Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Vau Hegemony

One of the biggest, but hopefully subtle changes in FS3 were made to the Vau. I was generally felt that for such a high tech nation they lacked any punch. Their Annunaki gifted social order too just looked and felt like an imitation of the Empire's Feudalism. That being the case, it was decided that much of the FS2 information on the Vau was coloured from an internal Empire perspective and was there for simply wrong or misunderstood. This allowed the writers to redevelop Vau society using a system of equal yet different casts.

One of the big considerations in reworking the Vau was the question, "what stops them simply doing what they will". The simple answer is that while we may do things "because we can", the Vau do not. There are many subtle forces in the universe that are easily unbalanced, and the Vau seek harmony above other things.

The Vau Hegemony
The Vau are an ancient and secretive alien race that dominates an area of space bordering upon the territories of the Decados and Li Halan. Their private nature is matched only by their sophisticated technology. Little is known about Vau culture, government, or intentions towards the rest of the universe, except that they are no longer an expansionistic power.
What little is known about the Hegemony are extrapolations based on humanity’s limited contact with the Vau border worlds of Vril-Ya, Vau, Manitou, and Apshai. Contact with the border worlds and the Hegemony beyond is strictly controlled, the Vau does not tolerate any violation of their rules. That said, there is a vigorous black market trade going on across the border, and recent years has seen a gradual relaxing of Vau rules and some limited contact between the Phoenix Empire and some of the Hegemony’s protectorate alien species has been permitted.
The Vau’s is a cast society, their population divided into three principal classes with individual racial variations. Each clutch of hatchings produce offspring of various casts, and the siblings form a close bond. Those born as Guardians are instinctively protective of the others; Mandarins, natural intellectuals and leaders, are rare, and not every clutch produces one; while Prols serve the needs of the whole clutch. The clutch bond is akin to a close family relationship amongst humans; clutch mates will grow to maturity together before going their separate ways to pursue their individual interests, though they often remain in close contact for the remainder of their lives.
Despite being organized into casts, the Vau society is not hierarchically. Each caste is equal to the others, and each is considered the authority in their area of expertise. Each of the Vau worlds is overseen by a council usually composed of a mixture of members from all castes. The castes do not necessarily have equal representation in a council, depending on the needs and nature of the world in question. Mandarins typically dominate border worlds, leading Phoenix Empire observes to wrongly conclude that Mandarins dominate all the Vau worlds. Watch world councils are typically dominated Guardians, often with very little if any representation from Prols. In contrast to the border and watch worlds, the majority of Vau world councils are overseen by Prols, with Guardian and Mandarin representatives as needed. In times of war and in places of conflict, the councils temporarily transfer full authority to the Guardian caste whose duty it is to protect the Hegemony and all its citizens.

The History of Human-Vau relations
Next to nothing is known about the History of the Vau species and their civilization. They are the most technologically sophisticated species known to Man, baring only the Ur species who manufactured the jumpgates and gargoyles in the very distant pre-history. This has lead scholars to speculate whether the Vau might be related to such species of legend, or that their civilization at least descends from those greater societies. 
Those tales that the Vau have allowed to emigrate into the Phoenix Empire, tells that the Vau were once the servants of the architects of the jumpgates. Although little detail is given, it is stated that the Vau got involved in a grand interstellar war that, when it died down, left the Vau scattered across many worlds with no means of travel. How much of this is myth and how much is historic fact is impossible to say, but most scholars believe there are some truth in the tale.
Around the Urth year 1800, the Vau of one such world (not the species’ homeworld) developed space flight technology, more than a century and a half before humanity. In addition, while humanity’s prematurely born space age was prompted by war-time desperation, the Vau had postponed their space exploration program long after being technologically able to achieve it. Around 1803, or so the Vau tell, they accessed the jumpweb and began expanding the Hegemony in the image of the ancient Ur civilization they once served. It might have been the Vau who uplifted the Hironem species of Cadiz to a technologically sophisticated civilization around 1900. Then, c. 2300, ill omens supposedly convinced the Vau Hegemony to end its expansion.

The Diaspora
Humanity’s First Contact with the Vau in 2845 came as a shock. A new world had been discovered on the edge of known space that was home to a primitive, insectoid sentient species, the G’nesh who seemed to live for horticulture and artistic gardening. Naming the world New Monaco (later renamed Apshai), the Human colonists began establishing settlements and setting up resource extraction operations that displaced many of the native G’nesh. The G’nesh objected to their garden lands being disturbed, explaining that such activity was not permitted and demanding that the Humans left. The colonists were not impressed and continued their activities as before.
Then through the jumpgate came a single alien starship unlike anything seen before. This Vau dreadnought systematically destroyed the colonial fleet in orbit, before disgorging Vau Guardians to the surface to bring genocide to the Human invaders. The G’nesh returned to their gardening and the Vau left Apshai space with the message, “Leave this planet alone. It is the property of the Vau Hegemony. Do not follow the jumproads from this gate further.” This was followed by another Vau warship that appeared above Cadiz a few days later with the message repeated, resulting in widespread panic on that world.
The full technological superiority of Vau became apparent in the years that followed, as Humans, despite the warnings, continued to encroach upon Hegemony space. Few who challenged the Vau lived to speak of it, and those who came back did so because the Vau willed it. Eventually, diplomatic contact was established and the terms of a treaty agreed. (For further details on humanity’s first contact, see the Player’s Guide p.XX).
The Vau have remained a distance and isolationist power ever since first encountering humanity, watching them grow into a powerful republic that challenged their technological superiority before that same political structure crumbled and fell. On occasion, the Vau have entered Human space on diplomatic missions, sometimes bearing unexpected gifts or making enigmatic demands.
In 2849, the Prophet Zebulon set out on a mission of diplomacy into Vau space, only to die in a jumpgate accident – an act that, according to Universal Church theology, sanctified the jumpweb for humanity’s use. The diplomat Benjamin Verdan Justinian led another mission into Vau space between 2852-2854, which established peaceful relations between humanity and the Hegemony. In 2999 an abandoned Vau warship jumped into the Midian system, and although the ship was fast returned to the Vau, a team of technicians secretly removed the onboard repulsor-plates, gaining humanity that technology.

The Second Republic
During the early Second Republic, the planet Cadiz was developed as a diplomacy world towards Vau space, and vast amounts of wealth funneled into the project, before the Vau declared their own world of Vril-Ya would serve that purpose. At the height of the Second Republic, the Human attitude towards the Vau turned from humbling panic to proud competitiveness, for humanity felt they had uncovered all but the few of the Vau’s secrets and insights – now at last humanity were equal to the mighty Vau! That’s what the scientist Shakira O’Hearne believed in 3768, when she tried to impress a Vau ambassador by explaining her theory of nine-dimensional endoplasm dynamics, which she believed would uncover what few secrets remained in the Vau arsenal. The Mandarin ambassador’s sole response was a slight crease in the corner of his mouth and a brief rhythmic undulation in the throat – this is now commonly believed to have been the only demonstration on record of a Vau displaying amusement.

