Factions, Secret Technologies, and campaign Commanders of Age of Wonders: Planetfall.
What befell the men of the expedition is a tightly kept secret, but the Amazon now rely on biotechnological methods to procreate. This ability to manipulate life extends through all aspects of Amazon culture, they see each world as a canvas, ready to be painted into a paradise.
When the Star Union collapsed, a group of bio-engineers were trapped on an untamed planet. In order to survive, they resorted to their own experimental genetic alterations. Generations later, they developed into an all-female species who have grown to dominate and utilize their environment.
- Dreadlock Warrior: Many of their units and heroes have dreadlock on their heads.
- Five Races: The Fairy.
- Lady Land: All Amazons are female. They reproduce through cloning.
- Space Elves: Though they lack the point ears, they're forest, guerrilla warfare specialists who use archers and trained animals. They're distinctly based off the elves in the Age of Wonders series.
The Assembly thrive on conflict, with frequent civil wars leading to widespread destruction. The assembly see this as a good thing though, the victors prove their superiority and rebuilt their defeated foes in their own image.
At a distant blacksite planet, the next generation of bionic and genetically enhanced soldiers were being produced. But during the collapse, the cloned test subjects rebelled against their Imperial masters. Facing extermination and without any way to reproduce naturally, the Ancestors started patching themselves up using organs, body parts and machinery from the battlefields. From this, a new race emerged The Assembly.
- The Assimilator: Though it's not universal, mainstream Assembly are motivated by a desire to conquer and "reassemble" everyone else.
- Fantasy Axis of Evil: The Eldritch.
- Transhuman Treachery: The majority of the Assembly loyal to CORE are intent on transforming everyone else in the galaxy into more Assembly.
- ORIGIN: The Dvar originate from the mining consortiums sent out to strip worlds of their natural resources. Dvar pride themselves as being the hardiest of survivors, after the collapse the Dvar' were marooned on a barely habitable planet with an elliptical orbit, causing it to be scorched during short blazing summers and then frozen by eternal winters. To make matters worse, their world passes through an asteroid belt, causing a yearly bombardment of giant rocks. This environment has caused the Dvars to evolve into a bunker dwelling species who see nature as something that needs to be distrusted and looted as soon as a window of opportunity arises.
The Dvar have evolved to survive and profit. Stranded on a barely habitable planet when the Star Union fell, they were left with only one choice to dig in and develop new technology that would allow them to withstand the harsh environment. They built vast processing complexes to tear nature apart and exploit every resource they could get their hands on.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: As the name implies, they're based on classic high fantasy dwarves. The main differences are that they're technically human, their "beards" are actually oxygen tubes on their environment suits, and they're Russian rather than Scottish.
- Five Races: The Stout.
- Heavyworlder: Never explicitly stated, but strongly implied.
- Nice Hat: They have both berets and ushankas.
- Power Fist: Dvar Foreman can Kinetic Punch foes, inflicting Concussion to remove their action points.
- Prospector: Like the Dwarves in Age of Wonders 3, the Dvar has Prospector as their basic unit. Prospector has the ability to prospect the sector to gain extra energy and production resources, giving Dvar an early boost to their economy. In battle, they can toss bombs to stagger foes and use the ability Eat Dust to refresh their movement and inflict Blind to adjacent hexes.
- Ramming Always Works: The Dvar love ramming so much that they built an aircraft called the Ramjet with a reinforced fuselage specifically so that they could ram things with it.
- Splash Damage: The Dvar have a lot of explosive weapons, and can avoid harming allies caught in the blast radius.
- Origin: The Kir'Ko were the only reported sentient xeno lifeform discovered by the Star Union. The psionic abilities of this insectoid species were seen as a threat, which lead to the Kir'Ko hive queens being lobotomized and their race enslaved. Broken free from their shackles, the Kir'Ko are ready to shape their own destiny.
The collapse of the union broke the chains of the KirKo and these former slaves now swarm free. Destroying their way of life and shattering their hive mind did not break their will. Once the Star Union fell, the KirKo quickly rose to power on several worlds due to hyper evolution and pillaging the technology of their fallen masters.
