Catalog of the Races of the Starmourn Sector
A Catalog of the Races of the Starmourn Sector is a book by various authors containing, as the name implies, information on the various races that inhabit the Starmourn Sector.
Excerpt Regarding the Shen
“A Catalog of the Races of Starmourn Sector” By: Various authors Date: Last updated 0919/03/17 A.E.
The Shen are one of Starmourn's older Younger Races in terms of the age of their civilization, though they're far from the eldest. Famous for their former connection with the believed-extinct Elder Race of the Utan Mir, today they are famous for their real estate and transportation interstellar corporations.
- Homeworld System : Barrak
- Homeworld : Kovalar
- Capital City : Janilyn
- Reproduction : Live birth with a gestation period of 13 months.
- Avg. Lifespan : 120 years
- Diet : They're vegetarians and can't tolerate meat barring one specific exception around birth - see below.
- Temperament : Calm and collected when sober. After a few cups of rootwine or a spoon of fermented vuu honey though, this veneer is frequently shattered. You'll see them weaving on their feet, collapsing in each other's arms in hysterical laughter, and even brawling.
- Likes/Dislikes : They find meat-eating to others to be quite distasteful, and unless they're intoxicated, they tend to exhibit little tolerance for the lazy, for practical jokes, or even most humor.
- Romantic relationships : They're strongly monogamous and though divorce is culturally permitted, it's considered fairly shameful and is rarely done. Homosexuality is common and unremarkable, as with all civilized races.
- Family structure : Their social structure is such that the partner from the family with higher social standing is generally recognized as the head of the family, though they have a birth ritual (see below) that is a holdover from older times when their culture was more paternalistic.
- How do they treat the helpless? : They venerate the elderly, but, in a practice that is losing favor, infants born with serious discernible defects are sometimes left to die of exposure.
- Notable rituals : On birth, it is traditional for the eldest living member (male or female) of the father's direct ancestry to perform the Ritual of Coadunation, in which this eldest of the paternal line consumes part of the placenta of the newborn - the only 'meat' the Shen ever consume. This ceremony is meant to symbolically join the two families as the eldest of one takes the body of the youngest of the other into him or her.
- Social mobility : The Shen culture can be somewhat rigid and while they don't have formal castes, the importance of one's family has a large influence on the range of stations likely available to you in life.
- Entertainment The Shen are great lovers of art, including elaborate soundscapes called 'Aetherscapes' that they listen to in specially-designed anechoic (meaning totally echo-less) chambers. To non-Shen ears, they're tuneless, chaotic noise, as is the case for even the Shen if any echoes are permitted to pollute the incredibly subtle patterns in the sound. To a Shen in an anechoic chamber, these Aetherscapes paint aural pictures that convey enormous subtlety of emotion and gradation of concepts. Some of their most famous historical figures were Aetherscape composers, like Roan Sheel (deceased) and Yen Agafan (alive and old today), whose most famous - or infamous if you're not Shen - piece is "The Palette of the Stars."
- Government : Their government is composed of two parts, apart from the judiciary: An elected body called the Assembly, and the Council of Great Family Elders. Each of the recognized Great Families has a representative on the Council - typically, but not always the eldest member of that Family. They elect one member of the council to be the Head of State, called the Prime Elder. The Prime Elder leads the Shen and proposes new legislation, but the Assembly must ratify that legislation for it to become law.
- Prime Elder : The current Prime Elder is Jatt Yaghah (male).
- How old is their culture? : They achieved spaceflight approximately 110,000 years ago.
- What are their primary industries? : Although like any modern economy, theirs is complex and multi-faceted, the Shen are particularly known for their interest in real estate and transportation. They particularly favor real estate in high-end resort areas, and on a few leisure planets they've snapped up virtually every single kilometer of shoreline. Their interstellar transportation industry is renowned for a logistical efficiency matched by few others.