The New Dark Age
In 4616 a terrible disease, dubbed the Green Death, struck the Known Worlds from beyond the Vau border; it lasted for seven years, killing countless millions, before the Rampart scientist Dr. Lusignan found a cure. Some later blamed the Green Death for the string of Husk attacks in the Known Worlds that followed a generation later. In 4899, Count Vano Juandaastas rediscovered the Lost World of Grange (now Pandemonium) after having received the required jumpkey as a gift from the Vau. Vau sympathizers and cults sprung up during the New Dark Ages, especially on the Hegemony border worlds and in Li Halan space, inspired by fragments of philosophies and mysticism the seaped out of the Hegemony. During the Emperor Wars the Vau were especially quiet, although rumors of “Vau Watchers”, Humans spying for the Vau, were widespread.

The Phoenix Empire
Since the rise of Phoenix Empire, the Vau have been seen more often in Human space. Diplomatic delegations have come and gone to Byzantium Secundus, and diplomatic relations seems to be improving. Though the Vau continue to restrict contact with the border worlds of Vril-Ya, Vau, Manitou, and Apshai, they have allowed some protectorate aliens from within the Hegemony to travel to these worlds to trade directly with Humans, although always under close scrutiny.

The Vau Casts 
Mandarin: The tallest and thinnest of the Vau, Mandarins stand about 10 feet tall. They are said to be among the universe's wisest and most intelligent beings, exceeding that of Prols and Guardians. Mandarins are also the longest-lived of the Vau, reckoned to average about 230 Urth years. They are dependent upon the company of the other castes, and become nervous and anxious without their proximity. In times of distress, Mandarins will seek the comfort of Prols and Guardians, and it is rare to see a Mandarin without an entourage.
The Mandarin’s are a wisdom caste. They perform many diplomatic, guidance, and planning functions within society, and are often considered to be the rulers of Vau society or the alien equivalent of nobility. A better analogy, however, would be to describe them as the voice of Vau society. More than mere leaders, Mandarins guide the course of culture and civilization, and they exist to foster and facilitate society for the betterment of the Vau as a whole.
Mandarins are the least populous caste, for never is more than a single Mandarin born to a clutch, and even then only about one in seven or eight clutches hatches a Mandarin. They are born diplomats and negotiators, and are the only caste of Vau with any capacity for deception. Many Mandarins turn their considerable intelligence and wisdom toward the unlocking of puzzles posed by prophecy - how best to perform actions toward the achievement of desired goals. Some claim that these goals do not always serve the Vau, but instead serve the universe at large, even to the detriment of the Vau. The Mandarins’ and indeed the Vau as a whole rarely act in haste; in most cases it is considered prudent to consult the wisdom of the Valukesh Ha 'eni, a store of wisdom sacred to Mandarins, and to seek auspices regarding intended action.
Guardians: The Guardians are the warriors and protectors of Vau society and ideals. They are the shortest-lived of the castes (life-expectancy 80 Urth years), and have massive bodies granting them power and endurance. They stand about eight feet tall; have bright teeth (evolved to threaten rather than wound). Some have horns or bony ridges on their skulls and shoulders, an atavistic trait mostly absent in Mandarins and Prols. Guardians are trained for combat and disciplined, and will follow their leaders’ orders unto certain death.
Guardians are born to defend their clutch-mates and have an innate group-instinct, a tactical advantage over other species that relies on training and indoctrination to form ordered ranks of troops. With most sentients, times of stress can cripple morale and erase years of training in an instant. With a Guardian however, stress enhances their confidence, reasoning, and reaction. Guardians are amongst the most disciplined of beings, and even violence is given coldly and with dispassion. However, short of a deadly assault upon their wards, they offer no danger and even provide protection to those favored by the Vau. Having a Vau Guardian stand watch over you in a dangerous place is an assured protection.
About one in four eggs of clutch produce a Guardian. Their primary duty is to defend the clutch mates, through self-sacrifice if necessary. Secondarily, Guardians perform martial tasks, such as instigating an attack against an enemy as a preventive measure. They are defensive by nature, and rarely do Guardians attack without a direct order. A defending Guardian will fight viciously, ensuing that any threat to his charge or Vau society is destroyed, and once engaged, Guardians require clear (and often strenuously delivered) orders to prevent killing an enemy.
Prol: The Prols are the most adaptable of the Vau, charged with providing for the Vau society. Prols are the smallest race of Vau, standing about six feet tall with slender girth, but they are nonetheless a hardy breed. Their life expectancy is about 130 Urth years. They tend to settle permanently in an area or region, rarely traveling except for the occasional vacation. The primary exception is those individuals who work as service personnel to Mandarins and Guardians, as well as those who travel to gather stories and exotica for entertainment or research. 
Each Prol, upon reaching early adulthood, chooses an an'vona, a "waypath" or profession, which will be the primary focus of his endeavors for the remainder of his life. Only rarely does a Prol change waypath in midlife, for this is considered a personal of defeat, a failure to serve in the intended profession. A Prol’s life is spent perfecting his path, perfecting the rites and rituals and perhaps, with much luck and talent, creating new insight - the most sacred endeavor possible. They occupy the full spectrum of workers from farmers and industry workers, to scientists and technicians, performing their tasks without complaint, taking pride in the process and results of their work. As such, they provide not only sustenance to their peers, but also emotional companionship and spiritual support.
Prols are the most numerous of the castes, making up over 70% of the Vau population. While the Mandarins possess amazing intellect and the Guardians steadfast duty, so the Prols have their own area of expertise: ingenuity. Most technological innovations come from the Prols, and the awe-inspiring architecture and artistry of Vau cities is chiefly due to them. Prols are less easy to classify than members of the other castes, for their chosen duties are so broad and varied, from bakers and builders, to dancers and storytellers. Any endeavor of value is practiced by some Prols, and the Vau often see value where others do not. For instance, the Vau holds that art is a necessary condition for spiritual advancement, without which civilizations cannot rise in understanding of the cosmos.

Vau Culture Skills
Vau Culture skills are similar to those found in Human cultures. Most Vau have the Culture (Hegemony), Culture (caste), and Culture (planet) skills. The Guardian and Prol castes usually only possess their own Culture (caste) skill, though Mandarins frequently learn the cultures of the other castes, as well as of the many alien protectorates within the Hegemony. Deception is a restricted skill amongst the Vau, neither Guardians, nor Prols may learn it, unless they take a Tutelage Contract benefit.
There exists a great many alien species that hold citizenship within the Hegemony, protectorates of the Vau. These aliens typically learn Culture (Hegemony), Culture (protectorate), and Culture (planet). Alien soldiers who serve alongside Vau Guardians are expected to learn Culture (Guardian), while traders usually learn Culture (Prol). Only a very few are sufficiently privileged to learn the intricacies of Mandarin culture.

