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The Crystal People
Sticky little buggers

The Crystal People are a silicon based life form about 3 foot tall, with no limbs and a metallic color. They have two large glowing eyes in the middle of their polyhedron form. They have no appendages and two large glowing eyes in the center of their metallic colored, polyhedron form. Due to their lack of appendages the Crystalline People have developed telekinetic mental abilities to compensate. This mental prowess has allowed them to build and fly starships.

The Crystalline People did not evolve like the other races in the Echo Cluster. Where most of the other races evolved from living organic material in a cosmically short period of time, the Crystalline People evolved from rocks and it was a very long process. The Crystalline People are believed to be the oldest of all of the races, based upon the believed start of each of the races.

The Crystalline People started out as large nodules of silicon clumped together in the deserts of their homeworld. These small clusters of silicon, over time, started to accumulate and store energy from the sun that the planet was orbiting. As their homeworld was drawn closer to the system's sun, the clusters of Siliconoid material started to grow in size as more energy from the sun was processed. These clusters of silicon eventually began to grow and generate their own electrical impulses. These impulses resembled the electrical impulses seen in humanoid brain activity. It appeared as though these silicon clusters were starting to develop into a life form.

Eventually, in a process that took millions of years, the silicon clusters evolved and grew into living creatures. These life forms started to develop social and scientific skills. After a few millennium these life forms were becoming just as advanced as all of the other races in the Echo cluster. They developed space travel and the capacity to make and command warships. This was when this race became known as the Crystalline People. At first the Crystalline People concentrated their efforts on building small and medium battleships, not necessarily suited for direct combat. To take on hostile races, the Crystal People developed a unique method of warfare: the dreaded webmines. Rather than fighting their enemies, the Crystallines prefer to trap enemy ships and drain them of fuel. After successfully eliminating several alien races in this manner, the Crystal People enlarged their territorial expansion and took out numerous alien civilisations.

But then they stumbled on to the Federation. Attempts to capture the Federation flagship in webmines failed just barely, and many believe this incident was the reason the Federation developed their refitting capabilities. Set back by their first unsuccessful attempt to trap an enemy ship, fear struck the hearts of the Crystalline leaders. They decided to be more careful, sit back for a while hiding behind their webmines and at least develop some warships capable of putting up a fight. By now, the Crystal People are ready to take on anyone and they are determined to prove this in the Echo Cluster.

Race advantages
The Crystal people, contrary to all the other races in the Echo Cluster, thrive on desert worlds. They have their highest population growth rate on planets with a temperature of 100 degrees and can sustain the largest populations on those planets. Additionally, the Crystalline People can somehow sustain relatively large populations on arctic planets. For every one degree, the Crystalline People can sustain a colony of 1000 colonist clans.

Race disadvantages
The Crystal People don't have any really big disadvantages. The Crystal shiplist is pretty balanced, although like many other races the Crystal People have no real heavy battleship. If push comes to shove they may have to use up to three ships to kill a single enemy ship. Their economic situation is perhaps the Crystal People's biggest problem. They have no economic advantages, and most of their shipdesigns use a lot of the relatively rare molybdenum metal.

Special mission
The Crystals can lay webmines, used to trap enemy ships and drain them of fuel. Next to normal minefields which mainly cause damage to ships, this gives the Crystals a very effective way to defend their empire and a fearsome offensive weapon. Webmines cause a big drain of fuel to enemy ships if they hit a webmine, and also drain fuel from enemy ships that are stuck inside the webs. Together with the Crystalline ability to towcapture fuelless enemy ships by sending over a boarding party this gives them the option to trap and capture enemy ships, and also provides them with control over the battlefield for many tactical options.

Main battleships
Most of the Crystalline ships are designed to lay lots of webmines and have large cargoholds combined with a medium weaponload, but the Crystal People have two serious battleships in their fleet. The Diamond Flame Class Battleship has six torpodotubes and ten beams, which combined with the Crystal Thunder Class Carrier forms an effective combination to take on enemy ships. The Emerald Class Battlecruiser, which seems to be designed primarily to lay huge webmines and move cargo, can serve as a medium battleship but when it comes to real fighting the Crystals have to rely on their Diamond Flame and Crystal Thunder.

Special ships
The Crystal People have one shiptype with a terraforming device built into it's hull. The Onyx Class Frigate will heat up a planet's temperature to a nice 100 degrees, which suits the Crystals just fine and makes the planet virtually useless to most other races.

Gameplay in short
Their combination of a decent shiplist and infamous webmines give the Crystal People a variaty of playing styles. Some people like to be agressive early, using medium battleships and medium webmines to disrupt enemy activity and gain the upper hand. Others seem to prefer relying on webmines as a defense and letting the enemy come to them, like a true spider in a web. It does take some skill and planning to build up a proper economy for the Crystals to build their ships and webmines, and the finer details of trapping enemies in webmines with no chance of escape require some extra reading, experience and intelligence. Once the Crystal People start capturing enemy ships next to their own shiplist, they can become really terrifying.

UP: races of the Echo Cluster

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NEXT: the Evil Empire

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