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Osharu

To the slug-like osharus, religion and science are two sides of the same coin— concepts with the same intrinsic dependencies as life and death. These timid monk-scientists dedicate their lives to studying various fields of science, sharing their discoveries with their fellow osharus and other races that express a passion for epiphany. They dedicate their discoveries to their deity, a patron of learning and science.

Osharu settlements are essentially city-sized universities. Individuals involved in similar fields of study group together so they can aid in each others’ research, and entire districts spring up naturally around these congregations of higher learning, equipped with canteens, vast libraries, living quarters, and workstations relevant to their field.

This ultimate quest for knowledge knows no planetary bounds; osharus often embark on fieldwork expeditions to other star systems in order to study foreign planets, stars, or even the emptiness of space itself. They also frequently go on diplomatic missions to exchange knowledge with other intelligent, enlightenment-minded races.

Thought stalwart in mind and faith, osharus are physically delicate. They are harmed not only by salt and salt water, but also have a cumbersome dependence on moisture and humid environments. Exposure to extreme heat or direct sunlight for extended amounts of time without protective magic or armor makes them extremely uncomfortable. Those who aren’t magically inclined might even resort to soaking their clothes and carrying large canteens of water for rehydration when exploring even mildly arid biomes.

Despite the osharus’ willingness to face great dangers, they are a timid and paranoid race. Their most common fear is that their desire to explore the galaxy and exchange knowledge with other species could ultimately result in their exploitation—or even their eradication. To cope with this paranoia, they flatly refuse to travel beyond the safety of their university-cities while alone, always accompanying at least one other osharu so they can protect and comfort one another. Osharus sometimes develop such a bond with equally sensitive members of other species, establishing a similar system of mutual support.

The average osharu is 4 feet tall and weighs 140 pounds, though members of the species have a wide variety of colors and patterns. Even two parents with similar patterns or colors can have completely different-looking offspring—it is not unusual for a beige, leopard-spotted osharu to give birth to bright-pink or green tiger-striped progeny. This diversity is celebrated among osharu, and they find the predictability of hereditary outcomes among other humanoid species to be both unusual and fascinating—most of their university-cities have a district dedicated to the study of xenogenetics as a result.