Monday, February 23, 2009

The Nagai, Part 1

The current main 'bad guys' in my now post-post-college campaign are a race of beings from another Galaxy who call themselves the Nagai. I admit freely that I stole the name and indeed the original idea from the Marvel Star Wars comics. I had originally pondered the idea after running my players through the Thrawn campaign, but then our gaming group broke up (moved, graduated, etc.) and I never had the chance. And then Vector Prime and all the other Star Wars novels featuring the Yuuzhan Vong came out. I saw a lot of similarities in the overall plot: the Vong too were a race from another galaxy, invading the Star Wars galaxy. Due to my original (and continuing) underwhelmed reaction to these novels, I determined early on that I wouldn't be using the Vong exactly as presented, but they did spark the idea of the Nagai again, and that's what this post is about: My version of the Nagai.

And before continuing, I should point out that my campaign timeline diverges from the 'canon' timeline pretty much right after the Jedi Academy trilogy. The characters who began the game in their twenties are now in their mid-thirties. Han and Leia's kids are still kids and aren't the main focus of the story. Luke's Academy is growing much faster than in the novels. And, most importantly, the New Republic is a functioning and actually rather well-run government (unlike the prematurely corrupt and inept one presented in the Vong storyline). 

I should also point out that the details presented in this file are those that my players have discovered in-game, and may not be the 'final story' as far as the Nagai are concerned.

The Nagai are slender, pale-grey-skinned humanoids with dark black or blue-black hair and slightly pointed ears. Despite their apparently 'slight' build, they are incredibly strong and resilient—with bone and muscle density far exceeding humanoid standard. They are surprisingly quick and graceful in movement and quite beautiful in appearance—though the latter is often marred by the usually cold glint of their eyes. Their senses are more acute that most humanoids, with vision extending into the infared and ultraviolet spectrums. 

Nagai have been seen wearing a combination of form-fitting outfits with flowing cloaks or robes over top. In battle, they wear a form-fitting crystalline-based battle armor. They seem to enjoy body-decoration in the form of tattoos and piercings, but also in a rather masochistic form of ritual, decorative scarring. 

All Nagai thus-far encountered seem to be masters of melee weaponry—specifically bladed weapons. Considering their reported long-lives, it is possible that their level of training with such puts even the least of them on par with the grand-masters of the known galaxy. 

And finally, the Nagai physiology has a unique reaction to pain and injury. Rather than being hampered by such, Nagai are actually able to operate on a super-normal level when injured—growing more and more physically fast and powerful the worse they are injured. Evidently, this is the result of natural stimulant hormones secreted in response to pain.

Nagai are incredibly intelligent, operating at genius level or beyond. They seem to be lacking, however, in the areas of scientific creativity—though this seems more a sociological thing than physiological: most are just not interested in scientific matters. 

Nagai are quite charismatic, displaying high degrees of self-confidence. When necessary, they can be very persuasive, intimidating or even charming. Most Nagai seem to suffer from at least some form of megalomania. Though they are aware that they are, indeed, mortal, they still consider themselves 'gods' among lesser beings. They seem to hold all races but their own in utter contempt—as servitors or playthings, but nothing more. 

In battle, the Nagai employ complex, innovative tactics, often based on deception or mis-direction. At first glance, this may seem to go against their self-perceived superiority, but the Nagai do realize that even their superior technology can be overcome if employed recklessly. Plus, they seem to enjoy the challenge of overcoming enemies—the chance to prove just how superior they are. The Nagai, for all their strengths, seem to exhibit a 'childlike' sense of petulant frustration when facing severe and unexpected setbacks. 

As a race, there has been some inclination that the Nagai feel threatened by anything that can challenge their claims to perfection—things such as Force Powers. Thus far only one Nagai (Nom Anor—see "History" below) has exhibited talent with these powers—and despite his usefulness to their cause, his own people seemed to view him as a 'defective' mutant. The Nagai tolerate the Sith, because these dark-siders 'serve' them. The Jedi are viewed with loathing, and perhaps jealousy.

The Nagai were genetically engineered in another galaxy by a highly advanced race known as the 'Ancients'. They were  bred to be 'perfect', physically and mentally—and they don't fall too short of that mark. They are extraordinarily strong, resilient, agile, beautiful and long-lived. They are incredibly intelligent, perceptive, strong willed and charismatic. The Ancients delighted in their creations at first, creating an idyllic world for them to inhabit. Whether by design or not, the Ancients became the de facto 'gods' of this society, some going as far as manipulating events to 'guide' their creations along paths they wanted. 

While many Nagai were content to live in this supposed utopia, a few of the most willful began to resent the manipulations of their 'gods'. Like spoiled children, they wanted 'more'. More control, more power, more...purpose. Before they could comprehend the monster they had created, the Ancients were undone. The Nagai, spurred on by malcontents in their own ranks, rose up against their masters. Despite their vast technological power, the Ancients were unprepared for this eventuality and were too few in number. One by one, they were destroyed by their children in an orgy of blood and violence. 

Having destroyed their own 'gods', the Nagai found themselves stained by the experience, warped into reveling in that blood and in their own superiority. For indeed, if they had destroyed their gods, did that not mean that they were the gods now? The Ancients had left all manner of wondrous technologies behind, based on crystalline technology and genetic engineering. Unfortunately, like children, the Nagai did not completely comprehend these technologies. They could use them, to be certain, but they lacked the knowledge to expand upon them, or even to fix them when they broke. 

