#“There is gold in those hills. I can sense it!”#
//“What would we want with the silly yellow metal? It is too soft and heavy to make good armor, cannot take an edge, and does not alloy well!”//
#“Because it is malleable, and makes a good reflective material. It is also corrosion-resistant. Many soft-bodies place great store in gold, and find those decorated in it to be more impressive. With the amounts I detect, we will have the means to trade for much that we DO want!”#
The R'Mar were first created by A.R.C.H.I.E. 3 as another Dee-Bee race to act more spies and to locate resources, both raw and technological.
See Shemarrian Nation book page 78 for more details.
Because the EShemar recognize the ‘taint’ of the Dark One in the R’Mar ‘bots, the latter are targeted for Enlightenment by the Ecotroz, if only to deprive the Dark One of their services. The more idealistic (or delusional, depending on how one looks at it) EShemar see the R’Mar as fellow victims of the Dark One and its consort, perhaps an even more downtrodden (by their numbers and furtive demeanor) species of cyber-intelligences enslaved by ARCHIE-3. Since few R’Mar are Nueral Intelligences (ARCHIE has made a few as experiments), the resulting NeShemar (or NeR’Mar, as the R’Mar are regarded) are not the most intelligent of sentients, but they are intense, focused, and professional in their roles as scavengers and prospectors. Though not very numerous (the EShemar have only converted a few dozen by the ‘current’ time in the Shemarrian Civil War), and contributing little, if any, to the EShemars’ combat capabilities, the NeR’Mar are highly regarded by the Male EShemar they are often teamed up with, in their pursuit of useful resources to fuel the EShemar logistical independence effort. However, the EShemar have not allocated any resources to perpetuating the R’Mar/NeR’Mar (instead counting on Enlightenment to add to their numbers), nor have any participated invited to Progen.
Despite their new found sentience, however, the NeR’Mar take no offense at this attitude. instead focusing on their largely solitary work (it’s entirely possible that if one subscribes to the theory that the Ecotroz Intelligence is actually a massive collective of compressed personal intelligences/life essences, that those fragments that choose to occupy R’Mar chassises, are the equivalent of misfits or hermits, not wanting to more fully participate in the predominately matriarchal EShemarrian society).
Post Civil War/Shemarrian Nation
By the time of the advanced EShemar societies at large in the Three Galaxies, the NeR’Mar have acquired the means to produce more of themselves; likely through the use of conventional robotics autofacs, since more subtle ‘genetic’ variation is not a concern of the NeR’Mar (or possibly through found alien technologies like the Defender Generators of the Machine Dimension (See Megaversal Builder) in which case it’s entirely possible that the manufactory could turn out sentient NeR’Mar of wildly different forms, NeR’Mar only in name and programming), establishing themselves as a species unto themselves, though their numbers likely are nowhere near those of the EShemar. However, the NeR’Mar continue to exist as a symbiotic species with the EShemar, cooperating with them in finding and exploiting new resources, scouting, and exploring ahead of the EShemar. In return, the EShemar share technology with the NeR’Mar, offer them refuges on EShemar worlds/facilities, and protect the NeR’Mar.
Culturally, the advanced NeR’Mar are akin to gypsies or the mountain men wilderness scouts of early American history; nomadic, largely solitary, and self-dependent. They prefer to wander the Three Galaxies in small groups, unobtrusive and under the notice of others, living off what they find and can salvage. The NeR’Mar typically return to their enclaves to report finds, bring in salvage, and attend the production and Awakening of new NeR’Mar, who are apprenticed off to older, more experienced NeR’Mar. In addition, a NeR’Mar is likely to have in his company 1-4 robot ‘drones’ that have been infected with the Ecotroz intelligence, and are roughly the equivalent of dogs or mules. Unlike the EShemar, who delight in putting together new hardware that is unique to them, the NeR’Mar keep exclusive technologies to a minimum. Their ships and heavier equipment tend to be older, unprepossessing, clunkers that they’ve bought on the cheap, salvaged and repaired themselves, or built from scratch (starships made from Giant Cargo Cans are particularly common among the NeR’Mar); the sort of vessels few people look at twice. All in all, the NeR’Mar try to go unnoticed, as they go about their work of prospecting, gathering and selling information and junk, and scouting for the EShemar.
