22 September 2009

Sunday AAR

This past Sunday only two other (aside from yours truly) made the game. Present at the table were myself, Ulot, and Mr. Puente. Not having a quorum to continue the Traveller Campaign, we decided to play boardgames.

Lesson Learned. Always have a backup game; usually a boardgame-like game that can be played with small numbers and not much lead time. Of course, my roommate and I have boardgames so...


Ulot had just recently acquired the Battlestar Galactica board game so we broke out the box and started setting up. We only had three players so the game wasn't as good as we all quickely realized it could be, but it was pretty damn good nontheless. After the second game (which I won as the cylon president; starve you puny humans, starve! muahahaha!!) we tried a third game in which we each controlled two characters, alternating playing one and then the other, which worked surprisingly well. In the end though, having to divide our suspcicions between multiple characters made detecting cylons very difficult. All in all great game.

After we pigged out on the rich gamyness of the BGBG, we followed up with desert; a generous helping of light, whipped Zombies! I've heard there are some that don't like this game, no accounting for taste. Abyway, despite not getting in any Traveller, sunday went rather well.

18 September 2009

Rule, Columbia!


Once Britain ruled the seas. Now Britain is sinking beneath waves of alien colonists and self imposed impotency. Today we rule the seas...

When America first, at Heaven's command
Arose from out the azure main;
This was the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sang this strain:
"Rule, Columbia! rule the waves:
"Americans never will be slaves."

Avast ye landlubbers!!


Be it known me hearties, tomorrow is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, yar!!

Be makin' it piratical weekend ye ken?

17 September 2009

Happy Constitution Day!




"On September 17, 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed by thirty-nine brave men who changed the course of history."

16 September 2009

Traveller: After Action Report II

After assembly at the usual time and place, it was discovered that we were down to three players to 50% strength. Aborting the campaign session in favor of board games was discussed but on the unanimous acclimation of Ulot, Puente, and Brandon, we proceeded as planned.

Play began at the sub-sector capitol's high-port in orbit, where we left off from last session. The crew then decided to entertain a lengthy debate on how and with what venture the party would embark to pay the mortgage on their ship. Captain Wong (Puente) strongly advocated a strategy of preying on outlaw spacers (drug dealers, pirates, and slavers) to finance the ship. Neither Cap'n Ronin (Brandon) nor Gideon (Ulot) had fundamental objections to that plan, although Gideon argued that it was best to start with Drug Dealers on the grounds that Slavers had manpower and weapons and Pirates had those and armed ships.

I let the discusion take its course and used the time to listen to the players plans (and formulate my own) as well as to catch up on some prep. The party then decided to to make for another planet (Freya or Frigga) to purchase supplies with the IC (imperial credits) 100,000 burning holes in their hold. There went all my prep for the High Port, arrrrgh!!

Aside, given that FTL comms are extremely rare, expensive, and low bandwidth; physical hard currency is big in my traveller universe. Treasure!!

Once dirtside, the party went shopping. I decided to throw a wrench in their plans at this point and threw a shady dealer at Cap'n Ronin (yar, pirates!). He made his streetwise check and I told him he got a bad feeling from this guy, but Ronin bought his shiny las pistol any way. Which ended up dragging him into a whole planetside police investigation into arms smugglers. To the rest of the parties horror, Ronin found himself wearing a wire to catch a big time arms dealer selling illegal arms.

What followed where some great roleplaying scenes as Ronin tried to work his way through the underworld without getting made. Just when I thought I was going to snap up the whole party in an escalating power struggle dirt side, the other two players manage to short circuit my plots in a daring extraction using the ship's launch (the same one that crashed into a mountain side during a previous extraction last game). They managed to nab both Cap'n Ronin and Markoth the Pink, Kra'ken arms dealer, target of Detective Swanson's operation. Then with some quick over the radio fast talking they managed to get to their ship and into orbit.

