Chatka are insectoid aliens who somewhat resemble giant versions of terrestrial mantises. They have exoskeletons with two articulated legs and four short arms. Carapace colour varies from green through blue. Chatka do not wear normally wear clothing, but will wear heated suits to keep warm if in cold places. Tools and other items are usually carried in bags or pouches slung across their bodies. Chatka are native to a dry, warm world, with 1.08 G gravity and earthlike atmosphere at 1.12 atmospheres pressure.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Chatka have +1 IQ (10 points), +2 Passive Defence (50), +2 Damage Resistance (x2 Hardened) (10), 2 Extra Arms (Short) (10), Filter Lungs (5), Magnetic Sense (1 level) (5), Ultrahearing (5), Cold Blooded (-10), Colour Blind (-10), Fragile (-20), Impulsiveness (-10), Sense of Duty (to all Chatka) (-15), Short Arms (-10), Short Attention Span (-10), and Unusual Biochemistry (-5). They also have the species skill bonus +3 Climbing (4). It costs 9 points to be a Chatka.


Chatka speak in chirps, buzzes and clicks, by rubbing various parts of their limbs together. Native Chatka names are therefore short series of such sounds. Humans and other sentients can learn to understand the Chatka language (there is only one, usually called simply "Chatka"), but cannot speak it without a special kit of percussion instruments. Similarly, Chatka can learn to understand English and other spoken languages, but do not have the mouthparts required to speak them. A Chatka who associates with humans will adopt an English use name, and will likewise address human acquaintances with a Chatka use name. Learning to understand Chatka is a Mental/Average skill for humans, and learning to understand English is Mental/Average for Chatka.


Chatka psychology is dominated by their overriding sense of duty towards the species as a whole. No Chatka will ever deliberately harm another, and will always render any assistance practicable to a member of its own species in trouble. They are not mindlessly self-sacrificing; a Chatka is just as likely as a human to sacrifice its life to save another. However, if any assistance is possible without self-sacrifice, a Chatka will provide it.

Despite this concern for their fellows, Chatka often tend to be individualists. They prefer to set trends rather than follow them, and have no hesitation in trying new things. They are prone to wanderlust, and become unsettled if restricted to a mundane lifestyle with few exciting events to arouse their interest. They have fairly short attention spans, and are constantly seeking new and exciting things, only to become bored with them after a short time. The Impulsiveness and Short Attention Span Disadvantages may be bought off for Chatka PCs, but this will make them unusual members of their species.

Because Chatka are prone to travelling, they constantly meet new people and make new friends. They are not at all shy, and will treat anyone newly met as a friend unless openly confronted. This naturally means all Chatka are instantly friendly to each other. Chatka are also philosophical about the fact that they will often part company with friends, never to see them again.

Chatka never fight amongst themselves, but individuals sometimes take dislikes to members of other species, either for rational or irrational reasons. An offended Chatka is an implacable foe (and can make a great Enemy). Some Chatka deliberately set themselves up as criminals among alien societies, thinking in some twisted way that this will improve their own species. Such individuals are seen as social outcasts from normal Chatka society.


Chatka are descended from one type of the numerous insect-like creatures which fill their homeworld's ecology. They were desert dwellers through most of their evolution, and have evolved lungs capable of filtering out windblown sand as well as finer particles such as the poisonous pollens shed by many native plants. This allows them to be unaffected by any small suspended particles, down to the size of smoke particles, or aerosol liquids. Gases affect them fully.

Chatka have also evolved a magnetic sense to allow them to navigate using planetary magnetic fields and ultrasonic hearing to enable hunting of creatures which make such sounds. Their vision is good, but they cannot discern colours at all. The chitinous carapace of a Chatka confers +2 PD and +2 DR, with the DR negating up to two levels of Armour Piercing. Their internal tissue structure, however, is fragile and they take double damage from any crushing damage which penetrates DR.

The four arms of a Chatka are all short, which means they have no leverage for swinging weapons effectively. They do confer an advantage in climbing, which is also enhanced by the many hooks and projections on their limbs.

