Gods of the Silver Screen. The Iconoclast, Gabriel White, confronts the Guild operative, Subtle Light Of The Breaking Dawn On The Horizon, in 1920s Hollywood
Image by Danilo Reyes. Please do not use without permission
To human eyes, the Iytrochi somewhat resemble giant lemurs or meerkats, typically standing about four-and-a-half feet tall. Their bodies are covered in fur that ranges from cream to almost black. They have short, pointed muzzles, wide, dark eyes, and large, triangular ears. Their hands have three digits and an opposable thumb, tipped with heavy claws which are primarily designed for climbing but can be used as close-combat weapons in extremis. Their haunches and legs are heavily muscled, like those of a rabbit, allowing them to jump three or four times their own height in Earth gravity. Although their build can appear delicate, they have a higher bone and muscle density than humans, reflecting their evolution on a planet with slightly higher gravity, and weigh about as much as a normal human adult. Their vocal chords are undeveloped, unable to produce more than simple cries of warning or pain, but they can communicate telepathically with most sapient species.
As advanced telepaths, the Iytrochi can communicate ideas and concepts to each other without the clumsy medium of words. Unfortunately, when they try to "translate" their swift, elegant, information-dense mental exchanges into the crude languages used by other races, the results are a little... verbose. Iytrochi names and titles usually last for an entire sentence. In fact, a common joke is that they last for an entire life sentence.
The Iytrochi evolved on Lurianshir, a terrestrial planet with a slightly thinner atmosphere and higher gravity than Earth. The planet's single massive continent was historically dominated by dense equatorial rain-forest, and the Iytrochi's ancestors were omnivorous arboreal mammals. The dominant life forms of Lurianshir were originally giant reptiles; while the planet never managed to produce anything as large or impressive as Earth's dinosaurs, its raptor-like predators made up in speed and tenacity what they lacked in size.
The Iytrochi first manifested telepathic powers at a very early stage of their evolution, well before they became fully sapient. At first, their abilities involved simple empathic projection, intended to lure in prey and discourage - or avoid - predators. Their capabilities increased along with their intelligence, expanding to encompass auditory and visual illusions, mental domination of lesser species - like the raptors - and the pooling of knowledge, experience, and intellectual powers.
Their scientific development was characterized by long periods of stagnation punctuated by short, intense bursts of extremely rapid progress. Their telepathy allowed the ideas of the occasional innovative genius to spread like wildfire, but when there wasn't a genius around to shake things up, it also tended to reinforce the status quo, by making learning a simple matter of transferring information from one mind to another rather than a process of exploration and discovery. They first developed interstellar travel at around the same time that Hammurabi was promulgating his Code. By the time that the Roman Empire collapsed, they had progressed to a theoretical understanding of time travel, before falling into another long era of technological stasis.
The Iytrochi weren't a warlike species, but when they discovered that Lurianshir lay in the no-man's-land between the Sontaran and Rutan spheres of influence, they realized that they'd have to find ways to defend themselves unless they wanted to be wiped out in the cross-fire. Part of their solution was to develop cloaking technology on a planetary scale, to hide their entire world from discovery. Another element of their defensive strategy was technology designed to amplify and focus their natural telepathic powers, to subtly discourage the Sontarans and Rutans from taking an interest in their star system and - when all else failed - to drive the crews of their vessels to suicidal madness. Over the centuries, more than a hundred Sontaran and Rutan ships were piloted into Lurianshir's sun by navigators under Iytrochi telepathic influence.
Once faction of the Iytrochi, however, wanted to go further. They had no talent for war themselves, they argued, but there were plenty of other species who did. Iytrochi mind-influencing technology would allow them to take behind-the-scenes control of these primitive, warrior races, typically by exploiting their religious belief systems. After a few generations of artificially accelerated scientific development, such alien satrapies could be subtly guided by the Iytrochi to create interstellar empires strong enough to distract, weaken, and perhaps ultimately destroy, the Sontarans and Rutans.
Mainstream Iytrochi opinion considered such ideas both unethical and suicidal. Quite apart from the immorality of unleashing mobs of bloodthirsty barbarians on an unsuspecting galaxy, they pointed out, there was no guarantee that the resultant empires would be any better than the Sontarans or the Rutans. In a worst-case scenario, they might even discover their Iytrochi manipulators, and turn against them in understandable resentment at having been deceived and used.
The imperialists - formally the Guild Of Advocates For Protecting The Iytrochi Species Through The Social And Technological Supervision Of Alien Warrior Species, but called simply the Guild by everyone who wasn't an Iytrochi - were undeterred. They exiled themselves from their homeworld and started attempting to put their ideas into practice. At first, their intentions were pure even if their methods were ethically dubious. Gradually, however, they followed the all-too-familiar path from revolutionaries to organized crime syndicates. By Earth's early twenty-first century, their goals had degenerated into a simple exploitation of the resources and talents of more primitive species for their own gain.
The Iytrochi government, appalled, set up their own organization to deal with the renegades. Reasoning that natives of the societies that the Guilds were targeting would have both the incentive and the local knowledge to frustrate their plans, they established a network of agents, recruited from the planets where the Guilds were known to operate. Officially, the organization was the Alien Volunteer Corps For The Monitoring And Protection Of Less-Developed Societies Against Illegal Iytrochi Social And Technological Interference. Among themselves, its members adopted a name derived from their job of destroying phony religious cults and the mind-control devices which supported them. They called themselves Iconoclasts.
These statistics represent the type of Iytrochi that players are most likely to come into contact with - either a member of the Guilds, or a member of the Iytrochi security forces charged with hunting down the Guilds