Getting as much Rigelian information as possible.

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Getting as much Rigelian information as possible.

Postby sandywhite90 on Sat 14 Jul 2018 07:56

I'm doing some writing and other things Starfire - and I'd like to build a repository of Rigelian artifacts and stories.

I've read through "Stars at War" and doing my best to find stuff here - but I can't find information that even describes how they look!

So without further ado...would the SF community be willing to put links, data and your own ideas on this thread?

And as usual - if there is a place with all this nicely wrapped-up, then point me the way.

Thanks!
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Re: Getting as much Rigelian information as possible.

Postby aramis on Sat 14 Jul 2018 11:01

ISTR there's an article in Nexus. Checking the RPGGeek database, yes. Issue 12 of Nexus.
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Re: Getting as much Rigelian information as possible.

Postby Cralis on Sat 14 Jul 2018 15:04

Many moons ago we had "Encyclopedia Galactica" entries for all of the races on the old website. When we changed the website to be more about Starfire as a whole, instead of just about Classic Starfire, we never put the pages back.

I thought the bulk of this information was in the racial descriptions at the beginning of the Stars At War, but I haven't looked in a long time. They are in the Legacy Package in the !History directory, and of course I still have them. :)

Here is the entry for the Rigellians:

The Rigelians were not, in fact, "Rigelians" at all - just as Orions are not truly denizens of the constellation of Orion. The label was applied by Terran strategic analysts in the early days of the Third Interstellar War following their discovery that the entire Protectorate pivoted around the gigantic warp junction of Rigel. The true home world of the Rigelian race was apparently the planet Kali in the Kalizwah binary system, though it is impossible to absolutely confirm this, due to the general destruction attendant upon the Rigelians' extermination. It is believed that the species is now entirely extinct, although the possibility that a "lost colony world" or two may have been missed during ISW-3's chaotic final months cannot be completely excluded.

The racial home world (whether it was actually Kali or not) was a harsh, inhospitable environment of severe heat and aridity. Existing records indicate a particularly limited hydrosphere characterized by huge deserts spotted with moss-like vegetation possessing deep root systems capable of storing vast quantities of moisture.

Rigelians resembled enormous Terran wolverines and bore some resemblance to Orion sheklash. They were oviparous mammals with minimal sexual dimorphism, averaging approximately 1.5 meters in length and covered with fluffy pelts. The pelt, which ranged from brown to auburn in color, had a high insulation efficiency and apparently aided in retention of body moisture. The eyes were quite small and had a transparent inner lid which served to protect them from the harsh sunlight and temperatures of their native world.

Although Rigelians normally moved quadrupedally, they possessed eight-fingered hands with two opposable thumbs on each, giving them a degree of manual dexterity only an Ophiuchi could hope to match. Their fingers curled under to form a pad when walking on all fours and were quite strong.

Rigelian family structure lacked any clear, sexually-defined role models. Each mated pair apparently devised its own, unique family unit organization, with childrearing, housekeeping, and all other tasks assigned on a pragmatic, almost asexual basis. Each family unit, however, was invariably nuclear.

This flexible family structure apparently resulted from Rigelian reproductive modes and body form. Since all adults were of approximately equal size and strength, and since females suffered no overt physical handicap during gestation, there was no pressing need for sexually-defined roles. Either parent could brood the eggs, and either parent could raise and educate the young.

Rigelians were intensely and militantly religious, with a crusading fanaticism very much at odds with most other star-traveling civilizations. They worshipped the god Tarwix, who appeared as a gigantic Rigelian imbued with all Rigelian virtues: intelligence, cunning, strength, bravery, ruthlessness, loyalty, perseverance, hardihood, and intolerance. Their religion supported a politically powerful priesthood but stopped (narrowly) short of being an outright theocracy. The Tarwix Manata, or Church of Tarwix, was headed by the Tarwas ("Son of Tarwix") or Tarfwa ("Daughter of Tarwix"), who exercised great power behind the scenes. Church leaders preferred to bargain with political leaders, always reserving the implicit threat of religious denunciation of unsatisfactory policies. Compromise solutions were generally reached without resorting to public confrontation, but membership in the Tarwix Manata was universal and demonstrated piety was a prerequisite for public office, which assured that the government was always composed of good sons and daughters of the Church.

