Empire Of Kilrah

Origins

The Kilrathi evolved from a predatory race on the harsh, arid planet of Kilrah. Their intelligence originally developed to enhance their hunting abilities, and to allow them to survive the harsh conditions of their home planet. These origins still form the basis of Kilrathi psychology to this day, and have a profound effect on their actions in combat.

The history of Kilrathi civlization is a history of conflict. The same intelligence which allowed them to survive as hunters was quickly turned with deadly effect on rival groupings, leaving the Kilrathi a fiercely combative group of clans engaged in near-perpetual civil war. An end came when the Kilrathi were visited by a spacefaring species, who provided the Kilrathi with advanced technology, including spaceflight. The expansion brought a temporary end to the civil wars, though it did not take long for the Kilrathi to turn their newfound tools on their benefactors, defeating and enslaving them. Left once again without an external enemy, the Kilrathi clans turned on each other… the scope of their battlefield now spanning across the stars. Following several bloody exchanges of power, the ruling Kiranka finally realized that the best way to secure their power base was to maintain an external threat for the empire to focus its energies towards. A series of wars followed, most ending quickly: Their opponents lacked either the technology or the force of will to successfully counter them.

Initial encounters with the Terran Confederation gave the Kilrathi rulers little reason to believe the conflict would be any different. Attempts to deal with the Kilrathi through peaceful means met with contempt from the Kilrathi, who viewed it as a further sign of Human weakness, and their place as a prey species. The illusion would persist right up until the opening engagement of the war…

Culture

The Kilrathi are a warrior culture focused on the ideals of personal honor, clan honor, and devotion to the war god Sivar. Much of Kilrathi behaviour in combat is dictated by three basic tenets.

  • Focus on the Strongest - As a predatory species, the Kilrathi instinct is to attack weak or injured members of a unit. Frequently exploited in the early days of the war, Kilrathi doctrine has been altered to run counter to instinct, making a focused attack on the largest threat a priority.
  • Respond to the Challenge - The Kilrathi estabish dominance and social heirarchy through personal challenges of honor. The concept is integral to the structure of Kilrathi society. Though these challenges are not always to the death, the results can often be lethal.
  • Obey Without Question - Obedience to superiors without question is the most basic principle of the Kilrathi military. Imagination and creativity are attributes only encouraged in the nobility (who are frequently senior commanders, regardless of experience). Line troops (frequently commoners) are expected to obey without pause for question or interpretation. Should a commander's orders become unachieveable, and no commander availible to provide new orders, Kilrathi units are frequently thrown into chaos.

Due to their nature as a predatory species, the Kilrathi tend to regard their opponents as prey, beaneath the application of the rituals and customs that govern Kilrathi society. The unexpected duration of war with the Confederation has begun to challenge this view, but only among a small number of Kilrathi.

As the war has dragged on, Kilrathi society has begun to subtly fracture along three lines: A small minority of Kilrathi have begun to view Humanity as a fellow warrior race, equal in skill. They have begun to see the Terran-Kilrathi war in the context of a contest between warriors for social dominance, and believe there will be no dishonor in concluding hostilities once this has been properly established. A second small faction believes that the Kilrathi traditions have become outdated, and that the traditional concepts of honor will have to be abandoned to defeat humanity. This faction is, slowly, beginning to gain influence in the circles of power around the Emperor. The majority of the Kilrathi remain traditionalists, however, bound to the ancient customs and rituals. It is, perhaps, a measure of the scope of the Terran-Kilrathi war that this is taking place at all, even in its current, limited, form. Factionalization along ideological rather than clan lines is unknown in modern Kilrathi history… and only time will tell if their culture can withstand the strain, no matter how the war against the humans progresses.