Much of the content of this article is derived (in some instances cribbed) from the official introduction to Fading Suns by Holistic Design (link e.g. here).
House HawkwoodThe Hawkwoods have seen many ups and downs during their history, and currently they are close to apex of their power. They pride on having one of them ascend to the Phoenix Throne, although Emperor Alexius has since distanced himself from his family to appear more impartial. A Hawkwood is drilled from his youth to believe Hawkwoods are destined for greatness. A Hawkwood does not settle for a second place. A Hawkwood does not give up. A side effect of this is that many a Hawkwood secretly doubts if they're a true Hawkwood. They are prideful yet honorable, stalwart and believing in ideals of personal responsibility.
- The Ace: Their self-image.
- Arch-Enemy: House Decados (those snakes!).
- Comes Great Responsibility: While there are bad apples, the majority do earn the respect of their underlings.
- The Determinator: A typical part of a Hawkwood mindset.
- Expy: Of Dune's Atreides.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: They're typically presented with an Anglo-American feel. As the main entry explains, the truth is more complicated, but like the other houses they tend to have a generic image.
- Honor Before Reason: On a worse day they can succumb to this.
- Nice to the Waiter: As described above under "Comes Great Responsibility".
House DecadosOnce a conspiracy of intelligence personnel of various houses, they have risen to power and Royal House status through treachery and an uncanny understanding of their rivals helped in no small part by their vast, invisible intelligence network. Accused of the worst kinds of crimes, the Decados laugh at these accusations and remain one of the most powerful forces in the Empire. They're slimy, cunning and invariably successful.
- Arch-Enemy: House Hawkwood (sanctimonious dicks!).
- Aristocrats Are Evil: The House.
- Bad Boss: But hey, it's the kind of boss who not only won't complain if you do coke, he'll set you up with his dealer!
- Card-Carrying Villain: Believers in No Such Thing as Bad Publicity, they delight in outraging the Known Worlds' Moral Guardians.
- Expy: Of Dune's Harkonnens, to an extent.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: They make a Russian sort of impression, mixed for flavour with Renaissance-era Italian nobility. They usually bear Russian names reminiscent of pre-revolutionary Russian aristocrats. Their attitudes are those of decadent, amoral aristocrats, which is more universal, although they do throw wild parties with Olympic pools' worth amounts of alcohol.
- The Hedonist: Although you can expect an accident or two happening to you if your behaviour is harmful to the house.
- Mad Artist: A notorious minority within the house have taken up body modification as an art form. Sometimes they get to the point of Body Horror.
- Nothing Is Scarier: Their defeat in the Emperor Wars has deprived many of sleep. After all, they couldn't have simply lost, this must be some plan of theirs... doesn't it?
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Might mellow out a bit under heavy pressure, but on average they treat rules as something that generally happens to other people.
- Self-Made Orphan: Mysteriously, Duchess Salandra Decados found herself without parents a mere month after graduating from the discreet reform school they sent her to in an attempt to curb her more...disturbing...tendencies. But nothing was ever proven.
- The Spymaster: Collectively, they have if not the most successful intelligence in the Empire, then certainly the most infamous one.
The HazatRising to power after turning the army of House Chauki against them, the Hazat are a military powerhouse in form of a, well, house. After getting on the wrong side in the Emperor Wars, they try to make up for the losses in a campaign against a neighbouring barbarian empire. They're proud and warlike, but their military focus has also resulted in several achievements in less expected areas.
- Appropriated Appellation: They call themselves "The Hazat", never "House Hazat". Originally it was an insult, implying they aren't a real noble house, but they ran with it.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: If you're good at ass-kicking, the route to rapid advancement is open. Even if you're a commoner.
- Dashing Hispanic: As much as one can without being literally Spanish.
- Dumb Muscle: One of less than flattering stereotypes of the Hazat.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Toros y Flamenco, Latin Land, Spexico. In places where the Chaukis had strong influence, even some Mayincatec may show up.
