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Taur

From beyond the outer reaches of the Aethera System came the taur. As a species whose entire society is dedicated to death and destruction, the taur’s goals are atavistic, but their history is shrouded behind their former worship of a vile god. The demon god Baphomet once led the taur race to their conquest over countless star systems far beyond Aethera. Priests once led the taur fleets of maze ships through the void, communing with Baphomet to earn the necessary guidance to ply the darkness between the stars. The taur maze ships were powered by channeling this divine energy, using the direct will of Baphomet to move their impossibly large ships through space. When the priests led the taur into the Aethera System, they lost their connection with Baphomet, stranding their ships within. In exchange for this failure, the taur warlords enacted a swift but bloody coup. They killed and ate their priests and—in their minds—devoured their god as well, and in doing so gained his strength, standing atop the metaphorical corpse of their deity.

This period of weakness and instability is what allowed the combined forces of the erahthi and human armies to combat the taur on an even footing. This would have ended in the destruction of the entire taur invasion fleet, had it not been for the well-timed arrival of a new ally—the kytons. The kytons came to the taur with specially designed technology to allow taur vessels to breach the boundary between the Shadow and the Material, traversing within the Shadow to cross vast distances. The taur warlords, still reeling from their first defeat in millennia, greedily took the apple of science that the kytons and welcoming their new allies.

In the years that passed since the taur defeat over Kir-Sharaat, the alliance between kyton and taur has birthed unimaginable horrors. The engines of the taur maze ships were refitted, now powered by negative energy and capable of shifting between the Material and the Shadow, and of traveling at tremendous speeds while in the Shadow, allowing the taur to strike at great distances without the aid of the Gate Hub Complex. Prisoners of the kytons are brought to maze ships in the Shadow, tortured into new and terrifyingly imaginative forms. Cages of these living weapons fill the bowels of maze ships. The taur alliance is an uneasy one, however, and the differences of ethos between kyton and taur tests this balance of power regularly. What the kytons truly want from the taur is unknown, but the screams of their offerings carry through the labyrinths.

Following the death of their high priests, their generals—the warlords—lead the taur fleets, each asserting their dominance through personal force and martial cunning. Each warlord is supported by a handful of autarchs—highly-skilled leaders in their own right—who in turn oversee the chiefs that supervise the numerous proven of the taur race. At the lowest rung of this social hierarchy are the innumerable unproven—taur seeking recognition from higher-ranked members of their race.

Supplementing the forces of the taur are the numerous enslaved demons who now serve the former followers of Baphomet. Prior to the death of the priestly caste, the demons were considered equals among the proven ranks of taur, for they represented other followers and children of their patron deity. Now, the demons are cut-off from the powers that created them.

To survive the taur’s internal religious purge, many demons pledged themselves to the cause, offering their services to the varied warlords of the taur fleets. Instead they were shackled and forced to bend a knee to the new taur paradigm. Friction between the kyton allies of the taur and demons keeps maze ships at a constant boiling point, with these entities keeping distance from one-another as much as possible. Worse are the growing number of demons that realize their divine spark in the Aethera System and the intoxicating power of becoming a living idol. Taur who discover such 247 cults forming within their ranks are quick to slaughter the offending demon before it can become a living idol, but many nascent idols are now imprisoned in the depths of maze ships, unable to truly be slain.

The taur themselves are towering humanoids, reminiscent of a minotaur, but possessing far greater intellect. As minotaurs are unknown in the Aethera System, this similarity is lost on its inhabitants and the taur themselves are silent on the matter. The taur are both savvy engineers and superstitious cannibals, killing the powerful and consuming their hearts—or in some cases their entire bodies—in the belief that it grants them greater strength. The weak and pathetic are not eaten, but rather enslaved and forced to toil within the claustrophobic tunnels of maze ships and larger world ships. Intelligent slaves are turned into engineers, adding their creativity to taur engines of destruction.

Racial Abilities

Creatures of this race possess the following abilities unless otherwise stated in their respective entries.

Engineering Intuition (Ex)

Taur possess an uncanny understanding of machines and mechanical devices. They always treat Craft (mechanical) and Disable Device as class skills and may use those skills untrained even if they would not normally be able to. Additionally, taur can identify the properties of any mechanical or aethertech device with a successful Perception check with a DC equal to the object’s Craft DC.

Natural Cunning (Ex)

Taur possess innate cunning and logical ability. This gives them immunity to maze spells and prevents them from ever becoming lost. Additionally, they are never caught flat-footed.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Alien Codex © 2018, Legendary Games; Lead Designer: Jason Nelson. Authors: Anthony Adam, Kate Baker, John Bennet, Eytan Bernstein, Robert Brookes, Russ Brown, Duan Byrd, Paris Crenshaw, Jeff Dahl, Robyn Fields, Joel Flank, Matt Goodall, Robert J. Grady, Jim Groves, Steven T. Helt, Thurston Hillman, Tim Hitchcock, Nick Hite, Daniel Hunt, Mike Kimmel Marshall, Isabelle Lee, Jeff Lee, Lyz Liddell, Jason Nelson, Richard Pett, Tom Phillips, Jeff Provine, Alistair J. Rigg, Alex Riggs, Wendall Roy, Mike Shel, Neil Spicer, Todd Stewart, Russ Taylor, Rachel Ventura, Mike Welham, George Loki Williams, Scott Young.