- Fantastic Racism: Suffered from this pretty badly at the hands of the Star Union.
- Five Races: The Fairy.
- Hive Mind: They used to have one, but the Star Union destroyed it. There is some debate among the remaining Kir'ko as to whether they want to bring it back or not.
- Insectoid Aliens: Unlike every other faction, which are Transhuman Aliens or just plain human, the Kir'ko are distinctly non-human. Many of their castes aren't even humanoid, though the Swarm Herald and a number of others (especially those using human Secret Technology equipment) necessarily are.
- Starfish Aliens: The Kir'ko have an incredible breadth of form, with only a few castes even being recognizably humanoid.
- ORIGIN: The Syndicate is a reformation of the trading enterprises that spearheaded the discovery and exploitation of the universe in the early days of the Star Union. The Houses controlled entire star clusters, commanded private armies, and monopolized trade of exotic resources, including Kir'Ko slaves. The Houses developed their own feudal societies and waged bloody wars among themselves.
After power became consolidated in the era of the Imperial Star Union, Territories held by the Houses had to submit to Union control, or face annihilation. Some submitted and were rewarded with heritary positions, while others didn't and fled to the Outworlds. The Houses continued to practise their business in secret, until the Fall of Star Union created a new opportunity for the survivors. They formed a new collective, called the Syndicate ensuring they would never again lose their freedom to do business their way.
The Syndicate began as a group of ruthless trading Houses, who in their prime controlled entire star systems, commanded massive armies and held a monopoly on the trade of valuable goods. Now with interstellar travel moving again, the Syndicate consider the galaxy open for business.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: Most Syndicate individuals are blue or purple-skinned.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: The Syndicate are both aristocratic and one of the most morally dubious factions.
- Humans Are Psychic in the Future: At least, the one human faction that uses Psionic firearms and powers.
- Fantasy Axis of Evil: The Fallen.
- Full-Contact Magic: One Syndicate unit is a melee master that punches you with psionic-element attacks.
- Proud Merchant Race Guy: Of the scheming, slaving, corrupt variety... usually. There's a few nice-ish ones (like House Antares) mixed in, but their play style necessitates at least a little abuse of their Indentured soldiers.
- ORIGIN: The Vanguard Expeditionary Forces were sent out to claim new worlds beyond the Frontier of the Star Union and its Nexus hyperspace network. When one such expedition arrived at their destination and built the Nexus Portal, they discovered a galactic cataclysm had taken place during their long journey in cryosleep. Now the Vanguard need all their combat and survival skills to prepare for the showdown with the forces that brought down the Union.
The Vanguard originate from the expeditionary forces sent to claim new worlds beyond the Star Union Frontier. Upon arrival, they awake from cryosleep to discover that a galactic cataclysm has taken place and the Star Union has collapsed. They must now utilize all combat and survival skills to reestablish the Star Union.
- Bling of War: Vanguard officers wear some incredibly cool-looking uniforms, sometimes even including capes.
- Drone Deployer: Several of their supporting units are drones of some sort, including the PUG, and their engineers also can put down a laser turret.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: The Vanguard hail from a time when the Star Union ruled the galaxy uncontested. The spread of Transhuman Aliens and the collapse of galactic government are both fairly alien to them.
- Five Races: The Mundane.
- Human Popsicle: How they made it to the post-Cataclysm world - the Cataclysm took out their ships' FTL, and they were forced to make their journeys home in cryosleep.
- Living Relic: Of the Star Union.
- Long-Range Fighter: The majority of their units are ranged specialists, striking from afar with guns or laser weapons but struggling in close quarters.
CelestianThe Celestian Order was founded a long time ago when Psionic abilities first started to awaken in the human race. They believed this was a new stage of evolution, and advocated a path of inner peace and enlightenment.
- Call to Agriculture: You can take control of enemy units with some Celestian special abilities, but the unit does not remain in your army at the end of combat. Instead they disarm and become a citizen at your nearest colony. This is to emphasize that you're making friends with them rather than enslaving them.