- Historical enemies : They've had many conflicts with the shapeshifting Fatar race, whom they detest. In the Changeling War, long ago, it was first discovered that the Fatar had infiltrated the Shen's government, its military, and its society. The resulting series of paranoid purges almost certainly killed far more Shen than Fatar, and the Shen have since tried more than once, unsuccessfully, to wipe out their enemy. They're also implacable foes of the Ishvana ever since that terrible being's destruction of the Utan Mir, who they venerated and who taught them so much.
- Religion : If the Shen were ever a religious people, they abandoned their religion long ago.
- Language : The Shen use two racial languages - Low Shen and High Shen. The former is what they use most of the time in day-to-day use. The latter is a dialect reserved for important events like the Ritual of Coadunation or the funeral of a Prime Elder.
Excerpt Regarding the Nath-el
The Nath-el are a highly communalistic race whose members don't tend to place much importance on the needs of the individual. One of a handful of insectoid races known to us, they are ruled by a Queen who exercises absolute authority over their territory.
- Homeworld System : Faleon
- Homeworld : Jerzah
- Capital city : Narisiriz
- Reproduction : The female produces an eggsac inside her body and is fertilized by a male. She then incubates those relatively small eggs for 2 months in her body before laying them. For 2 more weeks, the eggs must be kept warm and then the hatchlings break their way out. They then spend 18 months nursing and quickly growing.
- Lifespan : 85 years.
- Diet : Omnivores with a taste for anything sweet. Big fans of fermented vuu honey.
- Temperament : By other race's standards, they can be a little intense and frenetic.
- Strong likes/dislikes : They don't tend to like being alone, and prefer to live with many other Nath-el around them when possible. Their youth has an unfortunate tendency towards drug addiction, leading to very strict anti-drug laws on Jerzah.
- Romantic relationships : They're serial monogamists, essentially, and rarely bond for life.
- Family structure : They don't have or recognize permanent families, as such. When a pair has offspring, they will usually stay together long enough for the offspring to become reasonably self-sufficient, at which point the community-at-large becomes responsible for the well-being of the youngsters. Parent/child relationships are much, much less important after that to the Nath-el than to other races.
- How do they treat the helpless? : Not well, but it's not out of malice. They're simply very communalistic, and if an individual can't contribute, what good is he?
- Notable rituals : The Nath-el do not place great importance on ritual. They're a highly practical race focused on doing something because it works and produces a desirable result for their culture, not on doing something for the sake of tradition.
- Entertainment : For all their perceived energy and sometimes frantic nature, they prefer minimalist entertainment. They have a form of staged live entertainment that consists of rhythmic thrumming combined with something like very slow dancing that involves transitioning deliberately between static, held poses that, when combined with the thrumming, tells a symbolic story. They call these, translated into Galactic Standard, "Pattern Plays."
- Government : While they are not telepaths, they share such a strong common understanding that there is no need to debate who should lead their people. It is simply known, and it is always a female, ruling as Queen. She wields absolute power over her territory.
- When did they achieve spaceflight? : 32,000 years ago.
- Allies/enemies : They hate the Sa'hak-ren, who destroyed a budding Nath-el Empire about 1400 years ago. They're also not fond, at all, of the Nabia, who have long preyed on the tendency younger Nath-el have towards severe drug addiction. They believe the Oteel - who are largely enslaved by the shapeshifting Fatar - are their evolutionary cousins.
- Economy : The Nath-el manufature some of the very best AI tech, particularly suited to massively parallel tasks like self-correcting missile flight path solutions or coordinating the operation of a nanoswarm.
- Religion : The Nath-el believe there's a 'spirit', for lack of a better translation, that embodies everything that "is known" about their race. They call it the Nath-et, meaning, roughly, 'All Of Us.' The Nath-et isn't a personified, personality-filled being, however. They view it as part of their spiritual existence. The Nath-et represents everything about the way things 'should' work in Nath-el society. It's viewed as the inevitable culmination of their race's evolution.
