Romulan Star EmpireCreated by: Gene Roddenberry, added to and modified by writers and fans for decades. This is Garry Stahl's* version.
Appearance: First Seen in "Balance of Terror"
Number of Members: Approx 5 Billion
Nature of Members: Humanoids about 1.6 meters tall that fit the Vulcan genotype. Like Vulcans they have up swept eyebrows and ears. They tend toward a sallow complexion with a yellow cast, black hair, and black eyes. Exception exist, but they were less represented in the Exiles and therefore rarer than on Vulcan.
While client races exist in the Empire they have no political power. Known Romulan Client races are the Pollarians, Quaellians, and Tarquin. Little is know about these races.
Organization: Oligarchy. The Empire is ruled by a handful of pure Romulan families who are hereditary members of the Romulan Senate, these are the Patricians. The Head of State is the Praetor who is elected by the Senate from the Senate. Members of the Patrician class are the only one that can hold political office, but do so at the sufferance of the Plebeians (for offices other than the Senate). The original propose was doubtless some manner of accountability, but it doesn't work.
Selection of the Military as a career is entrance to the Legionnaire class. Many Romulans who elect to serve as career officers have the goal of advancing their family fortunes as well as service to the empire. Likewise a failure to take the Military as a career can end your time in the Legionnaire class. While the benefits are real, they are merit based and can be lost.
Common members of the Romulan race are the Plebeians. They are still better than anyone else and they vote to place members of the Patrician class into various offices. Plebeians are expected to serve six years in the Romulan Star Forces. Most serve more than that.
At the bottom of the heap are the client races. They have no power, no say and only recently have gained any right to serve in the armed forces, and at that only as ground troops.
Game Role: Traditional foe of the Federation , sneaky guys.
World Role: A First rate stellar Empire
Relative Influence: Major, a first rate Empire
Public or Secret?: Public in its existence, but highly secret in all it's activities.
Publicly Stated Goal: Rule the Galaxy
Real Goal, if different: No secret goal, does this surprise you?
Economy: Romulans do see the advantages of an energy economy, but the necessary letting go of the Big Brother State it takes to make it work makes them twitchy. The end result is something that Humans would call technocracy. An energy economy tightly controlled. Where you are in society determining how much you are controlled by it and how much you can benefit.
Clients, those that live on worlds developed enough for an energy economy, have the tightest controls. Their energy is rationed, they cannot save any part of their ration from period to period, as a result they can never better the conditions under which they live. What they buy and how much is carefully monitored. What they can buy is likewise limited. Work is required and those that shirk are punished.
Romulan Plebeians are likewise controlled in the goods and services they can buy, but they can retain unspent credits and build a savings to better themselves and their lifestyle. Likewise a greater contribution is rewarded by a greater credit allowance. Those that shirk are likewise punished by getting less. There are no idle poor in the Romulan Empire.
Romulan Legionnaires are the bone and muscle supporting and building the Empire, and they are rewarded for that role. Legionnaires have a higher standard of living than anyone except the Patricians. However, they do not have the same freedom of action that Patricians enjoy.
Romulan Patricians have real wealth. It the duty-bound Star Empire it is expected that those with wealth will use it for the greater good. For the most part this does happen, but power and wealth will get abused and do get abused. It is noted however that while the rich and powerful can get away with almost anything as long as it is quiet, anyone that sticks out is taken care of.
Group advantages: Romulans enjoy a unified culture and purpose in a manner that is alien to many people of the Federation.
Special Abilities: Romulans have a way with secrets and cyphers. The science of cypher enjoys its greatest expression in the Romulan Empire. A real pity is is all so secret. Romulans also love a secret, and are good at keeping a secret. They love intricate interwoven plans, and are also good at bringing such plans to fruition.
Group disadvantages: Romulans are trained to look inward towards their own Empire. As a result they have a hard time seeing outside their own box. Their mistaken assumptions can cripple them when dealing with other races. They are capable of learning from others however. Once a Cardassain secret base disappeared down a wormhole. A base they knew had access to secret Federation blueprints. Thereafter they treated all such sources of their own like uncontained antimatter.
