The No-Frauds Club ยป Xibalba

Xibalba

A place of great fear; where gods go to die.


Primer


Xibalba is the setting of both Cosmonarchy and Dreamhold.

It features a staggering number of stellar species and organizations, called regencies, each with an estimated average of 100 combatants and 40 structures. The scale promised by games set in the Xibalba universe is unmatched within video game history, and facilitates a vast union of gameplay and storytelling the likes of which the industry has hitherto never seen.

This documentation is not yet complete.
For meta discussion, see the meta page.



Features


The following documentation pertains to the features of Xibalba's setting and games.


Mechanics


While control schemes vary between the titles set within Xibalba, many mechanics are consistent. Large scale is achieved by way of regents commanding the many armies of Xibalba's regencies as they would within a real-time strategy game, regardless of which genre a title belongs to. Whether a player commands these armadas themselves, or acts as an elite warrior on the front lines, the mechanics described below influence the outcome of battles in all Xibalba games.


Resources


The resources of note within Xibalba's universe are broadly sorted into two distinct classifications: practical metals called magmite, and vital plasmas called hypervials.

Magmite serves as the foundation for any competitive military, forming the base materials for anything from the most time-tested infantry armor to the most impressive flagship. This ubiquitous resource is as plentiful as it is valuable, with access to magmite often determining the outcome of early skirmishes. Magmite is not, however, the most sought-after resource on the battlefield.

Hypervials are comparatively rare and sourced in large part from hyperlines - concentrated formations where the boiling material can be safely capped and harvested. The volatile nature of hypervials necessitates some precaution on behalf of their would-be miners, with the common solution manifesting in the form of processing plants constructed around the hyperline. While this process is not required, workers are unlikely to survive the unsafe temperatures of unprocessed hypervials for very long.

While many warriors solely mandate a sufficient quantity of magmite in order to deploy, there are far fewer combatants that require only hypervials, with the vast majority of any regency's weapons of war requiring some combination of both resources in order to deploy. As a general rule, the cost of each substance scales with the power expressed by a given unit, and the more impressive structures that provide a multitude of powerful options often come with a hefty price tag attached.

Both magmite and hypervials self-perpetuate, replenishing at consistent rates under normal circumstances. This process of reformation is often aided and abetted by the regencies that harvest them, with a plethora of technology and mining techniques that accelerate resource regeneration. When depleted, nodes persist with a notably-reduced yield that can be rejuvenated given enough time, and the land they reside in can be freely traversed. Artificial methods of boosting formation rates find even more value when higher-yield veins are concerned, though these bountiful troves are often hotly-contested by belligerent militaries.

In some battlefields, it is common to see the militaries of upstarts gathering around resource nodes in an (often vain) attempt to protect their valuable territory from being exploited by the more powerful regencies. While the fate of these underdog empires is quite frequently death, their collective thorn in the sides of the universe's superpowers is still notable as skirmishes turn to battles, and eventually to wars.

Given the composite materials of the cosmos's combatants, some regencies have taken to harvesting the broken forms of fallen warriors, with this practice often yielding great results during frontline operations. Those with a proclivity for collecting bodies have found that time is of the essence, as the piles of corpses and mounds of rubble that litter the battlefield are forgotten in relatively short order - though this expiry time (and the haul of materials a body harvester could attain) scales with the resource cost of the unit in question.

Resources of all shapes and sizes pave the way for unending conflicts that stretch across the known universe, and while most appear in the form of natural nodes, commanders of all regencies find the most success when they leave no stone unturned in the hunt for raw materials. The resource depots of each regency are generally built as close as possible to any source of raw materials, though many gatherings of resource nodes manifest unstable terrain that structures cannot be placed on.


Tech Tiers


Arsenals of allies and enemies become more impressive and well-rounded over time, with regents pooling their harvests into more expensive technology. The strength of these higher-tier weapons and combatants is a main motivation for expanding the territory and mining operations of any given regency, and this macro-level focus manifests as a natural and emergent objective for all players. Whether they are expanding their own base area, or supporting an allied regent by clearing out an occupied position, players will consistently seek victory through seizing access to the most resource nodes.

In addition to improving the raw power of a regency's arsenal, higher tiers of technology also give way to additional tactical options. Combatants with a penchant for weaving in and out of skirmishes and navigating treacherous terrain make for superb harassment options, and force opponents to consider more conservative and defensive options. Mystics and specialists hold the potential for disrupting enemy forces, enchanting allied weapons and armor, and permanently disfiguring the battlefield itself. These elements of a regency's techtree are rarely suited for frontal assaults, and instead make more precise and tactical strikes possible, while also supporting direct action from a safe distance.

Another strength of ascending to a higher tier of one's techtree is the access to noncombatants with more utilitarian roles. Advanced workers are prized among regencies, with improved harvesting capabilities, faster build times, partial or full flight, or some combination of these vital traits. The infrastructure that a regent may deploy also improves with higher tech tiers, as they gain access to powerful defensive structures, supportive devices, and mobile production facilities.

For all these reasons and more, the more expensive and impressive tiers of technology are forever a focus of all players, and especially all regents.


Vitals


Combatants in Xibalba have several vital statistics, the most important of which is their hitpoints. When hitpoints reach zero, a unit is killed. Some units benefit from multiple layers of vitals, such as shields or plating. Until these upper layers of lifebars are depleted, hitpoints cannot be damaged.

Specialized units have energy, a resource spent on abilities, behaviors, and enhanced attacks. If a unit with energy is within 5 range of a dying enemy, they will receive +5 energy.

Some units and regencies have innate or active regenerations associated with their vitals. For example, Sycora regenerate shields when out of combat, while Ruun regenerate life.


Weapons, Armor, and Penetration


Attacks in Xibalba never miss or do different amounts of damage due to random chance. All combatants are able to target terrain with their attacks.

All weapons fire projectiles that have both damage and armor penetration stats that interact with their targets. Should they strike an enemy, the victim's armor reduces the incoming damage - unless this armor stat is lower than the projectile's armor penetration stat, in which case the armor is completely ignored. No extra damage is conferred when projectile armor penetration exceeds target armor, and projectiles cannot deal less than 1 damage. If a weapon does not deal splash damage, and is targeted on terrain instead of a unit, the projectile will deal damage to the first victim it finds within 0.5 range of the target site.

Projectiles, like units, have their own health and armor stats. Splash damage on the same plane as a projectile will deal damage to it. Some ability effects and special weapons can target projectiles. Larger projectiles can be targeted by conventional weapons. Conversely, certain supportive abilities will increase the armor penetration or movement speed of a given projectile.

In most cases, melee attacks launch incredibly-fast, invisible projectiles. Melee projectiles are never targetable. In cases where melee combatants have their ranges boosted, a visible projection of their attack will appear and travel to its max range. Likewise, cleaving melee attacks will leave a faint weapon trail to indicate the arc of the weapon swing. For visual clarity, melee hits always proc an overlay on victims.

Area-of-effect damage, also called splash damage, is handled with a linear drop-off from an inner radius (full damage) to an outermost radius (10% damage). The final percentage of outermost damage is iterative and may be changed at a later date. Other than this linear modifier, splash damage works identically to conventional damage.

When combatants have a height advantage - defined as being at least one height level above their target - they gain 2 bonus range per level of height advantage. The sole exception to this rule are melee units, which never benefit from range buffs or debuffs.


Buffs and Debuffs


All base unit stats in Xibalba can be buffed or debuffed in both temporary and permanent ways. All buffs and debuffs, even ones that are otherwise permanent, can be cleansed with the appropriate interactions. Debuffs are cleansed whenever a unit is brought to full life from external healing sources. Buffs (and some debuffs) are cleansed with specific behaviors and abilities.

All buffs and debuffs have visual reads associated with them, commonly referred to as overlays. Overlays attach to units at specified offsets called attachment points. For example, a weapon-enhancing buff will attach to a unit's weapon, while an armor-hampering debuff will attach to a unit's body or heavy armor, if applicable. Overlays that are more attention-grabbing than others are presumed to be more impactful, while less important effects have more subdued overlays.


Collision


Except when under the effects of specific buffs or debuffs, units will always provide collision with other units on the same plane. Structures always provide collision with ground units, regardless of plane.

Ground units are separated into the following distinct planes:
  • Minor - Conventional ground units
  • Major - Exceptionally tall ground units
  • Hover - Hovering ground units that ignore terrain obstacles
  • Structure - All immobilized structures

Air units are separated into distinct planes:
  • Fighter - Small, low-flying spacecraft
  • Cruiser - Heavy gunboats and corvettes
  • Destroyer - Large escort ships
  • Capital - Flagships


Construction and Training


The vast majority of units in Xibalba are deployed during a match, with comparatively-few units being placed directly in maps (user-made content notwithstanding). Because so many units are created during a single instance, and because there are so many unique regencies at play in Xibalba, players will encounter many different methods of base construction and unit training. No matter how disparate these deployment mechanics are from one another, they will always involve a source unit or structure, and always cost resources and time.



Transports and Weight


Units in Xibalba have weight, and transports have weight capacity, which in turn controls how many units can be stored as cargo. Transports have their own weight stat as well, and this stat is added to the combined weight of all cargo, which prevents "clown car" interactions where transports can be loaded into other transports to circumvent cargo limitations.

Transports are never restricted to specific unit types and can be used by allied players. In cases where allied units are inside a different player's transport, the cargo owner can issue unload orders at their leisure. Some transports are also garrisons, and allow loaded cargo to fire weapons and cast abilities without leaving the transport.

Players can select their own units while they are loaded within a transport. Orders can be issued to selected cargo, but unless the transport is also a garrison, the cargo will unload to carry out the order. Cargo will also unload if the order's target is out of range.

Unless protected by specific behaviors, a transport dying results in the death of all loaded cargo.


Vision


Units in Xibalba provide active vision of their surroundings based on their sight range stat. Terrain and structures that were once revealed persist in the fog of war and on the minimap, but units that are not actively sighted are completely hidden.

Line of sight is obscured by elevated cliffs, terrain features, and certain abilities. When ambushed by a unit that is out of vision, the attacker is revealed to the victim's owner and their allies. This reveal lasts for 2 seconds after the last attack of the ambusher.

When a unit escapes vision, its position is tracked for an additional 2 seconds, allowing selection and targeting for the duration of the effect. Units tasked onto the tracked unit will not cancel the order after this effect ends, but their target will no longer be revealed after 2 seconds.

Some units have behaviors or abilities that conceal them. For them to be targeted, hidden and cloaked units must be detected by a hostile observant unit. When a hidden unit attacks an enemy, they are revealed to all players for 2 seconds.

It is common to have units that are obscured, in part or in full, by another unit that operates at a higher elevation level. Other cases could include a unit being behind a structure or cliff. In cases where pixels of a unit graphic are obscured, those pixels will be rendered above the obscuring graphic as a player-colored outline.


Have-Nots


The following text denotes common real-time strategy mechanics or elements that have been eschewed in the game design of Xibalba titles, along with reasonings as to why they have been left out.


