The Heliopes, are inhabitants of Starmist (of the Sundown system), are actually from a different system. They were slaves of a race called the Clikks, resembling the Vrusk, who explored the Sundown area. One of the military exploration vessels, mapping in the region of Starmist, had problems that required dumping any extra weight. Unloaded on Starmist were a war tank of advanced design and all nonessential personnel. Nonessential personnel included the Heliopes. Before leaving, the Clikks subjected the Heliopes to a mindwipe that caused amnesia. Heliopes who survived on the planet filled in their missing past by making up legends and stories that eventually became their history. Culture among the Heliopes is shallow since they have developed on Starmist for only 600 years. The Heliope religion is focused around the tank and relics left by the Clikks.
All Heliopes on Starmist are descendants of the original group. Now there are nearly 200 tribes spread out over five large rifts. These rifts are those explored by the Clikk ship.
Physical Appearance and Structure
Heliopes stand erect and average two meters tall. They look slightly reptilian. The head is man-shaped with a long, sensory, whip-like antenna dropping down from the rear and curving back up into the air. Heliopes have superb hearing because this appendage is sensitive to atmospheric vibrations.
Heliopes are omnivores, having large teeth and mandibles for chewing and cutting. Heliopes have one, large central eye that is protected by bony ridges and two nictating membranes. Heliopes possess two long arms with average strength but the 'hands' are two pincers, slightly rigid, with a sharp nail along the edges. Two extremely powerful legs dominate the lower body. A long tail sweeps up like a scorpion's, to rest over the shoulder. The Heliopes are neither right nor left handed but right or left shouldertailed. The feet are large, long, and splayed. All Heliopes seem awkward and clumsy in confined spaces and look totally unsuited to riding in vehicles or on animals. They are excellent swimmers.
Heliopes have translucent skin. The normal network of upper musculature and veins is visible and Heliopes vary in colors from violet to deep purplish red. The whip-tail changes color toward the tip to opaque, shiny black. Because of their body chemistry the Heliopes are immune to normal electric current and will take only one-half damage from lasers. Because of their antennae, Heliopes take double damage from sonic weapons. Both pincers and mandibles deliver a 1d10 bite. The damage from the mandibles is subtracted from a skeinsuit value but the damage from a pincer is against the character through the skeinsuit. The tail is not prehensile and it cannot strike. Heliopes carry pouches of small stones that they can throw with terrific force. The bullet/stones cause 1d10 of damage if they hit. Inertia shields and skein suits will affect the missiles. Although Heliopes use harpoons to fish, they are not adept with such tools as weapons.
Their range of senses have yet to be be fully studied.
Their speech pasterns have yet to be be fully studied.
Society and Customs
The basic social unit of the Heliope tribe is the family. Marriage ties cause complex relationships. Government is a simple system of chiefs and subchiefs chosen for ability in combat and leadership. Priests have great influence on the tribe but no official power.
All Heliopes enjoy color and collect gemstones, polished rock crystals, and similar baubles. They are superb sculptors and do intricate, detailed work on wood and bone. They paint and decorate their tails and mandibles in patterns that differ from tribe to tribe.
They typically live in villages located next to a river and contains reasonably complex homes, or they are nomadic. The buildings house families and their primitive government.
Do to their lack of history and understanding, they have formed a cargo cult around an old, discarded Clikks War Tank. Its defense field gave them a pleasant sensation when touched, and they built a wooden pyramid over it.
Heliopes are superb fighters, and they have competed successfully for food and space with native plant and animal life. Because of this, warfare and violence among the tribes are common. With military victory, they keep prisoners as slaves, and take items of the defeated as spoils. Slaves are not well treated, and trying to help a slave is a grievous offense.
They are war-like and primitive. The sudden exposure to "strangers form the sky" (a Frontier expedition by the four core races) have not changed their thinking much, and they have not known the aliens long enough to form a real opinion.
Immune to electrical attacks; take one-half damage from lasers; take double damage from sonic-weapons; pincers penetrate skeinsuits; three attacks per round in melee (2 pincers/1 bite).
Clawed Hands: Their hands can do 1d10 points of damage, but they lack the ability to hold items like a human hand (e.g. they cant fire a gun or use a game controller). They are "ambilevous", in that both hands are considered "off-handed" - opposite of ambidextrous.
The cover of SF3: Sundown on Starmist shows a humanoid that is supposed to be a representation of a Heliope, but there are numerous errors with it's physical description (human hands, tentacle hair, lack of mandibles, non-splayed feet, and opaque skin) that contradicts with what was noted in the book.
(Cited from module SF3: Sundown on Starmist)