The Known Galaxy is full of life. From a human perspective, to discover just how many planets where capable of hosting intelligent life was very surprising, especially given the time and energy spent on searching the heavens during the late 20th century.
With the formation of the Stellar Imperium, and the increased influence of its founding races – the Humans, Relarrans, Lamagos, and Talinites – it should come as little surprise as to see that these people now dominant the Known Galaxy. Still during the Imperium’s expansion, dozens of other races joined the great collective – although most achieved little power or influence – while many more were so insignificant (from an Imperium’s point of view, anyway) as to be absorbed into its complex hierarchy almost by osmosis. Today, these so-called ‘minor’ races have survived the fall better than those who once ruled it, each exploiting their own niche to ensure their ongoing survival.
The following races are recommended as playable characters. There are, of course, a myriad of other races that once allied with the Stellar Imperium, many of which will be detailed at a later time.
The presentation of the history and background information in this book is Human-centric, providing an easily accessible baseline for the overview of this setting. The presence of Humans in the interstellar society has shaped events just as much or more than the other major races, and their impact is felt on every inhabited world of every known system.
Humans have two legs, two arms, a torso containing most of their vital organs, and a head that contains their greatest concentration of sensory organs as well as the brain. Skin tone ranges from light with blond or brown hair, to brown, and dark brown, usually with dark, sometimes curly or wavy hair.
Humans communicate with each other primarily through vocalization, though the less obvious means play a lesser factor, such as body language, and dress. Humans also communicate via written language, which they often find more useful than spoken language to convey complex processes, lengthy background information, documentation, and narrative.
Human society has a great deal of variety from one culture to the next; however, almost all Human groups focus on the family unit as the most basic societal unit. One to two biological parents usually raise offspring. When the offspring have reached adulthood, it is customary for the family unit to remain intact, though it usually becomes spread out and accumulates new members, such as spouses and the next generation of offspring.
Planetary cultures vary greatly from world to world, though most fit the classic definitions of authoritarianism, socialism, or democracy. Group behavior varies a great deal depending on the type of government, social background, and religion. For example, individuals in authoritarian societies tend to be more guarded about the topics they speak about to avoid saying anything that will offend those in power. Speech in socialist societies tends to be freer than in their authoritarian counterparts, though some caution is still needed because some socialist societies police personal expression, as they would not want malcontents to taint the well-being of the rest of society. Truly democratic societies promote freedom of expression the most because free and open communication is the most basic way for people to decide whom to elect to represent their interests.
While reaching for the stars, humanity has retained its diverse and fluid nature in the naming of children. In some places traditional names, such as those tied to specific cultures or religion are prominent, while in others more a creative approach is popular. Perhaps the most interesting evolution in nomenclature is the recent use of endonyms – self-designated names – focused on the planet or region a person comes from, and addition of these to a individual’s name i.e. Paul Eric Smith hailing from the planet of Corrya has become Paul Eric Smith Corrya or Paul Eric Smith Corrya-Alin (Alin being a range of mountain found on the world).
Recorded Human history spans nearly seven thousand years. The species started out as a huntergatherer society that became more complex as new technologies were discovered and individuals acquired the luxury of pursuing goals beyond simple survival.
Human life is believed to have originated on the African continent and then spread to the other continents. The African, Asian, and European continents are where early technological advances took place and the earliest great civilizations were Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Greek civilizations. These early civilizations changed and disappeared over time, but their influence is still felt, even in space age civilizations. Over the course of recorded history, a number of cultures rose and fell, sometimes progressing, and other times regressing. War was often the catalyst for major changes that transformed the world. The two world wars of the twentieth century defined just how horrific the art of war could become, and it was after these conflicts that they began to back away from the ancient art of conquest and start work more towards nationalism and eventually a stable global society.
It was the Industrial Revolution and later the Information Age that led to the technological breakthroughs that made the space age possible. Early space exploration began in the twentieth century, and was followed to a greater degree in the twenty-first century. Advanced versions of computers that were developed during the Information Age became the primary means of communication, production, and played an enormous role in research. Computers are absolutely essential for the operations and navigation of starships. Robots became household items during the twenty-first century and, due to a healthy dose of science fiction inspired paranoia, were prevented from becoming anything other than Human controlled tools.
Humans made their great leap into the Space Age in 2230 when they discovered how to manipulate tachyons to exceed the speed of light. This led to the creation of tachyon quantum field drives. Once they were able to achieve faster-than-light travel, galactic exploration became a major focus for Humanity. They soon discovered several terrestrial worlds that were ripe for settlement and they introduced themselves to several starfaring races. This ultimately led to cooperation between alien races, the establishment of the Interstellar Concord, and eventually the Stellar Imperium.
The Lamagos are the people of a dying world. Their sun is a blue giant, just as it has been since the first creatures capable of breathing an oxygen atmosphere crawled out of the ocean. They know that their world will end in a supernova at some point in the future, but they do not know exactly when it will occur. Life on their world dates back seventy-five million years, suggesting that their sun has already outlasted many other blue giant stars in existence. Scientists have made it known that their star could go tomorrow or it could go in another hundred and fifty million years.
Nobody is certain how long they have left, but they do intend to move their population to a world that orbits a more stable star. This imperative seemed to be well under way during the reign of the Stellar Imperium, but since then, the inhabitants of the former colony worlds have become possessive, throwing obstacle after obstacle up to prevent mass migration to their worlds. They now struggle with finding a habitable world that fits a number of important conditions: the climate must be stable and comfortable, it must have enough natural resources to support a population of billions, and it must be relatively close to their current sphere of influence. The search has thus far failed to produce suitable candidates.
The Lamagos could be mistaken for Humans if not for their blue skin, which ranges from dark blue to light blue and greenishblue. Hair color is almost always black, though some light blue individuals have a similar genetic defect as Humans with fair skin, giving them red hair. Communication: Lamagos vocalize much like Humans do, and use body language to a lesser extent. Written and electronic communications are also used daily in Lamagos society.
Lamagos vocalize much like Humans do, and use body language to a lesser extent. Written and electronic communications are also used daily in Lamagos society.