Vau Restricted Skills
There are few skill restrictions in the Vau society. However, craft and other practical skills are common only among Prols, and cultural and high-brow skills are primarily practiced by Mandarins, while combat related skills are almost unheard of for non-Guardians.

Vau Technology
The Vau are a technically advanced society, one that many scholars hold as approximate equal to the heights of the Second Republic. By the standards of the Phoenix Empire, Vau technology is so sophisticated that it is regularly regarded as being supernatural in origin. (For some specific items of VauTech that has found its way to Phoenix Empire black markets, see p.XX). 
The Vau are an aesthetically driven people, and all their devices, vehicles, and starships are of elegant designed. The Hegemony is a true Tech Level 8 society, though many of its protectorate species have yet to adapt to this level of technological sophistication. However, Vau medicine and culture is available to all citizens of the Hegemony. Unlike the Phoenix Empire, the elite of Hegemony have no greater access to technology than commoners, even though weapons technology is heavily restricted to Guardians or protectorate defense forces.
In a few areas, such as quantum mechanics and matter/energy conversion, Vau technological sophistication even skirts Tech Level 9. This wondrous technology is rarely openly displayed as it has far-reaching consequences. It allows the constructions of near mass-less materials (aping, but not equating, Anunnaki technology), and converting waves of energy into particles for building materials (negating the need for natural resources as any kind of material can theoretically be assembled from “thin air”), or reversely, to disassemble physical structures into energy (allowing Guardians to be deployed into battle through teleportation). The application of such technology is limited however, both in fear of it falling into humanity’s hands (as so much VauTech already has), and because of the great costs of using and maintaining it. Still, very few Vau starships need to have atmospheric flight or landing capabilities, and Vau medicine is another field that frequently benefit from this pinnacle of Vau technology. Finally, the use of quantum mechanics for communication is the Vau’s single greatest advantage over other civilizations, allowing near-instant communication within the Hegemony through relays on the jumpgates. Similarly, interplanetary communication and communication between Vau vessels in the same star system is instantaneous.

Aliens of the Hegemony
The Vau Hegemony is a vast domain composed of the Vau and a number of other protectorate sentient species – those summarized below are only the species most commonly encountered on Hegemony border worlds. In the last decade, the Vau has allowed increased access to the Phoenix Empire boarder worlds for members of these protectorate species. For the first time, the Phoenix Empire has established relations with the Manshogo, the Fah Selani, the Velek Zzum, and the Gwindor (Human citizens of the Hegemony).
Contact is still limited and tentative, and only a very few of these species have ventured beyond the boarder worlds into Phoenix Empire, but trade in exotic materials and cultural artifacts across the border is growing. Many citizens of the Hegemony are curious about the Phoenix Empire and what space lies beyond, and none more so than the Gwindor who seek to understand their cultural roots. Although biologically equal to Phoenix Empire Humans, the Gwindor, are as culturally and mentally alien to their brethren outside of the Hegemony as are any of the weirder species.
G’nesh: The insectoid G’nesh are a multi-form species, divided into many distinct races and breeds. Some look arachnid (capable of spinning threads used for making garments throughout the Vau Hegemony), while others resembles beetles (capable of flight) or ants (capable of working tirelessly). Common to all G’nesh variants however, are four black eyes; two hands capable of fine manipulation (varying widely in form and appearance) and an equally dexterous mouth; and a protective carapace shell on their back, bearing a mark resembling a Vau glyph. 
The G’nesh were conquered by the Vau many centuries before Humans arrive on Apshai. Having first vehemently opposed the Vau, the G’nesh eventually recognized their cultural and technological superiority. In return for their submission, the G’nesh received social stability and health care, and the species became in effect a retirement culture focusing their efforts on hobbies and artistry. When Humans came, the G’nesh weren’t alarmed – their relations with ‘aliens’ (i.e. the citizens of the Vau Hegemony) had been pleasant thus far, and they had no reason to suspect that humanity wished them ill. At first they thought the Humans’ conquering behavior were simply a matter of misunderstanding – the new arrivals probably just misjudged how things worked on Apshai. But when a series of warnings had been ignored, the G’nesh had had enough. They contacted their Vau masters and demanded they protected Apshai as the Hegemony agreement stipulated, and soon Guardians arrived on Apshai to exterminate the Humans down to the last woman and child.  An empty starship was then sent through the Apshai jumpgate, carrying the message that humanity were not to mess with the Vau Hegemony.
The G’nesh are renowned as gardeners, seeking to live harmonious lives dedicated to aesthetics. They are self-governed, although depending on the Vau for protection and some welfare. Not all G’nesh are horticulturists however, although all practice art of some kind. They readily emulate outside influences, be them Vau concepts, Phoenix Empire imagery, or themes from their fellow non-Vau citizens of the Hegemony. 
Velek Zzum: The Velek Zzum are a sentient crustacean species with wide, circular, carapace covered bodies standing about six feet tall on eight legs. Two claws allow basic manual dexterity, while two heavy pincers are capable of beheading a Human. The large pincers have two sub-pincers attached, allowing fine manipulation. The head is barely mobile, the neck buried under carapace, but their eye-stalks can extend beyond the shell. The mouth sits underneath the head, and is shaped to suck in nutritious particles and objects in water. They have only one gender, two individuals exchanging genetic material through a trunk-like organ in the face (they possess no olfactory organ). Usually, both partners produce an egg which the other fertilizes. The Velek have no speech, instead communicating by clacking their claws and drumming on one-another’s shell. VauTech to translate between Velek and non-Velek exists, and those working closely with the Vau usually have such devices surgically implanted. 
The Velek had achieved sophisticated, though practically oriented, technology before encountering the Vau. Theoretical ideas without direct application were rare, but the Velek were skilled at adapting to and solving practical challenges. They built grand underwater earthworks and caves to control water and funnel energy, discovering electricity at very early evolutionary stage. Cities grew up around these caves, and efficient methods of producing and storing food were developed. Velek were hunted by shark-analogy creature called Skavul, which forced them to develop weapons and armor. Eventually, they ventured on land, using water bags to breathing through. There they quickly mastered fire and flash powder, leading to the production of spearguns with which they drove the Skavul into the deep seas.
The Velek are industrious allies of the Vau, some even adopted as Prols. Many Velek work in space mining and other hazardous environments, being better suited for dangerous work than most. Communities are formed by territorial boundaries, each composed of every Velek in a continuous region (there are no sub-communities or “local” group). Communities are not based on similarity or like attraction, and very few conflicts arise within or between Velek communities. If one community accidentally moves into another’s territory, they withdraw as soon as the mistake is discovered. Velek observe a belief in fate manifested as tidal movements, along with a concept of good and bad luck, and many rituals designed to control them. However, Vau culture and world-view are slowly replacing the original faith. 
Manshogo: Manshogo are generally anthropomorphic, standing about 7 feet tall, but descends from marsupial-analogy predators (females are slightly smaller and carry newborns in a small pouch on their lower abdomen). They possess thick skin and horny protuberances on their shoulders and backs, and their heads, necks, and shoulders are covered in thick mane of hair. There are five distinct races, the Supi (dark skin with white stripes); Sani (brown with yellow stripes); Lakh (red with blue stripes); Hium (blue with orange stripes); and Pasa (green with purple stripes). No evolutionary purpose has been found for these variations, which is also the case with the Manshogo’s weird fighting trance – Klavi, and some Vau suspect Ur-wrought manipulation. 
Ancient Manshogo history blends with myths and legends (possibly due to Klavi inspired ideas) and is hard to discern. Social development and technological advancement seems to have been similarly inspired by Klavi insight, and were often applied with little understanding and much disaster. The Manshogo had developed a sophisticated society prior to encountering the Vau. They had colonized much of their star system, and had begun slowly exploring the jumpweb, colonizing four worlds beyond their jumpgate. When the Vau arrived, the Manshogo resisted them nail and teeth for years before finally submitting to limited servitude as a protectorate of the Vau Hegemony. They surrendered one of their worlds to the Hegemony, but retained the other three colony worlds.
The Manshogo is a warrior culture, valuing prowess, presence, discipline, and personal achievements. However, becoming part of the Vau Hegemony removed the struggle for survival, and the younger generations often spurn the warrior ethics for the easier life of luxury and leisure. This leads many conservative Manshogo to curse the Vau for making their culture soft. To remedy this, the Vau invite Manshogo to serve in the Hegemonic Pacification Forces that keep troubled worlds in line, or they may become scouts to worlds beyond the Hegemony. Many Manshogo now patrol the border worlds of the Hegemony, and a few even serve as mercenaries in the Phoenix Empire. Manshogo religion and art draws much from the experience of the Klavi state, wherein they see non-corporal entities corresponding to the ‘vibrational frequency’ of the Klavar (“dancer”). The spiritual elders are those who have risked their lives by performing multiple Klavi trances in sequence, seeking a mystical experience of pure ecstasy which allegedly makes them part of a benevolent “Oneness”. 