Rigelian philosophy reflected the early planetary history of the race, which evolved under harsh conditions and in competition with a rival sentient race - the saurian Rozhark. Antipathy between the races was violent from the beginning, and was made worse by the inhospitable environment and limited resources of their joint home world. Competition became a grim war for racial survival, with no quarter asked or given. The millennia-long battle ended only in historic times with the terrible "Hammers of Tarwix" in the Terran Standard Year 1965. This asteroid bombardment of the planetary surface by Rigelian refugees living in orbital habitats totally exterminated the Rozhark... and also all Rigelians on the surface of Kali. It was not until 1984 (Terran Standard) that the surviving space-dwelling Rigelians were able to land once more on their shattered home world.

The unremitting savagery of this endless, genocidal struggle created and shaped the three fundamental Rigelian philosophical concepts: sharfax ("unity of the people"), ozhmord ("the way"), and homtet (for which there is no precise translation.)

Sharfax stressed the absolute unity of the Rigelian race, more or less relegating the individual Rigelian to the status of a single leaf on the tree of his people. The individual had the right to whatever pleasure and satisfaction he could attain, but always within the context of his duty to his people. This concept produced a highly unified and tightly organized society.

Ozhmord was a philosophical way of life which reflected sharfax. In essence, ozhmord called for aggressive submergence of the individual in the Rigelian race's struggle for survival.

Homtet, while not precisely or neatly translatable, was an extreme, almost pathological xenophobia. It was an intolerance which amounted to unreasoning hatred even of races which could not survive a Rigelian environment and hence could not be rivals for the types of planets the Protectorate sought. Homtet was so ingrained into the Rigelian psyche that it amounted to an acquired instinct. Indeed, some xenoanthropologists argue that homtet truly was instinctive, equating to the territorial instincts of lower animals.

Rigelian politics revolved around the Zarfhod, an elected head of state with absolute power. The Zarfhod served for a single term of sixteen Rigelian years (24.8 Terran Standard Years) and was elected by popular vote. To be eligible for the office, a Rigelian must have served in an executive capacity in the military, held at least high lay office in the Tarwix Manata, and fathered or borne at least eight young. These qualifications were considered absolutely essential for a head of state who was supreme warlord of a race waging eternal war for its very survival. By the same token, only Rigelians who had served in the military or (at the direction of the military) in the state bureaucracy were eligible to vote for the Zarfhod.

There were no constitutional means to remove an incompetent Zarfhod from office, but a strict interpretation of ozhmord and ruthlessly applied sharfax gave a certain legitimacy to the assassination of any Zarfhod whose gross incapacity threatened the greater racial well being.

There was little social stratification among Rigelians. Under sharfax, all Rigelians were considered to be equally important to (or expendable in) the racial advantage. What stratification there was depended entirely on ozhmord, since the greater a Rigelian's sacrifice for his race, the greater the honor and deference accorded to him (or to his memory, at least).

Economic stratification was unheard of among Rigelians. The race's great emphasis on the survival of the species at any cost created an economic communism which baffles most non-Rigelians. The race as a whole craved an ever higher standard of living (perhaps as a concrete expression of racial survivability), but Rigelian philosophy and the decrees of generations of Zarfhods insisted that the same standard of living must obtain for all Rigelians.

Professional stratification, based on career choice, was also limited except in as much as a given profession partook of ozhmord. A scientist whose work promoted racial superiority was highly regarded and widely honored. Another scientist, even in the same field, whose work contributed less dramatically to the racial advantage received less honor. This use of ozhmord as a social stratifier extended to all professions under the Protectorate. Sanitation workers, plumbers, medical personnel, etc., who strove mightily to practice ozhmord were rewarded socially for their efforts, just as an individual who, whatever his profession, was less vigorous in his ozhmord was an object of contempt. The sole class of Rigelian society which was universally reviled was the class of Tarwix Hukozh ("the Hated of Tarwix," sometimes translated as "the Rejected by Tarwix"), the outcasts whose failures in ozhmord led to the racial ostracism. This was the second most severe punishment any Rigelian could receive, yet there was a sort of backhand honor in being condemned to the Tarwix Hukozh, as the class formed the racial conscience of the Rigelians, serving as a sort of horrible example (within the culture) of the failure of their obligations.