Lamagos society craves strong leadership and thrives on symbolism. They erect monuments to their greatness everywhere they settle; great feats of engineering that push their expertise to the very edge of scientific possibility. Many believe that they do this because their homeworld could be destroyed at any moment, and the landmarks that they create could ultimately be the only things they are remembered for. The vast majority of Lamagos are almost fanatically loyal to their leadership and to the other citizens of their worlds. Crime is low on Lamagos worlds because they follow the laws as though such behavior is instinctual. When away from their various homeworlds, this discipline often translates to a policy of putting their own needs above the other species they encounter, to the point where a number of acts normally condemned by enlightened cultures are accepted, such as forcing other races into slavery, occupying worlds by force, and going to war with little provocation.
Many assume that these actions make them an evil race when in fact their attitude is characteristically imperialistic. They do not subject conquered races to needless cruelty or impossible work conditions, and they usually allow slaves to work their way to freedom after proving themselves trustworthy. Some conquered races actually credit Lamagos slavery for bringing them into the interstellar age.
On Lamag they say that the length of your name is just as important as your status. While most Lamagos are known simply by a first and family name (such as the tradition with humans), they also have a number of middle names, usually at least 3 but as many as 10 for the children of important families. In general these middle names can be treated as titles or honorifics that both remember and celebrate great deeds achieved by the individual’s ancestors, but in more modern times they also have come to include ideals or concepts that are meant to inspire or driven a child to greater things. Lamag names also tend to be short and sharp (rarely longer than 6 letters), and generally hold to the convention of double consonants (i.e. the Lamag known as Hellon Prett, was actually ‘christened’ Hellon Fallic Hasskin Tettca Prett).
War between conquerors and visionaries is a recurring theme throughout the annals of Lamagos pre-Space-Age history. Mighty personalities rose and fell like the tides, taking great nations along with them. The individuals’ charisma was just as important as the philosophies they espoused. The governments followed a zigzag progression with one government type rising, eventually leading to another, then regressing, and eventually progressing back again and then the next great philosophy emerged.
Democracy and feudalism waged a constant battle until the Lamagos reached the industrial age, at which point the excess wealth afforded to everybody caused a widespread rejection of feudalism. In the next period, totalitarianism competed with democracy during the first technological wars. Ultimately totalitarianism proved victorious. Feeling the weight of the yoke of slavery, the Lamagos began to advocate socialism with strong leadership. A hundred years of wars followed, during which time it was uncertain which side would win, but ultimately the military might of the socialists destroyed the totalitarian armies and reigned supreme.
The rise of socialism occurred immediately after the discovery that their blue sun was doomed. The government tried to keep this information from the people, and succeeded for eight years, but eventually scientists broke their silence. The preeminent government decided that rather than make these scientists disappear, they instead acknowledged the doom of their planet and began promoting the race to space. As the various governments slowly began to merge into a single socialist world government, enormous amounts of resources were poured into researching faster-than-light travel. What many worlds do over the course of centuries, the Lamagos achieved in fifty years.
Space travel was developed slightly ahead of their computer technology, which caused a delay in exploring the galaxy; they simply did not have the technology to compute astronomical data and calculate routes through space. Ultimately their computer technology caught up and they began exploring the galaxy, looking for the next world to call home.
Their need for a new home, along with the fact that they simply could not defeat the Humans in war, ultimately led to their greatest achievement and their greatest folly: the Stellar Imperium. Although the Humans were the other major founding species, the Lamagos leadership often succeeded in setting policy, which accounts for the aggressive expansionism of the Imperium. When the Stellar Imperium fell, the Lamagos worlds splintered and fell under the control of several different governments, none of which wished to work toward the same goals as the others. All of the settled Lamagos worlds have rejected the notion of relocating the homeworld’s population to their own.
The Relarra are an intelligent species that originated in the oceans of their world. They achieved faster-than-light travel before many other species, yet aside from colonizing a few worlds, they initially failed explore far enough to discover other intelligent life. Ultimately they encountered the Humans, though the new race mistook them for food, which very nearly started a war. Despite this initial misunderstanding, Humans and Relarrans have since conducted trade and entered into long-term alliances together.
To most Human observers, the Relarra first remind them of shellfish, like a lobster or a crayfish. They have an exoskeleton, a head, four arms, and two powerful legs. Their abdomen and thorax are separate, much like many insects on Earth. The Relarran head is shaped similarly to a Human’s, however there are some differences. Their mouths contain sharp teeth and a number of small appendages on both sides aid in the hunt by tearing into prey and help guide food into the mouth. Their eyes are small and black and a pair of small holes set into the face marks their noses.
The Relarra communicate with one another through vibrations produced by their throat and mouth. These vibrations carry well through water; however they are not audible to Human ears, even when underwater. Relarra live in water, and must wear water-filled environment suits in any other atmospheres. While in their suits, the vibrations of their speech are transmitted electronically from one Relarra to another. The Relarra employ specialized translator equipment to communicate verbally with other species. Because the Relarra design these communication devices themselves and they have a hard time distinguishing between the subtle nuances of Human speech, the voice emerges sounding somewhat metallic and monotone. While Relarrans use electronic communication devices in the same ways as most other spacefaring races, they must adapt their computer and display technology to function underwater.
Relarra are the evolved descendants of sea creatures that are similar in nature to the crabs and lobsters of Earth. They evolved from a species that preferred to live in isolation from one another, coupling only briefly for the purpose of procreation. While the majority of the species have outgrown this need for isolation, about one percent still feel the urge to leave the underwater cities for the open oceans as young adults. Many remain out there, living as hunters for the rest of their lives while others discover an inner strength and conviction and return to their people to become leaders and other individuals of importance. The vast majority of the Relarrans who leave their worlds and find themselves in the company of other species are the same ones who left their homes for the ocean at a young age.
