will let their tails drag along the ground.
A noctra's face is round and tapers towards their nose, giving them a distinctive V-shaped or U-shaped head when viewed from above, depending on the pointedness of their muzzle. Their front teeth are fused together and are usually visible even when their mouths are closed. Noctras' noses are surrounded by long whiskers that are said to be so sensitive that they can feel vibrations from soundwaves, imparting subtextual meaning in spoken words to the noctra. A noctra's long, rounded ears are similarly sensitive; noctras have limited flexibility in their ears and can mostly swivel them slightly forwards or backwards, but they can pick up even the most quiet of sounds.
Albinism is fairly common among noctras; up to ten percent of the galactic noctra population is estimated to be albino. It is thought that this trait may be represented so highly for a historical social preference for the striking combination of pink eyes and white fur. Other noctras are commonly found with less vibrant fur colors, with black, grey, or brown colors being most common. Some may be cream-colored or have "ticked" fur that begins with one color and ends in another, most commonly black. Fur patterns can range from solid-colored to having splotches of different color around the body, most commonly the head and upper back.
An early lesson learned by noctra children is that people rarely say what they mean. Double-talk and implications are the native languages of noctras raised in their traditional culture; to them, even someone who prides themselves on being blunt and obvious has subtext to what they say. Learning subtext is a practiced skill and requires paying attention to every detail and every facet of situational context. Before an important meeting or any sort of planned encounter with someone, noctras will normally research the other party in great detail to ensure they pick up on everything someone might be saying without speaking it aloud. It is common for parents to impart this skill to their children by never telling them anything of their background or desires, leaving it instead for the children to puzzle it out on their own. Such omission is not seen as deceit for a noctra; it is simply a nuance of communication, and the best communicators are the ones that can correctly infer the unspoken.
The emphasis on subtext works in tandem with noctras' general desire for broad social networks; once they know how one person works, they can move onto the others in that network and further learn the contexts that these people operate in. These social networks often begin with one's family and then expand outwards to close friends of the family, the families of those friends, and so on. Noctras tend to seek to meet other people as much as they can, eventually working their way up to having potentially powerful connections. Quite a few noctras see little wrong with having criminal connections, as such connections do not inherently mean that an individual is a criminal themselves; rather, they are networking appropriately and ensuring that they know the full context of the places they live and work in. These connections might also be seen as a precautionary measure; a noctra's rivals might not have moral qualms with criminal associations and could use them to their advantage.
Business advantage is of utmost importance in a typical noctra's world. In virtually every career, which serves as part of a noctra's identity, there will be hierarchies and opportunities to move up or down them. Whoever is in true, absolute power, called racatti, can exert their authority over others as much as they wish. Racatti, a common concept in noctra culture, refers to a sense of being immune to consequences, as even rivals or competitors have no bearing on what the person with racatti can do. It is usual for the highest-ranked members of a group or company to be the ones with racatti, but there are sometimes exceptions for someone who has networked efficiently and is considered integral to the group even without holding any real hierarchal power. As a result, noctras will often strive to befriend or dethrone the people above them; the most ruthless will try to do both.
Racial Traits (D&D 3.5e/Pathfinder)
Noctras are largely a Medium race and have no bonuses or penalties associated with their size. Some noctras, however, are instead Small and have those associated benefits and penalties from their size category. Noctra characters may choose either +2 Charisma and -2 Wisdom or +2 Dexterity and -2 Constitution to be applied to their starting statistics. Noctras prioritize making social connections among themselves and with other races, but they may overlook small details unless they are actively searching for them. Their small frames and lack of natural defensive physiology make them susceptible to injury, and noctras who feel they are at risk of injury may instead focus on their agility and ability to evade, rather than sustain, harm.
Economic Recycling (Ex)
Making good use of limited resources is simply good business sense. Noctras are typically reluctant to waste anything, knowing that there are always ways to get something working again, even just for a little bit longer. They may not have created the item to begin with, but they often know a cheaper way to get it to continue serving its purpose.
As a full-round action, a noctra can recycle a consumable item or any item with limited amounts of uses or charges by rolling 1d100. The result of this dice roll is the percentage of the item's price that the noctra must pay in miscellaneous materials to recycle the item and get it working again. If the item has a listed crafted price, then the noctra uses that price for the purposes of this ability. The recycled item is then able to be used again with half of its maximum charges or uses remaining (rounded down, minimum of 1 use left). An item that has been recycled once cannot be recycled again, even by a different noctra, and items that do not have a price cannot be recycled. The noctra must be interacting with the item to recycle it.
- Keywords: Active, at will, full-round action, extraordinary ability
Consummate Professional (Natural Ability)
At the heart of noctra society is the idea that networking within a profession will open up opportunities. Respect will inevitably follow a strong reputation in a line of work, whatever it may be, and noctras believe that someone without connections is unworthy of them. As a result, they often push themselves to rise above their colleagues and become known as professionals.
Noctras have a +2 racial bonus to a Profession skill of their choosing.
- Keywords: Passive, natural ability
Subtext Reading (Natural Ability)
Spoken words have more meaning than their dictionary definitions. Context is one thing, but subtext is quite another; noctras know that some of the most important information is something that isn't said outright. By uncovering that subtext, they can gain a greater command of the social situation.
Noctras have a +2 racial bonus to Sense Motive.
- Keywords: Passive, natural ability