|Language||Twi'leki, Basic |
|Average Height||1.6 to 2.4 meters |
|Skin color||Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, tan, pink, white, striped and dark gray |
|Distinctions||Brain tails, sharp claw-like nails, smooth skin |
|Known Members||List of known Twi'leks|
Twi'leks (pronounced /'twilɛk/) were an omnivorous humanoid species originating from the planet Ryloth. They tended to eat cultivated molds, fungi, and rycrit meat. Their distinctive features included colorful skin, which varied in pigment from individual to individual, and a pair of shapely prehensile tentacles that grew from the base of their skulls. The tentacles, called "brain-tails", "lekku", "tchun-tchin", or "head-tails" were advanced organs used for communication and cognitive functions. Twi'leks possessed a fairly standard humanoid vocal structure and were capable of learning most alien languages; however, they usually preferred their native language of Ryl, which incorporated subtle movement of the lekku. When they wished, they could even communicate in complete secrecy using their versatile brain-tails. Twi'lek females were often used as slaves or dancers because of their beauty; they were rarely taken as wives for alien grooms, however.
Biology and Appearance
The two most striking features of a Twi'lek were their broad range of skin coloration within the species, and pair of brain-tails. The brain tails, also called "tchun-tchin" or "lekku", protruded down the back of the skull and contained part of a Twi'lek's brain. The very word "Twi'lek" was believed to be derived from semi-Basic "twin lekku". A Twi'lek's brain-tails served many purposes in their daily lives and culture, storing fat and being used as erogenous zones. The Twi'lek's native language of Ryl was spoken using a combination of words and subtle movements of the lekku. Newborn Twi'leks had no lekku, as they presumably grew out during childhood.
A Twi'lek's brain-tails were highly sensitive, and grabbing them forcefully was so painful that it could easily incapacitate almost any Twi'lek. Sometimes, damage to the brain-tails caused lasting damage to the Twi'lek's brain. They could be replaced by cybernetics, however, as in the case of Rianna Saren. Long or shapely lekku were considered great status symbols, and often went hand-in-hand with respect, influence, and wealth. A Twi'lek's brain-tails could be likened to phallic symbols, and for both sexes, larger lekku brought with them some indistinct positive connotations.
Their brain-tails were a source of great pride to Twi'leks, especially when confronted by other species. The name "tchun-tchin" actually referred to each lekku—'"tchun" being the left lekku and "tchin" the right. In casual conversation the Twi'leks would usually refer to their lekku as "tchun" or "tchin."
The range of possible Twi'lek skin colors was extremely diverse, including green, orange, brown, yellow, blue, gray, pink, black, white, red, and purple, all in varying shades and hues.[source?] Other types of Twi'leks included the particularly rare turquoise-skinned Twi'leks, known as Rutian Twi'leks, and the rarest red pigment of the Lethan Twi'leks, whose skin color was caused by a mutation of the genetic code. Some Twi'leks took to dyeing their skin to produce a pattern, as did the dancer Ayy Vida.
Males had humanoid ears, and among females there was equal biological evidence for humanoid ears and ear "cones". While some headdresses were cultural decoration to denote status, quite a few were originally introduced as "muzzles" to prevent the slaves from having access to a language that non-Twi'lek handlers could not understand.[source?] Both males and females lacked body hair, with the only notable exception being eyelashes to aid in keeping out the sand and heat of Ryloth. Females typically had painted eyebrows or had their eyebrows tattooed on, in order to appear more palatable and less alien to more base-line humanoid offworlders.[source?] Boc Aseca had body hair under the armpits and on his chest, though it is unknown whether this was the result of some genetic mutation, a rare subspecies, or something else[source?].
Female Twi'leks have been considered especially attractive and slender, which made them favorite subjects for slavery and entertainment. The beauty of female Twi'leks was well known throughout the galaxy, and as a result many young Twi'leks were sold into slavery, becoming dancers or status symbols, most notably by Jabba Desilijic Tiure.
Society and culture
The natural grace and exotic beauty of the female Twi'leks made them a popular target among slave traders. Slavery was the main currency of Ryloth, which was tolerated by the Galactic Republic. Some saw it as a chance to make money by kidnapping or selling orphaned children, while others saw slavery as a way of saving children from growing up in Ryloth's harsh environment. A number of Twi'leks believed that slavery was an efficient way to proliferate their species and preserve their culture, as the Twi'leks lacked their own means of inter-planetary travel. Regardless of how it came about, many Twi'leks lived as slaves or entertainers and were considered status symbols, especially the females of rarer skin hues: the Rutian and Lethan Twi'leks. Twi'leks that managed to escape from captivity usually turned to a life of thievery or prostitution, with both genders making use of their powers of seduction. Twi'leks preferred to "ride the storm" rather than "defeat it," as a proverb goes, and avoided to take a stand on any issue. This was exemplified when during the Clone Wars their politicians were loyal to the Republic but other individuals kept negotiations open with the Separatists.
While many Twi'leks lived their lives as merchants or even criminals, the race also had a proud and honorable warrior tradition. It was Twi'lek warriors who invented the Chir'daki, or Deathseed, starfighters that married the TIE Fighter cockpit to the S-foils of the X-wing starfighter as well as using a rotation system similar to what allowed the B-wing starfighter. During the Bacta War, Twi'lek warriors assisted Wedge Antilles in the fight against Ysanne Isard.
