Player Races – The Krayce

Introduction

Krayce scholars say that the homeworld – Krayce I – was entering a golden age when the first messages from other star systems were detected. The Krayce were a prairie species many millions of years ago. Historians now believe that the foundation of society for the species was in banding together to prevent attack from predatory species. Krayce numbers grew as they learned to band together and to rely on the community to achieve goals. Communities began to work together, and a vast network of small groupings (called Kray) developed, forming complex trade interdependencies and relationships.

The Kray structure forced a little rigor onto naturally gregarious and free-spirited individuals and allowed major strides to be made in terms of art, science and understanding of the world. The name the species chose for itself – Krayce – is just a pluralisation of Kray.

It is believed that, of all the races, the Krayce were the first to develop space travel. Their nomadic nature lends itself well to travel and the risks associated with pioneering. As of the now, the mining “district” at the edge of the Krayce system is almost a return to old values. Krays travel in small vessels together, tethering themselves to sites on asteroids where other Krays have gone before, each leaving a cache of supplies and perhaps a map or some information for the next.

Since the coming of the JumpShips, the Krayce have been pivotal in the creation of the “shared services” that are now used by Human, Teth and Tarn. The Krayce are the owners and operators of the “Combined System Bank” – its trading guaranteed by the rich mining areas of the Krayce system. Krayce linguists are also behind the Standard language that all diplomats learn – a beautiful language constructed primarily from mathematics and easy to pick up by any race.

Perhaps it is because of this community building nature that the Krayce find the Tarn so fascinating. The Tarn are an enigma – capable of speaking Standard but instead willing only to converse in their own hybrid of music and mathematics. There are many jokes among seasoned travelers between the worlds where the Krayce are the butt of the joke – unable to keep their curiosity to themselves in the face of the inscrutable Tarn.

Krayce government is a very loose affair, and policy is hard to come by, each Kray governing itself. Most of Krayce policy is part of the a series of morals shared by the whole race (aversion to killing, love for fellow Krayce, desire to build community.) This may one day be the failing of the race as a whole.

Krayce are generally – likely to solve their problems with words and not with a show of strength. Slightly ill-at-ease around strangers. Uncomfortable with being in the same place for too long. The Krayce do not have any concept of religion, being comfortable with their own mortality. However – many Krayce believe in the concept of “Home”, which they loosely define as the perfect place; the place where one would put down roots and stay.

From the outside – the Krayce are seen as busybodies and like jumpy wood animals. The Teth in particular can be brutal and unpleasant about the Krayce and their flighty nature. However, all the other races listen to what the Krayce have to say.

Appearance

The Krayce are a Seeder race and began as a defensive, herbivorous plains-dwelling species. Their skin is covered with a light, downy fur which shares the bright colors of the plains of Krayce I – yellows and reds and greens. On their homeworld the Krayce have a natural camouflage of horizontal stripes, not unlike a zebra’s, and always in two colors. The average Krayce is sleek and tall, designed for running from predators, but in these modern times there are a significant number of obese Krayce who enjoy food and drink as much as they enjoy the rest of their lives.

The brightly colored Krayce generally tend to wear even more bright and clashing colors – the average Krayce on the homeworld – male or female – dresses in flowing silks in wild colors and their space-dwelling cousins tend toward jumpsuits and dungarees in riotous patterns. Krayce hair tends to be long and flowing – riotous manes of hair completely unlike the sensible crewcuts often seen in Human society, or the pulled back and pomaded hair of the Teth.

Society

The majority of Krayce society is still nomadic. Individual Krays travel together and will settle in one place for a period of time before moving on to some new location. Particular spots have become temporary homes to many Krays over centuries, and these areas became cities where dozens of Krays might temporarily live together. Many Krayce now live settled lives in these cities, and the trade routes and caravan trails between them are scoured by archaeologists looking for artifacts that were dropped by travellers along their way.

The nomadic lifestyle extends to Krayce who live in space. During the time of the Families, many Krayce chose to leave their home system and set up homes aboard space stations and in some cases on the home worlds of other species. These “Krayce Spaces” are now a frequent sight for any traveller in the Four Systems andit is said that one is never far from the clashing colors, vibrant community and lively society in a Krayce Space. Hoboville in particular is home to thousands of Krayce, many of whom arrived as refugees after the Krayce occupation.

Perhaps because of this nomadic nature, and perhaps because of the refugees that were allowed to leave the homeworld during the occupation, many detractors believe that the Krayce are nothing but refugees in space that will arrive in a habitat and set up their own home, multiplying and bringing their friends in, never integrating with the local populations. Most Krayce who have this sort of criticism levelled at them simply laugh.

The Oorm Kray

The Oorm Kray is an example of an early Kray that lived several thousand years ago, an important anomaly in the Kray structure because they chose not to be nomadic. Instead they settled a small village which is now nothing but ruins. These ruins are, however, home to a series of burial mounds; a series of mass graves where the Oorm Kray would leave bodies to decay and return back to the soil. Within these burial mounds there are important clues as to the society of Krayce thousands of years ago.

