Sathar - Universal Empire [Imperial Lord]

Imperial Lord's Sathar Document

I have always preferred a simple campaign... So I enjoy the simplicity of the Sathar and their pure evil.

I don't have Zebulon's, but I have read it. I like the new equipment and skills, but I am not too hot on the new races and certainly DO NOT like the way that the Second Sathar War came out, so I have taken a somewhat different path. Anyway - some thoughts about the Sathar.

After the capture of the obsolescent Assault Carrier by heroic Boarding Party actions of a joint UPF/Clarion Militia operation, research has revealed some fascinating details of the Frontier's great nemesis: The Sathar.

The Sathar are an ancient race, somewhat older, even than the Yazirians. There was no contact with anyone, no Cliks or Klooks or anything else.

Their history, much like Earth's, has been one of extreme violence. However, tragically, any Sathar clans that renounced violence or anything other than development of the Universal Empire were annhilliated by the clans which now rule it. The remnants of these ancestors are mere lower caste slaves.

The Empire is divided into three distinct castes: Upper 1% of the Sathar population are the ruling caste. They, linked now to a Supercomputer, make all of the decisions in the Empire. Their control is total - from the Middle Castes by will, and the Lower Castes by force.

The key biological trait of Sathar are their vast reproductive rate: an average female can have 10 to 20 offspring. In the struggles for power through the centuries, the Sathar people have become thoroughly brutalized, and life means very, very little to them. Alien life means absolutely nothing to them (more on this later).

To maintain their grasp on power, the Upper Caste grants great privileges and opportunities for the Middle Caste Sathar, which are about 9% - 15% of the population, as determined by the Upper Castes and the SuperComputer. The vagaries of disease and battle necessitate a flexibility towards the maintenance of a solid Middle Caste.

Middle Caste Sathar perform all technical duties in the Empire. They comprise all of the scientists, administrators, military officers, and ship crews are all populated by Middle Caste Sathar. They are not subjected to the same amount of mental and chemical interference as the Lower Caste Sathar. Plus, they are driven through centuries of conditioning that their place in the Empire is vital and they must perform it until death.

Lower Caste Sathar are a sad bunch. They are the vast majority of the 30 Billion Sathar population. Everything is strictly controlled by the Upper and Middle Castes. Reproduction is closely monitored, with all Lower Caste newborns taken for "Processing" at the numerous Processing Centers around the Empire. Not all newborns survive. All never see their parents again.

From evidence gathered in the historical archives in the captured Sathar computer, all manual labor tasks are handled by these slave-Sathar. They come out of the Processing Centers totally brain-washed. This then gets reinforced by culture, brutalization, propaganda, subliminal messages, and drugs.

Newly processed Lower Caste Sathar are delivered into Labor Units. Raw labor backs up machines and robots to construct and maintain the infrastructure necessary to create and maintain an interstellar Empire. Some Labor Units are taught simple skills with certain machinery. Many millions are drafted into the Army, to be used in wave attacks. They are given laser rifles, a clip or two, and are sent charging into battle.

Lower Caste foot soldiers are totally expendable. Their Middle Caste officers attack accordingly. Lower Caste Sathar are little better than cattle. Their slaughter is sometimes regarded by the Upper Castes and the Supercomputer as positive population control!

The only thing lower than a Lower Caste Sathar is an alien. All aliens are viewed in one of two ways - either they are primitive, and thus will be used as slaves, or they are advanced, and must be killed. There is no negotiation.

Slaves are taken and put into the most dangerous work - usually the mining of radioactive materials. Others grow the insects that the Sathar use as food on huge biofarms. Leadership, soldiers, scientists, and anyone else in the captured society that might be a threat are all killed.