- What's their architecture like? : They're known for building Hives, which are the favored dwelling places of those who can afford to live in them. Hives are essentially huge communal pods that sit above the rest of the city they're in.
Excerpt Regarding the Elgan
The Elgan are a race that had to fight to gain the acceptance of the other members of Starmourn Sector due to a combination of their relatively small size and their tendency to deal with most situations by finding something amusing to laugh at.
Make no mistake, however - they're as sophisticated and advanced a culture and society as most of the races in Starmourn.
- Homeworld : Krell
- System : Tethan
- Capital City : Biloxan
- Reproduction :Live birth with a gestation period of about 8 months.
- Lifespan : 80 years.
- Preferred foods : They're omnivores but tend to really enjoy fruit of all kinds.
- Temperament : Fairly cheerful generally, though they hold grudges like champions.
- Life priorities : Wealth accumulation, that they may leave the largest fortune possible to the Elgan Collective (see below) when they die. They aren't fundamentalist about this, and do seek to leave something to their children, but theirs is a highly communal society.
- Strong likes/dislikes : They're big fans of elaborate practical jokes and love to dance, incorporating it into many of their rituals. Yes, they look slightly ridiculous doing it to most other races, but you're likely to get a blaster in the crotch if you mention that to an Elgan. They're also well-known for hating bullies and for possessing a strong work ethic.
- Romantic relationships : They're generally monogamous, but typically if one partner dies, the other marries one of the dead partner's sisters or brothers.
- Family structure : Big, extended families that live together in large, roughly circular buildings called Toh, which often have spires on top. Many families will live in a single Toh.
- How do they treat the weak? : Very well generally. They always take care of their elders, and have great sympathy for the sick, the disfigured, and the differently abled.
- Notable rituals : Their marriage ritual translates to 'The Binding Dance.' It's a complex dance in which the guests whirl themselves through complicated patterns while holding silken ribbons. As they dance about the two participants, they end up tying a particular knot - called the Argisan - around them, symbolizing that their two lives are now bound together.
- What's their relationship with technology? : They are, generally speaking, big fans of tech, from the gadget level to the workings of starships. The Vyar - a dead Elder race - are a popular subject in their recorded entertainment, possibly a result.
- What do they like for entertainment? : Because their home planet - Krell - is notoriously rainy, and because their Toh are fairly crowded, their chief hobbies and past times have evolved from activities you can perform indoors. Gambling and dancing are probably the two most widely enjoyed among Elgan.
- Government structure : They're a representative democracy called the Elgan Collective, with a trio of leaders elected by the Collective called the Trinity. In practice they're highly socialist and it's said that "nobody goes to bed hungry on Krell."
- Current Trinity members : Poji Gawin (m), Trinoa Banmyn (f), Nici Triceli (f)
- How old is their civilization? : They achieved spaceflight about 22,000 years ago.
- Historical allies/enemies? : They've had a lot of conflict with the Nabia, whose drug-peddling they detest. About 125 years ago, some of the Elgan formed the Elgan Underground as a rival 'criminal' organization, with a mission to disrupt the Nabia's drug trade without open warfare.
- What are their major sources of wealth? : The Elgan are renowned as traders in rare goods and in the manufacture of handheld weaponry.
- What are their religious beliefs? : They believe that their ancestors - all of them - are gods, meaning that the more time passes, the more gods that exist. Of course, with so many gods, a god in their society is not considered particularly remarkable, which isn't to say it isn't to be venerated. They believe that as part of the same culture as their ancestor-gods, they enjoy participation in the divine while still alive. This religious belief is the core of their communalistic nature.
Excerpt Regarding the Ry'nari
The Ry'nari are a contentious, tribal race whose culture is underpinned by a complex series of alliances of alliances between extended families.