Working as an archaeologist on the Oorm Kray project, a Krayce named Teelay Roff discovered parts of some ancient machine. As the Cataclysm hit, Roff escaped the planet with a Jump Family. Parts of the machine were sold and their whereabouts are now unknown. Roff himself is long dead and took the secret of what became of the machine to the grave with him, but there is a commonly-held belief that the Oorm Kray possessed technology far in advance of their peers.

The Krayce Cataclysms & Occupation

Seventy-five years ago, a disaster involving a planned diversion in the path of a comet caused the comet to impact the surface of the homeworld, triggering a series of enormous earthquakes. These earthquakes caused damage on a planetary scale and were followed by tsunamis from further earthquakes that occurred underwater. While many settlements were untouched by these natural disasters, societal chaos was caused by the relief effort – there was simply not enough resources to go around. Within a year, refugee camps had been set up and it was estimated that 75% of all Krayce living on the homeworld had been forced to move as a direct result of the Cataclysm. The refugee camps were a breeding ground for disease, and soon the planet had a pandemic of a fatal flu-like disease to deal with as well as the aftermath of the Cataclysm. The Jump Families helped where they could but their aid was limited to bringing aid workers and small quantities of supplies from well-wishers in the other three systems.

One Jump Family believed they could make more of the plight of the Krayce. The Cabal – possessing two JumpShips at the time – began a systematic destruction of spaceships in the Krayce system, followed by hijacking or destroying the small number of space stations in orbit. With the planet in chaos and its population trapped on the surface, the Cabal began a reign of terror, destroying air support and holding entire cities to ransom, facing destruction if exorbitant demands were not met.

The remaining Jump Families attempted to reason with the Cabal but were met with nothing but threats on arriving in the Krayce system. For the next two years the Cabal ruled the system, building a new space station where they lived as kings, served by their Krayce slaves. Those Krayce that served well and loyally were rewarded with positions of authority, and the Cabal’s JumpShips (the Kestrel and the Hobgoblin) travelled back and forth to the other three systems, picking up mercenaries and other forces loyal to the Cabal. At its peak, the Cabal’s organisation in the Krayce system numbered around a thousand individuals – enough, when one considers the power of a JumpShip against a grounded population – to rule a planet of a couple of billion individuals.

During the occupation the Cabal (in the form of their spokesperson Char Grath) attempted to gaina  political foothold outside of the Krayce system. This step was largely a failure on the grounds that even when the Cabal freed some Krayce refugees, most humanitarian organisations outside of Krayce condemned their every action. Grath himself was assassinated by the insane Dr. Pytr Lomo, responsible for the discovery and categorisation of Jump Cancer a year earlier. After the discovery of the Custodian and the subsequent mass availability of Jump technology, the Cabal’s hold on Krayce I could not last. One of the Cabal’s JumpShips was stolen by Teth sympathisers, and the Hobgoblin was destroyed by it, granting the Krayce their freedom.

Rebuilding

Since the Occupation and the universal availability of Jump Engines, the governments and corporations of the other three systems have been instrumental in the rebuilding of the Krayce homeworld. As Jump Drives were manufactured in the first few years of their availability many were fitted into Jump Freighters, which were immediately commissioned to travel to Krayce, bringing humanitarian aid and leaving with those refugees who could leave the planet and travel to family outside of the Krayce system. Even with all of this aid, it is only now that Krayce is beginning to get back to where it was in pre-Cataclysm times, and those Krayce that remain at home have been forever changed by what has happened. For these hardy souls who have endured both Cataclysm, disease and Occupation there is a challenge in rebuilding. There will never again be the same amount of trust, and the childlike innocence of a hundred years ago is a thing of the past.

Krayce Warriors

A hundred years ago, the Krayce people had no organised military. Although they had achieved space travel early they had not prepared themselves for the eventuality that there would be other spacefaring races, and that they would be hostile.

However – the Krayce were not without warriors. The Wardancers are a cadre of capable martial artists who are most similar to Ronin Samurai. These individuals travelled from Kray to Kray, often lending their assistance in the menial tasks that nobody else would want to do. While they would seldom admit it, the Wardancers were fierce combatants, and there are many stories of a child being saved from a predator by a living weapon who could murder a much larger and fiercer creature with their bare hands. The legends and stories are consistent on a few things. Wardancers are powerful fighters, bare-handed or with a variety of improvised weapons. Wardancers come and go as they please – there are few that would try and stand in their way. Wardancers are mysterious, rarely offering information about themselves, and often disappearing into the night from whence they came when they become known.

Since the occupation, a different kind of Krayce warrior emerged. These Krayce were guerillas, hardened individuals who saw what the Cabal were doing to their world and learned from the example of the other races. These Krayce are humorless, dangerous and desperate. Their natural curiosity has been turned to an insatiable desire to know everything about tactics, camouflage, weapons and how they can be designed. Though the occupation has ended, there are still Krayce warriors, and many of them carry the psychic scars of the atrocities they suffered. Not all Krayce are fun to be around.