Monday, January 12, 2015

The Hirogen

Galaxy: Milky Way
Quadrant: Delta
Star System: Currently Karbaz, Original home system unknown
Planet: New Hirogia, second from sun
Type of Government: Clan-based republic, but currently in a state of societal turmoil
Level of Technology: Starships capable of Warp 9.5 or better and once had a vast communications array, but current levels of science and technology are stagnant. 

The Delta Quadrant is a notoriously dangerous place. It is home to the Borg, houses numerous portals to Fluidic Space (home of the xenophobic Undine), and terrorized by the nigh-unending wars of the Kazon clans just to name a few. However, it appears that one threat from the Delta Quadrant isn't as much of one now. The Hirogen are known throughout many sectors in the Delta Quadrant as a very dangerous and aggressive species of hunters. Much like the Yautja, the Hirogen traverse the stars in search of dangerous prey that they then take grisly trophies from in order to increase both their personal honor and the honor of the clan. The Hunt dominates Hirogen life, but recent event have made it so that they are not the widespread threat that they once were.

The Hirogen are an ancient species by all accounts. There are tales from the legends of many species that talk of beings now known to be Hirogen that visited their worlds thousands of years ago. The Trans-Net was an ancient communication system that allowed the Hirogen to communicate across vast distances. The location of Trans-Net beacons throughout the Delta Quadrant suggest that they once traversed most of the Delta quadrant and into the Alpha and Gamma quadrants as well. Today, however, is a vastly different story.

The introduction of The Hunt into Hirogen society has been the single most damaging thing to happen to the Hirogen. The actual origins of The Hunt are lost to legend, but the legends state that the Hirogen were facing a time of great turmoil and were possibly facing extinction when a great hunter, the Hunter, gave them a purpose again. He told them to hunt the beasts of the cosmos to prove their prowess and superiority so that the Hirogen could once again show the galaxy and beyond that they are the pinnacle of life. The Hirogen spread across the stars hunting the most dangerous prey in the hopes that they can earn enough honor to join the Hunter in the Great Hunt in the afterlife. The idea of the Hunt did propel the Hirogen back into the stars, but it is now leading them back to the cusp of extinction.

The Hunt entails many rituals and rites. The Hirogen must first determine that a target is worthy of being hunted, and only certain creatures are deemed worthy. (Since the Hirogen see other species as being beneath them the highest praise they can bestow upon another species is to call them "worthy of being hunted".) They will study a target for some time, learning all that they can about them. If deemed dangerous enough to grant honor with a kill, they will then take time to determine the right weapon to use to complete the task. Killing prey with a weapon deemed to be not the perfect weapon for the kill could result in a loss of honor. They finally go on the hunt. Once the kill is made, they will take the carcass and soak it in an enzyme bath that will dissolve flesh, muscle, cartilage, and tendons, leaving only the bone. The skull (or whatever is the most recognizable piece of carrion from the creature) is then displayed on the trophy wall. While all of this is going on, a Hirogen hunter will smear paint on their faces, weapons, and armor in different patterns and places throughout the hunt. The meaning of these markings are largely unknown to all except the Hirogen.

The Hunt has been going on for so many generations that no one can truly recall the first hunts with any historical accuracy. To the Hirogen, such things are meaningless, only the Hunt matters. The search for ever more dangerous prey has scattered the species across the Delta Quadrant once again. Until recently, they have been a nomadic species, their homeworld lost from memory during their original expansion across the Delta Quadrant. Most Hirogen starships travel singly, and only have a crew of 20 or more rarely, and most only having a crew of two to five individuals. Hirogen genetics are highly resilient, so rampant in-breeding among their members doesn't have the effect that it appears to have on many other humanoid species, which is likely one of the few reasons there are any Hirogen left at all since ships rarely meet up.

The problem of Hirogen being scattered became an issue that many clan leaders began to discuss after the Undine entered into a war with the Borg about 50 standard years ago. Many Hirogen vessels were caught in the midst of this struggle. They saw the Undine as worthy prey and put a call out to gather the Hirogen fleet. Upon seeing their paltry numbers, several clan leaders began to wonder if the Hunt was truly the path their people should be on after all. This urge to find a better way only intensified after they suffered heavy casualties time and again trying to hunt the Undine.

