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The Minbari Race:
Background information is excepted from Voltayre's Encyclopia
PSYCHOLOGY: The Minbari live to attain perfection in themselves physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Their carefully preserved cities indicate a respect for the past. They emphasize the arts in society and are tolerant of cultural and religious differences among other cultures. Although they are and strive to be an advanced civilization, they do harbor a superiority complex over "inferior" races (though this is mostly evident with regard to members of the warrior caste), which stems from their belief in the advancement of souls. The
Minbari view technology as a transitory means to an end and that no race can be truly intelligent without laughter. To other races, the Minbari are a prideful people. One might also call them zealots.
There appears to be a dichotomy of demeanor between the religious caste and the warrior caste. While those of the religious caste are generally reflective and calm, those of the warrior caste are impulsive and ruthless. This is not to say the religious caste are above snobbing the warrior caste as brainless louts. This rivalry has contributed to an overall sense among the Minbari of anger and dissatisfaction. This division between the castes has only deepened since the Earth-Minbari War.
HISTORY: The Minbari are the oldest of the "current races." Their technology is centuries ahead of the other new races but inferior to that of the Ancients. They achieved spaceflight over 1,100 years ago.
Prior to Valen's appearance, the Minbari were embroiled in a conflict with the Shadows. The war was going badly for the Minbari and their allies. A Shadow assault on their command station left it in ruins. Soon after, the Minbari were summoned by the Vorlons to a remote sector of space. There, they were presented with a new hope: Babylon 4 (to act as a new base) and Valen. With a new command center in their hands, the Minbari and a confederation of other worlds drove the Shadows from their places of power.
Before the coming of Valen, civil strife wracked Minbar and its colonies as Minbari killed Minbari. The three castes warred with each other, but Valen pulled them together. Once these sides were integrated, the warrior caste had to content itself with external threats since they were forbidden to kill any Minbari for fear of reducing the Minbari collective soul. The Grey Council was convened as Minbar's ruling body and the Anla-shok (or Rangers) were formed to combat the darkness.
Aside from various civil wars and the Shadow Uprising, no other conflicts involving the Minbari are known about save a very brief Streib invasion and the madness of the Earth-Minbari war.
When a small fleet of Minbari war cruisers encountered an Earth Alliance convoy, the Minbari Cruisers opened their gunports to show respect for this new race. Unfortunately, the humans mistook this form of First Contact as a sign of aggression and opened fire. In a highly dubious stroke of luck (or misfortune) the lead vessel took a critical hit, mortally wounding Dukhat, leader of the Grey Council and the most evolved and wise of the Minbari. As he lay dying, the Minbari piled up bodies around him to confuse and delay the soul hunters; allowing Dukhat to join the Minbari soul collective. Dukhat's death caused such outrage that the religious caste gave its full support for most of its duration. One of the greatest supporters of the war against the humans was a High Priest named Branmer. He felt this cause was just and became a member of the warrior caste. He quickly rose through the ranks by fighting with bravery, vision, and zeal.
Minutes away from assaulting Earth itself, the Grey Council decided to capture a human pilot for interrogation. His squadron gone, Commander Jeffrey Sinclair lined his damaged ship up for a kamakazi run on a Minbari war cruiser. His ship was chosen by Satai Delenn. The starfury was disabled and brought on board. Sinclair was tortured, interrogated, and scanned. The conclusion they feared was confirmed when they captured more pilots. When they discovered that humans had Minbari souls (wholly and partially), the Grey Council ordered the Minbari forces to surrender and offered no explanation to the warrior caste.
CULTURE: Minbari Castes: The core of Minbari society is its caste system. There are three castes: the religious, warrior, and worker. The warrior and religious caste have rarely agreed, until recently at the end of the Earth-Minbari War (and this has been viewed as a terrible thing). The worker caste is very different from the other two and is a less influential part of Minbari society. Sometimes it is not considered a caste at all. Minbari pilots and traders are of the worker caste.
