Description: Information related to Betazoid culture and physiology.
Categories: Star Trek
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[url=http://revelarerpg.com/app.php/kb/viewarticle?a=12&sid=9bdba9a0c0d639ad0bcea92d0a5ebe3f]Knowledge Base - Betazoids[/url]
Family Structure & Marriage
Most ordinary, run-of-the-mill Betazoids do not come from a Ruling House, but rather their family may be associated politically or financially with a Ruling House depending on their views. Ordinary Betazoids form Houses through alliances and marriage, but they are not considered to be Ruling Houses and thus are not included here.
Betazoids practice marriage and genetic bonding. A Betazoid is typically only married to one person at a time, as this is the person with which they continue their house and genetic legacy through children. Genetic bonding is seen more as a suggestion rather than a hard and fast rule, though this 'suggestion' is made with the benefit of the House as a whole in mind. Betazoids believe in polyamory and typically have many lovers and partners throughout their lives.
Children are raised in the communal environment of mutual cooperation and harmony, and are encouraged to cultivate love and affection in a healthy manner.
Imzadi: The term imzadi means First, sharing a similar meaning to Beloved in English. Imzadis are among the first people that a Betazoid shares physical, emotional and spiritual connection with and while some Betazoids have more than one, it isn't as common.
Imzade: An imzade is a lover. Betazoids have many imzades throughout their lives.
It is difficult for Betazoids to understand the concept of monogamy due in large part to their overwhelming degree of connectedness to one another. Betazoids don't typically 'flirt' in the same manner as humans do, tending to view everyone around them as a potential recipient of love and affection. If it happens to evolve into sex, it is considered only a natural progression. These views can be quite difficult for many species to integrate and Betazoid relationships with off-worlders can be fraught with jealousy and tension as the Betazoid seeks to love and cherish others that they meet.
Divorce is not common on Betazed, as most problems are identified, soothed and worked through by each partner and by those around them to ensure maximum contentedness with a variety of situations, but it does happen periodically. If one partner is genuinely unhappy with the life afforded to them by being married (such as in the case of not wanting children), divorce is seen as a reasonable and viable alternative and there is little shame in the matter.
Especially for the Noble Houses, who practice genetic bonding for the purpose of producing heirs, having children is seen as a duty to preserve the ancestral lineage. Betazoid families do their best to integrate this duty with their children's independence, impressing the importance and satisfaction of contributing to Betazoid society as a whole. There are instances where biological heirs are not possible. In this case, it is not particularly frowned upon for couples to adopt children. This is usually seen as admirable.
The psionic center of a Betazoid's brain is located in an area called the medial lobe of the cerebrum, which is a cross-section of the temporal lobe. The medial lobe contains a variety of structures including the paracortex--widely regarded as the 'seat of psionics'--as well as structures which resemble the amygdala, inferior temporal gyrus, the left angular gyrus, and the fusiform gyrus in Terrans.
These structures are responsible for a Betazoid's psionics as well as a Betazoid's sense of directional orientation, facial recognition, iconic (visual) memory, proprioception (spatial awareness) and cognitive empathy. These are processes all heavily influenced by psionics. Betazoids who suffer damage to their medial lobe typically exhibit signs of prosopagnosia (unable to recognize faces), topographical disorientation and cortical visual impairment.
Betazoids possess an occipital lobe with visual areas delineated much the same as a human's, though areas of recognition and perception are localized to the medial lobe, as their perception of their environment is inseparably linked to the psionic process.
The medial lobe also shares similar auditory and comprehensive characteristics found in a human temporal lobe.
Telepathic Biology (Psionics)
The paracortex functions by interpreting quantum-entangled information from passing neutrinos. Quantum entanglement is basically when two particles exist in a state where the defining properties of each particle can't be independently separated. Betazoids are able to interpret this phenomenon as an impulse through specialized afferent (sensory) and efferent (motor) pathways in their nervous system. Contrary to popular conception, the mindspace of a Betazoid is able to be mathematically quantified using Euclidean vectors. Said spaces are definite and complete--they are functions with real numbers.
This interpretation is done through the release of a neurotransmitter called psilosynine. Of note, there are certain drugs called psilosynine antagonists such as cyendekh which inhibit psilosynine production and thereby lessen the degree to which a Betazoid can perceive this information around them. These drugs, however, have not been studied in extensive detail and their long-term effects are largely unknown.