- Hot-Blooded: It's even ingrained in the character creation rules as a suggested trait for them.
- Honor Before Reason: During the Emperor Wars, the al-Malik managed to abduct several Hazat nobles after luring them out with a story of a dangerous beast nobody has ever defeated before.
- Nice to the Waiter: The Hazat have perhaps the biggest group of non-noble supporters (as opposed to generally supportive populace), in form of families of trusted retainers. If the waiter shows guts, he can be sure the Hazat will acknowledge this.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: "Warrior House Guy".
- Psychic Powers: The Hazat were the first house to employ psychic warriors en masse due to an alliance with the Dervishes of Grail, and even today they have as many Dervishes as the rest of the Houses combined.
House Li HalanThis pious and disciplined family was once the worst behaved of all nobles, until their overnight conversion to the Church, of which they remain a stalwart supporter. While others may snicker, the Li Halan has proved implacable on both the battlefield and at court. They're sophisticated, refined, majestic and composed.
- Blue and Orange Morality: From the player's point of view, they may well have the most alien mindsets. They are dogmatically religious, anti-democratic, and staunchly devoted to rigid feudal order — and yet they often prove to be among the nicest to the common folk in the setting, because they apply their rules to themselves as well.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Their former exploits used to spook even the Decados, which speaks for itself.
- Fantastic Caste System: They establish it on worlds under their rule. The subjects generally aren't as enthusiastic as the Li Halan expect them to be.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Far East, although the names don't fit as they often have more of a Mediterranean flavour. Still, their depictions usually involve some hints of Far-Easterness, such as the caste system reminiscent of feudal Japan.
- Holier Than Thou: "More Orthodox than Urth Othodoxy".
- Nice to the Waiter: Because the waiter serves a role in the Pancreator's plan too. It is saddening that, for some reason, some waiters just can't get that they were born to be waiters and they will die waiters.
- Religion of Evil: Those more religiously minded before their conversion used to hold a form of spiritism based on a corruption of the Ukari god of death. The Ukari actually called upon him to prevent the dead from contacting the living, let alone throwing in all the orgies and ritualistic murders.
House al-MalikThe al-Malik are an exotic and inscrutable lot that happily plays with the matter of their own nobility, always ready to engage in trade or fashionable philosophies. But they have proven their noble legerdemain many times, through the acquisition of land and a unique understanding of human nature and politics. It is very hard to pull one over on an al-Malik, but it is likewise hard for them to resist the lure of a good adventure or challenge. They are adventurous, smart and socially aware, but to consider it a mark of martial weakness is a mistake many have made.
- Action Fashionista: Being a fighter is not an excuse for not looking snazzy.
- Black Sheep: The Byzantium Secundus sourcebook provides two highly religious, more straitlaced Action Girl non-player characters, the Brother Battle dedicate Theafana and the orthodox demon-hunter (and paranoiac) Poohna.
- Bourgeois Bohemian: For a noble house, they love to ponder the ideals of equality and republicanism. Not that it would harm them — they have an experience in maintaining cults of personality.
- Cryptic Conversation: They have developed an entire way of speaking based on Ice Cream Koans and multi-leveled metaphors that is nigh-undecipherable to outsiders.
- The Dandy: All too common, with the caveat that this dandy is probably going to prove you've just insulted half his family and the matter has to be settled with rapiers.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The "Arabian Nights" Days, Proud Merchant Race kind of Arabs. This tends to vary by planet, with some having notable regional differences.
- Hypocrite: Somehow all their talk of equality doesn't extend to their treatment of alien vassal races.
- Nice to the Waiter: In theory, as they have a tendency to believe in their own rhetoric, although sometimes it's a lot of rhetoric and a little of action.
- The Philosopher: They also have a tendency for this kind of mental exercise.
Urth OrthodoxyThe largest sect and the backbone of the Church. Its priests can be found on all worlds, from the ostentatious bishops of the capital cities to the humble parish priests in the most poverty-stricken fiefs. While the Orthodoxy is a cunning political player, most priests just spend their time protecting the souls of the simple faithful.
