Minor Races- The Arient Homeworld Summary

Minor Races- The Arient
Ah’Rien, single small moon; (C)654737-4 C(I,Z) Gg Ag R
Planetary Summary: Surface gravity 0.75gs;
A humanoid species evolved from hunters; reclusive, but diameter 10,000km; Thin atmosphere/Very Cold
arrogant psychics feared by Imperium and Zhodani alike. temperature; Wet world (45 % Hyd. %ge).
Population: approx 50m planet-wide.
The Arient come from the technologically backward
planet of Ah’Rien, though many of their ruling
monastic hierarchies have established priories on nearby
planets in their sub-sector of origin and even one or two
remote priories in adjacent sub-sectors. The Arient are
species of psionic wielders who refuse to accept
Imperial or Zhodani jurisdiction.
Government: Self-perpetuating religious oligarchy,
individual abbeys headed by monastically-elected
abbot govern each local area.
Law Level: Nominally 7 (Firearms & narcotics,
including Psi-drugs, prohibited by local laws; provision
of off-world information to locals & travel by citizens
off-planet prohibited by Imperium; locals welcome
The Arient culture is based on numerous monasteries, contact with visitors). Psionics are not banned, but
each of which acts as a focus of psionic study and local ordinances prohibit use of any telepathy outside
development as well as governing their local area, monasteries except in direst emergency.
including nearby towns and smaller communities. Each
monastery is a centre for administrative, banking, taxation, Tech Level: Voluntarily held to Early Industrial; Few
medical research and police functions. Smaller priories plastics, no radio, extensive steam/coal power, some
exist in more remote locations, each priory nominally electricity for more advanced medical facilities,
controlled by a parent abbey, but in practice many such lighting and heating.
priories act independently of the abbey and develop
their own cultural and psionic practices. There is a Starport: On-planet class E (shuttles/max 200t only);
great deal of disagreement between each ruling monastery Orbital Imperial space station class C with Imperial
as to political and social policy and even religious beliefs, Consulate and Imperial cruiser permanently on-station.
the only common practice between them all being that
all advanced psionic use should be limited to the well- Bases: Imperial Consulate on space station; Zhodani
protected abbeys and monastic chapels.
consulate cruiser and patrol craft also in-system;
infrequent smuggler contact with locals.
The planet Ah’Rien is Red Zoned by the TAS due to the
presence of the Arient. Both Zhodani and Imperium have Gas Giants: 2.
bases in-system and mount patrols around the planet to
prevent starships landing. The planet is a violently cold Meteorite Belts: 2, one within “habitable” zone , one
and windy planet, the wind rarely dropping below a more sparse further out.
strong breeze. Communication using sound (and hearing)
is difficult, as is the use of any primitive, long-range Trade Codes: Agricultural; nominally Garden but
weapons. Creating a fire in the open is impossible and intense cold reduces capability; Rural.
survival gear is needed on the planet surface for those
not used to the harsh conditions. The local technology Arient Characters
is barely more advanced than steam power; steam and
water driven power stations generating some electricity A typical Arient is generated as for humans with the
for heating, lighting and medicinal purposes. The following modifications:
townships act as locations for trade, commerce,
manufacturing and technological research.
Body Structure: Fundamentally bipedal humanoid,
with rigid spine; height is slightly shorter than human.
Characeristics: Str -2, Dex-1, End +1, Soc 1d6+3
(non-Imperial), Psionics +2;
Speed: 5 walk, +2 when run (multiple walks in the
same round).
Species attributes: Communicate primarily by Psionics;
+2 bonus learning Telepathy, -4 to acquire Teleportation as upbringing and genetic make-up heavily favours
the former over the latter. Communication with sound
using aliens requires TL12 facial musculature
interpretation device or the use of a mutually-developed
or understood sign language.
Irrespective of any ability to learn the more advanced telepathy
skills, all Arient have the skill ‘Mindtalk’ (see below).
Arient Psionics
All Arient on Ah’Rien are measured for Psionic potential
by their local abbey or priory at age 4. Psionic skill is
then fixed at that age due to constant use. The abbeys
and priories teach an additional skill ‘Channel’ to those
who have acquired the Awareness talent.
