This article originally appeared in Issue #001 of the downloadable PDF magazine.
Roughly 100,000 years ago a massive planetoid struck largest moon in their planetary system, turning it into debris. This altered the planet's orbit to such an extent that it is now on an erratic orbit, experiencing long extreme summers and winters, but ultimately drifting away from the main star and from the habitable zone. These extreme conditions killed off many of the higher lifeforms, and must have had a devastating impact on their ancestors as well. However, in the same way that avians were the first species to prosper after the cataclysmic destruction of the dinosaurs, it was the flyers on this world that recovered quickest. The Maave, already on the cusp of sentience, found themselves centre stage in their planet's evolution.
They are omnivorous gatherer fliers, with bilateral symmetry and three pairs of limbs. The upper and lower pair are capable of grasping, although the lower pair which they use to walk are not capable of fine manipulation. The middle pair are wings. The male squires can fly while the female wren's wings and greater body mass only enable them to glide. They have a fur coating, similar to wool. They habitually groom themselves and each other. Their saliva contains enzymes which rapidly stiffen and fuse this fur into a stiff yet light material, able to hold up under a strong breeze.
The gender roles diverged a long time before the species acquired full sentience. The squires were the gatherers and providers, while the wrens built nests and guarded the young, even before they had extended families. Burying food for later use is a common trait among animals, but the Maave have developed this into an elaborate game among themselves. It may be this, together with a great climatic shift, which prompted their rise to full sentience.
Wrens (in their own language Ru'?n) are about 1.3-1.4 metres tall, with a wingspan of 2 metres. Their weight varies between 35 kg and 45kg. Gliding is really the best they can expect, although they retain the spatial sense that all fliers have. They have throughout history been pretty inventive in how they use these (otherwise vestigial) wings, such as shields, heavy lifting, cradling infants or as frameworks for arrays of battle equipment.
Squires (in the native dialect S'kr?a) are slightly shorter head to toe at 1.1-1.2 metres, but with their propensity to stoop can appear much shorter. The have the same wingspan and a more regular body mass of about 20kg, enough to enable full flight on their home world. They often use their arms as additional muscle power to aid flight, particularly on long journeys. Some even have their arms 'groomed' into the body of the wing, though that is considered cruel treatment by most.
Both have good eyesight, particularly at a distance. Their other senses are roughly equivalent to a humans, although their hearing range is an an octave higher. Their vocal chords are also quite flexible and they are capable of speaking Galanglic fluently.
Maave squires, while undoubtedly sentient, and quite able to speak, read and write, are for most social purposes dumb. You can ask one a yes/no question and you might get an answer. You can give it an order and stand a much better chance that they will respond. According to their Wren minders they exhibit three distinct modes of behaviour. These are playful, domestic and wild. Although one individual will tend display one behaviour more prominently than another, they each have the potential to display all of them, and will switch between them as the situation demands.
Creative behaviour is the natural behaviour of Maave young, regardless of gender. At such times an individual will display enormous curiosity. They will compete with peers, not for any immediate gain (although that can happen) but simply to test their competence at certain tasks. They will also develop a dependency on some maternal figure, who they expect to act as provider and guardian. In older males this can manifest in nurturing roles, and also among scientists, engineers and other innovators.
Domestic behaviour is displayed mainly by older males, who having fulfilled their reproductive role are only interested in supporting their spouse in her business. They will be obedient to their spouse (or other dominant female). In settled communities, the majority of adult males will display this behaviour most of the time.
Wild behaviour is displayed away from the nest. The Maave male, behaves as his ancestors must have behaved, thousands of years back. He will seek out food for himself; look for object of apparent value; actively search for places to bury these items; keep a close eye on other Maave to see they do not get too close and if needs be fight them off; try to see what other squires are doing, and if there is loot to be unearthed; try to attract a prospective partner with object that might impress her...
Other behaviours: The above list describes anything a non-Maave is likely to observe in squire behaviour. This still leaves some mysteries since they are able to pass on information about ancient caches, days or even hours before their own demise. It is difficult to determine whether this foresight is cognitive or pre-cognitive since they are so uncommunicative. You would be a fool though to think you were dealing with a bird brain.
Wrens display a much wider range of behaviours. They are very aware of social norms, and the subtle shift in power that can occur in a given situation. They are very human in their behaviours, though possibly with more interest in hierarchy than people. The most notable distinction is a lack of curiosity about the physical world. They seem to rely on their male relatives to solve “practical” problems. This seems to be more cultural than anything else, as they are capable of quite astonishing tactics in warfare.
