Many vassal species call the Ascendancy their overlords, and the Noble Houses are quick to find roles for aliens that they deem useful and willing to fall in line. Although most are kept confined to their home system as part of the Gong class, similar to the low ranks of Terrans, many individual vassals can be found working various jobs across Terran space. Ascendancy Vassals are not treated any worse than the basic subjects of the Houses - but they are more limited in their opportunities for advancement.
It is possible to create your own vassal species - if you have a great idea for a species, then you can submit it to the game team for possible inclusion into the Orion Sphere universe. See the Vassal Species page for details and guidelines of the kind of things we are looking for in a new species.
Coronites are considered a strange artefact of the Orion Nebula Sector. They spend most of their existence as diffuse clouds of gas, held together by electromagnetic interactions that form a sort of distributed consciousness. It is thought that some exotic set of conditions in the Orion Nebula allows them to form from the clouds of dust and ions. They then spend several thousand years close to certain large stars, growing in volume and feeding from solar winds. After they have reached sufficient size to survive away from energy sources, they drift outward into the galaxy in search of new experiences.
Coronites in their most commonly recognized forms are created when a starship with a ramscoop-enabled warp drive passes directly through one of these proto-Coronite clouds, sucking them up and concentrating them into much denser forms in the heart of their drive chambers. As the Coronite takes form, it drains the drive plasma below sustainable levels and usually causes an engine failure. Engineers that enter the chambers to investigate are confronted with an amorphous cloud that quickly takes humanoid form.
The first appearance of Coronites in the drives of early Ascendancy explorers were considered to be hostile alien entities with malicious intent, but they were eventually recognized to be a strange natural phenomena of the Orion Nebula. After they were recognized as a discrete and repeated phenomenon in 2960 PT, various Ascendancy Houses secured some of the very rare specimens to experiment on and harness their energy generation abilities. In the first century after their discovery, numerous Coronites were drained dry or imprisoned in power plants or batteries by Terran scientists. They were eventually regarded as fairly inefficient compared to large-scale fusion facilities, and began to be regarded more as a curio than a threat or resource. Despite increased traffic and exploration into the Orion Nebula, Coronites remain quite rare, and this scarcity has caused them to be regarded as status symbols of a sort. Coronite individuals are frequently seconded or gifted to high-status independent groups controlled Shi or Junzi, particularly ones that operate on the fringes of Ascendancy space. Coronite power generation abilities and indifference to the vacuum of space make them useful assets for exploration teams and military groups that operate far from the infrastructure of the Ascendancy and MegaCorps, and they are commonly found as scientists and engineers out on the fringes.
During the latter part of the First Tulaki Armistice, when Dominion priests first encountered Ascendancy Coronites and learned of their origin, there was a period of intense interest from the Ecclesiocracy in Coronites. Factions within the priesthood believed the Coronite condensates to be manifestations of the more powerful Immortal Spirits, as information about them was sparse. The Dominion considered Terran’s control over Coronites to profane their faith and the resulting tensions were one of many factors that escalated into the Second Ascendancy-Dominion War.
Character: Having existed as diffuse clouds of particles for much of their time, Coronites have a very odd perspective compared to most sophonts. While Coronites may have existed for millions of years prior to taking physical form, their diffuse nature means that they do not possess any useful coherent memories from this time - they existed in a universe of energy gradients, gravitic waves and solar winds, and paid little attention to the world of matter even when they could perceive it. Coronites who have been condensed into physical forms are usually naturally very curious - these tend to be the ones who have left the bounds of their feeder stars and gone exploring, and this tendency is retained in condensed individuals. They are effectively immortal, which gives them a very strange concept of time. Time while diffuse feels shorter for some, while time spent condensed may stretch out for an age. As a result, some Coronites have very short attention spans, and flit from task to task as it holds their interest, becoming bored easily, while others retain the perspective of their long existences and seem to have endless reserves of patience and focus.