- The Church: While on the surface they're mostly a case of Christianity Is Catholic IN SPACE!, there's enough variety that it isn't that blatant. Most of the typical tropes are present. They form the bulk of the Church and it's notable enough when "the Church" doesn't mean them.
- The Fundamentalist: While they're not Avestites, the Church's ideology has come to reject the idea of the "questing spirit" that the Prophet preached in favor of rigid adherence to doctrine, and they demand that everyone else do the same (which has led to a certain tension with Emperor Alexius Hawkwood, who is very much in favor of the former).
- Interfaith Smoothie: In spite of Christianity Is Catholic feel on the surface, their name evokes Orthodox Christianity, and the main philosophical factions within the sect are called the Hinayana and the Mahayana.
- The Missionary: There's plenty of those too.
- N.G.O. Superpower: Except when they are the government.
Brother BattleOriginally initiated to protect pilgrims and pursue heretics, the order has developed into an elite military force performing operations on many worlds, including the deadly Stigmata Front against the Symbiot alien invaders. Despite rumors of heresy and usury within their ranks, everyone wants a Brother Battle monk by their side in times of trouble. Despite the name, women are also to be found within the ranks.
- Expy: Of The Knights Templar, down to the banking.
- Greed: Since they took up banking operations, some of them developed an interest in money.
- Warrior Monk: Some of the toughest fighters in the Known Worlds, too.
Eskatonic OrderThese hermetic sages are often thought of as wizards by the common folk, and as kooks by nobles and guildsmen. While there are many within the order who possess profound wisdom and learning, many others possess much weirder ideas. Standing on street corners telling everyone about the end of the universe is one of the less harmful. Once considered a heresy by the Orthodoxy, the Eskatonics were admitted into the fold when their theurgical rites proved effective against the Symbiots.
- The Ditz: Unfortunately common enough.
- Doomsayer: Twisted in a funny way in the Player Companion. An exemplary character pretended to be one of them to fend off some nosy inquisitors.
- The Heretic: The fun part is, many long for the times they were heretics, because back then they didn't have to care about falling into heresy.
- Religion Is Magic: While they aren't the only theurgists in the Church, they're linked with (and interested in) theurgy and mysticism the most of them all.
- Vow of Celibacy: This sect's vow requires celibacy but says nothing about chastity. Really Gets Around is a perfectly acceptable interpretation of this.
Temple AvestiThe Avestites started out as a group of religious terrorists, saved by the Church in the last moment before being blasted to smithereens by a coalition of angry nobles. Now, they hold most of the seats on the Inquisitorial Synod, and search the Known Worlds for signs of heresy, demonism and any other threat to the faithful. They eschew learning in favour for dogmatic adherence to certain extreme scriptures. As this makes them feared and hated throughout Human Space, they tend to travel in groups, often finding their way into some travelling party of adventurers.
- Burn the Witch!: They even come with their own flamethrowers.
- Church Police: Whether licensed or not.
- The Fundamentalist: You betcha! They've been the butt of jokes saying they're so fundamentalist, they only use the Omega Gospels so the desk won't wobble.
- Holier Than Thou: When they're far away, some whisper they aren't as morally clean as they request of others.
- Iconic Outfit: Long flowing robes and veils. Since they're also fire-resistant, they earned the Avestites a nickname of "Asbestos Boys".
- Kill It with Fire: They've taken the Church's fire symbolism a bit further, yeah.
- Moral Guardians: With great enthusiasm!
- Never Learned to Read: The stereotypical Avestite can't read, let alone read the Omega Gospels. You don't need to know what heresy is to know that someone's a heretic.
- Vow of Celibacy: Required in this sect.
