Overview: The Vorten are a war-like race, aggressive and powerful. Their homeworld, Khet, is a barren, mountainous world where they evolved as cave dwellers. They built massive cities beneath the surface of their world away from the harsh radiation of their triple suns. Unlike most other interstellar species, the Vorten stole their starship technology from the Effirim who had come to their world in search of raw mineral resources. This led to a rapid expansion from Khet into surrounding systems. Families and clans of Vorten warred with each other and any species they encountered. At some point a unification war erupted between the clans and a single ruling clan emerged after decades of fighting.
As a race the Vorten are even more ‘fertile’ than humans, and during the first century of their Imperial age their population exploded. It was during this time of unified expansion that the Vorten encountered the Morvenn. The Overseer at the time was a farsighted Vorten who had begun to understand and realize that his race was not a technologically creative species. While they grasped enough knowledge to utilize it, they could improve or modify it to their own liking. It was this realization that prompted the Overseer to conquer and integrate the Morvenn into the Vorten Empire, a move which has proved beneficial to both races in the long term.
Government: The Vorten Sirdurate is a stratocracy revolving around 10 clans, the ones that survived the unification war. Each of these clans is led by a Chieftain or Sirdur. These 10 chieftains comprise a War Council under the Overseer or Omisar. Overseers serve until their death at which time the War Council gathers on the home world and the Challenge is announced. The Challenge is a series of tests which are used to determine the next Overseer. Each of the grand families is allowed to send one challenger and a separate challenge is used to select one challenger from all of the sub families combined. The first test is one of martial prowess. While not intended to be a fatal contest it is not uncommon for there to be casualties. The second test is one of survival and leadership. Each challenger selects 10 followers who are then dropped into the wilderness with no supplies and weapons. They must travel nearly 1600km (1000 miles) to the final test. The last test is one of strategy. The challenger, who should have learned about those that follow him, must direct his troops in a strategic battle plan to defeat the teams of the other challengers. The winner takes his place as Overseer, a powerful and prestigious position that garners a great deal of honor and respect for the winner’s family, as well as elevating their clan to the status of ‘First’.
Though the Overseer officially has no Clan affiliations and now represents the Sirdurate as a whole, prestigious positions are often filled by members of the Overseer’s family. Should an Overseer fail or dishonor the Sirdurate then the War Council can call for the Overseer to step down and sacrifice himself to restore honor to his people. If the call is refused then the Council will often take measures to ensure that the Overseer’s death comes sooner than later.
Social Structure: The Vorten are organized into 10 clans. Each clan is comprised of 10 grand families and innumerable sub families. Each family is led by an Elder and the Elders of the grand families serve as advisors to their chieftains to insure the well-being of their clan.
Vorten place a great deal of emphasis on respect, honor (at least their sense of honor), and strength. Part of this belief is that no one they do not respect deserves to see a Vorten’s bare face. This makes a Vorten’s mask a very personal item which is often decorated based on a Vorten’s successes, family and campaigns. Because of this Vorten wear masks almost constantly except when surrounded by trusted and respected family members. It is considered a great dishonor for a Vorten to lose their mask or have it taken from them by an enemy. Those that have this happen and survive often join the ranks of the Tuara, the Lost (or Soulless depending on the translator), until they can regain their honor.
As a warrior race both male and female Vorten learn how to fight and serve as combat troops equally. Physiological differences make female Vorten better equipped for more agile roles, such as fighter pilots and drop troops. Their preference for hand-to-hand combat where their bulk and strength give them an advantage over most other species.
Over the course of the Sirdurate’s history the Vorten have conquered and integrated other ‘weaker’ races to serve in other roles of their society. While not technically slave races, these subordinate races are considered second-class citizens within the Sirdurate. Of the half-dozen races that have been absorbed, the Morvenn hold a trusted if not respected position in Vorten society. They serve as administrators, supervisors, and managers throughout all levels. Beneath the Morvenn are the Kathir and the Sybrin. The Kathir are laborers with low intelligence and easily manipulated while the Sybrin are technologically intelligent but lack the creativity to invent their own devices.
The economic structure of the Vorten Sirdurate is limited, with most transactions done on a trade basis. While they do have a monetary system, it is primarily used for intergalactic exchanges rather than local. This is because the Vorten typically trade the spoils of war or other valuables for things they need, want, or desire. Of all the galactic currencies the Kirmi is valued the least as it has no discernable value within its own civilization.
Appearance: The Vorten are tall, averaging about 2.2 meters (7 feet) and 130 kilos (285 lbs.). Their skin and hair are pale as a result of their subterranean origins. They are bipedal creatures with three large toes on their feet and three fingers with an opposable thumb on their hands. Male Vorten have thick bony horn-like protrusions that grow out of their temples and frame their faces along with long wispy beards. Female Vorten do no have horns but grow long luxurious hair that they braid into complex patterns. Their noses are flat typically appearing as two simple breathing holes in the middle of their wide angular faces.
The Morvenn are shorter and physically weaker than humans, with a frail, gaunt, and hunched look about them. Their eyes are wide set and narrow with no iris and their noses are flat and wide. They are genderless and reproduce asexually.
The Kathir are larger than their Vorten masters. Humans have equated their appearance as ogrish.
The Sybrin are small silvery skinned beings, standing barely a meter tall.
Military: They have one of the strongest militaries in the known galaxy with highly trained and motivated troops possessing both the physical prowess and technology to be a very real threat to other civilizations. Their starships sacrifice speed and maneuverability for weapons and armor.
Their predisposition for close combat means that every Vorten carries some sort of melee weapon. This is a highly personal choice and range from short bladed weapons to spears and polearm types. As for ranged weaponry the Vorten prefer projectile based guns which are easy to manufacture and maintain. In battle they wear hard combat armor and even use chemical stimulants to either deaden the pain of wounds or increase their strength and stamina.
The greatest weakness of the Vorten military is an inability to grasp large scale protracted intergalactic strategy. They can wage effective wars on a system by system basis but do not have the patience or insight to plan ahead and prepare for long term events. On many occassions a grand military campaign has failed because they over extended themselves or could not foresee a possible counter to an action and found their supply lines cut off.
Technology: Vorten technology is on par with what is considered the galactic standard. They possess FTL capabilities, which was captured from the Effirim, and possess rudimentary terraforming skills. They do not utilize robotic technology, having an inherent mistrust of them, and their fleets rely less on small craft and more on destroyer and cruiser scale vessels equipped for boarding actions. The command staff of such vessels usually consist of a mix of Vorten, Morvenn and Sybrin crew, though the ship master is always a Vorten.
Diplomatic Relations: After intial clashes between the Vorten and humans, the Vorten developed a grudging respect for human ingenuity and determination. Though views on honor differ the Vorten see humanity as something of a kindred spirit. Because of this the Vorten Sirdurate maintains diplomatic ties to the Sol Federation and Iron League, but is on poor terms with the Obia Protectorate.
The Vorten distrust most of the other alien races that they have encountered in the known galaxy for a variety of reasons.