The clothing of Twi'leks depended on their gender. While most male Twi'leks wore long, loose robes, female Twi'leks typically wore tighter, more revealing clothing to maintain their elegant figures and enhance their value to males. Twi'lek dance costumes were typically made up of silky veils that clung to their bodies, although other kinds were used, such as a revealing net costume Oola once wore. When meeting a stranger or guest for the first time Twi'leks would usually exchange gifts or something else as a welcome. When welcoming a large number of beings they would usually throw a party and use their traditional dances as entertainment. As Cham Syndulla once said, "it is customary to share what we do have."
Twi'leks, when on Ryloth, lived in simple mud brick dwellings that protected them against the scorching heat of their homeworld. They often decorated them with native textiles and simple things. When in a city, Twi'leks used more standard dwellings with technology though they were still modified to survive Ryloth's environment.
Some Twi'leks were known to worship an unnamed goddess.
Twi'lek society was divided into clans, with each clan having its own city. Each city had its own government, which was led by a five-member head-clan. These five Twi'leks would lead the society in all matters until one member of the head-clan died. At that point, the remaining members of the head-clan would be cast out into the barren landscape on the day-side of the planet, presumably to die, thus allowing the next generation to take over. If the next generation was not yet ready to claim their inherited positions, then a set of regents would be selected to rule until the proper time.
Rather than having separate personal and clan names, a Twi'lek would have a single name that combined these two elements. The personal portion of the name would be selected with the clan name in mind, often involving an intentional alteration of the words or a shift in the letters to change the meaning of the name as a whole. This change was meant to symbolize a way of unity. A Twi'lek's name would also be split into multiple parts if they were exiled as a criminal, as this was considered very dishonoring.
In some cases, Twi'leks would combine the multiple-part name of a non-Twi'lek into a single name, often changing the pronunciation in the same way that they would alter their own given names and clan names.
The Combine Database has this to say about Twi'leks:The world of Ryloth is one of the most unusual planets in the galaxy. Only a small portion of it is habitable, while the rest, a massive amount, is uninhabitable. The reason for Ryloth being so inhospitable is that the time it takes to revolve once equals the time it takes to go around the sun. That is why only a small sliver of the planet is actually habitable, a 'twilight' zone, to be precise. This twilight zone is where the Twi'leks live. Twi'leks are simple beings, but with many small advantages over other beings. Twi'leks live in underground cities on Ryloth, being extremely careful not to venture outside, unless they have a safe way of doing so. Underground, there are not many sources of energy, and so they must use large machines designed to use wind as power. Also, it is usually warm underground, because of the high heat above ground. The Twi'leks underground cities are more like labyrinths than actual tunnels, and can be deadly to visitors. Twi'leks are mostly silent people, keeping to themselves. They look a lot like humans, but Twi'leks often stand taller, measuring an average of two metres height. Despite their height, a Twi'lek's movements are graceful and delicate. Twi'leks have many ways of communicating in secret. The majority of the time they speak naturally, with small movements of their lekku (head-tails) to illustrate their conversation. These Lekkus, are often referred to separately by Twi'leks. Tchin is the right tail, Tchun is the left tail. Other times, when they wish to speak in secret, they can communicate telepathically by using their lekku. This is an ideal way of communication, especially given that Twi'leks are always in the company of other Twi'leks. Their main language is known as Twi'leki, and it's one of the harder languages to master in the galaxy.
Aside from their language, Twi'leks only have a few major businesses on their planet. As they are all confined to their underground cities, Twi'leks deal mostly in trading, and rely heavily on the off-world ships. The major business on Ryloth, and one of the only major businesses is slavery, as amazing as it may seem, but in an advanced form from the regular types of slavery. Twi'lek females will leave the planet and sell themselves as exotic dancers. Ryloth is known all across the galaxy as the best producer of slave girl dancers. This business, however, has created much trouble on Ryloth, and especially in the Twi'lek colonies. Many off-world slavers will land, and attempt to take a fair number of female Twi'leks with them, and then sell them for their own profit, and not that of the Twi'lek civilization. Twi'lek families and businesses must take extra precaution to prevent these traders from taking their only goods. The society of Twi'leks is also very different from most planets and civilizations, except for one, the Biths. Twi'leks actually resemble the Biths in their motives, and ideas. In general, Twi'leks are not the humble servants they would appear to be. The large portion of male Twi'leks actually plot and scheme to take over their masters' business, and all affairs. There have been many successful cases where the Twi'lek servants have gained control of companies. Most of the Twi'leks will attempt to gain favor and higher positions in their master's business, eventually leaving them in prime positions to take over. In all, Twi'leks are important creatures, like all creatures, and do the galaxy a service with their businesses. The Twi'lek civilization will continue to prosper, and defend themselves against pirates, slavers, and the other harmful beings in the galaxy.
Twi'leks are given names that follow the following pattern, 'Name'clan.' The apostrophe denotes a pause in the pronunciation of the name. Some Twi'leks who leave the home planet lose the apostrophe and separate their names into two parts. When naming your Twi'lek, emphasize R's, K's, O's, N's & T's. Here are a few examples: Bib Fortuna, Nawara Ven, Lohk'har, Tru'eb, Tal'dira, Kep Fortuna, Nuro Tualin, Tann Gella, Arali Dil, Lyn Me, Car'ulorn, Valsil Torr, Cazne'olan, Dia Passik, Docent Vant, Nolaa Tarkona, Guldus Bemm, Hassla'tak, Kaplin Toologin, Jart Eyan, and Koh'shak.
Reference^1- SW RPG book Ultimate Alien Anthology