Relarran cities are very similar to those of other species with the exception that they are built on the ocean floor. Individuals form emotional bonds that often last for life, and pairs raise their young until they reach young adulthood (the rough equivalent of fourteen years of age in Human development), at which time they are expected to move out of their parent’s dwellings but continue to further their education. Once their education is complete, just under half of them go into the military, half go into traditional jobs for various commercial and public employers, while the remaining few seek travel in other systems.
Relarrans attempt to form peaceful relations among themselves and alien species whenever possible. Some species interpret this as a sign of weakness, though they are absolutely ruthless in the defense of their people. The Stellar Imperium recruited numerous Relarrans into their ranks, and their enemies feared them above all other others.
Relarrans are also greedy capitalists who place the acquisition of money above the welfare of their own people. They often resort to dishonest means to make money, so long as they believe they can avoid detection, and they always bargain to drive prices to ridiculous extremes when buying or selling. Despite these tendencies, they have proven to be worthy trade partners for the former Imperium races.
The Relarran naming conventions are strictly traditional with a focus on the family name and it position in society. Often an individual’s first name seen as being of little consequence when weighed up against their family name, and while a Relarran may have been born, for example, Samu Liegh Youg, they are just as likely be called Youg by their peers. This use of names can be very confusing for non-Relarrans, and has on more than one occasion brought worlds to the brink of war.
Early Relarran history is relatively unremarkable. They were not a warlike race and seldom needed to resort to violence to resolve the differences they had among themselves. Despite their generally peaceful nature, Relarrans were forced to defend themselves against ocean predators, many of which were much larger than them and so, out of necessity, they became competent warriors; a trait that proved valuable to the interstellar community much later.
The first Relarran explorers donned water-filled atmosphere suits and climbed out of the oceans and onto the islands of their homeworld. Amidst their fascination with the surface world, they saw the stars shining down on them from the darkness at night. Decades passed during which time their scientists studied that mysterious place beyond the sky and they soon realized that there was another frontier to discover.
Once their scientific hypotheses became working theories, it took little time for them to construct vehicles that would carry them to space. Within two years they launched their first rocket from the ocean into space, and then five years after that they discovered how to manipulate tachyon fields to achieve faster-than-light speeds. They searched for new worlds to inhabit, eventually finding some with compatible aquatic habitat, though it never occurred to them to seek out other intelligent life. They logged a few chance encounters with some of the minor species, but did not pursue diplomatic relations with them. Ultimately, their encounter with the Humans convinced them that it was in their best interests to establish relations with other species. They soon established a trade alliance with the Humans, followed by membership in the Interstellar Concord, and eventually membership in the Stellar Imperium.
Tallinites originated on a hot and humid world that lies shrouded in dense clouds. Evolutionary conditions were harsh, making it necessary for almost all animal life to develop protective armor and fierce natural weapons. Even the plants on this world are unusually durable and often covered with poisonous barbs. Tallinites became a spacefaring race a mere fifteen hundred years after the start of their recorded history. Their intelligence has made them natural scientists and before the Imperium fell, they enjoyed placement in top positions, many working on experimental projects designed to tap the destructive power of black holes to produce energy and create a nearly infinite amount of power from a tiny point of vacuum in space. These technologies would have been highly prized by every world in the known galaxy had they come to fruition. Many suspect that the research was completed but the Tallinites hid the technology so they could maintain an advantage, but most attribute these as rumors started by crackpot conspiracy theorists.
Tallinites are intelligent insects that are similar in height and size to Humans. They are entirely covered by an exoskeleton, which is particularly thick around the midsection, where it resembles armored plates. The creatures stand upright, have two legs and two arms, both of which have spiked forearms and forelegs and end in claw-like appendages capable of manipulating objects with fine motor control. Their heads have a nearly three hundred sixty degree range of movement and their eyes are large are on the sides of their heads, giving them a much larger range of eyesight than most species possess.
Tallinites communicate vocally in a language consisting of chitters, shrills, and clicks. They can learn the spoken language of most other intelligent species but are unable speak them, so they wear interpretation devices when in the company of non-Tallinites. Their acute vision allows them to communicate electronically, however, their computer displays must be of the highest resolution possible due to the fact that the displays that are in common use, while clear to Human eyes, are uncomfortable for them to look at.
Tallinites almost always live in hives. Their cities and their starships are all densely populated, their leadership provided by the hive queen. Individuals are bred to perform specific duties, although they all possess at least an average degree of intelligence. Workers have greater strength and endurance, scientists are born with greater intelligence and wisdom, but these bumps in natural aptitude come at the cost of some other attribute.
All of the individuals in Tallinite society hatch from eggs that are laid by the queen. After hatching, they are then raised by Tallinite nursemaids who ensure proper nourishment, socialization, and education. The childhood phase of their life lasts approximately six years, after which they take up their predetermined place in society.
Despite the fact that they are bred for specific purposes, Tallinites are individuals with their own personalities, likes, dislikes, and free will. Some choose to overrule the career that was picked for them and do something different with their lives. Many of them fail in their efforts, but some are successful. Unlike many hive insects, individuals can live away from the hive. Some travel to other worlds for study, others become traders, while still others embrace the path of the mercenary and join with beings from other races.
Despite their imposing physical presence, Tallinites have genuinely peaceful motivations. They do not seek conflict with other species, though they are more than willing to defend themselves should they become threatened.
While many uneducated people think that Tallinites do not have individual names, they are quite wrong. Rather Tallinite culture has a very complex and predetermined naming system, one that often produces names that can sound very alike. In general, a Talinite’s name is divided into three (and occasionally four) syllables, each of which representing, first, the name given to the clutch (often this is based on the date it was laid and events of the time), the hive to which it was born, and when in the clutch they’ve hatched (the fourth syllable is often reserved for the designated task of the child). For example Tcki-car’Tel’Griti could be broken down to mean the 28th born (Griti) of the 278th day fiery dawn clutch (Tcki-car) to the Tel hive.
Most Tallinites keep their given name until death, but since the rise of the Stellar Imperium, many have also taken simpler, more human or Lamag based, names. While such names are looked down by Tallinite society, it’s not uncommon to met Tallinites called as Charlie, Bob or Grell planetside.