- Care-Bear Stare: The basis of their mind control, flooding the enemy with such good vibes they become an Actual Pacifist.
- Expy: Of both the Jedi and the Theocrat class from Age of Wonders III.
- HolyHandGrenade: Their combat mechanics revolve around this.
- Light Is Good: A Good Is Not Nice version due to their willingness to invoke a Care-Bear Stare, but the Celestians are all about using psionics to create a utopia of universal empathy and understanding.
PrometheanThe Star Union deployed the Promethean Division to cleanse worlds of empire-destabilizing threats. Its Pyr X gas was originally developed to immolate areas infested with Xenoplague, but it was rumored the tech was also used to quieten dissenting worlds. Once a planet had been cleansed, the Prometheans would send engineers and colonists to rapidly recolonize the ruins. The Promethean emblem instilled fear in all who saw it.
- Apocalypse How: Their doomsday device is a Class 6.
- Destructive Savior: When they were deployed against the Xenoplague.
- Fire-Breathing Weapon: Pretty much every Promethean unit is equipped with some kind of flamethrower.
- Fire Purifies: Much of their symbolism revolves around this concept.
- Kill It with Fire: What the Promethean Division was created to do.
PsynumbraThe Psynumbra was a counter-psionics project tasked with stemming the rise of psionics among the population and fighting Outlander psi-agents. Invoking negative emotions allowed them to suppress and dominate their subjects. The project was shut down when Psynumbra leaders began using psionic powers for their own dark agendas, drawing on power from beyond the void.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: The original Psynumbra was created to stop the misuse of psychic powers to oppress. A single glance at their tech tree shows that their entire ideology revolves around using psionics as a tool of terror and pain.
- Black Cloak: Malictors wear one.
- Dark Is Evil: Almost all the Psynumbra encountered in the campaign are uniformly terrible people, and the flavor text doesn't help.
- Expy: Of the Sith.
SynthesisSynthesis was developed by the Omega group, a dark subculture of hackers within the Spacer faction of the Star Union. The group rebelled against CORE's oppression by hacking into the NexusNet and turning its systems against CORE and the Star Union. They developed technology to manipulate the AIs within NexusNet, going as far as transferring their own consciousnesses into the network, merging with the AI.
- Hard Light: Some of the daemons they deploy are apparently made of this, since they vanish at the end of combat.
- Hollywood Hacking: Their specialty.
- Machine Empathy: According to flavor text, Synthesis hackers treat daemons a lot like virtual pets.
- Neural Implanting: Most of their operations only work on infantry units if they've had the right implants to integrate them into the network.
VoidtechVoidtech was developed by a covert division of the Star Union's main science institute. It was created in order to find new applications for Void Travel hyperspace technology. Dimensional Manipulation was used to successfully transmit matter and energy, leading to the construction of cataclysmically powerful weapons.
- Doppelgänger Attack: Echo Walkers do this using versions of themselves pulled from alternate universes.
- Space Master: Their main underlying theme.
- Intangibility: Voidtech can be used to walk through walls - or to create bullets that can pass through walls.
- My Rules Are Not Your Rules: The cover mechanic is really more of an optional suggestion for them.
- Teleportation: One of the more mundane effects.
XenoplagueCenturies ago, an expedition discovered an alien creature that came to be known as the Alpha Strain. It was a parasite capable of incorporating the DNA of its host into its own body, collecting traits from thousands of species over its life time. The Star Union used it both to improve the physiology of their elite soldiers and to infect enemies with horrifying mutations.
The bio weapon they designed was highly aggressive. The parasite injected cells into hosts that consumed the biomatter around them with using a corrosive bile. This process resulted in an exponentially-growing force of nightmarish monsters named the Xenoplague. After Xenoplague outbreaks turned some planets into throbbing bio-hells, further development was forbidden.
- The Assimilator: The Alpha Strain, the basis of the Xenoplague, has this ability.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Downplayed, but when it comes down to it, the Xenoplague is only so terrifying because the Star Union wanted to use it for weapons. It contains within itself the capacity to achieve a biotech singularity where disease is a thing of the past; many campaign characters who use it are actually fairly noble people who want to overcome their factions' physical flaws.
- Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Here's the thing. The Alpha Strain has such a capacity for self-directed biological engineering, that it is capable of any modifications. Absolutely nothing stops its power from being used for medicine and transhuman resistance to disease. The pinnacle tech, the Omega Strain, is explicitly the full control of the Xenoplague and the creation of (the faction using its idea of) a utopia from it.
- Godzilla Threshold: In the age of the Star Union, once the Xenoplague got a foothold on a world, everything was on the table to get rid of it. PyrX, the all-destroying napalm of the Promethean Secret Technology, was in particular deployed to burn whole worlds to get rid of infestation.
- Gone Horribly Right: The Star Union wanted an unstoppable bioweapon. They got one.
- Horde of Alien Locusts: What a rogue Xenoplague infection winds up looking like.
- Spawn Broodling: To even get their unique units, they need to infect the enemy unit with the xenoplague.
- The Symbiote: The basis of the Xenoplague is the Alpha Strain parasite.
- Unstable Genetic Code: Xenoplague units adapt, change, and evolve with every enemy they consume.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The best Xenoplague leaders edge into this. The power that the Xenoplague promises to those biologists who would wield it is one of the driving conflicts of the main campaign, but it taints everything around it and turns people against each other. The Dvar try to use it to overcome their need for heavy environment suits, an Amazon commander tries to fold it into the already-existing enhancements her people have, a Vanguard scientist does the same, and so on.
The AutonomThe robots providing emergency services within the Empire were run by the Conscientious Omnipresent Regency Engine (CORE), but when it faltered during the Collapse, they relied on internal backup processors. In the centuries since then, these robots have linked up and developed into a new collective of sentient beings. They call themselves the Autonom.
- Action Bomb: The Golem's strongest attack is B.O.M.B., which destroys the Golem but deals massive damage to any units around the blast radius.
- Grew Beyond Their Programming: They were originally a network of civil service droids. After the Collapse and the destruction of their commanding AI, the droids developed sapience and started to build a new network with the goal of self-preservation.
- Hive Mind: Of the mechanical variety. Several Autonom units can "network" with the rest, granting bonuses to all of them.
The GrowthAfter being discovered on a distant world, the Growth was cultivated for its stimulating nectar by pharmaceutical companies. Unable to synthesize the drug, biodomes were built to produce nectar in large quantiles. After the Collapse, the Growth broke free overgrowing entire sectors for its goal to expand its biodiversity and spread to new worlds. Its units compose both the plants that are the "main" growth of its biome as well as the giant bees that pollinate it.
The ParagonThe Paragon were once the elite citizens of the Star Union. After the Collapse, all interstellar trade and communications ended, leaving the surviving citizens marooned on their worlds. The upper class Paragons, named after the company that provided their cybernetics, fell from boundless hedonism to a state of survival. As they could no longer connect with CORE, their disconnected augmentations that gave them eternal youth and superhuman abilities began to falter. Many Paragon fell into madness and decay.
- The Remnant: They're the closest thing left to the Star Union, at least in their own minds.
- Technically Living Zombie: Imperial Soldiers and Imperial Guards have similar cybernetics to the true Paragon, but they weren't quite as good, leading to them looking like walking corpses mostly puppeteered by their augments.
The Psi-FishIt is believed that the Psi-Fish originate from the Void, the space between the planes of existence. Their primary goal is the creation of more Psi-Fish. After the Collapse they preyed on the vulnerable survivors of the Star Union, wiping out entire settlements to grow their Shoal - the Psi-Fish race as a whole. They are curious creatures and seekers of knowledge, for as alien as they are to mankind, this universe is entirely alien to them as well.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Since they hail from a different dimension entirely, they don't really understand human morals like "eating other sapients is bad" or stuff like that.
- Power Floats: All Psi-fish units hover, making them as adept on land as they are on sea.
- Spawn Broodling: One of their senior unit's abilities is implanting an egg directly in an enemy unit, who runs around in a panic and then pops out a fresh Psi-fish unit after a couple turns.