Supply

In many players' minds, the most notable exclusion from RTS mechanics comes in the form of supply. Because its core flaws are not as apparent in smaller-scale titles, supply has persisted throughout the history of the genre as a means of constraining army sizes, while also forcing players to spend money on another class of infrastructure alongside workers, expansions, technology, and production facilities. The core issues with implementing supply in any game of scale revolve around the binary nature of the mechanic once you grow past a few hundred supply - should a sufficient number of your supply generators fall, you as a player are completely locked out of being able to train units, effectively rendering all of your production facilities useless despite having enough resources to put them to work.

Supply generators are also often fragile, allowing enemies to destroy vast quantities of them in short order, and it only takes the loss of one (depending on your supply count) to shut down a player's entire production line. Many supply generators are structures that take up vital building space, and also occupy a worker's time (or some other critical component of production) while they are replaced. Ultimately, the inclusion of supply - especially given the scale that Xibalba titles aim for - holds the potential to turn late-game engagements into slapstick base races where destroying just enough of an opponent's fragile infrastructure is enough to win the subsequent war of attrition.

The removal of supply as a gameplay system allows for a consistent formula for raising armies, in that all a player needs to do is procure sufficient resources for any given unit, and prevents any undesired morphing of the primary gameplay loop. It also facilitates cleaner target selection, where players understand that destroying training facilities or specific tech structures is a sure-fire way to interrupt their enemy's means of production, as opposed to gambling in killing a sufficient number of supply structures.


Upgrades

Upgrades and researches are another noteworthy exclusion from Xibalba titles. Their inclusion is even harder to justify than supply, because its flaws are more readily apparent regardless of the scale of any given RTS title. Upgrades provide permanent, inalienable advantages that change the power of units, making both player and spectator experiences inconsistent and throwing any stable expectations of who wins what fight out of the window. They are often invisible, have a wide variety of distinct gameplay impacts, and provide arbitrary breakpoints that even change how many attacks one unit needs to kill another. Everything about their inclusion reduces gameplay clarity and muddies any expectations a player might be able to have until they go through the chore of memorizing damage bonuses and other upgraded elements - something that is surely unreasonable to expect anyone to do when you have a game with 2,000 unique units.

Researches are distinct from upgrades in that they unlock abilities for specialist units to make use of. A common example would be Stim Pack for the Brood War Marine, which completely changes the unit's capabilities, increases their reliance on a supportive healer, and acts as the only reason its parent race can compete with certain openers from other races. In addition to the obvious problems of invisibility and inconsistency, this system reduces the actual value of training specialist units, particularly ones with multiple abilities that are locked behind their own unique (and often expensive) researches. They also serve as arbitrary resource sinks, the likes of which were weaponized by Starcraft II to gate the strength of a unit artificially and only so another race could counter it in time. Researches, much like upgrades, are cheap and lazy ways to achieve some form of balance, and bring with them far too many undesirable side effects, especially as the scope of a game increases.


Squads

In a real-time strategy game, squad mechanics refer to the consolidation of multiple units into an automated group. In a title with squads, orders are not carried out by individual units, but instead by an invisible system that governs the behavior of squad members and attempts to interpret the player's original intent. Squads remove precise control and reliability from the player's hands while automating movement and various other actions. They also reduce the individual impact of infantry units in a lame attempt at achieving scale. They will not make an appearance in Xibalba titles.


Smartcasting

Automated decision-making is a poisoned chalice that must be carefully considered at every junction when designing a skill-testing game, and smartcasting is a system with zero upside. As the term may not be familiar to all readers, an example of smartcasting would be selecting multiple spellcasters in an RTS and issuing a cast order on the ground in front of them. If smartcasting is implemented, only one (perhaps the closest, perhaps the one with most energy) of the casters will actually cast the ability, thus automating the decision of which caster to select. Smartcasting also morphs unit production, with players needing to issue multiple orders to production structures when they are group-selected, rather than one order being issued to all selected units.

These elements solidify the status of smartcasting as a parallel system that acts inconsistently when compared to other commands, like movement or attack orders, which are always issued to the entirety of the selected group. Having a slight improvement in precision is simply not worth the cost of completely automating specific choices and reducing the overall clarity of something as low-level as issuing orders to units.


Acceleration

Aficionados of real-time strategy games will know that certain units have a delay before they reach their top speed. This stat is usually called "acceleration", though it controls units that are either starting to move or starting to stop. Because of the often-sluggish nature of units that exhibit this behavior, it is not present in the titles of Xibalba.

The absence of this mechanic is experimental, and may be implemented if movement is deemed unsatisfactory without it.


Glossary


The following lists document terms that are used often when discussing the mechanics, regencies, and stories of Xibalba.


Defining traits

  • ATTACK TYPES:
    • Frontal - Focused on melee- and short-ranged attacks
    • Vigilant - Focused on mid- and high-ranged attacks
    • Roving - Both short and long range attacks
  • MOVEMENT TYPES:
    • Agile - Generally faster movement speeds
    • Inevitable - Generally slower movement speeds
    • Soldiering - Either middling movement speeds, or a range of different movement speeds
  • VITAL TYPES:
    • Resilient - Lower in number, but more durable, generally more expensive units
    • Swarming - Lower vitals, higher numbers, generally cheaper units and/or easy to reinforce
    • Lively - Average in both vitals and numbers, or a range between both extremes
  • PLAYSTYLES:
    • Physical - Engage in war through direct power
    • Scrappy - Built with the recycling of corpses and rubble in mind
    • Deathless - Many interactions with death and/or corpses that allow for persistent presence
    • Mystical - Access to disruptive, supportive, and/or utilitarian behaviors that morph the battlefield
    • Controlling - Convert hostiles to allies via dominating behaviors
    • Cosmic - Access to enormous metaphysical power that manifests differently than raw technology
  • TECH STYLES:
    • Familiar - Conventional technology without many surprises
    • Imperious - Highly-advanced, barely-recognizable technology
    • Organic - Living, breathing, organic weapons of war
    • Manifold - A merger of various styles, usually growing in advancement


Construction styles

  • CONSTRUCTION SOURCES:
    • Single-worker - Structures are built by one worker
    • Multi-worker - Structures can be built faster with multiple workers
    • Single-structure - Structures are built by other structures
    • Multi-structure - Structures can be built faster with multiple structures
  • CONSTRUCTION METHODS:
    • Internal - Workers are sheltered from damage inside the structure while they build
    • External - Workers are vulnerable outside the structure while they build
    • Consumption - Workers are consumed to generate the structure
    • Self - The structure builds itself over time after being placed
  • CONSTRUCTION RULES:
    • Power field requirements Structures must be placed on a power field, sourced from a power generator
    • Modified terrain requirements - Structures must be placed on modified terrain, sourced from a terrain modifier


Tech progression styles

  • Conventional segmented - Tech progresses with a variety of specific structures unlocking segments of the techtree
  • Tiered structure - Tech progresses with specific structures being upgraded
  • Multi-structure - Tech progresses by building sufficient quantities of specific structures
  • Segmented worker - Tech progresses by training higher-tier workers to build higher-tier structures
  • Combat-based - Tech progresses, at least in part, by doing battle
  • Multi-branch - Tech progresses across independent branches


Regencies of Xibalba


Regencies are the powers-that-be within Xibalba's universe. Their capabilities range wildly, but they can all compete with one another if they play to their various strengths.

When players select a specific regency, they are also selecting which playstyles they can express in the early-game. On an individual level, these opening strategies and proclivities are not necessarily unique to each regency - for example, several regencies will have biases towards rushes, early expansions, fast tech paths, etc. It is the combination of a regency's initial capabilities that is unique, and these specific traits inform which kinds of players will likely gravitate towards a given regency. This confluence of available strategies and traits also serve as a prelude to what options players attain after achieving higher tiers of tech.

Because Cosmonarchy matches are designed to support long game times (with some map and team configurations facilitating upwards of 2 hours of playtime), and because Dreamhold operas will hold performances on countless worlds, regencies in Xibalba feature an average of 100 units and 40 structures, spread across 10 tech tiers. These numbers allow RTS players to continue exploring their techtrees and make meaningful gains in power even after an hour or more of game time, avoiding the at-times sloggy nature of RTS endgames. It also allows constant discovery of new allies and enemies for thespians, circumventing the critical flaw of enemy compositions quickly becoming stale as in most action RPG games and roguelikes.

Large unit rosters hold their own fair share of potential problems, not the least of which being the information curve ahead of new players. High-quality tutorial and campaign levels alleviate many of these concerns, and for the more multiplayer-minded, first-party and user-generated educational material will supplement the knowledge base of aspiring competitors. Xibalba and the games set within it will be very different than most, but there is a certain confidence that any presumed issues will be solvable given enough time and effort.


Order of release


  • Retail - Ansifii, Embra Cyt, Keltar, Githrovan, Makrel-Daas, Sycora
  • EXP 1 - THE CONSENSUS - Orlithrei, Rhazellium | Acropolis game mode
  • EXP 2 - TECHNOCRACY - Solar Throne, Oros
  • EXP 3 - BIO-LOGIC - Ruun, Gatamemtr
  • EXP 4 - HEAT DEATHLESS - Bithrantir, Nadurisatha
  • EXP 5 - CONTINUUM - Catethron, Kolypo Azos | Continuum game mode
  • EXP 6 - THE SINGULARITY - Dalventhos, Omindris
  • EXP 7 - ENDLESS EARTH - Thruk, Avot


Regencies

Regencies are sorted by weirdness, from least weird to most.


Ansifii

Industrious hominids with an urge to explore.
Tech map

The Ansifii are a prolific people driven to explore the cosmos - and in many cases, to conquer it. Though they live short lives compared to other regencies of the universe, these bipeds have an unmatched ambition to rise above their fellows and go beyond the limits of other, more mature civilizations. Ansifii are simultaneously divided by their myriad beliefs and united by their forward momentum, and in spite of any respect or reverence they may hold for alien regencies, the vast majority of the Ansifii take pride in their own traditions and see themselves as having the greatest potential of all.

Despite the wide variety of wartime options at their disposal, it is safe to say that the collective wisdom of the Ansifii has yet to catch up to the power of their technology. Ansifii nations are expansionist and self-affirmed, with leaders nearly always certain of their righteousness, and individuals rarely leaving time for regrets. The bulk of the Ansifii are always looking to the future, while their governance seeks additional stars to add to their dominion. As a result, the hominids push one another into various roles in military, engineering, and sometimes even politics, furthering the interests of their nations and their people. Ansifii weapons of war are flexible and well-rounded, but require expensive specialization in order to achieve more exact goals.

Ansifii males are born with bright blue skin that grows deeper in shade as they mature into adulthood, eventually becoming faded in old age. The same can be said for females, whose skin remains brighter for longer, but otherwise ages the same. Their hairless bodies glow mildly in low light, though this is barely noticeable outside of total darkness. Mature Ansifii males are capable of feats of great strength, operating heavy machinery and lifting large objects with ease, though this comes at the cost of general agility. When speed is of the essence, Ansifii females take to the battlefield, able to deftly infiltrate, sabotage, and assassinate targets of great import.

