The Hostiles of Fifth World
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They came from the Fifth World, first encountering the people of Haven some thousand of years ago. Their planet, which orbits the Haven Sun in a perpendicular ellipse, spends 460 years out of range of the inner planets. Twice per thousand-year revolution, the Fifth World spends 40 years close to the orbits of the other planets, and the Hostiles emerge from their own world with the singular intention to destroy the people of the Haven System.

Some believe they are the lost colonists of the Fifth World, while others suspect they were already inhabitants that annihilated the colonists. Whatever they are, they are certainly no longer unaltered humans. Genetically and cybernetically altered, these beings, these creatures, these Hostiles, are the greatest threat to the Havenites, and are the catalyst that caused the great cultural shift in the system. There is very little that is known about the Hostiles, and they evolve with each passing revolution of their planet around the sun.

Technology

The previous encounter with the Hostiles was almost four-hundred and sixty years ago. Accounts of the Second System War have been exhaustively studied in preparation for the current assault.

What can be discerned is there were two prominent castes of Hostiles — the soldiers and the priests. The priests — so named for their robes — appear to be the commanding body of the Hostile forces. They are monstrous figures, covered in cybernetic tentacles, servo-arms, and glowing eyes. They make up only a fraction of the Hostile numbers, leaving the bulk of their armies to the soldiers. During the First System War, these soldiers had both melee and blaster weapons melded into either their bodies or their armor. During the Second System War, the soldiers were more likely to carry weapons in the hands of their armored suits. This trend has continued in the Third System War.

The Hostiles have shown no ability to construct Waygate technology, despite the emplacement (and subsequent failure) of a Waygate on the Fifth World upon its first colonization. However, they have demonstrated an ability to use Waygates currently in place, although whether they can pick specific destinations or just open Waygates randomly is hotly debated. They have demonstrated a much greater affinity for energy fields than the people of the Inner System, although as of the Third System War they do not appear to have solved the size restriction on fields, nor the interference with gravity manipulators. It has been theorized that they have greater control of genetic manipulation, allowing for a shift in build and body type among their soldiers, and possibly cloning additional soldiers whole-cloth. They do not appear to have knowledge of Hard Light technology. Otherwise they appear to have relatively equal technology from the people of the inner system.

Tactics in the First Two System Wars

Naval Tactics

Throughout the First System War and at the beginning of the Second System War, Hostile tactics in space consisted of burning as quickly as possible to the surface of the planet, where they could offload troops and take advantage of their real or assumed technological superiority. Toward the end of the Second System War, new Hostile ships capable of matching Royal Navy ships blaster-for-blaster began to appear, and Hostiles began to take advantage of more sophisticated naval tactics such as "crossing the T," "breaking the line," and three dimensional formations and maneuvers.

Ground Tactics

During the First System War, there was no need for advanced tactics on the part of the Hostiles — they simply poured out of their landing ships and advanced, immune to return fire due to their energy fields. They focused fire on any knots of resistance, advancing to melee range only when necessary to wipe out dug-in defenders. Those fleeing combat were allowed to depart so long as there were more valuable targets.

This changed immediately after the first ground engagement of the Second System War, when it became clear that the Havenites had reverse-engineered the energy field. The Hostiles too put aside their blasters, and fought hand to hand with the defenders. It took until the end of the Second System War for ranged weapons similar to the compound bows and powered crossbows of the Havenites to appear.

As the Hostile tactics appear to be constantly evolving, considerable thought has been put into how they would fight during the Third System War. Cindravales tended to put forward the theory that they would continue to fight in masses, each Hostile picking out an individual Havenite and trying to kill him or her. Khourni tended to put forward the theory that they would take up the shield wall tactics of the Havenites. Only the beginning of the Third System War would show who is correct.

The Third System War

Third System War Space Tactics

The main Hostile spaceship is still a heavily-armored transport mounting many blaster turrets and carrying around a thousand Hostile ground soldiers. They fly in relatively-close formation, covering the few blind spots on other transports. When boarded, their Hostile cargo fights to defend the computer center at the front of the ship, the engine room at the rear of the ship, and the Hostile navigator tied into the ship's bridge about 1/3 of the way forward.