- Home System - Valdorn
- Homeworld - Hororeon
- Capital city - Ostari
- Reproduction - Live birth, 11 month gestation period. Never more than one child at a time. Their children tend to have a high mortality rate in the first two years of life.
- Lifespan - 100 years.
- Preferred foods - They're biologically omnivores but, as you can discern from their their teeth - clearly evolved for shredding and ripping - meat is their preferred food.
- Life priorities - Fostering a large family is a big one, perhaps driven by the fact that the females can only bear one child at a time, and that that child is more likely to die than survive its first two years.
- Strong likes/dislikes - They have a strange relationship with music in that they don't appear to have the same kind of tonal recognition virtually all other sentient species do. Most music, to a Ry'nari, sounds like unstructured noise. Instead, they enjoy a type of atonal chanting called 'kave' whose individual words or phrases have no overt meaning, but which are meant to build a series of suggestions in the mind of the listener.
- Romantic relationships - In ideal circumstances, they bond for life, but the exigencies of existence in Starmourn sometimes dictate that the convention be broken with divorce and/or remarriage.
- Societal structure - They live in a three-tiered structure. Family -> Tribe -> Horde. Family is what it sounds like. Tribes are collections of inter-related families, and a Horde is a collection of tribes allied together.
- Treatment of 'others' - Mostly fine, though adults who haven't yet had children are regarded with a mixture of pity and disgust, and by middle-age, those without children are social pariahs.
- Notable rituals - On the death of a horde leader, all the tribes gather for a multi-day bacchanalia called the Narangerel followed by selection of a new horde leader in a process called the Gomoran. Each of the tribes that wishes to contend for leadership puts forward a leader, and that leader assembles a group of six Ry'nari from his or her tribe. These groups of six then face off in combat, armed with ancient weapons, to determine who will lead the Horde. The prospective leaders themselves don't do battle - why kill off some of the strongest leaders in the Horde?
- Social mobility - Economically, an enormous amount, but in terms of advancement in any kind of politics, you have to be part of a good family in a great tribe to have a chance to become a horde leader. However, the reality is that even socially 'low' individuals can wield great power by buying influence.
- Entertainment - Nothing is more popular than a Narangerel and the following Gomoran, but the Ry'nari also, somewhat surprisingly to outsiders, revere abstract sculpture and are considered masters of it.
- Government structure - Council of the Hordes - the Horde leaders make up the government. However, there have been times in the past when a single Horde leader has seized sole power. In particular, Harec Gankeot famously unified the hordes as Mogul and won the first war against the W'hoorn. They are currently ruled by a Mogul - Shima Sual (female).
- Allies or enemies - The W'hoorn are a historical enemy of theirs, and few of the civilized races of Starmourn have seen as much conflict as the two have over the aeons.
- Major sources of wealth - Production of the ubiquitous quantum power cell as well as huge architecture and engineering firms specializing in orbital structures.
- Religion - They don't have a religion per-se, but they retain certain animist superstitions such that they're prone to feeling like objects have spirits and personalities, even when they "know" better. This leads them to occasionally treat items they are angry at like enemies to be broken...leading to said things being broken.
Excerpt Regarding the Nusriza
The Nusriza are a fierce, sexually-aggressive race with perhaps the most difficult language among the core Starmourn species.
- Home System : Frixion
- Homeworld :: Frixion VI
- Capital City : Mir
- Reproduction : They reproduce via eggs, with the female laying 1-2 eggs that will hatch 120 days later. They hatch as flying four-legged lizards and grow until they get to be about 4-5 feet long and 15 Galactic Years old or so. About that time, they become very sexually aggressive, and mate furiously with each other for a couple of years in a period known as the Quickening. The females can't get pregnant during this time, however. The mating is actually a complicated, evolved drive to force their bodies, both male and female, into a highly nutritionally-deprived state. In this state, their bodies intensely crave the meat of the algerion - huge, non-sentient creatures that create gas balloons out of giant air sacs in their bodies. The algerion secrete an exotic blend of chemicals that are lighter than the air of their world, and allow them to fly - something the Nusriza have taken advantage of as a novelty method of transport.