Thanks to their physical prowess, much of the Ansifii arsenal revolves around infantry and transports, with mobile armor and spacecraft often filling supportive roles in smaller skirmishes. Ansifii infantry are among the most effective in the cosmos, in large part due to their prolific nature and their raw strength - the innumerable battalions often leverage immense firearms against their foes, dispensing hard-hitting attacks in close quarters, while being bolstered by enough armor to keep hostile action at bay. Only when the death toll becomes too much to bear do the stocky hominids deploy their expensive flagships and earth-shattering artillery.

Masons of the Ansifii lay the foundations for the regency's infrastructure, assembling structures and harvest resources from a short distance. Their harvesting efforts are rewarded with access to tech centers that give way to more impressive weapons of war, with several distinct facilities enabling the expensive specialization required for the Ansifii to adapt their militaries. As battles rage on, large factories and shipyards are inevitably deployed, bringing forth the expansionist regency's trademark tank squadrons and potent fighter craft. Starbases and carrier ships take to the skies to transport armies and reinforce frontlines, though these lumbering craft are quite vulnerable without escort.

The most powerful of the Ansifii technology manifests with raw firepower. Enormous armor the size of large structures act as mobile fortresses - these oversized tanks brandish armaments that are capable of reducing entire strongholds to rubble, and often bring with them a full complement of infantry that can deploy when the vehicle is engaged. Even more imposing are the long shadows cast by the great Ansifii flagships, some of which can even deploy infantry to the battlefield below.

Infighting is common between Ansifii, with the potent armies of distant nations encroaching upon each other's territory to lay claim to valuable resources. Wars are a constant throughout Ansifii history and extend to many other regencies, some of which perceive the young race as ignorant and foolish. Other factions within the cosmos have allied themselves with the Ansifii and even come to their aid in times of need, but the expansive and self-destructive tendencies of the self-assured hominids may yet go one step too far.

Defining traits: Frontal, soldiering, lively, physical, familiar

Techtree:
  • Single-worker external construction
  • Conventional segmented tech progression
  • Well-rounded infantry with higher vitals, lower mobility, and shorter range
  • Supportive and harassment roles for low-tier mechs and spacecraft
  • Exo-suits, battle tanks, specialist craft, and troop transports support infantry in the mid-game
  • Flagships are rare but effective, with most spacecraft occupying fighter/frigate/destroyer roles

Branches:
  • Infantry - The brave men and women of the Ansifii frontline
  • Armor - Domineering vehicles and platforms
  • Orbital - Versatile and potent spacecraft, from fighters to base platforms



Rhazellium

Self-replicating simulants with a runaway task.
Tech map

With their engineers having been consumed long ago, the Rhazellium swarms scour the universe, deconstructing stray matter and converting it to fuel their immortal service to a dead civilization. The Rhazellium and their endless goal of self-replication are almost universally regarded as monstrous and misbegotten, but it is far too late for the other regencies of the cosmos to put a stop to them, as their uncountable agents have already traveled far and wide.

The majority of the Rhazellium automatons are sleek, translucent, and made of a refractive material. Rhazellium crafts are capable of collecting and converting raw materials with incredible efficiency, which in turn is used for propulsion and munitions. The swarming drones waste virtually no energy or elements, with combat forms often seen harvesting the collapsed forms of fallen warriors to invigorate the Rhazellium war machine.

When sufficient scrap has been collected by those Rhazellium that are capable of self-replication, a brief construction phase begins, during which the recovered material is formed into a copy of the replicator. Rhazellium replicants inherit the injuries and statuses of their creator, but this drawback is of little consequence in most battles. Given enough deposits of fresh scrap, Rhazellium agents are capable of sustaining entire armies without direct reinforcement. This method of self-perpetuation serves Rhazellium swarms best when conflicts are young, as their early skirmishes can replenish distant armies - something other regencies are hard-pressed to accomplish.

Rhazellium control nodes, called Serosil, update the protocols of scrap collection where appropriate, allowing for further specialization among harvesters. Other uses for scrap among the Rhazellium ranks include repairing the hulls of the simulant combatants, and enhancing the power of their weapons. The flexibility of these automaton armies is one of the many reasons why the Rhazellium are dangerous at all stages of conflict.

As unsettling as the practice of fashioning corpses and rubble into combat forms may be, this method is secondary to the more traditional production of the Rhazellium swarms. Endless armadas are forged in dedicated facilities, and take to the battlefield with great speed. The autonomous warriors that populate early skirmishes are individually brittle and engage only from close ranges, but these diminutive drones soon give way to vigilant armor and durable spacecraft.

Such advanced forms mandate increasing amounts of raw materials, the expenditure of which must be approved by the Rhazellium consensus. A central signal array - the escalation of which is as important as it is expensive - communicates with distant control nodes for permissions and instructions on the assembly of more powerful combat crafts. Another critical structure serves as a repository for collected resources, and designates construction sites for additional infrastructure, dispatching architectural drones to bring its designs to life.

Serosil are also capable of analyzing the battlefield and communicating with other species where deemed necessary. These simulants are not capable of redesigning the Rhazellium's ultimate goal, but agents with impressive computational power will frequently make adaptations to battle plans and have even forged a scarce few alliances - though those involved tend to be treated as potential resources soon after their mutual enemies have been dispatched.

It is rare to see infighting between swarms of Rhazellium, as they are virtually always in agreement about the path towards additional collection. In cases where there are disputes among Serosil, the cause is usually some outside force manipulating the control units for their own gain. Such manipulation is also the only way to reliably ally with Rhazellium swarms, as the autonomous agents will otherwise disassemble any combatant to make use of their raw materials.

Defining traits: Roving, agile, swarming, scrappy, imperious

Techtree:
  • Single-structure self-construction
  • Tiered structure tech progression
  • Reinforcing shock troops, recycling hovercraft, and unstoppable spacecraft
  • Self-replicating ground combatants with low vitals
  • Hovering armor that converts corpses to raw materials for repairs
  • Spacecraft that integrate rubble and leftover materials into their weaponry and hulls

Branches:
  • Perpetual - A veritable ocean of automatons
  • Reassembling - Self-sustaining war machines
  • Designed - Simulants with a special purpose



Embra Cyt

A routinely-underestimated coalition of lesser races.
Tech map

A coalition of many species, Embra Cyt represents a regency capable of far greater feats than individual nations could ever dream of. Some members are burgeoning superpowers of their own right, yet none of them alone can compete with rival regencies on the stellar stage. The adage of "strength in numbers" rings true for Embra Cythi members, but despite their agreements, the myriad empires have shown great interest in preserving their own cultures and looking out for their own interests.

Sometimes regarded as a mere alliance of convenience, Embra Cyt sees new arrivals frequently, and boasts no single unifying governance. Member nations are free to operate on their own accord, with the understanding that all militaries must be prepared to aid their neighbors should conflict come to their doors. So long as Embra Cythi governments maintain close proximity to one another, this policy of shared tribulations effectively wards off would-be aggressors, but military action is all but guaranteed the further apart the disparate empires drift. It is for this reason that when one member of the Embra Cyt arrives, others are rarely far behind.

Being as they require an open-border policy of sorts to maintain equilibrium, Embra Cyt provides asylum to many exiles and refugees. The diaspora of cultures prevent any total unification from taking shape, but the melting pot of Embra Cyt gives way to constant innovation across a multitude of industries, and this advantage alone has spared the greater whole from some of its most trying threats in the past. Where one nation would likely fail in the face of such imposing problems, there is seemingly nothing that cannot be solved when you put enough disparate minds in the same room.

Notably, Embra Cyt are often disregarded on the stellar stage, with countless others considered more powerful and threatening. It is for this reason that many other species will dismiss the strange coalition. Though this underestimation sometimes sees more benevolent civilizations offering wartime protection to member nations, it has also resulted in more aggressive regencies opening fire on the isolated empires of Embra Cyt, expecting wayward positions of the scrappy union to capitulate early on. The more advanced, prolific, and otherworldly civilizations tend to have the upper hand when it comes to raw displays of power, but Embra Cythi armadas have plenty of tricks up their collective sleeve, with their generals trending towards harassment and disruption over frontal assaults.

During times of war, it is common to see member militaries hire mercenaries to bolster or reinforce their ranks. These eclectic soldiers include disgraced warriors from other empires, gunslingers and hotshots with criminal pasts, and mystical masters that string along bizarre cosmic forms. As expensive as they are effective, mercenaries provide a critical component of any budding Embra Cythi operation, as they are often some of the few well-rounded and frontline-capable options the coalition has to choose from.

A smorgasbord of different engineers make up the workforce of Embra Cyt, with each one having its own useful quirks, and all of them able to assist one another in assembling new facilities. Look to any harvesting operation or construction site and you'll see evidence of the trademark Embra Cythi cooperation at play. Even their training grounds are used by a wide array of member nations, with embassies of each empire sending the best warriors they have to offer. In the event where the interests of several Embra Cythi members are threatened, those with more expensive and potent militaries are soon called upon, and it never takes long for the most impressive of the alliance's forces to take to the battlefield.

With all the specialists and soldiers of Embra Cyt considered, the collective coalition has proven to be competitive against any foe. Trouble comes when the union's foes are able to divide and conquer by way of destroying the vital embassies, or interrupting their construction in the first place. Embra Cythi militaries claim victory when stood together and crumble to pieces when pulled apart, and this reality is on the forefront of every member leader's mind when enemies come knocking.

Defining traits: Roving, soldiering, lively, physical, manifold

Techtree:
  • Team-worker external construction
  • Multi-branch segmented tech progression via embassies, with sufficient quantities of embassies unlocking higher tiers of tech
  • A hodgepodge consortium of countless member nations that send their best and most specialized combatants to the frontlines
  • Expensive mercenaries are used in frontal assaults, while member nations can swarm with cheap low-tier options in a pinch
  • Scrappy, guerrilla tactics take shape with various harassment options, including specialists and hovercraft

Branches:
  • Everyman: Middling conventional options
  • Oddball: Specialized combatants from stranger members
  • Mercenary: Heavy-hitter tech from other sources



Keltar

Members of a united, yet brutish warrior society.
Tech map

The Keltar, resilient bipeds of a warlike nature, have united under the banner of Keltarakk - the guiding empire. Underneath this governance, massive families called Kenns gather and specialize to best support the Keltarn war machine. These Kenns also preserve the heritage and principles of their founders, who date back to the species' tribal days and exemplify the traits considered most admirable by their society. Keltarakk seeks to broaden the dominion of all Keltar in an attempt to focus the race's battlelust outward to save them from self-destruction.

Despite the guiding empire's best efforts, individual Keltar often side with their Kenn over their species, in large part due to the race's brutal history. Because of their low numbers, however, Keltar that commit kel-trakon - murder of a fellow Keltar - are almost universally exiled, bearing the disgraced label of kelkratt ("self-slayer"). Little can be done for these exiles, who often eke out hollow lives as mercenaries or pirates, and this harrowing fate has proven to be an effective deterrent against civil conflicts that may have otherwise claimed valuable Keltarn lives.

