The Sathar

Document container for project design documents.

Sathar - Expanding Alpha Dawn

The sathar have always reminded me of earthworms, and the four pupils bit just struck me as odd. They specifically mention it and then never seem to bring it up again. Thinking about how the sathar might be like annelids and handle those four pupils, plus what else it could mean, led me down an interesting path.


I. Is it a guy or a gal?
        Sathar are, like earthworms, simultaneous-hermaphrodites. As in, each is a boy and a girl. Satharian reproduction is also similar. After mating, each finds a safe place and secretes a cocoon. Depositing the male and female material inside as the cocoon is sealed. A couple of months later? One or two new infant sathar come crawling out.

II. I see you
        While sathar may not be very advanced, evolutionarily speaking, as segmented-invertebrates. The satharian brain is quite impressive. Their minds processing four visual "feeds" as easily as the human's handles two. In fact, their brain not only looks bilaterally symmetric (one side mirroring the other), but actually functions that way too. Two brains, communicating intimately enough that there is a singular sense of self. Yet, thinking separately.

III. I'm sensing...
For psychics, this duality keeps the satharian mind enigmatic. Their brains present challenges above and beyond the inherent difficulty of reading an alien mind. Each has two trains of thought which are never entirely in sync. Trying to read a satharian mind can be a migraine inducing experience. Its been described as looking at a painting that refuses to come into focus, no matter how hard you stare.

For satharian psychics, on the other hand, the thoughts of most other races are easily perceived. With only one voice, in their victim's minds, even the fact that it is an alien is not much of an obstacle for them.

IV: Speaking in Tongues
        While the sathar actually have two brains. They still only have one mouth. Yet that doesn't mean they can only speak one language at once. The satharian languages remain mostly indecipherable because they're usually saying two different things at once. Overlapping words from both subjects within the same sentences. Easy for another sathar to understand, but pretty much gibberish for everyone else, even to gifted linguists.

The languages they are speaking may not always even be satharian ones. With a millennium of history as a space-faring civilization. The sathar have been exposed to the languages of races long dead, or long gone. With different structure, traits, etc... Which further confound attempts to decipher what they are saying.

V: You are what you slurp
The satharian diet is mostly lacking in "solid foods." Their mouths being far more suited to drinking, or even slurping, than chewing. Nutritional needs are met through a variety of juices, creams, soups, stews, and puddings. However, those are not the only options for a sathar. With a ring of sharp teeth and a powerful tongue, they can "drink" directly from their... "meal."

Usually placing their victim in a hypnotic state first, to keep them docile. Sathar can latch on with their mouths, cut through even tough hide with their teeth, insert their tongues, and drink their prey's bodily fluids. Now depending on the species involved? This essence may not be digestible. Might even be toxic, in fact. However, the blood of some species actually has a narcotic effect on sathar, and can become very addictive.

Sathar - The Clans [w00t]

w00t's Sathar document
FY 89

I will be taking the rival clan aspect of the Sathar introduced in SFKH3 - Face of the Enemy.

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.

Back to the top.

Satharian Sects I: History

While Imperial Lord's work is great, I like my villains to be more tragic, even misunderstood.  Pondering about the sathar, the mention of clans in Face of the Enemy just didn't sit right with me.  Clans are a yazirian trait.  Looking for a replacement I stumbled upon "sects" and remembered the amoral s'sessu.  That led me down the following path.

Satharian History
I. Genesis
        The future bane of the Frontier and so many other species, evolved on a pleasant world orbiting a typical G sequence star.  Moonless and with stable tectonics, their birthplace was pretty much a global wetland.  Only an occasional line of hills breaking up the seemingly endless flat calm seas of aquatic flora.  The world's fauna had not even passed the invertebrate stage when the "proto-satha" started tickling sapient's ribs, so to speak.  Proto-satha tribes developed and began following the migrations of "great worms."  Feeding on the deep and tender roots their stately passage exposed, and on their carcasses when they died.

II. Paradise
        This became a symbiotic relationship between the proto-satha and great worms.  Who were developing their own sapience too.  The tribes guided and cared for the great worms who, in turn, provided everything they needed.  Centuries turned into millennia and, in time, the proto-satha were not only following the great worms, but even living on top of them.  Festivals occurring wherever tribes crossed paths.

        Life was good, and it would not last...