The Tallinites are the first alien race Humans encountered in space, and one of oldest known spacefaring species. The Tallinites claim to have watched the Gaieti when they were a young spacefaring race, though if this is true, the Gaieti’s level of technology surpassed the Tallinite’s at some point. Details of Tallinite history that exceeds a thousand years have been archived and they refuse to allow access to outsiders, though many suspect that their development may have been hampered by losing a major war. This is strictly conjecture, however, because none of the older species are forthcoming about ancient history.
Tallinites do not control any planets that host other indigenous intelligent life. They felt that the intrusion would be detrimental to the development of the native culture, and that would be an ethical crime. When they did encounter minor races, they tried to set an example of peace, but they backed it with power. The fact that there were billions of Tallinites, all of which were willing to fight was a deterrent, as was the fact that any given queen could immediately boost its egg production to create additional troops if needed.
Despite the fact that they are peaceful with other races, Tallinites are disturbingly violent towards their own kind. Throughout known Tallinite history, records show one war after another between competing hives. In these conflicts the Tallinites fight ruthlessly and to the death until one of the queens has been destroyed. The ownership of Tallinite worlds often changes hands due to these conflicts.
When the Stellar Imperium became embroiled with their war against the R’Tillek, the Tallinites became aware that the conflict was caused by Imperium aggressions and decided that the Imperium did not represent their values, so Tallinite worlds attempted to withdraw. The Imperium found the loss of Tallinite territory and resources unacceptable so they fought to prevent the Tallinites from seceding. Many believe that if the Tallinites would have supported the Imperium at this crucial junction, the Imperium would have crushed the R’Tillek. Many Humans, Lamagos, and Sangor carry a grudge against them for their lack of support. More than one Tallinite has been murdered on foreign worlds for their species’ role in the fall of the Imperium.
Pacifists who treat each other as equals and try not to disturb the natural world around them, the Sangor were originally a species conquered by the Stellar Imperium. Initially encountered as a pre-industrial society, lacking many of the scientific advancements required to propel it forward into an age of production, the Sangor proved extremely capable of reverse-engineering technologies brought to their homeworld by other species. It was this skill that ultimately thrust them into the space age and made them a valuable addition to the Imperium. After the Imperium fell, however, their worlds were devastated by poverty because their infrastructure was so heavily dependent upon Imperium support.
The Sangor are one of the more odd creatures thus far encountered. They have flat S-shaped torsos that are light to dark brown in color. Six thin spindly legs and four thin arms protrude from their bodies. Their heads lack necks, and appear as little more than lumps at the topmost portion of their strange bodies, with two slits four nostrils in front, two holes that serve as audio sensory organs on the sides, and two beaked mouths that sit next to each other just under the nostrils. Six clusters of tiny eyes sprout from the body, two from the head, two from just above the arms, and two facing the rear in the back. They have a fork-like tail that runs for approximately a 30 cm and then splits into three, which continues for about another 30 cm.
Sangor communicate through a series of clicks that they make from an organ in their upper torso. They are capable of understanding the languages of most other species, but they cannot mimic the sounds without the aid of a translating device, which they wear whenever they are among species other than their own kind. As with most other creatures, they also communicate through written language.
The Sangor are pacifists to their very core. Their religions all preach the merits of nonviolence. They go to extremes to avoid insulting others, and they spend as many resources as they have at their disposal to keep one class of individuals from rising above another. Sangor never join the military, however they have been moved to violence from time to time when fighting for something that they believe is important.
Despite their unusual physical appearance, Sangor have family lives that are similar to Humans’. They mate for life, have live birth, and raise their offspring in traditional family units. Unlike Humans, divorce is unheard of among the Sangor, and they typically only take another partner if their first one has dies.
The Sangor’s recorded history goes back thirty thousand years, yet they were still a preindustrial society when first encountered. Rather than focusing on science and technology, they instead focused on philosophy, religion, medicine and psychology. Their historical references were marked by population growth, scientific discoveries, and numerous philosophical publications.
The Sangor underwent a fundamental change when the Stellar Imperium discovered their homeworld of Sangorlai. When the Imperium arrived, the Lamagos viewed the Sangor as inferior beings and subjugated them. They happily surrendered and viewed the situation as an opportunity to learn from their conquerors. The Imperium, happy with their good fortune, set the Sangor to work in various capacities such as mining, factory production, and various other jobs that the Lamagos considered undesirable. The Sangor gladly went about their assigned tasks without causing problems.
The arrangement became problematic early on when the Sangor were unable to maintain the efficiency that the Stellar Imperium expected. Heavy-handed attempts to get them to improve proved futile, and they soon came to realize that their cruelty only lead to depressed Sangor. Ultimately the Stellar Imperium came to the conclusion that there was no way to make this world meet even their minimum expectations, so they left.
That should have been the end of the Sangor’s involvement in the interstellar society, but it wasn’t. When the Stellar Imperium abandoned Sangorlai, they left behind a large amount of junk, including the remains of computers, vehicles, and even a few starships that were no longer capable of flight. A great deal of written technical information was abandoned as well. The Sangor chose to study these items rather than simply discarding them and they quickly realized that they had a talent for disassembling items, reverse-engineering them, and creating their own versions. Over the course of just two decades they skipped past the industrial and information ages and went straight to the space age, building their own computers, spacecraft, and faster-than-light drives.
The Sangor explored the nearby systems, colonizing the habitable worlds they discovered. Shortly thereafter the Sangor encountered the Stellar Imperium again, this time in orbit around a planet they were both interested in. The Imperium was impressed that the Sangor were able to do so much with discarded technology so quickly, so they offered them a position within the alliance. The Sangor accepted and thereafter sought a great deal of assistance from the Stellar Imperium, growing to rely on them for protection and supplies. The Imperium likewise benefited from reincorporating the Sangor into the Imperium by putting many of them to work in labs and technology firms that studied alien technology that had been recovered.
