Impirium - The Chordir
So, hey, first update: the development title of Primal : Khaos has been updated to Impirium!
Second, I'm going to be sharing the backstory and designs for some of the races I've created and expanded on in Impirium over the next few weeks, so here, to start, is the Chordir.
From an academic journal:
Although no species sees itself in the same fashion as they are seen by other races, it is said by many that there is no greater contrast between the self-image of the Chorda and the impression they leave with those who encounter them.
Like most races, the Chorda were a multicultural civilization for most of their monoplanetary period. By the time they developed early space travel, their world was dominated by 3 groups of international alliances: The World Conglomerate, a primarily economic union; The Covenant of Preservation, an alliance of military states; and the Pact of the One, a theocratic 'superstate' which which formed from independent nations, linked by the influence of The House of the One, the Chorda' dominant faith.
As the Chorda moved towards interstellar travel, a series of political upheavals rapidly changed Chordir society. Firstly, The Covenant of Preservation was suddenly, and unexpectedly rocked by a series of violent coups, which installed leaders who were all followers of The House of The One. Although there was no clear evidence that the Pact of the One had been directly involved, the coups were co-ordinated, aggressive and successful.
The Covenant states who had fallen began to weaken, isolate and infiltrate their neighbours, while also using their investments in arms, manufacturing and security to dramatically increase their influence within the World Conglomerate. The second wave of coups was much less violent, and a more subtle, gradual process. With Conglomerate states long having abandoned the distinction between business and government, the Pact and Covenant states engaged in a decades-long program of 'economic warfare', gaining financial control of more corporations, and merging them into monopolies that served the interests of the Pact. By the time the Covenant and Conglomerate were declared to be officially part of the Pact, the attitude of many was that this was simply making official something that had been informally true for, at this point, decades.
Because of the theocratic nature of present-day Chordir society, understanding the basic dogma of the House of the One is important when interacting with them. Although, like any religion, it has regional sects, with differences in terminology and practices, they agree on several key points:
They are monotheistic (The "One" in their name is a reference to their faith in 'One, True Deity'.);
They believe that they were created in the image of their god, quite literally. Their god is normally portrayed as a typical Chordir, differentiated from mortals in different ways in different regions (as a giant, as a silhouette, with radiating light projecting from its head, and others);
Their deity's appearance should be celebrated, and shared. This leads to the repeating motif of their distinctive heads appearing in every aspect of their life (It is easily apparent in their technology, dress, architecture and art)
The worst fate that any individual may face is to be separated from the deity's countenance. Different sects interpret this in different ways, including some which will punish crimes by mutilating the criminal, making them less like the deity.
These common beliefs have greatly influenced the Chorda' behaviour as they have entered the intergalactic era of their species' history, and have led to the vast disparity between how they generally view themselves, and how they are generally perceived.
Chorda are generally regarded as a callous, exploitative and aggressively imperialist race. Their reputation is of a race which seeks to dominate any world they come across, inhabited or otherwise. In fact, they are often seen to more aggressively target inhabited worlds, demanding surrender, and being willing to commit almost genocidal levels of violence in order to force those surrenders.
Various conversations with Chorda involved in trade and diplomacy, it has become apparent that they view their actions as a sacred duty required by the teachings of the House of the One. Their focus on inhabited worlds is the result of feeling pity for sentient beings who are not 'blessed' to be made in the image of the one, true god. From their perspective, the closer the proximity of those being to the Chorda, the closer their proximity to God. From this position, the next step in their logic is that it is better for aliens to serve them, and through them, to serve their god. Seeing this as a holy duty that improves ones' life, they believe that killing those who will not accept this duty to be an act of mercy.
Through this logic, their acts of murder, empire-building and aggression are actually kind, selfless and actually a form of holy crusade.
The distinctive snout of the Chordir houses an organ that is unique amongst sentient species. Augmenting their eyes, which protrude from either side of their head, a sensory organ runs along the wide front of their head. Their vision is based on movement, with a limited ability to see colour, but to compensate, their snout is sensitive to an impressive range of electromagnetic radiation, from microwaves up to x-rays and some frequencies of radio waves. In some environments, this makes them excellent trackers, and hard to ambush, while in environments which are saturated with various forms of electromagnetism, they can be susceptible to sensory overload. This can be countered by dampeners installed in their helmets.
The Chordir mouth is primarily for respiration and eating, and not communication. They communicate by vibrating membranes on either side neck, with meaning communicated through a delicately controlled “song”. Some Chorda have learned to communicate in a more traditional fashion by mimicking the forms of speech that most sentients use, but this is a very specialised skill for the species, and most use translation equipment.