Known for their great strength and technical ability, these short, sturdy Terran offshoots evolved on a high gravity “heavy world” infested with swarming predators.
Agility 2D+1: firearms 3D+2, melee combat 3D
Mechanical 3D: exoskeleton operation 4D
Strength 4D: life 4D+2
Perception 2D+2: know-how 3D+1
Technical 3D+2: exoskeleton repair 4D, flight systems repair 4D, vehicle repair 4D
Strength Damage: 2D
Fate Points: 0
Character Points: 2
Body Points: 22
Wound levels: 3
Disadvantages: Achilles’ Heel: Low Gravity (R3), +1 to all Agility difficulties in a gravity of 1g or less
Special Abilities: Hardiness (R4), +4 to damage resistance totals; Skill Bonus: Vehicle Tech (R1), + 1 to exoskeleton repair, flight systems repair, and vehicle repair rolls
Total creation point cost: 2
Total defined limit cost:; 2 skill dice
Disadvantages: Achilles’ Heel: Low Gravity (R3), +1 to all Agility difficulties in a gravity of 1g or less
Special Abilities: Hardiness (R4, cost 4), +4 to damage resistance totals; Skill Bonus: Vehicle Tech (R1, cost 1), +1 to exoskeleton repair, flight systems repair, and vehicle repair rolls
The heavy gravity of the Gilvahn homeworld has given the dominate sentient beings short,stout frames. They rarely grow taller than 1.7 meters, though they compensate with sturdy shoulders, dense muscles, and thick bones. Aside from their small stature, they possess most features of Terrans: two legs, two arms, five fingers on each hand, and a head with hair, eyes, ears, nose, mouth. Their skin has a bronze color and a gritty, rough texture from their natural hardiness.
Individual Gilvahn differ in facial features and eye and hair color – all similar to Terran variations. Their rigorous lifestyle often inflicts scars or slight disfigurements that, combined with the easy-going aspect of their personalities, only enhances their character.
Gilvahn evolved on the planet of Kovahn, and eventually took to the stars to gain a small sector for themselves. The planer’s heavy gravity causes ash storms, erupting volcanoes, boiling seas, and od1er tectonic activity, making much of the surface and some of the underground regions extremely hazardous to lifeforms.
The Gilvahn developed in stable, subterranean areas where they could carve labyrinthine cities, cultivate fungus chambers, mine and process metal ore, and engineer industries to ensure their survival. Unfortunately, other creatures came to these same regions, particularly swarms of underground predators called skevvels. Gilvahn society quickly adapted, adding a class of fierce warriors to protect the domestic and industrial castes. The age-old conflict between Gilvahn and skevvels permeates the species’ heroic literature and attitudes toward warfare.
Early expeditions to the surface focused on obtaining natural resources and studying weather and tectonic patterns. As underground life grew increasingly hazardous for a growing population, the Gilvahn developed high-energy generation, heat-resistant, and anti-gravity technologies. They soon engineered immense floating cities protected by domes that defied Kovahn’s heavy gravity and intense weather.
Today, the surface of Kovahn sports many anti-gr av city platforms that hover above the harsh terrain, with domes protecting them against the dangerous weather. Airlocks allow visiting transports and starships to enter and dock, while sturdy sensor and communications bubbles maintain contact with other platforms. Some heavy -industry and commercial settlements still remain underground in the center of relatively stable continental plates. Orbital installations now handle most starship construction and some heavy industry.
Gilvahn colonists settled on mineral-rich planets with moderate to high gravity. Most display some aspects of their homeworld: hazard- ous terrain, inhabitable mountainous or subterranean regions, and reasonable tectonic activity. Industry quickly grows here – starship construction, gas refinery, mining, heavy manufacturing – usually on or beneath the surface but sometimes in floating cities and orbital facilities on planers where hazardous atmospheric or tectonic conditions prevail. The Gilvahn conduct brisk commerce at all their starports, dealing primarily in raw minerals,large starship components, manufactured goods, and high-gravity technology.
