Throughout the Expanse, humans are roughly the third most populous species after Celaderaka and Tarrhaidim. They are found in practically every rung of society. Many of them seem to occupy mid to lower-class positions nowadays with most of those higher up to have managed to hold onto their positions through connections and leeway with the changing rulership scenario. Their populations in some places even outnumber native alien species. A number exist in less fortunate regions and share this stigma though to a far less severe extent. This appears to correlate with how many other aliens they are living with as well the level of economic disparity experienced.
They are primarily associated with the UCL and to a lesser extent the Yrrkradian Dominion. Their numbers are greater in the former though they are beginning to even out with alien populations rising and emigration towards various neutral territories under economic stress. They utilize a growing though relatively mild level of augmentation in order to survive in increasingly unusual environments far from Earth’s boundaries. They have an association with both wealth and prominence as well as snobbishness in some corners due to the UCL being also prominent in terms of its scielto population. Meanwhile in the Yrrkradian Empire they are seen as hardy and stern though somewhat prone to rowdiness and inconsistent in terms of loyalty towards either the Emperor or the various warlords. They are growing in number among the Conglomerate though many of the aliens who comprise it have very mixed feelings on them due to their history of manipulation and conquest during the Helios Subjugation. In the Intransigence this is somewhat toned down due to its human populace having comprised a not insignificant number of the first to revolt against imperial masters.
Pronounced “tar-high-deem”. They are large bipedal organisms resembling rotted eyeless humanoids, covered in hardened fungoid growth. Maws full of jagged pointed formations noted for appearing to have rotted flesh. They are a fungoid-like organism, genderless and able to reproduce asexually on occasion or by combining large amounts of reproductive biomatter into communal “spawning globes”. They are capable of heavily modifying and selectively mutating their own biomatter and have an unusual tendency to "bolt" clothing, equipment, gear, and armour into their bodies. They are durable creatures with noted regenerative capabilities and the ability to survive on very little (think dirt, rotting wood, and sunlight). They are the most populous species of the Helios Expanse, the second-most in the Yrrkradian Empire, and their numbers are steadily increasing in both League and independent territories.
Their homeworld is unknown but some theorize they might not have had one but were simply scattered across the stars on spore-filled comets by some unknown planet-sized void-entity believed to be the so-called "Nexus of Teeth" (a colossal, revolting swirl of decomposing, regenerating mushroom-like biomatter filled with hundreds of tooth-like jagged protrusions) their religion worships. Many have emigrated as refugees out of the Helios Expanse to escape the conflicts resulting from imperial power games, moving to established nation-worlds or independent colonies. A massive number of them however comprise countless Expanse militias while they make up a growing number of Yrrkradian and Intransigence troops. They are somewhat unwelcome among the Conglomerate due to various prior conflicts between their species and those of its many lesser known alien ones. The League is gradually growing its number of them as it consolidates its number though many of these tend to be from leadership or more higher class backgrounds.
Throughout the more stable Helios worlds, many of them emigrated once from the less developed regions in the past but now roughly 50% of their populace lives in urbanized or agricultural zones, also comprising many of its armed forces. This is less so for those who have immigrated to independent colonies and the League, likely due to them disliking the way their species typically organizes itself. They have an above-average amount of etherealists often interpreting their powers through the lens of their esoteric religion, which has swelled to include an increasingly larger number of non-Tarrhaidim. It is said that while the Celaderaka might be better fighters on average, the Tarrhaidim usually create better leaders.
Visual References: https://ibb.co/album/5gJ580
Pronounced “vuh-rex-sull”. Massive and mysterious creatures that may not even be native to the known galaxy due to the ambiguity of their origins. They resemble enormous arthropods with dense carapaces bristling with cybernetics and integrated external biomass like living biomechanical juggernauts. They can move bipedally or on up to around 30 limbs. On average they are between seven and ten feet tall with a few species being around five foot six and a few rare specimens around 20. They are pioneers and leaders when it comes to augmentation and bio-technology “encoded” into their bodies, capable of morphing out of what seems like inert carapace and flesh. This is to the extent some of them are basically small habitats for performance-enhancing symbiotes and hidden integrated tools. In spite of being reminiscent of arthropods such as ground and rove beetles, decapods, myriapods, huntsman and wolf spiders, earwigs, crickets, and so on, their populations are not particularly large due to a variety of ground-up population controls. They do not have many etherealists but those that do so are renowned for their terrifying, uncomfortable powers. Attempts to externally install ethereal capabilities have seen only mixed results though their ethereal population is growing.
Their prominence on the galactic stage coincided with the heightening of tensions between the great powers, something that causes them to be viewed with great suspicion in some corners of the galaxy. Many of them united with the Dominion initially though the League found more of their lost hive ships, filled with thousands of cryogenically slumbering eggs. The Conglomerate however was very selective with which ones it would actually contact and their leadership seems wary of them for still unknown reasons. While their role in the ensuing interstellar conflicts is well known, what is often skimmed over is the fact that many vrexul did not pick a side. More than a few simply moved to independent colonies or remained wandering across the stars, occasionally moving into occupied spaces. Sometimes they were looking for quiet places to settle and others they were scouring for any signs of their enigmatic past. This has brought them into conflict with colonists, corporations, pirates, and the great powers even though they typically do not tend to stick around for long. They heavily concentrated in Intransigent space after the Reckoning of Empires which feeds fears of a potential pan-vrexul ideological movement. In fact, they are often the species most associated with it as it possesses the greatest number of hive ships.