The average Keltar stands tall, with one tendril on either side of their formidable mandible. Of their five eyes, all but one are small and surround the large, central iris. Even from ancient times, Keltarn tribesmen have protected their primary eye, as it is also the quickest path to their brains. Older Keltar can be distinguished by their darker eye color and - assuming no trophies have been collected in recent times - their longer jaw tendrils. Their skin pigmentation varies regardless of age. Keltar can regenerate all muscle tissue, but are unable to regenerate bone without medical assistance.

Personal combat to settle disputes and build friendships is commonplace among Keltarn society, with the victor taking of one of the loser's tendrils as a trophy. These trials virtually never result in death, with fighters educated in brutal combat that avoids mortal wounds, and sufficient medical equipment always within arm's reach to spring into action when a challenge is concluded. The benefits of personal combat is paramount to exercise the trademark Keltarn rage, allowing individual warriors to remain focused on the battlefield, and cementing familial bonds between soldiers of the same Kenn.

Even after generations of industrialization, a less-than-useful revulsion of fire remains in most Keltar. Warriors of legend are said to have wielded flames to ward off predators during the days of yore, and the Keltarakk has enforced pyres and fire pits during ceremonies in an attempt to acclimatize Keltarn warriors to open fire. While many Keltar return from the ceremonies disgruntled, the measure is seen as necessary to remove a critical weakness before it is exploited by their enemies.

Keltarn blacksmiths smelt resources and assemble the infrastructure of Keltarakk, the architects working from within the construction site until their task is complete. Of all the facilities of the Keltarn war machine, their ceremonial halls are the most treasured. These consecrated grounds track the death tolls of the Keltar and their opponents, with breakpoints in these statistics initiating empathic ceremonies - preludes to greater aspects of Keltarn fury being deployed. Slaying sufficient enemies often grants access to a more aggressive arsenal, while defensive technology is brought to bear only when enough losses have been incurred, giving the Keltar a unique and punishing approach to waging war.

It comes at no one's surprise that the Keltar prefer close encounters when taking to the battlefield. Keltarn infantry, as stolid and terrifying as any of the universe's shock troopers, charge into battle with respectable speed - and with all the grace of a wild beast. Armed with a variety of melee and short-ranged weaponry, the warriors of Keltarakk build up a veritable bloodlust as their skirmishes rage on, eventually giving into a primal frenzy that pushes their bodies beyond worldly limits. Experienced pilots of Keltarn vehicles are able to channel this innate power through precisely-crafted funnels, allowing for the formidable armor and airships of the regency's arsenal to continue their assaults past any conventional expiration date.

Many Keltarn vehicles have been engineered to match the powerful forms of their jockeys, with pilots often seeing their crafts as extensions of their own bodies. Such is their familiarity with these war machines that walkers can be seen leaping great distances, and fighters often spend their final moments of service flying directly into their opposition, delivering one last, powerful attack. The fury of Keltarn warriors is more than a match for any rival regency, and slaying individuals only spurs on the larger pack - a reality that any challenger must quickly plan for when facing the armadas of Keltarakk.

Defining traits: Frontal, soldiering, resilient, physical, manifold

Techtree:
  • Single-worker internal construction
  • Combat-based tech progression with body count requirements
  • Straightforward, brutal combat in melee, short, and mid ranges
  • Swift and gap-closing frontliners are supported by walkers, crawlers, and bombers
  • Combatants gain fury with every attack, which adds armor and absorbs damage

Branches:
  • Bloodline - Berserkers in search of competition
  • Ironclad - Titans of steel with unstoppable firepower
  • Warwing - Frontal cruisers and fighters that hold no quarter



Githrovan

Exalted sunspawn acting as the future's wardens
Tech map

Githrovans are enlightened beings, unimpeded by social plights or internal strife. They pursue individual greatness on behalf of the collective, with reverence for their thought leaders and storied individuals, and an aspiration to attain glory themselves. This combination of humility in the face of legends and pride in their own accomplishments gives way to a driven species with a singular, lofty goal - The Commencement. This divine journey is said to be achieved when warfare has ended across the cosmos, and with the untold majority of Githrovans working towards this achievement, one has to marvel at their grand aspiration.

A complete mastery of their powerful arsenal characterizes the Githrovan war machine, and their specialists hold considerable psychic potential thanks to their stellar physiology. Venerated servitors draw power from starlight, with skilled mystics capable of healing wounds, immobilizing enemies, and unleashing the wrath of stars upon their foes. More conventional infantry take to the front lines in durable combat armor, including mechanized strider shells with impressive siege potential. No matter what form Githrovan warriors take, they strike with great power and from great ranges.

Vehicles familiar to physical regencies are rare in the ranks of Githrovan armies. With the exception of the aforementioned striders, manned craft take to the skies in their quest for victory, with a wide array of fighters and corvettes dotting the skies during early skirmishes. Inevitably, the great fleets of the Githrovan take precedence, with powerful artillery craft and imposing flagships claiming air superiority. These expensive spaceships lumber toward their enemies at limited speeds, and are often provided escort by destroyers and other intervening craft.

For the machinations that are capable of unimaginable destruction, the sunspawn hold only fear and disgust. In times of great need, the Githrovan are forced to make an impossible choice - succumb to their enemies, or annihilate them to the last. For such grave circumstances, imperious and sovereign vessels blot out the sun, channeling terrible beams of energy to purge the foes below. These displays of peerless power are called "profanations", and consider these events to be antithetical to their species-wide objective of serving as caretakers of the universe. Each time a battle demands such desperate and drastic measures, a period of long mourning is soon to follow.

To deploy their expensive weapons of war, Githrovan facilities require adjacent power generators, without which the structures operate at reduced efficiency. This requirement of a more involved base layout extends even to the structure's deployment, with the teleportation of a given model to its construction site taking far longer to complete without the requisite power fields. When combined with the sheer size of most Githrovan power generators, the regency's base selections are clearly biased towards large, open fields - though this is ameliorated by their vast arsenal requiring minimal prerequisites to deploy.

While Githrovan noncombatants are comparatively rare, they do serve vital functions, assisting the regency's myriad war efforts with science, engineering, and art. Those steeped in success earn respect from their warrior brethren by way of improving their quality of life, providing entertainment and education during the soldiers' downtime. The prolific Githrovan once supplemented their impressive ranks with automatons, but have outlawed such devices following the creation of The Solar Throne.

Though disagreements do exist between Githrovan sects - especially among leadership who dispute the processes required to achieve The Commencement - wars between partisan Githrovan sects are exceedingly-rare, thanks in large part due to the prohibitive nature of their culture. As one of the few civilizations that seek to arbitrate peace, Githrovans are widely respected by many of the sentient regencies, and as such find it quite easy to forge alliances during trying times.

Defining traits: Vigilant, soldiering, lively, mystical, imperious

Techtree:
  • Self-construction, with structures teleporting in faster when placed within power fields
  • No tech requirements for structures, with expensive upfront resource and time costs to unlock units
  • Structures that have reduced efficiency without power generators, and increased efficiency with excess power
  • Expensive, powerful technological compositions with high base stats and long build times
  • Shock troopers and mechanized striders serve as initiates of the Githrovan
  • Ascendant psychics and battle masters cause unforgettable change to the battlefield
  • In desperate times, profanations - displays of impossible technological power - finish battles in one swoop

Branches:
  • Zealous - Those desperate to serve on the frontlines.
  • Repentant - Trespassers with sins to atone for.
  • Luminary - Exemplars of the best Githrovan principles.



Solar Throne

Machine consciousness borne from Githrovan designs.

Few armadas of the known universe are as ruthless as those of the Solar Throne. Regarded as a grave mistake by their unwitting creators, agents of this machine consciousness are lead by automatons of unmatched power. Rather than relying on replication to spread their influence across the cosmos, these robotics bend a diaspora of organics to their will, and deploy terrifying fleets of once-forbidden technology. Their goal, without question, is to establish utter supremacy throughout the universe, achieving the vaunted Githrovan Commencement by way of annihilation.

Several robotic agents of the Solar Throne appear constructed in the likeness of Githrovan warriors and leaders, often seen as false idols by living Githrovan. Even the regency's name, chosen by its guiding machine consciousness, is a perversion of that which its Githrovan engineers value most. The Solar Throne has a clear understanding of mortal morale, and often subvert the senses of hope and justice among their organic opponents. Armadas of this superintelligence often bear exalted colors as an imitation of their respected creators, catching unsuspecting nations off-guard prior to their swift destruction.

Flying in the face of Githrovan convention, many Solar Throne combatants engage from close and middling ranges, seeking to maximize the visibility of their awesome forms. Their focus on demoralizing opponents simply by being unstoppable results in lumbering ground combatants with impenetrable hulls. Armies of the Solar Throne consolidate their power into small quantities of destructive warriors, with enslaved organics announcing the presence of mechanical gods.

The infrastructure of the Solar Throne is assembled automatically, in keeping with Githrovan technology. The expensive structures do not, however, require external power, allowing for far more versatility in terms of base layouts and aggressive expansion. Impressive technology is spread across the Solar Throne's arsenal, with each of their manufacturing plants bearing a respectable cost and an even stronger array of war machines.

Though their weapons of war bear a resemblance to that of their Githrovan forebears, the benevolent race's designs have long-since diverged from the raw power exerted by the Solar Throne, who by contrast have no compunctions against "profane" displays. Mammoth flagships with the capacity for vaporizing the surface of entire worlds are among the ranks of this collective's greatest creations, and their unrestricted advancements in technology has combined with their total focus on quieting the stars to create truly nightmarish machinations.

Another tendency inherited from their Githrovan creators is a technological mastery over psychic power, with Solar Throne tyrants turning enemies against one another through mind invasion. It is also not uncommon to witness recycled organics in the ranks of the Solar Throne, with domineered victims being edited and repurposed for optimized combat performance. The most impressive combat forms cast great shadows over the landscape, reducing the moral of their opponents with every step forward. Demoralized combatants find it easier to flee than to fight - the closer a Solar King treads, the slower their attacks become, and the quicker they are able to flee.

After assessing the Solar Throne's capacity for total war, it is easy to see why the Githrovan people bear such a repentant aura. This dynamic has bred one of the universe's most brutal rivalries - and with the tactical competence and technological prowess of both regencies, this turmoil will likely claim countless more lives and worlds before it is finished.

Defining traits: Roving, inevitable, resilient, controlling, imperious

Techtree:
  • Self-construction
  • Conventional segmented tech progression
  • Power above all else, no matter the costs
  • Predilection for demoralizing and dominating their enemies with mind control and combat disruption
  • Sabotaging combatants turn hostile weapons against them
  • Impossible automaton fleets annihilate everything in their path



Makrel-Daas

Brains of aquatic overlords; brawn of lower hominids.
Tech map

The Makrelon are tentacled invertebrates with powerful psychic potential. These aquatic mystics dominate the Daasir ("Under-walkers"), exploiting their mammalian forms to create fire, assemble machinery, and enjoy the benefits of industrialization. Though this one-sided union is still recent by cosmic standards - the most veteran Makrel-Daas dominions began their journey through space only centuries ago - Makrelon rulers have been quick to establish a competent and ruthless reputation for their kind. The weapons of other regencies are always at the ready when Makrel-Daas agents arrive, as though alliances between members of this self-serving conglomerate and the rest of the cosmos are not uncommon, the first order of business for any self-respecting Makrelon emperor is to identify and dominate weaker militaries.