In addition to the transports, there are small escort ships, each carrying 10 Hostiles. These ships are purely blaster-armed, and swarm around Havenite ramships, trying to batter down their Hard Light shields and stop them from reaching the Transports.

The Hostile transports tend to advance en masse, turning like a huge school of fish to avoid large groups of Havenite ramships, with the escorts darting around the outside of the formation to counter Havenite attacks. If the formation is broken, the Hostiles tend to retreat to regroup.

Escorts do not usually land on moons or planets, but transports are certainly able to survive even underwater landings.

Third System War Ground Tactics

As is often the case, the truth of Hostile ground tactics in the Third System War seems to be midway between what the Khourni expected and what the Valen expected. The Hostiles have shown no indications that they have Hard Light technology, nor that they have any wish to carry a heavy and vulnerable metal shield into battle (as the Havenites did in the (late) First and Second System Wars). They advance in columns with greater cohesion than the Valen expected, maintaining their lines and formations even in the face of cavalry (in which case spear- and halberd-armed Hostiles move to the outside of the formation in an attempt to defend the formation). They appear to have maintained their drive to capture Waygates, but have also shown themselves content (at this point in the war) to raid and sow disorder and chaos across the moons and planets of the Inner System.

Unique Weapons

Launchers

Specific to Scout Units, the wrist-mounted Launchers fire a flexible ribbon of steel chevrons about half an inch wide and eight inches long. An electrical charge keeps them rigid as they are fired, but once they penetrate flesh (or they miss and the charge wears off) the chevrons can shift and twist against one another easily, making the bladed pieces of metal difficult to remove from wounds without making the wound worse. They have similar range and armor penetration to hand crossbows, but are distinctly harder to remove than mini-bolts.

High Frequency Pulse Generators

The weapons on the end of Hostile Priest servo arms produce compressed pulses of high frequency sound which rattle internal organs and muscles, cramping them painfully and even tearing them in extreme cases. The use of H.F.P. generators is clearly audible as a screeching, nails-on-chalkboard sort of sound, although the noise is just a byproduct of the pulse itself, which is well out of the range of human hearing.

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Scouts

Compared to previous documentation on the Hostiles of the Second System War, these Hostiles are leaner and shorter, emphasizing better mobility and agility. They have been outfitted with various modules on their hands and feet that allow for easier climbing on various types of surfaces. Their toes and fingers are webbed, which may suggest they have been outfitted for aquatic mobility as well. Their skin has been replaced with a complete exoskeleton. The exoskeleton is made entirely of panels similar to vidscreens with pinpoint microcameras. Combined with the massive processors that take up the entirety of the scouts' abdomen, this allows for a form of active camouflage. All of their internal organs have been replaced with smaller cybernetic versions to make room for this processor. Their cybernetic eyes have three lenses which allow them to switch between infrared, lowlight, and regular sight; they are also fitted with microzoom. Another series of pinpoint microcameras run along their temples to widen its peripheral vision. Except for some of the Priests, the Scouts are easily the most-altered Hostiles from their human baseline.

Height: 5'4" to 5'8" Weight: 120-160 pounds Weapons: Double-headed, one-handed axes and Launchers.
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Soldiers

Tall and strong, the Hostile Soldiers of the Third System War are much more refined than those of previous System Wars. Their genetic modifications are well disguised, but they are sturdier than hardier than a baseline human at the very least. They form the vast majority of Hostile forces, and have demonstrated their ability to lead small-scale skirmishes with devilish effectiveness. They tend to have between 10% and 40% of their bodies replaced with cybernetics, ranging from simple replacement hands to full limb replacement, cybernetic senses, implanted armor, and other additions. In battle, they wear armor that looks similar to muscle tissue, giving them the general look of fully-biological creatures stripped of their flesh. Of all of the Hostiles, they are the nearest to baseline human in size and augmentation.

