I've been reading through what has been posted here in large part to touch up concepts I had in mind for upcoming characters with the release of Legacy of Romulus. Ever since the movie Nemesis, which a lot of people dislike for some reason, I quite enjoyed the story of the Remans. Like everything Romulan it seems to be cloaked in mystery and a mystique all its own. The most compelling thing about them to me though is that they are like many of Rome's slaves, a subjugated but somehow noble race that has been crushed under the iron boot of a totalitarian and superior force. These Remans, after having been crushed under that force grow with a building hatred for their taskmasters and usurp them, taking the power for themselves. However, having taken the poison of their taskmasters evil and swallowed it whole they too become monsters. At least in that film. I loved that. The film said a lot about rage and justice, right and wrong, and it did it within the context of the mysterious world of the Romulans. So for me that is why I liked the film.
All that being said it leaves me with a lot of questions and having asked around among people I happen to know that know a lot more about Star Trek than I do I have gotten a very broad set of answers as to the backstory of the Remans. There seems to be a number of different theories as to what the Remans actually are:
1) Remans as a completely subjugated race that the Romulans stumbled on when they first arrived.
2) Remans are simply an evolutionary development of these proto-Romulans that lived on the planet, in their holes for too long.
3) Remans are the result of a lottery when the colonists first arrived to the system. Their Vulcan 'psi' traits strongest among the families who lived there, made them perhaps too much a reminder of where they came from. Other undesirables were also dumped here.
4) Remans are a hybrid bastard race of indigenous populations and the first proto-Romulans who arrived to the system.
5) Remans are the result of failed experiments that mixed with the gene pool.
In the development of the basic biography I have in mind, I'm not sure any of this will have great impact. Ultimately, what I see coming out of a 'Reman culture' is something that casts off the past and looks forward. Obisek is a shining example of this. Having observed the misdeeds of the past he is a reflection of something better that the Viceroy and Shinzon were not, or perhaps could have been. To that end, I see something a bit different out of them at least thematically. What comes to mind perhaps, is frontier folk to the Americas or Australia.
There are other things interesting about the Remans. They appear to have a very complicated Pictogram based written language (So much so that Data had a problem with it), and their own unique language.
I guess my biggest problem with the Remans is that while they are so ripe conceptually, I wonder what I might be missing. I'm not one to write a big bio, or necessarily even write one at all. Many times the concept is in the head, but I like to have the concept for a character or it doesn't -feel- like a character to me. From a cultural standpoint it is somewhat unclear who and what they are, but then again I imagine that like the Romulans there is more to them than simply just what has been seen so far. To that end I suppose we can make them just about anything.
Nevertheless, if there are obvious things which should be known It would be nice. For instance, do they experience Pon Farr like a Vulcan? Are they susceptible to Vulcan diseases? Do they share the same copper-based blood? Do they buy into the same kinds of religious belief in the Elements or Mneisahe (sp?) as their Romulan cousins? Do they have their own belief systems?
In all honesty, I see this era as a golden age for the Remans as this is their time of freedom. It almost pairs well with the story of Kahless for the Klingons, and the Fek'lhri. The difference of course is that Obisek is not the Kahless at least in the tales the Klingons tell (who is to say Kahless ever really was that person, and the Klingons being the braggarts that they are over-embellished).
These are just a few of my thoughts as I think about these things. Not only do I want to know them to get a sense of my character, but also I'm looking to make Foundry missions based on the Remans, and a bit of backstory I might be missing is certainly helpful. Previous posts and Memory Alpha have certainly been helpful.
Last edited by thedodgehopper; 05-18-2013 at 07:12 PM.
So with regard to Remans we get this from the script
As you can see the habitable half of Remus is
always in darkness because, like Mercury,one side always faces the sun. Due to the extreme temperatures on that half of their world, the Remans live on the
dark side of the planet.
Almost nothing is known about the Reman homeworld, although intelligence
scans have proven the existence of dilithium mining and heavy weapons construction.
The Remans themselves are considered an undesirable caste in the hierarchy ofthe Empire.
This all points as a separate race that existed on Remus and integrated into Romulan society to me.
Hybrid or mutated Romulans- Remember Centurion Bochra in the "the Enemy" amazed that Geordi was allowed to live as he was blind at birth. I do not think if they are mutant/hybrids they would have lasted past birth in that Society.