Non-Rigelians have expressed surprise at the low suicide rate among the Tarwix Hukozh, particularly in light of the readiness with which Rigelians accepted death in battle. These outcasts, however, appeared to feel an honor obligation to live out their lives as examples of failure. Thus even ostracized Rigelians partook of ozhmord and buttressed the almost inconceivable unity and violent determination of the race to survive and triumph.

Rigelians were bound by an ironclad, unwavering honor code, called Sharozhmord ("The Way of the People"), which was a living expression of sharfax, ozhmord, and homtet. Sharozhmord was also equivalent to the observation of the tenets of the Church, and thus had religious as well as secular foundations. Sharozhmord required a Rigelian to remember always that he or she was only a single unit of a race whose only alternative destinies were absolute power or absolute annihilation. Rigelians were suicidally courageous as individuals, largely because of Sharozhmord - which also made them totally untrustworthy in dealing with non-Rigelians yet totally reliable in dealings with their own people.

Sharozhmord also forbade a Rigelian to surrender under any circumstances. Surrender was to betray the race through sharshi ("the erosion of the people"), a concept which held that the defeat of any Rigelian was a small defeat for all Rigelians, and that enough small defeats would, in time, become general defeat and destruction. As a corollary of sharshi, the death of a Rigelian was both beneficial and, indeed, necessary if it could inflict loss on a racial enemy.

In addition, Sharozhmord produced a society in which there was virtually no "crime" (in the Terran or Orion sense). In fact, the entire fabric of Rigelian jurisprudence was concerned solely with what might be called "crimes of omission" - failure to act in the racial interest with sufficient vigor.

Rigelian judges were appointed by the Zarfhod, who could also remove them at will, and there was no appeal from any Rigelian court. Punishment for relatively minor failures in Sharozhmord was ostracism to the Tarwix Hukozh. The only other sentence was kradan. Kradan was execution, but not just execution. An individual sentenced to kradan was dishonored forever and expunged from all RigelianRigetian records, including those of his family, as if he had never existed. In a sense, it was the ultimate exclusion from the all-important unity of the race. Condemnation to the Tarwix Hukozh, on the other hand, was held to expiate the crime. Indeed, Rigelians took a certain pride in an ancestor who was ostracized yet managed to live out his life with dignity.

By the standards of most races, the Rigelians should probably be considered insane. The Webster-Wiley Index of Militancy has established a theoretical upper limit of 100%. On this scale, the Terran Federation as a whole has a militancy of 45%, while the most militant subsegment of the Federation (the Fringe Worlds) have a militancy of just over 80%. According to the Webster-Wiley formulae, however, the Rigelians possessed a militancy of 117%.

Despite this, Rigelians showed an almost unbelievable tolerance for one another in their personal dealings (though none at all for their fellows who violated their basic philosophical and religious tenets). This is less strange than it may seem, for the basis of their incredible militancy is found in the race's absolute belief that it could survive only if it did not allow any other race to do so. Thus the very motivations which created their high interspecies militancy emphasized their own essential unity.

The Rigelians' traditional galactic view was completely shaped by their racial history. From the moment of the first conflict with the Rozhark, the Rigelians were launched on a programmedprogramed course toward total galactic supremacy or racial extinction. Negotiation was useful only when it led to eventual victory or staved off eventual defeat, but total victory was always the final objective. And, for the Rigelians, victory meant the final extermination of all present and potential enemies of the race. In the Rigelian view, the galaxy - just as their original home world had been - was large enough for only one race.

The Protectorate was, inevitably, intensely militarized. Unlike most galactic powers, however, the Rigelians had no independent or even autonomous planetary combat service arm. Their single, unified service was the Kontaio Shardazhru ("Sword and Shield of the People"), and it was uncompromisingly oriented for deep space warfare.

There are many historical reasons for this, stretching back to the time of The Hammers of Tarwix and the race's retreat into Kali's orbital habitats. All traces of previous planetary combat forces were obliterated in this catastrophe, and there was no need for them, anyway, when the race lived only in space. There was only the space navy, which was charged with protecting and nurturing the fragile habitats.

As time passed, the Kontaio Shardazhru did, in fact, recreate other service branches out of its own personnel, but always as subordinate commands under all four thumbs of the Admiralty. Thus all Rigelian military forces were under the command of the Zharazhrushard ("High Swordsman"), the equivalent of the Terran Federation's Chief of Naval Operations.