Coronites do not reproduce in their condensed forms, and it is poorly understood how new Coronites come into being. Although they do not have genders, individual Coronites may choose to identify as a certain gender within solid society, or may not. Coronites who have spent a long time in condensed form may experience a desire to return to their diffuse form, and arrange to be released from their physical forms while in space, and return to slowly travelling the cosmos. The great fear of many Coronites is to be punctured in an atmosphere, particularly during windy conditions where they may not be able to maintain enough gaseous density to continue their existence.
Appearance: Coronites are essentially humanoid-shaped containers of energetic plasma and charged particles. The energy fields that make up their external surface are normally transparent, showing the swirling pinpoints of light beneath. This can be physrepped by using makeup or a tight covering similar to a body stocking to portray all areas of exposed skin as something like a starfield, or swirling, nebula-like clouds of coloured gas (or a combination of the two).
All Coronites have some element of technology that sustains their external field and holds their bodies together. This can take the form of a small generator, patches of solid armour or some other device. These devices are not considered in-game items like energy fields or science devices, but are part of the Coronite character’s form. They are also individually tailored to the specific Coronite character, so do not need to be consistent between characters.
Finally, all Coronites emit light from within - this light can be channeled so that it is most prominent in certain areas of their form (LEDs, EL-wire, etc.). Coronite characters must emit enough light so that they are visible in the dark from at least a reasonable distance. Coronite characters may cover this light with clothing, armour etc., but their costume must be emitting light in at least some way - completely covering their emitted light feels uncomfortable for Coronite characters (a feeling similar to overheating or a fever).
The external layer of a Coronite that contains their gaseous forms is quite fragile and vulnerable, and they are prone to leakage if it is punctured, although they can remain viable despite the loss of a considerable amount of their energy mass. Coronite characters have 2 Global Body Hits and a 300 second Death Count. If they acquire additional LHV, these are not converted to a greater number of Global Hits, so +1 LH is equivalent to +1 Global Hit (unlike other Global Hit species such as Yelk). Patching their external membrane requires specialist knowledge - characters cannot use the Physician or First Aid skills on Coronites unless they also possess at least 1 rank of Etheric Science (or are themselves Coronites). However, characters with the Engineer skill can reset, pause or stop a Death Count on Coronite characters as if they had the First Aid and Physician skills at an equal rank to their Engineer skill (they cannot facilitate healing or perform Surgery on them).
The gaseous physiology of the Coronites makes it very difficult to render them unconscious, but quite prone to leakage. When Coronite characters lose all their Global Body Hits, they do not become Unconscious or Badly Injured - they immediately become Walking Wounded instead. However, when Coronite characters are reduced to 0 Global Body Hits they immediately begin their Death Count. Coronites naturally generate energy within their swirling ionic bodies, and can use this energy to power devices that they are using. When Coronite characters use any items that consume Charges to power their abilities, those abilities cost 1 Charge less to use (so abilities that only cost 1 Charge are free). Alternatively, they may grant this ability to another character by holding or remaining in close contact with and charging them with ionic energy (a process which most recipients consider uncomfortable, as they are charged with static electricity). A Coronite character cannot perform any other actions while maintaining this ability.
As energy beings, Coronite physiology is completely different from most sophont species, which makes them immune to most illnesses but also renders them unaffected by most biological substances as well. Coronite characters are immune to all Disease Conditions that do not specifically affect Energy species. They also take modified effects from most Radiation Conditions - radiation may empower a Coronite, or cause short-term roleplay effects at the discretion of the Referee. Coronites are also immune to vacuum and can exist unharmed in space. They are also immune to all Medicaments unless they have been doped with the Yurian Lattice Plasma Exotic Particles – this plasma vaporises active components of most Medicaments and incorporates them within the plasma lattice, allowing them to affect Coronite internal processes in similar ways to how they would affect biological characters. A Medicament with Yurian Lattice Plasma applied to it will have its normal effects on a Coronite character. The only exception to this is if a Condition or similar has a cure that requires the administering of Medicaments doped with another specific Exotic Substance, in this case (because a Medicament can only be doped with a single Exotic Substance), the normal cure for the Condition applies.