They are less common than before in League space in the wake of the post-war riots, wherein vrexul hive ships demonstrated against the brutal violence forced against their Yrrkradian counterparts. These were violently suppressed in one of the darkest chapters of UCL history, contributing to a sharp drop in their vrexul population with mass death and exoduses. Some of their fleets are slowly returning to League space due to new freedoms and territories being granted to those that do. Many of those who stayed loyal to Yrrkradia would later form the elite cadres of its warriors even if it their numbers are not at pre-Reckoning levels. A number of smaller enclaves are located in the Helios Expanse but are well hidden subterranean cities, often attempting to avoid the messy politics of the region. They are not adverse to integrating into society as a whole though it is easier on independent colonial worlds beyond the Expanse as lately, they have grown a fearsome reputation due to the Assembly’s military involvement in the region. A large number of their fleets comprise the Frontier Solar Assembly to the extent that the enormous sapient cybernetic, biological, and ethereal cloudlike supercomputers they use hold leadership positions. Vrexul will often try to avoid fighting one another and in many corners, the idea of a pan-Vrexul alliance is gaining traction.
Vrexul references: https://ibb.co/album/PZFxpp
Pronounced “gee-ow-tee-rocked” with the "gee" pronounced like in "geese". These tall creatures evolved from some sort of eel-like creature, visually somewhere between the Chimera from the Resistance and the Elites from Halo. They are around six and a half to eight feet on average with powerful digitigrade legs, four eyes (two on each side of their bony ridged heads), long multi-jointed six-fingered arms, and slightly elongated heads thicker at the forehead and slimming downwards to powerful fang-filled mouths. Some species even have long lizard-like tails and others shorter additional arms that have retractable spines. All however have an eye-like organ called the speirfhaire
at the front of their brain capable of detecting ethereal presences though the extent to which depends on how well they have honed their skill. They have a very high number of naturally born ethereologists, coinciding with a baseline slight psycho-ethereal capability involving the ability to visualize an enormous series of extradimensional eel-like creatures in their dreams though some have found ways to remove this aspect from themselves.
They are the other alien race that comprises a large part of the Intransigence, having transitioned from nomadic high-tech tribes folk and feudalism to a sort of de-stratified classless enviro-collectivist society with even more technology albeit after a period of immense upheaval as they once stood poised to become a great power. Many attempted to influence the outcome of their conflicts by providing intelligence and material support to both and in the process, access their rich resources. They boiled into a schism with the species dividing between loose associations of tribes, now spacefaring, and the emergent kingdoms that a large part was simply integrated into the aristocracy and business-owning classes of the great hegemons. Many of the old feudalist royal families allied with either the Yrrkradians or League while the Conglomerate enjoys a mixture of both royalist and anarchic groups. The Intransigence meanwhile strongly prefers its more revolutionary, nomadic groups and they comprise a huge portion of their political and military power. They are the alien species associated with it the most after the vrexul. During the Reckoning, they developed a reputation for being excellent marksmen, scouts, and assault troopers. They were often used to fight the Vrexul as well though there is very little emnity between them.
Public perception of them is usually positive (relative to everyone else) though some find them arrogant or unintentionally dismissive. Many of them have a reputation as athletes and explorers; they are capable of great running speed and no other species is known to jump as high. Those in the League are seen as either bold freedom fighters who are honest and will not stop until they get the truth or egotistical clout-chasers always trying to curry favors with their betters. They have often been viewed as very outgoing and raucous folks if having some trouble or needless opposition to the complexities of a growing alliance built a large part on military unity. Yrrkradian ones are noted for being dour and prideful, grimly concerned with duty, and willing to endure much punishment and suffering for their aspirations on top of being very cold-blooded. Those with the Conglomerate are noted for being far less tribal, heathen, or otherwise traditional in their thinking due to the cyber-bureaucraticzed nature of the black cities.
Gealtirocht references: Gealtirocht References
Eerie creatures with semi-transparent vein-filled skin, tall and slender. They have a humanoid shape but sparse, featureless bodies with notably flat, shovel-like heads similar to planarians/flatworms devoid of visible eyes. They are similar to the XCOM2 sectoids but with more reserved, eerily calm features and retractable, wavey, tendril-like “wings” that emerge from their backs, in reality, lengthy nerve clusters attached to cartilaginous protrusions that naturally generate ethereal energy. Their “skin” looks more akin to highly stretched membranes and one can view their teeth and bones behind it along with any implants and even ethereal energy coursing beneath it along with their twisting almost darkly metallic and wood-looking bones. However, some do not have this skin either by choice or due to their subspecies. They are not very frail in spite of their racial stereotypes with tough self-mending bones. They come from worlds rich in ambient ethereal energy meaning they are all capable of flight if the concentrations are high enough or with certain augmentations if not, usually resorting to hovering if they lack ideal conditions. As expected, every scielto regardless of the particular species is an etherealist; practically born with ether within their bodies and able to manipulate it to an extent even before their births.
For a while the scielto were seen as the primary force of stabilization in the known universe with the Firmalazia Izradia having been seen as second only to Yrrkradia in its glory days in splendor. As such they were associated with haughty opulence and an intense pride in their culture and achievements. This frequently turned into chauvinistic tendencies though this was primarily viewed among its upper classes due to the heavy restrictions on the liberties of its working masses. They originally used to rule various gealtirocht worlds as lords, having colonized various worlds the species inhabited as well as once having owned countless tarrhaidim as slaves. The vrexul have records of them going back centuries where they often warred over control of distant systems while they often were old allies of praolzvnevatz nomad fleets. The celaderaka on the other hand were ambivalent towards them, knowing that when they showed up they were going to be involved in a war or an alliance geared towards one. Unztadtlige on the other hand taught them a degree of advanced technology but worsening Firmament and Yrrkradian relations put an end to this. They wanted to avoid being caught between either empire.
They have a reputation for being haughty aristocrats, either viewed with magical awe or with sneering disgust (or cold discomfort) depending on where you are. A large part of this is due to the fact that all of them are ethereologists with a reputation as “witch-folk” in some corners of space. A large number of scielto can be found in the middle to lower classes of most major population centres. Strangely enough, the "skinless" variants are common though most of them cannot fly for prolonged periods. They often live in tight-knit groups as workers and for some reason like to set up their settlements in large bodies of water as well as swamps. Some of them have small airborne bases but these are typically for the ultra-wealthy and viewed with either envious admiration or seething contempt by many of those below them regardless of species. Quite a few of them are known to work security enough that is a stereotype though statistically far more of them are found in manual labour, accounting, or various ethereal-related fields where there is typically a shortage of positions for the skills many of them were trained in.