III. Lost
        In a nearby system another species had found its way to sapience.  A reptilian race which had clawed its way to civilization and beyond their world.  Unlocking the mysteries of FTL, they reached to other stars.  The first sapient race they encountered was the proto-satha.  They saw the chatty worms as primitives, needing to be taught "civilized" ways.  Before long this turned into land grabs and outright slavery.  Mines and factories quickly followed, fouling the waters and skies.  Much of the world's once plentiful flora and fauna were driven to extinction.  Including the great worms.

        The proto-satha tried to resist, to fight back, but they were no match for the reptilian's technology and brutality.  Beaten and broken, the proto-satha might have been forever doomed if their master's arrogance didn't court catastrophe.  Encountering another sapient race they discovered, much to their regret, that they were hardly as naive as the proto-satha had been.  A bloody war followed.  Which became a brutal stalemate.  The conflict dragged on and on, with casualties climbing higher and higher.

Tiring of this seemingly endless war, their masters began having their slaves fight for them.  At first it was simply as cannon fodder.  Yet as the campaigns ground on, the reptilian's slowly turned over more and more of their war machine to their slaves.  Wrapping themselves in decadence, protection from the truth of how high a price their pride was charging.

IV. Avenger
In the midst of this hopelessness, a Messenger appeared among the slaves.  Proclaiming that the last Great Worm was calling to them from beyond its grave.  Calling them to punish the reptilians for their heinous crimes.  Calling them to protect the Great Worm's children, wherever they might be, from the ravages of other befoulers.  The Messenger was smuggled from fleet to fleet and legion to legion, gaining converts everywhere he went.  And where the Messenger did not go?  Its disciples would.

        A new religion was born among the wreckage and ruin.  For a broken and brutalized people, the call of the Great Worm was like the sweetest honey.  Giving them purpose and showing they were part of something greater.  Only those who had cared for the great worms could be trusted with so sacred a task.  The Followers' numbers grew but not all slaves felt the calling.  Eventually the Messenger was betrayed to the reptilians.

        The masters began a great purge, but feared weakening their defenders too much, or finally goading them into rebellion.  The Messenger died, but its disciples carried its message onward, the Followers' ranks ever growing.  More purges followed, each teaching them how to hide their faith more and more in the shadows.  In hiding some of the faithful would inadvertently begin altering the message.  Focusing more on one gospel or another.

The hidden communities became sects.  The beliefs of each, somewhat distinct from the Messenger's teachings.  They openly battled their masters' enemy, while covertly preparing, and converting.  Across the stars, the Followers' and their Sects waited, for a sign...

V. Crusader
        That sign came when the reptilians' implacable foe.  Finally became more, well, placable.  Exhausted, they agreed to peace.  The relieved reptilians finally felt safe enough to start disarming the slave fleets and legions.  Word of this spread like wildfire and the Followers knew they might never have another chance.  Spreading as rapidly as the warning, an uprising began.  The sects turned their guns on their masters, and any slave who refused to join them.

Reptilian space dissolved into chaos as their slaves ran rampant, attacking anything and everything.  The reptilians, and the slaves who remained loyal to them, fought hard.  Yet they were vastly outnumbered.  The reptilians started calling the Followers, "sathar," which meant "fanatic" or "zealot" in their tongue.  The sects liked this slur and adopted it as their own.

Soon the reptilians were driven back to their homeworld.  Once they were done with it, only a radioactive wasteland of craters remained.  Yet instead of peace, the sects discovered themselves in another war.  Their master's enemy sought to take advantage of a supposedly weakened foe.  Instead, they found the "sathar" to be much more dangerous without a master's leash.  Before long?  Their world was also turned a radioactive husk.

        As the Followers tried to reclaim the paradise of what had been.  The disciples sent the sects across the stars.  Where they found sapience?  The sects studied it, and brought their findings back to the disciples.  The disciples would study and debate the evidence, to determine if they were befoulers.  If they were?  The sects brought the wrath of the Great Worm down upon them.  If they were not?  The sects would protect them from the tainted or, rarely, even offer guidance.

Sometimes the sects found a race, or collection of races, strong enough to delay the disciples' judgement.  For them?  The sects remembered the hard lessons taught by the reptilians and first used the shadows to move within...

About the S'sessu
        Not everyone chose to fight to the bitter end during the uprising.  Some slaves saw the "writing on the wall," so to speak, and fled instead.  Most failed, dying in deep space or on barely habitable worlds.  A few, like the S'sessu, managed to survive.  Alone, without ever accepting the call of the Great Worm.  Yet they know what the sathar are, and go to great lengths to hide any ties to their fanatical kin.