In their explorations, the Sathar have only encountered the Frontier as a society with improved technology to their own, and only slightly. Plus, the Sathar have superior Astrogational ability, as they have been able to mask their comings and goings through the void to attack the UPF planets. They feel that the Frontier is just an obstacle to their continued expansion. Hydrogen and Neutron bombs are all that await for the Federation Planets. H-bombs on cities, and Neutron bombs near valuable resources so they can be later exploited. That is the model from the First Sathar War and Sathar goals in terms of the Frontier remain the same. Total destruction.

The Sathar worship a war-god which is used to give the Middle Caste and Upper Caste Sathar a sense of purpose. The war-god also is used to convey messages to the Lower Caste, who are so brain washed and drugged out that they completely obey, believing that their great God is commanding them. The message of their God is very simple - Conquer the Universe!

The Clan X and Clan Y rivalry is very real. In the old days, these two super-clans were the two coalitions that came out on top of the centuries of warfare on the Sathar home planet. With the help of the Supercomputer, these two senior clans developed a universal Empire to govern their race, with a negotiated power-sharing agreement. The Supercomputer was constructed by both Sathar clans to help negotiate the final power-sharing agreement.

This enlightened moment allowed a settlement of the Great Wars. The Upper Castes of Clan X and Y then put in place their system for collective scientific, industrial, and military power. Upper Castes Command (aided by the SuperComputer, not influenced by Clan loyalties or rivalries). Middle Castes execute the commands of the Upper Caste. Lower Caste Sathar obey.

My campaign takes place between the two wars, so that lets us dodge a lot of the weird stuff in Zeb's. Four PC races is enough for me. Plus I like to throw in the Memhne (sp?) and the Eorna because those guys are pretty cool - but only as NPC races.

I think this Sathar template is a decent base upon which to build, and I can always have various UPF research "breakthroughs" reveal information about the Sathar as I figure it all out. My dream is to have some sort of Final Campaign that includes the invasion and destruction of the Sathar Empire...

The Sathar have pretty much genetically "maxed-out" themselves. That is to say, they do not really benefit any more from improvements to their DNA and genome. They continue to try on Lower Caste Sathar, but every attempt has led to horrible deaths among the wretches taken for these gruesome experiments.

However, as anyone who has played this game knows - the Sathar have done VERY well in the manipulation of OTHER species DNA. Hence, you have such legendary monsters as Cybodragons, QuickDeaths, Slithers, and many other nasty critters.

They are subject to diseases as any other species is. In fact, they are rather more susceptible than others. Again, this is not really viewed as a *bad* thing, as long as Middle and Upper Caste Sathar have the best medical care possible.

Old age among Lower Caste Sathar does not happen. When they lose about 20-30% efficiency due to older age, they are killed by the State. Only Middle Caste and Upper Caste Sathar have the priviledge of long, natural life and death.

more on the Castes...

Lower Caste Sathar are strictly grunts - maybe some experienced survivors are promoted to Corporal. Of course, in Sathar society place in the military is identical to place outside the military so their crappy rank would serve to mirror their crappy status in general. Totally expendable.

Middle Caste Sathar are the senior noncoms and officers except the Captaincy and Admiralty. All starship Captains, Generals, and Admirals are Upper Caste Sathar. The Middle Caste are toadies, but they have a great deal of pride due to their programming, brutalization, training, religion and culture. Service to the Empire is very much "in their blood" and they serve proudly until death.

The Upper Caste Sathar give the Middle Caste many privileges and opportunities. They do their best to keep the Middle Castes happy, which only increases their already fantatical loyalty. Thus, the Middle Castes get the Imperial indocrinations from the same brainwashing and drugs as the Lower Castes, but then they get it from a whole ADDITIONAL direction in terms of the pride that they feel for their status within the Empire! The Upper Caste does an all out assault on their minds (positive and negative forces in play) to assure their loyalty. They are totally locked in.