The Death Dance
Most Manshogo, depending on their training and ancestry, can enter a feral trance state called the Klavi or Death Dance, and it was this that allowed the Manshogo to resist the Vau Guardians for so long. The Klavi heightens their bodily functions and mental focus, making them faster and more accurate, but exhausting their energy fast. It is followed by fatigue and great hungers, and if kept from feeding, the body will start devouring itself.
Entering the trance takes three turns of deep meditation, and requires a Vigor + Discipline goal roll. Success grants the Manshogo an additional action per turn, as well as making her immune to penalties brought on by Injury, Fatigue, or Shame. A Critical success grants a vision instead (she cannot interact with the world while having a Klavi vision). The Death Dance trance lasts VPs turns or until the Manshogo falls unconscious due to exhaustion, for she suffers one Fatigue each turn she remains in Klavi (she can’t voluntarily snap out of it). A common Klavi induced Disorder is Klavi Addiction. When she comes out of the Klavi, the Manshogo suffers a -6 penalty to all goals (in addition to any Fatigue penalties etc.), and cannot recover Resolve until she has feasted. When the last point of Fatigue has been recovered, the -6 penalty is also overcome. If unable to feed, her body will start devouring itself, turning Fatigue into Injury at the rate of one point per Scene/20 minutes. 

Fah Selani: The serpentine Fah Selani have snake-like bodies, a broad hood-like torso, and a naked head. Their tails branch out into 10 dexterous digits, which allow very fine manual dexterity – they have no limbs or hands. Their sinuous bodies are strong and agile, and they have excellent hearing and sense of smell, also possessing thermal-vision while their ordinary eyesight is poor. Their retractable fangs are venomous, but are no longer commonly used as a weapon. It is difficult for non-Fah Selani to understand and communicate with them, for their emotions and body language is almost impenetrable, their motivations hard to discern. 
Progress was slow with the Fah Selani, as they as they preferred solitude or bond-pairings rather than communal cooperation. Early Fah Selani were not social beyond bond-pairs. But as the population increased, territorial squabbles ensued, resulting in certain strong bond-pairs winning large areas. The start of a society came as these royal bond-pairs allowed other pairs to hunt on their domains, often in exchange for gifts or captured pray. Soon Fah Selani royal dynasties emerged. As societies grew more complex, certain bond-pairs specialized in providing services for others, and eventually the Fah Selani began extending the feelings of goodwill and companionship between bond-pairs to communities. Eventually, oligarchies of bond-pairs overthrew the royal dynasties to create a planet-wide civilization ruled by reason rather than personal might, and with domains awarded bond-pairs based on merit. Now, every Fah Selani could own territory, although as personal hunting grounds shrank, animal husbandry and specialized services grew more common. When the Vau arrived from the stars, the Fah Selani were used to being ruled by the wisest among them and accepted adoption by the Hegemony without objection.
Fah Selani culture, society, and psychology revolve around the concept of pair-bonding. When two Fah Selani bond, they form a near-inseparable connection that lasts for life, although for one to bond anew when the mate dies is not uncommon. The bond-pair share and cooperate in everything, in some respects becoming a pair-individual rather than a duo. Pair-bonding isn’t primarily a matter of procreation, and same-sex pairings are not uncommon, especially among specialists who happen to be of the same gender. Fah Selani stories are often tragedies about bond-pairs, such as one inadvertently poisoning the other, or powerful Fah Selani capturing one of a bond-pair to force the other in to servitude. A recurring villain in Fah Selani tales is the cunningly evil serial-bonder, who murders her bond-mate for profit, only to bond with another and repeat the evil deed. The Fah Selani are a naturally curious species, and bond-pairs spend much of their time in contemplation and discussion, whether on technology, philosophy, stories, puzzles, or subtle jokes that non-Fah Selani typically won’t get.

Some Hegemony Arms
While the Artifacts Chapter describes items of VauTech available on the Phoenix Empire black market, we here provide the Game Master with examples of weapons used by protectorate species of the Vau Hegemony, such as a cadre might encounter. In addition to the below weapons, Hegemony citizens with any business to carry arms, (the access to weapons is greatly restricted within the Vau Hegemony), may also have access to equivalents of most Phoenix Empire weapons and armor of TL4 to TL6.

