Characters: Master of Orion

Master of Orion (1993)


A race resembling hawks and having warlike propensities.

  • Ace Pilot: Justifying their natural bonuses to ship defense!
  • Noble Bird Of Prey: Seriously, giant war bird people, though in the second game their aggressive appearance and demeanor were toned down quite a lot.
  • Proud Warrior Race: And traditional rivals to the Mrrshan.
  • Ptero Soarer: In Battle at Antares, the Alkari have taken on the appearance of flying reptiles. That's right, we're talking Pteranodons.


A bearlike race skilled in ground combat and colonial development.

  • Heavy Worlder: Their other major trait, they can handle heavier gravity.
  • Proud Warrior Race: Best infantry in the universe, basically being giant bears. Bonuses to ground combat.
  • Retcon: Their appearance was changed in the second game to make them look more like boars rather than bears (though the text still describes them as bear-like).


A mysterious race most notable for their skill in covert warfare.

  • Dark Is Evil: In the first game, everybody except humans had a grudge against them and considered them untrustworthy.
  • Lizard Folk: Kinda? In the first game all you can see under their hoods is impenetrable blackness and glowing red eyes, but in the second game you can actually see a seemingly scaly skin inside. However, most depictions have them draped in cloaks, so it's hard to tell.
  • The Spymaster: Their big bonus is to spying. They rely on it to get anything done.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: This racial trait is part of why they're good at espionage.


A strange and bizarre race which apparently exists in Real Life. Notable as skillful diplomats.

  • Beware the Nice Ones: Don't let their diplomatic leanings fool you into thinking they're weaklings. If threatened, they will use their connections to get half the rest of the galaxy on their side. And their Democratic government gives them research bonuses; if Psilons aren't around, Humans will typically end up gaining technological superiority and keeping it.
  • The Federation: In MoO2, they start with the Democracy government and will upgrade to the Galatic Federation government. These give bonuses to research, trade, and naturalizing indigenous/conquered populations.
  • Humans Are Diplomats: In the first game, they were the only species that didn't start with some pre-existing hatred mucking up their diplomatic situation. In the second game, they get huge diplomatic bonuses, and their Democracy government means they convert conquered aliens into citizens much, much faster than other races.
  • Proud Merchant Race: The best off economically before the Gnolam were introduced in II. Their trade treaties start generating profit well before anyone else's. Democracy gives them bonuses to trade treaties in the second game as well.


An insectoid race. Incredibly hard workers; they have bonuses to all forms of production and can easily spread across half the galaxy in the early game.

  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: They're insectoids, looking like ants or wasps.
  • Creative Sterility: One of their traits, and a major drawback. They gain a random application of a scientific advancement instead of being able to pick the one they want. This makes their research very hit-or-miss and they typically have to rely on conquest or spying to keep up.
  • Hive Mind: Klackons' "Unification" society meant they were basically a giant ant colony; everyone knew their place, worked to benefit the whole, and was satisfied with their place in it. This meant Klackons never suffered any kind of morale penalty.


Cyborgs known for their factory construction. They eat half production, half food.

  • Cyborg: They are part-organic and part-machine. In game they have a hefty bonus to production, and only require half the food of normal races, but "consume" part of their industrial output to make up for it. Still manages to put them ahead on manufacturing, though.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms
  • Powered Armor: Plot-wise, the Meklars actually have a weak physical body, so every of them wear an exoskeleton suit. It also justified their supreme manufacturing, the suit gave them incredible computer interface abilities. However, this led to even further physical deterioration, to the point that their bodies atrophied to tiny, fragile husks.


A matriarchal (in the first game) race of feline warriors. Known for their gunnery skills.

  • Cat Folk: The Mrrshan look as though they've evolved from cat-like predators — because they actually have.
  • Panthera Awesome: Giant warcats.
  • Proud Warrior Race: Rivals to the Alkaris. In fact, where Alkari pilots have bonuses to defense, Mrrshan gunners have bonuses to attack. On top of their gunnery, they have the Warlord trait, making all of their crews and leaders one level of skill higher than other crews of equal experience, and a cap one level higher than them.