Wrens, like most human women, have a strong nurturing urge. They are also very ambitious. These can work against one another, but their society is structured around these competing needs. Family relationships permeate their institutions, and is highly formalised. A wren's underlings are also her daughters and nieces, be that by birth or by adoption. This gives them security, but also takes away from their personal freedom.
Often, one sibling in a large family will be left with the duty of bringing up a host of nephews and nieces. In time this can itself become a significant source of status and power as these youngsters start to take their adult roles in life. For this reason children are almost always raised by a blood relative.
Literary themes run the same gamut as human literature, from the philosophical to high adventure. The main distinction is that in place of romance about impossible love there is romance about impossible parenthood. Of course in both Maave and Human cultures both exist, but in Maave culture males are never protagonists.
Males as property
Squires are assumed to belong to either their mother or their spouse. The status is somewhat different to that of women in male dominated human societies. The squire has primary access to the material assets of the family. In the age of credit you may think this is insignificant compared to your bank balance, but Maave are hoarders. The wrens know what assets are likely to appreciate, and the squires will put those assets somewhere secure. This means that although a squire is property, he also has property. It is also possible for a male to fly the nest. To kill an adult male from another family is strongly taboo, since they are considered non-threatening, and a source of bounty for whoever possesses them.
Maave In the Imperium
How you use this race in the Imperium is up to you. There is a story arc that charts their development from discovery to establishment as a diaspora to the rediscovery of their home world. When these events occur is up to the GM. This section assumes that they were discovered by the First Imperium and dispersed during the Rule of Man.
They were discovered by the Third Imperium very early. They may even have been part of the Sylean Federation. Some of their own myths say that they were the first Scouts. This would put them on Sylea from the start, which is just not credible. What is certain though is that they have found a very special place in the Scout service. The males, while considered to be a criminal nuisance by most humans they live alongside, make intrepid and loyal field agents. Their spouses meanwhile make able handlers, astute diplomats and proficient organisers.
They are active in commerce at most levels. There is no Maave megacorporation, but there are several they have a large share in. At the corporate level they prefer to operate as majority shareholders, employing human CEOs and representatives. This is not for any sinister motive, merely good PR in a human-centric universe. This collaboration goes right down to the lowest level. Maave owned free-traders will always have a human on board. This is partly so that they can present a human face in port, and partly because they think of humans as superior engineers.
The Maave faith in human engineering is due to their reliance on human technology. They are quite capable of developing their own technology, but for some reason, they have no faith in it. Maave owned starships will be of a human design, with few if any modifications. The most obvious change will be the conversion of private space into communal space and a distinctive paint job. A less obvious but equally likely change is the addition of smuggling holds. This is not, as many people believe, due to the fundamentally criminal mindset of the Maave, but they like to be cautious and prepare for the worst.
Some of the Career information here (for Native Careers) assumes the availability of Classic Traveller Supplement 4, Citizens of the Imperium, in addition to the Classic Traveller core rules (required for Imperial Careers for Maave).
|UPP Adjustments for Maave|
|Strength||DM -1||DM -2|
|Endurance||DM +1||DM +2|
Movement on the ground is similar to that of humans. In the open will can use their wing for balance, and to help generate a little momentum. This allows them an extra turn of running or sprinting before penalties are applied. If they are in a confined space then running requires a dexterity roll. If this fails they are forced to stop for a turn.
Maave of either gender can glide in a normal atmosphere and gravity. In denser atmospheres or weaker gravity flight is possible, but requires training. Zero-G-combat at level one allows a wren to use her wings to manoeuvre. Level two indicates full and confident use of her wings under all circumstances. Squires can fly at up to 60kph in their native environment (Planet size 6, dense atmosphere). This drops by 10kph for each increment in size, and by 30kph for a normal atmosphere. They can fly for END × 10 minutes if unencumbered, or END × 30 minutes if they have their arms free.
With their enhanced vision they get a +1 to hit at very long and extreme ranges. This bonus does not apply if they use sights. They Referee may also give them a bonus to perception rolls to see objects at a distance.
Maave gain the benefit of jack armour if it has been groomed in the last week to a suitable length and stiffness. The default condition for such protection is either cold weather conditions, or deliberate combat wariness. Males are unlikely to receive such grooming if they are expected to fly.
In primitive culture wrens often embellished their armour with metallic plates or weaves. These count as mesh. They have half the weight if only applied to the wings, but give the same protection when the Maave is not running or gliding. Optionally wing armour can give an additional -1 in such circumstances to an already armoured individual if it already gives better protection than being unarmoured.
Maave age at exactly the same rate as humans. If you want to alter this, their creator does not mind.
Roll 1d-1 each for Domestic and Wild traits. Creative trait equals 10 minus the two other traits. These three traits always sum to 10.
