- This is the story-based description of Saiyans. For their official character rules, go here.
Perhaps some of the most misunderstood and misrepresented races in the galaxy, Saiyans have earned themselves an enormous reputation that almost any space-faring race is aware of. Known far and wide as peerless, merciless, power-wielding warriors, Saiyans are disputed to be the best Ki fighters in existence. Violence is a way of life. Their culture is full of it. Their blood is full of it. It leaps quickly to their minds like flame to a match, delivering them notoriously short tempers. With all of this, in addition to the terrifying transformation potential each Saiyan carries with them, make them a people that nobody should treat lightly.
Saiyans largely resemble Humans. However, they are all considerably more lean and muscular, due to the higher-gravity planets they tend to live on as well as a genetic disposition to thick frames.
They also posess long, simian-esque, prehensile tails coated with a light, brown or black fur. This tail contains a gland at its base that both provides for its complete reconstruction if it is lost somehow, as well as being the key to their Oozaru transformation. A Saiyan can have the tail surgically removed to prevent unwilling transformations -- it will then not grow back, except in extraordinary circumstances.
Their cranial hair is unique from Human hair, in that it grows quickly throughout a Saiyan's childhood and adolescence, and then comes to an abrupt halt just before adulthood. If a Saiyan loses hair after that time, it is permanently lost and may not be regrown. Saiyans, as a culture, are ferociously proud of their manes, and cutting a defeated Saiyan's hair is nearly the worst humiliation one can deliver. Generally, however, Saiyan hair grows to be anywhere from a half-foot long to five feet long, is extremely coarse and thick, and is heavily resistant to falling out, even in old age. The consistency and elasticity of their hair permits it to grow in great, pointed spikes that project in every direction. This is not only a naturally supported shape, but one strongly sponsored in their culture.
Another trademark characteristic of Saiyans is their apparent agelessness. Saiyans grow very quickly to maturity in their teens, and then for all intents and purposes, largely cease to show any visible signs of aging for a great many years. Historically, their warlike nature has often prevented most Saiyans from reaching the point in their lifespan where they begin to age visibly - somewhere between eighty and one hundred years of age. Even fewer Saiyans have lasted the rigors of the race's natural lifestyle to die of old age, but those who made it that far enjoyed a lifetime of some one hundred twenty-five to one hundred fifty years of age.
The "Oozaru" Transformation
The Saiyan race posesses, within them, the unconscious ability to transform into an enormous, 50-foot, ape-like creature. The only differences between this description and the Oozaru are their wolf-like muzzles, and their pupil-less eyes.
While transformed, Oozaru can fire beams of ki from their mouth and eyes, though they seem to lose any ability to do so through their hands.
Needless to say, with such immense size, a transformed Saiyan's strength multiplies manyfold. However, most Saiyans who become Oozaru do so uncontrollably, and are posessed with an ally-less rage that sends them into an irrational destructive frenzy. Oozaru transform due to an exposure of the eyes to direct, full moonlight, though both technology and martial arts have managed to artificially reproduce the necessary conditions. When done artificially, the special light required to transform is usually called "Brute Rays". Any Saiyan who does not posess their entire tail may not transform into an Oozaru, nor may any Saiyan who is blind.
Some elite Saiyans, usually of noble birth, have mastered their Oozaru forms. Their command over their simian forms ranges from controlling whether or not an Oozaru transformation is triggered to being in complete control for the duration. Some have even learned how to speak normally while transformed. Again, this ability is rare at best, and usually requires an entire village worth of experience, advice, and training to develop. Saiyans have developed special armor that stretches and expands with the Oozaru body, rather than rip to pieces as normal clothing and armor is.
The "Super Saiyan" Transformation
While the Oozaru transformation is intimidating and menacing in itself, it has not garnered nearly the sort of notoriety as has their other, more rare transformation -- that which changes them into a Super Saiyan. A Super Saiyan is merely a Saiyan who is said to have "ascended". Their hair changes in color from their commonly dark tones to a universally golden hue, becomes more erect, and lengthens slightly. Their irises gain an emerald appearance. They are usually also accompanied by a powerful, golden aura of ki, which surrounds them at all times. The Super Saiyan transformation causes the fighter to become several times more powerful than before.