Not going to be outsmarted by the players, I figure that they can't hide from radar, and Detective Swanson manages to find them in time to have planetary defense ping them with targeting systems. In response to the sudden outbreak of radio problems on the Raptor as the party's ride is now known, the good detective sends them an g-mail (grav-wave network) 'put down or we'll put you down'. To which Captain Wong makes a counter offer; how much would it be worth to you if Markoth come down with a case of kinetic energy poisoning rather than live to get off the charges in trial.

But... Damnit. There goes that story. Of course the good detective leaps at a chance to cauterze this boil on society, she knows that alive he has money and political support, but dead he's just trash. Wong then maneuvers his way into getting 4 hours alone with the crime scene, it's not like the good detective wants these weapons on her planet stiring up trouble... Shit. Then the party manages to convince Markoth to pay them off for his life, which he does. They kill him anyway, of course. Bloody players got paid twice...

So the party manages to ship about 7 tons of gauss weapons and ammo into the Raptor's hold before the black and whites show back up from their call. And several smart missiles, some combat armor, a PGMP, and a pocket nuke. The party ends up selling the bulk of the weapons to a faction of pirates out of Hel headed by Captain Roberts, a four armed and three eyed combat enhanced human and very much a traditionalist (yar!!). This of course will end up changing the balance of power on the Council of Hel (evil grin). The party gets payed something ridiculous in bearer bonds redeemable on the Citadel and in Galactic Credits (gold pressed transuranics and highly traceable). The party uses this sum to pay a few months of the ships mortgage, their monthly expenses, and start a cache against a rainy day.

On their way back to Freya to begin their 'knock over the drug dealers' plan (aka kill the orcs and take their stuff) I roll up a random encounter. 'unusually bold pirate'. Hmmmm...

So the Raptor is wrenched out of warp space by a gravity well interdictor cruiser and 3 100 ton assault boats begin burning for them at thrust 6. This begins the slowest portion of the game, since space combat is both new to me and the party. It is discovered that my copy of the main book is MISSING the range modifiers to hit table, arrrgh!!! The party manages to burn the attackers with a combination of particle beam gunnery and missile strikes. Although if the Pirates hadn't been trying so hard not to kill anyone or if their gunner had hit more than once with the EMP beam...

Aside; I need to come up with some rules for the EMP beam, right now it is an act of plot...

Eventually the assault boats open up with their spinal mount meson guns, giving the party a big scare and irradiating one of the missing players. After dealing with the assault boats the party goes after the interdictor which they figure must be running on a skeleton crew and most of its volume taken up with the gravity well device. They target the things drives and score some awesome gunnery and damage rolls, crippling the pirate and leaving him dead in the water (note check for official called shots rules for space combat). The boarding action gets exciting with vislight chameleoned battle suited pirates giving the party a bit of a start. Luckily the party's paranoia in rigging their main lock with claymores pays off and the chameleon clouds are stripped away with plastique propelled ball bearings. Before the nano-clouds can reassemble, Gideon opens up with his PGMP...

So, scratch two battle suited pirates, expected. Before I can play up the suspense for the Pirate Big-Bad, Gideon tosses the pocket nuke onto the pirate ship. Unexpected. Scratch one mecha think-tank...



no game for you.

Sigh. So the party captures the interdictor, and sells it to Captain Roberts. Well, ok, I can work with that...

14 September 2009

Questions for the GM, answered. Pt. II

Ok I would know how to refill from a gas giant safely. Of course if you want to say its so routine we don't need to know how great.
-Gas giant mag-scoop refueling is a routine operation. What amounts to your pilot making a routine pilot check (+2) to grab the H. Refining the fuel results in large amounts of 2^H (deuterium) which enriches the fuel mix, and removing impurities.

The only danger is running into a storm during your scoop-dive. Well that and Hydrogen is highly energetic and reacts with just about everything.

I would like to know about the drug dealers in the subsector.

-Groucho the Gimp; a Capo for the La Ventura family, Groucho is at the center of a network of soldiers, toughs, drug dens, pushers, dealers, smugglers, laboratories, nurseries, fields and refineries. Groucho's products include Cocaine, Crack, Crank, Crystal, Psych-Out, Heroin, Jet, Mentat, and others.