Satharian Sects II: Society

Satharian Society
I. Tribe
        Despite its importance, the "Sect" is not the backbone of satharian society.  The "Tribe" is.  Extended families with dozens of members, most tribes live a simple life on satharian worlds.  Living together in large communal homes.  They choose to survive at a nearly subsistence level.  Herding, fishing, farming, hunting, much as the proto-satha had before the reptilians came.  Stepping into a satharian village is like taking a time machine back thousands of years.  The Followers believe that the simpler the life?  The purer it is, in the Great Worm's eyes.

        Another common trait of the tribes is an aversion to technology.  Now they do make some concessions, especially when it comes to weapons and medicine.  However, they are kept well out of sight until needed.  The reptilians forced the proto-satha into a future that, in their hearts, they still want as little to do with as possible.  So they spend their days caring for their homelands and their communities.  Finding fulfillment in working with their tentacles, instead of machines.

        Satharian children are born and raised within their tribe.  Learning from the elders about their people, their faith, and their history.  When they reach maturity, about a dozen years old, sathar undertake a pilgrimage to one of their world's monasteries.  There they are tested, searching for what the Great Worm is calling on them to do.  Usually, that calling is too crusade with that monasteries' sect.  Years of training follow, before they are sent on to that sect's fleet or legion.

        It is during this training that their caste is chosen and their life-tattoo, a record of their tribe, caste, sect, rank, and accomplishments, is begun.  Once their calling is finished, often decades later, the sathar returns to its tribe.  Now some sathar choose to join a different tribe.  Normally happening if the sathar finds a lifemate, joining its mate's tribe instead.  Great celebrations occurring when they return.  Most then gladly shed the technological trappings of their service.  Returning to lives of tribe and faith, passing on what they have learned to new generations.

        Now some sathar never return to their tribes.  It is said they still feel the call of the Great Worm.  While for some this is true.  For others?  They are simply unwilling to cast aside the machine.  They remain with their sect for their entire lives, a few even ending up as elders in the monasteries and helping new pilgrims to find their callings.  Unlike those who return to the tribes, they continue to avoid mating.  Since it is considered "impure" for a sathar to be born outside a tribe.  Though tribes do accept cocoons from "strangers," and will raise them as their own.

It is not even uncommon for those who choose to stay too neuter and spay themselves.  A solemn declaration of their belonging to the sect and ceremonially cutting ties to their birth tribe.

II. Sect
        Though the tribes are the "backbone" of satharian society.  The sects are its "muscle."  It is the sects who protect the Great Worm's tribes from the foul, the alien.  It is the sects that answer the Great Worm's call to crusade.  It is the sects which build and maintain the machines that make the crusade possible.  The sects are the ones who bring fear to the befouler and glory to the guided.  Yet it is also the sects who watch each other, as well as the alien.  They are responsible for purging not only the unclean alien, but the tainted sathar as well.

        There are many different signs that another sathar, or even an entire sect, is becoming "tainted."  However, only the disciples should interpret those signs.  If there is evidence, it is to be brought to them.  They have absolute authority over all sects.  Though, in practice, that varies.  Just as their templars have absolute authority over all sathar.  Which, also, can vary.  Still, the disciples are patient and deliberate, so it is not unheard of for some to take care of the issue themselves, instead of waiting overly long for their judgement.

        The results of such impatience can often be quite messy...  Especially when entire sects are involved.  The disciples intervene only when the Great Worm has not already made its decision clear.

Today, there are dozens of Followers' sects.  Yet there were, originally, hundreds.  The trials and strain of centuries on crusade, has seen the weak (or impure) absorbed (or obliterated) by the rest.  Each remaining sect now controls several fortress-like monasteries sprinkled across the home worlds.  And beyond the satharian worlds?  Each lays claim to vast stretches of space and up to dozens of systems.  Searching for the tainted, harvesting, mining, and building their machines.  Watching over the lesser races and even guiding a chosen few.

III. Disciple
        The Messenger was not alone in proclaiming the Great Worm's calling.  From its Followers came disciples.  Ones widely recognized as especially wise and devout.  They also went out and taught about the Great Worm.  When the Followers' enemies had fallen, it was the disciples they turned to for guidance.  It was the disciples who divined that the Great Worm wanted them to return to a simple life.  And it was the disciples the sects turned to, when they could not be sure who was tainted and who was not.