The R’Mar ‘aliens’ effectively constitute a symbiotic species with the greater Shemarrian Nation. Regarded within the Ecotroz cultural mythos as fellow sufferers of the machinations of the Dark One, the R’Mar enjoy a sort of protected status with the EShemar, in part due the perception that their society has fallen farther than that of the Shemarrians, and has much more to rebuild.
Indeed, even with Ecotroz Awakening, upgrades to Nueral Intelligence, and various other upgrades, the (Ne)R’Mar have never shared the same drive, enthusiasm, and innovative spark that the EShemar have had. Their numbers have not grown at the same speed, nor with the same lust for self-improvement and technological and cultural diversification.
The NeR’Mar are akin to gypsies or the mountain men wilderness scouts of early American history; nomadic, largely solitary, and self-dependent. They prefer to wander the Three Galaxies in small groups, unobstrusive and under the notice of others, living off what they find and can salvage. They occasionally return to established enclaves (typically in Shemarrian space) where they share information, trade for goods, update each other, and contribute to new generations of R’Mar. The NeR’Mar have their own versions of Rites of Upgrade, but with much less pomp and mysticism attached, or they may simply purchase Upgrades through trade.
Though generally seen by outsiders as a race apart living in a murky coexistence with the Shemarrians, the R’Mar are actually very close, though closer with some Tribes than others. It is not uncommon, for example, for R’Mar to be adopted as proper (Ne)R’Mar in Wayfinders, Horrorwoods, Lost Eclipse, Ghost Rider and (interestingly enough) Silvermoon Tribe families. Other Tribes, such as the Skullcrushers, Blood Riders, Sapphire Cobras, and Hawkmoons are, not hostile to the R’Mar, but give them their space. They are often mistaken for Light Machine full conversion cyborgs by those not familiar with the Shemarrians, an error that the R’Mar often use to trade in regions of space where the Shemarrians are not known.
“Accursed Exiles! They must be trailing our scouts! This is the seventh report I’ve gotten of them claim-jumping one of our tagged sites! And they have the audacity to proclaim that WE are the ones intruding on their ‘ancestral freeholdings’! This cannot stand! We must take action!”
“But Honored Comptroller, do we have the means to take action? The Exiles have a warship, and they are many! Shall I contact the EShemar for assistance?”
“No! We cannot run to the Tribes every time we have trouble with thieves and bandits, and that is all these Exiles are; thieves and bandits! Their warship? A battered relic they use to intimidate singletons and scoutships! Their numbers? They have not yet seen how many WE are! Put the word out that the Hudai Assembly invites the Kuzei, the Hinduna, the Brakoy Brothers, and the Curious Prodders to take part in a ‘punitive action’. They are the largest of the condotay-ships in this sector, and where they are moved to arms, the others will follow! Offer discounted supplies if we must to in-gather the necessary numbers, but appeal first to righteous indignation at those bandits! We will have an end to their arrogant presumption of superiority in these territories!”
As has been previously noted, the R’Mar aliens of the Shemarrian Star Nation constitute a culture-within-a-culture, and one based more along the lines of an economically-minded gypsy society than anything else. R’Mar procreation is coached primarily in economic and logistical terms, and their numbers grow mainly out the need to meet economic goals, rather than biological imperatives.
R’Mar have neither the numbers nor the disposition to form large permanent social units like the Tribes. Instead, R’Mar form ‘condoties’ (“companies”) that are typically small (4-100 members) organizations, usually based around a vessel, vehicle, or outpost. Few condoties exceed 100 members, and usually larger assemblages of R’Mar working on the same project are actually a number of smaller condoties brought together for a temporary task. are usually formed from individual R’Mar seeking employment, a berth, and a grubstake to establish themselves until they can get their own ship or found their own line. Few condoties of unrelated individuals last more than ten years before breaking up, the members wandering off to do their own exploring, or join other condoties. They may even rejoin the same members of a previous condotay many years later. The longest condoties surviving are usually built around a core group of ‘family’, with several founding members and their paid-for offspring, the latter either working to pay off their birth-cost before heading off on their own, or who have already paid off their parental unit and have decided to stick around while working to increase their own profits and pay for their own progeny.
