The Ranth were sentient carnivorous mammals indigenous to Caaraz. Even before the Galactic Empire discovered their homeworld and brought the Ranth to the attention of the galactic community, they were a deeply divided people. While some Ranth lived a civilized lifestyle, others lived in tribes of nomadic hunters. The former wished to integrate themselves within the galactic community, while the latter preferred to keep to their lifestyle as hunters.
Biology and appearance
Caaraz was a tidally locked planet, with one side perpetually facing its sun. The Ranth lived on the frigid night side of Caaraz, which was lit only by Caaraz's twin moons and heated by Caaraz's geological activity. Ranth were highly resistant to cold temperatures, thanks to the insulation of their thick fur. Nomadic Ranth were also particularly skilled at surviving in extremely cold climates.
Ranth possessed long bushy tails, flat muzzles, dark eyes, and short pointed ears which were canine in appearance. As natural hunters, they had sharp claws on their hands, and mouths filled with short sharp teeth. Ranth had to continually forage, hunt, and swim to survive in the harsh environment of their homeworld, and would hunt for food whenever the conditions would allow them to do so. Their keen hearing, extending into ultrasonic ranges, helped them search for prey and avoid larger predators.
Society and culture
When discovered by the Empire, the two Ranth societies had already diverged. Civilized Ranth were working towards an industrialized society with formal governments. Their cities, built in ice caverns on top of drifting glaciers, contained sophisticated architecture. Meanwhile, the nomadic Ranth continued to exist as small groups of hunters, led by the best warrior among them. They had no machines, only muscle-powered devices and riding beasts.
The two Ranth cultures also had different typical temperaments. While many Ranth in either society were short-tempered, nomadic Ranth expressed their anger violently, while civilized Ranth tended towards flamboyant, but harmless displays. Nomads tended to be self-confident, passionate, and determined, while city-dwellers were introspective, with a tendency towards apathy. All Ranth cultures had a strong respect for family ties, and were usually led by the elder members of extended family units.
Knowledge of Ranth history as a whole was fragmented and incomplete. However, individual families did maintain detailed histories of their own, with each community and extended family unit possessing its own history. Each individual Ranth community, whether civilized or nomadic, had its own government and culture, with no single authority uniting them.
This changed when the Galactic Empire discovered Caaraz while searching for Rebel bases in the sector. When initial scans indicated the presence of eleton gas on Caaraz, a small Imperial force was sent to seize control. The Empire faced almost no resistance, and soon employed the civilized faction of the Ranth to help build and operate eleton mines near their ice-cavern cities. Civilized Ranth also served as hunters and guards, protecting the mining operations and the local garrison from the natural predators of the world.
The civilized Ranth began to reject their native culture, replacing it with ideas taken from Human and Core Worlds culture. Even their clothing was patterned after off-world styles. Their interest in off-world affairs led them to develop trading relationships with inhabited planets in nearby systems. The cities of Caaraz began to use Imperial technology and restructure their governments with the Imperial bureaucracy as a model. Due to their loyalty, civilized Ranth enjoyed more freedom under Imperial rule than many nonhuman species—though the Imperial Governor's word was, of course, still final.
While initially no resistance was faced from the nomadic Ranth, the gradual dumping of waste from the Imperial mining operations began to damage the planetary environment. This angered the nomads, who began to ambush Imperial patrols and attack Imperial mining stations. These nomads mastered hit-and-fade guerrilla tactics. Finding their snowtroopers unable to defeat the "savages", the Imperials provided weapons to the civilized Ranth, and requested that they hunt down the nomads. This led to a civil war between the civilized and nomadic Ranth. The Rebel Alliance considered intervening by arming the nomads, or by convincing the civilized Ranth to change sides, but it is unclear what actions, if any, they took.
Eventually, the Imperials abandoned Caaraz, leaving their bases and mines for the civilized Ranth. Without Imperial support, these bases became overcrowded and impoverished makeshift cities. The wars between the city-dwellers and the nomadic tribes continued, as the civilized Ranth tried to push the nomads further into the wilderness, and the nomads continued their raids. Even without the destabilizing influence of the Empire, neither side of the war showed any sign of trying to settle the conflict.
While under Imperial rule, some civilized Ranth left their homeworld to work as traders, scouts, bounty hunters, and mercenaries. They were drawn towards planets with cold climates, where they were in great demand as wilderness guides. After the Imperial retreat from Caaraz, many more civilized Ranth left their homeworld. The nomads were rare in the greater galaxy, however, except for escaped Imperial slaves who had been relocated by Imperial forces. During the Imperial occupation, a few nomads were rumored to have escaped Caaraz to contact the Rebel Alliance, or fight the Imperials on other worlds.
- Galaxy Guide 12: Aliens — Enemies and Allies (First mentioned)
- Alien Encounters
- Ultimate Alien Anthology