The Minbari Federation Fact Book (D20)

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Never was this more evident than at the Battle of the Line in the year 2247. Earth’s last defenders held out a thin line of hope and starships against the encroachment of an overwhelming Minbari battle fleet. The Earth/Minbari War had begun with a misunderstanding and seemed destined to end with the complete destruction of the human race. As one determined but hopelessly outnumbered Earth ship after another fell to the Minbari’s technologically superior firepower, all seemed lost. Then, for no explainable reason, the Minbari surrendered and withdrew. There were to be no terms, no reparations for the losses of the war, but the Minbari pulled back just short of wiping out humanity. They ceased fire and stopped the advance on the very eve of their victory. This kind of behaviour, strong actions without any sort of explanation or excuses, is very typically Minbari. Holding themselves to be quietly superior to all other races, they are known to be the most advanced race in the galaxy, again not counting the Vorlons. While the latter race shrouds itself in secrecy and is never visible for long, the Minbari do not bother to hide from prying eyes. They are adept at hiding in plain sight, with far more to their culture and traditions than could ever be seen by outsiders without invitation. For those few with the ability to learn more about the Minbari, the race has many secrets. What little is known to other races about the Minbari is a tantalizing assortment of minor facts that hint at something deeper but reveal very little of it. The Minbari are physically strong and quite languid in their movements. They have no hair on their heads or bodies, though facial hair sometimes occurs in older males. The back part of their skulls extends through their epidermis into a bone crest that adorns and protects the back of their heads. Patterns of color, generally a pale blue, cover the scalp and usually run from the brow all the way back to this skeletal ridge. As with human fingerprints, no two skull crests or scalp patterns are exactly alike and seem to be as identifying a mark among Minbari as their own faces. From what the Minbari will tell openly about their culture, they are separated racially into three castes. These divisions are the Warrior, Worker, and Religious Castes, and all Minbari belong to one of them as far as outsiders can tell. Most contact between the Minbari and other races occurs through the most open of these castes, the Religious. The Worker Caste is primarily concerned with building and maintaining the planets of the Minbari Federation, while the Warrior Caste is unapproachable in their role as the race’s elite soldiers and guardians. It is through the Religious Caste that other races in the galaxy get their sporadic knowledge of the Minbari, most of which centers around the most sacred of their beliefs and the center of their cultural identity- Valen. It is through this single entity that most of the Minbari way of life apparently exists. It was he that formed the castes, he that put forth their beliefs in the universe around them, and it was Valen that set them on the path they have taken through the last thousand years. Little is known of Valen, but he is the most sacred member of their religious belief system and revered by their entire race. He is worshipped by the Minbari on all of their colonies and in the crystal cities on their homeworld of Minbar. Few have seen the majesty of these scintillating works of civic art, but when the normally reserved Minbari speak of these edifices, even they are moved to awe. The marvels of engineering that the race must be capable of to make habitable dwellings out of crystalline formations can only be imagined, but it is well known that their mastery of every kind of science exceeds the accomplishments of other races. To live in such marvelous structures, surrounded by the beauty of their achievements, there can be little wonder why the Minbari consider themselve