Using the stolen technology of their progenitors, the Nagai began to explore their galaxy. As they did, they found the purpose they had been looking for—a purpose warped by their own sense of hubris and lust for blood. There were hundreds, thousands of sentient races, none of whom could equal the level of technology the Nagai now wielded. Thus began their reign of terror. The Nagai cut a swathe through the galaxy, conquering and destroying all in their path. They slaughtered, enslaved or sacrificed billions, every 'victory' further reinforcing their self-deification.

And then it happened. Suddenly, there were no more worlds to more races to enslave. They had won complete domination of their galaxy. There was no more fuel for their egos—no blood to satiate the violence they had come to worship. They were at a loss. Without purpose. Some turned against their brethren, sparking a series of vicious civil wars. Others went insane, retreating back into self-created utopias. But a few, those with more vision than the others... had a plan. There were other Galaxies, were there not? Even those were seemingly beyond the reach of the Ancient's technology, at least for the immediate future. But they could still be reached. 

In their journey of domination, the Nagai had encountered anomalies—wormholes and the like. Piecing together what they could of the Ancient's knowledge, they figured that such things might be gateways to other Galaxies...places where they could once again launch their crusade of blood. And so several of their own were chosen and flung themselves into the voids of these anomalies. Even the Nagai don't know what happened to them all.

Thousands of years passed before the Nagai finally heard back from one of these 'heralds'.

Nom Anor came to the known Galaxy some 4,000 years prior to the current timeline. He would come to be considered a 'mutant' by his own people, since his long years of contact with the races of the Galaxy had given him a link to the Force through its dark side. Such powers are, thus-far, unknown to the Nagai—and in fact are an affront to their own perceived perfection. Working behind the scenes for all these Millenia, Nom Anor finally managed to achieve his goal—manipulating several generations of 'lesser-race' scientists, he was able to create at least one stable Wormhole Gateway to his home galaxy. The long-awaited invasion could finally begin.

As the Nagai made final preparations and began to cross over in secret, Nom Anor was able to pave the way for the invasion. Utilizing a network of spies and assassins, and allying himself with the Sith Order, he launched a campaign of terror and disruption across the entire galaxy—destroying several key alliances between the New Republic, the Empire and other factions. Fortunately, Anor was brought down by a joint team of Jedi and Imperials before he could do even more damage. 

But the death of any one individual could not stop the invasion. Utilizing both their advanced technology and strategic cunning, the Nagai were able to lure the New Republic and Imperial fleets into a devastating series of defeats at Sernpidal and Dubrillion. Maintaining a fragile alliance, the Republic and Empire were able to stem the tide of the invasion, but were slowly being pushed back. Republic agents worked diligently both on the front lines and beyond, recruiting other powers to help in the fight—going so far as to overthrow the Nagai-Sith puppet government of the Corporate Sector to bring them back into the fight.

In a short-lived but fortunate turn of events, the Republic was able to destroy the Nagai's primary wormhole gate and to send a small team to the Nagai's home Galaxy. There, the team tracked down a clue to a single, surviving 'Ancient'—whom they were able to recover from a Sith strike team hoping to do the same. The Republic team returned and with technical advice from the Ancient, the Republic was able to help offset the disparity in technology—though they couldn't negate it entirely. Unfortunately, the Ancient was slain shortly thereafter by a Nagai strike team as part of a renewed series of 'headhunter' attacks against vital targets deep within the Republic and its allies. 

Spurred on by the Nagai and the Sith, many old enemies across the Galaxy have suddenly turned on the Republic while its attention is diverted. The Ssi'Ruk, Yevethans, Geonosians and Chiss have all launched attacks, while the Trandoshan/Wookiee enmity has degerated into all-out war. The Hutts, evidently trying to ride the fence again, have openly signed a 'non-agression' pact with the Nagai—going so far as to allow Nagai vessels to visit their space.

The Jedi Academy on Yavin became a target to a large Nagai task force—but the infiltration team assigned to take down the planetary shield generators was thwarted by a small group of Jedi and Republic agents and all students were evacuated to Coruscant.

Days later, the Nagai abandoned their broad-front approach, concentrating in two separate 'spike' assaults. The first was launched into Imperial space, threatening Bastion, the heart of the Imperial Remnant. This caused the Empire to pull its troops out of the allied front to defend their own territory. Weakened now, the Republic had to scramble to gather up a fleet large enough to stop the second spike- launched down the Hydian Way—a major hyperspace route leading into the core—to Coruscant itself.

As the Republic fleet made its stand at Arkanis, blocking the hyperlane to the core, the strike team responsible for saving the Academy on Yavin put a desperate plan into motion. The Home-One battlecruiser was brought out of its museum-retirement to serve as the power source for an alien and experimental 'dimensional drive' that had been previously recovered in the alternate dimension of 'Otherspace'. General Cracken and top Republic scientists frantically worked to modify the craft to cause a disruption in the hyperlane. As the Republic fleet withdrew, the Nagai jumped and found their entire assault fleet diverted into the Otherpspace dimension. 

It is too much for the Republic to hope that the Nagai will be trapped forever, but it may just buy some breathing room—some time to turn against the sizable Nagai force still occupying nearly a fifth of the Galaxy. Though Bastion was subsequently relieved by the Republic, the war itself remains undecided...

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