The Sangor became a prosperous people who benefited greatly by their new arrangement, though this changed after the Stellar Imperium collapsed. Suddenly they found themselves without support while trying to hold together several worlds, all of which needed more leadership and expertise than they were able to provide. Their worlds splintered from one another, most capitalizing on their talent of de-constructing technology, then building and releasing their own versions. In the failing economy of the post-Imperium era, this provided a boost to their worlds, but it was not enough to lift all members of society to a standard of living that approached what they had become accustomed to. Today the Sangor are struggling to keep their populations fed, though they are a major supplier of technological and mechanical goods.
The following are just a few of the lesser races of the Known Galaxy. These are alien races who were not members of the Stellar Imperium except as slaves or outsiders, and had little or no stake in the overall health of the former Imperium. Although nobody knows for certain what the R’Tillek stance is on these races, it appears that they have not directed noticeable hostility toward them or their worlds.
The Arnoct were the first race located during the period of history governed by the Interstellar Concorde, and their successful integration into the Concord was long seen as an example of the enlightenment the allied races could bring to the galaxy. A large spider-like race, the Arnoct were once the slaves to a warlike people known as the Morna, and despite their size and form were not used as warriors, but rather as scientists, strategists and thinkers. Long-lived and found in relatively small numbers, the Arnoct were once more used as theorists and advisor by the Stellar Imperium and it was their ability to rationalise decisions and events that helped guide the empire. The destruction of the core Worlds had a devastating effect on the Arnoct, especially as few still lived on Morna, and now as a race look to rebuild towards a better future.
To quote the explorers who first discovered the Arnoct on Morna, they are…”@#$! Seven-foot tall spiders”. While this somewhat emotive comment does reflect their appearance, the reality is that this race has little in common with the arachnids of Earth and those found on other worlds. Physically the Arnoct appear hunched in shape, and somewhat disconcertingly looks if they are permanently about to pounce on those near them. They are covered in a fine hair, which while offering some environmental protection also clings to most fabrics. Of their eight limbs, the back four are dedicated to movement, while only the top pair can undertake fine manipulation tasks. The second pair are still used, however, but are limited to assisting the top pair in holding and lifting. Despite the Arnoct’s large size they are not overly strong, and surprisingly do not weight much either. The race’s internal bone structure (which resembles more of an internal exoskeletion than it does a human or Lamag frame) is porous and hollow, and this means that they can be somewhat more fragile than you’d expect. All of the Arnoct’s sensory organs are situated in their head structure, which can rotate nearly 270 degrees.
The Arnoct natural communicate with noises produced by rubbing together of their second set of limbs. However, they still possess ears and a small mouth positioned on their head and so with the help of translation devices are able to communicate to other races.
The Arnoct have little in the way of what could be called a culture, although few, especially the Arnoct themselves, can agree on why this is. The Arnoct are a naturally long lived, solitary and sexless race, and many believe this has eliminated their need to gathering in social groups. Others favour the idea that given their previous status as a servant race they have not been allowed to create their own social order. Whatever the reason, most Arnoct see little need to interact with others of their race and prefer to focus on their place as scientist or strategists.
While the Arnoct have little interest in associating with their own race, this does not make them a reclusive people. In fact, far from it, from a young age Arnoct have an urge to learn more about the galaxy especially when it comes to the sciences or high learning. This drive often decreases as they get older, but the knowledge gained in their travels and studies leaves them in good stead for their future.
With the destruction of the Stellar Imperium worlds, the number of Arnoct in the Known Galaxy has dwindled, with only Morna home to more than a hand full. This sudden change has seen a number of the younger members of the race, those not born on Morna, have begun a call to unit as a people, if only to ensure their own future. As of yet this rallying cry has fallen on deaf ears amongst most of the older Arnoct.
The Arnoct were long a servant race to the aggressive Morna, so long as to ensure that history of the race is now lost to all. For as long as any of the survivors can remember the Arnoct acted as strategists and planners for the Morna, helping the much shorter lived masters in advancing their own technology, most of which focused on weapons of war. In this one can surmise how successful they were, as when representatives of the Interstellar Concord arrived on their planet, the Arnoct were all that remained of Morna civilisation (their race unaffected by the series of biological and chemical weapons that destroyed their masters)..
Under the Concord, the Arnoct were invited to with the other races and explore the Galaxy, and most chose to take this chance to leave Morna behind. The rest of the Arnocts history is linked closely with that of the Stellar Imperium. Once the races tactical and scientific knowledge was identified, the Arnoct were drawn to research and development positions within the growing Stellar Imperium, and while they did not lead the state’s policy as it reach further across the galaxy, it helped advise and propel it. The destruction of the Stellar Imperium’s core worlds hit the Arnoct hard, and has reduced their population even further. Today those who remain either find themselves employed by the few power organisations that remain or seek to return to Morna to remove themselves from the politics and troubles of the Known Galaxy.
Even today most of the civilians of the Known Galaxy do not know if the Creeon are actually a sentient race, or simply some aberration of science and life. For many, Creeon is not a living being, but rather the simple building blocks upon which the Stellar Imperium pushed further into space. As a race the Creeon are the final step in a forced evolution that looked to give the Imperium yet another tool with which to conquer the stars. With the fall of the Stellar Imperium, the Creeon are at last free and must face a galaxy that has no place for them.
Physically the Creeon can take any form, although unlike true shape shifters they are unable to change either the colour or the texture of their skin (which is usually rock-like and dark grey). In general, most Creeon are assigned a default appearance (usually as a copy of one of the Major Races), although in the years since the fall of the Stellar Imperium more Creeon are taking on forms that better suit their personality.
While obviously made up of millions, if not billions of individual parts, Creeon have no true vital organs, with each molecule instead providing a fraction of their strength, skill and intelligence that together as a whole make one entity. Despite this a Creeon still relies on the basic sensory organs that all races have – sight, sound, hearing, touch, etc.. Again this was a conscious decision to allow the Creeon to better fit within society and, as rumour has, it allows for the others elements of the body to freed up to be dedicated to the shape changing abilities.