The Arient are, loosely, humanoid. Their forwardprojecting heads are angular, highlighting wideset,
forward-focussing eyes that are multi-lidded and often
shaded by a translucent, inner eyelid. A simple flap suffices
for a nose and their powerful jaw is thin-lipped, covering sharp,
feral teeth. The monastics and peasants in and around
some priories file these down as an affectation illustrating their development beyond the crass needs of their
carnivore descendents. Given the nature of Ah’Rien, it
is not surprising they lack visible ears, though they are
sensitive to pressure changes. Though expected to be
slender and perhaps tall, they are slightly shorter than
humans, their torso misshapen due to the need to resist
the cold, only their long, limber, powerful hunters legs
and skinny arms showing their low-gravity world origin. They can fold their limbs close into to their body,
inside their robes, to preserve warmth.
When dressed in their long, hooded robes and walking slowly, they can pass for stooping humans. What
would give them away is a slightly unnatural gait, short
arms, and the communicator across their face, though a
mask or helmet could replace this. If not robed, their
Mindtalk (all Arient): This skill enables conscious hunter-derived legs and human-bestial face is an easy
communication between psionics, but not with non- giveaway.
psionics. It can be shielded as for telepathy. Usage costs
for Mindtalk are ‘-1 + Telepathy Range’, so can be used Communications: They communicate between
up to 3m without cost even if character is at 0 Psionic Rat- themselves using their Mindtalk ability. Though
ing (-1 < 0). All Arient begin with Mindtalk-1. Non- lacking a voicebox, some have learned to shape their
Arient psionics can learn this skill after a period of mouths and lips into a very rough approximation of
study lasting ‘3d6 - Psionic skill’ weeks with a master Imperial Standard as they expel air. This needs a TL12
sensory/translator device fitted over their mouths to
of the skill (a psionic with Mindtalk-3).
allow them to be heard. Such devices are few and far
Channel (Awareness talent): This power is available between, with few abbeys having more than a
to those Arient who are taught the Awareness talent. It functional pair and many homeworld priories are lucky
is used within the Arient monastic rites to continually to have a single device. Offworld priories typically
power those at the centre of the rite. Given from 4 to have between 4-6 such devices to aid in their
24 monks could be involved in a specific rite, the communication with other species.
practitioner can continue using his skills for a while.
Gender: The Arient are essentially gender-less for
Usage Cost for Channel is:
much of their lives. They pass through a stage of being
female in their teens, during which time they could give
Channelled Psi points + 1 + Telepathy Range costs.
birth anyywhere from to zero to three offspring. This
The recipient gains the Psi Points channelled. A recipient is followed by a gap of two to six years of transition,
can only ‘store’ up to twice his Psionic rating in points, leading to a further period of two to three years being a
though may use them immediately, and any points gained wandering male. After this, they turn neuter for the rest
of their lives.
through Channel fade over the passage of a day.
Arient generally ignore any visitors to their worlds
unless the visitors are actively psionic in some way or
have a strong, untrained psionic potential (10+). However, amongst themselves, they are avidly inquisitive
for knowledge. Paper is constantly recycled for use in
books and any acquired knowledge is quickly
disseminated around the planet, the presses rarely being
inactive. Despite being primitive, communication is
fast, news either being transmitted from mind-to-mind
rapidly over local distances, or between monasteries
by psionics acting in concert during simultaneous rites
geared towards world-wide communication. Despite
the presence of so many printing presses, newspapers
are therefore unknown: the news is always too old!
The Arient are survivors in a cold climate. They are
highly religious, but do not seem to worship either a primitive
pantheon or a more sophisticated deity, their religion giving
a structure to their abilities and lifestyle. A select, elite few
choose to follow a strict, monastic lifestyle that segregates
male and female members of the species. The majority of the
citizenry live relatively trouble-free lives on their farms or in
the towns, apparently content to support the local monasteries
through a voluntary taxation system that adapts itself on a
year-by-year basis to the economy. The administrators in the
monasteries act as a form of government, but no Arient in a
monastery has a job for life: they are expected to retire after
they have reached their peak and return to the citizenry,
helping the local community and acting as elders and advisors Internal Politics
as fully-committed members of Ah’Rien life.
