The Echani are a minor galactic near-human species that originated on the planet Eshan. While biologically similar to humans, Echani have very light skin, light gray-to-white hair and silver or silver-gray eyes. They share a strong physical similarity to each other in body type and facial features, with close family members often appearing as almost clones to outside observers. For the Echani, children of the same parents are, with rare exceptions, completely indistinguishable from one another. As a result, Echani use the tactical observation of body movement to identify individuals within a family.
The Echani are a matriarchal caste-based society originating from Eshan that spread to nearby worlds, collectively governed by the all-female ruling council of the Echani Command. Within the worlds under the Command, the Echani have extended tactical observation into practice through a kinetic communication style that instantly identifies an individual through subtle shifts in body language that logically extends to physical combat.
The Echani believe that combat is the truest form of communication, which plays an essential part of Echani social life and culture. To many, the Echani seem to have an uncanny, almost mystical ability to predict a combat motion with greater precision than some Togruta. Unlike the Togruta who have the benefit of biological echolocation via their head tails, the Echani's study of combat grants warriors a greater likelihood of predicting an opponent's next move through detailed observation of even the most subtle moves and tells. Because the Echani use tactical observation to seek an advantage, being caught in an Echani's gaze can be an unsettling and at times, threatening experience.
Echani culture believes that to know one fully, you must fight them. To an Echani, a combat between two people with moments said more than hours of talking. Echani fighting is not only self-defense, but a form of self-expression and a means of communication similar to art. During the Old Republic era, Echani Firedancers combined Echani fighting techniques with exotic weapons such as ritual brands, blending the two together in a manner akin to a dance. Today, symbolic inscriptions within Echani art, while ornate and geometrically beautiful to many across the galaxy, often communicate modes or forms of combat to those who can decipher the visual code.
The Echani are known to focus on unarmed combat and melee weapons. They are considered highly skilled artisans and weapon smiths whose designs have had a considerable impact on the galaxy. Common melee weapons such as vibroswords are based on Echani designs that date back to thousands of years ago. However, mass-production of Echani-specific weapons have rarely succeeded because of the level of skill required to craft such weapons with precision. Echani weapons such as the foils crafted in honor of Raskta Fenni rarely survive the crafting process because of difficulties in weaving them with cortosis. Therefore, finding a genuine Echani forged blade on the open market is nearly impossible. Only Echani and a lucky few ever see, let alone wield such weapons. The most public display of Echani weapon crafting prowess can be seen in the Echani-made double-bladed vibroblades of the Emperor's Royal Guard.
The Echani warriors largely eschew the use of heavy armor, preferring to fight in light armor. That is not to say an Echani armorer is only skilled in light armor styles; quite the contrary, Echani armorers often collect and study medium and heavy armors to learn the art in the design and become experts in all armor types. They examine how combat is communicated through heavier armors and incorporate features into light armor designs or modify heavy armors to improve agility and movement. Because the Echani fighting style focuses more on agility and acrobatics, anything that hampers freedom of movement would be either avoided (warrior) or improved upon (armorer). Some have speculated that a single trained Echani or Mandalorian in Echani-tuned Mandalorian armor would be a more formidable foe than a pack of AT-STs supported by a company of Stormtroopers.
Branches and Sects
- Oblates of Rivan: a reclusive, traditionalist religious order known to worship the Dark Side of the Force.
- Sun Guard: a Thyrsian religious group closely aligned with the Empire and one of the most feared mercenary units in the galaxy.
- Thyrsians: a branch of Echani that gained independence from Echani Command for Thyrsus and the Thyrsus system in 899 BBY.