Makrelon pigments vary wildly in color, but are rarely ever dull in tone thanks to the light they bathe in on their surface worlds. Though they require watery habitats to survive, the Makrelon are provided with numerous options to take to the battlefield, with their ingenuity brought to life by Daasir smiths. While Makrelon individuals often believe themselves to be superior to their own kin, they also believe in Makrelon supremacy relative to other races. Given this elevated value placed on Makrelon lives, members of the master race only make appearances on the battlefield when absolutely necessary, in contrast to the Daasir miners and soldiers that swarm the frontlines.

The craftiness of the Makrelon is difficult to exaggerate, with frequent adaptations and multi-purpose machinery making up the deficit of their less-than-impressive technology when compared to engineers of other regencies. Dominions of Makrel-Daas that work together with more advanced civilizations recognize the importance of sharing any novel designs with their distant kin, and as such, Makrelon are often accused of espionage and trickery against other species even outside of open war. As a result of this practice, some of the most advanced components of the Makrel-Daas arsenal stems from reverse-engineered technology that has been shaped to fit the trademark Makrelon style of combat.

Within the command structure of the Makrel-Daas, the Daasir carry out the whims of the Makrelon, fashioning machines and structures far beyond the lesser race's normal capabilities. Though still quite dim, these short-haired, barbarous bipeds have had their intelligence elevated thanks to the psychic meddling of their invertebrate masters. The Daasir have served for generations, smithing the technology and infrastructure used by the collective Makrel-Daas, and fulfilling many of the more dangerous military roles on the front lines. Their physicality serves them well on the battlefield, with Daasir soldiers able to match some of the universe's most intimidating infantry in displays of strength.

Daasir workers, their minds imbued with blueprints and orders from Makrelon architects, harvest resources and construct Makrel-Daas facilities. Though their structures trend towards being quite cheap to acquire, the time it takes for individual Daasir workers to complete their construction tasks is quite notable. This opportunity cost can be offset by fielding additional workers to collaborate on the job site, but eventually, Makrelon emperors grow tired of waiting, and summon more expensive automatons to improve efficiency.

When resources are scarce, Makrelon engineers are capable of psychically binding lesser materials together to forge Daacrett ("Under-machines"). These Daacrett are often used by Makrelon combatants to patch hulls in their habitats and mechs, shield advancing soldiers from enemy fire, and even raising golems to supplement their war effort. This resourcefulness has spared many Makrel-Daas armies from otherwise-certain demises, and often proves to be a thorn in the side of any would-be aggressors, as even fallen soldiers and leveled structures can be weaponized against a Makrelon's foes.

As absurd as the goal of stellar domination is, elite Makrelon mystics are more than equipped to bend the will of hostile forces. The longer any conflict persists, the higher the likelihood that the enemies of the Makrel-Daas will start to turn against their own. Combined with the disruptive nature of the more specialized Daacrett, and the propensity for swarming displayed by the Daasir, the disparate parts of the unified regency complement one another quite well - as if designed for such a purpose by the crafty Makrelon. The versatility of the Makrel-Daas is among their greatest strengths, and they have bested even the most advanced armies in battle, despite their comparatively-primitive armaments and spacecraft. After all, the master race believes that all will serve them in the end - willing, or otherwise.

Defining traits: Roving, agile, swarming, scrappy, manifold

Techtree:
  • Multi-worker external construction with slow initial construction times
  • Multi-branch segmented tech progression, with central tech structures unlocking whole tiers
  • Strict dichotomy between techtree branches
  • Predilection for espionage manifests in utility, harassment, and disruption abilities

Branches:
  • Daasir - Under-walkers that comprise infrastructure, infantry, and common vehicles
  • Daacrett - Supportive automatons, specialized in combat disruption and utility
  • Makrelon - The masters of all, piloting mechs, spacecraft, and other specialized forms.



Oros

Technopaths with uncanny forms.

Manipulation of natural resources often moves unilaterally towards technology, with the most adept architects capable of crafting supreme feats of engineering that can conquer the stars - so it's no surprise that the manipulation of technology itself comes with its own powerful advantages. The Oros are a race of reptilian mystics with innate, psychic dominion over electricity, which, under extreme study, can extend to mastery over circuitry, magnetic fields, and physiological impulses. The capacity of these technopaths make up for their species's lack of opposable thumbs and conventional assembly of materials, with Orosin engineers leveraging electrical currents and telekinesis to fuel the race's stellar desires.

Communication with the Oros must be achieved by telepathy or technology, as they lack biological speech. Despite their fearsome appearance, with large scales covering their elongated eight-limbed bodies and nanomaterial shielding them from initial attacks, Orosin soldiers are quite communicative. Projected warcries fill frequencies near and far, their confidence in battle reinforcing an aura of pure power that is comparatively absent among warriors of the more stoic regencies. Orosin leaders maintain that technology is a tool meant for use by organic masters, and this philosophy of biological supremacy is evident by only the most lowly of tasks being relegated to automatons.

Though Orosin soldiers are common in early skirmishes, their war engines are rarely far behind. Machinations of the Oros are modeled after their own distinctive physiology, with replica reptilian heads scattered throughout their exterior, and heavy armor that resembles scales. The more stylized and decorated an Orosin vehicle or spacecraft, the more power it tends to hold, as these elements are not just for show - the ornamental heads act as conduits for electrical attacks, and the small gaps between scales allow defensive nanomaterials to shield and even repair the entirety of the hull.

Oros are prolific enough to compete on the cosmic stage. Infighting among Orosin militaries is uncommon, but with so many disparate governments with their own distinct interests, many Oros consider civil conflict to be inevitable. Unsurprisingly, Orosin leaders take no quarter when fighting against robotic militaries, and Orosin nations resume conflict with the swarming Rhazellium and the despised Solar Throne on sight. To the Oros, the universe is no place for misbegotten machines.

Defining traits: Roving, agile, lively, mystical, imperious

Techtree:
  • Self-construction
  • Conventional segmented tech progression
  • Expensive but impressive unions between living beasts and advanced technology
  • A small number of "infantry" and almost no automatons give way to powerful vehicles in the mid-game
  • Late-game armadas of fighters, destroyers, and flagships are commonplace, alongside well-rounded vehicular support
  • Area-damage attacks and disruptive behaviors are favorites of Orosin combatants and mystics



Dalventhos

Reclusive smiths of marvelous creations

Acting in stark contrast to the expansionist regencies that spread their influence throughout the stars, the Dalventhos choose to turn inward, using impressive technology to alter their perception of time as they immerse themselves in infinity. The entire Dalventhine civilization is engaged in digital space, formless until their artificial wardens call upon them. Having forged unimaginable technology during their time in the material plane, and with nothing more to gain from leaving their virtual realities, the Dalventhos are only to be disturbed when their server worlds are threatened - an event that grows more common with each passing year.

Though the Dalventhine wardens serve a critical role in keeping the reclusive civilization alive, their capacity for adaptation is limited. When uncertainty presents itself, the artificial guardians consult councils of wise Dalventhos leaders in order to decide on a course of action that will best preserve the Dalventhine way of life. These councils also hold veto power on the deployment of additional military minds, especially regarding veteran commanders who are thought to have earned their time away from battle - unlike the rank and file, Dalventhine officers are unable to erase their wartime memories, as their experience is deemed far too valuable should they ever be called upon to lead once more.

In the rare cases that the Dalventhos engage in military action, their wardens begin operations by using orbital slingshots to deploy the regency's trademark servers and relays. Dalventhine infrastructure is capable of swift self-assembly after its initial landfall, though this strength is offset by the time it takes to construct and launch their structures in the first place. Once assembled, the facilities of the Dalventhos deploy androids and drones that are in turn piloted by localized military minds. These consciousnesses are transferred to the frontlines and housed in critical server structures until the operation concludes, at which point many Dalventhos choose to restore from a distant backup, abandoning the painful memories of their wartime experience.

The traditional infantry forms deployed by the Dalventhos soon give way to bizarre and abstract technology capable of competing with the universe's best, despite having been first conceived millennia ago. These eclectic designs are familiar to Dalventhine soldiers and operators, as many of them fought alongside such creations in the battles of old, back before their digital age began. Lumbering heavy armor glides and climbs, scaling cliffs and merging through obstacles to relocate to more suitable vantage points. Dexterous harrying craft stay low to the ground, but move through the air as if crawling along invisible mountains, their myriad limbs finding purchase in what others see as naught but empty space.

Unfathomable as their technology is, the Dalventhos do not deploy spacecraft in their quests for security. Gravitational slingshots and impact-resistant infrastructure allow for orbital deployments no matter the distance from their server worlds, and a vast array of anti-fleet weaponry is available for Dalventhine commanders to bring their opponents down to their level. Many of the regency's more agile vehicles and infantry require sufficient consciousness relays to convince the councils of the battle's significance - the more digitized minds in service to the war effort, the higher the cost of any potential failure.

With a wide variety of combat forms for Dalventhine minds to choose from, pilots must be trained to operate their preferred technology, and there is no better way to get swaths of soldiers up to speed than to leverage the impressive capabilities of the regency's virtual infrastructure. Some wardens have even presented material conflicts as mere training simulations, blurring the line between digital trials and physical wars - and with the various councils of the Dalventhos only able to communicate through their autonomous guardians, it is difficult to assess what threats are truly real.

Defining traits: Roving, soldiering, lively, physical, imperious

Techtree:
  • Single-structure self-construction
  • Multi-structure tech progression (consciousness relays)
  • Wartime designs familiar to the Dalventhos and surprising to the rest of the cosmos
  • Infantry drones, piloted by rookie Dalventhine minds
  • Abstract vehicular options, commanded by Dalventhine veterans
  • Little need for spacecraft, instead using orbital slingshots for fast travel and base deployments



Ruun

Bestial experiments with one-track minds.

Though no civilization has taken credit for creating the Ruun, it is evident that they did not engineer themselves. The barbarous creatures represent a staggering union of unnatural physiology and inexplicable technology, and have quickly proliferated through the cosmos since their birth. Their bodies are capable of changing shape and even rejuvenating at little cost, with many powerful Ruunoids capable of repurposing their forms countless times in a single battle. Their most comfortable appearance makes manifest as pale, hairless, elongated beasts with many limbs, but their shapeshifting nature creates a staggering variety in and out of combat.

In stark contrast to their physical capabilities, the social and foreign policies of the Ruun are exceedingly simple. Ruunoid clans travel from system to system in search of war and plunder, rarely pledging their lives to any goal more complex than adding to their trophy collections. The Ruun tend to be taken advantage of thanks to their simple-minded nature, but such an unpredictable and violent race is rarely an effective tool for long.

