The Dominion is a diverse faction, united by their devotion to the Path. Many vassal species have been brought under the authority of the ecclesiocracy, either by forceful conquest, diplomacy or the work of evangelising priests. The Tulaki welcome those who are willing to demonstrate their greatness among distant stars, and their heroes seek to inspire them with their might and prowess.
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.
The Arctonyx are a bipedial mammalian sophont species, originally from the Arc’Uthret system in a well-travelled volume of the Tulaki Spur Sector. Their homeworld is a large, rocky and high-gravity world covered with large rocky plateaus interspersed with thick, forested valleys. The Arctonyx evolved from burrowing forest creatures into hunter-gatherer sapients, and then went on to dominate their home world, eliminating the other nomadic sentients that made their home on the windy plateaus. Arc’Uthret II is relatively rich in native flora and fauna, as well as rare elements, particularly in the sparse Tulaki Spur Sector. As such, it was visited by other warp-capable species as a resupply point for several hundred years prior to the arrival of the Tulaki. By this point, the Arctonyx were a relatively new industrial society, and were able to establish contact and trade harvested resources for new technology and finished goods. Through reverse engineering and covert development, the Arctonyx were soon able to manufacture their own sophisticated weapons and vehicles, and eventually took to space and developed their local system. Some poor experiences with exploitative visitors led the Arctonyx to develop military vessels and keep a tight rein on entry to their inner star system. Unauthorised intruders were greeted with large numbers of small, aggressive and nimble fighters distributed throughout the system on asteroid bases and moons.
The Arctonyx were discovered by the Dominion during their spinward expansion in the Sagittarius Arm around 2850 PT. Due to what is recorded as an initial misunderstanding, Initial Dominion exploration vessels were greeted with some hostility and attacked by Arctonyx fighters in the outskirts of the Arc’Uthret system. This led to a larger Dominion fleet presence being sent to the system, which was again met with hostility due to poor initial communications, with the Arctonyx believing that the Dominion Missionary fleet was in fact a full-scale invasion force. Every fighter in the system was scrambled, leading to a vicious space battle in which Arctonyx fast attack ships nearly cost the Tulaki a capital ship as well as several escort vessels. With such staunch resistance, Admiral Soluk N’drak, the Saurian in charge of the exploration fleet opted to cease fire and withdraw. They ordered a delegation of priests to review the battle logs and decide if diplomacy or overwhelming force were warranted. The High Priest attached to the fleet, Iksath V'nar, ruled that the Admiral was correct, and despite their primitive technology in comparison to the Tulaki, the Arctonyx were astonishing combatants and would benefit from the guidance that came with the Path of Tulak. After several months of more cautious incursions into the system to make contact, eventually diplomacy prevailed and delegations of Priests visited the Arctonyx. Several decades of positive relations led to strong diplomatic and trade relationships and eventually full membership of the Dominion. Arctonyx pilots in particular were especially valued for the skill, bravery and insight - by the time of the First Tulaki Invasion of the Orion Arm their approach had reshaped Dominion naval doctrine to be devastatingly effective against the more ponderous Ascendancy fleets. Today, Arctonyx are a common sight amongst the crew of Dominion Naval fleets, particularly when smaller fighter craft are employed for tasks.
Physically, the Arctonyx have a number of sensory differences that give them a profoundly enhanced sense of their spatial environment compared with Terrans, Elysians or Tulaki. Their vestibular system is very well developed, giving an excellent sense of balance and equilibrium. This is combined with a greater number of proprioceptor neurons throughout their body to give Arctonyx an excellent overall sense of where their body is, and the overall presence and strength of the local gravity field. They possess an organ at the base of their skull similar to a statocyst that allows them to detect disturbances in their balance relative to the local gravity field - this organ has greater prominence than ocular input does in other species, giving Arctonyx a much greater resistance to nausea induced by conflicting visual and inner ear input. These physical characteristics give the species their well-renowned kinesthetic prowess, and inform their cultural appreciation of movement and physicality.
Character: Arctonyx have a reputation as being somewhat gruff and direct, although there are plenty of individuals who do not embody these traits. They do, however, tend to react poorly when others (particularly strangers) impinge on their personal space - with their enhanced sense of proprioception, accidentally bumping someone is very unlikely, and seen as a deliberate slight. This is highly contextual, and does not represent a general dislike of close contact - when in close confines such as a starship or in a context such as a partner dance then they rarely have any problems. With a cultural history of exploitative contact on their home world, Arctonyx are still somewhat suspicious of outsider species, although they accept most other Dominion species as equals. There is some lingering distrust for the Kelki, both due to their relatively recent accession into the Dominion and their impulsive, confrontational attitudes, which often rub Arctonyx up the wrong way.
Arctonyx enjoy the sensation of movement, and appreciate precise physical movement and ability in others. This gives them a tendency to enjoy flying, ritual athletics, martial arts and most of all dance. Dance is considered the highest art-form in Arctonyx local culture, and their artists are always looking for new forms and styles, particularly those that involve precision, flow and speed.