Maave specific skills
Cache: the ability to conceal items so that they will not be detected. It stretches to finding caches hidden by others, and to making maps, even at a stretch to making coded maps.
Shadow: the ability to follow others unnoticed, to detect if another individual is following you and shake them off. This skill is common to humans, but with Maave the options for movement and observation are greater.
Preening: this covers the craft of preening, to achieve an aesthetic or practical effect. It is also a social skill enhancing the bond between preener and preened. It can give a bonus equivalent to the bonus gained from leadership skill.
Matriarch: the skills used to run a large household. It can function in different circumstances as administration, steward or leader.
Navy: The Imperial Navy has a traditional dislike towards Maave, and it is rare to find them in this service. They have a -2 penalty on rolls to join or get a promotion. If using advance character generation, these penalties are reduced to -1 for Subsector and Planetary Navies. Planetary Navies of worlds with a significant Maave population may forgo this penalty, at the GM's discretion.
Army and Marines: Only wrens may choose the military service careers. They may join a land army as a military scout, using the Runner career below. Wrens will generally not serve in a conventional marines unit, but are likely to act as security in the Scout service. If creating a Marine using advanced character creation treat counter insurgency assignments as internal security.
Scouts: Squires get +2 to join the scout service, regardless of Strength. Wrens get a +2 bonus if they have an Education of 8+ in addition to other modifiers. For advanced Scout character generation, squires will always be field agents. Wrens will join the bureaucracy irrespective of whether they have a college eduction but those who do not must still roll to enlist.
Merchants: Maave are often merchants at all levels. They like working with human crews, and a number of human captains see the benefits in employing Maave. Use the rules as they are, but with some restrictions on the skills tables. If using Book 7; Squires will be in Deck, Engineering, Purser or Free Trader and Wrens in Deck, Purser, Administration, Sales or Free Trader.
Squire Promotion, Domestication and Going Wild
Squires in any profession will be answerable to a female of their species. They will not accept a commission or a promotion. If the advanced character generation rules are being used, they may gain non-commissioned ranks and pay, in recognition of their skills and length of service.
In a career where promotion is possible the promotion roll must still be made. If it is passed then increase the Domestic trait by 1. If it is failed then roll a bonus skill from either of the Domestic or Creative tables. If the character is eligible for the +1 modifier, this is instead applied as a -1 modifier.
Doctors roll 8+ and Scientists roll 6+ to avoid domestication and gain a bonus skill. They both get +1 if their Creative trait is 4+.
In other careers roll 10+ to go Wild and gain a skill from the Wild column. Add +1 to this roll if Wild is already 4+.
Native Wren Careers
|Maave Native Wren Careers|
|DM +1 if||EDU 6+||SOC 8+||SOC 6+||DEX 8+|
|DM +2 if||STR 8+||END 8+||EDU 8+||STR 5+|
|DM||+2 if END 7+||+1 for each term||+2 if DEX 6+|
|Status||6+||10+, but auto in terms 1-3||8+||9+|
|DM +1 if||EDU 8+||INT 10+||EDU 9+||INT 8+|
|Opt. DM±1 if||EDU 8+|
|Fostering (see note)||-||SOC-||-||-|
Note: Character must have SOC 6- to enlist in Servant Career
Note: Fostering refers to the Maave practice of having a younger wren sibling raise the children after birth. If the fostering roll is failed, the Matriarch raises her own child, and either re-enlists as a Matriarch or loses 2 Status.
|Maave Native Wren Career Skills|
|Roll||Wren Life||Starport 1||Warrior 1||Matriarch 1|
(Rank 3+ only)
(Rank 3+ only)
(Rank 4+ only)
|5||+1 EDU||Shadow||Blade Cbt||Shadow|
|Maave Native Wren Career Mustering Out Tables|
|Material Benefits (DM +1 if Rank 4+)|
|1||Low Psg||-||Low Psg||-|
|2||+1 INT||+1 INT||+1 INT||Low Psg|
|3||+1 EDU||+1 EDU||+1 EDU||+1 INT|
|4||Weapon||Weapon||Mid Psg||+1 EDU|
|6||High Psg||Protégé||High Psg||Low Psg|
|7||+1 SOC||+1 SOC||+1 SOC||-|
|Wealth (DM +1 if Gambling 1+)|
|Maave Wren Native Career Ranks|
|5||Great Aunt||Revered Matriarch||Commentator||-|
|6||Field Grandmother||Grand Matriarch||Pundit||-|
|Maave Wren Career Optional Skill Substitutions|
|Leadership, Computer||Matriarch or Preening|
(Imperial Maave Careers Only)
|Maave Automatic Skills|
|Mater Commander||Tactics||Servant (Enlistment)||Steward|
For all careers the Wren Life skill table is available. Starport 1 and Starport 2 may be used by Wren living close to a starport, although Starport 2 is only available at rank 3+.