Sollen fit in well within the Ascendancy’s order, being naturally inclined towards finding a position in society, and a low impulse to question authority. They are originally from the Sollest system in the Crux Sector, where their dying star promoted a rigidly ordered system to conserve resources. Since being integrated into the Ascendancy, they have spread far and wide, exported in numbers to make use of their facility with machines.
Character: Sollen have a tendency towards being humble and self-effacing, and prefer to blend in with the crowd or lurk in the background rather than occupy the spotlight. They take a quiet pleasure in facilitating the success of others, and ensuring that both machines and society run smoothly.
Appearance: Sollen appear very similar to humans, but possess three thin bands of horn-like growths on their foreheads, radiating outward from their eyeline. These horns are ringed with scaly plates that vary in colour from blue to green and red.
Abilities: Sollen are physically quite frail, and start with only 1 locational body hit and a death count of 200 seconds. They make up for this with their aptitude with machines and devices – Sollen start with 1 rank of both the Engineer and Extra Mods Professional Skills for free.
Urgs are an aggressive race from the Urgholme system in the Hyades Sector, deep within Ascendancy space. They are one of the earlier races encountered by the Terrans as they expanded outwards after discovering warp drive technology.
Character: Urgs are quarrelsome and enjoy combat, but they are quick to submit to the orders of those that they consider to be an authority figure. They enjoy participating in military activities with a bit of pomp and ceremony, particularly when being observed by superiors. Within their species, they value honours and medals very highly as symbols of status, and have a hightened (if fragile) sense of pride.
Appearance: Urgs are physrepped by a full-face balaclava “orc” style mask. The colour of the mask can vary, usually between black and olive-green or beige.
Abilities: Urgs are naturally tough, and start with 3 locational body hits and a Death Count of 250 seconds.
The Wrathians are a species from the blighted moon of Leto’s Wrath II-C in the Grus Sector. The star around which their homeworld orbits is a colossal red giant, which is renowned for its furious coronal ejections. Leto’s Wrath II-C orbits a hydrogen gas giant at significant distance from the star. The protective envelope of Leto’s Wrath II’s magnetosphere and regular periods of eclipsing allowed life to develop on what would otherwise be a molten cinder. Despite this protection, the active star’s electromagnetic disruptions made it very difficult for the Wrathian’s society to develop reliable electronics, and they had only just entered the digital age when they were discovered by the Ascendancy in 3104 PT.
With their advanced technology, shielded systems and ordered society, the envoys of the Ascendancy were hailed as mortal gods. In awe at the marvels that the Ascendancy possessed, the Wrathians devoutly fell in line and over the next few centuries embraced Ascendancy orthodoxy, which laid the groundwork for the tragedy to come. The nobles of House Pontez were impressed at the time at how quickly the Wrathians, with their close physical resemblance to Terrans, accepted the Ascendancy’s order, and were considering allowing individual Wrathians to leave their homeworld by the time of the First Tulaki Invasion.
When the Dominion warfleets decimated the Ascendancy Navy in the Bleak Sector in 3288 PT, the Ascendancy Council desperately placed their colonies and holdings in the Trailing half of their territory on a war footing. Indoctrination broadcasts and preparedness inspections increased massively deep behind the Dominion front, and the Wrathians were earmarked for mass mobilisation as soldiers. Propaganda broadcasts and militarisation of Wrathian society whipped them into a fervour of loyalty, and all aspects of Wrathian society were directed towards preparing for the coming threat. When the threat did come in 3356 PT, the Wrathians rose to meet it – but after the Dominion gained a foothold on the moon, their Gateway portals and vast numbers of assault troops quickly put the sparsely-populated Wrathian homeworld on a desperate defensive. Opting to sacrifice themselves to destroy the invading army and blunt a significant part of the Dominion offensive, the leaders of the Wrathians directed their people in what they believed was their final act of loyalty. A coordinated network of beta radiation emitters was disseminated to the numerous exotic element mines across the moon’s surface, and simultaneously activated in an attempt to set off an explosive chain reaction that would obliterate the moon and the surrounding Tulaki fleet.