-Don Juan Y Cordoba (aka el minotauro); another La Ventura capo, slightly higher status than Groucho, Don Juan's products are marketed to a higher end clientele. His operation is focused around the resort planet of Paradiso and the Sub Sector capitol of Thorn.

-Malkott the Slimy; Malkott is a yl'yalyat or 'leader of eight eights', usually (incorrectly) translated as octurion. This Kra'Ken's branch of the Rending Maw deals in combat drugs, illegal augmentations, truth serums, mind programmers, and the creation of augmented sophonts; everything from juice enhanced enforcers to compliant bed-mates.

-Grinderman; Kra'vak Klashton AKA 'Grinderman' is a 1%er outlaw spacer and the Drakkon Prez of the 'Hell Hounds' chapter of the White Hands. His chapter of 'swoop' single-ship 'enthusiasts' have a side line in moving various party 'enhancers'. Their main money maker is piracy and extortion, but even still, the Hell Hounds move 60% of the x, hash, acid, and mind-blast in the Sub-sector. Members of the gang do not usually distribute however, that is a job for 'earthworms', 'dirtsiders, and 'groundhogs'.

Im looking for the top four and rate them based on the following critiera
I would use my contacts in the ISS and any computer searches I can do to gather the following information.
Est. number of ships?

-Groucho: A veritable fleet of smugglers and mules work for Groucho, 100+

-El Minotauro: Don Juan maintains a small network of front businesses that move his product; 30-50 all registered merchant vessels working for shell corps.

-Grinderman: 100+ Hell Hounds with non-warp capable single-ships and 3-4 warp capable mother ships.

-Malkott: Unknown, ISS has yet to get reliable intell on Malkott's organization. Est. 40-60 but that is a rough guesstimate. Several ISS agents have disappeared trying to infiltrate the Rending Maw.


Est. ammount of product moved?

-Groucho: Hundreds of thousands of tons per week, Groucho's operation supplies the street vendors for the better part of two-thirds of this Sector.

-El Minotauro: Unkown, but probably thousands of pounds, irregularly. It would appear that El Minotauro and Groucho have a business relationship. Groucho handles getting the product to Minotauro's group, who then gets it to Don Juan's high end clients. While Don Juan provides Groucho with political cover inside the family and out.

-Grinderman: Tens of thousans of pounds. If there's a party happening the Hell Hounds are probably helping, usually in exchange for pussy and beer.

-Malkott: Unknown, ISS has yet to get reliable intell on Malkott's organization. Est. 40-60 but that is a rough guesstimate. Several ISS agents have disappeared trying to infiltrate the Rending Maw.


Est. number of soilders/ employees?

-Groucho: A veritable army of soldatos, associates, and made men work for Groucho, 1000+, with access to that many more street toughs through his dependent dealers network.

-El Minotauro: Don Juan maintains a wealthy estate complete with a reinforced company of mercenaries (200+) as well as a network of made men operatives who run his distribution rings through disposable cut-outs (100+)

-Grinderman: 100+ Hell Hounds with non-warp capable single-ships and 3-4 warp capable mother ships. May call on the White Hands for reinforcements (1000+ outlaw spacers and pirates with armed single-ships, fighters, motherships, and corsair frigates)

-Malkott: Unknown, ISS has yet to get reliable intell on Malkott's organization. Est. 40-60 but that is a rough guesstimate. Several ISS agents have disappeared trying to infiltrate the Rending Maw.


Major drugs moved?

-Groucho: Cocaine, Crack, Crank, Crystal, Psych-Out, Heroin, Jet, Mentat, and others.

-El Minotauro: Cocaine, Morphene, Heroin, Hash, Black Lotus, Xyrx

-Grinderman: x, hash, acid, and mind-blast

-Malkott: reflex, hyper, high-speed, besyrk, rage, others


What those drugs do.