Type TL Goal DMG RNG Cap. Modes Cost Notes
Forv’rulkh* 7 na
- Blaster Rifle - - 9 15/40/60 30 SS/SB/LB - Energy, Blaster, Stock
- Battle Ax e - - 5 Melee - - - Two-handed
- Self-destruction - - 15 5m radius - - - Personal Scale, Blaster
Imir ** 5 na
- Hand-held - -1 5 Melee - - - Ballistic
- Thrown - - 3 4/8/16 - SS - Ballistic
Schaal *** 6 +2 6 10/20/30 32 SS/SB/LB na Autofeed, Stock, Flechette

* The Vau Guardian Energy Stave can be used both as an automatic blaster rifle and battle axe. In addition, it can be set to self-destruct between anything from instantaneous to 10 minutes. 
** The Manshogo Spinning Blade is a spinning disk of five curved blades resting on a nob on the back of the hand. When spun and used in close combat, the Imir is in effect a handheld buzzsaw, typically worn as pairs. It can also be thrown. Imir require special training to efficiently use, without which the user suffers a -2 goal penalty and the total Injury inflicted is halved (DMG+VPs/2, round down).
*** The Fah Selani six-barrelend, star-shaped flechette rifle is almost impossible to operate for non-Fah Selani.
Domain of the Hegemony
Citizens of the Phoenix Empire have yet to reach far into the Vau Hegemony, access instead limited to the border worlds where some coexistence is permitted under strict treaties. Many more systems make up the Vau Hegemony than what are described here, but these are off-limits to citizens of the Phoenix Empire.

Star: Cleo (dull white star)
System: Epyx (3.44AU), Apshai (0.91AU), Hokuto (5.1AU; 4 moons), Kuko Cluster (7.3AU; localized asteroid cluster), Noad (9.1AU; 47 moons, spacestation: Shrodzorotin), Silva (23.7AU), Kollun (43.1AU, 2 moons), Jumpgate (57.5AU)
Jumps: Manitou (Warning: Vau World), Midian, Rampart, Pandemonium
Capital: Capilla (Human), Sis’Chet (G’nesh)
Resources: agriculture, minerals, ores
Exports: G’nesh cultural objects, fine arts
Important People:
Baroness Claire Skirlon (born 5953): A former House Hawkwood householder, Claire was elevated by Imperial decree to noble stature for her selfless bravery during the Emperor Wars. She was amongst the first nobles to seek an Imperial commission to the Order of the Phoenix and served with distinction during talks with Vau, earning her promotion to Baroness. It was this experience that opened that way for Alexius I to appoint her as his representative on Apshai where Claire now administers the Imperial holdings. In recent years, the Baroness has built many bridges with the Vau whom hold her in high esteem. She is one of only a few Humans ever to receive an invitation to visit Vau (Shaduveen), a privilege Baroness Clarie has now been granted twice. 
Slee’wau Assawaka’Fro’Talakma (born 4833): Assawaka is the Mandarin in charge of overseeing the cultural exchanges between the Phoenix Empire and the Vau Hegemony. He is a patron of the arts and frequently hosts exhibitions of the arts of the various Hegemony cultures.  But his greatest passion is ancient Human cultures; he seeks out whatever scraps of knowledge he can, and regularly encourages ambassadors and diplomats of the Phoenix Empire to put on displays of their culture. He is trying to find an excuse to travel the Phoenix Empire to experience its many-faceted culture up close, and although he has obtained permission to enter the Empire he has so far not found a way to escape the duties of his position.

Apshai is a green and pleasant Urth-like world, with three great continents spreading across its surface. By treaty, two of these continents are accessible to Humans, while the largest continent is reserved for the native Gnesh (and citizens of the Hegemony). 
This paradise world, then called New Monaco, was discovered in 2743, and as it didn’t need terraforming to perfectly suite Human habitation, Apshai immediate attracted colonial interests. The first colony was established the in late 2744, and exploitation of resources commenced in early 2745. This brought the colonists into conflict with the native Gnesh, who protested against the Humans violation of their habitats, exclaiming that such actions were “not permitted”. The plight of the natives was ignored, and in 2745 a single Vau Warship arrived to effortlessly destroy the assembled colonial fleet, before disgorging Vau Guardians to the surface to kill every single colonist. Apshai remained a closed world until the diplomatic efforts of the Second Republic established the New Monaco Treaty with the Vau, opening a single continent for colonization in 3811.
The Vau maintain a small presence on Apshai, though there’s a large military presence in the system, centered on a sizable star base (the spacestation Shrodzorotin) amongst the moons of Noad, all entire system of moons being off-limits to non-Hegemony starships. Regular patrols traverse the system, and although they rarely board or inspect other vessels, they have been known to insist that a ship quits the Apshai immediately for no apparent reason. As with all of the Vau border worlds, the Inquisition is formally denied access the system. Though the Royal Houses all occupy token fiefs on Apshai, most of the Human territory has been annexed by the Emperor. 
Direct contact with the native G’nesh is prohibited by the New Monaco Treaty. However, in response to a burgeoning trade in black market goods, the Vau has loosened these restrictions on trade and permitting the import of cultural objects from the Phoenix Empire by the G’nesh in return for many objects d’art and agricultural produce.

Manitou (Vajslo Un’an)
Star: Abnaki (bright yellow star)
System: Waabanakiing (0.3AU), Anishinaabeg (0.8AU; 1 moon), Manitou (1.2AU; 2 moons), Abnaki Belt (7.3-8.4AU), Ojibwe (12.1AU), Saulteaux (14.7AU, 31 moon), Nish (28.4AU; 17 moons), Cree (47.4AU; 61 moons), Jumpgate (72.7AU)
Jumps: Apshai (Warning: Vau World), Vau (Warning: Vau World), Cadiz, Icon
Capital: Noumea (Human)
Resources: minerals, ores, agriculture, aquiculture, forestry, Ur ruins
Exports: foods, narcotics, heretical documents, relic tech, magic lantern entertainments
Important People:
Baron Klimenty Decados (born 4940): The self-styled “Black Baron”, Klimenty Decados fled Cadiz over two decades ago to escape the flames of the Inquisition bearing charges of heresy. The baron remains a prominent and unrepentant occultist to this day and is said to own one of the finest libraries of forbidden books outside of the Orthodoxy archives. He regularly plays host to other “true seekers”, and is reputed to openly practice a form of heretical sorcery aimed at obtaining celestial secrets from the higher planes.