Scielto References: Scielto References
Pronounced “oun-stad-lee-gah”. These organisms are essentially cyborg coral colonies; gestalt beings made of various networked organisms encased and optionally protruding from rocks with high metallic content. Contrary to popular belief, they are not hive minds with each colony being considered its own “state” and the actual states made of many individuals being considered by them massive confederations known as bergaverbandes (“mountain unions”)
. They are known for being master terraformers which have made them beloved in many corners of space. However, in recent years they have also grown a reputation for being ruthless mercenaries as well. They manifest in a variety of shapes from hulking four or two-legged robots to essentially anti-gravitational tanks amongst others. Etherealists are rare amongst them though some lineages have inherited specialized parasite-like organisms that essentially grant them such capabilities.
They come from regions that are mostly populated by independent worlds with most of them having left their world of origin as it is currently undergoing an incredibly large-scale environmental repair due to generations of heavy pollution. With no real outside interference, they spread to the stars and immediately became valued due to their skills not only in mining, repair, heavy industries, and conflict but most importantly, terraforming. While the Vrexul do have similar tech, the Unztadtlige have far more experience and a wider range. They are fairly committed to environmentalism in spite of their business-heavy culture, helping to introduce various "green" technologies across the stars though it was not really a surprise that larger numbers of Bergaverbandes are increasingly moving into League and Conglomerate territory. Many of these rocky alien alliances have begun turning their industrial capacity towards a massive armament campaign as well as one of increasing military output. To many in the League's military leadership, the unztadtlige are the equivalents of the towering vrexul or rather, their superiors in combat.
Unztadlige had actually moved into what was once Yrrkradian space years before the hostilities were at a notable level and frequently provided services to various guilds and members of the ruling classes. A number of them headed mechanics and engineering guilds with some even having leadership roles in the military. In the initial phases of the war, they comprised a large portion of the mercenary groups fighting and frequently were the heads of armor divisions for the Dominion. The end of the war did see many of these defecting to the UCL or revealing themselves to have changed allegiances covertly. Many did this to to acquire material and ideological support for a leg up on their rival bergaverbandes. A number however grew disillusioned with the amount of bloodshed and suffering the war brought and became independents or in a smaller number of cases, joined the Intransigence. They are seen as figures who while highly knowledgeable and capable, are narrow in their goals and rather cold towards others. In less urbanized and industrialized areas, they have a less cold reputation, often being active in agricultural programs and serving as the (not as literal) bedrock of many smaller communities especially in administrative and leadership roles.
Voidhangers are an offshoot of humanity with their origins in lost expeditions during the early days of interstellar travel. Many fleets were lost to the unknown in freak faster-than-light jump accidents or wandered into regions of space where the boundary between realspace where the Oneiric Chasm was far weaker. Countless lives were lost but in spite of the numerous mishaps, humanity survived and the unusual celestial forces at play forged them into something else entirely. Voidhangers still retain their humanoid appearance but have darker skin colours in shades including purple, blue, and grey and often more slender and sleek bodies. Their skin is partially transparent almost like the scielto and is occasionally capable of bioluminescence. Many have mutations that cause them to partially resemble certain plankton or jellyfish, manifesting as additional limbs normally used for void-borne travel. Elongated predatory skulls and mouthparts, sometimes no actual eyes as much as ocular-cellular patches over their faces, claw-fins emerging from their sides, even veils of membranous ether-bacteriological matter that shroud them - they are highly varied beings.
They spread out across large nomadic fleets, rarely staying in one spot for too long. Many of them are typically seen as pragmatic or skeptical towards interstellar politics beyond their own survival. This doesn't make them immune to propaganda but they have a reputation for being fickle in their political alignments and are best described as "neutral" in most cases. As hostilities increased across the stars, they found it difficult to navigate and frequently all but coerced into the fleets of the great powers. The outer expanses and independent colonies were hostile towards them due to there being concerns they could be foreign agents among the legitimate migrants. During the war, some of it would appear justified as they proved to be deadly ship-to-ship raiders and naturally worked well as infiltrators and guerillas, with a number of them winning worlds of their own in their service to both powers. A large number of their youth have been riled up with the Reckoning’s end as well as older nomad fleets and often live in the gray areas of the law. There are controversies that the ones that were allowed to settle were those willing to allow more foreign control over them which has steadily made a number of the youth turn over to various Black Cities and often serve as their elite vanguards and often most hardened supporters.
Wherever they are, they have a strong reputation as pilots, shipbreakers, cargo haulers, explorers, ether-manipulators, and other careers involving deep space or otherworldly powers. Some do see them as grubby and thieving, little more than parasites taking advantage of a vulnerable status but in other corners, they are romanticized as modern-day argonauts or swashbuckling adventurers. Due to the recent recruitment drive by the Intransigence, many have started being stereotyped as potential radicals to outright terrorists waiting to act. They are a somewhat romanticized people; with nowhere to truly call their own and evolved to live in the strange coldness of space, they are also seen as adventurers and noble swashbucklers, something that occasionally works to their benefit and isn't necessarily 100% divorced from reality. Many of them can come off as aloof and a large percentage still prefer to live outside of any known empire or even refusing to orbit the Frontier Solar Assembly.
Pronounced as “sell-ah-durrr-ah-kah”. Also known as lavabloods, the celaderaka are a species of bipedal creatures with flesh that appears to be made of a mixture of dried and solidified molten magma and darkly coloured and heavily charred muscle matter mixed with a kind of calcified bone-like material. Skeletal ridges frequently emerge from their back, shoulders, and arms often sharp or serrated. With mouths full of numerous pointed teeth and hands ending in four to eight fingered claws, they have an appearance as demonic as it is predatory. They descend primarily from rocky, mountainous worlds and arid landscapes, capable of living even in the borderline volcanic territory. By nature they are adept at climbing and navigating over rough terrain as well as digging and mining though contrary to some stereotypes, they are not immune to flames; only resistant though sometimes to an impressive degree. Many of them however have naturally occurring ethereal capabilities due to high concentrations in their homeworlds to the extent some are capable of naturally absorbing it. They tend to use a mixture of cybernetic and ethereal modifications with bioaugmentation being a fairly new field for them..