But, of course, the Middle Castes have a "glass ceiling" which they totally accept as "the way it is". There are plenty of Middle Caste First Officers in the Sathar Fleet, for example - but never a Captain, and there never will be. But again, this is compensated by the mega-high status that a Sathar gets in society for even being the lowest crewmember on a Sathar vessel! (Every single crewmember on a Sathar ship is at least Middle Caste - these hugely expensive tools of the Empire are not to be entrusted to Lower Caste morons!)

Once again this is mirrored in the civilian sector. Middle Caste Senior Researcher? Sure - after many years of dedicated work. But Middle Caste Research Director? NEVER. Middle Caste Labor Overseer? - always. Middle Caste member of the Supreme Industrial Council? Not even close.

This is, of course, totally accepted without question by all Sathar that survive Processing. The vast vast majority of Middle and Upper Caste Sathar have no problem with Processing.

I prefer to look at the Castes as the willing exploiters of the underclasses, combined with the other brainwashing forces to make them ruthless tools of the State.

I would imagine that the Upper and Middle Castes maintain the old traditions and customs of the Sathar culture prior to the Unification by the SuperComputer. Therefore, many of the natural mating rituals and family units and stuff like that would probably be preserved in at least some form for the Upper and Middle castes.

The X and Y mega-clan rivalry I think requires a separate track for the Upper and Middle Caste Sathar. I don't think an Upper or Middle Caste Sathar, for example, would want to be found dead in a Lower Caste Processing Center, unless he was dropping the Lower Caste Larvals into the chemical vats (Middle Caste work only!). They have special schools, medicinal and biomechanical enhancements, high-speed weapons and equipment all waiting for them in their chosen role for the State. Upper Caste Sathar even have something of a choice (imagine that!!) when it comes to the paths that their lives take.

In other words, the Sathar are beings that, to a great extent, make a FREE CHOICE (at least on the Middle and Upper Caste levels) to behave in their ruthless and murderous manner. The "system" serves to solidify and reinforce this free choice.

The SuperComputer is actually NOT some Tron-like control mechanism. The purpose of the SuperComputer is to arbitrate between the Upper Castes of Clan X and Y who emerged from the Great Wars on top. The SuperComputer acts as an impartial player in Sathar politics. It makes decisions and recommendations without Clan prejudice.

The primary role of the SuperComputer is the selection of the Magistrates and Military Commands. The SuperComputer maintains a sort of "affirmative action" system which always strikes a balance between the numbers of senior government posts doled out between the two clans.

The SuperComputer gives policy advice as well. However, this advice is neither perfect nor always followed by the Sathar Supreme Council (kind of a Politburo along Soviet lines). Advice and policy is of secondary importance to the SuperComputer - arbitrating neutrally between Clans X and Y is its main function.

The key here is to understand the roots of the emergent Sathar state from the Great Wars. Clans X and Y seized total power. Through this total power, they were able to preserve their own culture and traditions.

There are, essentially, two different Sathar species. There are the Lower Castes, and everyone else. The Lower Castes live in a miserable drugged-out, brain washed dream world. The Middle and Upper Castes are the "real" Sathar. They have remained essentially the same since before the Unification.

Rebellion among the Middle Caste is prevented in many ways. First of all, Sathar are naturally submissive and fit into their role. Culture is a very powerful force here. Tradition is another. Religion is another loyalty-engendering force. Then you have the privledges, honors, and benefits that the Upper Caste maintains for the Middle. The SuperComputer keeps the Upper Caste honest - it assures that all of the goodies are delivered to the Middle Caste. If all of that stuff fails then you have the drugs, brain washing and propaganda.

Any remnant of rebelliousness after all of that is hunted down and killed by the secret police.

Think of a giant Nazi-like State. During the Nazi period in Germany there was a VERY compliant middle class who served the State. Take that and project it out massively and you get the Sathar Empire.