Manitou is a strange world. On the surface it looks Urth-like, but closer inspection reveals strange rock formations, sea shapes, and mountain ranges bearing an uncanny resemblance to Anunnaki Glyphs. It is commonly believed that cloud formations and shadows on Manitou can be interpreted to predict the future. There are a number of occult organizations that study such phenomena (real or imaginary), claiming they divine messages from the Annunaki or the spirits of the world.
Formally discovered in 2743, Manitou has always had a strange attraction for occultists and mystics of every persuasion. There is some anecdotal evidence that Sathrists fleeing the First Republic and the Sathra War may have discovered the world two centuries earlier, although no archeological remains of this early colony have so far been discovered. Those who settled here in the 29th and 30th centuries came to escape the growing power of the Universal Church. In 3520, the people of Manitou sought legal recognition and protection from the Second Republic, to preserve their diverse and unique cultural heritage by restricting the access of the Universal Church. By now, the Vau had informed humanity that the world belonged to the Hegemony, although they had no particular interest in developing it. Negotiations were initiated, and in 3555 Manitou was established as a joint protectorate between the Vau and the Second Republic. The Manitou Treaty established miniature version of the Republic’s bureaucracy to administer the world, and expressly barred the Universal Church or its agents access. When the Fall came, the bureaucracy reorganized itself into the Administration, a local guild nominally affiliated to the emergent Merchant League. More recently (4997) the Administration has sworn fealty to Emperor Alexius I. In 4999, the Manitou Alliance was established as an interest organization to lobby for extended citizens’ rights and special favors.
Under the protections established by the Manitou Treaty (3555), Manitou has a considerable stock of relic technology, surviving from the time of the Second Republic, as well as a large number alien technologies filtering through from the Vau Hegemony. Still, the population possesses little know-how of how to use and maintain much of this technology. Unable to enter the Manitou system under the vigilant eyes of the Vau, the Church Fleet instead maintain a close watch on the Jumpgates in the Cadiz and Icon systems, where inspection of starships coming in from Manitou are almost as frequent and strict as those entering Bannockburn, Shaprut, or Istakhr space from Stigmata. 
The basic standard of living for the 300 million strong populations is high compared to the Phoenix Empire, and there is also a large alien population on Manitou, most notably Obun and Ukari, who mix freely with the Human majority. Technologies forbidden by the Universal Church can be found in the open, including golems, mass media, advanced transportation networks, and certain legal concepts and entities abolished elsewhere by the nobility after the Fall – most notably the Corporation (a non-person entity permitted to hold property). The Human lands on Manitou receive very little guidance and authority from the Phoenix Empire, and it is therefore a haven to all kinds of renegades, criminals, and outsiders; occultists and exotics lives here without suffering persecution or discrimination.

Vau (Shaduveen)
Star: Soom (blue-white star)
System: Kluo (0.53AU), Shantim Co’Vor (1.1AU), Shaduveen Lan’Toumi (1.2AU; 2 moons), Valsit Juan’Tour (8.3AU; 73 moons), Klooko (13.67AU; spacestation: Tu’Qare, 49 moons), Ina Yhad’Inat (31.4AU; 6 moons), Doh Man’Inat (55.7AU; 1 moon), Jumpgate (61AU)
Jumps: Vril-Ya (Warning: Vau World), Manitou (Warning: Vau World)
Capital: Swam’tal Huanzi (Vau)
Resources: agriculture
Exports: politics, tourism
Important People:
Yoma Zahl Vord’rumph (born c. 4820s): A Vau Mandarin of considerable age, the Yoma Zahl is very highly respected amongst his caste and is responsible for guiding all diplomatic and trade efforts throughout the Vau border worlds. He is one of the handful of first speakers of the Dau’rum’phal Scobit-sa’un (“Council of Worthies”), the ruling body of Shaduveen. It was at the Yoma Zahl’s recommendation that the Hegemony begun relaxing the restriction on Human contact though the boarder worlds at the start of the 51st century. At the same time, more Hegemony armed forces, predominantly Vau Guardians and Manshogo soldiers have been stationed on Shaduveen and the other border worlds to maintain a buffer zone deterring Human expansion.

A single continent stretches from pole to pole (both ice-caped), being broken through by five seas and four great lakes, and multiple rivers. Mountain ranges separated by pine forests dominate the northern hemisphere, while the southern consists of a large desert, along with broad grasslands, deciduous forests, and hills. Overall, Shaduveen seems deceptively Urth-like. However, much of the plant life emits a gas toxic to humans, and although the atmosphere is technically breathable to citizens of the Phoenix Empire (there is enough oxygen), more than five minutes of exposure will cause nausea and vomiting in most visitors, with lethargy setting in if exposure lasts for more than 24 hours, eventually leading to coma and death.
Almost nothing is known about the history of Shaduveen, known as “Vau” in the Phoenix Empire. The world was revealed to humanity in 2852, when Benjamin Verdan Justinian led his diplomatic mission to the Vau worlds to establish a lasting peace in the wake of the Prophet’s death seven years earlier. Less than a dozen outsiders are known to have visited Shaduveen (invitation only) in the more than two millennia since that initial mission, and next to nothing is known about any developments taking place on the world. 
Shaduveen is a closed world, and citizens of the Phoenix Empire are not permitted to travel hither. The world is the provincial capital of the border worlds, and it is from here that all Vau diplomatic missions into the Phoenix Empire are launched. The system plays host to a powerful Vau fleet, based at the Tu’Qare space station, ensuring both security and privacy from outsiders. Those who enter the system uninvited are rarely harmed, but are instead forcibly escorted back through the Jumpgate. Repeated violations may result in the use of deadly force, however.
Next to nothing is known about the culture and society of Shaduveen, although it is generally assumed the world is as stereotypical a Vau society as one gets in the border worlds. Indeed, many citizens of the Phoenix Empire erroneously believe that Shaduveen is the Vau homeworld and heart of the Hegemony. It has been estimated that some 500 million Vau live on Shaduveen, although the Vau are tight-lipped about this, as with everything else.

Star: Tur’Cul (bright yellow star)
System: Vril-Ya (1.2AU, 3 moons), Atobe (18.5AU, Rings, 135 moons), Jost (34.1AU, 7 moons), Jumpgate (47.2AU)
Jumps: Vau (Warning: Vau World), Cadiz
Capital: Verdan City (Human)
Resources: Agriculture, aquiculture, forestry
Exports: Politics, food
Important People:
Baron Boris Svanfeld (Juandaastas-Decados) van Torenson (born 4980): The baron enjoys the rare distinction of being one of the few human beings to have been born on Vril-Ya. The bastard son of a Decados diplomat and a servant girl, Boris’ father abandoned him when he was recall from diplomatic duty to serve in the armed forces intelligence corps, to pave the way for the Decados conquest of Malignatius (4991). Boris applied himself to diplomacy from a young age, and carved out a niche for himself in the administration of the Imperial (then Regency) fiefs on Vril-Ya. Baron Svanfeld swore fealty to Emperor Alexius I in 4995. Often referred to as the “Decados” ambassador to the Vau, a title that he has tried to distance himself from, by dropping his father’s name: Juandaastas-Decados. To compensate for his weak noble status, Boris married the daughter of a House Torenson diplomat (5006), thus confirming his nobility by marriage. On occasion, Boris has been known to jest that he is “the Prince of House Svanfeld”, usually to upset a pompous noble from one of the Royal Houses.

