PHYSICAL & SOCIOCULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS
Average Height: 1.6 - 2.4 Meters
Skin Colour: Red (Mutation), Orange, Yellow, Light Green, Blue, Purple, Brown, Tan, Pink, White, Striped and dark grey
Eye Colour: Brown, Hazel, Blue, Green, Orange, Yellow, Purple
Distinctions: Lekku, Sharp claw-like nails, Smooth skin
Average Lifespan: Up to 80+ years
Language: Ryl, Galactic Basic
Twi’leks, sometimes referred to disparagingly as “Tail-heads”, 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.
The Twi’leks were a sentient species of mostly hairless mammals. They were humanoid in form, with two legs and two arms.
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.
Both males and females have little to no 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.
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.
The Twi’leks were omnivores. This diet was essential given that food was scarce on their homeworld, Ryloth. Twi’leks possessed multiple stomachs, an unusual trait that enabled them to eat almost any food. When traveling off their homeworld, Twi’leks rarely refused food, which frequently led to obesity among starfarers. Twi’lek society also associated obesity as a sign of affluence and success. In the case of obese Twi’leks, ear flaps enlarged to store fat.
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.
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 Twi’lek species developed and mutated in such a way as to provoke changes in their skin pigmentation, which resulted in many races and subraces. These races were all physically identical, except for their skin color. The wide and vivid variety of skin coloration included many variations of blue, red, yellow, orange, deep green, white, pale brown, pink, and lavender. Some Twi’leks even exhibited varied phenotypes, including stripes, orange with red mottling, red with pink palms, and blue with pink lips.
There was not an even distribution of skin colors across the Twi’lek population. The Lethan Twi’leks, red in coloration, were a rare subgroup, perhaps even the most rare. In contrast, the Rutian Twi’leks, which exhibited a blue phenotype, were more common among the population.
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 taking a stand on most issues.
While many Twi’leks lived their lives as merchants or even criminals, the species also had a proud and honorable warrior tradition.
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.
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.
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.
The Twi’Lek’s primary language is Twi’leki, which is also known as Rylothean or Ryl. Although it primarily utilized subtle body-language and thus was difficult to understand, they also utilized enunciable words in the language and was as widespread as Galactic Basic. The Lekku language, on the other hand, was exclusively used by Twi’leks, since it entailed body language.
Those that spoke Galactic Basic Standard, sometimes possessed an accent that placed particular emphasis on certain vowels, such as dropping the “s” if it is at the end of a word, or saying a high-accent vowel in a way that indicated a low-accent vowel, and vice versa. Think real-world French.