Like humans and Lamagos, Creeon rely on voice and body language to communicate. However, many have great difficulty in understanding the nuances of gestures and slang of the many and varied races, and as such are often treated as if they are simple or even plain stupid. Creeon have no native language, although they have been known to share close bonds with others of the type, although this does not seem to be any sort of emotional connection, rather one of shared convenience.
The Creeon have no society. Until the fall of the Stellar Imperium, in fact, they were treated as little more than automatons, assigned specific tasks. Since the fall, the Creeon have found themselves free but in many ways still outcasts. No one looks to hire a Creeon, and those who do look to find gainful employment are once more treated as assets rather than beings. As a result most Creeon travel the Known Galaxy looking for some purpose in their existence, and hopefully proving that they are more than simply tools to be exploited.
With the facilities once used to created the Creeon now destroyed by the R’tillek attacks, the Creeon’s days seem numbered, even though they have no known life expectancy (as in the past, Creeon were often broken back down to their base molecules once their assigned task was complete).
The Creeon were created as a slave race for the Stellar Imperium. With the discovery of Creeon, Imperium scientists started to look for other possibilities for the material.
The Inar were discovered mid-way though the Stellar Imperium’s rule, at which time sources of cheap energy were sought out and exploited. Their home is the frigid sixth planet of the Dessius system, which lies in the outskirts of Relarran space, toward the outer reaches of the known galaxy. Wolf-like in appearance, many of the first to encounter them believed they would share the loyalty and friendship toward higher sentient races, as do standard canines from Earth. This assumption proved disastrous to those who sought to enslave them and use them as soldiers and laborers.
Humanoid in form, with the fur, coloration, claws, and fangs reminiscent of the wolves of Earth, many mistakenly believed that this race was in fact descended from wolves who had been artificially advanced by another advanced yet unknown alien species. A study of their genetics proved otherwise. They stand anywhere from five to seven feet tall, with males and females indecipherable based on appearance. As many would assume based on their size, they tend to be physically strong. Despite their physical similarity to wolves, they do not run faster than Humans or Lamagos.
There are thousands of regional Inar languages throughout the cold continents of Dessius VI, though the most common one in the Batural Tribal Cluster is called Ba’tur, and is the language most commonly studied by offworlders seeking to communicate with them. The Inar are capable of learning and speaking Imperium Common, though their voices tend to be more gravelly than is common among Humans.
The Inar are a naturally savage species, and are arranged into numerous tribes that dot the landscapes of their world. Very few adapt well to human society; those that do tend to be the most adventurous of the species, or outcasts. Most remain in the tribal groups they were born into for the entirety of their lives, though some find their way into other groups, either as a means of securing peace between rival tribes, or through angering their own group and being cast out, forced to fend for themselves until they can find another tribe that accepts them.
Inar casually reject attempts to tame them and make them into laborers, or train them to become soldiers. When taken by force by outsiders, their first instinct and priority is to resist and fight. The only time this is not the case is when one Inar tribe conquers another completely, at which time the members of the winning tribe are ritually subsumed by the conquerors.
Much of Inar lore and values are structured around the hunt. Those who are more skilled at hunting for food take more important positions within society. Those who have successfully hunted creatures much larger and more ferocious than the Inar themselves typically vie for the top spots within the tribes, with the highest leadership position going to whichever one can defeat the previous tribal leader in ritual combat. These combats are usually not to the death, though lengthy healing periods and noticeable scarring are not unusual. Those unable to hunt are the subject of pity.
Albino Inar are extremely rare, and thought to be sent from the underworld by Vejik, one of the dark gods of the Inar pantheon. As such, they are typically killed at birth. Some do not share these superstitious beliefs, and instead try to hide these from the tribe. Some are given to offworlders as infants in hopes they will better survive among strangers who do not share these beliefs. For this reason, Inar encountered away from the Dessius VI are approximately five times more likely to be albinos of the species. Many spacefaring albino Inar choose to breed with one another, and their offspring have a sixty five percent chance of being born albino.
Inar, as an intelligent species, are believed to have existed for a quarter of a million years prior to the arrival of the Stellar Imperium. During this time, they developed language, writing, trade, and societal structures, most of which were subject to regular changes as their societies changed and evolved. Despite this, they never mastered basic things common to advanced civilizations, such as technology, manufacturing, or space travel. To this day, they typically fight with melee weapons or simple ranged weapons, such as bows and spears, and their vehicles are no more complex than basic wooden seagoing vessels that hug the coastlines of their native lands.
The Stellar Imperium took note of Dessius VI when upon their discovery of Karung Crystals, which are a mineral unique to the planet that stores energy much like a battery, only much more efficiently. Upon discovery, these became popular with device manufacturers who wanted single-charge power sources that would last the lifespan of the items they powered. With the consent of the Stellar Imperium, corporations bent on harvesting these crystals made contact with the Inar in an attempt to enslave them and force them to work the mines. This led to a revolt almost immediately, at which time the Pan-Star Mining company requested aid from the Imperium to put the Inar in their place. The Imperium grudgingly complied, at least until losses began t mount, at which time they pulled back and ordered the corporation to either deal with the Inar themselves, or provide their own workers. In short time, the Inar won their freedom, though they never forgot or forgave the transgression against their freedoms.
Two decades later, having failed to learn their lessons from their first conflict with the Inar, General Aliyev, a Lamagos, captured three entire tribed of Inar and attempted to train them as soldiers. He operated under the assumptions that they would show loyalty to whatever intelligent being assumed leadership of them and demonstrated superior strength. The Inar resented the murders of their most powerful warriors, but they cooperated just long enough to acquire some training and advanced weaponry from the Imperium. Before they were to ship out and join the military on a trial basis, they turned on Aliyev and his Imperium soldiers, massacring them. The three tribes then banded together, and armed with Imperium technology, they took control of five of the neighboring tribes. This region of the western continent was immediately quarantined by the Imperium, and offworlders avoid it to this day.
The San’taan were one of the last intelligent species to be ’influenced’ by the Stellar Imperium. Discovered when the R’Tillek threat was becoming ever more of a reality, the raw resources offered by the San’taan’s desert-like home world of Sanna, were seen as another key in ensuring the Empire’s survival.