In practical application, Betazoid psionics are quite 'misty' in their application, lacking rigid structure and preferring to settle and expand outward, touching other 'minds' as it passes. It is a sense more than it is a power. A Betazoid's psionics are always "on" much like one's eyesight is always "on" when their eyes are open. Psionics are as integral to Betazoid society as eyesight is to Earth's society.
Psionic Facility Test (PFT)
Much like vision and hearing have objective scales to determine function, a Betazoid's psionic sense can be measured by the Psionic Facility Test (PFT). This test can only be administered by a trained Betazoid neurologist. These scores are distributed along a standard deviation (with 100 as average) and are formed by the mean of two major scores: the rate at which one perceives psionic information and the accuracy of information perceived.
The PFT is administered by way of an alternating series of cortical scans, neuropsychiatric evaluations, standardized tests as well as mind-to-mind assessments by trained professionals. These assessments are intended to categorize the depth, breadth and substance of a Betazoid's response to psionic stimuli as well as the structure of their mind and how well they are able to integrate new psionic information. Scans are completed with an instrument known as a telemetric scanner.
The PFT has several components which make up its total score which include:
Rate: responsiveness, processing speed, stability, memory.
Accuracy: identification, integration, distance, perceptual organization.
Betazoids with intellectual disabilities or neurocognitive deficits may have notably deviant PFT scores (with some individuals receiving more than one score for any wild point discrepancies), though one does not necessarily reflect the other. It is also of importance to note that some Betazoid hybrids are only able to utilize basic empathic senses and are unable to discern higher-order thoughts or motivations.
A Betazoid (and other non-psionic entities) is termed psi-null when they show no measurable psionic input or output. As such, even Betazoids with lesser abilities would not be categorized as psi-null. The reasons for being psi-null (or psi-abnormal) range from genetic mutations, to organic brain damage, to chemical neurodivergence. Many Betazoid hybrids produce less psilosynine than their full-blooded counterparts, which accounts for their lessened psionic capacity.
After multiple requests I've decided to actually post the test table and scoring measures if you ever want to run through it for your characters. Obviously this is a little more "intuitive pseudoscience" so don't expect any like actual statistics involved. It would help and make more complete intuitive sense to you if you had even a basic grasp on percentiles and standard deviation but it is not necessary in the end.
psionic facility test
Much like vision and hearing have objective scales to determine function, a Betazoid's psionic sense can be measured by the Psionic Facility Test (PFT). This score is the sum (in most cases) of two major scores: the rate at which one perceives psionic information and the accuracy of information perceived. The PFT is administered by way of an alternating series of cortical scans, neuropsychiatric evaluations, standardized tests as well as mind-to-mind assessments by trained professionals. These assessments are intended to categorize the depth, breadth and substance of a Betazoid's response to psionic stimuli as well as the structure of their mind and how well they are able to integrate new psionic information.
RESPONSIVENESS: Engagingness, openness, acceptingness & instinctive reactions to psionic stimuli.
PROCESSING SPEED: Reflexes. How quickly your character can pick up psionic input.
STABILITY: Correct and maintain their own distinct individuality despite increasing amounts of psionic activity.
MEMORY: Retain psionic information and reference it. Ability to form mental links and bonds with others.
IDENTIFICATION: Correctly identify the content of psionic input, what is actually being perceived.
INTEGRATION: Psionic, Cognitive and Affective empathy levels. Appropriateness. Awareness.
DISTANCE: How far away your character needs to be before they can perceive psionic input.
PERCEPTUAL ORGANIZATION: Categorizing, sorting, response and organization of psionic information received.
Here is where it gets a bit tricky.
Because this test is based on normal distribution, we use something called a Z-score which is a formula to produce what is classified by the traditional bell curve. This involves complicated things like standard deviation and variances. Blah, blah, math. I'm pretty sure math isn't even real anyway.
OK, even so! I'll just explain very briefly what a percentile is. You can literally just make it up. I promise. A percentile is essentially the exact opposite of a percent. Being in the 97th percentile for language means that if you are in a room full of 100 people, you are better at language than 97 of those people. Which would put you in the top 3% of society, globally. Because 100-97=3. It's literally that easy. So, the mean IQ score of 100 is the 50th percentile of society. This is why IQ tests and percentiles are generally interchangeable and why they're actually not that difficult to work with and basically just make up when you're working with a roleplaying game.