They were known for having been run by brutal warlords and loosely-aligned coalition groups in territorial conflicts spanning back to the last years of their pre-spaceflight era in spaces neighboring the southern end of the Helios Expanse. Many of these conflicts were primarily territorial and resource-based, with many of their original fuel sources having long since been exhausted, but as they spread across their worlds quickly became battles for raw power and control justified by any and all prior violence. Some celaderaka had formed smaller (relatively) less warlike kingdoms in future Yrrkradian territory like Chalgheol (the capital world) after having grown disillusioned with how things were going in their original planetary clusters. Krasavan Tagak Tergalarkan
, the Yrrkradian Immortal Emperor, is the most well-known. Many more came with him, finding new allies in the tarrhaidim tribes as well as the future foundations of the Dominion. Some of them still had ties to the petty warlords they had escaped but in the years to come, their desire to separate themselves from them would only intensify. Krasavan knew this well from the start and history would soon prove him correct.
For the longest time, they were seen as the face of the Empire and essentially were first-class citizens afforded certain rights others such as gealtirocht, humans, and the incredibly numerous tarrhaidim were not. The Yrrkradian leadership was once roughly 80% Celaderakan, now 60%. In the wake of the Reckoning, many of their homeworlds fell under League sphere of influence as well as a growing Intransigence number. Meanwhile, the Conglomerate has absorbed many of their mercenary units and independent warlords, attempting to hone them into an elite fighting core. Many of these groups have various old rivalries that can get violent though this is less so among those from the Intransigence and the Conglomerate.
The celaderaka are seen as a strict and harsh people with a borderline reactionary disdain for weakness, progression, and novelty that will stay the course regardless of the supposed moral haranguing of their critics and compatriots alike. This is primarily due to most media exposure of their kind being those of official junta-run channels and their specifically constructed public images of themselves. Many in the UCL see them as either an enslaved people kept in line by tyrants or little more than the true barbaric face of the Empire. The Intransigence is split as well. Some consider their regimes little more than glorified military buffer-states and others a true example of anti-colonial spirit. Others claim they have the same revolutionary potential as any other species but they must be given the conditions to truly unleash it first, even if a number of them are siding with the Conglomerate in the interests of their own survival and power.
The Empire of course has a very favourable view of them in its media but there is a growing tension against them as they are associated with highly traditionalist, hard-headed parts of the aristocracy. The Krasavan regime is supported by what they claim are moderate factions of them and thus has welcomed some of their older kingdoms from which they emigrated into their ranks while. The League claims to only work with the exiled governments for safety concerns and usually holds their Celaderakan allies up as examples of democratic liberalization and its virtues against brutal tyranny and cumbersome authority. The Conglomerate has revealed itself to be very popular not just with their diaspora but also various growing warlord alliances. They see the technocratic Black Cities as a potential new way forward for themselves, resulting in very close political and military ties.
In the Helios Expanse, they are a varyingly populous alien species and can be found in many of the same walks of life as the tarrhaidim and humanity. They have the largest refugee populace, primarily distributed to the countryside though before the war started was starting to become more populous in urban areas. This is due to them being associated with the turbulent and brutal regimes many of them escaped from. Many of them fill out the lower classes and are rarely viewed kindly unless by the military or certain dissident groups looking to recruit them into their ranks. A number of them have formed their own autonomous states in the mountains or deserts as well as nomad fleets or space stations. They can frequently be seen assisting and accepting those from the urban and agricultural regions. They are often associated with manual labor positions as well as bounty hunting, criminal activity, or working as contractors for military groups. It is known however that their militias are often the most dangerous given how many of them have a large degree of military experience from their old kingdoms.
Celaderaka References: https://ibb.co/album/svwtzC
Similar to the voidhangers, the praolznevatz are an offshoot of another species. In their case, they are distantly related to the vrexul though the exact nature of this remains unknown. While the vrexul represents a fairly wide range of arthropod species, the praolnznevatz are more limited, primarily resembling large deepwater shrimps, amphipods, and small planktonic crustaceans such as phronima and copepods. Both species grow to roughly the same sizes while being capable of bipedal or multi-limbed travel but what immediately becomes strikingly dissimilar is the fact that the praolznevatz are varyingly transparent with smoother carapaces, giving them a disturbingly wraithlike appearance. This is due to them being the only known species that can live within areas where unreality overlaps reality, capable of naturally generating and absorbing dangerous foreign energies. They can fly in areas where the ether concentrations are high enough or hover if they are not sufficient. Their physical senses are not as well developed as their more materially-dwelling counterparts but they are naturally highly adept at detecting, identifying, and analyzing unearthly energies with many of them in spite of their sapience inheriting predatory instincts.
It is unknown when exactly they branched from their more corporeal counterparts but they are often associated with tales of ghostly beings speaking the same language and utilizing similar technology. In spite of this, they were never actually a hidden species as much as a somewhat reclusive one, often serving a client role to the great hegemons but in particular frequently working with the Black City Conglomerate. A sizeable portion of them can be found in high ranking positions with a few smaller black cities functionally run by these aliens. Their expertise in shipbuilding, maintenance, but also ethereal technology made them highly sought after though they were aggressively independent to the point of guarding their secrets closely. This is something they shared with the unztadtlige bergaverbandes and to an extent various nomadic gealtirocht groups. In the four years after the Reckoning of Empires, a growing number of them have begun leaning more towards the Intransigence in spite of somewhat cold relations between them and the vrexul, something that often manifested as both staying out of one another’s way. It is known that a few praolznevatz run black cities run host a notable League or Dominion contingent, suggesting they are hardly united in therms of allegiances.
