Tyler's Traveller Time
Races of the Galaxy
The Third Imperium is a very metropolitan place, and thus you can expect to see many different races. Humans, however, do dominate the galactic scene. Each race does have their own sovereign territory outside of the Imperium.
Aslans are roughly human sized and are humanoid. They are descended from carnivore-pouncer stock and greatly resemble anthropomorphic lions. They have both males and females with the males being larger and having pronounced manes.
Aslans have a single, highly specialized dewclaw that folds into a horny covering along the interior of the thumb and palm when not in use.
An individual Aslan is usually a member of a family of two to twelve individuals under one patriarchal leader. Several families join together into a pride with one family dominant. Multiple prides band together into clans lead by the strongest pride. Aside from military organisations and the ruling council, the clan is the highest socio-political organisation among the Aslan.
Aslan as a whole have a deep-seated need to own property, specifically land. For male Aslan, this is often their biggest goal in life. For females, they want a husband with a lot of land. Landless Aslan tend to be manual laborers.
The sexes have very different roles in Aslan society. Males tend to be concerned with military matters, the acquisition of land, and political affairs. Females are concerned with trade, industry, and the accumulation of knowledge.
Droyne are an intelligent major race inhabiting scattered worlds within an area slightly larger than the region of the current Imperium. They are a small race derived from winged herbivorous scavengers. They vary in size depending on caste but generally stand one meter tall (one exception being the workers and warriors, who can easily be larger than humans).
Droyne society is divided into rigid castes determined when an individual reaches adolescence. There are six castes, all of which serve a different function. Although identical at the time of caste selection, caste members develop pronounced physical and mental differences by maturity. The following are descriptions and definitions of the cases:
- Worker: What it says on the tin. Workers are largely unintelligent and are most content doing manual labor.
- Warrior: Trained for combat, they make up the police, soldiery, marines, and basically every fighting force the Droyne can muster. They are comparatively well-muscled and have good reflexes. They are rarely seen in civilized areas (both Droyne and Imperial).
- Drones: The closest thing to average citizens the Droyne have, drones are made for management, child-care, and mating. They tend to be a sort of management caste and thus have roles in business, trade, and administration.
- Technicians: Science-oriented Droyne concerned with both research and implementation of technology.
- Sport: An exception to the normally rigid caste system of the Droyne, the sport caste are the messengers, scouts, ambassadors, hunters, prospectors, and any other thing that would require individual initiative or long-term separation from Droyne society. They are the most encountered Droyne away from Droyne space.
- Leaders: Responsible for everything the Droyne do, they are required to manage and direct society.
There is little individual freedom in Droyne society and, as a result, society and government join into one concept. The workers work and the leaders lead, period. All of society is dedicated to continuing the existance of its members and providing them with food, shelter, and other amenities to make life enjoyable. There is little discord in Droyne society. When things are running smoothly, society works in harmony. However, in a time of great discord, such as a disaster, the harmony can be strained.
One thing to note is that the Droyne are not mindless and are not a hivemind. Leaders are quite capable and responsible; warriors have strategic and tactical sense, technicians are inventive and clever, but all accept the central group as the purpose of their lives and work for its benefit over their own.
Hivers are an intelligent major race with a large federation of their own. They average 1.5m tall from ground to upraised head-stalk and are one of the most alien races that humanity has discovered. They exhibit a modified six-fold radial symmetry; six limbs equally spaced around a roughly circular central body. Their head is a modification of one of these limbs and contains six eye-stalks and six manipulative tentacles, plus paired infra-red sensory organs. The other five limbs are identical (barring a slight modification to the limb opposite the head) and are used as arms and legs indiscriminately. Each limb ends in a six-fingered radial hand. Hiver fingers are very flexible and have muscular suction cups on the lower surface about halfway to the tips. While weaker than humans, Hivers do tend to be tougher. A digestive opening is on the lower surface of a hiver’s body. They have no way of producing vocal sounds but do have three ears placed around their neck.
Hivers have only one sex. Reproductive cells are exchanged each time hivers meet, using their modified rear hands (a process humans have dubbed “shaking hands”). The cells are kept in a reproductive pouch on the underside of the hiver’s body, where they conjugate and exchange genetic material. Once every 40 days or so, a larvae falls off and ventures into the wilds. Most are killed. Those that survive their first year find a hiver nest and are welcomed with open… limbs. Hivers have very strong parental instincts and the entire nest adopts the young hiver as their own. This nicety, however, is not extended to the larvae, whom the hivers consider minor pests.