Chatka are carnivores, and can eat most meats, but much prefer small creatures with chitinous exoskeletons for their satisfying crunch. The chitin provides several important proteins necessary for perfect health. A Chatka subsisting on soft meat for extended periods (several months) will slowly become lethargic and unhealthy. This is worth no points as a disadvantage, since it should almost never come into play. Native Chatka food contains chemicals which render it toxic to humans, but it is grossly disgusting anyway.

Chatka mate only once in their lives, usually soon after being born. Young females and males are usually paired for mating by parents. During mating, the male sexual organ breaks off inside the female and eventually merges with her body. Neither participant can ever mate again. The male sperm is stored within the female's body and used as a reservoir to fertilise all the eggs the female will ever lay. Eggs are laid in small clutches yearly after reaching maturity, but are seldom fertile. One egg in a clutch may hatch once every few years. The hatchling Chatka reach maturity at 20 years and then begin aging at 90.


Chatka culture is dominated by their political structure. Despite being spread across hundreds of parsecs of space, all Chatka notionally belong to a single society, ruled by the Emperor from their homeworld. Even when integrated into alien societies, Chatka consider themselves primarily citizens of the Chatka Empire. They coexist peacefully within other societies, except when those societies impose laws incompatible with the Chatka culture. The Chatka sense of duty makes for a curiously egalitarian version of an empire. The Emperor himself (or herself) will assist any Chatka who needs a hand carrying groceries, for example.

Chatka colony groups are overseen by lords in a pseudo-feudal system. This is a necessity imposed by the long interstellar travel times. The lords invariably rule fairly, and always defer to imperial commands which come in via starship couriers. In practice, the Emperor has little time to deal with distant colonies and allows the lords free rein. Only in Chatka society would this not lead to corruption! Chatka communities are otherwise similar to human ones, and they are open to integration with other species.

The Chatka Emperor is elected for life, in a vote of all adult Chatka. In order to prevent excessive delays upon the death of the old Emperor, Chatka in distant colonies are required to register contingency votes in advance. A Chatka with a contingency vote may change it at any time, but of course the official registration cannot be changed until a courier ship takes the message to the homeworld. As Chatka-space grows, this electoral system is becoming unwieldy, and solving this problem is one of the active fields of Chatka social science.

Being elected Emperor is seen as an honour, but also a somewhat odious duty. Political processes mean the Emperor must remain on the homeworld, when naturally most Chatka like to spend much of their adult lives travelling to new worlds to find excitement. Ruling the entire species is a difficult, time-consuming, and boring job, but somebody has to do it!

Since Chatka mate while young, and thereafter travel extensively, they do not keep track of their mating partner. Baby Chatka are cared for primarily by the mother, but communal care from other Chatka takes over soon after the baby has mated, and the mother is free to travel away again. A juvenile Chatka will move of its own accord from household to household as it grows, always being accepted and cared for by whichever Chatka is around at the time.

Traditional Chatka religion is based on a series of long-dead prophets, who idealised many of the aspects of Chatka psychology and philosophy. They are seen as having been immortalised through contributions to the species, a goal to which adherents of the religion also aspire. Many modern Chatka however follow religions borrowed from other species, or simply do not bother with a structured belief system.

Artistically, the Chatka tendency to appreciate excitement leads them to action movies and loud, rhythmic music. Abstract artwork with lots of intricate geometrical designs is popular (remember Chatka are colour blind), while realism and literature are seen as boring and are not pursued by many Chatka.


The Chatka tendency to wanderlust has seen them establish the largest region of influence of any known sentient. Chatka can be found at all corners of human-space, and their Empire extends well beyond. Thankfully for the peace of mind of other sentients, they are not conquerors, but merely wish to explore, stay a while as guests on someone else's world, establish the occasional colony, and then move on.

Chatka do not make representations to colonisation committees, because in almost all cases the worlds in question have already been explored by Chatka and passed over as potential colony sites. Occasionally when a new world is discovered, there is already a Chatka colony established. In such cases, the Chatka welcome the newcomers and an integrated society builds up.

Naturally, the Chatka oppose the expansionist policies of the Ulhuqqa, which aligns them with every other sentient species in human-space. Having had the longest contact with the Ulhuqqa, the Chatka have the most knowledge about them, and hence the most fear and hatred of them. Chatka will unhesitatingly assist in any operation designed to lessen the power of the Ulhuqqa.

GURPS is Copyright © by Steve Jackson Games Incorporated.

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