By ISW-3, the Kontaio Shardazhru (which was commonly referred to by the Grand Alliance as the Rigelian Protectorate Space Arm, or RPSA) consisted of:

(1) Kontaidar'shk ("Shieldarm and Guard"), or Battle Fleet
(2) Zhrukahall'mazok ("Longsword of Battle"), or Carrier Fleet
(3) Tarwi'lo Wamash ("Wrath of Tarwix"), or Planetary Assault Command
(4) J'hil'mazokń ("Water of War"), or Unified Supply and Fleet Train.

The Rigelian names for these branches (and their Terran functional translations) are given because they indicate so much about Rigelian military orientation. Note for example that Battle Fleet, which consisted of all combat starships except the carriers, was referred to as the "Shieldarm and Guard," while all carriers were formed into the "Longsword of Battle." This is a very clear indication of the functions and relative duties of the two fleet organizations. Battle Fleet's task was primarily defensive - to support, escort, and protect Carrier Fleet. Carrier Fleet, on the other hand, was the decisive arm, designed to spearhead in the assault role and to provide the primary striking power of the defense. The title Tarwi'lo Shankrizho ("Spearhead of Tarwix") was assigned to Carrier Fleet's Strikefighter Command, further emphasizing the decisive importance of Carrier Fleet.

Likewise, the name assigned the ground forces ("Wrath of Tarwix"), was singularly appropriate and revealing for a force whose primary duty was to clean up surrendered planets and oversee the extermination of conquered populations.

Finally, there was the "Water of War," a utilitarian quartermaster corps responsible for all freight and rear echelon personnel movement and also for the systematic processing of captured material and facilities.

Note also that the RPSA had no equivalent of the Federation's Fortress Command. The fortifications of Rigelian planets were found in the missiles and strikefighters of the Kontaio Shardazhru. Orbital fortresses might be hurriedly cobbled up as an emergency measure, but Rigelian contempt for all other space navies was such that confidence in the Fleet was absolute. In the Rigelian view, they were the master spacefarers of the galaxy, and they asked nothing more than to meet their foes weapon-to-weapon in deep space.

The supreme military authority of the Kontaio Shardazhru was vested in the Zarfhod, which was one reason only an experienced military officer could hold that office. Under the Zarfhod came the Zharazhrushard, functionally equivalent to the Terran Sky Marshal but organizationally equivalent to the Chief of Naval Operations - that is, the Kontaio Shardazhru's senior admiral - who was directly responsible for the operation and management of all military resources. Under the Zharazhrushard came the other members of the Kontaio Shardazhru's officer corps. Approximate translations of their rank titles and TFN equivalents are given below. All branches of the service used identical ranks and rank insignia.

Kontalo Shardazhru* Terran Rank
Least Swordsman Midshipman
Lesser Swordsman Lieutenant (JG/SG)
Axbearer Lieutenant Commander
Great Axbearer Commander
Greater Swordsman Captain
Swordsman of Worlds Rear Admiral
Swordsman of Stars Vice Admiral
Swordsman of Many Stars Admiral/Fleet Admiral
High Swordsman Sky Marshal/CNO

*Approximate Terran Standard English translation

It is interesting to speculate on the origin of the two "Axbearer" ranks, particularly since in Rigelian literary tradition the term "swordsman" is associated with their own race and the term "axbearer" with the Rozhark from the Ages of Conflict. No convincing explanation for this apparent anomaly has yet been advanced. Recruiting, as such, did not exist for the Rigelians. An adult Rigelian was at the disposal of the state from the moment he attained his majority; until his death, he went where ordered and served as required. With such paramount authority over the people, the Kontaio Shardazhru and Zharazhrushard had no difficulty crewing the RPSA's warships with the cream of the Rigelian population.

The elite branch of the Kontaio Shardazhru was, as has been said, the Carrier Fleet. The carriers and Strikefighter Command received the most intelligent and physically fit Rigelians as they came of military age. So rigorous were the selection procedures of Carrier Fleet that barely 40% of those forwarded to that branch survived the screening and training programs designed to weed out all but the most outstanding candidates. The 60% not selected for Carrier Fleet formed the bulk of the personnel assigned to Battle Fleet.