Species Loadout Guide
Humanity is usually closest to the classic ideas of space marines in popular science fiction, military or otherwise. They tend to typically wear partially powered armour to larger full on exoskeletal suits and with the proliferation of augmentation technology, even backwater colonial militias can usually afford to use a number of usually cybernetic but recently fairly regulated biological augmentation tech to help close the gap between humanity and the often far more powerful alien species. The specifics of how they are armed, augmented, trained, and otherwise made combat ready can vary wildly given how often humans appear throughout all five factions. They are most well established in the UCL where their fully encasing armour, striking blue visors, and large electro-propellant rifles have made them an image both respected and feared across the stars.
Elsewhere however they tend to prioritize lighter semi-powered armour, something the League is recently doing to cut down on costs and open up new strategic avenues. Usually the weaker protection is compensated by upgrades such as specialize hidden ports that synchronize with one's own augmentations, partially biological construction allowing for additional weaponry and unique upgrades, and even void-evoking enchantments that can both protect from and enhance ethereal powers. Humans usually fight in tightly coordinated squads with very specific roles, sacrificing individual versatility for unified group readiness against a wide range of scenarios.
Humans typically are not as heavily augmented as other aliens, keeping the majority of their enhancements under the skin. They are more likely to use armour that has heavy additional features such as weaponry, scanners, and hardpoints but those aligned with the FSA are considerably less adverse to extensively enhancing their bodies. Typically human armed forces in League space will go for just a few specific upgrades to bodily capabilities while the Assembly will be more extensive. Some of them can generate bone-like armour around their bodies as well as having additional organs capable of storing excess ether, putting these post-humans on a level not far from certain alien species.
The Empire is considerably less regulated about this beyond a few of its absorbed military forces and while this means many of its augmentations are performed under less than ideal to outright dangerous conditions, it has resulted in augmented humans at once more ghoulish and freakishly powerful than their baseline counterparts elsewhere. Human ethereality is not as well studied as it is for other races but they seem to prefer a wide range of spells typically focused on a mixture of offence and defence that may not excel in one particular area but do allow them to rapidly respond to threats quite quickly, relying moreso usually on weaponry, tactics, and armour as opposed to supernatural might.
The tarrhaidim are not far from humans in some ways in terms of choice in weapons, tactics, and gear which results in them often working well together. Where they differ are in a number of specifics. The tarrhaidim are usually associated with being less high-tech and used to fighting as guerillas, something that is consistent with their history of civil wars and asymmetrical combat against one another and larger hegemonic forces. Their weapons however tend to have ruggedness and high calibre power in the place of high tech construction, typically adopting the Yrrkradian guideline of versatile as well as easily void-touched weapons. They are known to bolt their armour into their own bodies, often associated with lighter synthetic armour but a number of groups are not adverse to specialized mutagenic armour partially grown from their own bodies or specialized battlesuits that use their own internal worm-ridden biologies to power themselves.
Although they are not extraordinarily fast or strong, many of them use exoskeletal frames around their arms and legs to boost their speed and strength, making them a force that can move quite quickly while lugging around heavier weapons without too much trouble though not often to the extent of professional power armoured forces in terms of physical capability. They have a reputation for their skill in explosive traps, crew served weapons, long range skirmishing, and combat in rural areas.
As fungoid masses, the tarrhaidim are usually host to a variety of organisms (primarily fungoid of vegetation) which perform various functions within their bodies. Militarily, this means that they have so many differing internal components that it's sometimes hard to tell what is an augmentation and what is some sort of vegetation or creature that lives within as a regulatory component. This does not stop them from loading up often heavily on augmentations of all sorts though what they are able to afford tends to depend on market or logistical conditions. It is to the extent a number of them will appear as either wired-up semi-metallic cyborgs, living lanterns emitting a surreal aura, or shadowy and overgrown monstrosities.
They focus primarily on survival typically; enhancing their healing, functional organ redundancies (occasionally with actual organs or organisms), power conservation and rapid-photosynthesis tech, but it is not uncommon to see more rough bodily modifications such as reactive plating, targeting beams, and even a few weapon systems burrowed into their bodies. Their etherealism is linked heavily to their faith and tends to come in the form of strange worm-creatures summoned rom beyond as well as strange frothy mossy growths, typically focusing on ravaging the enemy with these disruptive annelid predators or creating deceptively powerful barriers as well as partially blurring realspace with strange fluids injected right beneath its surface. While they aren’t necessarily more durable than the unztadtlige or vrexul, they can sometimes sustain injuries including decapitation and being chopped in half and regenerate lost biomass faster than any other species.
As the second largest of the listed species, the vrexul are rivalled only by the unztadtlige in terms of raw power. As befitting of their powerful bodies, they are typically outfitted in such a way they resemble smaller mecha in terms of the raw degree of firepower at their disposal. For example, the most well known vrexul weapon is an "assault rifle" known as the hellhammer which has its origins as an autocannon originally mounted on the automatons used to guard their larvae during their exodus. As a rifle, it is no less fearsome, firing armour piercing high explosive shells with semi-biological electro-thermal chemical mechanisms, feared throughout UCL space for its destructive power. Their armour is layered over and partially integrated into their own carapaces, interlinking with complex networks of augmentations, offering impressive protection and enhanced physical capabilities. They are known to employ directional energy shielding, highly durable and capable of being fired through. While it does only protect from a single direction, they combine this with either ruthless covering fire advances or entrenching themselves into tough spots, getting under their enemies' skin with their further increased survivability.
They often carry a number of additional weapons encoded into their bodies or their armour, typically intended for shorter ranges or specialized purposes such as light artillery and anti-vehicular engagement. In spite of their arthropod nature, the vrexul do not often deploy in enormous numbers themselves, often commanding large groups of half synthetic half biological automatons that fulfill various other roles in combat, tying up enemies and helping to provide additional harassment and pinning fire while larger and more heavily armed vrexul viciously attack the toughest enemies or entrench themselves to weather enemy onslaughts.