I also feel it fits the "Roman" analogy as well -slaves for the Empire-in fact although I'm very pro Diane Duanes Rihannsu take on Romulans -I liked that the Remans gave a sense that the Romulans had enslaved other races and could fit within the novels if it needed to be.
2) Remans are simply an evolutionary development of these proto-Romulans that lived on the planet, in their holes for too long.
In the absence of an on-screen explanation, I had kinda assumed this is what the Nemesis writers/designers were going for. An evolutionary offshoot of the original Romulans that landed on Romulus and Remus. Though the background info on Memory Alpha doesn't support that. I'm not sure they bothered too much in thinking about their origins.
The Foundry Roundtable live Wednesdays at 7:30PM EST/4:30PM PST on twitch.tv/thefoundryroundtable Forum Logic dictates that if the devs don't do what a poster wants, they therefor actively hate what that poster is advocating for.
Forum Logic =/= Real Logic
I agree the parallel to Roman civilization makes a lot of sense. Its why I've considered making a Reman named Verus of the RRW Spartacus. That probably feels too obvious though. One of the big things that I find interesting about the Remans is that clearly they have some kind of a highly advanced culture of their own (note the Pictograms, the weapons making). They're clearly both educated and heavily worked. Its a strange combination that makes you wonder what are they like as a whole? Is there society Spartan in nature, or are the simply the most militant arm of the Romulan people and Romulan culture.
I apparently picked an auspicious time to join STO, as Romulans are about to become a playable faction. For those wanting to bring more depth to role-playing a Romulan, or just curious for more info, I'll share my passion for Romulan lore here.
STO takes many cues for their Romulans from a series of novels by Diane Duane. The books are:
My Enemy, My Ally
The Romulan Way
The Empty Chair
The first four (or three) books are collected in a single volume, Rihannsu: The Bloodwing Voyages, where Swordhunt and Honor Blade are merged. Many systems in the Romulan sectors of space take their names from the Romulan language Diane Duane used in her books, and I imagine we'll see many more of her words creeping into the game. So, a quick familiarization with the overall plot of the Bloodwing novels, before expanding on the lore contained within.
My Enemy, My Ally
The Romulan Senate is developing a new weapon, using Vulcan neural tissue to turn Romulans into powerful telepaths. To prevent the technology from destroying her people, Romulan Commander Ael t'Rllaillieu takes her ship, Bloodwing, across the neutral zone and asks for help from her most respected enemy: Captain James T. Kirk.
The Romulan Way
Dr. McCoy allows himself to be captured by a Romulan raiding party, in order to make contact with a Federation operative installed on Romulus. Not a spy, per se, but a sociologist undercover to learn about Romulan culture, so that the Federation may better understand them and, perhaps, achieve true peace. Every other chapter is the historical story of how the Romulans came to leave Vulcan, travel across space in primitive spacecraft, settle on Romulus and Remus, and finally build the Romulan Star Empire.
Ael and her crew are forced, with the Federation, to acknowledge the growing threat of Romulan aggression.
The Empty Chair
Bloodwing returns to Romulan space for one final showdown.
Integral to Diane Duane's vision of the Romulans is their concept of honor. This may seem strange to fans exclusively familiar with the Next Gen and beyond portrayal of Romulans, but consider the two Original Series appearances of the Romulans. The Romulan Subcommander in Balance of Terror expresses doubt about the new weapons (cloaking device and plasma torpedo) he's been assigned to test, yet carries the mission out dutifully. Even in his last moments, he acknowledges Kirk's skill and honor in battle, stating they could have been friends under other circumstances. In The Enterprise Incident, when Subcommander Tal asks Kirk and Spock to beam to his ship to meet with the Commander in charge of the patrol fleet, he promises two officers to beam over to Enterprise as a gesture of goodwill. . . despite the fact that Enterprise is surrounded by four Klingon-made, Romulan-crewed battlecruisers, and really in no position to demand such assurances. Even in later episodes, while generally regarded as trecherous, there have been Romulans who exhibited senses of honor.
Interestingly, one of the major conflicts in Diane Duane's Rihannsu novels is the "new" Romulans embracing more questionable means, while "older" Romulans still value the concepts of honor and fair dealing that their culture was based on. One can infer that, between TOS and TNG, the less honorable Romulans became the majority.