Caste membership is determined by one's calling, not birth or genetics. Usually a Minbari will sense a calling toward a certain caste early in life. The Minbari makes her choice known and is assigned a teacher from the caste she desires to join. The teacher guides the applicant and determines if the calling is true after a few cycles. If the calling is genuine, the applicant is accepted into her caste of choice. If the applicant does not seem to be suited to that caste, others will work with that Minbari to find what caste she is most suited for. Such a screening process is used to prevent a Minbari choosing the wrong caste due to others' expectations. Later in life, if a Minbari already in one caste feels a calling toward another, he can change castes if the belief is sincerely felt and if so, cannot be contravened. For example, The war hero Branmer was originally a member of the religious caste, but when the jihad against the Earthers began, he felt a call to the warrior caste and was accepted. Once membership is granted, obedience to one's caste superiors is expected.
As a rule, Minbari do not lie. To maintain honor, they must tell the truth or keep silent. However, distortion of the truth is accepted if by doing so the Minbari allows another being or member of their clan to "save face."
RELIGION: The Minbari do not believe in deities. The core of Minbari religious belief is that of the soul. A soul is defined by them as a non-localized phenomenon, meaning that a person's soul does not originate from within, but from the outside by a hidden source (the universe). To them, the universe is a conscious entity engaged in a search for meaning. It breaks itself apart and invests itself in every form of life. Thus, every being is a projection of a part of the universal soul. They believe that all sentients have immortal souls. However, there is more than one "universal soul" since breaking itself apart and only meeting identical versions of itself would be pointless and redundant. There are Soul Forms, one for each race. The soul form in Minbari differ from those in Drazi, Centauri, and Humans. Having been civilized longer than most races, the Minbari hold their soul form to be more elevated, evolved, and precious than those around them.
LANGUAGE: The Minbari have three major languages: Lennau, Vik, and Adronato. Theseare broken down into ninety-seven dialects and subtongues. Adronato is the language of the religious caste.
GOVERNMENT: The Minbari Federation is governed by a leader, called the Chosen One, and the Grey Council, a group of nine representatives from the three Minbari castes. When a leader dies, it is customary to wait for ten Minbari cycles before a new leader is chosen. During this time, the Federation is controlled by the Grey Council. The new leader is installed in a ceremony called the Shi-Ki.
The Centauri embassy on Minbar has been closed for several years due to a problem with its last envoy. The former ambassador "went native;" embracing the culture of the Minbari. He was recalled by a horrified Centauri government. In 2260, the Centauri embassy was reopened with the transfer and promotion of Vir Cotto, former attache to the infamous Londo Mollari. It was closed soon after when it was discovered that he was "abusing" his post while "under the influence of the radical Minbari."
In the few rare cases of a Minbari killing another, the murderer is judged temporarily insane and exiled to a small moon orbiting Minbar. The penal colony allows the Minbari to live out his life without harming anyone else.
The Grey Council
Summoned, I come. In Valen's name, I take the place that has been prepared for me. I am Grey. I stand between the candle and the star. We are Grey. We stand between the darkness and the light."
The Grey Council was convened by Valen over one thousand years ago tosafeguard the Minbari. It is a body composed of three members each from the three castes, whose declarations are considered law in an almost biblical sense. Their decisions are not to be questioned ("Understanding is not required, only obedience."). New members are approved by majority vote. Members of the Grey Council are given the title "Satai" and triluminary mark implants in the forehead. These implants are used to detect the presence of Shadows and their thralls among other functions. At certain times and under certain circumstances, the insignia can be used as proof of one's membership in the Grey Council. The title of Satai is granted for life. A Minbari may choose to leave only under extraordinary circumstances. Members may also be removed if their actions warrant it.
Membership in the Grey Council is not generally known to the majority of Minbari. This is to prevent a cult of personality from forming. An extra precaution against this and also for the safety of the Council was removing the Council from Minbar and having them hold court in the Minbari War Cruiser designated Valen'tha. Its location is not easily known as it (in a seemingly random way) travels among Minbar and its Colonies. This gives the Council an exotic and distant feel to Federation citizens, knowing their leaders are among the stars, being a part of the universe. Council members stay on the cruiser for almost the entirety of their tenure. Members are allowed to leave for personal emergencies.