With the most advanced augmentation capabilities, the vrexul carry an impressive amount that go beyond merely just enhancing their baseline physicality. Integrated multifunctional tool-limbs, various drone-organisms they can control nesting in their bodies, ethereal-radiation absorbing ether-shock glands - they are living armouries not just in terms of weaponry but their complex additions to their towering forms. These vary wildly from vrexul to vrexul, typically based on their personal preferences, but outside of the Intransigence, they are known to work more "conventional" technologies into their carapaces giving them a bit of a slightly mix-and-match appearance. The most common augmentations are extra arms or legs, frequently used to assist with movement, close quarters combat, and handling multiple weapons (sometimes said limbs will morph into said weapons).
Recently, many have taken to specialized sub-brains that help them with keeping track of multiple objects, locations, and entities. Etherealists are not very common amongst them though that number is steadily growing. Those that they do have are protected and tend to have a near legendary status amongst friend or foe, rupturing the air with foul otherworldly miasma to overwhelm defensive positions, shrouding their allies in fields of transparent void-shells from gunfire, or causing wild flailing arthropod limbs drenched in unearthly light to emerge from thin air, tearing and flailing away at shocked foes. Those who possess not only said void-borne abilities and have been infested with their strange biocomputer-clouds are an even higher magnitude of power, respected and feared as supernatural infantry-dreadnoughts.
As relatives of the vrexul, the praolnevatz do not kit themselves out too differently from their gnarlier cousins. They are not as physically powerful and their carapaces do not have the same protective capabilities. In spite of being even more alien, they are compatible with many of the same upgrades and gear but they differ in that they tend to work far more with ethereal-oriented loadouts and direct energy weapons. As they are all naturally etherealists, they focus less on the controlled mutagenics of their brethren and instead on their unearthly powers. The vrexul have sledgehammer power and stalwart ruggedness while the praolznevatz choose obfuscating movement and overwhelming eldritch energy.
This has led to some interesting technology building off of their own homegrown creations synthesized with those of the rest of the pact. The most common of these are direct-energy weapons that can tap into their users own ethereal reserves, allowing them to condition and reshape the nature and effects of their gunfire. They also use a number of shield generators that also can network with their supernatural biologies, something that even extends to the cyborg minions that accompany them into battle though they do not deploy them in as large of numbers as their more corporeal companions might. In battle, they are typically deployed to tie up, confuse, and stop enemy advances in their tracks with their numerous supernatural abilities capable of throwing even the most barbaric of onslaughts into chaotic disarray.
Praolznevatz augmentations are as varied as those of the vrexul but typically focus almost entirely on their void-inclined biology, making them more of nests of ghosts rather than nests of insects in how this appears. This usually comes in the form of various ethereal augmentations; "spells" that are not cast but embedded into their transparent, occasionally luminous bodies that make them appear as living snapshots of the monstrously arcane, occult depths. Esoteric text in their borderline incomprehensible language, arranged in forms that make the characters look like living, twitching limbs can be seen if you look close enough but those are not the only things imbuing them with power - they are living temples to powers not of this world.
A number of void-dwelling creatures have been domesticated or genetically modified to nest in their bodies and can often be seen moving about within, serving as additional organisms, repairing major damages, or increasing the potency of their unearthly skills. In combat, this occult mastery manifests in powerful projectile bombardments capable of putting even heavy armour under alert while the praolznevatz dash forward with chilling speed, disrupting electronic and ethereal scanning with the ripple-waves they send. Their shots ravage enemies with hungry, carnivorous power devouring armour and flesh as they unleash large concentrations of this deadly intensity within fairly short time frames, falling back and leaving enemies shattered in their wake. The effect it can have on morale is sometimes greater than its practical effectiveness.
Demonic in appearance and with a reputation for militancy, the celaderaka, whether by the most barbaric or noble examples of their kind, are always prepared to fight regardless of how high or low tech their equipment is. Celaderakan armour is tough and form fitting, in many cases mistaken for their already rocky almost shell-like flesh when in reality it is partially built into it in a way similar to the vrexul. Much of their weaponry while well crafted is fairly simple at heart, simply being power slug-flinging guns or high output direct energy options, well adapted for combat in mountainous regions with long range and good controllability. They excel in particular with far more close combat options than most, having very well developed melee weapons built into their suits or even attached to their feet and legs whether they are blades, claw sheaths, or specialized force-projectors that send shockwaves into whatever they smash.
They are known to even use grappling hooks modified to be whips, ending with cruel curving blades capable of being used to swing about or slice enemies from a distance. They are known for their excellent shotgun designs, melding tight spread clusters with ripping flechette payloads sometimes capable of phasing through shielding whether purely energy or even ethereal. This has led to a reputation of them being excellent at assaults and boarding action, both true, but they are no slouches in fighting over rough terrain over longer ranges either.
Their augmentations primarily focus on durability and aggression, from adrenal stimulant glands and regenerative nanomachine nests to ether absorption modules and sensors designed to detect enemy melee motions up close and alert the brain immediately. They do not tend to augment themselves as heavily though there has been a trend lately of going full cyborg, popular among mercenaries and army veterans. The process is both expensive and stressful on top of not being properly standardized or regulated. Most of them choose to usually link their armour to their bodies then load them up with joint-based servos to increase speed and striking power.
They have a good number of etherealists who either focus on helping to move around their allies with short range teleportation or straight up launching or boosting their movement capabilities. They are not slouches around direct combat, sending beams of ripping unearthly lightning and voidborne blasts, fairly blunt in these fields but often using these powers to cover for their comrades, emphasizing inelegant blunt force power just as their more physical methods would. The most well known of their ethereal skills is gathering enough ether at a certain location then violently detonating it; a very simple skill but one that has forced enemy armour to clumsily move out of position and into the path of anti tank missiles or entrenched bunkers to turn into blast-ridden mortuaries.