Special disadvantages: A tightly controlled society also stifles innovation. One never knows what will set off the Tal'shar, so one is careful to not stick up. As a result the Romulan Empire has lagged behind both the Federation and some cases the Klingon Empire in many technical aspects.
When combining this with a point of view that cannot see anything that comes from outside the Empire as of having any value, you have a situation were the Romulan Star Empire will slowly and steadily loose ground to their neighbors.
Area of Operation: Anti-spinward and slightly coreward of the UFP.
Headquarters Location: Hecalyal, The Romulus star system
Public Face: Rules of the Universe, it is our destiny.
History of the Organization: Twenty-five hundred years before the present era the planet Vulcan underwent an upheaval of philosophy. They changed from a blood-soaked race of warriors to the teachings of Surak, "I am a Vulcan, bred to Peace".
However this transition was not without it dissidents. Tellus countered Surak with The Way of D'era, a justification for Vulcan's blood soaked past. A manifest destiny that they and they alone were fit to rule the Galaxy. The Surakian viewpoint prevailed, and the dissidents, some 40,000 strong were given the means to seek another world. This they did through a journey itself fraught with danger they landed on the twin worlds of Romulus and Remus.
Through oversight or deliberation, the Romulans themselves do not know, the details of the Exodus were lost. From their struggles on the new planets and the teaching of their first Leader the Romulans conquered unabated until the unthinkable moment when they encountered the Federation. While victory was easy at first, the Federationers pushed back, and then in an unspeakable surge their technology suddenly improved and the Romulans were overwhelmed.
Still these strange people offered an equatable peace, not the iron hand of conquest. The Romulans accepted seeing no option, but have distrusted that peace from the beginning.
War with the Klingons followed, and again these warrior people were too strong to overwhelm. The Klingons unlike the Federation offered no hand of peace, and except for an alliance of convenience that did not last, war has been the constant state between them.
The Path of D'era has been maturing into a galaxy of reality. The Universe is not there for the picking. It is owned by other strong people. Romulans have learned to deal with words as well as weapons. Wryly they note that the Universe seems full of "natural rulers of the Universe". Carefully they prepare themselves because they know that these other "rulers" will not take Romulan right as a right.
Culture: The basis for Romulan culture is the Way of D'era or the "endless sky". The Romulan manifest destiny that they are meant to rule the universe. They, the Vulcan people, were created to rule, placed on Vulcan to forge them to strength, and that Vulcans have rejected their birthright by following Surak.
Romulans do not follow D'era from a sense of fear. The Path of D'era promotes the four virtues., Devotion, Allegiance, Discipline, and Fidelity. They want and support the totalitarian government as necessary to the manifest destiny they each share in. Humans are constantly surprised that Romulans are so loyal to a suppressive totalitarian system. They don't understand, because they don't understand. The Star Empire is an armed camp against the Universe, and each Romulan a willing soldier within it.
Romulan culture follows a hard line of social and physical Darwinism. Romulans have a spartan regard toward those that are not physically able or are mentally deficient. They will kill children that do not match the physical model of perfection. Only a fit people can rule the stars.
In spite of that cold outer shell Romulans are ardent supporters of family. The first virtue, devotion, is primarily one of family. Romulans are given many incentives both economical and social to produce and cherish large families. Romulans do indeed cherish their families. They are as capable of love as any race, and they love with all the passion of any people, if not more.
Languages: Romulans speak a much evolved form of Vulcan called, not surprisingly "Romulan". While the Vulcan roots can be found, it is no longer the same language.
Clients are taught Romulan and forbidden to learn anything else. Underground movements exist on newly conquered world to retain their own culture. These are ruthlessly stomped out whenever found.
Military: The Romulans are an expansionistic Empire. They believe it is their duty to rule the lessors beings of the Galaxy. They realize that those lessor beings are not going to cooperate with this, thus the Star Service.
The Romulan Star Service is far more Militarized than the Starfleet.
Each Romulan is expected to serve the Empire. This usually takes the form of six to twelve years in the Romulan Star Service, the most popular choice, or one of several other similar organizations that serve the needs of the Empire. Both Patricians and Plebeians are expected to serve. Women are not encouraged to serve a career as they are needed to make more Romulans. While females are not considered less competent than males, they are recognized as having a different role.
