Campaign of the Month: January 2012
Star Trek Late Night
The Wraith are a vampiric hive-based species that harvest the ‘life-force’ of other humanoid beings for nourishment through suckers on their right hand palm. Countless worlds in the Pegasus galaxy live in constant fear of the Wraith, who return periodically to cull their human herds. After taking their fill, the Wraith hibernate for centuries, watched over by Keepers, before they wake and feed again.
Physiology: The Wraith are characterized by a pale blue or light-green epidermis, yellow eyes, and white, black, or red hair. As a species they have a social structure similar to that of ants or other hive/nest-based creatures, with distinct physiological differences between castes of Wraith, tailored to facilitate different functions within the society. They also possess powerful telepathic abilities. They have displayed phenomenal physical strength, along with phenomenal physical agility. Their eyes can glow in darkness, giving them night vision and thermal vision abilities.
The majority of Wraith so far observed are male. Adult female Wraith have been seen to fill the higher echelons of Wraith society as ‘Queens’. Beneath the Queens are workers, soldiers and drones. The lowest echelons are distinctly different; they lack intelligence and are larger and much more muscular.
Wraith exhibit bipedal locomotion and have mostly humanoid characteristics. These characteristics include noticeable sexual dimorphism; female Wraith have protruded breasts while male Wraith exhibit noticeable facial hair. While it is unknown how Wraith reproduce, it is likely that they procreate similarly to placental mammals, given their presumed origin and other sexual characteristics similar to those of humans. The ‘soldier’ caste, presumably also ‘male’, exhibit noticeable muscular definition as compared to the male Wraith of the ‘leadership’ caste, who are considerably meeker.
Though humanoid in appearance, the Wraith are genetically closer to the Iratus bug than humans. The Wraith possess none of the normal human inhibiting proteins, giving them a frighteningly efficient regenerative mechanism in their genetic makeup, allowing their bodies to heal themselves. Their regenerative abilities are so powerful that, as long as the cells are properly nourished, it is unlikely that the Wraith ever die from natural causes the way that humans do.
While the Wraith share many elements with the Iratus bug, there are aspects of their biology that are similar to humans. They contain all the necessary organs within their body that are required to digest food, even though they receive no nourishment from food as adults.
Feeding: Nourishment for the adult Wraith is the human ‘life force’. Humans or very similar beings (e.g., Ancients or other Wraith) are the only food source that can properly nourish a Wraith, although they are capable of cannibalism. It is also unknown whether or not the Wraith require fluids (e.g., water), to facilitate other bodily functions.
Although the Wraith possess teeth, they do not use them to puncture the epidermis of a human. Instead, they drain the life force through the use of a specialized organ that resides in the palm of their right hand. This is slammed into the chest of the human typically where the heart resides. The nails puncture the skin and the feeding organ begins to drain the life force. During the feeding process, the victim is injected with a special enzyme. It strengthens the human body temporarily and ensures that the heart continues to beat. This is so the victim does not die immediately. The feeding process is so traumatic that without the special enzyme, the body of the human would shut down far sooner than the Wraith would like.
The Wraith are known to employ the feeding mechanism and the enzyme as a form of interrogation tool in order to brainwash humans. The process involves constantly taking the life of a person and returning it back to them making the human see how they would look as they age. The return of their life has a euphoric quality on the human. This was one of the methods through which the Wraith gained worshippers. The enzyme is a key component of this process and the worshiper becomes addicted to the feeding. Being deprived of this results in a process similar to Wraith enzyme withdrawal and can be incredibly painful. This ensures that the worshiper remains loyal to the Wraith and are quite willing to betray their ideals or former friends for the gift the Wraith give them. Due to the traumatic nature of the feeding cycle, the stronger the individual the more indoctrinated they become as weak individuals die in the process.
Despite the use of a special enzyme during the feeding process, the act of draining a life force from a human is extremely painful for the prey. For some, even a partial feeding can cause the person to simply die from the trauma they sustained. It appears that there have been attempts by the Wraith at improving the efficiency of the feeding process.
The Wraith can consume human food and drinks, but apparently it gives them no nourishment and is strictly done for pleasure. This is apparently considered to be a more sophisticated type of enjoyment, and not all Wraith do this. When the Wraith are young however, they consume normal human foods (which explains their possession of a fully functional digestive system). As the Wraith mature, they begin to crave feeding on the human ‘life force’, regardless of whether or not they have tasted it before.
Wraith are also able to give back life. ‘The Gift of Life’, as a Wraith referred to it, is typically reserved for devout worshipers and their ‘brothers’. This appears to be done after the Wraith has fed. This can also apparently revive the dead.
Telepathy: While the Wraith have tongues and vocal cords, their primary means of communication is telepathic in nature. In effect, the Wraith have developed a telepathic network, allowing for communication over vast distances.