The Arctonyx took quite well to the teachings of the Path of Tulak, although they are renowned throughout the Dominion for their tendency to focus on excelling at tasks that benefit from their excellent spatial and kinesthetic senses.
Appearance: The Arctonyx are humanoids whose outward appearance strongly resembles members of the ancient Terran order Mustelidae - they have heavyset skulls with prominent snouts, short ears and sharp, carnivorous teeth. They have short fur on the majority of their skin, adapted for cold conditions - this fur tends not to shed individually, but moults in large areas on a fairly regular cycle, which is thought to be a very convenient evolutionary trait by life support filter engineers. Arctonyx fur tends to be coloured in various shades of grey, occasionally with a hint of red or brown, and patterns of dots or stripes are common. An Arctonyx head most closely resembles a badger, so foam masks are appropriate physreps - although the possible colours are more varied than with badgers. When looking for a mask, it is important to find one that does not resemble other mammalian vassal species such as the dog-like Ikunkuma. Arctonyx fur can be represented with makeup on any exposed skin.
They have a tendency towards stockiness compared to Terrans and similar humanoids, due to the higher gravity of their homeworld. This can be physrepped using appropriate clothing to bulk out the torso, but is not an essential element of the brief.
Each member of the species emits a characteristic musk that is used to identify individuals and families. This musk contains a high proportion of esters and ketone compounds, similar to ancient Terran fruits such as pears, strawberries and pineapples, which makes typical Arctonyx smell quite pleasantly to Terran sensibilities. However, it can also be quite confusing for Arctonyx who encounter Terran foods containing these fruits for the first time. Physrepping this scent profile is optional, although it does make for interesting talking points. Players can physrep this aspect of the species by using scents and perfumes that have a distinctive fruit-like odour.
The sturdy frames and resilient physiology of the Arctonyx grants them a natural resistance to toxins and better chances in surgery. Arctonyx characters have 2 locational hits and a 250 second Death Count, and get one rank of the Steel Viscera skill for free at character creation.
Arctonyx have a natural affinity for spaceflight that allows them to rapidly develop considerable skill with starship systems. Archetypally, Arctonyx gravitate towards Helm and Weapons console positions, but individuals may specialise in any console skills. The first Spaceflight Skill that Arctonyx Characters buy is automatically upgraded to Rank 2 for no additional Character Points.
The Cradians are a very recent accession to the Dominion, joining in 3819PT after the devastation of their homeworld of Bel-Dan III, also known as Cradia. Prior to the intervention of the the major Factions, the Cradians had been locked in a 4,000 year struggle with another sophont species in their home system, the Garvians.
Cradian society developed from a desert-based hunter-gatherer culture on Bel-Dan IV, where it is theorised that they diverged from the other sophont species present in the system. The early Cradians were highly individualistic and believed in the primacy of strength & fighting prowess, but also developed highly sophisticated arts and philosophy. Although relatively peaceful in their early history, they eventually came into conflict with the jungle-dwelling Garvian tribes. Ancient records contained some evidence of a genocidal war against a third species, the Olm, after which the technology level of both species leapt forward considerably, developing spaceflight. A short period of peace and development ended with numerous atrocities being committed between the two sides – assassinations, sabotage, nuclear weapon use, and the like. The Cradians and Garvians descended into a grinding, brutal conflict that lasted for most of their recorded history and utterly changed their cultures into ones focused primarily on war. Eventually, Bel-Dan IV was rendered uninhabitable through a combination of radiation and planet-wide water contamination. The Cradians evacuated to the hot desert world of Bel-Dan III, which they renamed Cradia. The Garvians fled to Bel-Dan V. The mutual exodus caused a massive amount of both species cultural history to be erased and allowing the eternal war to render their societies unrecognisable from their ancient past.
During the intervention of the Factions in 3819 PT, the smouldering war suddenly took a turn towards the tragic. The ancient enemies of the Cradians and Garvians, the Olm, re-emerged as the true architects of many of the long war’s atrocities. Though they were uncovered and agreed to leave the system under the protection of the Commonality, the Olm left a parting gift in the form of a wave of genetically keyed nano-toxins designed to eradicate life on both of the warring species’ home worlds. Although the Garvian planet was saved, the toxins on Cradia were activated and obliterated the planet’s ability to support life. Offered sanctuary in Dominion space, a fleet of Cradian evacuation vessels tried to save as many of their species as they could, while being attacked by Olm drones. The Cradian Emperor opted to remain behind, assisting those who wished to flee.
Though reduced to a fraction of their former numbers after the devastation of their home world, the Cradians survive in a refugee convoy, slowly travelling by warp towards Dominion space, where they hope to find a new home in the Sagittarius Arm. As the convoy travels, Tulaki missionaries have provided supplies along the way, and worked hard to prepare the new vassal species for life in the Dominion as followers of the Path. Though some Cradians have taken readily to the teachings of the Path, it will likely be many generations before they fully embrace it as a society. Similarly, the deep wounds inflicted by war and the destruction of their homeworld by the Olm may never truly heal.