A peer-to-peer relationship exists between the major
Though each area is nominally governed by the local abbeys around Ah’Rien. Each abbey has minor,
prior or abbot, such rule is fundamentally hands-off, specialist priories around them who acknowledge the
there being little contact between the peasantry and the oversight of the abbot. Even off-world priories
monastics other than through the provision of food and acknowledge an abbot in an abbey on Ah’Rien as their
resources, the delivery of government and law and overlord. Though they have had some exposure to offorder and the dissemination of research.
worlders, their automatic contempt for non-psionics
means no offworlder has yet been allow to become an
It is possible that this “voluntary” system works due to abbot (and is unlikely to ever be elected as one).
the extreme potential of power held by the active monks
and the retired monks; troublemakers are not capable of An abbot is the most senior Arient in an abbey, which
making trouble for long.
is a monastery consisting of more than eight, dedicated
monks, typically 40 or more plus supporting staff of
Breeding is carefully controlled and matches are made around 200. A prior is merely the most senior Arient
by the local abbots or priors, or local village elders in in a priory, a monastery of eight or less monks with a
the absence of an active monastery. The talented off- typical supporting staff of around 20. Though nomispring are brought up in specialised nursery monasteries nally in charge, and certainly responsible, an abbot and
before being separated from their parents and taken to prior always delegates many of his responsibilities and
a distant monastery. The reason for this is, once more, authority to those most capable of achieving them.
highly pragmatic. The potential for catastrophe arising
from uncontrolled use of Psionic powers is huge, with A local area is presided over by an abbey, each village
additional problems arising from uncontrolled feed- in the area being presided over by a friar on detached
back and Channelling between conjoined couples.
duty from the abbey. A priory typically has only one
or two attached villages, whilst an abbey can have
Around each abbey and priory are extensive forest- anything up to a dozen plus a substantial sized town
based farms, mostly stock-breeding rather than outside its walls.
agriculture. Though the locals appear to live a primitive,
rural existence, steam-generated electricity is used for Police duties are carried out by monks on patrol
lighting, heating and medicinal facilities as well as for from local monastery. Outside towns and the starpresses, of which there is at least one in every village. port, these are rarely seen, but frequently turn up
Extensive use is made of steam from coal to power the just in time to resolve a disturbance or issue, lending
generators and the few broad-gauge, steam railways credence to the suspicion that they are controlled by
that link major towns and abbeys.
a powerful local Clairvoyant.
New skills
Two new talents, Mindtalk and Awareness(Channel)
are as outlined above. In addition, a Telepathy based
ability ‘Blind’ has been developed by the Arient.
Career paths
Typical career paths are as follows:
Scholar/Field Researcher (without Advanced Education), though a careful justification would be needed for
Computers and Sensors skills;
Entertainer/Journalist is a possible career on-planet,
with similar limitations on Comms and Computers;
Drifter/Barbarian or /Wanderer reflects their local
lifestyle well, the Melee(blade) skills being the only
weapons permitted on-planet.
Psion/Wild Talent or /Adept. Qualification roll for
entry into a Arient monastic community is automatic
for Psionic Strength 10+, otherwise Psionic Strength 8+
(not 6+).Though Comms and Computers would need
careful justification or replacement, any failed skill roll
for an un-possessed talent may be, instead, put into
Mindtalk or Awareness(Channel).
A note on Arient religious rites: Arient only perform
their more powerful psionics within their religious rites
and meditations, each rite intended to practice and develop
a different skill. Condemned criminals are rare, but
when they are, they are sometimes used at the centre
of these rites. An abbot can call a rite to defend the
monastery, within the rites being able to command any
Psionic participating to perform a task. An abbot will
not invoke the rites for offensive purposes... indeed if
anyone is harmed it will be because the abbot literally
had no other choice or an accident occurred that the
abbot or the monastery could not control. Given the
propensity of Arient mystics to donate their psionic
strength to each other, such capabilities can often be
extremely powerful.
The Arient are primarily stock-keepers, having bred
This talent has arisen out of their hunting past. Though local hunted stock to domesticity. They grow a few
in some ways similar to Assault, Blind makes the target spicy lichens and herbs in sheltered caverns or canyons,
unable to processes any perceptions he has of the user: but otherwise grow only a few plants needed for
in effect the target is blind and deaf to the user’s actions. essential minerals.