Height: 5'8" to 6'1" Weight: 160-220 pounds Weapons: Swords, axes, maces, ball-and-chains, spears, halberds, greatswords, two-handed axes, two-handed maces, crossbows
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Elites

New to the Third System War, the Hostile Elite stands well taller than most Havenites, and its genetic engineering and cybernetics leave it significantly bulkier and heavier as well. Their cybernetic suites tend toward the same individual augmentations that Soldiers have, but Elites usually have between 30% and 50% of their bodies replaced. Their armor is heavier than that of Soldiers, apparently designed through intimidation through size rather than imagery, and they tend to hold a place in the military hierarchy similar to Havenite knights — leading their forces through example and feats of combat.

Height: 5'11" to 6'8" Weight: 180-330 pounds Weapons: Swords, axes, maces, ball-and-chains, spears, halberds, greatswords, two-handed axes, two-handed maces, crossbows
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Priests

Over the course of the System Wars, the Hostiles classified as the Priests have undergone the largest amount of evolution, and provide the greatest amount of variation between individuals. In the First System War, they were robed humanoids whose cybernetics went above and beyond mere limb and organ replacement. By the Second System War, they became increasingly more machine with heavy servo arms extended off their spines, tubes and thick wires coiling between vital locations on their bodies, and their faces entirely covered in masks that supported additional sensors. In the Third System War, they have been discovered to run the gamut from humans with significant internal and sensory cybernetics and a single servo arm extending from their spines to biomechanical monsters sporting tripod legs, four or more servo arms, and atrophied natural limbs. In each case, since the start of the Third System War, the servo arms (which can look like robotic arms, power lifters, biomechanical tentacles, or anything in between) have high-frequency-pulse generators built into them.

Height: 5'6" to 6'3" Weight: 150-300 pounds Weapons: High Frequency Pulse generators
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Pilots

Like the Scouts, this type of Hostile is new to the Third System War. It functions as a ship pilot and drone operator. They control all ship systems from environmental to lighting to security. Based on recent accounts, they are directly embedded into the ship in an isolated room off the bridge. They look to be capable of disconnecting from the ship, which suggests that they can perform other roles beyond ship flight. Even while connected to the ship mainframe, they are able to control the various drones associated with the ship, including small spider-like drones that are called Skitterers by Havenites. Due to their roles, they possess extensive cybernetics, but this is mostly in the form of internal systems and outputs that connect them to the ship. They do not have much in the way of limb replacement. Pilots are the smallest of the Hostile types, and tend to speak in nosism (that is using the pronoun "we" to refer to oneself). They are predominantly female.

Height: 5'0" to 5'6" Weight: 120-185 pounds Weapons: Hostile Ships and Drones

Since these images are just samples, we have provided a small Hostile Gallery of additional images of various types of Hostiles.

Hostile Lore Skill

As the Havenites learn more and more about the Hostiles, the skill Hostile Lore becomes an incredibly important one, representing how much of the information out there your character actually knows. Below is a brief listing of each level of the skill from common (0 skill) knowledge up through 6 (Currently the highest PC rating in the skill). Your character may have been told something listed on a higher level by another PC, but they should consider such things mere rumors or conjecture until they've been confirmed (ie, you've raised their skill level). Until then, your character is not sure that they relate to Hostile culture as a whole, or were isolated incidents.