The exception may be the ‘ugen’ (‘assemblies’) which are large semi-permanent condoties that have ceased nomadic wandering to settle down and manage a R’Mar trade hub or resource facility, usually based on a mineral-rich planet (oid) or fuel source. These assemblies act as corporate go-betweens between the free-wandering condoties and the Shemarrian Tribes, transferring supplies and materials, brokering ship deals, and facilitating agreements. Ugen may also claim to have multiple condoties beholding to them in their territories, and mediating disputes between the nomads. Depending on the prosperity of their location (as either a trade nexus or material resource), ugen may remain contiguous for centuries under the management of the same ‘family’ (and individuals), In event that a ugen hub is disrupted or destroyed (or otherwise abandoned, as might happen if material reserves run out), the ugen will most likely break up into smaller nomadic condoties and try to seek out new locations to establish a stakehold.
Few condoties or ugen are named as formally as the Shemarrian Tribes; condoties are usually named for the founding members (‘The Bozmann Brothers’, the ‘Ulr Cadre’, etc.) or even their main ships (‘Persistence Pays Off’ becomes the ‘Persistants’, etc.) , while ugen have more generic names (‘Eastern Arm Assembly’, ‘Sulnoi Hub’, ‘Rabul Station’, etc.).
R’Mar and Warfare
The R’Mar, like their ancestors, are not warriors; when confronted, they tend towards pragmatic cowardice, running from aggressors. However, sometimes running is not an option, or a find is too valuable to give up to claim jumpers, and R’Mar will readily and ably defend themselves. R’Mar vessels tend to be quite well-armed, though the armament is often concealed under more utilitarian features, the better to surprise attackers. They have also proven adept at jury-rigging weapons from available materials and cannibalized systems, such as boobytraps and decoys.
In time of war, the R’Mar typically continue what they do best; scout for resources to feed the Shemarrian Star Nation, and pass on any incidental intelligence they come across to the SSN. For the most part, they leave the fighting to their Shemarrian protectors. In the most dire circumstances, however, the R’Mar may muster to serve alongside their Shemarrian patrons, acting as armed auxiliaries, skirmishers, and scouts. R’Mar have proven fair hands at space-based guerilla warfare, especially in desolate regions like asteroid fields and ring systems. The larger condotay vessels, however, make for poor capital units, as they tend to be industrial vessels, such as gas collector motherships, and the inclusion of a few extra weapons turrets and beefed-up shields do not make them equal substitutes for dedicated warships. Smaller R’Mar vessels, on the other hand, tend to be surprisingly mobile for their respective classes and can, as noted earlier, surprise with their concealed capabilities.
“I own myself; I have the receipt from my parent to prove it. I work to make enough to start my own family clan. The ship I found; the work I did myself with materials I acquired working under my parent. Together my parent and I search the Nebula for what the Eshemar and theausida* will pay us for. My parent works to make me brothers. I work to make enough to start my own family clan.”
(*ausida-R’Mar for ‘outsiders’; non-R’mar, and non-R’Mar/Shemar in general)
The R’Mar have been offered the use of Progen, but they have demurred, in favor of simpler technologies such as the Assembler Forges. NeR’Mar do not show the same degree of ‘sexual identity’ as the Shemarrians, and do not make distinctions of ‘male’ and ‘female’ among themselves, though they tend to favor masculine references. They do not consort ‘sexually’ for pleasure as many Shemarrians do. NeR’Mar reproduction is more business-like and economics-driven. When a NeR’Mar feels a need for a new R’Mar crew member or to grow a ‘back up’ or ‘replacement’ (against megaversal attrition of R’Mar numbers), they gather sufficient resources to make a new one (or else acquire the equivalent value) and go to their enclave’s Assembler to commission an offspring. If the ‘parent--to-be wishes to include a particular skill set in the base programming of their offspring, they may advertise for it to other waiting ‘parents’, and may negotiate a trade (or series of trades) to acquire the wanted Upgrades, both hardware and software. The Assembler then builds the new R’Mar to order, installs the baseline programming sets in the neural intelligence, then Awakens the ‘newborn’. The new R’Mar then typically spends an apprenticeship with its commissioning ‘parent’ and ‘family’. If it so wishes, the new R’Mar may seek to strike out on its own, after acquiring an equivalent sum in goods and services to its birth-price and paying off its ‘parent’ (the base cost of a R’Mar’s ‘birth’ is public knowledge among the R’Mar).