- Certain enzymes in the meat of the algerion slowly change their body - they begin to grow larger, and more musclar. As that happens, :their hip muscle structure changes to permit upright walking, and their forelimbs gradually gain more mobility. During this process, :their wings become first very tender, and then finally shrivel up and are discarded by their bodies. There are, however, a very small :percentage of Nusriza who are genetically unreceptive to the change the alergion meat causes, and as a result, stay in the Quickening, :alternating between seeking sex anywhere they can get it, and collapsing from exhaustion. Most of these Nusriza, unless they're being :taken care of and their sexual needs provided for, starve to death or are killed after seeking seek with the unwilling.
- Lifespan : About 160 years.
- Preferred foods : Aside from algerion meat, which is largely eaten during the Quickening, they're carnivores with a strong love of grubs, worms, and small insects. They eat these in a thousand different variations, full of spices. They might be fried, baked, roasted, eaten raw, poached, boiled, or any number of methods. They also enjoy smoking a substance made from the dried skins of tiny grubs called 'leesa' that gets them very mildly high, but is mainly about social lubrication - it's nothing like the drugs the Nabia peddle.
- Romantic relationships : They are generally long-term monogamous.
- Family structure : They live in Throngs, where after the egg hatches it is raised communally by others in the Throng, which consists of multiple families, unrelated by blood.
- How do they treat 'others' within their society? : Largely with disdain, though they do venerate their elders.
- Notable rituals : On the age of maturity of a Nusriza - 17 - their relatives hold a celebration that involves a 2 day event called, translated of course, called Seventeen Mirrors. In the first day, 17 people spend time with the young Nusriza in a ritualistic circle, speaking the truth about the shortcomings of the young one with the aid of an intoxicant they brew from the shells of their eggs called 'poivirn'. On the second day, the virtues of the person coming-of-age are extolled and gifts are presented by each of the 17 to the subject of the ritual. At the end, that Nusriza is formally welcomed as a full member of the Throng.
- How do they view kith users? : They have a fairly equal mix of void and star kith users, but they're a new race to kith. The Echanine religion prohibited its use until the Schism.
- Entertainment : Their language - Nusrizan - is renowned for its musicality and the difficulty with which non-natives speak it. It's both a tonal and gesture language, with 14 different distinct tones lending shading to the meaning of words, and a wide variety of subtle hand gestures that shade the meaning of those toned words further. The result is that those who can't move both their hands sound 'flat' to Nusrizan ears - their meaning can certainly be understood, but to them it is like listening to someone speak without inflection, tone, or variation in pacing. They are similarly skilled singers, and vocal competitions are very popular with the Nusrizans.
- Government : Monarchy. Ruler is titled the "Tajhan". It's a hereditary post, though there have been times in its history where the ruling family was wiped out by accident or assassination, typically leading to war among the Throngs until a new power structure emerges that is capable of choosing a leader strong enough to hold onto the position.
- Current Tajhan : Abelin Artunduaga (m).
- When did they achieve spaceflight? : About 24,000 years ago.
- Sources of wealth : They're experts in sensor technology.
- Religion : They have a monotheistic religion called Echanism that worships a single god they call Echanine, but it is by no means believed in by all Nusriza. It is a warrior, protector God, and much of their race lost faith in it during the Bushraki War, when it became clear that Echanine either wouldn't protect them, couldn't protect them, or didn't exist, and they joined into the Song Dominion with several other races. Echanism prohibited fraternization with other races until then, as well as the use of kith, both of which were restrictions large swathes of Nusrizan society were sick of and, under threat during the wars, rejected completely. This led to the Echanine Schism, which took place from 31 A.E. to 35 A.E. This internal religious war split their society, and over time those who reject Echanine have come to dominate Nusrizan culture and leadership.