  • 0 Hostile Lore (Common Knowledge): The Hostiles come every 460 years and are around for 40 years at a time. They come from the Fifth World and have fought us in two previous System Wars. They are an implacable enemy who has shown no desire to do anything but kill us. They are humans with advanced cybernetic enhancements. They come in giant troop transports, and seem focused on capturing Waygates. There are soldiers, scouts, and priests among them.
  • 1 Hostile Lore (Novice): There are also taller elite soldiers among the Hostile forces. The scouts use active camouflage technology. They understand and speak fluent Anglic. The priests have metal tentacles that extend from their torsos that appear to function as extra arms.
  • 2 Hostile Lore (Novice): The scouts fight with weapons that launch steel ribbons that are rigid when fired, but become flexible after piercing their target, making them difficult to remove. The Hostiles use crossbow-like bolt-throwers in addition to their melee weapons. They tend to fight in small units, the soldiers supported by scouts and other soldiers with ranged weapons. The Hostiles have taken Havenites prisoner after a few raids. The Hostiles seeded Haven with dozens of scouts in meteor-like pods before they main force arrived.
  • 3 Hostile Lore (Novice): The priests fight using pulses of high frequency sound waves that can cause massive internal bleeding. The Hostiles escort their transports with smaller fighting ships. The Hostiles appear to communicate via tight-band comm units most of the time. The priests and the larger elite soldiers seem to lead the soldiers and scouts, and provide command and control. Hostile soldiers can leap exceptionally well, high enough to easily reach a knight on horseback. The advanced pods were filled with some sort of biological fluid. While the scouts have active visual camouflage, their infrared camouflage is no better than Havenite technology. Some Hostile cybernetics appear to be for more than just limb and sensory replacements and are actually enhancements.
  • 4 Hostile Lore (Professional): In battle, the Hostiles sometimes communicate in a language which consists of mechanical buzzing, clicking, hissing, and squealing. Priests tend to be the most cybernetically enhanced of the Hostile units, though Scouts come in a close second. Hostiles seem to maneuver in units of 20 or 100 in larger-scale situations. The scouts in their advanced pods appeared to be in some state of stasis. The various Hostile units are members of different castes within their society.
  • 5 Hostile Lore (Professional): The Hostiles have claimed that the Six are obsolete. The Hostiles seem to eat packaged rations that are also edible — if not very tasty — to a Havenite. The Hostile ships seem to have the capability to resist external pressure (such as being underwater) as well as internal pressure (such as being in space). Hostile scouts have shown the ability to appear deactivated, but reactivate later. Hostiles refer to the Havenites as "Abandoners." It is assumed that Soldiers are the lowest caste in their society. Hostiles have been seen on a few rare occasions to show anger despite their usual unflappability.
  • 6 Hostile Lore (Professional): The Hostiles seem to be experimenting on captives, inflicting pain and damage to test responses. They do not appear to have a written language outside of a thus-far-incomprehensible machine code. All Hostiles thus far have had implanted cybernetic communicators. The Hostiles refer to themselves as Cantosians, and refer to Havenites as Inner Worlders. One of the Hostile deities is known as the "Abandoner." The Hostiles use genetic material gathered from previous System Wars — there are some Havenites living now related to the original donors of the cloned material.
  • 7 Hostile Lore (Veteran): Hostile Scouts are considered to be more than a little unstable mentally by other Hostiles. Scouts do not appear to fit within the caste system. It is believed there is one caste below the Soldiers, the designation of this caste is unknown. At this level, with some Warcraft skill, the character has begun to notice tendencies in Hostile tactics.

This list will be updated as new information comes to light.

Technology

Cybernetics

Brain Sheath: A thin, permeable sleeve covers the entire exterior of the Hostile brain. It contains a network of micro-cybernetics that directly interface with the brain. Its primary function appears to be communication, able to transmit and receive both short and long distance transmissions. The sleeve appears to be expandable and flexible.

Ocular Enhancement: All Hostiles appear to have ocular cybernetic enhancements. These cybernetics provide the wearer with a minimum of low-light vision, but Scouts also have infrared vision. They come in a wide variety of colors.

Known Individuals

Sarah Sarah 113 of 158 : Hostile Soldier of the Third System War. Captured in the northern section of the Spine outside of Khar-Mordune. Currently held captive in Landing. NPC
Abel Abel 851 of 1012 : An Elite captured on Primus and now held in Landing with Sarah. NPC
Ruelle Ruelle : To be revealed.
Hostiles Axeface : Hostile Elite that killed the previous Lady Ianthe Iah. Its helmet is scarred by a powerful axe-blow, and it is known to wield an axe itself. It is currently at-large on Niveus. Please contact Staff before using this NPC in a scene or plot.
Hostiles The Poisoner : A Hostile Elite that killed Young Lady Yolanda Peake. It is known to use a crossbow, and has used poisoned bolts. It is currently at-large on the plains east of Khar-Mordune. Please contact Staff before using this NPC in a scene or plot.
Hostiles Penelope 3 of 6 : The first Pilot Hostile that was interacted with. Had Havenites cut her out of her ship in order to finish her destruction protocols. Deceased
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