Gilvahn society forms around family and corporate units. Families consist of two parents and several children. Given their space-faring and business-oriented activities, Gilvahn do not maintain extended families, preferring a more mobile lifestyle. Individuals find work with corporations that fulfill daily needs and drive Gilvahn industry and commerce. The corporate structure supplements the government’s efforts to provide for individual and family needs, community infrastructure, and public facilities.
The Gilvahn maintain a bicameral representative government, with one chamber consisting of individuals elected by territory, and another with delegates from numerous Gilvahn corporations. Together the Chambers (as they call their government) appoint commissioners to run various facets of government operations: courts, diplomatic corps, economic regulators, and military. The Chambers choose one of their members as Premier to serve as chief administrator and representative leader in domestic and foreign matters. Gilvahn colonies maintain a similar arrangement, though their appointed leader carries the title of governor and reports directly to the Premier on Kovahn.
As a space-faring society, the Gilvahn subscribe to most generally accepted laws respecting property, government authority, and personal safety. They believe in levying fines for most violations, preferring to allow offenders the freedom to pursue meaningful, useful lives as workers furthering the economy. Those committing severe and capital crimes receive prison time, though among Gilvahn, such occurrences remain rare.
Outsiders might think that Gilvahn have a permanently stern demeanor from the harsh conditions of their homeworld. Although they can become deadly serious on matters about which they care deeply, Gilvahn balance this with an easy- going nature, affable attitude toward others, and an affinity for hearty laughter.
Gilvahn carry on amiable relations with most other species. They make alliances with strong trading partners who boost their economy and help stabilize their sector. Gilvahn do not cause conflicts with neighbors or partners without cause. Belligerent governments whose warlike attitudes and actions threaten their trade coalitions earn the status of enemies of the Gilvahn.
The Gilvahn economy revolves around all aspects of heavy industry. Homeworld and colony commerce centers on three major areas:
Mining and Refining: Huge Gilvahn corporations super- vise all aspects of an aggressive mining industry. Scouts survey new terrestrial areas, planets, nebulae, and asteroid fields for mineral-rich resources. Massive operations move in to harvest ores and collect gasses. These range from open strip mines and floating gas scoops to underground mines and boring rigs with little more than topside personnel, ore-processing, and gas-pumping facilities to betray their existence. Most companies maintain transport operations to ferry raw materials to refineries and processed ore and gas to industrial clients.
Manufacturing: Gilvahn factories manufacture a wide range of goods for use in all walks of life: personal weapons and armor, computers and support components, household appliances, personal data devices, furniture, entertainment equipment, and smaller components for computer and vehicle systems. Most manufacturing facilities consume large spaces between raw material sources, warehousing districts, and starports where freighters export finished products to off- world markets.
Heavy Assembly; Larger facilities assemble larger finished goods: vehicles and starships, prefabricated buildings, capital ship ordnance, sensors and communications equipment, and industrial machinery. These assembly plants occupy vast underground caverns, spacious enclosed hangars, or orbital construction docks.
A small corps of Gilvahn agriculture workers cultivates enough food (primarily fungus) to sustain the populations on Kovahn and its colonies. They add variety to their diets with fare imported from other worlds through their many trade alliances and brisk commerce.
With its emphasis on industry, the Gilvahn import goods not normally available through a manufacturing economy. Most such commodities fall under the luxury label, including fine doth and finished fashions, plants and organic materials, and fine entertainment. Gilvahn also encourage off-worlders to immigrate to their planets to fulfill a wide array of service sector functions. Although they have a distinct cuisine, Gilvahn revel in a variety of cooking styles from around the galaxy, and they encourage foreigners to establish ethnic restaurants on Gilvahn worlds. Their live entertainment industry (music, broadcast, and theatre) depends on off-world performers showcasing their own talents and traditions. Foreigners run most services catering to spacers, as Gilvahn corporations find dealing with small starport businesses too unprofitable for their efforts.