Vril-Ya is a pleasant, Urth-like world, much of it having being pastoral land cultivated by the Vau. There are three wide oceans dividing the continental masses. The Vau cities are clearly visible from orbit, although any attempt to deviate from the strictly controlled flight paths will result in a diplomatic incident.
Vril-Ya was revealed to humanity during Benjamin Verdan Justinian’s mission between 2852-2854, and the Imperial capital of the world, Verdan, is named in his honor. In the early years of the Second Republic, the world Cadiz was chosen for development as a diplomacy planet towards the Vau Hegemony, but the Vau soon made it clear that Vril-Ya would be the place to serve this function. Being a strictly controlled and protected world, nothing much has occurred here since humanity first arrived. Many diplomatic meetings have occurred here, but progress has been almost non-existent untill the rise of Phoenix Emperor Alexius I. Now, the Vau seem suddenly more interested in Humanity, and small steps have been made in advancing Human-Vau relations, including opening up the Hegemony border for trade and cultural exchange with the Phoenix Empire. With the relaxing of Vau restrictions on contact between the Phoenix Empire and other Hegemony species, Vril-Ya is becoming an important trade hub. Still, Vril-Ya remains an oasis of quiet in an otherwise troubled universe.
Vril-Ya is a diplomatic extension of Shaduveen; and formal diplomatic negotiations between the Hegemony and representatives of the Phoenix Empire primarily occur here. Some diplomatic contact also takes place on Byzantium Secundus, although these are almost exclusively friendship meetings and hospitality exchanges. 
Most of the Vril-Ya is restricted, but a small rocky island, wrought with mountains and poorly suited for agriculture, is set-aside for delegates and dignitaries of the Phoenix Empire – making up the entirety of Imperial lands on the world. An estimated 1.4 billion people call Vril-Ya home, of which than 7000 are citizens of the Phoenix Empire, belonging either to the diplomatic corps and staff or to the small merchant delegation overseeing the trade with the Hegemony.

Ships of the Hegemony
Hegemony starships can vary a great deal in construction and design philosophy. Each of the protectorates manufactures their own designs of trade starships. The Vau themselves provide the powerful warships used to protect the Hegemony, which are also the ships most often seen patrolling the border worlds or carrying ambassadors between the Hegemony and the Imperial Court on Byzantium Secundus.
Vau ships generally have a horseshoe shape, opening at the bow. Situated between the great arms is a massive glowing quantum sphere, an incomprehensible piece of Vau technology that provides the ship’s power, its means of propulsion, and the weaponry. The bridge of the ship is often located at the rear of the horseshoe, the structure reaching like a hood out over the empty space between the arms. The vessels typical seen patrolling the border worlds generally have only two quantum containment arms, however, larger vessels with three or more arms, holding quantum spheres of greater size, are known. A rare few Vau vessels even possess more than one quantum sphere - these vessels are rightly feared.

Aun’Alkho Class Patrol Ship
This, a multipurpose fast patrol ship, is the single most commonly seen Vau warship, often used for courier work and transportation of diplomatic staffs in safety and comfort. The vessel’s design follows typical Vau aesthetics, the bridge and primary accommodations located at the rear of a horseshoe shaped hull, the twin containment arms reach forward to embrace the glowing quantum sphere. 
Even this modest vessel is more than a match for much larger warships of the Phoenix Empire. It combines high speed with devastating firepower that can incapacitate or shred a capital class ship in moments.
Hull Configuration: 6
Structure: 70 Armor: 0
Drives: Very Fast (infinite), Jump Generator (10 jumps)
Crew: 3 command crew, 4 personnel
Sensors: 10 AU
Weapons: 4x Quantum Beams (quantum sphere), 1x Plasma Net (quantum sphere)
Shields: 4/4
Cargo: 20 tons
Passengers: 24 Guardians, 7 passengers (5 bunkrooms, 1 stateroom)
Other Systems: Transporter System
Power Signature Acceleration Shields
Standby +0 none 0/0
Port +0 Fast 1/1
Cruise +0 Very Fast 2/2
Attack +0 Very Fast 4/4
Maximum +0
Benefits & Afflictions: Lander [5], Maintenance (Superior) [13], Shielded Core [5], Incomprehensible Tech [+5], Alien Tech [+10], Advanced Sensors [10], Compact Design [30]
Benefit Cost: 105 pts

Vau Sinners and Saints
Graham Taylor (Akin’Oamaru’Talishamka)
Graham Taylor is not what he seems, although few would guess the truth about him. He appears to be a freeman from Manitou who uses his inherited wealth to explore the Phoenix Empire. He is curious about everything and everyone, and his mannerism is often a bit strange, although that is to be expected of those hailing from Manitou.
Physically Graham is completely human, down to the DNA, but his mind is that of a Vau Mandarin named Akin’Oamaru’Talishamka. Akin’Oamaru’Talishamka was hatched on Vril Ya, and spent much of his early life being schooled in human culture, even spent many years amongst the Gwindor to be acclimatize to human behavior. When he was ready, Akin’Oamaru’Talishamka underwent a process of energy-molecular transformation to rebuild his body as Human. 
Akin’Oamaru’Talishamka is one of only a handful of Human-form watchers dispatched into the Phoenix Empire. Their mission is to go unnoticed among the Humans to learn about them through direct observation and interaction. To this end, Akin’Oamaru’Talishamka often takes on the role as a patron hiring interesting Humans to perform tasks for him. These missions will on the surface often appear to be exciting adventures, although Akin’Oamaru’Talishamka is more interested in examining how his clients interact, work together to overcome challenges, and solve problems. 
Quote: “I have a proposition for you that you might find quite interesting.”
Description: Slightly taller than the average Human, “Graham’s” head is completely bald (no hair on face or scalp). He has piercing green eyes that somehow resembles a reptilian’s cold gaze, even though his expressions and mannerisms are friendly and joviality. He dress in good quality, often loud clothing, which helps deflect scrutiny.

Dex: 6 Vig: 5 Vitality 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Wit: 10 Wil: 9 Fatigue 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Int: 7 Pre: 4 Reputation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Faith: 6
Skills: Athletics 4, Command 3, Culture (Hegemony) 7, Culture (Mandarin) 3, Culture (Vril Ya) 3, Culture (Manitou) 3, Culture (Phoenix Empire) 2, Deception 7, Dodge 3, Drive 5, Fight 3, Influence 6, Helm 3, Observe 8, Pilot 4, Shoot 4, Sneak 3, Tech Redemption 5, Throw 3
Benefits & Afflictions: Secret (Vau); Wealth (Rich, Hegemony funding)
Gear: Duelist Shield (of Human construction, hidden in the belt buckle); Fenir Shortstop Light Revolver; Synthsilk (tight bodysuit bearing the logo of the Second Republic Leagueheim rugby team, “The Roosters”); A silver pendant Jumpweb Cross; MedPack; Elixirs (3 doses) and Elixir injector; Poison Snooper; Wrist Squawker; In addition, Graham/Akin’Oamaru’Talishamka also has access to Vau funding, but to protect his cover he never carries VauTech.