If you draw away a thousand curtains and layers of authority you get to the inner sanctum of Sathar power. Here is where the top Sathar from Clans X and Y vie with each other and the SuperComputer for the top Offices and Military Commands in the Empire. Vast numbers of Councils and Boards dominate all aspects of Sathar society, military and economy. The SuperComputer watches for cheating and maintains a power balance between the two Clans - who would go right back to war again without this neutral arbiter.

In terms of the cyclical approach of the Sathar invasions, I think this could just be a the completion of a buildup phase. In other words, the Sathar take the time to pile up all of the necessary bells and whistles to their military campaigns before they launch them.

Rather than looking at Sathar invasions as these kind of spasmodic events, I would prefer to see them as part of their master plan.

The SuperComputer was built by both Clan X and Clan Y technicians and is maintained equally by both clans. Like everything else important in the Sathar State, Clan X and Y Upper Castes divide responsibilities for the SuperComputer as evenly as possible.

Incidentally, this is one of their great weaknesses, and they know it. There are NO exceptions in Imperial appointments. If there are more talented Clan X Upper and/or Middle Castes for a particular task and the "numbers" - or balance between clan employment - calls for Clan Y appointments then Clan Y Sathar MUST be selected, regardless of their ability.

Many Sathar projects and campaigns fall foul of this problem. Nevertheless, because the Sathar believe that they are destined to conquer the galaxy, and that ultimate victory is assured, then they tolerate this inefficiency and work around it as best they can. Better deal with it then have any kind of "creeping dominance" in ANY positions within the vast State apparatus by one clan or the other.

When something is not able to be split 50-50 between the two Clans, then the SuperComputer arbitrates. Otherwise it conducts analysis and gives advice to the Supreme Council. It also provides research and intelligence benefits (helping to break UPF codes, for example).

There is some horsetrading at the very top, but the Sathar tend to make Imperial Policy decisions relatively rapidly, and then deal with the consequences later. There is some "elasticity" in the system to not allow a critical weakness in the Empire because of the Clan problem. But those kinds of decisions are incredibly rare (treating an outbreak of plague might be an example), as they would have to be of the direst nature for the Sathar to break the 50-50 pattern.

The SuperComputer would be virtually impossible to destroy since it is made up of billions of NanoWeb transmitters throughout the Empire. To destroy it, you might as well just kill all the Sathar themselves. It cannot be knocked out physically.

Can it be hacked? Well, consider this computer system the most heavily secured in the galaxy. It could be done, perhaps, but for how long and to what purpose? It is monitored by thousands of dedicated Middle and Upper Caste technicians constantly watching it for threats.

The SuperComputer does not rule. It arbitrates. Hacking it would certainly reveal tons of juicy intelligence info - no doubt. It might be worth it to try just for that. But it cannot "take over" all of the Sathar communication and command systems. You could not take it over and order Sathar Heavy Cruisers to ram each other or blow themselves up. It's not designed to do that.

Maybe hack the SuperComputer and then try to hack the C2 computers? Ok, go for it. But I think that would be as difficult as hacking the UPF SpaceFleet computer command system - TWICE.

Could the SuperComputer wind up being the Sathar's Achilles Heel? Sounds like a good module to include in the Final Clash as the UPF invades the Sathar Empire to finish them once and for all.

But for now, it is a critical component in keeping the peace between the Top Upper Castes of Clans X and Y.

In terms of warring every so often, the Sathar are always at it in terms of conquest. However, their spanking by Morgaine's Fleet at Prenglar stung them really badly. Like a bratty little kid finally getting his first ass-whoopin' - they were deeply affected by what was their first major tactical and strategic defeat in Starship combat.

They freaked out - at least at the top. But when they calmed down and picked up the pieces they dusted themselves off and proceeded to put together a huge bad-ass fleet.

I think religion is a HUGE component of the Sathar Empire. Great way to keep the Castes in line, when combined with drugs, brainwashing, propaganda, brutality and Processing during the formative years.

Because that is kind of what the Sathar are... a warped church of the sickest fanatics.

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