Of course, if the target is attacked, then he knows it and
can defend against an unknown or unseen attacker (the The primary career path for an Arient who decides to
enter a monastery and develop his psionic skills is that
Imperium recommends stun grenades).
of an Adept or Arient monastic.
BLIND: Telepathy, Psionic Strength, 1-6 rounds, Very Difficult (-4).
Costs 4+Range.
Zhodani: Unsurprisingly , the Zhodani are highly interested in
the race and keep a diplomatic mission in orbit around
Ah’Rien, despite the fact that Ah’Rien is well within
the Imperial zone of influence. They continually try
to make contact with different monasteries, trying to
persuade them to join the Zhodani sphere of influence,
but are continually rebutted. The key to this frustration
is one of Arient arrogance: the superior psions regard
the Zhodani as too impure as a whole strata of
Zhodani society lacks any psionic capability at all and
their culture promotes the use of Psionics in their daily
life, thus damaging its purity and the achievement of
celestial openness. Nonetheless, the Zhodani are resolute,
hoping to find a priory or monastery that may develop a
slightly different attitude. It is mainly through Zhodani
merchants and government-supported “smugglers” that
the Arient gain their off-world technology.
Player Hints:
Before generating his career, decide on whether your
Arient is, indeed, a wandering younger male, an inquisitive
peasant, or a more mature friar or a monastic rebel.
Though mature friar should be constrained in his use
of his Psionic skills, it may be that the motivation and
conflict between saving his associates through his skills
opposed to his religious directive to not use them acts
as an interesting character motivator.
All Arient are automatically tested for Psionic skills at
age 18 and can automatically enter a monastery if their
Psionic ability is 7 or more. This will help you cut off
his career after a suitable number of terms, remembering
a female is unlikely to be more than 22 (1 term) and a
male unlikely to be more than 30-31 years old (3 terms).
The Imperium is concerned about challenging the Arient directly, so merely tries to keep them isolated on
Ah’Rien and on the few worlds to which they have created new monasteries. In contrast to the Zhodani, the
little Imperial contact there is with the Arient is focussed
towards maintaining and enhancing their isolationist
lifestyle. Any request by a monastery of Ah’Rien for
greater autonomy from the rest of the universe is considered
very seriously, and if any errant priories are recalled to
Ah’Rien, the Imperium is quick to provide transports
(all the crew expensively psion-shielded, of course).
Though an Arient is naturally gifted, he cannot help but
be acutely aware that those around him in the
imperium are not only untalented, but are frequently
hostile to his capabilities. Those who know about the
Arient are very suspicious about their presence. What
does he do? Does he cover them up, hide them? Use
them surreptitiously? Does he pretend to be from a
completely different race, or even an untalented
peasant from Ah’Rien who resents his oppressed lifestyle?
Special Relationships
The difference between a friar and a monastic rebel is
that the former has a warrant from his abbot to explore
the universe and gather knowledge and information to
return to his abbey. A monastic rebel has turned his
The TAS has Red Zoned Ah’Rien and has taken the unusual back on the Arient and has no official support; he is a
step of raising an Amber Zone warning on any planet loner, a hermit by the standards of his own species, and
supporting an Arient priory colony, irrespective of will be outcast if he uses his psionic abilities outside the
whether or not the planet would otherwise qualify for confines of an Arient monastic institution. Nonetheless,
Amber Zoning. The strange and powerful natural skills such a rogue can be an interesting character, though he
of the Arient pose a significant risk to TAS members.
is likely to evoke fear from those who recognise him
for what he is.
Character motivations
An individual Arient is either likely to be a young male
on his peregrinations, a peasant, a friar on detached,
investigative duties – perhaps looking for a suitable
location of a new priory – or a monastic rebel, an Arient
who has spurned the strict rules and oppressive
domination of the Arient monastic life and wishes to
explore the world.
Minor Races -The Arient
Written by Tim Bancroft
Art by Jason Rhodes
Requires the use of the Traveller(TM) Main Rulebook,
available from Mongoose Publishing