Sidereal Confluence: Trading and Negotiation in the Elysian Quadrant
First, I pronounce it with English style “j”s, so “dj” or “zh”, not Nordic “j”s (what I'd transliterate as “y”). I certainly am not going to stop you from pronouncing it nordic-style, but be aware that that's easy mode.
Second, the “recommended short name” under their picture, “Kjas”: the “k” is an abbreviated glottal stop. So, it's pronounced like “djaz” or “zhaz”, except with a nearly-silent “k” up front.
Third, feel free to just call them “lizards” or “those 'K' people”.
Kjasjavikalimm are about two things: their nations, and their pheromones.
- They use pheromones to regulate group emotions. They're certainly not a hive-mind, but they tend to all feel the same emotion when in a group. Since they invented perfume (in the neolithic -- indeed this is the invention that started their neolithic), they have “bottled emotions”. Individually they can be as emotional as anyone, but as a whole they tend to be the most ruthlessly pragmatic species.
- To the Kjasjavikalimm, “loyalty” to family is an emotion, and thus a scent. Back in their neolithic, they figured out how to replicate this artificially, and the first nations were born. Kjasjavikalimm are loyal to everyone in their nation in exactly the same way that you may be loyal to your blood relatives.
- Stjiror, their homeworld, is extremely dry. As such, ancient Kjasjavikalimm had two “modes”: nomadic, where they followed the rain; and burrowing, where they waited out the worst dry spells. Unsurprisingly, these are also regulated with pheromones. Kjasjavikalimm who live in their underground cities are in “burrowing” mode, while those who tend the surface farms stay in “nomadic” mode.
- With underground cities, a single atomic strike can only do so much damage. While Kjasjavikalimm don't tolerate unlimited nuclear warfare, they do engage in what might best be described as “modern atomic siege warfare”. Also, they don't distinguish between military and civilian targets. Suffice it to say, Kjasjavikalimm warfare is more horrifying than most human wars, and they are very good at it.
- As much as they love their nations, those nations need ways to interact other than shooting. And that means having multi-national organizations. These are named “Understandings” (because they're mutual understandings between two nations) and act like something between treaties and corporations. They have a great deal of leeway and power, but any nation under them can leave without notice.
- The two most important Understandings are Kelestboijram (Starstrider), which organizes the use of many of the nation's hyperdrive jumpcores, and Varalak (the Directorate), which coordinates most of the nations' response to the aliens in an attempt to dominate, or if feasible destroy, the Confluence. That's what you're playing.
The Kjasjavikalimm don't think of themselves as militant. They just see everyone else as near-pacifists and incompetent at warfare. They also, importantly, don't revel in warfare or violence. It's something they happen to be good at, not something that they'd see as a defining trait for themselves.
The Kjasjavikalimm picture shows two Kjas, as they're always working together. They're clearly underground, working on designs for a new expansion to their city (in this case, a sports arena). There's a weapon at the left, at hand but unused. (The weapon is extremely pragmatic and simple: Kjasjavikalimm don't glorify war, so their weapons are just simple killing machines. The sight is rather far forward, to match their physiology).
The symbol in the background of every card is actually for the Directorate (there's no symbol for the Kjasjavikalimm as a whole). The spiky bits around the side are intended to evoke “control” or “empire”. The circle at the top is a stylized depiction of Stjiror. The star at the bottom represents space, the galaxy, and the aliens. Putting the star below their homeworld is a very intentional statement.
Kjasjavikalimm ship aesthetic is extremely functional. The rear is a liquid-core nuclear engine. In front of that are the orange propellant tanks (the orange is just insulating foam -- Kjas ships aren't painted as that would waste cost and weight). In front of that is a small fusion reactor, then the crew compartments. The “top” is an antenna, while the front is a railgun. Because the Kjasjavikalimm are the sort of people who would put a ship-length railgun on an exploration ship, just in case.
Kjasjavikalimm language is logographic, like Chinese. That said, it's intended to be written quickly by machine or hand, and lacks any of the beauty of human logographic languages.
Depicts an underground city along the bottom of the card. The industrial production is obvious. Producing three ships is more about game balance, as the Kjasjavikalimm need to have a stable, consistent source of ships.
Organic Construction or Antimatter Power is sufficient to bring their knowledge of mining offworld, upgrading this to Asteroid Mine Network. That card depicts an underground city and deep mine network in an asteroid.
Perfume Pheromone Loyalty
As mentioned, loyalty is an emotion, which is a pheromone, which can be simulated via perfume. This represents Kjasjavikalimm nationalism, and the core of their economy. It turns industry into pretty much everything. The top-right of the card depicts the Kjasjavikalimm nasal passage and its connection to their brain and central nervous system. I needed an “emotion chemical” for the diagram in the bottom-left, so I used oxytocin -- it seemed fitting with all it does for us.
Using Genetic Engineering or Nanotechnology to improve their means of designing pheromones just makes sense. The reverse side, Multiconformal Pheromonics, is a nod to modern medical technology where multiconformal chemicals are being designed that can change shape (and thus behavior) with varied stimulus, allowing precisely targeted effects, among other things. You can image how useful this would be to the Kjasjavikalimm.
Starstrider is the other major Kjasjavikalimm Understanding. Hyperspace Jumpcores are huge ships that can carry a hundred smaller vessels into FTL. The various nations have built several such jumpcores; Starstrider seeks to coordinate them to create a monopoly over bulk transportation in the Confluence. The input of biotech is honestly entirely for balance reasons. The output of ships makes rather more sense.