On the birth-world there is a complex that makes the sects' fortress monasteries look like villages in comparison.  It is the Great Temple of the Great Worm and where the disciples spend their time when they are not among the tribes.  Spending their days and nights studying the gospels, communing with the Great Worm, and debating evidence brought before them.  There is no limit to how few, or how many, disciples there may be at one time.  If one is accepted by the eldest among them?  Then that one is considered a disciple.

IV. Templar
Now the Great Temple is not the only temple in the satharian worlds.  They are sprinkled across the homeworlds just like the sects' monasteries are, only far fewer in number.  The few sathar who do not find their calling to crusade with the sects?  Find it tending the temples and disciples instead.  These templars' callings are usually shorter than for those in the sects, but more tend to still feel the Great Worm's call than with the sects.

Like with the sects, the disciples' templars believe their calling requires the machine.  Though they go to much greater lengths to keep the machine out of sight, compared to the sects.  Restricting their harvesting, mining, and building to uninhabited planets, moons, asteroids, and the like.  Understandable, since the templars mostly remain within the satharian homeworlds.  While the sects crusade beyond, searching for the foul and guarding or even guiding the lesser races.  The templars remain behind.  Watching over the tribes and protecting the disciples.

Satharian Sects III: Values

Satharian Values

As the dralasites are thoughtful and philosophical.  As the vrusk are hard-working and practical.  The sathar also have traits that nearly all of them share to a great degree.  In fact, they have three.

I. Belonging
Sathar spend their lives sure, convinced even, that they are part of something greater than themselves.  Whether it is their tribe, their calling, their sect, or even their faith.  Usually a combination of the previous, in fact.  The "loner sathar" is pretty much a contradiction in terms to them.  This sense of belonging helps them feel that everything they do has a greater purpose.  Even if they may not know what that greater purpose is?  They still have almost complete faith that they are playing their part in it.

II. Vigilance
The Great Worm calls on its Followers to be ever alert for signs of the unclean, the impure.  No sathar is immune to becoming fouled.  Not even the disciples themselves.  Only through remaining ever watchful, vigilant, can they not only spot the taint in others, but guard themselves from it as well.  Now because of the closeness found within the tribes and sects, such vigilance tends to be directed outward, instead of inward.

III. Conviction
Once the disciples have judged a sathar, a tribe, a sect, or even an entire race, as tainted?  Most sathar will believe it with every fiber of their being.  There is no doubt.  There is no mercy.  The strength of their convictions carried them through their race's darkest days.  As their beliefs will carry them through whatever is to come.

However, what if the disciples have not judged?  If the sathar, tribe, or sect, was so convinced that they felt no need to wait?  Then the result can be very bloody indeed since the accused, and their allies, will believe in their innocence just as strongly as their accuser, and their allies, will believe in their guilt.

Satharian Sects IV: Troubles

Satharian Troubles

With a civilization over a millennium old, the sathar have proven that they are survivors.  Yet, like any nation, they have challenges facing them that are as much within as without.

I. Weird Science
Perhaps uniquely among the space-faring races, the sathar don't really want to be one.  The sciences have never held any great appeal to them.  Such fields are treated more with suspicion, than recognition or reverance.  Even their reptilian masters noted that while their slaves were great technicians, they could fix almost anything if given enough time, they made terrible scientists.

This deficiency has cost the sects dearly over the centuries.  While they have always managed to overcome or undermine their foes, before the cost became too great, in the past.  That is hardly a guarantee that it will always be this way.  Of course the sects are aware of this shortcoming and so always keep two pupils open for new technology.  The sects have tried expanding their anemic scientist castes.  However, such efforts are often seen as signs of taint, and tend to be judged poorly by the disciples.

II. Go West Young Worm...
Having faced resilient enemies before, the satharian sects were not very impressed with the collection of races in the space they were calling a "Frontier."  Of course with multiple races involved, the disciples required far more evidence than usual to pass judgement.  Even the sects were perplexed over how, overall, peacefully such a diverse collection was reaching outward.  The disciples kept requesting more and more evidence, unable to reach consensus.  The debate dragged on for years, then decades, and finally centuries.

Several sects tired of waiting and resolved to handle this Frontier themselves.  The result was so disastrous that even the often cautious disciples were jolted into action.  Declaring all four races, and any who aided them, as tainted in the eyes of the Great Worm.  More sects lent their aid to those already facing this Frontier.  When they were ready, the results were even worse the second time.  Not only worse, but the four races were now being aided by several more.