The Wraith are capable of projecting psychic projections making shadowy ghosts appear in a human’s field of vision. This tactic is typically employed during cullings and battle in order to confuse the enemy. They use the hallucinations to keep the people in one place so it makes them easier to cull. During this time they use a shadow/ghost to scare the people away from the forest. A trained mind is capable of ignoring this threat and instead focus on the Wraith. The Keeper of a Wraith hive’s telepathy is even more enhanced allowing them to cause humans to kneel before them and implant suggestions in their mind. This makes for an excellent interrogation tool and a Keeper is capable of gathering data from a captured human with ease. This trait appears to be consistent among female Wraith as the Hive Queens are also capable of these abilities and are able to incapacitate humans who fall under their telepathic abilities. These telepathic abilities can even get a human to unwillingly work for a Wraith.
Culture: Little was known of Wraith culture itself except that it was focused upon culling the human populations of the galaxy for feedings. Concepts such as beauty and comradeship do appear to be prevalent within the vampiric species however.
Hibernation: The Wraith as a collective species go through long hibernation cycles, lasting hundreds of years. Their massive Hive ships contain untold numbers of hibernation pods. During this time only a small number of them move about, enough to keep their victim worlds on edge. The sleeping masses are watched over by a small group led by the Keeper, one Wraith designated with their care whose death would signal their premature awakening.
Politics: To outsiders, the Wraith may seem like a united race that are determined to cull all humans in their path. However, they are known to posses an extremely strong territorial instinct. This makes inter-Hive cooperation rare and multiple Hives engaged in the culling of a planet can cause tensions to rise. They are extremely fierce in the defense of their own territories and kill any trespassers that enter their feeding grounds. Politically, the Wraith appear to have lacked any form of united government since the end of the war with the Lanteans.
Society: The Wraith are focused around a Hive-based society similar to some species of insects, but are not a collective mind despite their telepathy. They are given names originating from the instinctive ‘feel’ of their telepathic presence and their role in society.
The leaders of a Hive typically consisted of female Hive Queens who are in command of a Hive ship. They are a vital component within their society as without them, new soldiers cannot be bred. While this is the case, there are cases where a male has held the authority of ruler of the hive. Beneath this leadership cast lie the majority of the Wraith which consist of males. The first category consists of intelligent ‘commanders’, who serve as lieutenants and scientists. Beneath them lies the masked warriors who perform most of the general duties such as defending the hive or participating in attacks or cullings. Another caste present within Wraith society of which little is known consists of a group known as Keepers. This caste was tasked with maintaining the organic technology of their race.
Perhaps as a result of their Hive based society, the Wraith appear to show little regard to their own lives with the male warriors as well as commanders perfectly willing to make use of self destruct mechanisms to kill themselves if facing capture. Wraith Dart pilots have even demonstrated the willingness to engage in suicide plunges if their carrier vessels have been destroyed. Furthermore, they are quite willing to die as long as their enemies die with them. However, if there is a potential threat or resource of their hive that might be lost in such a maneuver, then the individual Wraith are willing to prevent actions that might destroy it. There are a rare few, however, that seem willing to bargain for their own lives.
One practice that demonstrates that harsh nature of Wraith society is the fact that they are able and willing to engage in cannibalism in times of starvation. Hive Queens have been known to threaten their lieutenants by feeding on them if they did not accomplish the tasks set on them. The Queens have also shown no hesitation on feeding on a member of their kind that was formerly a Wraith and had been turned into a human. In battle, commanders have been documented to feed upon dying or injured Wraith warriors to continue fighting, even for mere seconds.
Within their culture, showing hesitation or apprehension as well as other such qualities was a weakness in the Wraith’s eyes and treated harshly. They worked through instinct and power struggles were brutal with assassinations of queens by other queens who usurped power to become dominant. This was only present with the queens themselves as a male who accomplished the task was typically killed. This was because the hive who had their queen slain would be terrified of continuing to live without a ruler which meant that they were often quick to accept a hive queen in power.
Despite possessing telepathy, the Wraith do have language which appears to be a derivative of the Ancients.
- Fitness 2(5)
- Strength +1
- Coordination 2(5)
- Intellect 2(5)
- Presence 2(5)
- Empathy -1
- Psi 1(5)
- Range +1
- Force 0(5)
- Essence 0(5)
- Culture, Wraith 2(3)
- History, Wraith 1(2)
- Shipboard Systems, Wraith 1(2)
- Confuse the Senses 1
- Projective Telepathy 2
- Language: Wraith (Fluent/Literate) (+4)
- Cruel (+1)
- Excellent Chemoreception (+1)
- Extended Lifespan (+3)
- Life Drain (+5)
- Rapid Healing (+1)
- Toughness (+2)
- Duty: The Hive (-3)
Once a target has been grappled, a Wraith can drain energy from him or her. The target loses one level of Fitness each round until the target escapes the grapple. Once the target’s Fitness reaches zero, each round the Wraith continues will cause one row of Health to the target.
For each level of Fitness or row of Health the target loses, the Wraith heals a row of Health. If the Wraith is fully healed, each point of Fitness or Health row will give the Wraith a ‘phantom’ Courage point, up to twice the Wraith’s maximum. Excess Courage points disappear at the end of the scene.
A Wraith can also restore the life force he has taken from a target. For each point of Fitness or row of Health the Wraith restores, he suffers a 1d of damage that is not reduced by Resistance. The Wraith can avoid taking this damage by spending a Courage point. This Courage point must be spent each round the Wraith continues to give back to the target.