Jet: 'poor man's combat drug' -increased reaction time, sensory amplification
Psych-out: A retrovirus and speicialised lipids and acids that give psychic experiences
Mentat: Increases neural activity
Black Loutus: Hallucinogen and euphoric, some users claim psych-out like experiences.
Reflex: Increases reaction speed
Hyper: Metabolism booster
High-Speed: Adrennal booster
Besyrk: Similar to Rage
Rage: Similar to Besyrk
Xyrx: Extreme Euphoric


Growers or resellers?

All the major 'drug lords' under consideration have both production and wholesales operations to a greater or lesser extent.


Based on single planet or mobile?



Groucho: operates from a private space yacht

La Minotauro: operates from his estate on Paradiso's moon, Ulthar.

Malkott: Unknown

Grinderman: operates from his club-house/asteroid base in the asteroids of the Wolf system.


Space based drug labs/ manufacturing?

-Yes.

11 September 2009

RE: Betraying our Dead?

W was allowed to define the problem as Bin Lauden's gang instead of the Saudi structures it was created from. W then ignored Bin Lauden after the fall of Kabul and let Dick and Don have their glorious Iraqi adventure. Our chattering class decided that defending 1990's level civil liberties and human rights norms was more important than our nominal war. Come back and wake me when a city gets nuked. The bad guys won. As with Nam we won in the field and were stabbed in the back.

-Scott

Betraying our Dead?

By RALPH PETERS

Last Updated: 10:39 AM, September 11, 2009

Posted: 1:13 AM, September 11, 2009

Eight years ago today, our homeland was attacked by fanatical Muslims inspired by Saudi Arabian bigotry. Three thousand American citizens and residents died.

We resolved that we, the People, would never forget. Then we forgot.

We've learned nothing.

Instead of cracking down on Islamist extremism, we've excused it.

Instead of killing terrorists, we free them.

Instead of relentlessly hunting Islamist madmen, we seek to appease them.

Instead of acknowledging that radical Islam is the problem, we elected a president who blames America, whose idea of freedom is the right for women to suffer in silence behind a veil -- and who counts among his mentors and friends those who damn our country or believe that our own government staged the tragedy of September 11, 2001.

Instead of insisting that freedom will not be infringed by terrorist threats, we censor works that might offend mass murderers. Radical Muslims around the world can indulge in viral lies about us, but we dare not even publish cartoons mocking them.

Instead of protecting law-abiding Americans, we reject profiling to avoid offending terrorists. So we confiscate granny's shampoo at the airport because the half-empty container could hold 3.5 ounces of liquid.

Instead of insisting that Islamist hatred and religious apartheid have no place in our country, we permit the Saudis to continue funding mosques and madrassahs where hating Jews and Christians is preached as essential to Islam.

Instead of confronting Saudi hate-mongers, our president bows down to the Saudi king.

Instead of recognizing the Saudi-sponsored Wahhabi cult as the core of the problem, our president blames Israel.

Instead of asking why Middle Eastern civilization has failed so abjectly, our president suggests that we're the failures.

Instead of taking every effective measure to cull information from terrorists, the current administration threatens CIA agents with prosecution for keeping us safe.

Instead of proudly and promptly rebuilding on the site of the Twin Towers, we've committed ourselves to the hopeless, useless task of rebuilding Afghanistan. (Perhaps we should have built a mosque at Ground Zero -- the Saudis would've funded it.)

Instead of taking a firm stand against Islamist fanaticism, we've made a cult of negotiations -- as our enemies pursue nuclear weapons; sponsor terrorism; torture, imprison, rape and murder their own citizens -- and laugh at us.

Instead of insisting that Islam must become a religion of responsibility, our leaders in both parties continue to bleat that "Islam's a religion of peace," ignoring the curious absence of Baptist suicide bombers.

Instead of requiring new immigrants to integrate into our society and conform to its public values, we encourage and subsidize anti-American, woman-hating, freedom-denying bigotry in the name of toleration.

Instead of pursuing our enemies to the ends of the earth, we help them sue us.

We've dishonored our dead and whitewashed our enemies. A distinctly unholy alliance between fanatical Islamists abroad and a politically correct "elite" in the US has reduced 9/11 to the status of a non-event, a day for politicians to preen about how little they've done.

