, "upright forest small one") are a race of small arboreal amphibians that thrive in a variety of damp environments, having evolved on a pluvial world.
Their homeworld, Iculos, is a terrestrial world with a thick, insulating atmosphere and a hot, humid climate dominated by shallow seas and lush jungles of low-growing mosses and ferns. It is a world of incredible biodiversity, but its fauna is also incredibly dangerous and hostile, growing often to large sizes. For the iculians and their near ancestors, these evolutionary pressures forced them to act very carefully to avoid death. Through this meticulous nature and crafty survival sense, they evolved to be highly efficient, nimble pack hunters, which aided the emergence of complex society. The iculians evolved to be impish amphibian humanoids with large, wide-set eyes providing keen panoramic vision. They are incredibly graceful and have incredible reflexes, but are not typically strong and operate better in groups. Their skin color ranges from dappled grey-green to vibrant primary colors striated with black stripes, depending on lineage and region of origin.
Iculians, like many pseudo-amphibian species, are egg-laying and deposit their egg clutches in water. Fertilization is external, however, unlike most other species. Infant iculians are born in a tadpole-like form, morphing gradually into fully-formed individuals after about a year. They live fast-paced lives with high metabolisms, usually living around two to three decades (consequently, iculians report higher rates of hypertension, anxiety, and stress disorders compared to humans).
The iculians were not a spacefaring race at the time of first contact with the shrikes, and had only just entered a postindustrial period. The shrike Associated Worlds League decided on an uplift policy and offered iculians clientage as pioneers and pathfinders in exchange for space colonies and reservation worlds. In time, the iculians ended their status as a client race and became partners in the formation of the United Suns in the 25th century, and became a common sight.
However, the iculian delegation switched sides near the end of the Great War and sold valuable intelligence to the Terran Empire. In exchange, the iculians retained many of their worlds and colonies as an Autonomous Alien Protectorate.
Iculian culture is rooted in both their homeworld traditions and in the adopted cultural attitudes of the shrikes who technologically uplifted them. As the most successful uplift example in galactic history, iculians display a sense of racial pride rivaled only by humans. Indigenous customs of ancestor veneration, animism, polytheism, and a tribal social model remain strong. They are adept crafters of fine goods, bankers and financial analysts, and skilled explorers.
Lineage is of great importance to iculians. Separate families from different star systems may share a clan name, and consider themselves part of the same kinship group. The iculians struggled with internecine ethnic strife prior to their uplifting; the contextualization of their species amidst a wider galaxy reduced these internal struggles somewhat. Nevertheless, a predilection for bigotry is still a rampant social issue.
Iculian colonies are largely allowed to run themselves, operating under a semi-feudal system of large landowners and country squires.
Pictured are some examples of iculians, with a human in silhouette for comparison. Iculians tend to be around 55-65 cm tall, and weigh around 8 to 12 kilograms.
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