Ambassador Koro’Aktaashtram’Vollastrakama (Vau Glimmer Wraith)
Few even suspect that the alien that they know of as Ambassador Koro, an increasingly frequent visitor to the Imperial Court in last few years is not what he seems to be. To all appearances he is a Vau Mandarin, tall and thin of build, he wears the elaborate head dress and smart robe as befits a diplomat of his standing. When he speaks in a horse whispering tone and that many had to struggle to hear properly. 
But none would ever realize that Ambassador Koro is not actually physically present. Instead he interacts with the human world throught he safe medium of a glimmer wraith a ‘hard light’ facsimile of his true appearance. The glimmer wraith is actually a tine projector about the size of a pea that floats at the centre of Koro’s illusion. The image projected onto force field similar to that of a personal shield. As such Koro appears to be a perfect replica of his true physical self, the facsimile is sold to the touch and is able to interact completely with the environment. Only damage to the projector at its heart will cause it to cease to function.
The real Ambassador Koro has an abiding distrust of humanity, which is why he prefers not to mix with them directly. Instead interacting with his holo-suite, which allows him to pause and examine the world his projected self is interacting with, securitizing things from any angle he desires, and all this can be done without his glimmer wraith showing any signs of hesitation or concern. In effect Koro has eyes in the back of his head.
Quote: “If you have not heard the larks call, perhaps it has not sung.”
Description: Tall even by the standards of Vau Mandarins, this is however a visual illusion, Koro’s true physical stance is both hunched and short, his facsimile glimmer wraith is an ‘idealized self image’.  To Koro height defines authority and he alters the height of his glimmer wraith according to the situation. Some have noted that Ambassador Koro’s height does seem to change, growing and shrinking depending on the situation.

Dex: 4 Vig: 5 Vitality 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Wit: 11 Wil: 7 Fatigue 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Int: 9 Pre: 6 Reputation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Faith: 7
Skills: Athletics 2, Command 7, Culture (Hegemony) 8, Culture (Mandarin) 7, Culture (Vril Ya) 4, Culture (Byzantium Secundus) 7, Culture (Phoenix Empire) 6, Deception 9, Dodge 3, Drive 4, Fight 1, Influence 8, Inquiry 8, Observe 10, Pilot 3, Sneak 3, Tech Redemption 4, Throw 3
Benefits & Afflictions: Alien (Vau); Wealth (Rich)
Gear: Glimmer Wraith (equivalent to a Battle Shield, his form can be disrupted but only damage to the projector will prevent Koto reappearing.)

Vau Mandarin (generic)
Vau Mandarins are rarely encountered beyond the Vau border worlds, though they are increasingly seen taking an interest in the Phoenix Empire and its activities. A small delegation is present on Byzantium Secundus and periodically frequents the Imperial Court of the Emperor Alexius I. Tall reptilian aliens; these creatures inspire awe in those who encounter them. If they are encountered at all there is always some purpose in such a meeting.

Dex: 6 Vig: 5 Vitality 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Wit: 9 Wil: 8 Fatigue 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Int: 7 Pre: 7 Reputation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Faith: 5
Skills: Athletics 4, Command 5, Culture (Hegemony) 8, Culture (Mandarin) 7, Culture (Vril Ya) 5, Culture (Byzantium Secundus) 5, Culture (Phoenix Empire) 4, Deception 7, Dodge 4, Drive 3, Fight 3, Influence 8, Inquiry 7, Observe 8, Pilot 4, Sneak 3, Tech Redemption 3, Throw 3
Benefits & Afflictions: Alien (Vau); Wealth (Rich)
Gear: Vau smart robe.

Vau Guardian (generic)
Vau Guardians are rarely encountered beyond the in the Phoenix Empire and usually only when they form part of a Vau Mandarin’s personal retinue. These reptilian creatures stand 8 feet tall and display an impressive physical stature. Though shorter than the Mandarins the Guardians are no less impressive. Often wearing a combat armor and carrying a stave-like weapon, they fight will a cold dispassion for casual violence.

Dex: 6 Vig: 9 Vitality 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Wit: 5 Wil: 7 Fatigue 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Int: 5 Pre: 5 Reputation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Faith: 4
Skills: Athletics 6, Command 6, Culture (Hegemony) 5, Culture (Guardian) 6, Culture (Vril Ya) 3, Dodge 7, Drive 5, Fight 7, Influence 2, Melee 7, Observe 4, Pilot 5, Shoot 7, Sneak 3, Tech Redemption 3, Throw 5
Benefits & Afflictions: Alien (Vau); Wealth (Average)
Gear: Forv’rulkh (fighting stave), Vau combat smart robe (AR15, incorporates an assault shield)

Vau Prol (generic)
Vau Guardians are rarely encountered beyond the in the Phoenix Empire and usually only when they form part of a Vau Mandarin’s personal retinue. These reptilian creatures stand 8 feet tall and display an impressive physical stature. Though shorter than the Mandarins the Guardians are no less impressive. Often wearing a combat armor and carrying a stave-like weapon, they fight will a cold dispassion for casual violence.

Dex: 7 Vig: 6 Vitality 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Wit: 6 Wil: 6 Fatigue 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Int: 6 Pre: 5 Reputation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Faith: 3
Skills: Arts (Singing) 6, Athletics 3, Culture (Hegemony) 6, Culture (Prol) 6, Culture (Vril Ya) 7, Dodge 3, Drive 5, Fight 3, Influence 4, Observe 4, Pilot 5, Sneak 3, Tech Redemption 6, Throw 3
Benefits & Afflictions: Alien (Vau); Wealth (Average)
Gear: Vau smart robe, tools of their profession, usually a think machine.

Manshogo Mercenary (generic)
The Manshogo are rarely encountered within the space of the Phoenix Empire, but increasingly their ships have entered the boarder worlds to seek employment and adventure.

Dex: 8 Vig: 6 Vitality 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Wit: 5 Wil: 4 Fatigue 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Int: 7 Pre: 4 Reputation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Faith: 4
Skills: Athletics 6, Command 4, Culture (Hegemony) 5, Culture (Manshogo) 6, Culture (Guardian) 3, Dodge 5, Drive 3, Fight 6, Influence 3, Melee 5, Observe 6, Pilot 3, Shoot 5, Sneak 5, Throw 6
Benefits & Afflictions: Alien (Manshogo); Wealth (Poor)
Gear: Manshogo armour (AR10), a variety of weapons equivalent to a vibro sword and automatic rifle.

Alien Starship Weapon Stat Chart
Type TL Goal DMG Range Scale Notes Benefit Cost
Quantum Beams* 8 +1 5 S/M/L/E Starship Energy 20
Plasma Nets** 8 +0 1 S Starship Energy 15
*Quantum Beams can be combined to form a more devastating weapon, adding their Goal bonuses and DMG ratings into a single attack. Example: an Aun’Alkho could combine its 4 Quantum Beams into a single devastating beam with a +4 Goal and 20 DMG.
**Plasma Nets work much like Second Republic Tractor Beams, except that they do not need to circumvent a ship’s shields to affect it.

Alien Starship Systems
Transporter System [1SP/transporter, 20BPs]: The starship is equipped with a Vau teleportation device, capable of delivering up to 8 personnel from the orbit to a planet’s surface in a matter of seconds. This device can also be used to make boarding actions against unshielded vessels.

Alien Starship Benefits and Afflictions
Alien Tech [+10BPs]: The starship operates on principles poorly grasped by current technological understanding. All goal rolls to control the ship or its systems suffer a -4 penalty. This benefit is cumulative with Incomprehensible Tech (see Player’s Guide p.XX).