Sunday, October 12, 2014
Yautja: Hunters of Space
The Yautja (pronounced ee-wat-ya) are a reptilian humanoid species of hunters that traverse the cosmos in search of ever greater challenges on their hunts. They are a reclusive and secretive species that has had little contact with other intelligent species.
The Yautja are technologically advanced, or at least they were considered to be during early encounters with Earthlings in the early to mid 21st century. However, their level of technology hasn't advanced any farther from those early meetings. It is unclear whether the species is unable or simply has no desire to advance their tech further. Nearly all their tech, excluding their starships, is related to hunting. They are walking armories, ready and able to take on any threat that comes their way. They are typically equipped with a shoulder-mounted laser cannon, an extendable spear, long retractable wrist blades, several bladed disc weapons, and personal cloaking tech. All Yautja hunters have a small thermo-nuclear device implanted in their armor. Should they become captured or are about to die, they activate the detonation sequence to wipe out all evidence of them having being on the planet.
Very little is known about their culture as they have had sparse dealings with other species, but what is known is that "The Hunt" is central to their culture and religion. They hunt not for food or the elimination of threats, but for entertainment and to prove their worth to their clans. While on a hunt, the Yautja adhere to a strict code of honor that guide how they are to hunt, how kills are to be taken, and when it is appropriate to take a trophy from a kill. The helmets that they wear record their hunts, and are judged by the elders of their clans. Those that hunt with dishonor can face anything from the loss of trophies to extermination depending on the severity of the infraction.
Their culture is broken down in to castes. The lowest caste is the Unblooded, those that are either too young to go on hunts or those that have yet to take their first honorable kill. The Blooded make up the majority of the male Yautja. These are yautja that have made at least one honorable kill, but have not earned enough honor to be considered Elite. Blooded Yautja are allowed access to more advanced weaponry like the shoulder cannons that are denied Unblooded. Elites are those that have earned great honors on the hunt by taking down the most dangerous prey. Elites tend to specialize in a certain weapon or weapon group. Retirees are Yautja that are too old and sufficiently honored to hunt. Very few ever reach this stage in life. Clan Leaders are Yautja that lead the hunts off-world and are always Elites. Clan Leaders are appointed to their roles by the Adjudicators. Adjudicators are the ruling class of Yautja society. They see to the enforcement of their laws and to the training of young and Unblooded yautja. Bad Bloods are yautja that are criminals or those that have lost all honor. These yautja are typically banished from the homeworld to fend for themselves.
Female Yautja are not allowed to partake in the hunt. Their role is an elevated one in their society, however. Females always rank higher than the Blooded. It is they that tend to children and keep their society moving on their homeworld. Females also advise the adjudicators in homeworld matters and even give their opinions on footage of hunts.
Apprentices are the rarest caste of Yautja. These are non-Yautja that have earned the respect of a Clan Leader and have been allowed to travel among them and learn their ways. It is assumed that apprentices can gain honor like any Yautja and even become elevated to the rank of Clan Leader, but no such occurrence has ever been recorded.
Yautja hail from a planet called Yautja Prime. The location of this world, the system it is in, or even the sector of space is unknown, but it is believed to lie somewhere coreward in the Alpha Quadrant. What is know about Yautja Prime is that it consists of largely two biomes: a hard desert and a dense jungle. The wildlife is said to be very aggressive and dangerous, but such creatures are no longer considered suitable for gaining honor, so the species had to take to the stars to find greater challenges to earn honor. There are vast underground training areas for young yautjas to learn how to hunt and prepare themselves for their first hunts. Beyond that scant information, little else is known about the Yautja homeworld.
Yautjas themselves are imposing creatures. They are reptilian humanoids that stand anywhere from 7 to 8 feet tall. Their mouths are filled with sharp teeth and are surrounded by arthropod-like mandibles. They are hairless, but their heads grow long, supple spines that look like dreadlocks, plus some Yautja grow smaller spines on their brows and jawline. Their scaly flesh is generally a darker green on their backs and backs of their arms and legs, with lighter colored scales on their chests, abdomens, and inner arms and legs. However, some scales may be lighter or darker in color, be mottled or clear, or appear dry or clammy moist. Females have only been encountered by Apprentices, so there isn't much information on them other than that they are of slighter build with a leaner, sleeker musculature. They are quite strong, and are a very hardy people as well. They have displayed the ability to fight on through intense physical trauma, and have also displayed a great resilience against toxins, disease, and the effects of radiation. Yautja are also adept at mimicking sounds and voices. Their own language being one of clicks, hisses, and growls.
There is evidence that Yautja have hunted on Earth numerous times. Ancient blast points are shown as proof of nuclear detonations of failed hunts long before humans where capable of such tech. Some Yautja ships have also been discovered to house ancient trophies of human skulls and spinal columns that date back hundreds of years. However, there have been no known attacks on human beings or any other intelligent species that has attained space flight. It is assumed that once a species has attained the ability to traverse the stars, they are no longer considered to be an honorable kill for whatever reason. That is not to say that Yautja are above attacking a member of a space-faring species should they interfere with a hunt.
Yautja are reclusive, but they are not xenophobic. They understand that their way of life is seen as barbaric to much of "civilized" space, so they attempt to keep away from other species as much as possible. Occasionally, encounters do occur, and while most end up peaceful enough, there have been skirmishes between Yautja and other species from time to time. They are not officially considered a "threat" species by the Galactic Concord, but they are also not held in high regard either.
The only known group of Yautja to openly associate with other species is a group of Bad Bloods that now operate as mercenaries, and are often in the employ of the Hutt gangster, Ulbro. Even though they have been banished from their kind, they still do not offer up much information about their species or homeworld.
For Savage Worlds, I use the stats found in James Houlahan's Alien Vs Predator savaged setting. This can be found at Savage Heroes. Rogue Space stats are still being worked on and will appear soon.