Warrior: All wrens will have some combat training so that they are able to defend hearth and home. The idea of maintaining a standing army would be ridiculous by their view. Most professional soldiers are either mercenaries, or individuals from a small belligerent branch of a larger family. The military can acquire power, but not to the overwhelming degree that they do on other worlds.
For Wrens on long journeys however, a military detachment becomes essential. They move slowly compared to their male counterparts, and must carry goods and provisions with them.
Warrior 1 skills are available at all ranks. Warrior 2 is available at rank 3+. At the GM's discretion skill tables from Army, Sailor or Flyer careers may be used in addition to these.
Matriarch: To bear children is the greatest joy a wren can have. To bring them up is nearly as much of a joy, and much more of a chore. Families will deputize one of the family (typically a younger sibling) to bring up their young. This is hard work at first, with very little immediate status benefit. As the children grow up however, they will make their own way in the world, and their nursemaid turns into the trusted advisor for a new dynamic generation. The first 3 ranks indicates the age of the children being raised. The later ranks are attained as the Matriarch’s progeny become her agents in wider society.
Matriarch 1 skills are available at all ranks. Matriarch 2 skills are open to ranks 4+.
Businesswren: The natural power base of all Maave families, lies in the control and brokering of precious resources.
Treat as Bureaucrat from Supplement 4. Roll on the Wren Life table instead of the Personal Development table. Skills in Admin and Leader may instead be taken in Matriarch or Preening at the player's discretion.
Envoy/Trader: They travel and act as go-betweens, and try to see if they can make a little profit on the side.
Use the Diplomat career tables. Use Wren Life instead of the Personal Development table. Admin and Computer skills may be exchanged with Matriarch and Preening. Vacc Suit must (and Vehicle may) become combat skills. Gambling becomes Trader.
Writer/Orator: They write for a broad audience. Some can be reporters, mouthpieces of one faction or another, preachers or demagogues. They are typically well educated but from a lesser family.
Skills from both the Orator and Investigator tables are available to all ranks.
Domestic Servant: They do the chores. Some can be quite manipulative and can acquire influence that way. If you want a loyal servant that becomes a trusted advisor, other careers may suit better.
Skills from the Servant and Knave tables are open to all ranks.
Native Squire Careers
|Maave Native Squire Careers|
|DM +1 if||Wild 4+||STR 5+||Creative 6+||INT 7+|
|DM +2 if||END 8+||END 7+||INT 8+||Wild 4+|
|DM +2 if||INT 8+||DEX 8+||EDU 7+||END 8+|
|DM +1 if||INT 6+||Wild 5+||INT 9+||EDU 5-|
(Only if Bonus Roll failed)
|Re-enlist||3+||5+||Auto if Creative 4+,
not permitted otherwise
|Maave Native Squire Career Skills|
|1||Electronics||+1 DEX||+1 DEX||+1 DEX|
|2||Communications||+1 INT||+1 END||+1 INT|
Domestic, Wild, and Creative skill tables are available only to a squire whose corresponding trait is 4+
|Maave Native Squire Career Mustering Out Tables|
|2||+2 INT||+1 INT||+2 INT||+2 INT|
|3||+1 EDU||+2 EDU||+2 EDU||Weapon|
|5||Low Psg||Weapon||Patronage||Low Psg|
|6||Mid Psg||Low Psg||High Psg||-1 SOC|
|Wealth (DM +1 if Gambling 1+)|
|Maave Squire Career Optional Skill Substitutions|
|Broker, Legal, Gambling||Cache|
|Gunnery||Electronic or Mechanical|
The Starport skills are available to Squires living close to a star port. Domestic, Wild and Creative skill tables are available if the corresponding trait is 4 or greater.
Explorer: The natural place for a squire is in the wild. They are always looking for places to nest, or to cache items or where someone else might have made a cache. Some can stray very far indeed, not returning home until years have passed.
Runner: They run errands and act as messengers. They are commonly used as auxiliaries in mercenary companies and on long voyages.
Inventor: This is a particularly creative Maave, often the child of a powerful wren, who has been given the resources and freedom to pursue a personal fascination. Some can waste years producing nothing but unnerving bangs and unpleasant odours. Most are aware enough to realise they can be genuinely useful. When teamed with a good patron or talented spokes-wren, they can make a lasting technological breakthrough. Otherwise they are just tinkerers.
Grifter: The underclass in large cities produce squires who can not find a place in a good family or live off the land. This is the profession of those unfortunates.
The picture below is an early study of the Maave done by the author. A wren is pictured above left; a squire below right.