This transformation is something of a mystery. It was once the stuff of legends, based on a single man (known as the Legendary Super Saiyan) who became so mind-bogglingly powerful whilst in Oozaru that his body and spirit became a single entity, and he transformed, shortly before destroying the very planet he had been standing on. In recent times, however, the transformation has become more and more common. In fact, in recent times, it is more common to see a Super Saiyan ascend than to witness an actual Oozaru.
It is generally agreed, however, that while Oozaru is a more basic, instinctual transformation, the Super Saiyan transformation is achieved through a mastery of a Saiyan's emotions -- specifically, rage. Initiate Super Saiyans require a substantial amount of rage to achieve their form (though less than the first time), usually requiring the emotional capacity to kill someone. Saiyans who have considerable experience with the Super Saiyan form have learned to emulate their emotions in their mind, to ever-decreasing amounts of actual, requisite anger. Eventually, it is said that a Super Saiyan can make the ascended form permanent or at-will, though the long term effects of doing so have not been researched.
There are also additional "levels" of Super Saiyan beyond what is first achieved. Die-hard traditionalist Saiyans are often heard to claim that what modern Saiyans call Super Saiyan is, in fact, not the legitimate, legendary transformation that vaulted Saiyan-kind into the history books but rather, an evolution-aided, half-baked version. Some of the more powerful Saiyans in existence have reached "level 2" which seems to largely consist of further erection and an additional slight extension of the hair physically, while amplifying power even more than before.
Because of the general animalistic tendencies inherent to the Oozaru form (even to those who have mastered it), no Saiyan besides the "Legendary Super Saiyan" has ever managed to activate both Oozaru and Super Saiyan simultaneously.
Saiyans came into being on a planet known as Plant, which they shared with another race, called the Tsufuru. They are believed to be descended from the same heritage, but diverged on an evolutionary scale after millenia of disparate conditions presented to both races. The Tsufuru were extraordinarily wise and technologically advanced, though they rarely travelled into space. They lived in massive cities, and were largely at peace with one another. Meanwhile, the Saiyans had become a brutish people, and had separated into clans. Occasionally, Saiyan clans would assault the Tsufuru, only to be turned away by superior numbers, unity, and technology.
One of the Saiyan clan leaders, however, whose name has since been lost to time, was more intelligent than the majority of his headstrong brethren. He managed to coordinate an enormous, unified assault against the Tsufuru with all of the Saiyan clans on the exact single day out of eight years that their moon became full. With an entire army of towering ape creatures trampling their cities, the technological people could not hold them at bay any longer, and were utterly crushed in the span of 20 hours. It is unknown if any Tsufuru survived the onslaught, though if there are any, they have kept themselves low-profile for many, many years.
With the Saiyans in control of the planet, they renamed it "Vegeta", after their first named King. However, their destructive and combative nature kept them from establishing any solid society on their newly conquered planet. Soon, a race of galactic pirates known as the Arconians came to Vegeta and, after some rather awkward face-offs between the two races, they came to a mutual understanding. The Saiyans became mercenaries for them and their ridiculously powerful leaders. Thus, the society was made peaceful again, while the Saiyan aggressions were channeled outward to cleanse planets for the Arconians to later sell.
It was not to last. The Arconians were not known for their fair treatment of other races, especially with their even more oppressive superiors. The Saiyans were often treated like brainless trash, and were surrounded by people who refused them honor. Further, the Arconians had decided that they would impose their occupation upon all Saiyankind, sending children barely out of the womb to conquer far away planets, possibly to never see their parents again. Soon, King Vegeta revolted against the Arconians and their commander, Lord Frieza. However, the rebellion was put down, and, realizing that the Saiyans were becoming powerful too quickly for his liking, Frieza destroyed planet Vegeta and with it, 95% of the Saiyan race.