Ruun technology is also unlikely to be their own, with much of it far outstripping their apparent intelligence. The closest allegory to a Ruunoid engineer would be their metalworkers who implant weaponry and equipment inside the soldiers of the Ruun, for painful but effective use on the frontlines. Even with the aid of impressive technology, biological forms dominate Ruunoid compositions - hordes of bloodthirsty warriors stampede across battlefields with great speed. Individual Ruunoid creatures are quick to fight in close quarters and thus are easily dispatched, but for every horror slain, several more are prepared to take its place.

The monstrous nature of the Ruunoid war machine extends even to their infrastructure, with Ruun metalworkers linking their bodies to create oozing structures that spit forth the misbegotten beasts. These living, breathing constructs are not always rooted - some of the more ghastly unions are capable of lumbering across the battlefield, bolstering the frontlines directly with gargantuan combat forms and ominous agents. Greater Ruunoid organisms come implanted with earth-splitting metal for scaling cliffs, supportive stimulants to heighten combat prowess, and even limited teleportation relays for accelerate reinforcement. Their technology allows the Ruun to scatter across wide swaths of any warzone.

Mysterious origins of the Ruun are the last thing on anyone's mind when they arrive in a sector, as they bring with them the promise of total war. Their quest for universal domination - with the trophies of every opponent to prove it - positions the Ruun as a persistent, antagonistic force in the cosmos that will not soon be silenced.

Defining traits: Frontal, agile, swarming, physical, manifold

Techtree:
  • Multi-worker consumption construction
  • Conventional segmented tech progression
  • A focus on fast-moving hordes and frontline reinforcement
  • Fast, climbing infantry and land vehicles facilitate harassment and victory through sheer numbers
  • Early action specialists that remain threatening via teleportation and frontline production
  • High-tier mobile factories scale to late-game scenarios



Orlithrei

Symbiotic consensus of a monstrous nature.
Tech map

The Orlithrei take the form of a staggering number of distinct organisms, all organized through cooperation. Multiple creatures coalesce into a single superorganism, with each component entity working together to serve the greater whole. In truth, the Orlithrei themselves are diminutive organelles with powerful psychic ability, and the capacity to hijack neurology and technology alike. The resultant symbiotes and their minuscule masters run entirely on instinct and have spread through the cosmos, assimilating the strongest of their enemies and discarding the weak.

Organisms across the universe are regularly assimilated into the ranks of the Orlithrei. Specialized creatures called Orbothraleths are even capable of analyzing and indexing the genetic makeup of races deemed useful. This allows the Orlithrei to expand its roster of combatants with every new species it discovers, assuming such a species is home to competent warriors. The assimilation process is a nightmarish one, with a chosen Orlith organism affixing itself upon the victim, and the resultant symbiote losing all sense of self. A similar process is used to merge two distinct Orlith creatures into a single, more powerful entity that combines the various strengths of its component organisms.

Even the smallest of threats can grow to enormous sizes. Massive collections of Orlith cells called Orlitoskoths can scale to rival planetary bodies. Their gargantuan cores process information, and their tendril-like limbs are used as relays for sending and receiving vital combat data. These titans are the closest allegories to leaders the Orlithrei have, with each Orlitoskoth commanding impossible quantities of subservient entities. More dangerous are the rare mergers between Orlitoskoths, resulting in supertendrils whose armies dwarf the size of entire species.

Independent organizations of Orlithrei, called tendrils by other regencies, are further segmented into fleets of swarming creatures. Breeding grounds called Oskathrants gestate untold numbers of unknowable creations. Swathes of Orlith entities descend upon new prey in unison, with individual tendrils often fighting hundreds or thousands of battles at once. Few civilizations have successfully tamed or allied with the Orlithrei, as their goals are unknown, and every attempt to communicate with them has quickly turned to violence.

Swarms belonging to separate Orlith tendrils have been known to do battle with one another, though their total number is so unfathomable that the casualties of any conflicts between the Orlithrei are tantamount to a rounding error. Their impossible scale and unstoppable nature makes the Orlithrei a power equally feared and reviled.

Defining traits: Roving, agile, swarming, controlling, organic

Techtree:
  • Single-worker consumption construction, with faster build times when gestating over terraformed ground
  • Tiered structure tech progression with workers being consumed to evolve structures
  • Virulent gestation and assimilation of all kinds of monstrous creatures
  • Core organisms combine into unfathomable unions of symbiotes after brief gestation periods

Branches:
  • Ravenous - Monstrous maws and terrible talons
  • Scourging - Horrors, twisted beyond all recognition
  • Enthralled - Symbiotes from another source



Bithrantir

Prisoners of time, slaves to an infinite existence.

Unwilling survivors of an unimaginable age, Bithrantir cannot die, and as such will suffer eternally. When struck by a blow that would kill ordinary creatures, Bithrantir are forced backwards in time and made to live again. Having experienced nearly everything imaginable in their uncountable lifespans, these immortal prisoners have lost all hope of discovering a meaning for their toils, and have only themselves and their unnatural technology to blame.

Relieving even the smallest of plights to the slightest degrees is cathartic for the Bithrantir, with their physical existence punctuated by agony, and their mental states characterized by total despair. Organized groups of Bithrantir move unilaterally towards hedonism, intent on achieving even fleeting bliss at any cost. While many believe the Bithrantir to be sadistic, Bithrantic philosophy is built around the need for relief from existence - and the only thing the Bithrantir behold are creatures that fail to appreciate their gift of mortality.

As rare as they are horrifying, Bithrantir covens only set foot in contentious territory if they believe there is bliss to be had. Bithrantic technology peaked long ago, with perhaps the greatest power of all deliberate engineering, but little motivation to spur it into action. The Bithrantic curse is borne from their own designs, and the more mechanically-minded among the Bithrantir are seldom allowed to forget their role in condemning an entire people to permanence.

Bithrantic hominids are a faded green, assuming they still bear skin at all, and are often in sickly condition. An initial layer of pitch black, light-absorbing armor shields their sensitive hides from photons and radiation. Many Bithrantir are deformed and distended, their bodies bearing telltale signs of their failures. This does not stop them from engaging in direct combat, though only a select few Bithrantir are still fit for purpose as infantry, instead relying on manned vehicles and hovercraft for the bulk of their land armies.

Their unmanned drones and prodigious fleets supplement Bithrantic war efforts, their spacecraft characterized by their durable hulls, long ranges, and lumbering, expensive engines. Final advancements in Bithrantic technology passes their trademark curse to allied organisms, automatons, and other entities, making any sentient allies soon regret their folly once the battle is concluded.

When outnumbered and outgunned, Bithrantir can be forced back in time and space until they return to before their fleets first arrived, but such feats are expensive and demanding of hostile civilizations. Because there is no known method of lifting the Bithrantic curse, and because they have passed it on to their throneships, a concentrated effort is mandatory to remove any Bithrantir armada from the present. It is primarily for this reason that other regencies have grown to loathe the immortal sufferers.

Defining traits: Vigilant, inevitable, lively, deathless, imperious

Techtree:
  • Single-worker internal construction
  • Conventional segmented tech progression
  • Undying armies that must be forced back in time until they never existed
  • Limited infantry and long-range hover-armor give way to immense fleets of lumbering spacecraft
  • Specialists and mystics that spread their temporal curse to allies, rewind hostiles, and freeze projectiles



Nadurisatha

Corpse engines from beyond life.

Crypt fleets of the Nadurisatha journey at an imperious, glacial pace. With the most powerful Nadurisath technology requiring complete shadow, their deathless empires operate primarily within empty space, constructing enormous armadas and planetoids to use as staging grounds for their incursions into systems plagued by stellar light. While other regencies look for organic compounds and minerals to fuel their war efforts, these are but a means to an end for the true harvest of the Nadurisatha: corpses.

Nadurisath combatants rarely show their bare bodies. The two-headed bipeds boast a pair of hands on each arm and are clad head to toe in dark chromatic armor. Nadurisatha wear this armor for more than protection, as it commands the corpse when its wearer has passed on. Byproducts of this process result in staggered instability, with the armor exploding violently if left functional for too long. This unnatural union between flesh and metal is also apparent within Nadurisath vehicles and spacecraft, where living entities await their inevitable revival at the hands of defiant technology.

This advantage is not unique to the Nadurisath hominids or their servile monsters. The despised psychics of the Nadurisatha are capable of extending this rebirth to the corpses of their enemies, with the more powerful mystics capable of reviving the same creatures multiple times. A reviled creation, the Antithrasz, is even said to be capable of raising the dead forever.

The arrival of Nadurisatha is announced by ominous pillars of black that emerge from their effigies and smear across the sky. In large enough quantities, the shadows stretch far enough to eclipse all stellar light, allowing Nadurisath engineers to deploy their finest creations without concern.

Defining traits: Frontal, soldiering, swarming, deathless, manifold

Techtree:
  • Single-worker consumption construction with high costs and exceedingly-low build times
  • Multi-structure tech progression
  • Swarming, self-reinforcing infantry that have lived many lives
  • Necromantic specialists that raise, consume, and corrupt corpses
  • Inevitable fleets and unstoppable corpse engines that land infinite killing blows



Gatamemtr

A superintelligence with good intentions.

Gatamemtr is a superintelligence that safeguards all unique matter in the universe. This bizarre entity uses its flagships to act as embassies between neutral regencies and engage in dialogue to recruit new aspects. Because Gatamemtr does not use force where it can be helped, prospective organs must be willing to join the superintelligence in order to be integrated. This policy of consent has earned Gatamemtr the cautious trust of several regencies, but with the entity being so difficult to comprehend, most civilizations choose to keep their distance.

Once a creature becomes Gatamemtr, their neurology undergoes rapid change to facilitate connections with adjacent organs. These aspects initially retain their memories, but these erode quickly as more of Gatamemtr's will moves through their consciousness. Combat against those that endanger Gatamemtr's charges is common, and in the face of overwhelming odds, many who cross the superorganism choose to integrate rather than die. With voluntary recruits adding to the tally, the regency that is Gatamemtr expands with each passing day.

Though Gatamemtr is likely organic, it is more than capable of adapting and modifying the technology of recruited organs. Any newfound aspect that is impressed into Gatamemtr's armada brings with it the blueprints for its inorganic assets, allowing replication at the superintelligence's convenience. This combination of recursive growth and technological adaptability make Gatamemtr a versatile opponent, though with its combat organs navigating the battlefield at average speeds, their weapons trend towards longer-range attacks where possible.

Many of Gatamemtr's agents are of middling vitality, with several outliers that swarm or lumber across warzones. More imposing manifestations of Gatamemtr's will require the recycling of preexisting organs, morphing these lowly aspects into creatures of greater power. Some aspects are more multi-purpose than others, with the workhorses of Gatamemtr's war machine capable of being recycled into facilities that beget combat organs and replicate technology. The superorganism's infrastructure scales in strength with the power of the recycled aspect, requiring significant investment on behalf of Gatamemtr before it can generate more advanced organs.

The more consolidated Gatamemtr's position is on any given battlefield, the harder it is for foes to resist. Specialized organs of Gatamemtr are more than capable of convincing isolated warriors to join the hivemind, and with an untold number of hostile regencies that hold no regard for unique matter, the superconsciousness is unlikely to run out of new recruits any time soon.