Unfortunately, impurities in the exotic mineral veins at depth prevented the reaction penetrating the heart of the moon. Rather than destroying the planet, the reaction unleashed clouds of toxic dust and gases impregnated with a poorly-understood cocktail of radioactive isotopes. Half of the invading Dominion forces perished as they retreated to their landing craft and abandoned the dying moon. It was not until the Ascendancy reclaimed the sector after the first armistice that they discovered what remained of Leto’s Wrath II-C – a blighted and poisonous world, its atmosphere lethal to unprotected lungs, wracked by storms and earthquakes. When radio broadcasts of Ascendancy propaganda were found to be coming from the surface, they were first thought to be automated systems still running, their operators long dead – but the messages being broadcast did not match anything in the survey vessels archives, and expeditions to the surface were surprised to find that the Wrathians were not extinct, but changed.
The cocktail of exotic mineral dust and radiation had a powerful mutagenic effect, and although the majority of the population perished, those who survived became genetically adapted to their toxic world. Wrathians require the poisons of their home moon to survive, and their toxic metabolisms can handle incredible hostile environments. They exude small amounts of poisonous substances at all times, which the Ascendancy has found several uses for. Wrathians retain a burning fervour to serve the Ascendancy, and their devotion to the cause is seen as unnerving to even many Terrans, particularly given their blighted origin.
Character: Most modern Wrathians are utterly devoted to the Ascendancy cause, sometimes even to the point of madness. They enjoy participating in parades and inspections, and take pride in their uniforms and discipline. They are committed to rigid social order, and despise what they see as deviant, hedonistic behaviour or waste. Few have had the opportunity to peer behind the veil of the Noble Houses high society, but would likely be disgusted at what they saw there.
Appearance: Wrathians are humanoid, and in their original form looked remarkably similar to Terrans, only with jet black skin around their hairline, which faded into more familiar Terran skin tones (this can be accomplished with make-up). Modern Wrathians retain this appearance, but are mostly distinguished by the toxic sores and weals that constantly appear across their body and slowly fade – accumulations of poisonous substances that infect the flesh. They are sickly looking as a rule, with pallid skin and patches of sores and infected skin that looks like bruises. These sores are generally a dull purple at their centre, and have a deep black area around them, and may even be spotted with their dark blue blood. The sores and marks can be simulated with make-up and/or prosthetics.
Wrathians require toxic chemicals to survive, and many wear a breathing apparatus - such as a full-face mask or lower-face mask with a breathing tube. Similarly, they tend to exude poisonous chemicals, and generally cover much of their exposed flesh when around other species so as not to accidentally poison them. Most Wrathians in mixed company will cover themselves with wrappings, clothing or bandages to keep from poisoning their comrades.
Wrathians have 1 body hit and a death count of 400 seconds – their bodies tend to be somewhat frail owing to their toxic biology, but their blood is thick and viscous, and their will to survive is strong. Wrathians unique biology makes them highly resistant to Radiation and Toxins. They are immune to most Radiation Conditions (or at least it will take a lot longer for them to be affected by them), and Toxic Conditions take twice as long to progress in a Wrathian – they may even shrug off mild Toxic conditions entirely.
Wrathians both require and exude toxins as part of their natural biological processes. A Wrathian character must have a physrep breathing mask or similar apparatus for delivering toxins to their system (outlined in appearance above). Without a breathing apparatus they will slowly sicken and may die. Wrathian characters can also afflict others with their toxins by remaining in close contact for a short time – this tends to induce feelings of nausea and weakness, and can disrupt the mental concentration needed to use Psionic powers or Discipline skills - this power is a Show-me lammie effect. Finally, members of other species using the physician skill to perform surgery on or otherwise assist a Wrathian without appropriate protection is a dangerous task, and may end up with the physician being poisoned (usually if a Ref is present).