Romulan honor is not like Klingon honor, or most codes of honor most people will be familiar with, intimately tied to the concept of mnhei'sahe. The word has many meanings and uses, but is roughly analogous to a "Romulan Code of Honor," though this is not really accurate. Probably the best way to understand mnhei'sahe, and the demands it places upon a Romulan, is to consider the following definition: It is the hate that requires you to give your last drop of water to an enemy dying of thirst, or the love that requires you to kill your dearest relative. The most literal translation of mnhei'sahe is "The Ruling Passion," and even the Romulans themselves have volumes on what it is, what it means, and how it is defined. Simply rolling the idea of "The Ruling Passion" around in your brain for awhile will probably give you a much deeper understanding of who the Romulan people are.
First and foremost: They are not, have never been, and never will be "Romulans." "Romulan" is, in their language, an aehallh, a monster-ghost. Analogous to "nightmare," the word also refers to the false image one has about a thing, rather than the true nature of that thing. It can be likened to a propaganda image, a preconception as to what "Romulans" are which bears little, if any, resemblance to who they really are. In their language and perception, they are Rihannsu (singular Rihanha), from ch'Rihan (or now, mol'Rihan.) Romulus and Remus are ch'Rihan and ch'Havran, respectively. While Diane Duane wrote well before Remans had ever been conceived of, Havranha/Havransu is noted as meaning "natives from ch'Havran." Typically meaning the colonists who settled there, instead of ch'Rihan, it is likely the word is applied to the Remans, while applying it to Romulans who live on ch'Havran may be derogatory. It is noted in her novels that citizens from ch'Havran are somewhat looked down on, rather like "back-country bumpkins."
As you've probably gathered by now, Rihannsu is a VERY difficult language to pronounce, but beautiful once you've sorted it out. The language is supposed to flow almost melodically. I won't retype the whole Glossary from the afforementioned books, but I will share a few key words:
aefvadh - Be welcome
Ael - Proper name, common on ch'Havran, meaning "Winged."
Aidoann - Proper name, uncommon, meaning "Moon."
Arrhae - Proper name, common, meaning "Worth-in-Cash." Typically used for lower class, slaves or servants.
ch'Havran - "Of the Travelers," Rihannsu word for planet Remus.
ch'Rihan - "Of the Declared," Rihannsu word for planet Romulus.
Eisn - "Homesun." Rihannsu word for the star around which ch'Rihan and ch'Havran orbited.
kll'inghann - Klingon
llaekh-ae'rl - "The Laughing Murder." A Rihannsu martial art, with many throws.
lloann'mhrahel - Federation. Literal translation "Them, From There." (As opposed to Us, From Here.) When the Klingons were encountered, they were first known as "khell'oann-mehehorahel," or "More of Them, from Somewhere Else." It should be noted that Celt derives from the Latin "celtoi," which roughly means "Them Folks Over There."
ra'kholh - Avenger. Popular name with Rihannsu attack ships.
S'harien - Pierceblood. Name of the finest swordmaker on pre-Reformation Vulcan. Like Murasame or Masamune on Earth, S'harien swords are nearly mythical in their quality.
Names are of paramount importance to the Rihannsu. The proper pronounciation of a name is so important that, if a Rihannsu feels they cannot adequately pronounce a name, they are more likely to use a proper title instead. Names are considered to hold power, and as such the Rihannsu tend to give their ships humble names, feeling that to give a ship a grand, important name, like Enterprise or Intrepid, is to request the ship to try and live up to its name (a sentiment that the crew of the USS Voyager is unlikely to dispute.) Ships must have proper names before being entered into service, otherwise they would be terribly unlucky, and operating a ship under a false name is inviting disaster. This import extends to personal names. Rihannsu have four names, three of which are given at birth. The first name, like with humans, is their proper name, by which they are most commonly addressed. The second name typically has a prefix, which serves in some way to denote something about the person. . . for instance, while she was the head servant (but still only a lowly servant) of House Khellian, Arrhae's middle name was ir-Mnaeha, after she became a Senator, it was i-Khellian. Commander Ael's middle name was i-Mhiessan, while he son's was ei-Leinarrh. A Rihannsu's last name is his family or House name, with a two different prefixes depending on gender, t' for females and tr' for males. Thus we have Ael t'Rllaillieu and Tafv tr'Rllaillieu. The fourth name is chosen by the Rihanha themselves, and is deeply personal. Referred to as "the name by which only those closer than kin may know you," it is only spoken to those to whom the Rihanha in question has become very, very close.
