The Arnuban are a species that resembles a combination of bat, canine and humanoid who are embroiled in a war for control of the Empire of Many Suns. They are steadily building a closer alliance with humanity, but whether that is good or bad remains to be seen. They refer to their holdings as the Arnuban Colonies.
The planet Nubaria II, in the Nubaria Star System. It is an earth-like world with terrain as varied as Earth, but particularly known for its massive, forest-covered canyons, and the pseudo-magical appearance of the Arnuban cities.
Sphere of Influence
The Arnuban are arguably the most militarily powerful force currently battling for control of the Empire of Many Suns, but that is only because the Mogg’theran do not appear to be trying. They are currently involved in a war against the Rhtharian race…a war they are winning. They control about 20 star systems, and three of the ten all-important jump gates positioned throughout t the empire. They control an arc of space on the “far” side of the Empire, bordering Vorhasi space.
The only thing stopping them from controlling the Empire is a lack of resources and the economic superiority of the Fahreen. The Arnuban also suspect that the Fahreen are hiding much of their power. However, a highly passionate people, they are too focused on destroying the Rhtharians to really focus on anything else politically.
Rhtharians also have a lot of influence over various pirate groups, due to their “commerce raiding” war philosophy – essentially, they wage war through piracy.
When humans first encountered the Arnuban, the crafty aliens had humans convinced they were a species of mages. However, it turned out that they had no such abilities. What they had was an amazing control over nanotechnology and cybernetics, which they used to emulate magic.
It is a semi-scam they have been pulling on species since first contact with the Mogg’theran 400 years ago. Semi-scam because, in a way, the Arnuban believe they are mages.
For at least the last 1,000 years of Arnuban history, the species has used technology to emulate magic, and the trappings of magic are the cornerstone of their culture. Their language is a rune-based symbol system, alarm systems are marked by intricate wards, walls and panels are operated by glowing glyphs, and even their weaponry is designed to appear as though the wielder was hurling fireballs and lightning bolts at their enemies.
According to the Arnuban, they once were actually powerful mages, but some sort of cataclysmic event wiped out everyone with the gene. Whatever this incident was, if it is anything more than myth, has been lost to antiquity. Whatever the reason, technology became akin to magic, even before the invention of advanced technology.
The Arnuban society is a gerontocracy, meaning that elders hold the most power. The Arnuban do not suffer from degenerative brain diseases as they grow older, so they grow wiser without any loss of memory or cognitive abilities right until death. Thus, the knowledge of their elders is highly valued. The governmental system is set up via a descending system of councils of elders, with the Grand Assemblage consisting of one chief elder representing each city’s council of elders (elected by other elders in that city). The High Council is a group of nine elders elected from the Grand Assemblage. While the Grand Assemblage is equivalent to a legislative branch, the High Council is both the executive and judiciary power…determining government policy, enforcing laws and deciding which laws passed by the Assemblage are valid by simple majority vote.
Although they claim to “stand apart” from the process of government, there is also a group of powerful beings known as the Cybershamans who wield incredible power. Like wizards from some fantasy setting, they are mysterious and enigmatic, with fortified towers in remote locations. They garner respect wherever they go, and seem to be virtually above the law. They are responsible for much of the Arnuban’s technological advances, which they develop in secrecy in their towers. The most accomplished Cybershamans are considered some of the most powerful beings in known space, and have often been recruited by both the Starfarers and Novaslayers.
In daily life and their comings and goings, business transactions and personal interactions, average Arnuban are not much different from humans; one reason the two races get along well.
The Arnuban are tall, powerfully built and appear to be true mammals in all the ways known to humanity. They bare the strongest similarities to wingless, humanoid bats and canines. They come in a wide variety of fur patterns and range in size from seven to nine feet tall. Originally, tribes were divided by fur pattern, which was determined by geography and lineage. This is still a big influence on Arnuban politics AND physiology. Some “breeds” are larger and stronger, while others are smaller and quicker. Fur coloration is an easy way to tell who bears which traits.
The Arnuban’s bodies respond very well to cybernetics, organ transplants and physiological changes. This is because the Arnuban have a small degree of conscious control over their autonomic systems and immune system as well. So when an Arnuban gets the flu, they can consciously focus their immune system on fighting it. When they get a lung transplant or an artificial eye, they can consciously make their immune system ignore it.
Arnuban have slightly poorer vision than humans and are near-sighted. However, their hearing is several times better than a human being’s. They are physically very strong and durable. They have a greater tolerance for cold, but a much lower tolerance for heat and humidity.
