Thursday, 9 July 2015

#OVERRIDE: Evolving a Race - Part 2: Realising Potential

Greetings friends!

So where we left off we had the initial ideas behind the Hydan and Kratel. But for anyone following along at home, you'll know that this is nothing like the end result we have today.

Without further bumph, let's get on with the realising of the final product.


First up was the Kratel. For months they remained as we had them before, as bug like 'Clickers'. Then came the formation of the game itself and the creation of the working title Gang War.

With Gang War the needs of the race changed. It was less about fluffiness and more about practicality. Just what models could players use to represent a Kratel gang, be then Imperial or Red Claw?

Now remember, when Override first began, the Kratel were going to be few and far between, appearing mostly as a few NPCs experienced via the previous game format that was more focused around tabletop RPG and strategy. For this reason I had sourced the Shasvasti (or however you spell them) from the game Infinity. They didn't have tonnes of suitable models, but if you only needed a few for NPCs then this would be ok.

Now we were looking at a gang based skirmish game, and as such a greater volume of suitable models was needed.

It was around this time that the Infinity line was being expanded with their redesigned Morats, and one model caught my eye in particular:

Just look at this guy! He is clearly alien, he is impeccably sculpted and imposing in a way that I had almost never seen before on a 28mm model! In addition to this he captured something else in my mind's eye. Intended or not, this model looked like a more heavily armoured version of a Yautja Predator, something that has been a love of mine for the past 15odd years, and if you remember was one of the Space Warrior tropes I listed in my previous post.

So this got me looking, and I saw the new Morat Aggression Force starter set:

Just look at these guys! We have basic infantry, a flame thrower, and a dude in heavy armour, holding an Eff-Off heavy weapon that just looks too bad ass!

Without even meaning to, my search for models was leading me to create the redesigned Kratel. With just two purchases I would be able to have a Leader model, a dude in Heavy Armour with a HMG and 4 basic gang members (plus a female that was at the time surplus).

And so in a fell swoop the 'Clickers' were gone. The Cockroaches of the Galaxy instantly replaced with this race, but who were they? What was their story?

So back to the drawing board I went and out came my lore scalpel.

First to go was the insect-like appearance. That was easy to do, after all it was one of the last components to be added to their character type.

Next came their factions. We had the Imperials and Red Claw. Seems good to me! No reason that needs to change.

What else?

What about rather than cutting, we start adding? Let's look at the rest of the Morat line:

Well looky here! These guys as well as looking awesome look almost tribal.

So things are starting to fall in place and we're delving into more and more of a deep and rich story.

Where as before we were looking at what was essentially a gender war, now as well as that we also have the differences between advancements in tech vs tradition.

The Red Claw have moved on from simply being freedom fighters into instead being paragons for the old ways. The ones who remember the ways of their tribal elders, of honour and virtue that the Empire have sacrificed on the alter of technology.

But hold on a second, what about this empire? They sound like a bunch of pretty bad guys! How can we expand on that?

We know that they are matriarchal, treating males a little more than slaves and breeders, but what else?

We've introduced advanced tech to them saying that the Empire is all about being progressive while the Red Claw are about the old ways. Let's step back and look at human history, about the continuous almost inherent desire for power and corruption. What sort of organisation that is ruled by an authoritarian personality as you would see in an empire but is also progressive and pushing technology while squashing traditions of old and free thinking?

Now we're in the remits of the Fascist party, Nazi Germany & North Korea. We're no longer looking at just any group, we're looking at dictatorships and regimes.

From here the Imperial Regime was born. A group of Kratel who were strong enough that they didn't need to worry about reprisal from other groups, where they could set their own rules and laws and treat their citizens however they wanted!

Holy shit! Without even realising we have just created a setting that is ripe for decades of conflict and story about how we got there, but is also believable and realistic in the present.

But how did the Imperial Regime get to where they are? What drove them to establish their empire of oppression and tyranny?

Well last post we covered the Hydan. We know that the Hydan reside in their space-based crystal Bastion, but where were they before that?

Of course it all falls into place! The Hydan resided as the dominant species on Krata-Prime!

We have already stated that the Hydan were the most technologically advanced race in this region of the Milky Way known as The Outer Fringe. And what happens when two species are kept in close proximity of the other and one is more technologically advanced than the other? The advanced dominates the less advanced!