Despite a steady stream of imports, a greater volume of exports keeps the Gilvahn economy strong.
The primary predators on Kovahn infest subterranean regions, digging new tunnels, undermining rock layers, and invading Gilvahn settlements, mines, and factories. Skevvels look like huge larvae with armored segments, powerful hindlegs, front digging claws, and a toothy maw surrounded by sensory nodules. Skevvels swarm in groups of 20 to 50 individuals. Although they grow no longer than one meter at maturity, their speed, numbers, and ferocity prove daunting against Gilvahn warriors.
Skevvels claw through rock and dirt, slowly consuming mineral-rich ores. A swarm normally tunnels and eats through approximately one cubic meter of nutritious earth for each skevvel in the group; they can carve passages through unappetizing rock to get to more digestible fare three times as fast. They cannot claw through solid metal, and they find processed ores distasteful.
Although their metabolism best digests mineral substances, skevvels possess a particularly ferocious appetite for carbon-based tissue, the only abundant source on Kovahn being Gilvahn and the fungus they cultivate as a food source. Aside from undermining Gilvahn settlements and industries, a skevvel swarm can decimate a towns food supply and threaten its inhabitants. To counter this menace, most communities post a patrol to search for signs of the predators and eliminate them if discovered. Luckily the Gilvahn have evolution on their side: Since the skevvel metabolism becomes hyperactive upon consuming carbon-based materials, they fall into a hibernation trance within two hours of such eating binges, rendering them inactive for two to 12 hours. Brave Gilvahn soldiers prefer face-to-face confrontations with skevvel bur gladly eradicate them if found hibernating after a huge meal,
Gilvahn take great care to screen transports from surface settlements traveling to Roaring cities to prevent skevvels from infesting platforms and leaving the planet aboard visiting starships. Errant skevvels scramble to find sustenance: small vermin, larger lifeforms, mineral fertilizers, and raw ores headed for export. Gilvahn trading partners have reported no major incidents of skevvel infestations.
Skevvel: Agility 4D, brawling 5D, dodge 5D, Strength 3D, climb/jump 4D, Knowledge 1D, Perception 2D, search 3D, willpower 3D, Mechanical 1D, Technical 0D. Move: 10. Strength Damage: 2D. Body Points: 19/Wound levels: 3. Natural Abilities: claws (damage +1D); teeth (damage +1; +5 to combat difficulty); natural armor (+1D); small size (scale modifier 4).
Gilvahn revere Vahn, The Maker, creator god of all things and friend-protector of the Gilvahn (literally “people of Vahn”). Vahn initially represented the destructive forces that constantly reshaped their homeworld’s surface, but he soon came to symbolize creative power, especially the ability to design and manufacture technology.
Although Vahn hasn’t enjoyed formal temples or worship ceremonies for centuries, he’s often praised during feasts or celebrations, at times of giving thanks and upon completion of daunting industrial projects. The Gilvahn also venerate Vahn in epic poems and hymns honoring his creative majesty. Most major industries have an elite guild that engages in generous endeavors to aid their community, giving thanks to Vahn for their prosperity by sharing their wealth with others. These guilds gather to plan charitable events, discuss those in need, and socialize, all in the name of Vahn.
An open, five-fingered hand represents Vahn’s creative ability and serves as a symbol of good luck and productivity. Different Vahn guilds associate the god with their particular industry, as shown by variations on the central Vahn open- handed symbol: a band grasping a pick (miners), a hand with a star (space-industry workers), a hand holding a wrench (manufacturers).
Although Gilvahn engage in most forms of entertainment accepted throughout the civilized galaxy, they revel in two particular to their culture: feasts and storytelling. Feast gatherings occur at every level of society: corporate, familial, and community. Nothing gets a Gilvahn pleasantly excited like preparing for a parry. Individuals hone their skills in their particular contribution to a celebration: cooking, singing, playing an instrument, dancing, and storytelling. These festive gatherings often resembling raucous parties. 1he Gilvahn have a hospitable streak in them and rarely forbid friendly outsiders from partaking in feasts. The tradition of holding such banquets emerged from the ancient celebrations thanking their god Vahn for the prosperity and industry he bestowed upon his people.