It occurred to the more insightful sects and disciples that while the sathar had faced enemies as tactically strong as this "Frontier" before.  They had never faced one as strategically deep.  The battlefield stretched across hundreds of light years and the enemy had reliable interstellar communications technology that were used to great effect.  Now, with even more sects being drawn to this Frontier, some disciples are debating whether their judgement was too hasty

A select few, quietly, even ponder that perhaps it was not the "Frontier" that the Great Worm was declaring tainted, but the sects themselves instead.

III. iCrusade
The sects found their purpose in the Messenger's call to crusade.  For centuries it had been a divine mandate that not only justified their existence, but also gave them a valued place in satharian society.  However the disciples' thinking, regarding the sects, has been gradually shifting.  Does the Great Worm really want the crusade to be eternal?  Did the Messenger really mean the entire universe?

In the early centuries, the tribes felt vulnerable and the disciples saw their best defense? Was a good offense.  The sects performed above and beyond, as the disciples restored the birth-world and terraformed a few near it.  The sects harnessed the machine with skill and precision, both within the satharian worlds and without.  However, as the centuries passed by, the tribes frowned more and more on displays of the machine. Especially by the sects.

The disciples' templars, however, kept their machines hidden, or disguised.  So the tribes felt more at ease around them.  The templars began to be seen as the tribes' defenders, instead of just the disciples' servants.  As the sects were seen more and more as just crusaders.  Just aggressors.  This shift in attitudes is becoming widespread enough that some tribes are even letting their young choose, whether they want to take their pilgrimage to a monastery? Or to a temple.  This is threatening to choke off the sects' most precious resource, young sathar.

The more suspicious sects even whisper that while their scientist castes are considered suspicious of taint?  The templars secretly expand theirs, with the disciples' blessing.  Darker whispers tell that some sects are having those who choose to stay, after their calling would normally end, not sterilize themselves.  That in sterile ships and stations, far beyond the homeworlds, nurseries are being built, and filled.  Filled with those who will never know the belonging of a tribal hearth.  Never feel the peace of a satharian world under their belly.

The darkest tales whisper that the sathar in those nurseries did not even come from cocoons.  But crawled out from machines instead.

IV. To Heresy Or Not To Heresy
For the first few hundred years, after the uprising, there were hundreds of sects.  Some did not even have a monastery to recruit from, using less conventional methods instead.  The tribes they recruited from were taught about the Great Worm from their elders and the disciples.  The sects, on the other hand, focus on a few gospels more than the rest.  Which, depending on the gospels involved, can lead them down strange paths indeed.

Exposing young sathar to a different version of their faith was originally considered good for them.  It showed the young that there was more than one way to worship the Great Worm.  And with so many variations, even those who returned converted, had little impact on the Followers.  However, as the weak sects were absorbed by the strong, not only did their variance from the orthodoxy become more and more distinct.  The returning converted had a larger and larger impact on the Followers.

With more converted, of the same sects, among the tribes.  They began finding converts within the tribes themselves.  Alarming many tribes and the disciples.  There are even rumors of the converted leaving, and forming their own tribes in remote parts of the homeworlds.  Openly practicing and teaching their heresies beyond the monastery walls.  Some believing that a new Messenger will come, and make the sects and their heresies the true faith instead.

The Canon Sathar: Alpha Dawn File #1

Sathar are long, worm like creatures. Their bodies are divided into segments, like an earthworm's. They support their bodies hydrostatically, by pumping liquid into segments so they become hard. A shiney, clear slime coats their skin. Scientist believe they are warm blooded, but no live specimen has ever been studied.

A sathar's head tapers to its mouth, which is circular and ringed with teeth. Each of their two eyes have two pupils. Four tentacles, two on each side of the body, are arranged about 1 meter below the head. The first pair is slender and weak looking and 1 meter long. These end in four smaller finger like tentacles. The second pair are stronger and about 1.2 meters long. These tentacles end in a paddle like foot-pad. The first pair are for fine tool use and the second pair is for heavy lifting and propulsion.

The sathar move by slithering across the ground with the first meter of its body raised. They can also coil like a snake with 1.5 meters of their body raised off the ground.

The color of sathar skin varies from yellow to brown. Tentacles are the same as the body but with a slight greenish tint. The underbelly is pale pink. A pattern of dots, speckles and stripes decorates the back of the head. These patterns are natural on some sathar and tattoos on others.

Some survivors of sathar attacks report that they are not affected by electrical shocks or dose grenades, but these reports have never been confirmed.