We've forgotten the shock and the patriotic fury Americans felt on that bright September morning eight years ago. We've forgotten our identification with fellow citizens leaping from doomed skyscrapers. We've forgotten the courage of airline passengers who would not surrender to terror.

We've forgotten the men and women who burned to death or suffocated in the Pentagon. We've forgotten our promises, our vows, our commitments.

We've forgotten what we owe our dead and what we owe our children. We've even forgotten who attacked us.

We have betrayed the memory of our dead. In doing so, we betrayed ourselves and our country. Our troops continue to fight -- when they're allowed to do so -- but our politicians have surrendered.

Are we willing to let the terrorists win?

Never Forget, Never Forgive





Now, more than ever, I think we should kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. That or nuke 'em from orbit. I could either way on this one, really.




Fuck You Haji.

09 September 2009

08 September 2009

What does My Traveller Universe look like?

Kinda like this. Only with more tentacles. I have fever...

Questions for the GM, answered.

Can a ship be towed at warp?

Qualified yes; given a tow line made out of unobtainium or a tractor beam array with lots of extra power (like say cap ship reactors) and skillful operation.


What are the major criminal elements in this sub sector?

Like the rest of the Orion AP sector (4x4 sub-sectors, you are in 4-3) major criminal enterprises are divided between human, mixed, and alien groups. Since it is a frontier sector on the edge of the Solomani Imperium, and a sector of 'rift' space (less dense with star systems) crime is indeed endemic. The big three are;

La Ventura: A Solomani family-run operation, since 2135; drugs, gambling, prostitution.
The White Hands: Johnny come-lately, this group is composed of outlaw spacers (1%ers) of any species; smuggling, weapons, extortion, piracy.
The Rending Maw: This Kra'ken run group has the least territory but a nasty reputation; slaves, assassination, terrorism, death sports, violence.

What are the conditions for indentred servents or slaves?

Slavery is technically illegal in the Solomani Imperium. Since the Imperium can't be every at once and in fact Imperial Sovereignty rests lightly on many areas (many systems, subsectors, and larger polities have internal autonomy) slavery happens and indentured servitude is a fact of life every where. Especially on the Rim (of the Human Sphere, the frontier in other words) where labor is scarce. The conditions for slaves and indents can vary greatly; from spice mine dregs to the body servants of the rich and famous.

How common is piracy?

Frightfully common, there's only so much Navy and a whole lot of black. Given that ships must come out of warp 100 diameters from stellar objects (due to gravity well affects, warp only works in 'flat space'), the existence of charted space lanes, and the proliferation of gravity well generating interdictor ships, there are many opportunities for pirates to prey on commercial shipping.

Is there some kind is cloaking or stealth system?

Stealth yes; there are various techniques to reduce a ship's signature. All known human techniques are imperfect, they rely on masking a ship from active or passive sensors, but the nature of space ships and space means that they are difficult to conceal. The only reason they are effective is the shear size of space. Certain aliens are rumored to have 'cloaking fields' that hide a ship AND it's emissions from detection, and some are even rumored to to be able to slip into a pocket of sub-space to escape detection. Penetrating these secrets constitutes one of the Imperial Naval Intelligence service's 'holy grails'.

Are thier life insurace companies?

Yes. Premium life insurance is known as 'clone insurance'.

Are their unexplored, but charted areas of this sub sector?

Both the Hel and Mordor systems remain largely unexplored. As does the empty space between the major systems of the Sub-sector.

What is the scanning range of the average ship?

Simple detection at 50,000 km+. Limited details at 25,000 km, full scan at 10 km. Modified, of course, by the size and bearing of the target.

if a ship had no power but life support how close would the average ship need to be to dected it?

1250 km unless you figure out something to do with the heat you're giving off. More if they have a reason to be looking for you. Out to 50,000 km if they're really looking.

What about the scanning range of a ship with no main systems on?

