Monday, February 23, 2009

The Nagai, Part 2

The Nagai post turned out to be a lot longer than I had thought, so I'm continuing it in this one:

Little is known about Nagai society. Even the last Ancient (recovered by the Republic) knew little about how his children had developed. The Nagai are capable of breeding, and they were 'matched' by the Ancients during the time that they lived in their utopian society. It is likely they have continued to breed since the overthrow of the ancients, but the total number of Nagai is believed to be relatively small. They were never raised in traditional family units, and it is unknown if anything of this sort has evolved over the years. All signs point to the Nagai operating as a collection of individuals, united only in their lust for power and blood—and under the control of a few exceptionally powerful personalities. Their predilection for and mastery of bladed weapons suggests they have firmly adopted a warrior philosophy—praising martial prowess, though there has been some evidence that they are highly hedonistic as well.

Reports also seem to suggest that Nagai can breed with other races. At least one 'half-breed' spy, now identified as a 'daughter' of Nom Anor, has been captured and it is unknown how many more of his progeny remain at large—or where their loyalties lie. Considering the Nagai's views on their own superiority, it is likely they would look down on such half-breeds.

The basis of Nagai technology—stolen from the Ancients—are various types of crystal. Depending on the type, they can function as circuitry, armor, generators, projectors, etc. Instead of constructing objects from these crystals, desired technology is actually 'grown' from them. All that is required seems to be raw materials and the correct 'programming' of a 'seed crystal'. From there, it slowly matures into the finished product. This can be anything from a hand-weapon to a massive starship.

The Nagai operate four major kinds of starships—starting with the gigantic, nearly moon-sized 'worldships' that form the core of their battlefleets and progressing down through Alpha-Class dreadnaughts (comparable in size to super star destroyers), Beta-Class cruisers (comparable in size to star destroyers) and Delta-Class frigates (comparable in size to most known Frigate designs). 

There are three major classes of small craft utilized as well. The 'Shard'-Class Fighter and 'Splinter' class heavy bomber as well as a multi-role interface shuttle (dubbed the 'Strider') that doubles on the ground as a combat walker and personnel transport.

All of the ships and vehicles mentioned above operate by means of a system of power crystals that function as engine, weapon-power and shields. In the early stages of the war against the Republic, the Nagai ship's unique power source and construction made them nearly invisible to standard sensors and fire-control systems. The power-emanations of these craft actually had a dampening effect on all known galactic shield technology—actually draining shield power from their enemies, leaving them even more vulnerable to attack. And to make matters even worse, these power cores could be used to interdict hyperspace travel. It is little wonder that Republic and Imperial vessels fared so poorly in the early stages of the war. Thankfully, with technical advice from the last of the Ancients, allied forces have been able to adapt both sensor and shield systems to function against the Nagai.

Capability-wise, Nagai capital ships are easily a match for two or more allied vessels of similar size in both durability and firepower. Where the Allied forces have the advantage is seemingly in the skill of their crews and pilots and in their superior coordination on a tactical level. The organization of the Nagai suggests that the 'individuality' of their commanders can sometimes lead to the breakdown of discipline and teamwork—especially in situations where they are reacting to attack rather than initiating it.

Despite the size of the Nagai fleet and army, there are actually very few Nagai—at least, by all reports. Most of the fighting in space and on the ground is done by several specially bred species—actually other genetic experiments of the Ancients, now perverted to the cause and service of the Nagai. These include the 'Alpha'-Class soldier—the commanders and elite warriors of the Nagai military. They are actually a conglomeration of numerous worm-like sub-organisms that combine into a hive mind and typically reside within a humanoid crystalline-armored 'shell'. Due to their unique physical composition, Alphas are highly resistant to damage. They have no vulnerable spots and are even capable of regeneration. Wounds do not seem to have any detrimental effect on them, though massive injury can cause the death of the colony. Alpha's possess average intelligence and have displayed some level of tactical ability when operating on their own.