As it so happened, one clanlord discovered Virtual Reality technology on a merchant craft that had done business with one of the worlds of the Concord. With this technology, the Hunt could be simulated and with the synaptic safeties turned off, these simulated Hunts could be lethal and provide ever more dangerous hunts to satisfy honor. The clans were called to a planet in the Karbaz system that the Hirogen once colonized long ago. There the plan to utilize the VR technology was debated. Many saw the idea as complete heresy and wanted nothing to do with it, however, several clanlords pointed to their own small and dwindling numbers (only a few hundred clans were in attendance, all that could be contacted within range), their lack of any society beyond the Hunt, and the complete stagnation of their sciences as proof that without change there won't be a Hunt within another couple of generations. Add in the threats presented by the Borg and the Undine, and their extinction was assured if they don't learn to work together. The VR technology would allow them to begin to reclaim some of what they have lost, and to build a future. This swayed many of the clans, but still a good number of others left to continue the Hunt wanting nothing to do with this outright blasphemy. Those that stayed re-christened the planet New Hirogia and began the task of colonization.

Colonization proved to be a difficult task. The Hirogen knew little about anything not pertaining to the Hunt or keeping their ships able to continue the Hunt, so another heresy was committed: they sought out assistance from other species. Finding assistance was difficult to say the least. Hirogen ships have long been seen as hostile, and the tales about the species were wild and varied, but many revolved around the ultimate end of the bodies they took on their hunts. Finally, however, they found some that were willing to trade technology and expertise to get their colony off the ground.

Today, there is still turmoil among this new Hirogen society. They are essentially having to re-learn to be civilized again. More clans continue to join the colonies on New Hirogia, which is both a blessing and a curse. The clans are trying to form a system of government akin to the republics seen among many other species, using honor as a way of determining who should be in power. However, arguments over whether or not some kills are honorable and therefore valid keep meetings between the clanlords one step away from bloodshed. There is some reason to believe that the Hirogen will be successful, they have entered into trade agreements with several other stellar nations. Their region of space is close to both Borg as well as several rifts leading to Fluidic Space, making allies a very important component of survival. The Hirogen have proven to be formidable allies, offering their services as hunters, scouts, and warriors to their allies in return for non-military technology and various other goods that most civilized species take for granted.

One threat that has cropped up are Hirogen that see what is going on on New Hirogia as an affront to the Hunter. Several of these fundamentalist clans have banded together to commit acts of terror on both New Hirogia and among their allies, chiefly the Malon. The terrorists have made successful attacks against key facilities on New Hirogia, nearly wiping out one colony when they destroyed a power plant. They have also taken to targeting Malon waste freighters and have poisoned several M class planets with Malon radioactive waste. These clans have failed to see the irony in that their cause has kept them from the Hunt that they feel those on New Hirogia are neglecting.

The Hirogen are a reptilian humanoid species. They stand around six and a half to seven feet tall with powerful builds that are only made more imposing by their armor they wear into battle or on a Hunt. Their bodies are covered in bumpy scales, not unlike those found on a gila monster, that are tan in color. Their eyes are small and black in color. Hirogen are also a very hardy species, their immune systems are such that toxins and diseases must be very potent to have an effect on them. Also, their sense of hearing is very acute, which has evolved over countless generations of hunts.

Hirogen women rarely take part in a Hunt, but they are still trained in combat to protect the broods of young Hirogen. Hirogen give birth to live young, which are then raised by the clan. Honor dictates which male is allowed to select a mate first, and the females compete with each other to seduce a mate with more honor therefore bringing her closer to the Hunter and her own place in the Great Hunt (which is the only time that women are allowed to partake in the Hunt).

Hirogen for Savage Worlds
Attribute Increase: Hirogen start play with a D6 in Strength.
Size +1: Hirogen receive a +1 bonus to Toughness due to their size, but they must also pay 50% more for clothing and armor purchased anywhere that does not specialize in their size. 
Keen Hearing: +2 bonus to Notice rolls pertaining to Hearing. 
Tough Scales: Hirogen scales afford them a +1 bonus to Toughness.
Poison Resistance: Hirogen have a +4 bonus to resist poisons.
Attribute Penalty: -2 penalty to all Smarts rolls.
Outsider: Hirogen have long been seen as murderous pirates throughout the Delta Quadrant. Even though they are trying to become more civilized their reputation precedes them. They start play with the Major version of the Outsider Hindrance.

Hirogen for Rogue Space
Archetypes: Hirogen can be Soldiers or Technicians, add +1 to Fighting.
Hunters: Hirogen gain a +2 bonus to Fighting rolls made to resist poisons.
Psionics: Hirogen have no psionic aptitude.

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