Hyperspace Mining or Singularity Control allows Starstrider to vastly improve their hyperdrives, achieving the monopoly over large scale travel that they desire. The reverse side produces a victory point, as the Kjasjavikalimm start using their control over movement to directly influence the Confluence.
The card art shows what's going on a bit better. Upper-right is a picture of a jumpcore. The ring for building the Alcubierre bubble is visible around the middle. The center is dominated by a huge fusion reactor to power it, and behind that is the usual propellant tanks and engine that you'd expect of a Kjasjavikalimm ship. Upper-left is a picture of the huge Alcubierre bubble traveling faster than light, with a fleet of ships in it, and the jumpcore in the center. Lower-left is map of paths the jumpcores take between the various homeworlds within the Elysian Quadrant.
The reverse side shows the larger, more complete network that expands to include the burgeoning colonies.
The territory tiles represent expansion of the Kjasjavikalimm across the galaxy, but more importantly their ability to organize that territory into useful economic and political blocks. They cost electrical power to set up, representing the costs of powering the massive transportation networks needed to hold such vast swaths of the galaxy together. The resource production and consumption of each tile is driven much more by balance than thematics.
Hadsja is the largest Kjasjavikalimm nation, and the one with the most influence over the Directorate. As such, it's intended to be a likely first choice to expand (giving the strongest economic returns).
Vangleg was once a great power on Stjiror, but no longer. They hate the Hadsja, but are in the uneasy alliance of the Directorate. Their expansion is less directed into creating a powerful empire, and more into subtler cultural influence.
The Balkanized States are the many smaller nations under the Directorate. They're far from unified (and thus give more, smaller converters than the other tiles), and more willing to work with the aliens (giving donation resources to trade to them). They're also much cheaper to set up, as the Balkanized States' ambitions are much smaller than those of the great nations.
The background of these tiles maps the expansion of the territories. If you find Stjiror (the star with the circle around it), you can line these maps up and see where the territories adjoin each other.
An atomic nucleus with a single additional nucleon being moved into position.
DNA-equivalent on the left, with reinforced telomeres, as usual. On the right is Kjas cell division. They have a tiny nucleus (more like mitochondria) that divides early, but the bulk of their DNA is free-floating within their cells.
Lower-left is a Kjasjavikalimm, right is their DNA, and top is their chromosomes. Each chromosome has two centromeres.
A nanomachine at the top of the card, and two nanomachines working together to build something at the bottom. The marked big thing at the back of the nanomachines is the battery.
An image of such a computer, with the bottom is a row of bits (zeroes and ones) where some of the bits are in a superposition of zero and one.
Ubiquitous Cultural Repository
The Kjasjavikalimm version of the “internet” consists of multiple different networks with no common connectivity. Each network centered on a single nation. You can see the over-large nation of Hadsja in the south-west. Harder to see is the lack of water: Stjiror has a handful of large lakes and no oceans.
Is the same art for all versions of the card, mixing the written languages of all nine species.
The top is a picture of two computers linked by an achronal device (or the same computer linked to itself). The bottom depicts a string of ones and zeroes where a later block was transposed over an early one, moving the information back in time.
The upper-right side of the card has a picture of a methane atom where two of the hydrogens have been replaced with positronium.
Cross Species Ethical Equality
Bottom left is a group of Kjasjavikalimm looking up at a flag -- symbolizing a nation. In short, nationalism. Bottom-right is the flag over three stars, representing a single nation that controls several star systems. The top is a handshake between two flags, representing an Understanding.
An industrial space folding device which is pulling resources out of hyperspace.
Interspecies Medical Exchange
Lower left is the Kjasjavikalimm central nervous system, with dendrite clusters near each limb pair plus a central brain. Lower right is their respiratory system, complete with large nasal cavity and two pairs of lungs. Top is their digestive tract with two stomachs but a primitive intestine.
An organic underground Kjasjavikalimm building, with the left side as cross-section of an organic wall.
Depicts a singularity in a containment system, being powered (and spun up) by a stream of matter.
Galactic Telecomm Control
Top is a diagram of that network linking stars, bottom is a picture of a transmission array.
Top right is a waveform generator, top left some sort of gizmo, and at the bottom a device beaming matter into existence.
An orbital structure.
Poly Species Corporations
A corporate structure diagram. Kjasjavikalimm and Paths are in the position of leadership due to their organizational skills; Eni Et and Words take on an advisory role due to their emotional and ethical understanding; Caylion, Zeth, and Unity are in middle management due to their ability to coordinate many things (and people) at once; Kt'Zr'Kt'Rtl and Words make up the research and development teams, while Im'dril, Faderan, and Mules make up the bulk of the rest of the work force.
A large, blocky colony ship on the right (basically a huge building with an engine on the back), and Stjiror on the left. Unlike other homeworld, I draw the national borders on Stjiror. This is half because of their cultural importance, and half because Stjiror is relatively boring to look at, with so little water.
Various temporal manipulation devices, designed to evoke snowflakes “freezing time”.
Xeno Cultural Exchange
Top-left is a depiction of a sporting event (specifically, the tactics at play in such an event). Notably, Kjasjavikalimm have two goalies. This, plus the idea of representing their culture with sports, is to demonstrate how well they work together as a team. Bottom is an opera, with scents (pheromones) as part of the performance.