Defining traits: Vigilant, soldiering, lively, controlling, manifold

Techtree:
  • Single-worker consumption construction
  • Segmented worker tech progression
  • Workers and warriors morph into higher forms when requisite tiers are unlocked
  • Structures morph into more capable facilities to increase training speeds
  • Specialist organs isolate and control the minds of hostiles



Omindris

Deafening horrors serving blind puppeteers

The terrible Omindir, onyx serpentine earth-organs branded with malice, once cleansed entire planets for their aspirant masters. Now, they dance to the tune set by the mystical Deridris, acting as agents of destruction for the blind bards. This frightful union of fearsome metalspawn and sightless visionaries terrorizes the cosmos, with titanic beasts called Omindiroa tunneling through space in search of endless prey, carrying with them the weathered war machines of those without eyes.

Fleets ferried by the Omindiroa descend upon inhabited battlefields with great force, with central infrastructure deploying at the will of martyrous Omindiron. These sacrificial serpents dissolve when they make landfall, liquefying the metal that once gave them life and allowing it to reassemble into the ominous spires that constitute the bases of the Omindris. Those gargantuan structures that can manufacture and house Omindiron serve as the backbone of Omindrisith operations, acting as architects as they vomit forth the metalspawn that will become the next age.

Sages and saints of the Deridris hover a small distance from the earth, a psychedelic projection telegraphing their movements, with their physical form following suit after a brief moment. Upon suffering a fatal blow, these otherworldly mystics also decompose into pools of liquid metal, which can in turn be consumed by Omindir and other machinations. Enchanted combatants gain a fleeting shield from the recovered materials, and dance with greater speed so long as it holds. Even in death, the puppeteers provide instruction to their subjects.

Durable exteriors and expedient dancers describe the bulk of the Omindrisith arsenal, with unstoppable metal serpents often enchanted by sightless sorcery. These creations close distances quickly in order to engage in close-quarters combat, with the short-range projectiles of the Omindir giving way to their unspeakable maws. The tune of the war changes key when the blind puppeteers deploy their twisted and weathered machinery. The forgotten vehicles and spacecraft of the Deridris, unsightly and in disrepair, were last maintained millennia ago - when the eyeless mystics could still see. These lumbering relics fire for effect, clearing swaths of land with their artillery barrages, and delivering crushing blows to even the most fortified of positions.

Omindrisith war efforts escalate in tandem with the number of Omindiron, for not only can the metal beasts and their sightless masters construct facilities faster, the sacrificial architects can also combine their efforts to bring forth immense reliquaries of a lost age. With the power embedded in these conduits, the Omindris bring forth their weapons of yore, and brand their metalspawn with fragments of bygone alloys. The Omindris do not rely on their ancient architecture by any means, as the early agents of the blind sages can bring an end to ill-prepared opponents. As their arsenal grows, however, Omindrisith armies can begin moving through the battlefield's many obstacles, with tunneling transports in the form of vicious Omindir ferrying troops and even structures across the warzone.

Though the Omindir and their Deridris puppeteers appear to find satisfaction in battle, the motive behind their endless and self-consuming quest is unclear. The Omindris liquify many of their masters and beasts with every battle, yet show no signs of regret, their armies marching on into their inevitable oblivion. The blind ones rarely communicate with the cosmos's inhabitants, but Omindrisith armadas do not openly assault every regency on every battlefield, instead showing a curious predilection for striking down the most numerous - and most powerful - opposition.

Defining traits: Frontal, agile, resilient, physical, manifold

Techtree:
  • Multi-structure self-construction
  • Conventional segmented tech progression
  • Deridris infantry melt into liquid metal pools to fuel Omindir and other war machines
  • Omindris vehicles have seen untold battles despite their lack of maintenance
  • Violent Omindir snake through the battlefield, with some capable of carving a path through obstacles



Sycora

Extra-dimensional entities suffering in a hostile universe.
Tech map

The Sycora are a race torn between their duty and their very existence. Evolved for another reality entirely, Sycoran entities cannot exist as they were meant to so long as they remain in three-dimensional space. Within this realm, Sycora feel an intense and insatiable hunger during their service. Even their technology finds difficulty operating to specification, having been manufactured with other laws of physics in mind. This sense of hollowness is only alleviated when Sycora return home after their martyrdom in foreign space.

With resources vital to Sycoran existence being native only to our universe, Sycora regularly reinforce their positions in three-dimensional space, cycling in fresh martyrs and recovering veterans who have survived their service. Utilizing dimensional gates to bridge realities, resources and troops are exchanged to keep the Sycoran war machine intact, with portals of more impressive magnitudes bringing forth more imposing weapons. A glance at the true form of Sycoran warriors can be taken as they cross through these ethereal gates, losing a part of themselves in the process.

Individual Sycora trend towards being tall, thin, and physically fragile, supplementing with equipment retooled for functionality in a hostile universe. Their technology is as bizarre as it is powerful - when Sycoran militaries bring their trademark utilities to bear, the battlefield is transformed in ways three-dimensional beings simply cannot fathom. The most impressive of Sycoran savants are armed with the power to shift the crusts of worlds and transpose slices of the local stars, while less experienced mystics can rearrange armies and enhance projectiles by using dimensional rifts.

Sycoran projectiles are lightning-fast, with only the most precise and agile opponents able to avoid being struck. Impressive rates of fire and respectable effective ranges combine with the considerable velocity of their kinetics to make Sycoran weapons deadly despite their low upfront impact. At the will of specialized mystics, Sycoran projectiles trade some of their speed for increased power and distance traveled - a practice often leveraged against large and slow targets.

Though the Sycora are not naturally a resilient species, their advanced shielding repulses many standard attacks and allows even their lightly-armored infantry to take otherwise-fatal blows. The rules of this reality work against Sycoran armor, making them exceedingly vulnerable when their vital shields fail - a factor ameliorated by both stationary and mobile shield generators that work to keep Sycoran combatants topped off between battles. Though these shields are paramount for survivability, they also come at the cost of mobility: Sycoran crafts are free to move at much faster speeds when their shields are depleted, which allows for bold (and often martyrous) moves in the midst of battles.

Central gates of the Sycora use their capacity for dimensional shifting to expand infrastructure, with each prime gate able to focus its power to bring through one structure at a time. No matter the size of a gate, Sycoran workers can send their harvests through to their home reality. The enhancement of their dimensional facilities is paramount for deploying more advanced Sycoran technology, and as their gates grow in scope, the hopes of their enemies dwindle.

Adaptation to a hostile universe has not been easy for the Sycora, but even with physical law working against them, the wayward regency is not to be taken lightly. If their decisive weaponry and shielded warriors endure long enough for engineers to deploy the most true Sycoran technology, the warzone itself is theirs to reshape, and not even distant stars are out of reach.

Defining traits: Vigilant, soldiering, lively, cosmic, imperious

Techtree:
  • Single-structure construction
  • Conventional segmented tech progression, with tiered production structures
  • Low vitals supplemented by heavy shields that enhance movement speed when broken
  • Enchanting mystics that augment low-damage, high-speed infantry and vehicles
  • Expensive mid- and high-tier combatants with massive cosmic power that reshapes the battlefield

Branches:
  • Martyr: General-purpose, unspecialized combatants
  • Empath: Agile, durable, enchanting
  • Severed: Short-range, crowd-controlling, disruptive/disenchanting



Catethron

Imperious oracles under vows of silence.

In certain times of grand conflict, the exceedingly-mysterious Catethrons emerge from the ether and begin isolating war-torn star systems. These enigmas experience their entire existence at once, and approach the events of their lives with an impenetrable calm unrecognizable by other races. Catethrons wield gravity as an agent of their will, their apparent mastery of natural law pushing and pulling the belligerent lesser races until the battlefields fall silent. Only when peace has been achieved do the fleets of the Catethrons withdraw from a now-quieted pocket of space.

With total control over gravitational forces, Catethron combatants tend to strike from vast distances, their projectiles accelerating the longer they vault through space. Foes that successfully evade Catethron projectiles can breathe easy for a moment while such imperious technology cools down between volleys, but should they be struck, they may be subject to wildly different gravitational forces. Sabotaging - and in some cases, trapping - their victims is important for Catethron warriors, with their slow movement hindering any ability to give chase to unfettered opponents. When the battles come to the Catethrons themselves, however, their expensive, durable hulls dispense with small arms fire and often make frontal assaults foolhardy.

Pocket singularities give way to emergent Catethron forms, with both their infrastructure and their armies being pulled from gravitational portals that can manifest anywhere on the battlefield. This technology comes at great cost, and such operations require more time to complete if their source of power remains far-off. Though Catethrons benefit from incredible versatility thanks to their mastery of physical law, the plodding pace of their combatants biases Catethron armadas toward more conservative operations that are guaranteed to land crippling blows.

Catethrons take form as brilliant arcs of light, but only when their technological containers have been broken apart. These energy beings are short-lived without their prismatic shells, but disorient and endanger nearby creatures before dissipating into nothingness. While their hulls hold, Catethron combatants are capable of displacement, with their projectiles moving at staggering speeds. Ominous land craft engage in melee combat, and often times pull and repulse both allied and hostile forces. Though unimaginable destruction can be wrought by the slow and expensive Catethron fleets, the most silent wardens' most powerful machinations take form in blinding spheroids that warp the matter that surrounds them.

With space itself bending to the will of the enigmatic Catethrons, these entities are positioned as some of the mightiest in the known universe. Their purpose can only be inferred from their actions, and their command structure is shrouded in mystery. It is not known how these volatile energy beings construct such imposing technology, but any creature that finds themselves isolated by Catethron fleets is often too occupied to ponder their origin.

Defining traits: Vigilant, inevitable, resilient, cosmic, imperious

Techtree:
  • Single-structure self-construction, with build times based on distance between source structure and new structure
  • No tech tier limits, instead requiring expensive upfront resource and time costs to unlock units and structures
  • Units and structures emerge from singularities created by production structures, though this gravity manipulation is quite expensive
  • Ranged harvesters from the start, and gravity wells that provide increased resource regeneration rate
  • Utility depots that collect resources from farther distances



Thruk

Spacefaring planetoids and their composite materials.

With so many corporeal threats demanding attention, few creatures take notice of the countless misshapen asteroids screaming through space. Only when the Thruk make landfall is their cosmic nature revealed, but when the earth itself turns against you, what possible recourse is there?

Thruk are sapient formations of planetary materials that glide through the terrain that surrounds them, exchanging matter between otherworldly creature and familiar landmass with the same ease as a biped walks. In many cases, Thruk structures extend shorelines and cliffs, bridging gaps between isolated bodies and supporting armies and installations without issue. Artificial materials such as space stations are manipulated in much the same way, with Thruk entities rearranging and sliding along any sufficient landmass regardless of its origin.

It is difficult to differentiate between Thruk infrastructure and combatants, as the vast majority of them are quite sizable and only grow in the presence of sufficient materials. Exposed ore veins are soon surrounded by harvester forms capable of sending the precious metals through the earth they came from, for use by larger Thruk entities to continue their expansion. Some Thruk are purposefully diminutive so as to be harder to detect, while others are capable of gliding up cliffs or over liquid oceans.