A race of Grey-like humanoids who devote themselves to the pursuit of technology to compensate for their physically weak bodies.

  • Beware the Nice Ones: Pacifist and peaceful race, who generally prefer to be friends with everyone. However, their ability to learn all techs makes them formidable enemy from mid-game onwards.
  • Magikarp Power: They're low-G people, and as such, they suffer in production on all worlds except low-G worlds (until they research gravity converters for the planet). Early-game, they're struggling to survive. Late-game, nobody can stand up to them once they're established enough.
  • My Brain Is Big: Justified in the fact that they are among the most intellectual species in the galaxy.
  • Proud Scholar Race: They have the best research bonuses in the game, and their Creative trait means they get every application of a scientific advancement instead of picking just one.
  • Space Elves: High Elf variety, though not snooty. At first.


Lizard Folk known for their swift breeding. Like the Klackons, they can cover half the map in the early game.

  • Feudal Future: Uses a feudal government, using their vast populations as a labor pool. This means they need military outposts to keep their citizens up to even baseline happiness, and unlike the Elerians, they aren't geared for military conquest.
  • Lizard Folk: Sakkras are basically space dinosaurs.
  • We Have Reserves: Sakkra traits are in two departments. They make subterranean cities, which lets them cram more people into a planet and gives them bonuses to planetary defense, and they have ridiculous boosts to population growth. Invading their planets is a challenge even for the Bulrathi simply because of sheer numbers you have to slog through, but to the Elerians it just makes them even better targets.


Silicon based life. Can colonize almost any environment. They do not eat food, and are immune to pollution, so they have the unique distinction of being able to put every single one of their guys into production or research. Their major disadvantage is that they are "Repulsive" and thus unable to trade with any other races. They can't get all of the technologies by trading; they must instead spy a lot or hope to get lucky in seizing technology during conquest. On the upside, their immunity to pollution and lack of food requirements completely obviates a lot of the research that other races need.

  • Retcon: In the first two games, they looked like walking mini-volcanoes. The third game retconned their appearance to Chenjesu-like crystal formations that can sprout branches and limbs out of thin air at an incredible speed.
  • Silicon-Based Life:
    • Their key traits are all based on the fact that they're goddamn weird rock aliens. They don't need food because they eat rocks. They don't care about pollution because normal biospheres mean nothing to them. They can't communicate diplomatically beyond declaring war because silicon life minds cannot really understand carbon life minds and vice versa.
    • In the original game they are also poor in most branches of technology. However, they don't have the diplomacy handicap, and their ability to ignore hostile environments is even more powerful: while all the other races have to develop technology to colonize planets with hostile environments, the Silicoids do not, which gives them even more of an advantage in expanding their empire.

Master of Orion II (1996)


A matriarchal race of omniscient elf-like humanoids.

  • Action Girl: A whole race of them, thanks to their society being matriarchal.
  • Blue-Skinned Space Babe: Some of the other races may have a little of the Rubber Forehead Alien thing going on, but Elerians are just funny colored human women.
  • Feudal Future: The other feudal society, like the Sakkra.
  • Mass Hypnosis: Telepathy gives them this power. As long as they have at least one cruiser-sized ship in their attacking fleet, they don't even need to invade enemy planets to capture them. They can also use ships captured in battle immediately, instead of having to wait until the battle is over like other races.
  • Space Elves: A much more militant variety.
  • Telepathic Spacemen: Have access to telepathy.
  • The Omniscient: They are aware of everything happening in the galaxy, because of the telepathy. Removes the need to scout systems.


Dwarf-like people from a low-G home world whose society focuses primarily on monetary gain.

  • Born Lucky: The only non-money trait Gnolams possess. Makes bad random events less likely to target them, and Antarans likely to ignore them in favor to blowing up some other poor schmuck.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Their stature and appearance can be similar to gnomes or dwarves.
  • Proud Merchant Race: Major bonuses to basically anything money-related.
  • Space Jews: Even one of the Gnolam leaders was named Zog. He was renamed in a later patch.