Clients are empathetically not allowed to serve. Of late the most menial and dangerous of the military services have been opened to the most trusted of the client races from a simple lack of Romulans.
Star Command: Star Command is tasked with the defense and expansion of the Empire. These are the people outsiders see when you think Romulan Navy.
Star Command is traditionally organized in centuries. However the number of ships in a century can vary greatly depending on that fleet's mission. Unlike the Federation each century is a self contained unit with full logistical support built into the century.
Exploration Command: Exploration is the poor cousin of Star Command. While the Romulans understand that you cannot rule the galaxy without discovering it, pure science is not done simply for the sake of knowledge. Those that do pure science are few in number and generally must make due on the leavings of others. Such is the case with Exploration Command. They get cast off personnel, last generation's used up ships, and are last in line for service or supplies.
Being assigned to Exploration command is not good for career advancement, and only the sullen or the content in their place will be found there.
Pacification Command: Once a planet has been found it is their duty of Pacification Command to pacify it. Because the Empire desires the benefit of that world they are not allowed the most destructive of methods. At the worse they kill off the current unwilling population so Romulans can move in.
Pacification tends to attract the most brutal of the Romulans. Men and women that like killing. Within the Empire they are seen as a necessary evil. Pacification is one of the two places that Non-Romulan clients can serve in the Military. One of the reasons client are allowed this work is so fewer Romulans will be sullied with it.
Occupation Command: Once pacified a world is turned over to Occupation Command. One might expect that Occupation would be even worse, but that is not the case. Occupation is the carrot to Pacification's stick.
Occupation Command is mainly diplomats, and civil engineers. What military forces they do have are the brutal enforcement squads consisting of client races. The last resort force used if the carrot is not working.
The primary duty of Occupation is to educate the new client into their place in the Star Empire. Schools are rebuilt and staffed. Engineers supervise the new clients into bringing their world up to the standard of the rest of the Empire. If anything can be said that is positive about the Star Empire they do believe in taking care of their own. Even if the "own" did not come willingly to the fold.
Tal'Diann: This is the military intelligence division. This group often duplicates the effort of the Tal'shar and there is a great deal of mistrust and down right hate that brews between the two groups. Tal'Diann does not like the methods used by Tal'shar and consider them out of control and too powerful within the civil government. For their part the Tal'shar resent the fact that the military thinks it needs a separate intelligence division from the Tal'shar and seek to regain their monopoly on intelligence gathering. Seldom will either group refrain from doing the other dirt.
Outpost Command: This division is the charge of all Romulan Bases from the infamous Neutral Zone outposts to major resupply star bases. While this is not the command for those with political ambitions it is the preferred posting for women of traditional values. As a result the Outpost command has a high turnover rate and a 60% to 40% female to male ratio of personnel.
Legate: Legate handles all internal law matters within The Star Service or on client worlds. The Legate also acts as the glue between the various fleets.
Legate is also the morale service. Legate officers are responsible for seeing that mail is gotten to and from the troops. They are also responsible for censoring that mail. If a trooper doesn't have family Legate will see that someone in the civil sector will send them letters. They are sometimes called "matchmaker" by the troops as this concern that each trooper have someone to write to and get letters from has resulted in a quite a few marriages. Legate officers bear the nickname with pride.
Tal'shar: The shadowy and feared instrument of Imperial will. Technically the Tal'shar is not part of the military, but a civil body. They sit on the council along with the military and the Senate. Technically the superintendent of the Tal'shar reports to the Praetor himself. In practice the majority of the Tal'shar's activities receive no review by anyone.
Much has been said in the shadows about the Tal'shar, and separating truth from fiction is near impossible. What can be said is they will do anything they deem necessary to assure the ascendancy of the Romulan Star Empire, and of themselves.
*A good deal was cribed from LUG "The Way of D'era" and parts
of FASA "The Romulans".
© Garry Stahl: 1997-2006. All rights reserved,
re-print only with permission.
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