Rigelians of slightly inferior physique and intelligence were earmarked for the Wrath of Tarwix and given intensive training in planetary assault and planetary environment combat, but 15% of all officers assigned to the ground forces were drawn from the top 50% of Battle Fleet and the top 20% of Carrier Fleet officers. The reason for the apparent inconsistency may be found in the nature of the ground forces' duties: the eradication of all non-Rigelian sentient life on conquered planets. This task could be carried out by personnel deemed inferior for space combat, but was regarded as the ultimate objective of all military operations and so was believed to require supervision by the finest officers available.

Finally, there was the "Water of War" support branch, which was considered vastly inferior to the cutting-edge combat forces and had to make do with whatever was left after combat assignments were filled.

Once the Protectorate's military requirements had been met, redundant personnel were assigned to the state bureaucracy and, particularly, to the military industrial and support duties of this highly organized, warlike society. Only those individuals who were not considered fit and/or required for the service of the state were released to consumer industries, and those individuals were not franchised by the state.

Rigelian military protocol was rigid in the extreme. In five millennia of unending warfare, the military had experienced virtually every possible problem of precedence and authority, and these had assumed a rigid and invariable form. The Terran and Orion rituals of rank which are so amusing to the Ophiuchi and Gorm were as nothing compared to the pageantry and traditions of the Kontaio Shardazhru. Yet for all their military formalities, the officer corps of the RPSA remained remarkably flexible and innovative. In part, this was because the Protectorate was so often at war that most senior officers had personal combat experience. In additionadditior fierce competition for deference and honor among t,", he members of the officer corps led to a concentration ron ozhmord which was almost fanatical (even for Rigelians). Not even the most fervent of the ancient Terran crusading orders ever approached the burning spirit and commitment which infused the Kontaio Shardazhru's officers. With such an attitude, few of them were prepared to resist innovation or the suggestions of their juniors if they offered the prospect of greater success in battle.

Because of the Rigelians' pelts, clothing was seldom needed for protection and thus assumed a purely decorative function. Uniforms reflected this, and consisted of a light harness of metal mesh to which were affixed lightweight plates of ceremonial armor that recalled the Ages of Conflict when Rigelian and Rozhark met in hand-to-hand combat.

In combat environments, uniforms became more utilitarian and less ceremonial. The Naval combat uniform was a vac suit, stenciled with the rank of the wearer. Unlike most other space services, the Rigelians never employed colorcoded vac suits for their personnel, which initially puzzled Terran and Orion analysts, as both these races had found color to be by far the most efficient means of identifying branch functions at a glance. Only after several months of warfare did the puzzle's solution become clear: Rigelians were colorblind.

Only the Kontaio Shardazhru's strikefighter pilots received a special service branch badge: a jeweled device of pure silver (regarded by Rigelians as the most beautiful of metals) shaped as a crescent moon. Such badges were passed from generation to generation as family heirlooms, and any Rigelian selected for strikefighter duty was allowed and expected to receive and wear the branch badge of his first ancestor to enter Strikefighter Commander. The only honorable reasons for noncompliance with this tradition were the case of multiple descendants (in which case the eldest descendant of the current generation received the badge) or the death in action of the last wearer of that badge. Since the death of a strikefighter pilot is usually an extremely violent occurrence, the badges of those killed in combat were seldom recovered.

The rank insignia of the Kontaio Shardazhru took the form of rather large medallions in the form of swords. These devices (some 20 centimeters in length) were worn as pectoral ornaments, secured to the harness mesh, or stenciled on vac suits or powered armor. Rank was indicated by stylized flaming meteors etched on the blade of the medallion, one meteor for each grade of seniority. The meteors served to recall the tragedy and glory associated forever in Rigelian memory with The Hammers of Tarwix.

The ferocity of Rigelian military operations shocked non-Rigelians. Even the Tangri Corsairs, who refuse to admit the very existence of non-Tangrian sentience, are far less savage than was the Kontaio Shardazhru. The reason for this apparent inconsistency becomes clear with a little thought, however. The Tangri believe they are the galaxy's only truly sentient species, that other star-traveling races create their starships only by some sort of animal instinct. It follows that they are, by their very nature, contemptuous of all non-Tangri, who are no more than herd animals (albeit sometimes dangerous ones) and thus offer opportunities for exploitation as well as potential threats.