So what you are going to want to do with these tables is take a look at each definition and determine from one to one hundred, how good is your character at that particular ability? You can get a general idea of your character's abilities based on their personality and telepathic development and basically just pick a number off the top of your head. Remember that the higher the number, the rarer the occurrence is. So what you want to do with each of these tables is say: "if my character were in a room with 100 people, how many people would they be better than at this particular skill?" and then ballpark it.
If you want to get into divergent scores, then you're going to want to break each part in half and present it individually. Laurie's official PFT score is 80/167. This means that if we were to re-translate this into "IQ test language" that he would be Low Average in Rate and Very Superior in Accuracy. Because there is a discrepancy of 87 points, we cannot add those two numbers together, so they remain split. Kol is 125 globally which puts him at Superior (although evidently there are weak points within this gestalt score). I didn't even take it for Kol, I just threw a number out there for global purposes.
Global: Take each percentile score you pick, add them all together, subtract 100 and divide it by 15. Get rid of the percent sign and subtract that number from 100. That is your total score! If you are not happy with the total score, ballpark it around that area or change the numbers and keep your results for your own records.
Split: Look at only your Rate scores. Take each percentile score you pick, add them all together, subtract 100 and divide it by 15. Get rid of the percent sign and subtract that number from 100. This is your Rate score. Now do the same process again for Accuracy percentiles. Add together both numbers for the Accuracy score.
samples for divergent and regular scores
The values given were taken from the PFT for the character Laurie Keelan.
RESPONSIVENESS: 95th percentile
PROCESSING SPEED: 17th percentile
STABILITY: 20th percentile
MEMORY: 18th percentile
To convert this into a global percent, you add them all together, subtract 100 and divide it by 15. 150-100 = 50/15 = 3.33%. 100-3.33 = 96.7. That leaves me with 96.67. But I wanted it to be lower than that. Too bad, math! So, I ballparked it at around 80. 78-79 if I'm feeling like he's stupid that day. But now I have a good indication that he's got a Low Average score with a very high mark in one specific area.
IDENTIFICATION: 16th percentile
INTEGRATION: 90th percentile
DISTANCE: 55th percentile
PERCEPTUAL ORGANIZATION: 92nd percentile
To convert this into a global percent, you add them all together, subtract 100 and divide it by 15. 253-100 = 153/15 = 10.2%. 100-10.2 = 89.8. But because we're splitting it, remember, we aren't actually going to add these two red numbers together or else Laurie would have a total PFT of 169.8. Which would be the score of someone like Electra Vale or Misha. This would, however, be an excellent candidate for the secondary number which did I want to be higher because I have a very good indication that he is Very Superior in this area based on the raw data. So I ballparked it at around 167.
And that's his total divergent score: 80/167.
Non-character. I picked very average values with a few high percentiles thrown in to provide a "normal, everyday" score.
RESPONSIVENESS: 73rd percentile
PROCESSING SPEED: 86th percentile
STABILITY: 20th percentile
MEMORY: 30th percentile
IDENTIFICATION: 50th percentile
INTEGRATION: 49th percentile
DISTANCE: 22nd percentile
PERCEPTUAL ORGANIZATION: 59th percentile
To convert this into a global percent, you add them all together, subtract 100 and divide it by 15. 389-100 = 289/15 = 19%. 100-19 = 81. Now if you wanted a character with a PFT of 81, you could stop right there. You're done. If you think it's too high or too low, change it! The end.
Most Betazoid physiology resembles that of a Terran, with only few deviations. The most obvious is that of the Betazoid's solid black iris, stemming from high concentrations of melanin in the stroma of the iris, which causes light of both shorter and longer wavelengths to be absorbed. In those with less Betazoid blood such as Devinoni Ral (who was only ¼ Betazoid), normal Human eye coloration is possible.
Betazoids are very flexible, and, through training, they can control many body functions through biofeedback and meditative control.
Betazoids live between 160-170 years, reaching full maturity at around age 40.
The Betazoid integumentary (skin, hair, etc) system is similar to a Terran, with the added exception of specialized sensory and motor neurons moving to and from the medial lobe.
Betazoids are fertile throughout most of their lives, and have a gestation period of ten months which accounts for the development of the medial lobe & psilosynine pathways. The Betazoid "Phase" is a physiological phase that all Betazoid and half-Betazoid females enter, signifying full sexual and reproductive maturity. This usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 50. While it is certainly possible to have children prior to the Phase, it is only during the Phase that a Betazoid female becomes fully sexual as the sex drive of the female in question quadruples or more.