- Architecture : Their buildings have large open portals to the outside for young Nusriza to fly in and out of, and they also build large living environments above the clouds, supported on huge, rigid supports.
Excerpt Regarding the Tukkav
The mighty Tukkav are a large, exceptionally hairy race that hail from a fairly cold home planet and prefer cool temperatures. Their home planet - Uycheon III - has a climate ranging from the merely temperate at the equator to uninhabitably cold, even for the Tukkav, towards the poles.
- Home System : Uycheon
- Homeworld : Uycheon III
- Capital City : None
- Reproduction : They undergo live birth after an approximately 11 month gestation.
- Lifespan : About 110 years.
- Preferred foods : They're omnivores with a wide variety in their diet, and they really enjoy drinking [[|Lapteth Beer|lapteth beer]], which is a beer made from a grain - lapteth - native to their world. It's quite bitter, and considered an acquired taste by non-Tukkav.
- Family life : They largely mate for life, and often decline to seek a new mate if their first dies.
- Social structure : Historically, the Tukkav were a nomadic race, traveling in tribes of interrelated families across the plains and snowy forests of their homeworld, and they retain some of that tribal structure today.
- When was spaceflight achieved? : Approximately 16,000 years ago.
- Historical enemies : They and the Loroi have a strong dislike for each other, nearly universally, and have been at war with each other on and off for the past 1700 years.
- Notable rituals : Their oldest ritual - a gathering of the tribes - is called the Ouran. Every ten years, going back to time immemorial, each tribe has done their best to send some number of representatives from that tribe, of which there are thousands, to the Ouran. Tribes that roamed or later permanently dwelt close to where that decade's Ouran would be - the location chosen varied each time - sent many, and tribes from far away may send only a handful, or even just one. At the Ouran, matters of cultural importance are discussed, and major feuds between tribes are adjudicated. And, of course, there are celebrations, with a great deal of drinking and playing of the toof, their most historically significant musical instrument. The toof originates from the pre-spaceflight age of their species, and is a horn instrument, powered by breath, that has a tonal range varying from deep bass to mid-tone.
- Entertainment : Toof circles, where everybody brings a toof and plays together while consuming enormous quantities of lapteth beer are popular. Hunting is another popular activity, and the Tukkav have had to resort to releasing animals bred in captivity into the wild to later hunt, as they've done such an unfortunately effective job of depopulating the wildlife of their home planet. Because this isn't really considered particularly sporting, hunting safaris to alien planets teeming with wildlife - especially dangerous wildlife - are an especially popular vacation to take.
- Government : Their race doesn't have an overall government, except in the form of the once-every-decade Ouran, or in case of war, in which case the tribes select a single Warleader. Each tribe maintains its own military, and their shipyards are run by private conglomerations.
- Key historical events : About 2500 years ago, there was a great war between alliances of tribes, who marshaled their starship fleets to go to war over a dispute about access to the homeworld. The Tukkav race had grown far too populated to fit on Uchyeon III comfortably, and an alliance of tribes on the planet declared the world closed to those tribes living on colonized planets or on space stations. The Home War, as it was known, was eventually won by those tribes living on Uchyeon, and in the aftermath, many of the resources of the defeated were seized. Today, a small remnant of these defeated Tukkav live on as bitter outsiders with an intense hatred of most of their own race. They call themselves the Exiles, and are scattered about Starmourn, often found working as manual laborers, slaves, or, occasionally functioning as pirate gangs on the starways. The other Tukkav call them names much less polite, including the Rejected or, more colloquially, 'crinkers.'
- Sources of wealth : The Tukkav build excellent starship superstructures and also own many mining corporations that strip the resources from planets too cold to be comfortable for most other races.
- Religion : Many of them have a kind of residual animism that leads them to revere that which they hunt, both for sport and meat.