When you go to war with the
Arnuban, it's more like going to war with an empire of pirates. Unless defending,
they will refuse to engage enemy fleets and ships, instead focusing the
majority of their efforts at raiding supply lines, convoys, industrial
complexes, ship yards, you name it. Someone once jokingly suggested that
"war" in Arnuban translates to "steal everything that isn't
nailed down or on fire." An Arnuban captain, hearing the saying, joked
that he keeps a crowbar and fire extinguisher on hand.
Not only do the Arnuban themselves start raiding mercilessly during war, but they'll attempt to hire every mercenary and privateer in known space to raid and harass you as well. This tactic works every well, particularly in drawn-out campaigns...as long as the Arnuban can defend their own territory successfully.
Of course, all races raid during wartime to some degree, but nobody does it like the Arnuban.
The Arnuban fleet works very
differently from most other interstellar combat fleets. Each captain actually
owns his ship, and has bought it on loan from the government. The crew gets
paid in shares of the ship's take and a stipend for "defensive"
duties when the government calls on them to perform "nonprofit
missions" such as defending a world, conducting a large strike that isn't
likely to be profitable, etc. In return, all repairs, rearming and refueling is
done at cost or by taking out loans. Damage taken while on government-requested
"nonprofit" missions is repaired for free. Eventually, the Captain
has earned enough money, if he's good, to pay off the initial loan, plus
interest, and truly owns the ship. He can either go off on his own as a
freelancer captain doing whatever he wishes with any crew he can agree to sign
on, or he can sign up for another contract with the government as a Privateer
Captain...except this time he's likely to make a much larger profit. Generally,
during wartime, captains continue to sign up with the government, and during
peace time they strike out on their own.
The system works well, since the Arnuban government encourages its crews to pillage their enemies relentlessly, and the contract ensures that the fleet will be there when the government needs it, everybody seems to win.
The Arnuban fleet is one of only a few in galactic history known to actually make a profit and is an actual revenue stream for the Arnuban government.
In space combat, the Arnuban like to close quickly, battering their enemy, and then engage in boarding maneuvers. Their ships are heavily armored and designed for close-in brawls…knife-fighters. At long ranges, they have a disadvantage and they are not as proficient at large-scale fleet tactics as some other races.
On the ground, their military is passable in large numbers, particularly since all of their soldiers rely heavily on cybernetics. But it is their intelligence-gathering abilities and Special Forces operations where they really shine, primarily thanks to young cybershamans within their ranks.
The Arnuban are excellent at designing cybernetics and nanotechnology. They are also masters of holographic projections and low-powered force fields (mainly used to create “magical” effects). They are in the process of updating their star faring technology through trades with the Terran Protectorate, in return for nanotechnology and cybernetics. The Arnuban are almost never seen carrying ranged weapons. Combatants have built-in cybernetic hand weapons that make it appear as though they are throwing magical effects at their enemies. Some, like cybershamans, have multiple weapons implanted for a variety of effects.
The only weapons openly carried appear to be melee weapons, but in many cases are able to fire off some kind of energy effect at range.
Arnuban technology is always couched in the trappings of magic. Rune-covered entry portals, communications pads that look like summoning circles, holographic artificial intelligences that look like spirits and demons, etc. However there is no known magic present on the planet. The only indication that there might have been magic there in the past are a number of crumbling pyramids scattered across the planet which the Arnuban claim were built to control the “crossroads of life” thousands of years ago. Whatever purpose they once served, the pyramids are little more than tourist sites and crumbling ruins now.
The Arnuban export cybernetics, nanotechnology and a variety of other items that their captains have collected from others. They import starship systems, luxury items and exotic goods.
Relationships with other governments
The Terran Protectorate: These two powers have a basic trade agreement, but distance keeps them from working more closely together. Currently, the Arnuban are on top in a war against the Rhtharians, which puts them in good standing with the general public in the Protectorate. Higher ups are concerned about the Arnuban ties to pirate organizations, however. The Arnuban see the Protectorate as a powerful potential ally and as a check against the Arkhon. However, they will not get involved in the war.
The Arkhon Imperial Freehold Co-Prosperity
The Xintrin Merchant Guild: There is brisk trade between these two groups, with the Arnuban being a major buyer of Xintrin goods. There is a major trade deficit, however, as the Arnuban have little the Xintrin, who are not interested in cybernetics, want. There has been tension in the past when Arnuban ships have preyed on Xintrin convoys, but the Xintrin have gotten tougher through the years and Arnuban raiders have turned their sights elsewhere. This has been helped by the Arnuban government declaring open season on the Rhtharians and promising to pay top dollar for anything looted from Rhtharian holdings.