Related to the importance Rihannsu place on names is the custom of the name flag. Rihannsu believe that so long as their names are remembered, even if only written down, that person's spirit lives on. Name flags are small pennants of durable cloth or plastic upon which the Rihanha's name is written, then hung in some suitable location. Similar in concept to a tombstone, the name flag does not always mark the spot where a person's remains lie, and can be hung prior to a person's death, but is integral to the concept of Rihannsu spiritual immortality.
The opposite of the name flag, when a person's name is thrice written and thrice burned, signifies their exile from Rihannsu society. A person who has had this done is no longer a person, no longer Rihannsu. In My Enemy, My Ally, the Romulan Commander from The Enterprise Incident is revealed to have been punished so for allowing her ship's cloaking device to be stolen, and for allowing herself to be captured by the Federation.
The Rihannsu revere the four Elements, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. They consider that the Elements are present in all things, that they are the Universe and moreover, have a sense of humor and childlike mentality. Objects cause difficulty when they feel neglected, perform well when shown kindness and attention. This can be seen in a Rihannsu "ritual" performed when an item has gone missing, as the Rihanha calls the object's name (again, linking back to the power of names) in a calm, loving voice. Growing angry at the object in question will only cause it to "hide" longer. Seemingly unconnected to the concept of the name flag, the Rihannsu speak of "meeting again in the place where the Elements are no longer merely physical." It is possible that this is the "Vorta Vor" spoken of in Star Trek V. . . assuming you choose not to disavow that particular film ever existed. Related to the concept of the Elements are the Elements within people that they identify with. For instance, Ael identified strongly with the Element of Air, and reflected that she was unable to master the finer points of llaekh-ae'rl, whose throws required one to root oneself in the Earth, or the deckplates. Ael had too much Air, and could not root. One of my favorite quotes from Ael, to a morose McCoy, is "Look at you, all Earth and tears. . . a walking mud puddle."
S'Task was a student of Surak, though he disagreed with his mentor's teachings of casting off emotions and embracing logic. The rift between mentor and pupil grew so great that a sizable number of Vulcans joined S'Task in leaving behind the new, logical Vulcan and finding their own destiny among the stars. S'Task lived to see his people make planetfall on ch'Rihan.
S'harien was a Vulcan swordsmith, whose name meant "Pierceblood." He forged the finest swords on all of Vulcan, and was an outspoken opponent of Surak and his teachings, vowing to spit in the man's shadow should they ever meet. One day, S'harien had his chance, as Surak was speaking near where the swordsmith lived. S'harien went to Surak's speech to demonstrate his opposition, but when he returned, he began destroying every sword he had ever made. Surak's message of peace had affected S'harien so deeply that he could no longer bear being responsible for creating so many weapons. Even when Surak himself, who admired the unparalleled beauty and quality of S'harien's sword, was unable to stop him. And so Surak personally delivered to S'Task, who by now was living in an encampment with all those preparing to leave Vulcan, three S'harien swords, to preserve them. Only one of these still remains, the Sword in the Empty Chair, though one is said to be somewhere in the Eisn system, on some sort of elipitical or cometary orbit.
The Sword in the Empty Chair
News of Surak's death did reach the travelers as they made their way towards their unknown new home. S'Task, though he had had many differences with his mentor, was distraught to learn of his passing, and isolated himself for many days. The small fleet had regular council meetings, and one council meeting went by while S'Task was mourning. S'Task did not attend that meeting, but the councilors who did found one of the S'harien swords Surak had brought laid across S'Task's chair. No one knows who placed it there, and S'Task himself, when returning to the council, made no mention of it. . . he simply found another seat. The sword sat, in the empty chair, all the way to ch'Rihan, and was moved from the ship to the new governmental buidings, given a place of honor. To touch the Sword in the Empty Chair is all but unthinkable, it is rarely even spoken of, and one swearing an oath upon it either upholds the oath or dies, sometimes with assistance.
Hey, wait a minute! You can't just intro books without Levar Burton!