We've seen this in our own history, the strong controlling the weak. We like to pretend it doesn't happen anymore, and in some cases that it never happened in the first place, but it does and it did! It's human nature.

No; it's living nature. All life as we know it dominates over those that are its submissives or inferiors, if it happens on Earth, then why not on Krata-Prime?

The images are coming to mind now; towering crystal spires ruled by the Hydan while their Kratel slaves perform the menial tasks of their master's discretion. It's so very Roman & Egyption.

Like wise, what else did these ancient civilisations do? They didn't keep all their slaves purely for manual labour and war. Some, normally the less imposing females, were treated to a better life living as hand maidens or harems. In some cases they were even taught to read so that they could perform the desired tasks of their masters better.

What if the same happened here? What if the Hydan rulers kept female hand maidens to assist them? In a world where superior technology is what governs their control, these maidens would need to be taught how to use at least the most basic of tech in order to perform their duties, meanwhile the male slaves are left butting heads against each other to prove who is the strongest.

We also know that for some reason the Hydan left Krata-Prime, as they now reside in the Bastion. What if they abandoned the world to whatever terrible fate it was destined to? Leaving the Kratel behind? Leaving their own basic technology behind!

Those maidens with their basic understanding of this technology would be instantly catapulted ahead of the male slaves, especially if that technology included access to suppression collars, tasers and other tech allowing the females to maintain control over the male brute strength!


Let's just stop for a moment and look at this! We have not only established a look for this race, but we have created 2 feuding factions and a history going back generations! What's more, we didn't create this ourselves. These events created themselves. Through an almost organic flow of events the biology & history of this race has established itself in what I think is a believable race that could possibly exist within the confines of this fictional area of space.



Earlier we covered the Hydan and how their earlier involvement with the Kratel would have formed the current imbalance they now are experiencing on Krata-Prime that spills over into Honos the world where our game is set.

But what about them? What models would make a suitable Hydan swat team?

That was a more difficult one, and something I am still not 100% sure of, but I think I have a few options available.

So initially I took a look over the Infinity line, the most obvious to me being the Tohaa range, and what a range it has!

Just look at these beauties! Throw in some line troops and you are good to go, plus colouring goes a long way here. You could easily use the same model, paint it say white and blue, and it's a Wraith. Black and Red however and you have a Trydan on your hands!

Maybe however you don't like this? Maybe you'd rather something more universally available?
Games Workshop Eldar anyone?

Ok maybe this isn't your thing either, perhaps you want something a bit more techy? Let's pop back to Infinity where we see the Yu Jing faction:

Or keeping with the tech side of things let's have a look at some of the hundreds of other great model ranged out there! What about MERCS?

From here we reached an issue; the appearance of their faces is going to a big factor. With Kratel I can say that they are broad chested, with strong jaw lines and jutting foreheads, and that still leaves you with a lot of choice, but with Hydan it's not that easy.

Then we reached the atmosphere idea.

What about if Hydan struggled to breath in Human atmosphere? Let's not say it's impossible, but it is awkward for them. For this reason they make use of a wide array of technology to overcome this issue from dermal patches known colloquially as Gills (this allows for full face models) or nasal inserts to help break down the atmosphere (again, full face models) or rebreathers for partial faced models, OR full faced masks/helmets. The last allowing for any model that has a head fully covered! It's a simple change that drastically widens the selection and makes every single one of the above listed models equally viable as a Hydan.

Hold on! We've contradicted ourselves here!

Earlier we established that the Hydan & Kratel previously inhabited the same world. If so how can the Kratel breath fine, where as the Hydan can't?

Well this is an awkward question, of which there are 2 possible answers;

1). The Hydan did not originate on Krata-Prime and instead occupied it as a sort of colony.
2). The Kratel's natural resistance to toxins, radiation and hazardous chemicals means that they are not effected by whatever it is in Human atmosphere that effects the Hydan.


And that is that! In the space of 2 blog posts we have created a base template for 2 alien races, and then expanded on that template in some areas, and cut out sections in others. We have looked at their history and inter and intra species relations until we are left with the finished article.

There is still room to expand with the Hydan; why did they leave Krata-Prime for example (there is a reason, but that's staying shtum for now) why did they enslave the Kratel in the first place (shtum) and what are they like outside of the Special Forces Wraiths and Organised Criminal Trydan?

I guess only time will tell!

Until next time; stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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