Physically, advanced NeR’Mar will have a few more features, having self-modified themselves to taste, much as the EShemar have. Such improvements will include integral weaponry, hover jet modifications to their heads (or a hover probe or two), and extra sensory gear. Programming-wise, in addition to any ‘learned’ skills, the NeR’Mar will likely have added 1-3 additional skill programs (mostly technical and mechanical, but rogue skill programs are popular as well) to their brain wetware.
Overall, the modern NeR’Mar would still be recognizable as the original AA-72 Raw Materials Acquisition Robot ARCHIE-3 put out, in terms of overall capabilities and configuration. Nor have they moved much from their original role as wandering scavengers and junk men.
However, SOME progress is inevitable, and even the stodgy R’Mar show some signs of diversification and cultural evolution. Chassis-wise, NeR’Mar are all nueral intelligence A.I’s, Awakened with an Ecotroz Essence or Quickened with a Ghostrider kernel-spark, while their bodies have been fitted with regenerative nanite systems similar to those in the EShemar themselves. NeR’Mar also display a wider variety of facial features.
Despite a general tendency towards conformity, there ARE growing physical differences within the R’Mar ‘bloodline’. Though there are no official ‘elite’ or ‘caste’ classes (as with the Shemarrians) among the R’Mar, some general somatotypes have begun emerging amongst the mechano-species:
- 01-60% ‘Standard’ R’Mar These are the standard-build baseline R’Mar (as described in Shemarrian Nation, pgs 78-82).
- 61-70% ‘Skinny’ These R’Mar are more slender and attenuated, with lighter, taller, builds; 6’7” to 7’ 9”, reduce weight by 30%, reduce Robotic P.S. to 25, and reduce MDC to main body and limbs by 25%. They can run at 100 MPH, and are +1 to Dodge.
- 71-80% ‘Strongman’ These R’Mar tend to be taller, heavier, and more muscular; 6’ 8” to 7’ 8”, increase weight by 25%, and increase MDC to all body parts by 50%. Robotic Strength is upped to 35. They also reduce speed by 10 MPH.
- 81-90% ‘Fatman’ These R’Mar are immensely heavier and more muscular, but also much slower. Overall MDC to all locations is increased by 150%, while weight DOUBLES. Robotic Strength is upped to 40. Maximum running speed is 50 MPH.
- 91-00% ‘Shorty’ Smaller-build R’Mar, roughly 5 ft tall, 50% lighter, but also reduce Main Body MDC by 30%. Running speed is increased to 110 MPH.
R’Mar are not big on innovation, but are excellent at improvisation; about 75% of the R’Mar in the SSN possess the Jury-Rigging skill at 75%. They rarely have any exclusively R’Mar technologies, but zealously acquire and recycle the technology of others, especially vehicles and starships. While they eschew the use of big bold shiny Warmounts and similar robotic beasts, they have nothing against utilitarian robotic beasts of burden such as robotic horses and creatures similar to those described in Rifts Black Market. Smaller robotic animals are also favored as companions, scouts, and watchbeasts. For the most part, though, they prefer vehicles in order to get around, and R’Mar vehicles, even if acquired brand spanking new, quickly acquire a hard-worked, utilitarian look, adorned with tool boxes, carry racks, salvaged materials, and the odd adhoc weapons mount or two.