Beyond the Stars
The Ssanthiss are a large, cold-blooded bipedal reptillian species known for their unemotional nature as much as their deadliness in combat. They seem to have evolved from a carnivorous predator that developed intelligence in response to the unusually fierce fauna of Krissanthiss, their homeworld. This is not to say that the Ssanthiss are not themselves fierce. Standing at their shortest no less than six foot tall, averaging about seven feet, the Ssanthiss are immensely strong and terrifyingly fast. Posessing a long mouth full of razor-sharp teeth, overdeveloped legs and an immense talon on each foot, a human would be suicidal to battle a Ssanthis unarmed. These features, plus a powerful tail that can be used as a club and razor-sharp reflexes make the Ssanthiss born hunters.
It was not their physical traits that seem to have spurred the ancestors of the Ssanthiss to intelligence. The most likely trait that real to the development of Ssanthaal intelligence was communal hunting behavoir. In order to better coordinate hunting their prey the proto-Ssanthiss developed language, which then led to more complex social behaviors. The development of culture among the early Ssanthiss is not well known outside of early myths and sagas. Due to the generally hot and moist climate of Krissanthiss, a generally propensity to not produce a preponderance of material goods and the extensive use of wood as a medium instead of stone, much of this history has been lost. The Ssanthaal rejection of technology and suspicion of outsiders ensures that archeologists have been unable to extensively search the planet beyond orbital scans.
Though Ssanthiss may be generally regarded as emotionally “cold” by other species, the legends of the Ssanthiss tell of a time when small clans constantly warred over food sources, territory and even minor personal slights. Stories of the massacres in this era of the species’ history disturb even the most stoic Ssanthiss. The end of this time in the cultural development of the Ssanthiss comes with the semi-mythic figure of Zsenntha Krossanthiss. Zsenntha is acknowledge as the teacher of a code of behavior known as the Five-Forked Path, or Kosshessnaja. These teachings form the basis of Ssanthiss society and political structure as well as the dominant ethical code.
A well-known but rare offshoot code called the T’sset is one variant of this code. Based upon a collection of mystic writings by an author known under the psuedonym of Massotennothi, or “The Great Enlightened Teacher”, it takes the self-discipline of the Five-Forked Path to an ascetic extreme. It has been theorized that many of the stories of “magic” performed by followers of the T’sset may actually manifestations of biotic powers, though again the Ssanthiss resistance to outsiders and the hermit nature of this code means that no scientific research regarding this hypothesis is possible.