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As the Aethera system’s Century War ground generations of humanity into dust, the Hierarchy sought to end the war swiftly by breeding a generation of super-soldiers infused with latent aetheric powers. The human researchers gathered volunteers from civilians, veterans, and even prisoners suffering from terminal aetherite poisoning, and began a series of strange and torturous experiments. Some of the test subjects were willing volunteers donating themselves body and mind to the Hierarchy, while others were less fortunate.

The failure rate of these experiments was exceedingly high, producing just as many catatonic husks or twisted horrors as aetherite-infused super-soldiers. The first generation of soldiers who survived these torturous transformations became what are now called the infused, named for the aetherite infusion that grants them their powers. As an unintended side effect of their creation, the infused gained a mutual psychic bond, providing them with insights into one another and even allowing them to share thoughts, dreams, and emotions after bonding. The price for this power was high, however, with infertility and a shortened lifespan as the most notable side effects. Approximately thirty percent of all infused also suffered partial or total memory loss of their lives prior to infusion.

The majority of infused were sent into the theater of war as part of elite commando units not long after recovering from their augmentation. The experiments that produced the infused continued for years, but after the creation of the second generation known as Paragons, the program was ultimately discontinued, though illegal operations continuing the original experiments continued in clandestine labs for years to come. Between the Paragons and the creation and deployment of the phalanx, many infused began to wonder if their suffering had been necessary in the first place.

Although many of the infused died during the Century War, some abandoned their posts to find freedom and their own destinies on the fringes of the system. Others went mad and disappeared. Those infused who returned to the welcoming arms of the Hierarchy after the war found themselves ushered into menial roles out of the public’s eye, the Hierarchy’s attempt to forget its own sins by hiding them away until time itself removes them from the equation. Few found their blood families welcoming, and many turned their back on a society that had turned its back on them.

Physical Description: In general, the infused resemble the humans that they originally were, although the infusion process has left its obvious marks. The veins and eyes of an infused glow blue with varying levels of brightness, reflecting the aetheric energy coursing through their bodies. The intensity of this illumination tends to vary with an individual’s emotional state, surging when adrenaline and emotion run high and dimming when calm or sedate.

Society: The infused are outsiders in human society, either living in the shadows or working in roles out of the public eye: toiling in slum-level factories, working in aetherite mines, or operating as mercenaries. Rarely, exemplary infused retain public-facing positions, though they must work twice as hard and face twice as much scrutiny as an ordinary human to achieve these goals.

All infused fall under the Hierarchy’s laws regarding the registration of magically-active citizens on Akasaat and were, at their creation, registered. Infused born of clandestine experiments in the latter years of the Century War were required to register with the Hierarchy, though many simply disappeared between the cracks. Those who remain within Akasaati society find themselves carefully watched by the Hierarchy, which secretly fears the thought of an infused uprising.

Some infused chose to become fugitives from the Hierarchy, simply trying to build a new life in peace. Others have found their homes on the fringes of the system: many have settled in the Amrita asteroid colonies or live as nomads hiring on as muscle to whatever ship is ready to fly, choosing a life among the stars. Infused soldiers who survived the war often stuck together with their original unit, connected more strongly to one another through their psychic bonds than to anyone else. A number of infused have found themselves seeking service under the Paragons of Orbis Aurea, who have welcomed their smaller cousins with open arms. The Paragon Ascendancy of Orbis Aurea actively promotes infused within its ranks with preference over other species, and the Paragons themselves make no attempt at hiding this fact. Additionally, some of the most advanced research into infused lifespan extension is carried out by the Paragons on Orbis Aurea. While the infused are treated better on Orbis Aurea, the harsh reality of life on that frozen world is not how most infused wish to spend their short years.

As scattered a people as the infused are, there is one truth that connects them all. The infused are dying: as individuals, and as a people. The lifespan of an infused rarely exceeds 35 years; the youngest infused created at the end of the official project’s life cycle in 3993 are already quickly approaching this time of twilight. The brief time remaining for the infused drives them to make their mark on history and never be forgotten, to seek vengeance against the Hierarchy for what was done to them, or to discover a way to prolong their lives or create more of their own kind. From heroic martyrs to those who would experiment on innocent humans to discover the secrets of their own creation, the infused that survived the Century War tend toward extremes.

Relations: The way that the infused view other races is colored by the predispositions and prejudice of humanity, although their experiences during the war and the way they were cast aside by the Hierarchy have allowed the infused to deviate from the patriotic line they were born into. While many of the infused desire nothing more than to be accepted by their families and what they once saw as their people, they also feel a deep sense of betrayal. Some limit these feelings to the Hierarchy itself, while other infused expand that bitterness toward all humans. Individuals range from firebrands seeking revenge against all humankind to martyrs desperately hoping to make humanity see the heroic souls within them. Each infused’s relationship with their blood families, if any still live, adds an additional twist to their personal conflict.

As the vast majority of the infused are veterans of the Century War, it’s difficult for many of them to see the erahthi as anything other than enemies. Still, some infused have come to wonder if the Hierarchy’s war against Kir- Sharaat was not a just one, and the erahthi perhaps not the terrible enemy they had been led to believe. In the years since the war’s conclusion, this undercurrent of doubt has only grown.

