For other uses, see Ravager (Disambiguation).

We don’t know where the Ravager originated since, by the time we first encountered them, they had mutated to the point where it was impossible to tell what remained of the original creatures, if anything at all. Most of our current knowledge about them comes from the few specimens that have been recovered from the battle of Parsaius and from the clues that can be found on the ravaged worlds they leave in their wake.

For a long time, they were no more than a myth; they were mere stories from space sailors and tradesmen, who spoke of colonies and spaceships that had been found abandoned, with no signs of life and with entire sections that looked like they had been devoured whole.

Of course, it was the Corvo who blamed the Iz’kal for the disappearance of their colonies, and the Iz’kal retaliated by blaming the Corvo when it happened to their own. Open war became a real threat.

Then came the onslaught. Creatures out of a nightmare, in numbers that darkened the sky, fell upon Izuan Tai, the economic center of the Corvo. The defenses of the planet were overrun in a matter of minutes and those who tried to escape the slaughter were hunted down. Only the fastest spaceships managed to find their way into the Labyrinth to carry word of the attack back to the Corvosphere.

One month later, a large corvo fleet arrived at Izuan Tai’s system. The reports of what they found stills sends chills down my spine. The planet had been engulfed by a strange looking substance, and a closer look revealed that the inhabitants of the planet were inside that substance, trapped alive and being slowly digested. Tendrils emerged from a large pool-like structure on the surface of the planet, like roots extending out of a tree, and they stretched out as far as the eye could see into the substance, pulsating as they carried the digested matter of the corvo people back to the processing pool, which was bubbling with activity.

Despite their technological and military superiority, the fleet was vastly outnumbered and it quickly became clear that it was a battle they couldn’t win. In a last act of courage and desperation, the fleet fought its way to the surface of the planet and blew it up, annihilating both sides and releasing the prisoners of their terrible fate.

It wasn’t long before another ravager fleet was detected approaching Parsaius, a large iz’kal colony. For the first time in history, the Iz’kal and the Corvo joined forces to face a common threat, one that they both understood could very well bring about the end of the known Universe. Despite the time they had to prepare for the attack and the knowledge that they had gathered about their enemy during the battle at Izuan Tai, the assault took a high toll in lives.

We had gained essential knowledge about our common enemy, but the price we paid for it was far too high.

The Swarm

The Ravager live and die for their swarm, which is the name given to each of their colonies. Every swarm is ruled by a single queen, who controls the actions of every other ravager in the swarm. A swarm is as powerful as her queen, and it's sole purpose is to protect the queen and help her evolve. 

Although the initial wave of attacks made it clear that different swarms will sometimes collaborate, we have been able to witness a fight between two swarms that ended up in the victorious queen devouring the defeated one and the losing swarm being completely annihilated.

The swarms wander across the galaxy, consuming every life form they come across and gathering their genetic material, which is used by the queen to evolve and enhance her capabilities, and, by extension, those of her progeny. We have been enlightened as to how this genetic material is obtained thanks to the reports from Izuan Tai. Despite my unquenchable thirst for knowledge, this is one thing I wish I never had to learn.

Devourers of Worlds

Once the swarm arrives at a planet, the queen releases bacteria that quickly spreads over the its surface and starts digesting its inorganic matter, turning it into a strange substance that the ravager can feed on. Living organisms are entombed within the substance, which keeps them alive for as long as needed, until the tendrils that will carry their DNA back to processing pools have had time to reach them. It is at this moment that the substance digests the entombed creatures to extract their DNA. 

The substance eventually covers the entire planet and, as it expands, new processing pools are created to keep up with the increasing amount of genomes that need to be processed. The areas that have been processed turn into spawning pools; the nutrients of the deceased dwellers of the planet are used to create new ravager. Once the entire planet has been processed, the swarm leaves it to look for a new planet. The substance will continue to erode the surface of the planet, so that a swarm that has taken heavy losses can go back to one of these planets to quickly repopulate. We have been able to use some of these planets to follow the trail of the swarms, hoping to find something that might help us stop them, although we haven’t had much success so far.