Despite their technological savvy and industrial society, the Gilvahn still memorialize their traditions, beliefs, and legends through various forms of storytelling. Some retain their rime-honored venues as written literature, songs, epic poetry, and live plays. Gilvahn still enjoy simply sitting around a good meal regaling each other with entertaining tales. Other stories use more technological means of dissemination, such as electronic manuscripts and broadcast holographic presentations. The most popular legends include Anrag and the Molten River of Gold, the saga of the warrior Migra’s war against the skevvels, Star-Brother’s Search for Moon-Sister, and myths about Vahn’s creative feats and his benevolence in providing for his people.
River of Gold
Many regard the popular saga Anrag and the Molten River of Gold as a work of sheer poetic fantasy. It describes the search for a legenda1y river of gold, taking the hero Anrag through numerous formidable perils among the stars to find what the Gilvahn consider the ultimate prize. Anrag eventually discovers his treasure deep in the heart of a fiery sun, whose flames consume him while attempt- ing to retrieve the gold.
Scientists among the Gilvahn and other species believe the myth holds some degree of truth. Small enclaves of researchers and explorers associated with powerful corporations and governments believe some stars have concentrations of undiscovered elements that coalesce in cooler regions of the surface (commonly called “sunspots”). They theorize that such elements have greater strength and industrial usefulness than any other known substances.
Harvesting such elements &om the surface of a star (and braving temperatures reaching almost two million degrees Celsius) proves the immediate challenge for scientists; but some secretly work to develop such technology, collect and analyze these elements, and use them in the most lucrative ways by developing new military and scientific applications.
Gilvahn developed specialized technology to deal with their homeworld’s heavy gravity and hazardous environment, which naturally expanded to support an industrial economy. Engineers developed many heat-resistant substances and have incorporated them into building materials, vehicles, armor, and clothing. A defense industry initially formed around the need to equip warriors to eradicate swarming skevvels from subterranean settlements; it quickly grew to provide ordnance for protecting factories, mines, and starships from predatory off-worlders. The Gilvahn spacesuit remains the core equipment Gilvahn soldiers employ today.
Gilvahn maintain a reputation for producing reliable industrial technology. Many manufacturing corporations throughout the galaxy purchase refinery furnaces, heavy assembly plants, power stations, floater vehicles, and tractor-beam assemblies from Gilvahn companies. Construction engineers design buildings and infrastructure to handle heavy industry.
This renown isn’t limited to massive factory equipment and vehicles; Gilvahn possess an affinity for designing small gadgets to aid with technical tasks. No matter their trade, everyone relies on such useful devices as personal data organizers, comm pads, diagnostic cuffs, and media players. Most Gilvahn engineers and spacers keep a handy spanner nearby for assisting with mechanical repairs and adjustments.
Huge anti-grav barges serve as the transport workhorses of Gilvahn industry. These floating platforms have low bulkheads enclosing the open cargo area and a small, six-passenger cabin at the rear. A pilot station atop the cabin offers a view of the entire barge and its surroundings for optimum control in flight. Banks of anti-grav generator disks mounted on the underside enable the craft to Boat one to two meters off the ground depending on the terrain (a steady one meter on level surfaces and two meters over rough terrain).
The transports flight ceiling remains limited because the anti-grav drives are tuned specifically to haul heavy loads long distances. The pilot can retract central bulkhead sections so loaders can move freight onto a docked transport; a tractor beam mounted just before and controlled from the raised pilothouse more efficiently loads and unloads immense cargo. Side bulkheads have extendable tarps chat a worker can pull and attach to the far bulkl1ead to protect equipment from the elements. Although the vessels are best-suited to carrying large loads, specially fitted containers enable convenient transport of smaller deliveries within an enclosed cargo module.