By mk 1 eyeball alone? 1250 klicks give or take. Detecting someone with no major systems on is the same answer as the previous.

First Traveller Game; Report

The group met Sunday and we started by generating characters. I left my notes at home but in general we ended up with a merchant cum investigator cum scout, an ex cop, an ex pirate, a grizzled veteran mercenary (military adviser), a prior service navy ship's engineer's mate, and a former marine. The crew formed connections (and used the bonus skills to fill in gaps, not to raise skill levels), chose a package (starship operations I think), and voted on a captain (the multi-talented merchant marine).

Play began with the crew and their ship (at this point a plot device, I'm still fleshing out their ride) under arrest and impounded. Unbeknownst to them their used ship has a record of drug smuggling. A search turned up nothing and they were about to be released when the local Imperial Consul intervened. She had a problem and needed it dealt with, quietly and outside channels.

Her daughter had been recruited by a local cult which was under Imperial Interdiction (prohibited from prostelising beyond the local sector) which is plenty embarrassing for a diplomat. Also Dame Kusaragi is genuinely concerned for her daughter, and has suspicions about the cult (part of the reason she approaches outsiders is that she strongly suspects local authorities have been at least bribed to look the other way, if not worse).

The party begins an investigation that leads to an attempt to infiltrate the cult. Things go predictably awry when the (compromised) local police become aware of the Party's investigation. The captain and the ex-cop (pretend married couple converts) are kidnapped. the party manage to track them down by triangulating the signals from their ear-bud comms (quick thinking and good skill rolls, we got to try out the combined task and taking longer rules).

The Party then mounts a rescue attempt during which Murphy rears his head and things go predictably south. After some keystonish moments the party pulls it together and manages to rescue their comrads, extract the Dame's daughter, and collect valuable intelligence for the Imperium.

Good fun, big guns, explosions, and a crashed ship's launch.

04 September 2009

Traveller Campain Notes: subpart one

gameinthebrain has a great breakdown on the duties and functions of a hard(ish) SF starship bridge crew. Every Traveller worth his space-salt should read this. Go, and sin no more.

Traveller Campain Notes: part the third

Minor Races, Council Associates:

-Xyk'ti: The Mantis Men of Xyk are six limbed bipeds, giving them four arms for using tools. The lower pair is heavier and stronger, although much less dexterous. The Hive Worlds of the Xyk Cluster are metal poor, and heavily armed mercenaries represent the Hive Queens only export of note.

-Gnoph-keh: These hairy lizard-like creatures are also hexapods, but use four limbs for locomotion, which is the reason for their Solomani nickname of 'centaurs'. The Gnoph-keh head also sports a single curved horn like that of a rhinocerous, which is used in Gnoph-keh mating rituals. Their shaggy fur and thick armored hide with blubberous insulation are all evidence of the icyness of the plains of Gnoph and the coolnes of the star Ithaqa.

-Sleip'nir: The Sleipnir are one of the stranger races of the Councilor Species. A strange mix of wolf, panther, and spider, these eight legged pack hunters of the forrest world of Nir show a reversal of the common sexual dimorphology. The females of this species are larger and more agressive, while the males are smaller and also are equipeed with the pouches and milch glands for nuturing their marsupial young. The front pair of Sleipnir limbs are shorter, and the paws thereof are equiped with opposable thumbs for tool-use. Female Sleip warriors are often equipped with backpack like gyro-mounts for support weapons, the mount's servos being slaved to targeting reticles built into the Sleip's helmets.

-Yuglug: These five limbed bipeds are often thought to be the products of ancient genetic manipulations, but evidence is scant. Yuglug are possessed of three arms, one much larger than the other two. Their thick necks project foward from the main body instead of up, and their heads have jaws that open side to side like great bear-traps. Powerful reverse jointed and hooved legs give these scavenging opportunists great speed and the thick powerful tail gives them the balance to manuever quite freely.