Heavenly beings at once fascinating and unsettling, the scielto boasted the most advanced technology for years and while they may have more contesting them for that slot, it's not hard to imagine why they may have the lead. Scielto armour is as artistic as it is functional, elaborately draping them in almost sculptured plated layers that can reshift and alter shape partially to better protect and fit. Specialized ether-generators on board resonate with their own natural stores of otherworldly power, making even baseline soldiers far more deadly. Shield generators can be infused with their own ether-currents and even weaponized to launch powerful shockwaves, turning the defensive into the offensive in the flick of a thought. Just as importantly is the ability of their armour to work with their ether-neural uplink implants and to assist in communicating with the large groups of automatons the scielto command into battle.
They are similar to the vrexul in this sense though they are far more loath to spill their own blue blood, preferring armies of machines that serve as conduits for their ether currents, empowered by their mere presence like armies of disciples renewed by godly blessings. Yet one should not expect them to be found wanting for individual combative power. Outside of their ethereality, the scielto pack a variety of cutting edge armaments, capable of firing ether-propelled luminescent spikes, bombs containing exploding into scaled down void-storms, and flocks of target-homing energy bolts. Combined with the ability to fly in ether-heavy environments and to hover elsewhere, they are fearsome to face regardless of the area.
The scielto are skeptical of most augmentations with a few key exceptions, disliking biological ones mostly on cultural and religious grounds. After all, is not their usage something that makes one have more in common with lesser species and their weak, foul bodies as opposed to divine perfection of the sky-chosen? Granted, the influence of humanity and changing social standards have gradually diminished the stigma but the scielto typically choose those which amplify their own power, emphasizing vast stores of energy and the ability to manipulate their ether when cast as if by a divine hand.
They are especially fond of those that assist them in "stacking" augmenting auras on top of one another, melding or overlapping otherwise conflicting streams of energy as well as specialized "tracer" augmentations that allow them to better sense target positions by their void-signatures, making them excellent for bombarding at further ranges. Each scielto is a painter with unearthly powers as their materials but the forms they take are as majestic as they are terrible to behold or receive. They are known for sending powerful directed waves of destructive power across the battlefield, capable of taking down whole squadrons, and sending lashing, twisting, serpentine beams of power to ravage wide swathes. Attempts to retaliate meet multiple defensive barriers manifested from within their casting range, covering the ruthless advance of their robotic forces. Forces that can sometimes turn into living void-bombs or be used to launch ethereal spells from directly, making even minor machines major threats under the right circumstances.
As living fortresses of armour, rock, mutated coral, and complex cybernetics, the unztadtlige can carry more and heavier armour and artillery than most vrexul. Their bodies do not often resemble single animals as much as entire partially robotic coral reefs and due to that, they are loaded out closer to armoured vehicles. Unztadtlige typically have layered composite armour out of which a number of multi-limbed tendrils, gun turrets, launcher ports, drone launch bays and so on can be seen. They often move using a number of anti-gravitational emitters hidden within their bodies. Alternatively multiple legs, treads, wheels, or even a combination of these will do. Their armoured shells contain a number of self repair mechanisms from nanobot networks to partially cybernetic symbiote creatures within bioengineered to naturally maintain them, even shield generators in some cases when they can afford them.
Weaponry includes normally crew served heavy machine guns, typically AFV mounted autocannons, and even smaller howitzers among others but a number of more fearsome options are also typically visible. Living explosive projectiles that fly or crawl after targets, high output short range beam projectors, and realspace tearing transgressor cannons, capable of creating rifts into more arcane dimensions, have given them the reputation as the most well armed of all known species. Augmentations are an odd issue; they sometimes do not really need them as their complex bodies have so many differing living components that they are redundant or will often affect a single part of themselves. That hasn't stopped relatively younger ones from trying out all kinds, typically using them to enhance the performance of their living internal maintenance organisms, combat bio-drones, and coral-like turrets. They seem to struggle with making ethereal augmentations extensively affect their entire bodies due to their gestalt consciousnesses but do have more success with a number of recently tailor-made biological and cybernetic options.
The unztadtlige do not often deploy in species-specific squads, often working to support the armour and infantry of other races for whom their services are frequently requested. When their bergaverbandes do enter the battlefield, they typically work with long range mobile bombardment, cleverly harassing infantry and light armour caught in the open while drawing and maneuvering true heavy armoured targets into deadly crossfire positions. Their immense power has not gotten to their heads and while some of them can grow to the size of actual tanks, they are known to be more cunning than they are tyrannical on the battlefield. While they are not necessarily the most mobile or quick to respond, their high endurance and ability to outshoot the enemy will make even experienced mech divisions take caution when forced to engage.
Their lower numbers of etherealists means that their powers are usually not as well understood or standardized as they are elsewhere. It is known that many of them use their ethereality less so to enhance their strengths but rather to cover their weaknesses. Many unztadtlige etherealists tend to use abilities involving short range shockwaves to knock back enemies, momentary visual obscuration via realspace tears, and sudden bursts of disorienting power to diminish enemy accuracy that are nowhere near as lethal as their mounted guns. Truly destructive casting is not unheard of, with some reputed to summon storms from the Oneiric Chasm itself and others supposedly able to call forth creatures from the void more easily than others though accurate reporting on these is difficult to find given how secretive the unztadtlige are on this field.
Being a subspecies of humanity, the Voidhangers are not often armed and armoured particularly differently. Oftentimes both species will use many of the same weapons, tactics, and equipment but voidhangers do differ in a number of ways. The most obvious is how much of their armour tends to have stronger life support systems and special sealants, often placing a bigger emphasis on allowing them to recover from fire but also enhancing and boosting their own ethereal abilities. This allows many of them, even if they are not etherealists, to nonetheless generate or absorb ether into fields around themselves and have specialized void-mechanisms in their armour launch, manipulate, store, or even convert the ether into other energy sources. More mutated voidhangers can sometimes have special ports and weapons used to let their additional limbs exit or network with additional organs, granting them a number of additional advantages in combat whether in terms of hunting down, negating, or firing upon their enemies.