The Vorhasi: The Arnuban are grateful to the Vorhasi for destroying the Mogg’theran home world and breaking the race’s hold on the Empire of Many Suns. Also the Arnuban share a major border with Vorhasi space and have had more encounters with them than any other species. But, despite the Arnuban’s best efforts, the Vorhasi seem little interested in deeper ties or anything more than rudimentary communication.
The Empire of Many Suns: The Arnuban Colonies are a part of the former Empire. They are currently at war with the Rhtharians. They trade with the Fahreen and the Sigmari, but they recognize that the Fahreen are trying to keep the war going as long as possible while they build up their own forces. The Arnuban and Fahreen both control three each of the ten Imperial jumpgates. The Arnuban believe that if they can get a fourth jumpgate under their control, then the economic benefits of trade through the gate will catapult them ahead of the Fahreen and into a leadership role of the Empire. The Fahreen provide the Rhtharians with just enough support (at a cost) to keep that from happening. But it is not clear how long this can be kept up. The Sigmari are often hired as ground troops for the Arnuban.
The Starfarers and Novaslayers: The Arnuban are nearly worshipful of both the Starfarers and Novaslayers and tend to join each organization in roughly equal numbers. Cybershamans are frequent recruiting targets of the two groups.
Arnuban Racial Stats
Alignment: Any. The average Arnuban citizen is unprincipled or anarchist.
Attributes: I.Q. 3D6, M.E. 2D6, M.A. 4D6, P.S. 10+4D6, P.P. 3D6, P.E. 3D6+6, P.B. 2D6, Spd. 4D6.
Hitpoints: P.E.x2, plus 2D6 per level.
S.D.C.: 2D6x10 plus those gained from O.C.C. of choice.
Horror Factor: None.
Height: 7 feet to 9 feet tall.
Weight: 250 to 400 lbs.
Heightened Sense of Hearing: the Arnuban can hear a whisper from 1,000 feet away. They receive a +2 to all hearing-based perception rolls.
Echo-location: the Arnuban can make a clicking sound in their throat that works as a form of sonar. This allows them to operate perfectly well in the dark and to see invisible beings. While using echo-location the Arnuban cannot speak and the echo-location ability must be consciously activated; it is not an ability that is “always on.”
Immune System Control: The Arnuban can focus their immune system to fight illness or let it run its course. They can also use it to assist with external sources of healing. As a result, disease and illnesses are half effect and half duration. This does not include poisons and toxins. Also, any healing attempts on a conscious Arnuban have double the effect, including medical treatment, magical and psychic healing powers.
Bonuses: +2 to initiative, +3 to save vs disease, +15% to save vs. coma/death.
Skills: By O.C.C. All Arnuban have the following “everyman” skills: Speak and Read Arnuban 98%, Computer Operation (+10%), Basic Mechanics (+5%), Basic Electronics (+5%).
Common O.C.C.s include: Cybershaman, Freelancer (all), Close Combat Specialist, Space Pirate, Runner and Colonist. Most tend to favor pirate and rogue-type classes or mechanics. Cannot pick any psychic or magic classes.
Psionics: Very rare, 10% chance of minor psionics, 3% chance of major psionics.
Allies and Enemies: The Arnuban are enemies of the Rhtharians and, to a lesser degree, the Arkhon, and allies with the Sigmari. They have increasingly close ties to the humans and conduct brisque business with the Xintrin and Fahreen.
Note: Regardless of O.C.C., Arnuban start with two cybernetic enhancements of choice and one of the following bionic palm blasters (special to the Arnuban):
Light Laser: 2D6 M.D. or 6D6 M.D. from a 3-shot pulse (cannot be done on an aimed shot), range: 2,000 feet, payload: 30 blasts per hour or by E-clip (inserted in a port in the forearm). The E-clip gives the weapon 30 shots.
Impact Blaster: 3D6 M.D., plus 20% chance of knocking down targets weighing under 500 lbs. (victim loses an attack and initiative for that melee round), range: 1,200 feet, payload: 20 blasts per hour. The E-clip gives the weapon 20 shots.
Plasma Thrower: 5D6 M.D., range: 800 feet. Payload: 10 shots per hour. The E-clip gives the weapon 10 shots.