Now, while I consider myself a creative person, the prospect of designing an entire Galaxy 'from scratch' is a daunting one—especially when there are just so many good ideas for alien species out there. The only problem I run into is the question of whether or not stealing ideas for races from other sources is too cheesy. Considering the fact I've done it before, I'm inclined to think that no, it isn't—at least not for me. I just hope my players would feel the same way. But then...isn't that the reason I bought so many sourcebooks for other games I had no intention of playing? Don't I always say that Star Wars is an all-inclusive setting? So...yeah, okay, maybe it won't turn out to be awkward. You'll no doubt recognize many of the names I've chosen—particularly if you've ever played the 'Master of Orion' game (though many of the details have been changed).
In any case, the races I'm thinking of including are as follows:
A race of humanoids evolved from avians (very similar in look to the Shi'ar of Marvel comics). They are an aggressive, expansionistic species with a large empire, maintained by their highly skilled fleet. Their empire is very multi-cultural, though—with many 'subject species' within, operating at varying levels of citizenship. The Alkari have their own school of Force users, directly opposed to those of the Elerian Confederacy (see below). The 'signature' power of this school of force is Pyrokinesis—the "Flame of the Alkari". I would see their Empire being rife with political intrigue—not only among the Alkari themselves, but their subject races, each vying for control or perhaps even independence. Some of the main subject species would include:
A race of lizard-like humanoids with shapeshifting abilities (very similar to the Marvel's Skrull in abilities, if not appearance). The Darlok are a sneaky race and many serve within the Alkari intelligence network. Their natural abilities make them wonderful spies. Unfortunately, they aren't entirely loyal to their Alkari masters...
A race of hulking, ursoid-humanoids known for their strength and ferocity in close-quarter battle. Units of Bulrathi serve as shock-troops in the Alkari Army. They are a proud race not entirely comfortable with serving 'under' another, thus they are always testing the Alkari's control. If they were a bit more tactically adept, they could be a very real threat to Alkari domination...
A race of diminutive, rat-like humanoids known for their aggressive economic practices. They are traders and businessmen extraordinaire and serve in bureaucratic posts throughout the Alkari Empire. They aren't known for being particularly brave physically, but can be vicious indeed in their dealings with others. It is even thought that Gnolam politicians and businessmen are the true power behind the Alkari throne.
The Elerian Confederacy is one of the chief rivals of the Alkari Empire. The Elerians themselves are a near-human race, blue-skinned and usually fair-haired (resembling the Kree race from Marvel comics). They are highly advanced both technologically and intellectually. They also utilize a form of low-level telapathy to aide in communication among themselves. Most Elerians are scholars, statesmen, scientists or artisans, but they cultivate an elite military group among themselves—soldiers talented in the Force and making use of a style that seems particular to their species—Cryokinesis. These soldiers are supported by highly advanced military technology as well as 'auxiliary' troops provided by other races. The Elerians are a largely matriarchal society. Like the Alkari, there are many other races operating within Elerian space, each with a voice in their planetary assembly. These races are:
A race of diminutive, hairless humanoids with enlarged and elongated skulls. Though few in number, the Mutzachans efforts in science have greatly aided the Elerian developments. Some have also shown great Force aptitude.
A race of feline-humanoids, the Mrrshan are a semi-nomadic (gypsy) race of individual family clans—traveling in their makeshift fleets throughout Elerian space. They are an odd mixture of warlike-barbarian and pleasure-seeking hedonists, alternately making their living by either hiring themselves out as mercenaries or entertaining in large-scale, impromptu fairs. Though not an 'official' member of the Elerian Confederacy, the Mrrshan are becoming a vital part of its military, serving as scouts and commandos.
A race of large, silicon-based, rock-like humanoids with a slow-moving culture that is particularly 'alien' to most species. They mostly seem to want to be left alone, but often come into conflict with other powers in their constant search for worlds with mineral wealth—which is necessary to them as a food source and means of reproduction. They are seemingly quite primitive, technologically, and yet they are able to create giant, asteroid-like starships and crystal-based weaponry. Despite being incredibly resilient, the Silicoids are slowly being edged out by other species in terms of territory and power.
THE KLACKON BROOD
A race of xenophobic insectoids. The Klackon are less technologically advanced than either the Alkari or Elerians, but make up for this with sheer numbers, industrial output and fanatic loyalty to the 'brood mothers' who rule their race. The Klackon have several highly developed 'hive worlds' supported by stripping the resources of many more 'colony' planets. It is in the search for more resources that the Klackon run into conflicts with other races—often resulting in sharp and brutal invasions by the insectoids.
Though small in number, the Phentari have a large reputation as highly intelligent and ruthless killers—in fact, they are admitted cannibals, having no qualms feeding on their own or any other race. They come from aquatic stock, vaguely resembling bipedal squids—though they are seldom seen outside of their environmental suits. Nobody knows exactly where their homeworld is—and rumor has it they actually destroyed it in a civil war. The race is scattered now among the various powers of the Empire, its members often taking positions in the underworld as assassins, bounty-hunters or criminal masterminds. Some of the race have exhibited extraordinary mental powers—the ability to control or even 'fry' the minds of other species. (For you D&D folks...picture something like a cross between a Mindflayer and Kuo-Toa)
A fast-breeding race of ferociously powerful lizard-men. Thankfully for the other species in the galaxy, the Ssakkra are technologically primitive—barely above stone-age on their home planet. Unfortunately, other species (the Alkari in particular) have taken Ssakkra from their home planet and trained them as soldiers to use in interstellar conflict. Though primitive, the Ssakra are not stupid. Some have already gained their independence (in one way or another) and can now be found working in the underworld of various species. There is even rumor of a Ssakkra Pirate Lord operating his own ship. Were the race as a whole capable of space travel, it is possible they could colonize and out-breed other species within a few generations, thus, their expansion off-world is a touchy subject.
An 'artificial' species, the Phalanx are actually sentient programs capable of inhabiting mobile mechanical 'frames' in order to interact with their environment. Nobody is quite certain who created the phalanx, though it is surmised that they rose up and destroyed whoever it was long ago. For the most part, the Phalanx are reclusive—refusing contact with other species. Nobody knows what their goals may be, but they do not seem particularly expansionist. They are, however, quite able to defend themselves if pressed—fielding ships and weapons the equal of anything else in the galaxy.
THE YUUZHAN VONG
Yep. The same ones from the novels—only a bit different. I see these as being the 'big baddies' of this Galaxy, slowly working to conquer all 'lesser' races—thus providing the catalyst for a lot of conflict in a campaign setting. While I may have had problems with the novels that these guys came from, I do like the concept of an entire species who's technology is based upon organics—this sets them apart from almost every species and in particular, I can see them having major problems with the Silicoids and the Phalanx, both of which are 'non-living' in their eyes.
Anyway, these are just my initial thoughts on the matter. Is good for me to put them down in writing so I can come back to them later.