Sanctuary AeonAn order of healers and compassionate mystics founded by one of the Apostles herself, Saint Amalthea the Healer. When an Amalthean comes to town, there is always someone willing to provide hospitality for her. They are so beloved by the commoners that when one was once accused of witchcraft by an Avestite, the Avestite was seized by the populace and burned at the stake instead.
- Good Shepherd: Every faction has some bad apples, but among them you won't find all that many. Even less if you ask around the peasantry.
- The Heart: They tend to have that role wherever they show up.
- The Medic: What they're mostly known for.
- Pacifist: The vast majority of Amaltheans adopt the rule of pacifism, but they're allowed to interpret it as they see fit. Some are Actual Pacifists who refuse to fight even in their own defense, others are as willing to defend the weak as they are to heal them.
- Saintly Church: While they have had periods of corruption and bad apples, Sanctuary Aeon consistently represents the best of the Church. They're devoted to an All-Loving Heroine saint and focus on healing and pacifism.
CharioteersStar pilots and interstellar merchants. This guild is what most people think of when they imagine the Merchant League, for it is the Charioteer merchants with their exotic, traveling medicine shows who are most often seen by the commoners. They jealously guard their monopoly on jumpcode technology, which enables travel through jumpgates. On board, they have a tendency to transform from easy-going merchants into harsh taskmasters caring for their ships first. Nevertheless, on average they're an optimistic and proactive lot, standing out among the crowds.
- Ace Pilot: While they aren't the only starship pilots out there, they tend to keep best flying tricks to themselves.
- Honest John's Dealership: "Buyer beware" holds double if a week later they're in another star system.
- Intrepid Merchant: While a merchant-pilot plying the jumproutes as his own boss is hailed as an ideal for Charioteers to strive for, a rift has been growing between pilots and merchants within the guild.
- Medicine Show: They often run these on the side.
- Thrown Out the Airlock: If you want to avoid this fate, better don't encroach on their jumpkey monopoly.
EngineersThe New Dark Ages brought a collapse of science and technology, and it is a rare skill to maintain it, let alone conduct research. Those few who delve in it tend to belong to the Supreme Order of Engineers. They range from starship technicians and hireling experts, through maintainers of terraforming technology, to reclusive obsessives. They have little regard for social mores — particularly those concerning cybernetics — and there's just enough rumours about the things they are or do behind closed doors, so they creep out the commoners and disgust the priests. Still, despite Church attempts at keeping them under control, everyone knows just how valuable their lore is.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: They tend to be a little... off.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: They don't (most of the time), but everyone believes they do, so the Engineers creep out people around them a bit.
- The Engineer: One of the stock Engineer characters.
- For Science!: You'd think they knew better, but the truth is, if you find a secret laboratory doing bad things for no rational reason, there's a good chance it has a renegade guildsmember in charge of the place. (And sometimes not even renegade.)
- Mad Scientist: Another stock character, all too common.
- Mr. Fixit: A standard role for a low-ranking one.
- Secret Circle of Secrets: There's just something uncanny about those top-ranking Engineers. No, of course they never were a Church order. Both the Engineers and the Church can attest that. Move along, nothing to see here...
- Techno Babble: Will show up in any story involving the Engineers, for sure.
- The Unseen: It's rumoured the leader of the guild is more machine than man, but it's hard to say, given how nobody ever sees him.
ScraversIf you cant find what youre looking for legally, chances are the Scravers can get it for a price. Scravers specialize in all sorts of activities of questionable legality, from gambling and prostitution (High-Class Call Girl is the domain of Courtesans' Guild though), through black market goods and mundane thievery, to salvage and reclamation operations. Since they possess blackmail on just about every major official even bishops little is done against them.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Some of the best-known Scravers are those. After all those years of New Dark Ages it's often easier to dig than invent.
- The Don: The person you'll give a share if you are a Scraver. No, of course it's not a mafia, why do you ask?
- The Gambler: The riskier the operation, the likelier they'll try it.
- Information Broker: You wouldn't guess how much do these street rats know.
- The Syndicate: The whole guild is organized into families, ranging from small and local, to the big five influencing the policies of the entire guild.