They are known primarily as boarding action, urban combat, and close quarters specialists along with infiltrators, snipers, and rangers. Much of their weaponry prizes higher rate of fire or precise accuracy regardless of it being ethereal, energy, or solid rounds. They tend to take a number of "homebrewed" weapons as well, usually capable of spraying otherworldly energy like flamethrowers, electrocuting targets with void-touched power, and guns firing poached abyssic parasites capable of tearing into armour or bleeding open the ether-stores of etherealists. Automatic shotguns, personal defence weapons, anti-materiel (and anti-immaterial) rifles, and carbines are their most iconic weapons. This is to the extent the most popular action movies almost exclusively depict them using only four weapon types with compact PDW's being the most common and stereotypical even with many nomad fleets slowly branching out into larger weapons for their armed forces.
The augmentations of these nomads intersect with humanity's but they prefer ethereal ones more frequently, sometimes for religious, spiritual, or occult reasons but primarily due to the fact that storing a supernatural matrix on your person is less bodily intrusive than cybernetics or additional organs. This isn't to say the latter are out of the question but due to their more particular biologies and often weaker immune systems, they are harder to make work. Regardless, they tend to take augmentations that boost their speed, perception, and reaction time, making them ghostlike and difficult to track on the field. Their ethereal powers only add to their mystique, specializing in stunning or disorienting enemies with flashbang like spells, momentarily overloading the foes in harmful ethereal waste byproducts, even possessing void-signature jammers that can make them vanish from scanners or flood them with faulty readings.
Offensive abilities usually come in the form of bursts of void-bolts or even outright explosive globs, typically summoning them within a large radius rather than directly from their bodies so they can attack from unexpected angles. They are particularly well known for using their short "jumps" into the abyssic plane where they can quickly absorb a large amount of ether around them and violently expel it when exiting, blowing apart even unztadtlige armour in some cases making them especially deadly when they flank into cramped areas.
Don't be fooled by their tribal nature; the gealtirocht were anything but primitive and if anything, were one of the first races to achieve interplanetary travel. In spite of being allies of the grotesque and brutish looking vrexul, these eel-folk look little alike beyond being nearly as tall. Gealtirocht armour is smooth and often lacking in edges, adding a bit more bulk to their appearance yet having an almost sculptured look in spite of the darker lines and a few choice angular sections. It's deceptively tough and tends to come with advanced movement capabilities, capable of boosting their sprinting speed and jumping heights to absurd levels. With this armour, some gealtirocht can catch up with speeding vehicles and others are capable of jumping high enough to grab onto low flying aircraft given how much it empowers their mighty digitigrade legs. That's not all their armour can do: cyber-ethereal ocular mounts link with their third eyes to give them some of the most advanced dual-system scanning capabilities of any soldier while their anti-grav booster packs, fast-regenerating armour-hugging shields, and hidden energy blades allow for them to be tenacious and always within range to attack.
Gealtirocht weapons are precise over long distances, prizing accuracy and piercing power almost like the the UCL's forces but focused moreso on concentrated lasers and hyper-accelerated rounds (utilizing reactions between chemical and energy sources to cause a round's extreme speed as opposed to gauss or rail systems from the League). It is to the extent that many regiments still do not even use automatic weapons as their primary firearms, preferring semi-automatic choices with a good deal of precise shot placement as well as frequent options to charge up their shots allowing them to pierce thicker armour and even threaten lighter vehicles with just baseline infantry. This isn't to say they are adverse to close quarters weapons or more bluntly destructive choices. Many of them have grown to respect the power of deadly close range hand-held energy weapons that can rapidly spray down targets with plasma globules while shoulder mounted missile pads let them rain sidewinding energy-warhead hell onto multiple targets or concentrate it onto tougher ones. They are also known for employing powerful lances with deadly disruptor blades, capable of ripping apart even fully armoured scielto, doubly so when void-charged.
Inside and outside of the Empire, the gealtirocht are known for being masters of blazing fast attacks. Few are as mobile as they are whether with vehicular support or not. They can be pinning down squads and blowing open the torsos of high value targets one minute before rapidly closing in with overwhelming fire from multiple angles the next. They coordinate with one another quite sharply to achieve multiple firing angles and aren't afraid to fly or simply leap through the air for precise snap-shots, near constantly putting on the pressure on targets from great ranges. This is assisted by a large group of dedicated etherealists, utilizing their powers to drown and flood hostiles with the heathen fury that has become their calling across the stars. Serpentine conjurations of eel-like power surge out of portals cast around them, smashing through hapless targets while those who scatter are blown apart by lances of light carrying concentrated shards of ether particles. If that is enough, they are not averse to summon dreadful otherworldly predators resembling either large horrific amphipods or ghost shrimps bristling with spines and razored claws or no less monstrous combinations of transparent, eldritch eel or shark like conjurations brought forth to ravage the enemies in a demonic rage.
Augmentations are moderately commonplace amongst them, growing in popularity with their friendship to the vrexul and the praolznevatz. Most of theirs are fairly plain by the standards of other races, preferring upgrades to strength, endurance, durability, and speed which has only made them even stronger. A number focus on finding ways to take their pagan mysticism and speirfhaire organs and unite them with the cutting edge in self-enhancement. This has resulted in a number of cutting edge half pagan half neo-occultist augmentations that allows them to create auras amongst themselves and friendly gealtirocht, improving their ethereal power and performance of their cranially-hidden eyes. They can also even use their speirfhaires to guide certain projectiles if given cybernetic targeting modules, something that also compliments bio-parasites that allow some to take once vestigial bony growths into launchable spikes, that if given certain retractable firearm like railings can slice right through a celaderaka's armour and pin them to a wall or floor. While the practice is frowned upon in some circles, others have been known to take specialized drug synthesizing augmentations that allow them to enter a heightened state of both aggression and concentration, capable of even affecting their ethereal capabilities and speirfhaire usage to be even more potent though there are concerns about its effects on their health.