Character: They are individualistic, and even though their war necessitated teamwork and cooperation, Cradians are celebrated typically on the merits of their personal accomplishments. Cradian culture has long venerated its heroes - lone wolf fighter pilots, warriors and saboteurs. Throughout their history each individual strove to be the greatest at their profession, and this cultural tendency piqued the interest of the Dominion priesthood, who saw in it faint echoes of the Path of Tulak. Cradians are trained from a young age to fight, and while many leave the military to fulfil other roles in society, a large proportion remain soldiers or are attached to the military in some way.
Although a culture driven and consumed by war for the entirety of its remembered history, Cradians seem to have a deep predisposition towards artistic creativity. Even a barracks of active soldiers would be filled with individuals painting and writing poetry during their scant free hours. Cradians view their artwork as deeply personal, something rarely shared with others and interred with the creator on their death – although Tulaki priests hope to see Cradian artists tread the path of Neboro the Charred, and eventually allow others to celebrate their creations. Nearly all Cradians have a deep respect for art and how it influences an individual’s journey through life.
Appearance: Cradians have a highly consistent colouration and appearance. They are reptilian humanoids, with lightly scaled, primarily yellow skin. They have greenish scales around their eyesockets, as well as in the centre of their foreheads and from their chin down to their necks. These effects can be simulated using makeup. Cradians also have pronounced ridges of small spikes arcing over each eye – this can be simulated using prosthetics. The original Cradian prosthetics and makeup design was created by Millingtron SFX.
With fairly unremarkable reptiloid physiology that has strong genetic similarities with Serpentine Tulaki, Cradians are distinguished by their neural makeup as well as their cultural background. Cradian characters have 2 locational hits and a 200 second Death Count.
Cradians have a finely developed aesthetic sense and a slightly above-baseline colour perception. They have a natural tendency towards introspection, a fiercely emotional focus and a poorly understood feedback loop in their neural patterning. Combined with a cultural inclination towards the creative arts as a means of self-expression and analysis, these physiological features grant Cradians a profound appreciation of art. They have the ability to self-analyse their responses to aesthetic stimuli, and can use their memories to recall profound emotional experiences. This powerfully emotive recall allows Cradians to summon stirring emotions in times of need, to act as a bulwark against external influences, to connect deeply with other individuals, and to promote a sense of awe in those they interact with. Cradian characters have 2 unique Show-me Lammie abilities that they can use a certain number of times each event, and if they create art between events they can use the act of creation to serve as a reserve of confidence and internal strength each event.
Hailing from the Fas'Kelk system in the Bleak Sector, the Kelki are more reluctant subjects of the Dominion. While they have embraced the quest for individualistic success that is the heart of the Path of Tulak, they have more problems with the aspects of encouraging others to succeed. The Kelki are a highly individualistic and competitive species. When discovered by the Dominion as they pushed into the Orion Arm, the Kelki were at an early industrial level of technology, and still divided into a multiplicity of small warring states who competed for power and resources
Character: Kelki are fiercely competitive in almost every field of endeavour. They will rarely offer much respect to anyone who has not personally demonstrated their superiority and prowess, or are a close friend. They are argumentative and fractious, but generally relatively good-natured about it, and they forget slights against them quickly - but in the heat of the moment they can lash out at those they see as a threat to their status and superiority.
Appearance: Kelki are humanoid in general shape, but possess pointed ears and heavyset, gnarled brows (both achievable with prosthetics). Their skin is mostly human-like in colour, although their faces above the cheekbones are covered with a light coating of brown fur shot through with silver patches. Psionic Kelki have patchy fur that glows in psionically active areas (physrepped by UV-reactive make-up), and some have irises that do the same.
Abilities: Kelki have 2 locational body hits and a Death Count of 200 seconds. Kelki are latent telekinetics, and with training are able to use their mental powers to affect the physical world in a far more direct way than Elysian psions. Kelki start with 1 Psi Point, and can buy powers from the Telekinesis Root Path and its Branch Paths. The extent of their powers is not well-known among the other species of the galaxy, but it is known that they can generate effects similar to the REPEL and STRIKEDOWN calls.
The Xak’noth are a race of human-size insectoids from the Xak'dol system in the sector of the same name. They are hardy creatures, covered in chitinous carapaces. They were one of the earliest other species discovered by the Tulaki in their evangelistic expansion, and are strong devotees of the Path of Tulak.
Character: Xak'noth are consumed by the desire to excel in their chosen field, follow the dictates of the priests and spread the truth of the Path of Tulak.
Appearance: Xak’noth are giant insects, looking like beetles of cockroaches. They have hard plates of black or dark red chitin all over their bodies (this can be physrepped by worbla plates or similar rigid materials sewn into a costume). Their faces also have chitinous plates and mandibles.
Abilities: Xak'noth have 2 locational body hits and a Death Count of 200 seconds.
Their hard carapaces serve as a form of natural armour for the Xak’noth. Xak’noth cannot wear armour, but have the equivalent of heavy armour on all of their body locations (3 locational armour hits). This carapace cannot be repaired by an Engineer, however, and must be healed as if it were body hits by a physician who must also either possess at least one rank in the Life Science skill or be a Xak’noth in order to do so.
Xak’noth are also resistant to radiation. Radiation Conditions take twice as long to affect or progress with them.