Hiver language is a combination of limb-waving and physical contact. Their written language is ideographic (each symbol represents a concept) and is used as the standard language of all races in the Hiver Federation. Hivers talking among themselves tend to use all three of the aforementioned techniques. Their language is extremely sophisticated and subtle, but more or less unintelligible to the outsider.
Despite their name, hivers are very individualistic. The term “hive” comes from early contact with the hiver’s buildings and tunnel complexes resembling those of hive-building insects on Earth. Nests contain anywhere from five to five hundred hivers centered around some common endeavor, with about one hundred being the average. Larger groups tend to be manufacturing companies and universities and the like while smaller nests tend to be starship crews and the like. Young hivers spend 15 years in the next before venturing out to another nest, as often as a human may change jobs.
Hive industry and business excel at communications technology and robot construction. Major exports include computer languages, translators, and sophisticated electronics of all types. Hiver mathematical systems and mathematicians are always in high demand for their power and elegance.
As a unique quirk, hivers tend to extend their parental instincts to any species that they feel are less fortunate than themselves. They usually set to work immediately on raising the race in question to a higher level. They also have a number of quarantined worlds, resulting from encounters with less-friendly races. Rumor has it that hivers secretly pull strings on these worlds until they are more friendly and the quarantine can be lifted, as has happened many times.
Humanity is much the same as nowadays. There are many varied types of people and races, but one constant is that the Imperium speaks a futuristic version of English. There are, however, two branches of humanity.
- Vilani: The Vilani are the humans remaining from the First Imperium. Their capital world lies just Coreward and Spinward of Capital. The Vilani are originally those humans who left Terra in the first wave of human exploration into space. The Vilani make up a fairly large portion of the human citizens of the Third Imperium. The Vilani feel like the Solomani betrayed humanity by taking the Imperium from them and then destroying it themselves.
- Solomani: The Solomani took over after the Vilani destroyed the First Imperium with poor government and rapidly made the Second Imperium a place of beauty before imploding from sheer size and internal strife. Now the Solomani have a small empire Rimward of the Third Imperium proper called “Solomani Sphere”. An interesting note about the Solomani is that they are the humans who stayed on Terra the longest and in-fact still consider it their capital, though it is technically part of Imperial space. Many Solomani are very proud of this and consider the Vilani deserters.
Both sides live in the Imperium in relative harmony. To most, Solomani and Vilani are just the words fanatics use to try and cause problems between otherwise similar people. Some humans where taken from Earth long before even our present day by the Ancients and they became the Zhodani…
K’kree, once called centaurs by humans, are one of the more massive of the major races. An adult stands 1.5m tall at the shoulder and between 2-2.4m when standing erect and weigh an average of 550kg. They bear some resemblance to the centaurs of ancient Terran myths. The word “k’kree” comes from their own language and translates literally as “all the nobles” or generally as “the herd”.
Interestingly, the hands of the k’kree are filled not with bones but cartilaginous tubes, allowing their fingers to bend all the way back, turning their hands into pseudo-maces. They are covered in short gray or black fur and have a dense black mane covering the head, neck, and upper back of both sexes. Unlike most mammals, k’kree feed their young regurgitated food, like birds. Males are 15-20% larger than females.
K’kree are extremely conservative in all aspects of their culture. Ceremonial military units (such as bodyguards) are armed with weapons far outdated by k’kree military standards. The k’kree government hasn’t changed significantly in centuries, barring the changes needed to accommodate discovering space flight.
As a species, the k’kree suffer from claustrophobia. They prefer open places and their buildings are squat, one story affairs with any internal separation accomplished by easily moved curtains.
K’kree are also extremely gregarious. They are never found alone and will literally sicken and die if removed from other k’kree, even for a short period of time. Receiving a trader or diplomat from the k’kree means entertaining the entire family (one or more wives, servants, scribes, assistants, and so on) of the merchant or ambassador. The k’kree word for “mine” refers to a possession of an individual’s herd, not to that of an individual. Privacy and individuality are exotic concepts to the k’kree.
K’kree society is divided into castes. The system is a remnant of ancient times which doesn’t really fit into modern k’kree society but they cling to it due to tradition. There are hundreds of castes but the distinctions are too subtle for non-k’kree to understand. For simplicity, other races divide the castes into three general castes. It is possible for a family to rise in caste, but it is very unlikely.
- Servants: The lowest class. They are the farmers, factory workers, and unskilled laborers as well as literal servants.
- Merchants: The next highest class. This caste includes most skilled workers, scientists, engineers, technicians, scribes, and government administrators as well as merchants and businessmen.
- Nobles: The government officials including high military officers, diplomats, and heads of trade and manufacturing concerns. Nobles are usually dressed very fancily.