The Muster (Chainers)A guild that serves as job intermediary agency. While it's best known for dealing in slaves and soldiers, it provides all manner of skilled and unskilled personnel. They guard their domain jealously, which makes hiring out personnel behind their backs a risky affair, but maintain a high standard of quality that serves well to make up for the prices.
- Bounty Hunter: A growing business among the Muster.
- Made a Slave: For a small fee, they can spare some place in their slave pens for someone you don't like, too.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: This is how they typically deal with the freelancers. The construction teams tend to be harshest in this regard, given how they need to vent off steam after the soldiers stealing all the spotlight.
- Only in It for the Money: Actually, subverted. Their mercenaries work for money, but how high they will charge you is not set in stone. You can get a nice price cut if you've got good relations with the guild, for example.
- Private Military Contractor: Mostly known for mercenary work, at least once you don't have to fear abduction.
- Weird Trade Union: While every guild has a shade of this, they do care the most for the well-being of their members. Of course most of the actual laborers on jobs they're hired for are non-member temps or slaves, with the actual members getting cushy managerial positions.
Reeves (Gray Faces)The Reeves are a guild dealing in law and banking. They are the de facto bankers of the Known Worlds and probablyone of the richest factions in the universe, loaning money to every other one. While they don't like to shove their weight around, just about everybody owes the Reeves, and when one comes calling on favours, few dare deny him. Their lawyers have a reputation for their impartiality and grasp of the tangled law systems used simultaneously in the Empire. All this gives them a reputation for duplicity and greed. On the other hand, there is a sizable minority of crusading advocates and secret Republicans among the young wolves of the guild.
- Amoral Attorney: They are called "Gray Faces" for a reason — they maintain their detachedness from the issues they work with to the point of amorality.
- Crusading Lawyer: A stock character in the guild.
- Loan Shark: Actually not that much, although they won't hesitate much if it comes to that. They prefer to wring out long-term favours out of their debtors.
- Morally Bankrupt Banker: They've developed an entire subculture based on acquiring as much hard cash as one can.
Ur-ObunA peaceful and philosophical race that, like their Ur-Ukar cousins, have once been directly guided and taught by the Anunnaki before their disappearance. Although most aliens are treated with scorn and dislike, the Obun are generally respected as councilors and advisors in Known Worlds society. An Ur-Obun became one of the Prophets disciples and is honored by an Obun sect of the Church, and another one is currently a trusted advisor of the Emperor. The Obun are naturally psychic, and their service often comes in this role as well.
- Human Aliens: There is little difference in body shape between them and humans.
- The Philosopher: Sometimes ridiculously so.
- Proud Scholar Race: The mystic kind.
- Space Elves: Close enough to the idea to note it here.
- Witch Species: Psychic powers are a common and mundane thing in their society.
Ur-UkarThe ancient cousins of the Obun, taken away and settled on their desert homeworld by a faction of the Anunnaki that lost some inscrutable deal millennia ago. Developed into a warrior race, their initial dealings with humanity were hostile, which cost them dearly. The Ukari are now a broken race, their world is owned by the League, and they themselves are divided between the human-loyalist and pro-independence factions. A resistance movement has sprung up, taking the war to the other worlds with terrorist tactics. Nonetheless, their skills are valued, if they can avoid getting screwed over the deal.
- Combat Pragmatist: Their martial art Jox Kai Von is so ruthless and no-holds-barred, some Decados took a liking to it.
- Knife Nut: It's a part of their identity.
- Human Aliens: They have the same body shape as Obun, although their tattoos make the difference to humans more obvious.
- Master Poisoner: The best ingredients come from their homeworld, Kordeth.
- Nocturnal Mooks: Well, all the tunneling made them adapted to darkness, so as mooks they're most effective at night. The al-Malik exploited this at times.
- Proud Warrior Race: Not much else than pride have they got, but they cling to it.