Betazoid days are 25 hours long, which informs their natural circadian rhythm. Betazoids are diurnal (awake in the day), monophasic (once per cycle) sleepers, much like humans. The Betazoid brain releases melatonin from the hypothalamus in response to day-and-night shifts, triggering the sleep cycle.
Betazoids need approximately 10 hours of sleep per night to feel fully rested. Betazoid minds tend to relax and drift outward as they sleep, sometimes sharing dreams with one another if they are in close proximity.
The Betazoid process of dreaming is much the same as that of a human, though Betazoids reach rapid eye movement (REM) sleep at a different frequency from other humanoids.
Betazoids fully develop their psionic sense in adolescence, around ages 13-15, but they are exposed to psionic feedback as early as infancy to help solidify those pathways. This process is slow and gradual over many years, much the same as puberty is for humans. Rarely, Betazoids are born with their psionic senses fully formed or that develop rapidly in infancy, which can cause psychological and development problems later on.
The sovereign representative of the Fifth House of Betazed is the ceremonial leader of the Council of Ruling Houses at Rixx, due in part to the preserved religious ties of the Fifth House. This sovereign is considered a ceremonial priestess or planetary matriarch and traditionally, before convening a council meeting, a ritual of drinking from the Sacred Chalice of Rixx must be followed by solemn acknowledgment before proceedings may begin.
Religion and superstition is alive and well in many Betazoid communities, although aside from some ceremonial aspects, religion is largely absent from Betazoid ruling practice and serves only as a reminder of their history and ancestors. Betazoids place a great deal of concern and care toward their family lines, traditions and practices.
Betazoids have widely held beliefs in gods, spirits, the afterlife and the unknown, with many Betazoids practicing polytheism.
Other Houses believe in a single deity, that of Karawati, the Mother of Rixx, the Lifestone of Krysaros. Karawati is the ancient symbol of purity, hearth and unity of the Betazoid people.
Rixx and Krysaros are legendary brothers often depicted in Betazoid mythology, attributed to the unification of the Houses of Betazed. Karawati is considered Betazed herself, and is depicted largely as a mother nature figure. A typical creation story told on Betazed is of Karawati fashioning the Betazoid's perception of Otherness to help them combat a terrible extra-planetary evil. Krysaros is an ancient planetary hero, having saved Karawati from certain invasion from a looming, malevolent psionic force.
Great Fire is supposedly a god that reigned before the dawn of the world, Betazed.
According to Betazoid mythology, Jalara Guardians were 'nymph-like' in character, and they guard the Jalara Jungle. They were believed to have planted their nests on the jungle floor, causing the mortal quicksand pits present today.
Mendissian Historians separated the first Noble Houses from the rest of the regular population, and were largely responsible for tracing ancestral lines through Betazed history.
Betazoids teach psionic Acceptance from infancy using the Tying of Ropes and Knots. Each knot in a rope is a concept, reflecting each Noble Value (in order: Honesty, Mysticism, Health, Natural Art/Muses, Nobility, Heart/Life, Courage, Intuition, Wealth, Perseverance, Hearth, Balance, Peace/Protection) which all Betazoids are taught to embrace. This Acceptance comprises the majority of a Betazoid's psionic training.
Only in the past 600 years or so have Betazoids taken the practice of preserving deceased loved ones in special chemicals that help the body last for generations. This is most common in the Houses, as few lower level citizens have the room to hold such sacred items.
These are a series of remembrances that take place after the death of a family member and friend. Those that are closest to the dead person gather at a series of meetings, one held at six weeks after the death, another after the sixth month, and another for every three years afterwards. During the ceremony, the participants remember the deceased and share strong psionic fields with each other.
As the generations of a Noble Household process farther and farther, each daughter is painted at the age of 40 in a painting a little larger then the last predecessor. This shows how the past becomes less and less memorable, yet will always be there. Some of the ancient paintings are extremely large, some taking up entire rooms and even houses themselves.
Meaning, roughly speaking, Harmony of Mind and Weapon. Tassa’Akai is a Betazoid technique which uses the akai, or Betazoid collapsible baton. This is taught to all peacekeepers during training, and is a non-offensive martial art, more resembling a dance than an offensive fighting style. The Khrysar'akai is a ceremonial sword with a curved blade sharpened slightly on one edge. Its length ranges from 60cm to 73cm, depending on the reach of the wielder, and it is made by hand by its user.
(Religious information and names used with permission by CC from Starbase118 Wiki.)