The sathar's double pupils give it wide angle vision. They can see object in front and to the side at the same time. They smell through two pits in front of their eyes. The sharpness of their senses is not known, but UPF biologist assume their hearing, smell, and taste is about the same as a human's.

Captured recordings show that the sathar can speak human and yazirian languages as well as Pan Galactic. They hiss and lisp when they speak. Thier native language has never been translated or recorded.

Almost nothing is known about sathar society. They have tried to kill every alien creature they have met in the Frontier, usually with alarming success. No one knows why the sathar attack so viciouslyor what they hope to gain. All attempts to communicate with the sathar peacefully have failed. No sathar have ever been captured alive, because they kill themselves before they can be taken. In one case an entire starship self destructed to avoid being captured. Freeze fields have been applied to several dead sathar in an attempt to have them revived, but biologist have not been able to find a revival technique that works on them.

Scientist have proposed several theories based on observers. The most widely accepted was written by Gdtlask Gltak, a vrusk sociologist. Gltak's theory is that all sathar belong to military units called cadres. The markings on the back of the sathar's head identify its cadre. Each cadre trains its soldiers from the time its born. Gltak theorizes that the sathar attack alien worlds because its military society would fall apart if there was no enemy to fight.

Readers are warned that this is only a theory. Until a sathar is captured alive their true motivation cannot be known.

All sathar should be considered hostile and dangerous. Citizens of the Frontier who encounter the sathar are required by law to report the incident immediately. If escape is impossible, citizens are advised to attack on sight, as friendly approaches have always failed in the past.

Sathar also are known to use dralasite, human, yazirian and vrusk agents to overthrow Frontier governments, terrorize citizens, and disrupt trade. Like the sathar themselves these agents are extremely dangerous. Suspicious beings should be reported immediately. Citizens are discouraged from attacking sathar agents as most are trained and experienced killers.

Canon Sathar: Alpha Dawn File #2

CLASSIFIED INFORMATION (Game Related Details for the Referee)
The following material is secret and should not be given to players until they discover it in the course of a game.

Hypnotism. A sathar can hypnotize a character by talking to him in a non combat situation. The character must make a LOG check; if he fails, he is hypnotized. A hypnotized character will think the sathar is his friend, and will want to cooporate with it. He will see things the way the sathar sees them, if his other senses do not contradict what the sathar tells him. (For example a character will not believe that fire is a pool of water.) A sathar can command a hypnotized character to do something at a specific time, and to forget he has been hypnotized until that time. For example a character could be commanded to turn off a security system at midnight.

Sathar Ability Modifiers. A sathar's Leadership score must be 20 points higher than its Personality score.

 Average Size
 3.5 meters long
 Average Mass
 55 kilograms
 Average Lifespand
 Reproductive System
 hermaphroditic, unknown
 Body Temperature
believed endothermic


Ability Scores
 DEX/RS -5
 LDR/PER +10*
* Must move 10 points from Personality to Leadership.

 Walking10 meters/turn
 Running20 meters/turn
 Hourly 3 kilometer/hour

Canon Sathar: Alpha Dawn file #3

...Then the sathar appeared. No one knows where they came from or why. They attacked and destroyed lonely systems on the edges of explored space, moving slowly inward. Survivors described the sathar as wormlike creatures 3 to 4 meters long. That was all that was known about them, because they would rather kill themselves then be captured. As the danger increased, the humans, dralasites, vrusk and yazirians formed the United Planetary Federation (UPF) to defend their worlds. The mysterious sathar were forced back, but before long they returned  in a more sinister form.

The sathar had learned that they could not beat the UPF in battle. Instead, they began hiring yazirian, dralasite, vrusk, and yazirian agents to sabotage interstellar trade and interfere with local governments.

Canon Sathar: Volturnus file #1

Slavebot Description
Slavebots were created to guard sathar installations. Slavebots are cybernetic combinations of living beings and machines. The biological part of the slavebot is the remains of a captured enemy. Most of the brain has been replaced by a cybernetic implant. The slavebot is controlled by a disembodied sathar brain kept in special liquid solution. The brian is almost immortal since there are no other body parts to age. The sathar brain is linked to a radio transmitter that sends coded signals. These are then recieved by the slavebot so that direct control is possible. The slavebots on Volturnus are eorna captured in the battle that nearly wiped them out. A supply of captured victims is kept in cryogenic storage to provide replacement for worn out slave bots.