| Height of|
85 standard years
The Taung were an ancient species of Humanoid simians. Indigenous to the galactic Core World of Coruscant, the two-meter-tall, gray-skinned Taungs were warriors from youth, and viewed battle as a source of honor both for the individual and their gods. Famous for their struggles against the Human Battalions of Zhell—prehistoric Coruscant's other major power—the Taung waged war against their enemies for hundreds of years. When a powerful volcano erupted and devastated the Zhell, spewing ash into the sky with such density it blocked out the light of Coruscant's sun, the Taung labeled themselves the "Warriors of the Shadow", or Dha Werda Verda in their language. Despite their loss, the Zhell eventually managed to drive the Taung from Coruscant, and the defeated Taung fled to the planet Roon, located in the Outer Rim. There they remained for millennia, until legendary Mandalore the First led the Taung to conquer a new world which they named Mandalore in honor of their leader, and the Taung subsequently recast themselves as the Mandalorians or Mando'ade—"Sons and Daughters of Mandalore".
As the newly entitled Mandalorians, the Taung set out to conquer the worlds around their new home, their nomadic nature and worship of war driving them crusading outward as they increased their territory. Under the rule of Mandalore the Indomitable, another Taung warlord following in the leadership tradition established by Mandalore the First, the Taung began to take in beings of other species into their culture, transforming what it meant to be Mandalorian forever after. This willing acceptance of other beings peaked during the Mandalorian Wars, when Mandalore the Ultimate led the Mandalorians on a campaign against the military forces of the Galactic Republic. Though initially victorious, the intervention of the Jedi Knight Revan and his loyal Jedi followers turned the tide of the war against the Mandalorians, culminating with the devastation of the planet Malachor V. The Taung race had suffered heavy losses during the war, and by its end, were generally believed to have drifted into extinction, while leaving their legacy through the Mandalorian culture they had passed on.
Biology and Appearance
A Humanoid species, the Taung were a bipedal race of sentient simians. Gray-skinned and yellow-eyed, Taungs were typically tall and strong. On average, Taungs reached a height of two meters, and weighed around ninety-five kilograms. Physically, Taungs were extremely resilient, and could endure hardships many other species were unable to. Their five fingers were tipped with sharp claws, and bony ridges adorned the top of their skulls. Taung lifespans were known to reach and occasionally exceed eighty-five years. Considered children until the age of six, Taung attained adulthood when they turned thirteen, passed through middle age between the years of forty-six and sixty-four, and were viewed as elderly beyond the age of sixty-five. Galactic historical records document no known instances of Taungs with a sensitivity to the Force.
Society and Culture
Taung society was nomadic and clan-based. Veterans of successful campaigns were honored, and looked upon with reverence. These battle-tested elders became chieftains, de facto leaders of their clan and community; higher authority came only from the Mand'alor, a title that meant "Sole Ruler" in the Taung language, and a role that embodied a single leader of all the warrior clans. These aspects continued on throughout later Mandalorian culture long after the Taung themselves had passed from the galaxy. Pragmatism and ruthlessness were common traits among the Taung, matched only by their loyalty to their clan kinsmen. Their practical nature was reflected in their naming practices, typically choosing names that corresponded to traits they deemed desirable. Common names included such examples as Atin, Kot, and Tor—meaning "persistent", "strength", and "justice", respectively. The Taung spoke an archaic form of what later became the Mandalorian language of Mando'a.
The civilization of the Taung was one steeped in war, and the Taung were warriors above all else. Their combat-centered nature gave rise to a religious warrior society governed by elaborate laws that evolved into the Canons of Honor. Early in their history, the Taungs waged war as a means of ritual worship to their god Kad Ha'rangir—a destroyer god they believed to personify change and growth. The Taung sought the favor of Kad Ha'rangir as they denied the temptations of Arasuum, the sloth-god who was an avatar of idleness and stagnation. But after the Taung had recast themselves as the Mandalorians, and Mandalore the Indomitable had risen to lead them, the act of war itself became the center of Mandalorian worship, and to wage war was seen to be divine. Disputes were resolved through Taung blood duels that involved a challenge to single combat in a fight to the death.
Despite their violent, warring nature, the Taung were far from primitive, and maintained a high priority of procuring the latest in technological advancement whenever possible, often through the plundering of a defeated foe. The tradition of Mandalorian armor began with the culture's Taung founders, and their unique helmets and war masks were forged in the image of the Taungs' face, including slanted outer angles and a pointed chin. Unlike later iterations, the armor of the Taung was sparse in its armament due to their belief that it was unarmed combat that brought the highest honor. Taung children were trained in martial skills from a young age, and tested themselves repeated in numerous physical and mental challenges prior to achieving adulthood. The experience and skills they obtained through their robust upbringing made wandering Taung valuable assets to mercenary companies.
Long after the Taungs departure from the galaxy, their impact remained. In 15 BBY, the Human merchant Mungo Baobab discovered the fabled Roonstones on the planet Roon. Encoded in one of the Roonstones was an ancient recording of the poem Dha Werda Verda, detailing the Taungs' struggle against the Zhell on prehistoric Coruscant in an archaic form of Basic. Another iteration of the Dha Werda Verda, a thunderous battle chant in Mando'a, was passed through Mandalorian culture for ages, and even adapted by Mand'alor Jango Fett for clone trainees in the Grand Army of the Republic prior to the start of the Clone Wars.
The Taungs' most lasting contribution to the history of the galaxy was the Mandalorian culture itself, which outlived its founders by more than four thousand years. Though anthropologists would later be divided over whether it was indeed the Taung who were the first Mandalorians, quarreling over the similarities between the Mandalorian language and the remaining Taung texts the Mandalorians followed in the example of the Taung as nomadic warriors for much of their history, though they became a much more diversified group of beings from countless species and walks of life, all united by the common culture.
Far from the warrior culture of the Mandalorians, the sisterhood of priestly Taung that elected to flee ancient Coruscant for the Unknown Regions after their defeat at the hands of the Zhell, had a profound impact on the foundation of a different group altogether: the Sorcerers of Rhand. These female Taung, who believed in seeking atonement through meditation and introspection, joined the Knell of Muspilli death cult, and the fanatical Kanzer Exiles to inspire the teachings of the Sorcerers of Rhand, when over thousands of years, the three unique philosophies and belief systems merged.
RPG D6 Stats
Home Planet or System: Coruscant/Mandalore
Attribute Dice: 12D
Size: 2 meters tall
Lifespan: 85 standard years