This post is written to provide a mostly game-mechanic free but quantifiable description of one of my alien species, the dinosaurine Broogh, to enable their use in SF roleplaying games if so desired. They are mostly presented here as antagonists. Some descriptions of their technology are included as well. This post supersedes everything previously written about them on this or any of my other blogs.
From the galaxy’s far side come the vast swarm fleets of the Broogh Flow. The species has mastered gravity in its multi-million year sublight journey, destroying whole civilizations in endless war through their most horrifying weapons, the dreaded collapsar bomb. They’ve been at war for so long that they know no way but war and constant death, all for precious survival.
Broogh are split into three major castes; at the top are the God-Thegns, brilliant military strategists, but arrogant and vain, basking in the adulation of others of their species. They are also the source of life of the species, enormous bioreactors frantically mass-producing eggs that hatch into those of the other two castes, Technics and the gigantic Warriors. A typical God-Thegn is about 30 yards long, bloated like a queen termite, and immobile, embedded into the very structure of their gargantuan swarm base, a starship designed to house them, a tiny portion of their billions of offspring, and gravity pulse cannons that can ignore conventional Kurtz-Dunar shielding and batter a planet into molten slag in a matter of minutes.
Each swarm base holds its resident God-Thegn, 50 million Technics, and 5 million Warriors who defend it from close-range assaults and serve as an honor guard for the God-Thegn.
Most Warriors are in cold sleep and under microgravity conditions until needed, while those active are in continual combat and equipment practice. At any time, there are about 500,000 Warriors active and combat-ready at the behest of their Lord and Parent (God-Thegns are self-fertilizing, genetically self-diversifying, oviparous hermaphrodites). A typical God-Thegn masses about 500 to 1,000 tons, and spawns a number of eggs equal to its mass in tons multiplied by 200 every 24 hours, or 2000 times its mass in a wartime situation with heavy casualties being incurred against a rival Broogh fleet or alien species. Each Broogh fleet consists of about 4 million vessels or more, with about 600,000 as a comparatively tiny figure, that usually being the case for a young and inexperienced God-Thegn with as yet few resources. God-Thegns can produce eggs for any of the three castes as needed, subject to the above limits. Each soft-shelled egg is then suspended in a microgravity-condition nutrient pool, which feeds the developing embryo until it hatches as a fully grown adult.
Even the smallest Broogh ships are still enormous, at about seven miles in length, while the swarm base of the fleet is 150 miles across at its largest dimension. They are large enough to have their own ecosystems and climates. The swarm base serves as the manufacturing plant for starships, these “grown” from raw materials in enormous microgravity pools filled with fluid and nanobots, and the resulting craft have a heavily seamless, almost biological appearance when complete. Raw materials for ship construction and food production are supplied from plundered star systems and destroyed rival Broogh fleets.
A God-Thegn sometimes spawns another God-Thegn to continue the swarm fleet’s leadership should it grow old or ill, and that young one must defeat and kill its parent to assume the mantle of control. Once in place, the new leader works to increase its holdings and power, leading the fleet to a new solar system, which is systematically stripped of resources, its depleted worlds treated to a spectacular light show as the local stellar primary is detonated into a hypernova by way of collapsar bombs, the newly constructed fleet riding the outer edge of the shockwave on solar sails from the system’s Oort cloud.
Technics are small, only somewhat larger than humans, at about 2 yards in length, tiny compared with the Brobdingnagian Warriors or huge God-Thegn, but nimble and intelligent. They have six thin legs and two pairs of arms with a high manual dexterity for all, and a nearly photographic memory, though still subject to any species-wide cognitive and perceptual biases. These biases and heuristics, in the form of various sorts of mental disadvantages , are comparable to those of humans. Warriors are about 15 yards long, and stand 11 yards tall, with long, sauropod-like necks, small heads, six trunk-like legs, two powerful and thickly muscled arms for carrying and using massive cannon-like weaponry, and a tail that serves as a defensive weapon against attacks coming from the rear. Warriors have limited intelligence in most areas, but are otherwise tactical geniuses and quick to adapt. Technics have few physical defenses other than worn protection, but warriors have thick, elephantine hides that can provide good defense versus low-caliber conventional rounds.