The Hivemind

It is clear to me now that the queen controls the actions of every other ravager in the swarm. We first noticed this during the battle of Parsaius, when we started detecting strange and complex radio signals coming from the ravager fleet. We now know that every ravager is capable of emitting and receiving radio signals through which they communicate with each other over long distances. Although this ability allows them to coordinate their efforts and act as a single mind, it is also a weakness we have been able to exploit, since distorting this signal seems to confuse them for a short while. Even so, jamming these signals is a complex task as they continuously change their wavelength spectrum and quickly react when any interferences affect them.

Different ravager emit waves of different intensity and complexity. The most simple ravager emit weak waves on a single frequency, whereas those emitted by the queen are extremely complex. It is through this mechanism that the hierarchy of the Ravager is established. Those that emit more complex signals will be able to control those that emit simpler signals, creating a clear power structure in which the weaker links will follow every command given to them, thus avoiding rogue elements in the system. On the other hand, it also means it is possible to detect the commanders of the swarms by simply locating the source of the most complex waves.

Organization of the Swarm

The discovery of the hivemind has allowed us to differentiate the different ravager according to their role and importance. While the queen is ultimately in control of everything that happens, she will usually do so through other ravager, who act as the link between her and the rest of the swarm. This has led us to classify the different ravager into four levels, the highest one being the queen and the lowest being the spawns. The other two levels correspond to the heralds, second to the queen, and the alterants.

The Spawns

The spawns refer to a broad variety of creatures, each with unique characteristics and abilities. We have included in this group all the remaining ravager, since, although the different creatures in the group don't have anything in common and their wave emission patterns are quite different from each other, they all have a highly specific role within the swarm and display a rather basic intellect. Although the appearance and traits of the spawns can vary from one swarm to the next (and even within the same swarm depending on the environment they were designed for), the essential attributes of each kind of spawn will remain the same. This tells us that they either all originated from the same queen not too long ago or that the different swarms collaborate more than we had originally believed, sharing with each other useful genomes that they have come across.

Spawns include Harvesters, Ironskins, Swarmers, Lurching Horrors, and Technos.

Species Traits

The ravager queens create each specimen of their species from a bank of DNA for a specific purpose. This bank has been refined for many years with the DNA of all the creatures the hive has ever consumed. This means that it is not uncommon that a given ravager specimen may not share any DNA with another ravager from the same hive. Most biologist reject the idea of calling the ravager a species and use the term step-species instead.

For this very reason there are ravager of all kinds. Players will be able to play those that are given a reasoning capacity of a similar level to the other playable species. Although there are hundreds of types of ravager, there are only a few created with this shared capacity of reason - most of the hive’s needs are performed by ravager that were created for a very specific task and are not required to be useful at others. When creating a ravager character, players must choose one of the following types as the base of their character. It will determine the character’s appearance and base characteristics. Regardless of their type, all ravager have Genetic Expression and Hive Mind, except for the infiltrators that do not have Hive Mind.

Genetic Expression

Action. A ravager can change any of his Bio Upgrades for any other Bio Upgrade, even more than one at once. The total cost in experience points of the new Upgrades cannot be higher than the total cost of the previous Upgrades, unless the character spends additional experience points to do so. Any experience points not spent during the transition are lost. The transition takes a few minutes for each experience point of the Upgrades changed.

The ravager can accumulate the DNA information of any organic matter they consume. If a ravager eats a character with Bio Upgrades, he will be able to acquire them with experience points or change his Upgrades for them. Additionally, the ravager can pair with the Queen to transmit to her all the DNA information he has accumulated.

All ravager can have up to 2 Bio Upgrades per Constitution point but only one Tech Upgrade in total, regardless of their Link.

Hive Mind

Ravager use natural LinkWaves for communication; allowing them to communicate with other ravager up to 100 metres away.

As a side effect, hackers can disturb their LinkWave flow, making ravager hackable, as if their minds were a device. When hacked, a ravager will fail their current action, or suffer a disadvantage towards their next action (if there is no action to fail).

They have a Firewall with a base value equal to their Hacking Skill that plays as many cards as their Link Attribute.

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