Opening with a glorious statement from G'Kar, the first chapter introduces the League of Non-Aligned Worlds and the high standard of togetherness that they strive to maintain. Never mind creed, colour, or gender, all species should be treated the same, cherished equallly. It mmay sound idealistic, especially in a time when huamn beings focus on their differences rather than their unity, but it is how thins should be. So, did the League live up to it? Kind of, in that it brought several 'minor' species together to present a (mostly) unified face, but that face was used to squabbble with the larger power blocs - the Narn, the Centauri, Humanity, the Minbari, etc., - rather than be a true unity for peace. They united out of fear of the major powers, and often were not that unified anyway with plenty of internal squabbles to mar their harmony. With diverse species, matters of ethics and customs can cause conflict, much of which never got settled as they were just too far apart, and even militarily (the reason for the League) no species ever wants to be subordinate to another, so they were less organised than they might have been.
This book covers enough of the internal workings of the League to allow this kind of intrigue to feature in your game as well as greater detail on a selected few member species - more powerful, more numerous, more notable in some way; the Abbai, Brakiri, Drazi, gaim, and the Vree. Each is discussed in some depth from their biology to their history, culture, and technology - alll you need to have them feature in your game, along with the necessary game mechanics to create NPCs if not player character members of that species.
The League is run as a political representative body with strict procedures governing how they interact and reach decisions. Once Babylon 5 came into being, they had a ready-made central and nurtral forum in which to meet, prior to that there was a system of Council Halls on the constituent worlds where representatives of all member worlds could meet. There is a fascinating discussion about how - if, at times - the League actually functions. Plenty of scope for those who like games centred on intrigue and political inflighting, whether the characters are Ambassadors, their minions, or maybe reporters trying to get the inside track on what is going on... and should you wish to hold debates, the League's 'parliamentary procedure' is recounted in great detail. Interestingly, even when the Interstellar Alliance is founded, the League decided to operate as a bloc within it rather than dissolve and have each member species join the Alliance in its own right.
We then move on to sections covering five of the major players in the League, starting with the Abbai Matriarchy, who actually founded the League in the first place. The species is semi-aquatic and humanoid, with a history virtually devoid of conflict. They cherish life to such an extent that many are unaware that they are capable of taking it, albeit in defence only... when they do they are efficient defenders. Their entire culture is built around three laws: Do not kill, respect life, build the community. This section has extensive details on their appearance, culture, biology, diseases, history, and even clothing; along with all the necessary details should an Abbai player character on NPC be required.
The Brakiri Syndicracy are next, covered in similar detail. They appear to be the diametric opposite of the Abbai, in almost every respect. The thing they value most is profit. Monetary, or other advantage for their species. This is reflected in their highly-regimented system of governance, by corporations to their benefit. Again there are plenty small details for you to weave into your stories. They are followed by the Drazi, noted for their propensity to violence... yet after reading this it all makes sense, they are not the mindless thugs that most people see them as. Stranger yet are the Gaim. An ancient species, they are bilogically insects and have many insect-like traits that make it hard for other species to understand how they think... or indeed, for them to understand other species, they are just too alien in culture and outlook. They operate as what appears to be a hive mind, serving their queens, and even older Gaim who have achieved independent thought nearly always fall in line as they know it is best for the whole species if they do.
Finally, we hear all about the Vree, a very alien race indeed - yet strangely familiar. They are so telephic that they are actually incapable of speech and have developed an almost hive mind as they reach agreement with each other easily. They are calm and emotionless, avoiding conflict - but anger them at your peril. All activities are run as commercial operations - even the military and the legal system. They are extrenely organised and once arrangements have been made hate any variance, so don't turn up late for a meeting!
This is a fascinating glimpse at a selection of lesser known species, yet there's enough here to run whole campaigns involving or featuring them, with sufficient also for an adventurous player to use one as a character. A very interesting read, too, if you merely want to widen your knowledge of the Babylon 5 universe.
Return to League of Non-Aligned Worlds Fact Book page.
Reviewed: 28 September 2921