The phalanx are a source of contention for the infused. Like many humans, the infused see phalanx as usurpers—not of jobs or other tangible things, but rather of prestige. It was the phalanx who were ultimately the chief weapon that turned the Century War in humanity’s favor, replacing the infused and leaving them unwanted. While this animosity is far from universal, many infused have strained relations with the phalanx in post-war interactions, though ironically the bond of aetherite shared between these two species means that other than the infused, it is the phalanx with whom the infused can share the most powerful psychic bonds.

The okanta, on the other hand, are a different matter entirely. Most infused who chose to live on Orbis Aurea or fought in the latter years of the Century War did so alongside okanta. These tremendously powerful beings treat the infused not as monsters but people deeply in tune with the rhythm of the universe, bounded as they are to aetherite—a substance the okanta view as sacred.

Faith: Infused typically follow similar philosophical and religious trends as humans do, though in fewer numbers. Most infused lack memory of their formative years in which most religious adherence is founded. However, as a short- lived people in search of a purpose, infused have begun to adopt Scorism in greater numbers than ever. Some infused even seek to find answers in the Score that could solve the terminal future of their species. These aetheric prophets tend to congregate in areas where aetherite is plentiful, such as on Orbis Aurea, and some of these fringe groups have even gone as far as reopening experimentation from Project Paragon, attempting to create a new generation of infused with longer lifespans and capable of creating progeny. These individuals believe that the infused are not merely ex-humans, but a wholly new species entirely, and one that has yet to come into its own.

Outside of Scorism, some infused become ensnared by the promises of power whispered by malign entities such as living idols (see the Alien Bestiary Companion) and are quick to fall into such cults with reckless abandon. While the number of infused thus entangled in these cults is thankfully as small as the number of cults, it is nevertheless a worrying trend.

Adventurers: Unwanted by their creators and without a war to fight, adventuring is a calling that many infused adopt. As the majority of infused were once soldiers, they tend to take levels in martially inclined classes such as fighters, rangers, and cavaliers, although the aetheric infusion process left many with an aptitude for sorcery and psychic ability. Infused can be found on nearly every world, though in small numbers. Due to their immunity to aetherite poisoning, infused are often called upon to explore locations suffused with aetheric radiation, once again finding themselves paired up with the phalanx, who share this immunity.

Names: The infused, as a race of modified humans, are generally named as humans are, though a trend amongst many infused is to abandon their original surnames as a way of turning their backs on a society that has abandoned them and adopt whatever identity suits them best.

Racial Traits

Ability Adjustments: +2 Cha, +2 Dex, -2 Con

Hit Points: 4

Size and Type: Infused are Medium humanoids with the infused and aether subtypes.

Aetheric Manipulation: Infused gain the following spell-like abilities:

1/daypsychokinetic hand, reflecting armor, telekinetic projectile

Telekinetic Guidance: When in zero gravity, infused gain a fly speed equal to half their speed with good maneuverability.

Aetherite Radiation Immunity: Infused are immune to the effects of aetherite radiation.

Arcane Strike: Infused gain Mystic Strike as a bonus feat at first level, even if they do not meet the prerequisites.

Psychic Bond: Infused can create a psychic bond with another creature that has the aether subtype. Creating this bond requires both creatures remain in physical contact for 1 minute. An unwilling target of a psychic bond may negate the effect with a successful Will save (DC = 1/2 the infused’s character’s level + their Charisma modifier.) After a successful bond, both creatures gain a +4 racial bonus on Sense Motive checks against one another and a +4 racial bonus on Bluff checks to pass secret messages between them. Once per day, an infused can share thoughts with one or more creatures they are psychically bonded with as though they all were under the effect of a mind-link spell. An infused can be bonded to a maximum number of creatures equal to 3 + their Charisma modifier.

Aether Subtype: This subtype is applied to creatures with an intrinsic relationship to the substance aetherite, or outsiders with a connection to the element of aether.

Infused Subtype Graft

This subtype is applied to the infused and creatures infused with aetherite.

Traits: None; if the NPC is of the infused race, it gains the aetheric manipulation, telekinetic guidance, arcane strike, and psychic bond racial traits. They also gain immunity to aetherite radiation.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Alien Codex (Starfinder) © 2019, Legendary Games; Lead Designer: Jason Nelson. Authors: Anthony Adam, Kate Baker, John Bennet, Eytan Bernstein, Robert Brookes, Russ Brown, Duan Byrd, Paris Crenshaw, Jeff Dahl, Robyn Fields, Joel Flank, Matt Goodall, Robert J. Grady, Jim Groves, Steven T. Helt, Thurston Hillman, Tim Hitchcock, Nick Hite, Daniel Hunt, Mike Kimmel Marshall, Isabelle Lee, Jeff Lee, Lyz Liddell, Jason Nelson, Richard Pett, Tom Phillips, Jeff Provine, Alistair J. Rigg, Alex Riggs, Wendall Roy, Mike Shel, Neil Spicer, Todd Stewart, Russ Taylor, Rachel Ventura, Mike Welham, George Loki Williams, Scott Young.