In his carelessness, a small array of small ships managed to escape his notice, and they fled to a variety of distant planets. One of them founded what would eventually become New Vegeta, and another landed on Earth after many years of wandering in space, and created the colony of Sarada-shi. In addition, many Saiyans had been sent out to various planets to conquer them before their homeworld had been destroyed. While some had simply perished for a lack of ability to fend for themselves on a barren, lifeless planet, others were subdued, taken in, or beaten into submission. One such Saiyan was Goku, who became, for a time, the champion defender of Earth.
The New Vegetan civilization prospered under the guiding hand of King Naiako, who was raised on Earth and hence, taught his people a more social and peaceful way of life. The Saiyans maintained a distant, if friendly connection with Earth, until the events of The First to Fall, when the deceased body of the legendary Saiyan Prince, Vegeta, was posessed by the God of Demons. The posessed ruler faked his vessel's resurrection, and deposed Naiako's royal family from the throne by force. He then led "his" race on a vast, interstellar assault against Earth, in tandem with a demonic assault led by the other half of his being, Yakeoni. Due to an enormous falling out of reality's fabric from the clash of enormous powers, all invading Saiyans and demons present perished.
Unlike the people of Earth, the Saiyans were not given their lives back after the reformation of reality. Their population suffered greatly, and a large disparity of their genders emerged -- there were now many, many more women than men. Now, with their new king, Kyouran Gekijou, the Saiyan populace endeavors to repopulate themselves and, once again, restore the glory with which they once lived.
Most Saiyans have strong spiritual beliefs that can be considered a form of faith, though calling it religion would probably be going too far. The general concept of belief is that of fate and destiny. Almost pagan in nature, Saiyans believe that there are a number of transcendent, elemental spirits who lend themselves in portion to everything. This belief does not hold these spirits to be sentient or even necessarily separate entities, but rather an unknown form that goes beyond what perceptions of intelligence and thought can define. They believe that everything which happens in the universe and beyond is a characteristic of one or more of these spirits. Ultimately, however, this belief is understood to be entirely above and beyond anything mere people of flesh and soul can do to influence it, as all that they do is a part of this as well. Rather than try to appease spirits to create more favorable circumstances, Saiyans take a far more personal approach to their beliefs. They rarely care if anyone else shares their beliefs, nor do they espouse to others how their beliefs apply to the world around them. Rather, they personally embrace that they are, themselves, embodied manifestations of specific spirits, and that their measure of personal success depends on harmonizing with that spiritual consist. Thus, these universal spirits are rarely personified, so much as they believe they and everyone else are their own unique personification of those spirits.
While younger Saiyans tend to scarcely grasp the concept of their spiritual selves, as they mature and then grow old, it becomes more clear that even the greatest and most powerful of them are simply culminations of everything around them; that every choice they made was a miniscule advancement toward an end whose true purpose nobody can fathom. Regardless, it is thought that reaching a full and complete harmony with one's self, whether for richer or poorer, better or worse, gives a Saiyan a feeling of finality that they all seek in some way, subconsciously or otherwise. Elder Saiyans can often identify when another Saiyan or even someone of another race of sufficient familiarity isn't at harmony with themselves, and will generally give them an earful and perhaps a solid beating, if it is still within their capacity to do so. It usually comes across as severe disappointment and disgust, rather than a pious assault, for nobody is as in control of their own destiny as themselves.
This belief system seems to almost be genetic, as rarely, if ever, do Saiyans teach their young about how they feel, since it is such a personal and unique experience to each Saiyan. One Saiyan may define it wholly differently from another, but as they become older, the same general concept tends to reign over them, and they are more likely to respect the paths that other harmonized Saiyans take, even if it is against their own personal pursuits. It is for this reason that older Saiyans rarely express concern over dying, or to kill others of their own kind when they feel it is necessary.