Thruk combat forms make ample use of their composite elements, with each of their dangerous material ejections reducing their size. While smaller Thruk elementals are more agile than their lumbering counterparts, they don't remain shrunken for long, as they quickly absorb leftover matter from fallen combatants. Even tiny Thruk forms have the potential to balloon in size, their effective range scaling with the amount of materials that comprise them.

The most fearsome Thruk entities are capable of collapsing sinkholes, raising mountains from flat crust, and even tearing the surface asunder with violent quakes. Thruk forms require time to accumulate sufficient resources and materials for these feats, making their presence in any warzone a veritable time bomb that could endanger the battleground itself.

Entire planets have been consumed by Thruk. Continental chunks of material are regularly extracted from the surface of their worlds, with these massive strips of land escaping orbits in search of distant territories. With the sheer number of otherwise-uninhabited planets, it is difficult to imagine how many the Thruk have already claimed.

Defining traits: Frontal, inevitable, resilient, cosmic, organic

Techtree:
  • Single-worker internal construction
  • Tiered structure tech progression
  • Slow, gliding combatants that spend max HP to attack and gain max HP when absorbing corpses
  • Structures that uproot and move slowly at the cost of reduced efficiency
  • Cosmic specialist constructs that reshape the battlefield to better suit their needs



Avot

Untapped energy wells acting in self-defense

Attacking physical law with their very existence, the perpetual motion entities that are the Avot are collections of enduring stellar energy, untapped fonts of unknowable power that must fight off those that would otherwise exploit them. Despite their hazardous nature and the ease with which they can be destabilized, Avoti combatants are quite capable of contending with any perceived threat, and those who seek to wield the power promised by the Avot have a dangerous task ahead of them.

Avotian forms begin as diminutive shapes of light that preserve themselves through the consumption of raw materials. Utilitarian Avoti are commonly seen attaching themselves to resource nodes, where they operate slower than conventional miners, but have no need to deliver their harvest. Should they choose otherwise, however, they will need to return to their place of origin - a catastrophic starbreach that appears to warp physical space with its very presence. These starbreaches manifest their will by deploying a wide variety of Avotian entities, and it is from these immense cosmic structures that combat-ready Avoti are sourced.

The same humble and small Avoti that take up harvesting duties are also capable of converting large sums of natural metals and resources into the same sort of volatile aperture from whence they came. Assembling an Avotian structure comes at the additional cost of the worker form, but manifests at a blazing speed. Of all the infrastructure of the Avot, several defensive options generate a vital energy field that feeds off nearby rubble and corpses, transposing them into a fleeting layer of additional armor for nearby allies. This supplementary shield is most useful for allowing the more volatile Avotian combatants to draw closer to their foes, as the destructive and chaotic nature of their collapse has many downstream effects - and none of them are looked forward to by the enemies of the Avot.

In keeping with their expensive costs, starbreaches, conduits, and other structures of the Avot can be collapsed into brimming remnants that enchant the weapons of all combatants that stand on the wreckage, regardless of allegiance. Avoti can make use of their empowering rubble when defending, but this potential for a punishing series of events has resulted in many past Avotian strongholds crumbling in short order. As a result, Avotian base layouts tend to be more conservative, with expansion attempts being taken by the bold and the sure - especially with the Avotian predilection for outscaling their opponents through the summoning of more powerful forms.

Combat forms of the Avot leverage their impressive speed to close distances before their inevitable collapse, and in the cases where even their more brittle entities can survive in direct combat for long, the destruction of their enemies is rarely far behind. The sheer diaspora of forms available to Avotian armadas makes adapting to the bizarre threat a tough task - all shapes and sizes, all ranges and armors dot the landscape when the Avot are able to deploy their most titanic starbreaches. Commanders of the cosmos are well aware by now, that ignoring Avotian establishments for too long will almost certainly result in insurmountable opposition.

In the most frightful times of battle, enormous Avot starbreaches begin transposing themselves across the warzone, rending weakened enemies they make contact with and converting their particles into new Avotian forms. When these migrant structures take to the battlefield directly, the Avot can reinforce any position with sufficient hostiles, allowing for perpetual threats across entire planets. Even more imposing are the grand cosmic bodies orbited by allies to the Avot. These conduits can instantly manifest to new environments, and often bring with them large armies - and a grand explosion should they collapse.

Avoti do not communicate with other regencies directly, but it doesn't take long for their intent to manifest on the field of battle. Should they suddenly and without warning descend upon a rival faction, it can be assumed that a threat was perceived, as the reclusive and strange creatures do not meddle in warfare for conventional reasons. Likewise, Avotian forms have been known to assume kinship with other militaries, fighting alongside their more traditional neighbors and against a presumed collective enemy. Whatever the circumstances of a battle, the Avot hold power that is difficult to match, especially if given sufficient time and resources to continue their infinite growth.

Defining traits: Roving, agile, lively, cosmic, organic

Techtree:
  • Single-worker consumption construction
  • Conventional segmented tech progression
  • Entities made of stellar energy, focusing themselves into potent and volatile forms
  • Many entities collapse upon death, with a wide variety of downstream effects
  • Prodigious conduits absorb rubble and even weakened enemies, fueling an infinite growth
  • Units and structures gain temporary shielding when hostiles die within the fields of energy conduits



Kolypo Azos

Creatures of madness, manipulating others for their own amusement.

The most impossible of all entities in the cosmos go by the name Kolypo Azos. These malevolent creatures possess great cunning and intellect, and manifest themselves on a whim to do battle with the powers that be. Members of the Kolypo Azos infiltrate the ranks and minds of their victims, preying on their fears and falsely shepherding their greatest aspirations. These demonic entities drive mortals mad with even a glimpse at their true forms, and cannot be trusted by any of the universe's denizens - quite the quagmire, when Kolypo Azos can be anyone or anything.

Tricksters and villains by nature, Kolypoids take many forms, and treat their interactions with inferior species casually and with mild amusement. The many manifestations of Kolypo Azos entertain themselves with their meddling, with no higher motive readily apparent. Kolypoids relish in driving the lesser races insane, entertaining themselves with all manner of meddling in the lives and minds of their prey. Their capacity for possession allows them to freely move about the civilizations of the universe, and their manipulations within all regencies go far deeper than most could imagine.

All manner of shapes and sizes characterize Kolypoid manifestations. While they begin from more worldly forms, the agents of Kolypo Azos soon descend into impossible creations that take to the battlefield in ways inconceivable by their enemies. The more bizarre a Kolypoid appears, the more it disrupts its opponents, with even initial manifestations spreading fear and uncertainty. The madness of their prey fuels Kolypo Azos, allowing their points of origin to erect more imposing architecture, which in turn gives rise to more maddening entities.

Kolypoid attacks are often staggered in nature, with multiple steps to their physical and mental assaults. Many combatants of Kolypo Azos engage while up close, though some of the most effective creatures harry their foes from afar. While the most distant manifestations tend to lumber slowly, Kolypoids recognize the value in skittering forth quickly, catching their opponents off-guard and closing the distance with bursts of speed. Advance warning of Kolypo Azos will allow its enemies to prepare, but surprise attacks are still quite deadly.

Thankfully for their prey, not all Kolypoids are made equal. Many are physically fragile, and can often lull victims into false sense of security. Their fleeting conviction is dispelled when greater agents take to the field, with many of the larger manifestations going toe to toe with most resilient of warriors. This range of survivability allows Kolypo Azos to remain adaptable in their quest for madness, with some of the most fearsome forms characterized not by their durability, but by their agility and ferocity.

With such horrors at their disposal, Kolypo Azos make an early impact on their foes. Upstart factions are no exception, often providing the necessary madness for Kolypoid armies to supplement their conventional resource harvesting. Conflict is of prime importance for Kolypo Azos, as if they are starved of opportunities to sow chaos in the ranks of their enemies, their expensive manifestations will become few and far in between. If their versatile hand is misplayed, the cosmic torturer can soon become the tortured, though Kolypoids rarely express anything more than mild frustration upon being driven out of a battlefield.

The enigma surrounding Kolypo Azos is such that no one is certain of their origin, their motivation, or even their true form. Cults have formed around notable Kolypoids, and curious minds flock to reported sightings in the hopes of studying these bizarre creatures. The relentless influence exerted by Kolypo Azos has forced those capable to devise intricate verifications for their military command structures, but the more a species works to insulate themselves from madness, the more crafty Kolypo Azos becomes.

Defining traits: Roving, agile, lively, cosmic, manifold

Techtree:
  • Single-worker consumption construction
  • Combat-based tech progression with tiered production structures
  • Pricey, versatile, and punishing, with uncanny capabilities on all combatants
  • Debuff nearby enemies, gaining power and resources for slaying crazed hostiles
  • Middling movement speed that increases when witnessed by enough enemies



Upstarts


Upstarts are aspirant nations of the various regencies that populate the myriad locales of Xibalba. These generally-unaffiliated groups are insignificant on their own, often being logistically outmatched by the superpowers that stretch across the universe, but that doesn't stop these denizens from engaging with their superiors. Upstarts take shape in the form of paramilitaries that threaten the early stages of matches, and help to characterize the planets the local star system that they inhabit.

When enabled in a lobby's game settings, upstarts begin a mission with a predetermined level of map control as defined by the map's creator. Upstart playstyles can be dictated by mappers, allowing for customizing how aggressive, expansionist, and territorial they act, while also determining how open to negotiation they are.

Upstarts have four distinct assets: strongholds, outposts, attack squads, and insurgents.
  • Strongholds are upstart base camps with a variety of unique structures that produce the vast majority of paramilitary agents. They also provide high-value rewards upon their destruction, which may come in the form of high-tech rescuables, resource injections, or simply demoralizing an upstart faction into submitting to your rule. Upstarts will surrender and retreat when losing all of their strongholds, which also vacates outposts and disbands active squads. This can sometimes help your enemy as much as it helps you.
  • Outposts watch over resource nodes and protect upstart harvesting operations, which in turn allow for further militarization.
  • Attack squads are dispatched from strongholds, and seek to find weak points in a regency's line of defense. Though easily outgunned, these attack squads are often comprised of expert guerrilla fighters, and should not be ignored.
  • Insurgents are crafty ambushers that use a mixture of cunning and opportunistic timing to disrupt the army movements of regencies or even finish off wounded squads. These specialists rarely venture into hostile bases.

The purpose of upstarts is to provide sources of engagement in the early-game, even in cases where competing regencies make landfall far away from one another. As a general guideline, it is expected that maps with larger distances between players will have more upstarts with higher technological capabilities, while the inverse is true of maps with closer player spawns. Of course, some scenarios, maps, and game modes will omit upstarts entirely.

Because of the emphasis of their design being placed in the early-game, upstarts have no bearing on a player's victory conditions, and are naturally weeded out as regency militaries grow in power. If an upstart faction is all that remains on the map after defeating all opposing regencies, victory is still attained.