Aquatic lifeforms from an oceanic planet. They suffer none of the usual penalties from living on ocean and swamp worlds.

  • Cthulhumanoid - Subverted. They are an aquatic race, and they do have some tendrils hanging down from their chins, and even implied to be descended from the Big Bad race the Antarans, but at the same time their appearance is almost angelic, they tend towards the "pacifistic" personality type, and even their theme music makes it obvious that they are not an evil race. Maybe.
  • Fish People - Their big trait is being an aquatic race, and they look it. MoO3 retconned their appearance to eel-like creatures.
  • Mind over Matter - Their psychic powers allow them to increase their ships' speed and even allow them to move during a "space flux" - a random event that blocks all access to hyperspace across the entire galaxy.
  • All There in the Manual - according to the manual for the third game (which introduces several retcons), out of the 20 races who have been playable at one point or another in the series (including those who the Antarans purged prior to the third game), fully six of them belong to the "Icthytosian" family tree, branching off from the original Trilarians. In ancient times the militaristic religious fanatics known as the Nommo split off from the Trilarians and fled their homeworld, which they consider their promised land and want to retake. Due to genetic tampering the Trilarians also created the Saurian races, specifically the Sakkra, who were later exiled from the Trilarian homeworld as well. The Sakkra in turn conducted their own genetic experiments to make task-oriented sub-species, the Raas (workers) and Grendarl (warriors), who later rebelled and split off on their own. It turns out that the Darloks themselves (a race of shapeshifters) are actually another, abandoned genetic experiment of the Sakkra that was deemed a failure (they just seemed to be amorphous blobs, but later learned to shapeshift).

Master of Orion III (2003)


A mysterious human like species, originally created by a powerful empire in a distant part of the galaxy. Stat wise, they have some bonuses to combat and colonization, among other random skills.

  • Humanoid Alien: They look like humans, and are classified as "humanoids"
  • Space Elves: Generally give off a "mysterious" vibe, and are described as having an "intricate" culture.

Meklar and Cynoid

In part 3, the Meklar split into two factions. The current "Meklar" faction transitioned into an entirely robotic species, while the "Cynoid" remain as cyborgs. Both are good at manufacturing, with Cynoids focusing further on raw economy, while Meklar have somewhat more diverse skills, but both are poor diplomatically.


The Imsaeis and Eoladi live on gas giants, and were originally an experiment by the Antarans to create gas giant industrial workers, but the experiment instead produced a contemplative, largely peaceful species.

  • Living Gasbag
  • Organic Technology: Are said to mainly utilize this, slowly growing to perfection whatever devices they need. While this results in less environmental damage, and well crafted devices, it does not compete well with the mass production industrial techniques of other species in warfare.
  • Space Elves: The species is said to have a great deal of skill at helping others get along.
  • Starfish Aliens: The Imsaeis look like jellyfish, the Eoladi are baglike floating worms.


An aquatic species, much more aggressive than the Trilarians. Said to be an offshoot of Trilarians despite looking very different (Looks like a nautilus, a.k.a. aquatic snail looking creature with cephalopod tentacles.).

Raas and Grendarl

Offshoots of the Sakkra, the Raas were created as slaves, the Grendarl as warriors. They split from the Sakkra after a Raas rebellion, which the Grendarl were expected to defeat.


A slightly more creative version of the Klackon. (Though still not that great of researchers.)

  • Insectoid Aliens: They are still insectoids, looking more like beetles than ants.


A sentient, parasitic species, that takes over other the bodies of other intelligent species. Strong on most stats, but they do not start as member of the senate and have very poor diplomacy. They also gradually replace other alien species if sharing a planet.

  • Meat Puppet: What the Ithkul use their hosts for.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Ithkul themselves, as well as the other Harvester races in the backstory. The Ithkul are actually the least dangerous of them all.
  • Starfish Aliens: Just look like a collection of tentacles when not attached to anything.