Although still in a primitive stage of development when their home world was claimed by the Stellar Imperium, the San’taan quickly embraced the technological and philosophical outlook of their new masters; where many other species would have stood and fought the outsiders, these desert dwelling nomads instead looked at what benefits such a relationship, regardless of its one-sided nature, could offer them. For the Imperium’s part, the San’taan were seen as the perfect source of cheap labour, with a strength and endurance that seems to defy their lanky frames. Unfortunately, as the planet’s managers and overseers soon discovered, the life bond each San’taan made to its family made them fickle workers at best; often signing on for a multi-year contract only to disappear after a few weeks or months in the mines and refineries.
Being a naturally curious and often ‘two-faced’ race, it didn’t take long for some of the more adventurous members of various tribes to stow away on the many Imperium vessels travelling to and from Saana. This rapid influx of inquisitive but generally unreliable San’taan on numerous Imperial worlds quickly saw them gain a reputation as somewhat of a pest-like race. For some, however, the natural talents of the San’taan, especially if one’s cultural goals could be focused on the task, make them prefect spies and assassins.
However, with the rapid, and now absolute, destruction of the Imperium, the San’taan are again a splintered race, with the traditional rivalries once more on the rise. Yet as a culture they look to claim their own interstellar territories to buffer themselves from the worst of the ongoing discord in the Known Galaxy.
The San’taan are a humanoid race with long, thin bodies, and somewhat rounded faces. They are covered in a light grey to dark brown downy fur that provides insulation against the blowing desert sands, and which exhibits changes in patterns or colour (much like a natural ‘tattooing’) that is often common amongst family units. With such an appearance the San’taan were initially viewed as a somewhat comical and simple people, although this impression was soon dispelled when observers witnessed the vicious territorial battles the native Sanna tribes initiated amongst themselves.
They have two strongs arms ending in four prehensile digits and an opposable thumb that have claws for digging. Likewise their legs, while seemingly somewhat too short for their elongated torsos are powerful as equally as dangerous. All San’taan have receded eye sockets (again a natural evolution in response to the environment), and overly long noses (although this provides no discernable benefit to their sense of smell).
The San’taan, as befitting their desert upbringing, have little need for water, surviving on as little as a thimble full a week in some cases, and while omnivorous in general, can make do on simple vegetable matter, if so required for extended periods of time.
With no single planet-wide language, most San’taan speak their highly individualised local dialectics. However, with a similar vocal physiology to humans and the Lamag, the San’taan have accepted the Imperium’s own tongue as an unofficial second language.
When first discovered the San’taan were singularly tribal based matriarchal culture. Scattered across Sanna in communities of varying sizes, these extended family units worked together to claim their own territories, often clashing with neighbouring tribes over key resources such as water and food. With the arrival of Stellar Imperium many of these hardships were alleviated, with many of the tribes moving near or into the various complexes that were set-up on planet. This urge to learn and discover seemed to overcome many of the traditional rivalries amongst the San’taan and for the most part they lived peacefully together during this time.
The core of the San’taan family unit is the matriarch who is usually the only breeding female in the group. Life on Saana is hard, even with the influx of Imperium’s resources and while the San’taan have a high rate of reproduction (babies being born yearly in clutches of 4 to 8), this is matched by their infant mortality rate. A typical family can be quite large, ranging from as little as 10 members to as many as 30. Within these groups there are usually one or more mated males (who act as advisors and war leaders to the matriarch), numerous younger males and non-breeding females who are the workers and warriors of the group (the San’taan do not discriminate between the sexes when it comes to the needs of the family), and the young.
A single San’taan tribe is made up of a number of these family units (and it is not uncommon for the matriarchs to be sisters). As a tribe, the San’taan are usually democratic, although one or two of the matriarchs will often dominant the decision making process. It is within these larger groups that the real decisions, such as allocation of resources or whether to go to war, are decided and agreed upon, and it is rare for a single family to go against the decisions made by the whole.
Perhaps in understanding this family and tribal hierarchy, and with an appreciation of the hardships these people face, much more can be made of the individual San’taan’s role in their tribe. From birth the San’taan are brought up in a culture that reinforces the philosophy of the ‘achieving for the family’ and by extension, their tribe. San’taan will never go against the wishes of their leaders and will rarely attempt to undertake a task that doesn’t advantage the group in someway. More over a San’taan assigned a job will strive relentlessly to achieve it, regardless of personal wants, needs or dangers.
It with an understanding of this ‘greater good’ approach that many Imperium anthropologists believed that reason the San’taan are seen as such a curious race, and why they went to such lengths to learn about the Stellar Imperium, is because of this drive to discover and achieve assigned tasks that benefit the family and tribe. Further, it also goes someway to explain the often lying and underhanded nature of the individual San’taan; with no loyalties to anyone but their family, they have no qualms in telling a person what they want to heard, or to put them into a position that will advantage the San’taan in the pursuit of their goals. Even when threatened by death, a San’taan will lie and deceive if they feel that telling the truth would disadvantage their family unit in anyway.
Prior to the arrival of the Stellar Imperium, the San’taan recorded little of their history; such was their focus on the needs of the ‘now’ as opposed to the lessons of the past. Likewise, contact between the tribes was almost inexistent, except in manners of conflict or when extending one’s gen-pool. The arrival of the Imperium changed the dynamic of the native people almost over night, with those introduced to the technology, and opportunities offered them quickly embracing their new masters. In the few short years that the Imperium mined Saana, the San’taan came to rely on the resources this relationship proved them, even if they were treated as little more than slaves and general pests to those in charge. ‘Shanty towns’ and other make-shift communities sprung up almost overnight around the various Imperium complexes and the planet’s spaceport, and it was surprising just how willing the San’taan were to throw aside their traditions for the benefits of these new opportunities.
As with many of the outlying regions of the known galaxy the withdrawal of the Stellar Imperium on Saana was rapid and almost totally complete. In less than a year, the refineries and mines ceased production and most salvageable resources take once more off world. The effect of this abandonment was profoundly felt by the San’taan, especially those who had attempted to integrate closely to the Imperium. The halt to food delivery, and the access to other resources quickly lead to planet-wide famine, and a conflict over the remaining resources that lasts even today.
