At the furthermost tip of the Perseus arm lie the remnants of the First Born, an advanced civilization that conquered the galaxy and found themselves utterly alone. Their great civilization was brought low by civil war, and one faction placed themselves into suspended animation and waited.
For millions of years they slept. But the sleep wasn’t dreamless, and the First Born were slowly driven mad.
Now they have been awoken by the Traders who are there to pick over the bones of a seemingly long-dead civilisation…
The First Born
The First Born are an ancient race that lived for tens of thousands of years across the breadth of the galaxy. They evolved an advanced technology matched only by their just society and were able to live in harmony with nature. However, they never encountered another intelligent species and came to the conclusion that they were alone in the galaxy. They lived for many more generations but slowly the knowledge of being alone gnawed at them and, over time, their society faded and fell into ruin. Countless civil wars erupted and the old ways were forgotten. The harmony so long fought for was swept aside by fanatics and wisdom was replaced with madness. Ancient technology used to manipulate time and reality was now used for warfare and the end for the First Born drew close.
The godly are a fanatical sect that thrived in the later years of the First Born empire and may well have been a major contributing factor to its eventual demise. They were militant and persecuted other First Born that they could not convert. They were superstitious and paranoid and eventually lost focus even within their own beliefs. Outlawed, they were driven out of First Born space and ended up in the Perseus-Orion arm of the Milky Way where they hid themselves and waited.
These are the First Born your Traders will encounter.
The True Born
The First Born have a strict caste system based on genetic superiority. In more egalitarian times the True Born were elected leaders, wise and merciful. Each True Born was the head of a democratic state but in times of crisis their word became law. Several factions exploited this and slowly changed the laws to increase the powers of the True Born caste within peace-time. Over generations the right to lead by birth alone had been established. Petty power squabbles between factions resulted in civil war and the Golden Era of the First Born ended, knowledge was replaced with power, understanding with conquest.
The leaders of the Godly faction epitomised the new role the True Born played. They were now engineered to be physically imposing, trained from birth to command without mercy and given tools known as Engrams that could manipulate the minds of others. Their intelligence was broad but it was a cold, unforgiving intelligence. They became suspicious and power-mad and saw enemies everywhere, and their hunger for power could only be alleviated by expansion into other territories.
In game, there is only one True Born, the overseer of the particular temple that your Traders have entered. It starts the game in stasis, but once the Drones have raised the alarm it will be woken by its attendant Lieges to expel the intruders. Once awoken it is one of the most powerful beings in the game. Running away might be the best option!
The Liege is both servant and confidante of the True Born and is a formidable power in its own right. It performs the duties of a True Born when the True Born is in stasis. Unlike the True Born who is in permanent stasis the Liege is regularly awoken to oversee the sleeping First Born and general maintenance of the asteroid base. The Liege’s first duty is to revive the True Born when required. The Liege spend less time in stasis than the True Born and are nearly always lucid, rarely suffering from the derangement that the True Born do. It is from a slightly lower caste to the True Born.
The Lieges will be the primary defenders of the temple. They’re pretty reasonable all round in combat, but one of the key tactical decisions in Core Space First Born is when and where to take down the Lieges to prevent (or even allow) the True Born’s awakening!
These are True Born who have forsaken their privilege and embraced a warrior life. They are masters of close combat, particularly with weapons such as the Shard, a form of sword. They have dedicated their life to the protection of their chosen True Born and to a lesser extent the True Born habitat and all of its inhabitants. They are revived once a century, spending weeks in training before returning to stasis.
For those familiar with Core Space, the Iconoclast is essentially a Purge Assassin. Except there are two of them! You’ve been warned!
The drones are flying machines that are servant, protector and the first line of defence. They activate periodically and follow a patrol pattern until an enemy is in line of sight. Housed inside the rock in the upper parts of the base they can appear anywhere. They will attempt to raise the alarm if the enemy proves a greater threat than they can deal with. The base station will construct new drones if any are destroyed.
Mechanically the Drones are one of the most interesting additions to the game. They spend the first part of the game in patrol mode, creating a puzzle in which the Traders must act stealthily and avoid the patrol routes for as long as possible. Once the alarm is raised the Drones will become a painful distraction – not hugely powerful, but relentless and numerous.
The True God
The Godly used conversion to swell their ranks but they needed more, they needed a symbol. In secret the True Born developed their own mortal gods who would rule over all of the First Born, but in truth the True Gods were little more than political tools.
The True Gods were genetically engineered to be the most intelligent and powerful of all True Born. In theory the True Gods would rule supreme but in reality they were puppets of their creators, the manipulative True Born caste. Early in their lives the True Gods were subjected to a barrage of chemical inhibitors and physical trauma to make them dependent on their ‘advisors’ and to suppress their own ambitions. This combination of power and mental instability made the True Gods unpredictable and the Godly started to regret their own folly. When the Godly were banished the True Gods were hastily put into stasis and forgotten. Millions of years alone have driven the True Gods utterly insane. In a real sense this has reduced them to little more than beasts, but extremely powerful and near indestructible.
In game, the True God can ignore the terrain entirely, representing its phenomenal power to reform the living rock of the surrounding chambers it as it moves. It causes fear in anyone nearby, and its reality-warping powers cause event cards to be drawn as it attacks!
A True God is always flanked by its Guardians whose sole duty is to protect the God and to smite the ungodly! In many ways the Guardians resemble Iconoclasts, being genetically enhanced True Born; however, unlike Iconoclasts the Guardians have no free will and have been bred for purpose. Strong, fast and well armoured the Guardians specialise in fighting in tandem as if on some level they were two halves of the same creature.
As it says above the Guardians are like Iconoclasts, but bigger. The key difference in game is their protection of the True God – the Guardians must be taken down first!
Engrams, the medallion-like devices seen around the bodies of the First Born, are pre-programmed with specific auto-responsive commands. They connect directly to a user’s nervous system and allow the wearer to perform mental and physical feats that it would ordinarily take years to master. Some engrams can infer the ability to warp time and space, or alter the very base of reality at a quantum level.
In game these engrams can be stolen and repurposed by your Traders who can then gain limited access to the reality-warping powers of the First Born, including phasing through walls and short-ranged teleportation.
Other First Born Creatures
The beings encountered so far are not the full extent of the First Born genus. Other, rarer species have been spotted and classified as potential threats…
The Cerberosa (far left) are genetically engineered attack animals used as a blunt instrument, designed to sterilise a room of unwanted intruders. They will attack ferociously with tooth and claw and have poisonous barbs that cause grievous wounds if they do not kill their victims outright. Near mindless, they will sometimes attack each other in a frenzy, but never their True Born masters.
The Talos (second from left) are humanoid machines comprised of a crystalline rock structure similar to the walls of the asteroid habitats. They are armoured and able to regenerate from damage. Their weapons are integrated into their bodies and include plasma and heat as well as neurological attacks. Referred to as ‘Sentinels’ by the intruders, their only purpose is to attack on sight.