Transports operating in hostile areas often mount defensive ordnance and a gunner in the bow, with a light shield generator replacing the passenger compartment.
Bulk transports can easily haul cargo equal to its size (scale value 10); for greater loads, compare the craft’s Toughness roll with the Toughness of the freight (including scale modifiers). Bulk Transport. Move: 63 (45 kph). Passengers: 7. Cargo: See description. Toughness: 60. Maneuverability: 20. Cargo tractor beam (damage SD; range: 10/25/40; forward/port/starboard arcs). Scale value: 10. Price: Heroic (68,700 credits).
The Gilvahn mining industry relies on plasma-driven drills to bore into mineral-rich ores. A wide but focused beam of super-heated plasma rums raw rock into slag that workers can siphon off into ingot molds for transport to processor units elsewhere.
The entire drill assembly – plasma tanks, power generator, accelerator, and emitter – usually sit on a sturdy, tracked chassis with a shielded control seat for the driver/operator. This allows easy portability into mine shafts and runnels or to remote locations with rich resources. Open pit mines often employ plasma drills mounted on crane gantries or hydraulic armatures to more freely move about where needed.
Gilvahn miners cake particular care around plasma drills, wearing hear-resistant clothing, polarized visors, and heavy work gloves. Drill teams maintain strict safety protocols to ensure nobody accidentally becomes caught in the plasma beam or the resulting flow of molten ore. Each carries a mining impeller, a cylindrical device held at one end and along the barrel. When directed at loose rock or dirt, the sonic and gravitational fields emitted from the far end act as a shovel, clearing channels into which melted ore flows. The second setting enables the tool to function as a counter-tractor beam that allows miners to “push” streams of molten rock coward established troughs and ingot molds.
For most intended uses, focusing the drill’s plasma beam at a stationary target (rock wall, ore vein) does not require any particular skill roll (though knowing where and how to excavate might call for a Knowledge or Perception roll indicating familiarity with mining practices). Hitting a moving target with the drill requires a gunnery roll. When using the drill against material other than rock, compare its damage against the substance’s Toughness.
Tracked Drill Assembly. Move: 10 (14 kph). Passengers: 1. Toughness: 40. Maneuverability: +2. Plasma drill (damage 10D; range 8/13/35, forward arc). Scale Value: 6. Price: Very Difficult (7,550 credits).
Most Gilvahn engineers and mechanics never go anywhere without their trusty handy spanner. This multiple-function tool serves as a complete toolkit (+lD to relevant repair rolls) in the hands of a trained Gilvahn. A mechanic can configure it to work as a number of other handheld tools, including pliers, screw and bolt drivers, soldering iron, spanner wrench, file, flashlight, igniter, and, in desperate situations, a hammer. Non-Gilvahn do not gain a bonus unless a Gilvahn first shows them how to configure and use the spanner for various tasks.
The tool is about 25 centimeters long and five in diameter and usually fits into a large worksuit pocket. Most Gilvahn tradesmen consider their handy spanner the single most useful and personal tool they own. Many receive them as gifts when graduating from technical colleges or apprenticeships.
Handy Spanner: +1D bonus to relevant repair rolls in the hands of those trained by Gilvahn to use the tool. Reduces darkness modifiers by 3D (9) in flashlight mode. Price: Moderate (436 credits).
Only the most elite Gilvahn warriors deploy wearing battlesuits. Starport security, urban police, planetary militia, and most armed forces rely on conventional weapons and armor. Units sporting battlesuits receive dangerous and near-suicidal assignments.
“Warren-stompers” fulfill the traditional role of exploring and clearing out skevvel nests. They protect Gilvahn surface settlements in known skevvel territory. Veterans of these units often leave to join other elite battlesuit forces.
Marines deploy into the tight corridors of subdued starships, engaging enemies and commandeering the vessel from within. Since Gilvahn don’t maneuver particularly well in lighter or zero gravity, their combat boots have mag-lock devices allowing them to walk on metallic decks without zero-g penalties.