With the Stellar Imperium no more, the San’taan are just another example of a race now left to fend for itself. Alone on edge of known space it is isolated from the other worlds and unlikely to find support or sympathy from neither its nearest neighbours nor the peoples who once ruled Sanna with a clenched iron fist. Still this isolation may be a blessing, especially if the R’Tillek return…
The following races are included in this section for continuity only, and it is recommended that neither of these races is allowed as player characters in play.
Note: Game Masters should be careful about allowing the Gaieti as player characters in the game. Individual Gaieti who choose to keep the company of other races do so for their own reasons and are extremely secretive about their race, their culture, and their technology. They disdain violence, always preferring peaceful solutions to confrontations whenever possible.
The Gaieti are an enigmatic race that clearly possess advanced technology. They have opened up diplomatic relations with all of the major spacefaring alien races, though they rarely take a position on any issue that does not directly pertain to them. The Gaieti have made the location of what they say are their major planets known, but they warn other races not to enter their space uninvited. Individuals who have chosen not to heed their warnings are typically found unconscious aboard their ships with their autopilot set to return them to their own worlds, with no memory of what might have happened. There are no known cases of the Gaieti actively engaging in hostilities with other beings. Some have tried to test their ship’s capabilities by attacking them, but advanced technology equipped aboard the Gaieti vessels quickly render their attackers helpless.
Gaieti are highly-advanced beings that evolved from plants. They stand upright on four legs, their torsos are long and skinny, and they have three arms. Their heads are vaguely humanoid, though a close examination reveals that their eyes are ornamental only. Their mouths are fully functional and they can communicate vocally; their teeth are long and thin, similar in appearance to thorns, though much harder. Antennae sprout from just behind their small ears, which send out and acutely sense vibrations, approximating sight. Tiny hair-like leaves cover their arms, legs, and torsos, providing nourishment through photosynthesis. Their hands have three tapered fingers that end in short, sharp barbs.
Gaieti communicate telepathically with other telepathic creatures, though they are also capable of communicating verbally. Their antenna are sensitive enough to register color, allowing the Gaieti to read printed writing and computer displays. Their own computers are friendlier to their anatomy by using an interface that employs a system of rapid faint vibrations.
Little is known about Gaieti society. It is known that they do not use any form of standard family unit. Fertilized seeds are deposited into the ground and watered like other plants, and they hatch with the full set of memories from their parents. They then immediately begin communicating with those around them. They are also tested for their natural aptitudes within hours of their “birth.” They claim that their society has outgrown the need for barbaric concepts like economies and government types.
The Gaieti have revealed very little of their history to outsiders, and the information they have provided seems to contradict itself. For example, their first ambassador claimed that they had been a spacefaring race for a thousand years and then a week later stated that their homeworld was destroyed when the ancestors of the Human race were crawling out of the oceans. Similarly misleading responses suggested that they abhor violence, but that they have caused the extinction of several intelligent species.
Gaieti are always cordial when spoken to, but they keep their responses clipped and speak about themselves as seldom as possible. Attempts to provoke an angry response from a Gaieti typically result in mild laughter. They never appear rushed, preferring to walk along casually, even when observed during stressful situations.
Note to GMs: The R’Tillek are intended as a common enemy to the core races in the Reign of Discordia setting, and great care must be taken to insert an R’Tillek player character into your campaign. A pretty good reason will be required as to why he doesn’t cause havoc everywhere he goes. Of course, the additional complications can also offer a deeper roleplaying experience…
The R’Tillek are a species the Stellar Imperium encountered and attempted to subjugate, an action that, ultimately, greatly aided its own fall. The R’Tillek have proven to be deadly adversaries, and the danger they pose has not diminished now that the Imperium is no more. They continue to wreak vengeance upon the worlds that wronged them, even though those worlds have a great deal fewer resources to work with than they did during the war.
The R’Tillek are an intelligent breed of upright warm-blooded lizards. They have two arms, two legs, and a tail. Their bodies are balanced so that their heads and arms appear slightly hunched forward. Their heads are approximately comparable to a Human’s in size, though longer and narrower. The R’Tillek’s mouths are large and filled with razor-sharp teeth. Their eyes are front-facing and their noses are a pair of holes directly above their mouths. Many Humans refer to them as raptors because of their reptilian heritage and their fierce countenance. Most R’Tillek encountered are just less than 2 meters tall.
The R’Tillek communicate through chirps and whistles. Humans and R’Tillek have never spoken in person and the existing translating devices are inaccurate at best. Both sides mangle the syntax of the other’s language, so the most effective messages tend to be simple two to three word sentences, such as “We surrender,” or “Please withdraw now.”
The R’Tillek are organized into tribes, each of which inhabits their own tribal ships. Some of the larger tribes consist of multiple vessels. Tribes are warlike and are prone towards infighting almost as often as they fight against others. Tribal alliances were rare when they were first encountered, but they united against the Stellar Imperium after the war began. This became especially frustrating for military commanders who would plan a battle against a single tribe ship, only to have two or three more tribe ships drop in from elsewhere and join the fight.
Little is known about R’Tillek society other than that they hatch from eggs and are raised by an appointed group within a tribe. Biological parents are almost never involved in raising their own offspring. Many xeno-sociologists believe that rearing their young in this way is intentional and prevents their young from becoming emotionally traumatized when their parents die in battle, which is a common occurrence. Raids of R’Tillek ships have also brought to light evidence that R’Tillek young are separated out from one another based on their natural attributes. For example, those with higher intelligence are raised separately from those with great strength. They are placed into their roles according to their natural talents and then serve in that capacity for the remainder of their lives.
It is unknown where the R’Tillek homeworld might be, or even if it’s still inhabited. They appeared to have conquered the worlds where they were first encountered, and there were often slave races living on those worlds. They are believed to efficiently remove the natural resources of these worlds and then move on once the job is complete, leaving the planets in ruins behind them.