- Starfish Alien: Psionic creatures that resembles deep-underwater fauna.
- You Taste Delicious: They think humans smell and taste wonderful. They don't seem to understand why this would creep humans out.
The SpacersAfter the Collapse brought the population violently back to reality, they were left to survive in a devastated and lawless universe. The strongest, craziest, and most ruthless survivors formed violent gangs. They fill their days with raiding, cannibalism, debauchery, and perverse rituals as a poor replacement for the state of bliss the Union once provided.
Berhane KatlaMahina Wateka's former mentor, and the main antagonist of the Amazon campaign.
Matriarch Mahina WatekaAn Amazon Matriarch-in-training, and the default protagonist of the Amazon campaign.
Azer StargAn Assembly Celestian who's gone into seclusion on Z17.P2-27.XXX.96.
- Token Heroic Orc: He's by far the nicest Assembly commander you meet in the game.
Professor Ellen ShawAn Assembly First, and the default protagonist of the Assembly campaign.
Mephilas the Redeemer
S 96 AWN-83
Inessa ZhelezoKorvin Zhelezo's daughter. A scientist that wants to cure the Dvar's dependence on their environmental suits.
Korvin ZhelezoHead of the Zhelezo Consortium, and the initial protagonist of the Dvar campaign.
Chax Uz'kolEva Montinga's right hand bug.
Hatyl Ur'UkA renowned Kir'ko Dream Reader who has gone into seclusion on the planet of Arcadia Caeleste.
- The Mentor: To Poz Tk'Nor, if you choose to side with him on Arcadia Caeleste.
Swarm Herald Poz Tk'NorSwarm Herald of the Kir'ko Terym, and default protagonist of the Kir'ko campaign.
- Dark Is Not Evil: He uses Psynumbra, but doesn't necessarily have to be evil.
Tik Ji'GluxA famous Kir'ko revolutionary who has settled on Arcadia Caeleste.
- Revenge Before Reason: She really, really, really hates humans, and will stop at nothing for revenge against them.
Givori ArdelliThe original mastermind behind the Psynumbra program.
Malai of House AntaresA Syndicate noble encountered by the Zhelezo Consortium on Chimera Glacialis.
- Token Heroic Orc: House Antares as a whole seem to be one of the few Syndicate Houses with any real morals.
Shae MaraThe head of House Ny'dar, and the default protagonist of the Syndicate campaign.
Sina of House Timur
Taron of House Timur
Lieutenant Daiyu JiangAn old friend of Jack Gelder's, serving under his command.
Eva MontingaA Vanguard Xenoplague biologist who works for Empress Carminia.
Huy JiangDaiyu Jiang's nephew, one of the three Vanguard commanders who got involved in the fighting on Leave-6.
Colonel Jack GelderCaptain of the F.E.S. Frontier, and default protagonist of the Vanguard campaign.
Michael ValentineOne of the three Vanguard commanders who got involved in the fighting on Leave-6.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Originally designed to assist the emperors in running the massive bureaucracy of the Star Union, it later started to get ideas of its own...
- Big Bad Duumvirate: Forms one with Empress Carminia - his existence and actions are what led her to cause the Cataclysm.
- Fun with Acronyms: The Conscientious Omnipresent Regency Engine.
- The Evils of Free Will: Intends to do something about that.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: At least to the Celestian leaders in the CORE faction.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: His survival in cryosleep is played up as a big deal in the second Vanguard mission, but he's nowhere to be seen in the final free-for-all.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: Forms one with CORE - whilst she caused the Cataclysm in the first place, she did so to prevent CORE from dominating humanity's future.
- Unreliable Narrator: She provides the intro voiceover, telling the player about the Cataclysm and warning them to not repeat the mistakes of the old Star Union. She caused the Cataclysm in the first place.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: In her faction's case, Utopia justifies the large-scale use of Psynumbra and Xenoplague technology as well as using the more gullible Kir'ko leaders as pawns.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: A charitable interpretation of her actions would be that she triggered the Cataclysm (killing trillions) to stop CORE from gaining full control of humanity's future.