- Tattooed Crook: They are all tattooed, it's a cultural thing (the tattoos are convex so they can be read by touch in complete darkness). The crook part comes from the fact that they're stereotyped as violent murderous thugs even if they aren't hostile.
- Tunnel King: Away from their world they emulate it with deep cellars.
- Witch Species: Like the Obun.
VoroxSix-limbed monstrosities that against all reason achieved sentience on their toxic jungle world. Despite being aliens, they are quite popular in the Known Worlds for several reasons — they are unswervingly loyal, their beastly looks make them appear cuddly and non-threateningly dumb, and last but not least, they're huge, six-limbed crazy war machines made flesh. They are most often trained as elite shock troops or retainers by noble houses, but many travel the stars on their own.
- Dumb Muscle: Enough of them are, for sure, but they just as often prove smarter than one might expect.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: They look sorta like a cross between a lion and a bear. With six limbs. That seep venom. And they can think.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: The civilized Vorox shave their claws (unless they're noble, in which case they retain their venom claws), but they make up for it this way.
- Multiarmed Multitasking: They've developed a martial art that involves honing the ability to do this.
- Undying Loyalty: A Vorox torn between his liege and his conscience is a popular topic of tragic fiction in the Known Worlds.
- Vertebrate with Extra Limbs: Six of them.
SymbiotsA strange, shapeshifting race of aliens with a Hive Mind, and Paranoia Fuel incarnate for much of humanity. Believed by the church to be the result of multidimensional entities possessing humans in order to invade the universe, wishing nothing but to conquer all that exists... which is to say, they don't really know. What is known is that Symbiots will cheerfully take over any planet they manage to infiltrate and infest, transforming its inhabitants into new soldiers in a seemingly unstoppable tide of alien and mutant plantlife...
It's not quite as simple as that.
In truth, Symbiots are not truly a single species, but a gestalt of various transormed forms of life, bound together in relative harmony by the Lifeweb, which they believe to actually be the connection between all life everywhere, they just happen to have a closer relationship with it. The original Symbiots were originally the United Wildworlders, a radical human environmentalist group formed in the final days of the Second Republic. Hunted down for protesting the reckless expansion of human space and terraforming, the leaders of the UWW took refuge on the jungled Death World of Chernobog, where a fight between their psychic and their Theurgist accidentally awoke the Xolotl, a primordial species of insect that mutates life to feed. Perhaps answering their desires for someone, anyone to help them, the mutations did not kill the UWW, but instead made them far stronger, as well as giving them the ability to mold life as the Xolotl did. Their minds now tied to the infant Lifeweb, the First Symbiots decided they were chosen by the Annunaki to transform their former species into one that prospered with the environment instead of at its expense. Whether they like it or not.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Nobody's quite sure what the Symbiots want. In truth, it varies, but Symbiots do have a lot of strange values, such as the idea that assimilating all life is ultimately a good thing.
- Hive Mind: The Lifeweb. Played with, in that a properly functioning Symbiot colony is individually sapient, and each one has individual desires.
- Planet of Hats: Subverted; intelligent Symbiots have as much variance in opinion as humans do. A significant portion of the race just doesn't want to fight any more, in fact.
- Organic Technology: They use a lot of and are this.
- Transhuman Treachery: Justified. The transformation into a Symbiot leaves a person in a very suggestible and partially amnesiac state, making it easy to place them under More Than Mind Control. It's also possible that the transformation takes but the mental one doesn't, and then the new Symbiot is liable to not be open to the indoctrination.
- Uplifted Animal: Symbiot Shapers are not restricted to transforming humans. Many of their creations are even sapient.
The VauA powerful, isolationist race humanity met during the Diaspora — and immediately learned not to do anything that the Vau may take offense to. The Vau have their own stellar empire, but apparently have achieved their ideal of society already and don't expand beyond it. Several other alien species live under their rule, but as Vau restrict access to their space, humans have very few opportunities to interact with them.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: They take a bit from imperial China, though it is not emphasized.