On the ground, the Nagai rely upon hordes of 'Beta'-Class humanoids. These are reptilian creatures who are grown with crystal control circuits 'wired' into their brains. Under the command of an Alpha warrior, Betas can utilize complex ground tactics, including various forms of ranged weaponry (crystalline based, but about the equivalent of modern blaster technology). Typically, one Alpha will command a 'pack' of one hundred Betas. When not under direct control (or if their commander is taken out) a pack of Betas will revert to almost animalistic tendencies—abandoning tactics and ranged weaponry in favor of all-out, hand-to-hand assaults.

In space, fighter-pilots and ship crews consist of 'Beta-2'-Class humanoids, an apparently avian variant of the Beta reptilians. They seem to possess a greater intelligence than their ground counterparts, but are no less vicious or predatory in employing pack and swarm tactics to take down their enemies. It is believed that Beta-2's are controlled from Nagai capital ships, as very few are ever seen operating out of range of their mother-ships.

All of the genetic constructs above are bred in great numbers by the Nagai. Much like their crystalline technology, Alphas and Betas require only the 'raw materials' and some starting genetic seeds.  Entire new batches can be grown in months, if not weeks. Grisly discoveries on occupied worlds have shown that 'raw materials' often include the bodies of organic beings, throw into 'hatching pools'. 

Several forms of unique technology have been employed by the Nagai and their troops during the war thus far, these include the following:

Phase-shifting crystals. Essentially, these allow the user to teleport great distances (even from orbit to planetary surfaces) by opening a dimensional rift. The journey is painful, and ultimately harmful to those using it (scientists conjecture that more than a dozen 'shifts' would cause terminal damage in most life-forms). The Nagai made great use of these crystals in the early phases of the war, using them to teleport strike teams into secure locations—including a sneak attack against the Republic/Imperial/Corporate peace-treaty signing on Coruscant. Likewise, these crystals were used to break into the high-security Republic research facility holding the last of the Ancients. After the last round of attacks, however, the Republic believes it has discovered both hard and soft shielding techniques that can prevent such shifting.

Communication-crystals. The 'comlink' used by the Nagai, allowing instantaneous 'telepathic' communication within a range of several light-years. They have also been demonstrated to have a 'feedback' capability that can injure unauthorized users.

Shard-blades. The hand-weapons of the Nagai. Crystalline swords and knives of varying length and capability. In cutting power, they rival the lightsaber—employing a monofiliment edge that can cut through solid metal. They have been proven to be able to deflect blows from a lightsaber without sustaining damage in return.

Control-Crystals. Only recently discovered in recon missions to Nagai-occupied worlds, these skyscraper sized crystal towers are fired from orbit by larger Nagai vessels (Alpha Dreadnaughts or Worldships). They are generally deployed in highly urbanized areas, sinking into the midst of a city where they root themselves deeply. Control crystals generate a composite energy field that serves a shield generator and, over time, dampens the individual will of organic minds within its 1,000 km range. In the course of a week of constant exposure, most sentient beings are reduced to a docile and zombie-like state, easy to control and employ in basic labor (such as growing more crystalline or genetic technology). These towers have also demonstrated the ability to  fire an energy blast with an orbital range, thus making them quite able to defend themselves from bombardment. Republic theorists had long wondered how the Nagai were going to maintain control of the worlds they had captured without a huge garrison force. Unfortunately, these crystal towers provide control /without/ the employment of large numbers of troops.

As you can see from the above, my Nagai differ greatly from those presented in the comics. I freely stole various aspects from the Vong and other places to create what I thought would be a very big challenge for the Star Wars Galaxy. But thus far, despite the set-backs, the Republic (and my gaming group) have made headway against even these overwhelming odds. It makes me proud to see my players come up with novel ideas to overcome this foe. It also makes me happy as a GM to have created a race of beings that ARE bad ass enough that even epic level characters have to pause to consider. My shining moment came when one of the Jedi (Bob) sensed four Nagai approaching his position. That's it. Just four of them. His initial reaction was to say "oh shit". For a character who has taken down hundreds of stormtroopers (almost) single-handedly, to have this much respect for an enemy...well, it was gratifying. It was even more gratifying when Bob (who is often quite impulsive) remained in hiding and called in support... including AIR support. And yeah, that worked. 

No comments:

Post a Comment