Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Skrull Empire

The Skrull Empire rounds out the trio of ancient empires that dominate the Beta Quadrant. Out of the three, the Skrull Empire is the longest lived, and is counted among the oldest empires in the galaxy. They were nearly wiped out by the Kree, but have since made a startling comeback. Skrulls hail from a lush, jungle world called Skrullos in the Drax system.

The Skrull Empire is ruled by an Emperor or Empress much like the Shi'ar Empire, and also like the Shi'ar, the Emperor/Empress rules completely. Early in their empire, the Skrulls built their power base on the basis of free trade with the other species and cultures their encountered. Their inherent ability to shapeshift to look like nondescript members of other species gave them a distinct advantage in diplomacy. This allowed the Skrull Empire to amass great wealth and fostered the arts and sciences. However, upon meeting the Kree, that all changed.

The Kree-Skrull War has raged for generations. About 20 standard years ago, the Kree seemed to be on the verge of victory. They were seemingly in position to take Skrullos. The Skrulls had never had a very strong military, but the ferocity of the Kree assaults changed that. The once peaceful Skrull, who would rarely use their shapeshifting abilities for subterfuge, developed a spy program that is among one of the most efficient and effective in the galaxy. With knowledge gained from spy missions, the Skrulls developed weapons that took advantage of every flaw in Kree defenses that they could uncover. The creation of the Nega-Bombs was a pinnacle achievement. The Nega-Bombs have allowed the Skrulls to push back and even seemingly gain and upper hand in the war, but at the cost of millions of lives not all of which were military casualties.

The wanton destruction wrought by Skrull Nega-Bombs has changed the image of the Skrulls from merchants and diplomats (and even "shapeshifting thieves among some cultures) to bloodthirsty warlords hellbent on the annihilation of the Kree. Many stellar powers, once sympathetic to the plight of the Skrulls, have turned their back on the Skrull Empire. There is also derision in Skrull culture with some circles feeling that Emperor Dorrek IV, has allowed his quest for vengeance to allow him to throw away everything that made the empire great in the first place. Such groups meet in the shadows and talk only in whispers, however, as Dorrek IV's gaze turned inward on his own people when he discovered there was rebellious underground forming.

Skrull technology is on par with that of the Concord. Skrulls have developed more advanced matter creation technology that requires less energy than anything found in the Concord. Until the last 15-20 years the Skrull military was outclassed by the Concord and many other stellar powers, but since that time they have developed warships and weaponry on par with most of the neighboring stellar nations. Most credit the Skrull spy network and their innate shapeshifting abilities for the great leaps in weapons tech in such a short amount of time.

Skrulls in their natural forms are reptilian humanoids of slight build and small stature. Their flesh is green and smooth, except for pronounced wrinkles on their chins. Females lay eggs, but nurse their young upon hatching for the first eight-nine months of life. Their shapeshifting ability is their most significant feature. They can take the shape of any humanoid up to 1.5 times their size (about 12 feet tall). They cannot take the shape of specific people, but they can come close. Plus, they are unable to mimic traits of other species. So a Skrull shapeshifting into the form of an Autocron does not develop iron-hard flesh, only the look and feel with none of the durability. Skrull DNA is incapable of mutation and cybernetic implants do not work for them unless they stay in their natural state. Skrulls are incapable of producing viable young with members of other species.

Skrulls for Savage Worlds
Shapechange: Skrulls can transform into any humanoid creature between Size -2 to 3. This change requires a full action in order to complete. Skrulls do not gain any change in Toughness as they do not add mass, and they cannot change into specific members of any species. They can come close, but anyone a Skrull who is trying to impersonate a specific person will receive a +2 bonus to their Notice roll to see something is wrong with the disguise. Skrulls can only hold a shape for 6 hours before returning to their natural state for at least 4 hours. This ability does not allow a Skrull to develop additional limbs (except for vestigial wings and tails) or to regenerate lost limbs. If a skrull has cybernetics installed, they cannot shapechange and still be able to use the implant.
Racial Enemy: Skrulls hate the Kree. They suffer a -4 penalty to Charisma when dealing with Kree, and require little provocation to resort to violence.
Outsider: Skrulls no longer have a reputation for being peaceful merchants. The fear of their spy network and the tales of the ferocity of their attacks on Kree settlements has turned the court of public opinion against them. Skrulls are not trusted in many parts of the galaxy that know of their species. Many worlds have added Skrull genetic markers to their genetic scanners and will refuse entry to any Skrull attempting to enter, whether or not they are shapechanged at the time.

Skrulls for Rogue Space
Archetypes: Skrulls can be Scoundrels or Technicians and receive a +1 bonus to either Acquiring or Science.
Shapechange: Skrulls can take the form of any Small to Really Big humanoid. They only gain the look of an average member of that species, but none of the special traits. Changing forms takes one round during which they must concentrate on the transformation.
Weakness: Skrulls cannot have cybernetic implants.
Psionics: Skrull espers most commonly have the Clairaudience, Clairvoyance, or Cloaking powers.

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