MILITARY: While the Minbari Warrior Caste is dedicated to the defense of Minbar, all three castes take an active part in the Federation military. As per Valen's Covenant each caste controls one third of the total military force. This distribution of power prevents a single caste from overpowering the others and allows each caste to have a say in how the fleet is used through their respective Grey Council representative.
The Minbari fleet is one of the most feared in Known Space. Fast, highly maneuverable, and able to evade sensors, Minbari ships are able to surprise any race they encounter with deadly force. Among Earth pilots the Minbari have earned the name "Ghosts in the Night."
Those of the warrior caste honor a great military leader by flying their starships with gun ports open. It is also a sign of honor used in many circumstances; however, its use as part of First Contact protocol is less frequently used since the Earth-Minbari War, if not altogether abandoned.
TECHNOLOGY: Gravitic; The Minbari excel at crystal based technology: crystalline power sources, gravity manipulating rings, and charged crystal knife-gauntlets.
Alignments: Any, due to the philosophical nature of the race the race tends to be mostly good and selfish (In the Warrior caste, there a great many Aberrants as well)
Attributes: IQ: 3D6 ME: 3D6 MA: 3D6 PS: 3D6+3 PP: 3D6 PE: 3D6+2 PB: 3D6 SPD: 3D6
Hit Points: PE +1D6 per each level of experience
SDC: 10 plus those gained from OCC or Physical Skills
Average PPE: 4D6
Occupational Character Classes (OCC & RCC): Any, can become magic using classes in magic rich universes such as Phase World
Horror Factor: Not Applicable
Physical Appearance & Biology: The Minbari Race is a humanoid mammalian race very similar looking to humans. The biggest difference is that the race has a headbone that helps to reinforce and protect the skull. This may have carry over formed via evolution from mating ritual headbutting of a ancestral species similar to earth herd animals. This headbone is not present at birth but slowly grows out as the Minbari ages. The headbone slowly creeps forward across the head as the Minbari gets older once reaching adulthood. Headbones are of different sizes, textures, and configurations. The Minbari have different rituals for the shaping, honing, and trimming of their headbone crests. On the female Minbari, the headbone is usually only peaked in the rear and rises smoothly on each side to the headbone. On the male Minbari, the headbone tends to rise in several peaks on either side of the center with the central peak being the largest. The crest is also sometimes carved in a stylized manor to represent the Minbari's cast. A female Minbari in the warrior cast might have her crest formed into a spiky series similar to the way a male crest is. Worker cast Minbari do not put a high value on ritual headbone carving. Other differences are a more reinforces spinal structure, the Minbari do not have hair on top of their heads, have sparce body hair, and the Minbari ear is much lower than it is on a human and smaller as well due to the headbone. Male Minbari can grow beards but most Minbari shave their facial hair. Female Minbari do not menstrate.
Height: Variable, average is from 5 foot to 6 foot 7 inches (1.5 meters to 2 meters)
Weight: Variable, average is from 88 lbs to 242 lbs (40 kg to 110 kg)
Average Life Span: 200 to 225 Earth years (or approximately 133 to 150 Minbari cycles). A Minbari aged 60 to 70 is considered roughly equal to a human in their 30's.
Special/Natural Abilities: Good Intelligence, Creative, Resourceful, and adaptable. Minbari also exibit a reasonably high percentage of psychic ability
Weaknesses: Minbari are badly effected by alcohol. The effect is to cause the Minbari to become paranoid and psychotically violent. If compared to humans, it is similar to the effect of PCP on humans.
Magic: Only if in a magic rich universe. In magic rich universe, Minbari can become magic using character classes.
Psionics: Standard (Use Psi-Corp Psionic Tables but ignore psi-corp organization)
Enemies: Shadows and Drahk
Allies: Vorlons and many races from the League of Non Aligned Worlds.
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Racial information from Voltayre's Encyclopia Xenobiologica
By Kitsune (firstname.lastname@example.org ).
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