Technics and Warriors are sometimes telepathic, and these are usually killed when found out by their species, for telepathic Broogh are susceptible to control by their ancient enemy, mentioned below. Worse, telepaths spread its influence when infected. Think of witches in Middle Ages Europe. Telepaths are considered to be a threat, and may be forced to escape and seek asylum with other species to survive. Most player-character Broogh would be telepaths, and likely Technics. ‘Normal’ members of the species would have little reason to peacefully interact with other beings. While Warriors tend to have a low general intelligence, They have a talent for tactical and weaponry skills. They learn from mistakes quickly, and it is unwise to reuse even successful tactics, as they will catch on fast.
Technics have fewer hindrances due to their size, a higher general intelligence, and thus may make more suitable player characters, but Warriors may have appeal in heavily combat-oriented games. For those who may wish to play them, in a game like SJGames GURPS™, they typically have incredible ST, high HT, good DX, and Disadvantages like Overconfidence and Soldier’s Code of Honor in addition to the problems posed by their sheer physical size. All Broogh save player-characters will have a Phobia of telepaths, but save for that and the species-wide dread of their ancient enemy, other fear-based Disadvantages are probably inappropriate.
Warriors, like all mobile Broogh, have cloven-hooved feet that make effective close-combat weapons, even for the tiny Technics. Warriors wear powered environmental combat armor; effectively small combat craft equipped with maneuvering thrusters and gravity nullifiers that permit missions in space or on worlds with very heavy gravity, like that of the rocky planet Bruticus at 12 Gs.
Warriors are armed with a variety of weapons, the standard issue being a gravitic railgun which fires hypervelocity transuranic sabot rounds and fragmentation rounds with an explosive radius equal to that of an early 21st century Terran fuel/air explosive. Low ranking officers are warriors. Those of higher rank are Technics and of course the fleet’s God-Thegn.
Fully-suited, warriors are capable of surviving for several days in vacuum without harm, and they suffer no ill effects from lack of atmospheric pressure. These things are damned tough. The armor they wear serves mostly as a means of getting around, a weapons and ammunition harness, and for protection from radiation and enemy weaponry.
Warriors are the most commonly encountered Broogh, as they are the ones who see the most interaction with other species. The Broogh do not win every battle, but they learn quickly from defeat, and are doggedly persistent.
Broogh are a fugitive race, on the run from and terrified of something even more dangerous than they, an enemy which can overpower whole Broogh fleets. This is why Broogh fleets are rivals, not allies, and why the species engages in killing those of their own as well. This is done to purge the contaminated fleets and preserve the species, and why Broogh fleets, each dominated by a single bloodline, must be so large. Attrition is a fact of life for this species, and they must keep their numbers vast just to keep up.
A typical warship, huge as it is, is incapable of travelling through the Maelstrom of hyperspace due to the practical limits of stardrive. Travel through the Maelstrom for such enormous vessels would accumulate too much residual Maelstrom radiation far too quickly, which would decay into high-energy gamma rays, the irradiation resulting in the destruction of the drive and death of the crew. Broogh ships are capable, though, of reasonably efficient sublight travel, at about 10% c, and many use a gravity-propelled plasma stream for propulsion.
True gravity manipulation through the Kurtz-Dunar effect is currently beyond the civilizations of the Local Galaxy, but the Broogh have had millions of years as a technological civilization to learn its mastery, and the pinnacle of this is their dreaded collapsar bomb, a weapon that uses an artificial gravity field rapidly magnified to create a black hole, the resulting gravity-pulse capable of disrupting and drawing any matter within a light-second into its lethal accretion disc before being either sucked into the event horizon or expelled as a high-energy particle stream at either pole. Broogh ships are built to be capable of themselves serving as such weapons in suicide maneuvers, though they also have ship-borne torpedoes that will serve as well. The species’ mastery of gravity is such that they may selectively adjust its characteristics on their vessels, with some decks being under microgravity conditions and others having a gravity pull equal to that of the long-lost Broogh homeworld. Even the tidal forces generated by such gravity fields may be reduced or screened out, and there are the aforementioned gravity pulse cannons of the massive Swarm Base.
What are the Broogh on the run from? Something far more dangerous than even they. Reports from captured Technics hint at a sort of elder being from billions of years ago, a “transcendent meme,” which forces them to war against even their own species. The Broogh have been at war for so long that they know no other way of life. Will they, though, or can they? Time, and further dealing with and understanding of this ancient and powerful species will tell.