The Asterians are your resident ancient elitist alien race in Warpath. They're kind of like Eldar in Warhammer 40,000 mashed together with Tau military philosophy, although their fluff doesn't really cross over. They started as an army in Deadzone, but have now made the jump to Warpath.
The Asterians are the oldest race in the setting, having explored the stars when all the other races were still playing with themselves on their homeworlds. Interestingly enough, every other sentient race has stories of Asterians kidnapping members of their species throughout their histories, seemingly making them the setting's grey aliens, even though they don't look like them either. Regardless, most races don't trust them because of these past encounters.
Most of the current information on them is expressed through GCPS reports, hence making it hard to know much of the Asterian history and activities outside of warfare. What it is known though, is the following:
- Asterians are tri gender (having one female gender, and two male genders, true male and neutral male), this would serve to justify the androgynous look of some Asterians. Also, it explains the way their military is structured in a trinary system.
- Asteria is not an empire, but rather a loose confederation of states, similar to craftworlds, but it is not yet known how much space they actually occupy, though rumours persist of floating hive cities and entire worlds hidden inside or behind artificial spacial anomalies, as Enforcer ships tasked with gathering intel on Asterian movements have often had their few active leads seemingly vanish inside black holes when pursuing craft came too close.
- The Plague was first encountered by the Asterians, in the dawn time of their space faring civilisation (meaning its creation predates even them), and after a long and costly war they succeeded in destroying the active Plague forces, leaving the artifacts it came from quarantined in the lifeless Death Arc. Despite making a rare attempt at communication and warning the GCPS not to go there, humanity behaved like the spoiled toddler it is and did it anyway.
- They believe in balance in life and the universe, and see war as an activity necessary to achieve it, despite otherwise not being inherently warlike.
- Their technology is mainly bio-mechanically based, though whether Asterians are psychics, or simply use a highly advanced form of remote communication is not known.
- Asterians have a splinter society of traditionalists known as Kalyshi, who reject much of the advanced technology (but not all) in favour of a more visceral closeness to nature and the experience of life. They are more known in GCPS space as pirates and traders, similar in essence to Forge Father Brokkrs, though still much more secretive.
Asterians mostly use remotely operated constructs (you know, like an advanced species actually should) with only Kalyshi and Overseers personally being seen on the battlefield. The Kalyshi use what at a distance appear to be primitive blade weapons and bows, but on closer inspection are made from highly advanced materials that can even cut through Forge Father armour. They've also been known to eschew mechanical transports in favour of riding large beasts into battle. Overseers are essentially Generals, and only hit the ground in person if shit is empire-shaking in importance.
The constructs can be divided into roughly three categories:
- Drones: Ranging in size from personal shield and support drones, up to large, heavily armoured hovering tanks, and fast attack craft comparable in size and role to Enforcer dropships.
- Marionettes: The backbone of the army, remote controlled soldiers with a variety of weapons at their disposal. Interestingly, one Asterian can control many marionettes at the same time, hence making the Asterian default battle experience similar to an actual videogame for said Asterian. See Mom, esports do have a future.
- Cyphers: The elite drones, where one asterian controls one cypher unlike marionettes. Since the connection between cypher and asterian requires a complex ritual, it results in a more in depth connection with the construct, allowing them to be faster and more reactive than Marionettes. the price though, is that if a Cypher is destroyed on the field, it's possible for the whiplash to destroy the mind of the pilot if safety protocols don't enact fast enough. Cyphers are flexible with acces to normal rifles, energy gauntlets, jet scooters, and even katanas.
All in all, on the battlefield, an Asterian army is an elite force, trading armour for speed and flexibility.
The Asterians have two teams in Dreadball split between two seasons. The Shan-Meeg Starhawks were introduced in Season 3. They get access to all four player types, and their base team kit even comes with a defensive coach. Their team rules are split between their player types and include some once per game effects, so bookkeeping is required. Their guards have an ability that allows them to claim they were fouled on the pitch, forcing a check against an opponent's player. This can only be done once per game per player though.
Their jacks and strikers both have a rule called "Fragile" that gives them a single automatic fail on any armor check. This really sucks, but is supposed to be balanced by the second jack ability which lets them claim they were fouled as they pass by an opposing player. This forces a check just like with the guards mentioned above. So basically they're dirty, cheating space elves.
The Bremlin Nebulas were introduced in Season 5 and are female space pirate Asterians. They only have access to strikers and jacks, which is somewhat limiting. In the fluff they're said to be the most common type of Asterian most Humans encounter, leading to a "distorted" view of Asterian culture, at least according to the Asterians.