Rigelians, on the other hand, had a lively respect for the intelligence of other races, whom they regarded as inveterate enemies. Since all Rigelian military operations were predicated on the basis of the threat posed by non-Rigelians, the only option open to their military planners was the total extermination of the threat.

It has been argued that the above overstates the case for Rigelian militancy. This argument, based on the fact that the Protectorate offered terms to the Federation and Khanate at the height of the first phase of ISW-3, holds that Rigelian ferocity was deliberately overstated by the wartime Alliance governments in order to justify the genocidal bombardment policies those governments followed. This contention, however, is not supported by the facts. The Rigelian offer of "peace" was no more genuine than the Khan's acceptance of defeat after the Aeolus Raid. It was made, according to the Protectorate's own surviving records, because the Protectorate had fatally underestimated the power of its opponents and belatedly realized that it could not, in fact, defeat both the Federation and Khanate at that time. It was no more than a ploy to gain time to build up and prepare for the final battle and did not indicate the "shift in moral position" some revisionist historians have believed it did.

The essential fact was that the history of the Protectorate's previous wars had only prepared the Rigelians to meet relatively small and less advanced empires, whose fleets fell easy prey to the Kontaio Shardazhru's Strikefighter Command. Once conquered, these weak foes required no more than swift, methodical, and efficient extermination.

In the Federation and Khanate and their allies, however, the Protectorate had encountered not one, but two groups of enemies, each larger and industrially more powerful than itself... and hadn't realized it in time. Actually, it is unlikely Rigelians could have accepted that fact. Their entire philosophy and reli ggion required them to exterminate all other intelligent life forms. Any failure to do so would be to fail Tarwix Himself and lead, inevitably, to the destruction of their own species. Accordingly, they had to attack their enemies, and, that being the case, their own militant fanaticism virtually required them to assume they could defeat them.

When they realized they couldn't - not, at least, without a far larger and more powerful navy - they "negotiated" for a cease-fire which would allow them to digest their conquests and build the strength needed for ultimate victory. It was a tactical ploy, no more and no less, and its failure was fatal for the Rigelian race. They had never learned to surrender, only to conquer. When conquest proved impossible, all they could do was die.
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Re: Getting as much Rigelian information as possible.

Postby sandywhite90 on Tue 17 Jul 2018 19:10

Wow - thanks so much!
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Re: Getting as much Rigelian information as possible.

Postby sandywhite90 on Sat 21 Jul 2018 20:09

Does anyone recall some short stories that have been written using the Rigelians as a theme?
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Re: Getting as much Rigelian information as possible.

Postby Xveers on Sat 21 Jul 2018 20:42

sandywhite90 wrote:Does anyone recall some short stories that have been written using the Rigelians as a theme?


That would have been Steve Walmsley's epic Rigellian Campaign.
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Re: Getting as much Rigelian information as possible.

Postby coldsteel on Tue 24 Jul 2018 13:34

Xveers wrote:
sandywhite90 wrote:Does anyone recall some short stories that have been written using the Rigelians as a theme?


That would have been Steve Walmsley's epic Rigellian Campaign.



To be honest, Steve's Rigellians only shared a name and theme. Otherwise, they were basically Terrans.
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Re: Getting as much Rigelian information as possible.

Postby southwestforests on Sat 28 Jul 2018 18:20

Soomewhere in here in recent years I think I'm responsible for stirring up conversation about the one line somewhere which mentions Rigelians are/were color blind, completely color blind.
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Re: Getting as much Rigelian information as possible.

Postby Cralis on Sat 28 Jul 2018 20:31

southwestforests wrote:Soomewhere in here in recent years I think I'm responsible for stirring up conversation about the one line somewhere which mentions Rigelians are/were color blind, completely color blind.


That's a historical fact to the Classic Starfire universe. Not sure how that's controversial :)

Xveers, I think, has speculated before on what they would have for paint jobs on the ships. I've heard talk of being ore patterned as opposed to using colors or camouflage. It is an intriguing question.
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Re: Getting as much Rigelian information as possible.

Postby southwestforests on Sun 29 Jul 2018 00:19

That's why I said stirring up conversation, not stirring up controversy. I want to remember at least one or two people commenting that they'd missed that detail.
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