All male k’kree must enlist in the military when they come of age. Rank is determined by caste, with servants being the grunts, merchants being NCOs, and nobles being high officers. Upon completing their service, the males go back to their former caste and position. Warriors are the only k’kree allowed to wield weapons and wear very unique looking winged and horned helms. Warriors are also the police, firefighters, and bodyguards of the k’kree.
Female k’kree are casteless and take on the caste of their father or husband. They have no position in government or society except to raise children.
Vargr are an intelligent race created from canine stock from ancient Terra, taken when the Zhodani were. Imperial science has concluded that this is indeed the case, as they share many similarities with Terran things and almost none with the native flora and fauna of their supposed homeworld, Lair. Archaeological evidence also supports these claims.
Physically, vargr are not very impressive. They stand about 1.6m in height and weigh approximately 60kg. They have about the same physical structure as humans and as such can use most equipment made for humans with no modification needed. On average, they have slightly better reaction times than humans, but even that varies wildly. They do, however, almost always have superior sight and smell.
There is no central vargr government and in fact every government type imaginable can be found in the Vargr Extents. The only cohesive force in the Extents is a fierce racial pride that causes vargr to be vaguely likely to work together. The higher the level of the vargr government, the more likely it is to crumble, as they have a hard time agreeing on anything.
Centralized authority is extremely limited at the upper levels of vargr society, and action is based on broad coalition concerns, with a constant splitting and rejoining of dissident factions. Traditionally, this has made it difficult for more centralized and organised societies such as the Imperium to deal with the vargr in any meaningful way with what passes for the vargr states. Vargr generally have more respect for more informal authority figures, and are more likely to obey superiors who are better known to them.
The vargr have an intense racial pride and are easily insulted. They tend to get into fights without thinking of the consequences. Vargr are also very easily manipulated by a charismatic leader and driven to almost any cause or action. Empires near the Vargr Extents have to weather near-constant pirate raides, sometimes even caused by these charismatic leaders trying to expand their empires.
The zhodani are humans who were taken from Earth by the ancients long before recorded history. They were genetically modified to become psions and dumped on the other side of the galaxy, where they developed independently of other humans.
Zhodani tend to be tall and lithe, average at least 2m tall and weighing upwards of 90kgs. They tend to be swarthy in complexion and dark haired. Zhodani nobles often wear a turban-like head-dress that further accentuates their height.
Zhodani society is divided into three hereditary groups:
- Nobles: The enfranchised ruling class. They perform all high government functions and receive psionic training as children.
- Intendants: The managers and administrators of society. They comprise most business executives, military officers below the ranks of admiral or general, and fill most non-elective government positions. Intendants are rewarded with a noble title for great diligence, service to the state, or victory in the psionic games.
- Proletarians: Proles for short, they constitute the masses, are forbidden the use of psionics, and do not recieve psionic training. Proles include all members of the military below officer rank, most merchants and scouts, supervisory and junior management positions, technicians, craftsmen, and laborers.
There is no upward mobility for proles unless they show psionic powers in childhood, in which case they are inducted into the intendant class. As mentioned, intendants who perform well can be elevated to the nobility. In this way, proles have hope that their children can be intendants, intendants are encouraged to work hard to earn nobility, and the noble class receives a fairly constant influx of fresh blood. Extensive psionic ability in the ruling class allows them to rule out subversives early in life and re-educate them into being productive members of society. As such, with rare exception the zhodani are extremely patriotic.
Zhodani society operates under a high degree of personal honesty. Indeed, the zhodani feel uncomfortable outside of the Consulate where “liars and thieves are allowed to run loose”, Privacy of thought is highly respected among the zhodani upper classes, but the proles have no such rights. Nobles have almost complete right of personal privacy while intendants have almost as much. Rights of foreign nationals vary with whatever treaties happen to be in effect. The Imperium’s treaty is unclear in it’s protections and as such only ambassadors and certain commercial representatives are provided visas to allow them to use psionic shields.
The zhodani have a general distaste for humans who do not practice psionics. Effective indoctrination and the ever-present possibility that your mind is being read have removed dishonesty and deviance as common features of society. Disagreements still occur, competition thrives, passions flare, but all takes place in an atmosphere of honesty and truth. Individuals can express their feelings without fear and problems are openly dealt with. A zhodani visiting the Imperium would be appalled at the dishonesty and deviance in the average citizen’s mind.
Imperial dislike of the zhodani is based on two factors. First, and the most obvious, the possibility that your mind is being read without your consent. Second, the zhodani have the most effective authoritarian rule in history and Imperial citizens, used to a degree of local autonomy, fear zhodani conquest and the loss of freedom it would entail.