- Higher-Tech Species: Vau are the masters of energy manipulation, and some of the most impressive technical tricks humanity can show are merely Black Box replicas of Vau tech.
- Inscrutable Oriental: In Space!
- Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Subverted... sort of. They're dogmatic, and certainly their might inspires awe and envy in humans, but the dogma is social stability. So, they won't mind you if you keep off their lawn.
- Space Age Stasis: During the time in which humans managed to divide, spread, unite, reach a pinnacle of their civilization, divide again and fall into the New Dark Ages, then slowly begin a climb back up — the Vau society barely changed at all.
The ShantorHorselike aliens from Shaprut, the first alien race encountered by humanity. The meeting was not fortunate to them — they were forced by humans into reserves and made to work in mines.
- Intelligent Gerbil: They're horses. Alien, talking horses. From an external perspective, this is the reason why the fandom considers them one of the lamer parts of the Fading Suns universe.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Of the Plains Indians.
- The Unpronounceable: Think of a horse neighing. This is how their names sound.
The GannokMonkeylike aliens from Bannockburn, discovered shortly before the Fall. The Gannoks are playful and non-threatening, they learn fast and have an innate knack for fixing machinery. These traits gave them a relatively privileged position compared to other aliens in human society — one of them is even a court jester of the Emperor.
- Intelligent Gerbil: Monkeys.
- Mr. Fixit: Since they're small, they often find employment on starships.
- The Pig Pen: Their skin produces an oily substance, which has regenerative and antiseptic properties, but the downside is that it, simply speaking, smells bad to humans.
- The Prankster: Known throughout the human space for their tendency for practical jokes.
The EtyriBird-people of Grail. Actually not the only intelligent species of their world — they were on the brink of extinction when humans came along. They have a cultural obsession with death, which unnerves most other people. In the theatrical plays of the Known Worlds, a character bringing bad news is traditionally depicted as an Etyri.
- Bird People: And of more than one kind. They are the most diverse of all known sentient races — there are eagle-Etyri, singing-bird-Etyri, whatever-Etyri. And they all can interbreed.
- Necromancer: Etyri theurgy revolves around studying the last moments of a dead man's life, reliving emotions embedded in the moment of death, etc. etc. Sometimes it finds use in forensics.
- Nightmare Fetishist: The Etyri associate earth with death, so for them, all those who live on the ground are "living dead". Between this, the fact they will cheerfully call others this way, and their theurgy, no wonder humans are a bit creeped.
- What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: This worked in their favor — between vaguely mythological, birdlike Etyri, and ugly, reptilian, none-too-friendly Zhuil'hishtu, no wonder the humans helped the first against the other.
- Winged Humanoid: Grail is one of a handful of worlds with six-limber fauna.
The Oro'ymAn amphibian race from Madoc. Apparently once a star-faring race allied with the Ur, nowadays they are a primitive society confined to their homeworld. They have a cordial relation with the Merchant League, which owns the system.
- Ancient Astronauts: Their epics contain the story of a hero who visited and taught people generally thought to have been ancient humans. And not even any humans, if you consider the similarities between this particular epic and Sumerian mythology.
- Fish People: Actually amphibian, so they can live in aerial environment if they can avoid getting too dry.
- Shout-Out: Apart from the Sumerian reference, the creators snuck into their description some allusions to Dagon and squid deities.
The HironemA reptilian species from Cadiz, living in a reserve-city ruled by an emperor and his mandarins. They generally neither bother humans nor are bothered by them, although their society and mythology are immensely interesting to scholars. There are good reasons to believe they were once ruled by rogue Vau mandarins, and this means they are a first step for those interested in studying what Vau don't want to tell.
- Fantastic Caste System: Albeit one that allows a degree of social mobility. Also, it seems that somehow, membership in a caste affects the personality of a Hironem.
- Lizard Folk: A more humanlike example than most. They have short tails and are obviously reptilian, but their body shape is quite human.