-Drakkon: These hulking brutes quite resemble giant walking iguannas or komodo dragons. The Drakkon homeworld is considered a hell-world of the first order. Heavy gravity, crushing atmospheric preasure, massive radiation, large amounts of free heavy metals in the soil, and an ecosystem that resembles side of beef being fed to piranhas, everything eats everything else. Once freed from the prison of their hellish habitat by the Khai (always looking for new martial races to place under their Dominion) the Drakkon population exploded to incredible levels. Eventually leading to a period of chaos known as the Drakkon Emergency. The Khai eventually released a retrovirus that modified the Drakka's great fecundity and they are now a dying race.

Kra'ken: These malevolent murder machines resemble a nightmarish combination of octopod and squid made man-sized. One of the most independant of the Councilor Races, they are not so much clients of one of the Council Races, and more like eternal pains in the rear-end. Numerous and advanced enough to have been made a member of the council long ago the subject has never risen somehow. The Ken don't seem to mind, using their position inside the Councilor Association to almost monopolise galactic organized crime. It is said that one of a Kra'ken's ten tentacles is in any shady deal in the 'verse.

01 September 2009

Traveller Campain Notes: part the second

Major Races in my Taveller game. These species all are represented on the Galactic Council, the ruling body of known space.

Khai: A predatory species evolved from high gravity methane breathing arboreal crustaceans, the Khai are great hunters, warrior poets, and far-ranging starfarers. Often called Space-Vikings, humans also think they look like 'predators' or 'klingons' whatever those are.

Elder 'Hivers': These starfish like creatures of radial symetry are on of the oldest known species of the Councilor Worlds. So old in fact, that no one, not even the Hivers themselves, remember their home world. The main body is generally one or two meters tall, general about that in thickness, and slightly tapered towards the top and bottom. The bottom five tentacles or pseudopods are thicker and longer, mainly used for locomotion and feeding. The top five seem to be a strange combination of manipulative appendages and sensory organs. A great lamprey like mouth occupies the center of the bottom side of the barrel like body.

Yithians: The race of Yith are possessed of bodies like upside down cones or funnels at the bottom of which is a slug-like body-foot of mucus covered muscle. The cone is segmented, and it appears one can judge the age of the Yithian by the number of segments in his cone. Surmounting this cone are five appendages. The bottom two are arms that end in three armored crab like grasping 'fingers' capable of gently manipulating and savagely ripping with equal measure. The top three are trunk like necks, each holding a 'head' that has sensory, communication, and feeding functions. The 'brain' of the creature is protected within the armored cone of the body and a Yithian can both view 360 degrees at once and loose two of three heads without being impared over much.

Ae-Shi: One of the most humanoid of the major species, the Ae-Shi resemble ancient Terran legends about Fae, Elves, and Fair Folk, many believe the Ae-Shi visited old Earth in the past. Perhaps, but the Ae-Shi today are not talking about it. In form they resemble tall and lithely shaped human beings, with very large pointed ears and very tall skulls with high foreheads with over-large eyes, the back sides have bony growths. Their skin ranges from golden to silver to blues and greens, eye and hair colring similar. Most Ae-Shi are psions of some sort and their abilities are very advanced. Their society is divided into three castes; Worker, Warrior, and Priest, and also clans and bloodlines.

Reticuli: Another some what human like alien, the Reticuli in fact resemble stories of 'grey aliens' who supposedly abducted people in the late 1990's AD. Although the details differ greatly; for instance the Reticuli have reverse jointed legs, hooved feet, horn like protuberances on their heads, feeding probisci, stubby tails and hairy bodies. In fact some have taken to calling them 'fauns' after a creature of old Earth folklore. Like the Ae-Shi the Reticulans are also strongly Psionic, although Reticuli seem to use more psiotic amps and other augmentation.

Kthani: These methane breathers stay mostly inside their encounter suits to maintain ritual purity, but it is known that they are human-like in shape and that their mouth is surrounded by many prehensile tentacles while their compound eyes resemble those of some Earth insects.

Solomani: Much to the surprise of those from Terra, they weren't the first humans into space. Although only the Solomani (Men of Sol) have a seat on the council. The rest are clients or even slaves of other species.