“Ram-sappers” assault strong points unaffected by the efforts of conventional troops and weapons. Since they wade into battle against astounding odds for success, they have a reputation as suicide squads.
The Gilvahn developed a characteristic battlesuit from their many generations combating skevve1 hordes and belligerent neighbor species. The fully enclosed armor functions as an enviro-suit, providing two days’ worth of air, food, and water, and offering general protection against hostile climates and atmospheres. Armor pieces encase the wearer in breast- and back-plates, pauldrons, greaves, bracers, gauntlets, tassets, and a dome-shaped helmet. The battesuitprovides4D Armor Value when resisting attacks and heat or lire damage. Although this encumbrance would normally increase Agility-based difficulties by +4. the helmet’s integrated targeting system and sensors negate the penalty for firearms rolls.
The battlesuit’s primary weapon consists of a heavy plasma repeater, an oversized weapon the bearer actually rests on a pintle brace jutting out from the breastplate. The brace provides stability and flexibility when aiming and firing the weapon. An electromagnetic pulse fires a burst of super-heated gas at targets; the user may fire a single shot, single fire as multi, or full auto. The off-hand gauntlet sports the suit’s secondary weapon, a dose-quarters flamethrower. A regulator cylinder, spray nozzle, and igniter rise &om the gauntlet and bracer’s surface, Bush enough to avoid easily catching on entangling obstacles. Hoses run beneath the armor to a reservoir of flammable gel in the backpack rig. The stream of flaming gel has a limited range, making it best suited fur close combat.
When all other technology fails, Gilvahn warriors can rely on two battle knives in sheaths integrated directly into the suit: one along the armored boot, the other near the small of the back. An armored backpack rig (counterbalanced by the breastplate and the plasma repeater) provides materials to support the enviro-suit functions, flammable gel for the flamethrower, and a generator and plasma reservoir for the plasma repeater.
Since the battlesuit’s tailored to the Gilvahns’ shorter, stouter frames, few other species can effectively wear them. Those who fit the suits suffer a +4 penalty to all difficulties unless properly trained by a Gilvahn battlemaster (a physically grueling four-week process, assuming one can find a master willing to teach non-Gilvahn pupils). Others who procure examples of battlesuits can try modifying them to their own physique: this requires Very Difficult armor repair, exoskeleton repair, and personal equipment repair rolls, with failure irrevocably destroying the suit’s integrity.
Gilvahn Battlesuit: Provides 4D Armor Value (increase Agility-based difficulties by +4, except for firearms rolls); integrates a dose-quarters flamethrower (damage 8D; range 2/4/8; ammo 5), two combat knives (damage +1D), and a plasma repeater (damage 6D; range 25/150/300; ammo 100); Price: Heroic (95,633 credits).
Jack of All Trades
Their general affinity, technological savvy, and experience in heavy industry make Gilvahn ideal spacefarers.
Those who don’t enter in to the industrial or service sectors on Kovahn or their colony worlds spread throughout the galaxy pursuing trades as mechanics aboard starships, merchants specializing in manufactured products, engineers designing factories, overseers on construction projects, and miners harvesting mineral resources from planets and asteroids. They take pride in undertaking heavy work wherever they find it.
Occasionally, Gilvahn break out of their mo1danddelve into areas uncharacteristic of their people. Some warriors enjoy the life too much to leave it, serving as mercenaries, body guards, or dangerous-pest hunters. Others seek lives of adventure as explorers, using their martial and technical skills to survive while surveying new worlds. A few engage in criminal pursuits, employing their talents to amass huge profit in illicit activities.
Although most Gilvahn remain active in their chosen career well into their old age, some retire to a slower life of contemplation, scholarship, writing, art, music, and philosophy. They help preserve and create new histories and mythologies of their people, maintaining their heritage amid a vastly diverse galaxy.