In designing the Tulock fleet, a prior understanding of who the Tulock are was extremely important. The reason for this is that the Tulock are quite a different race to any other found in the end – a far cry from humanoid, bipedal forms, these lithovore silicoid creatures are more similar to rocks than other sentient races in the galaxy. This race doesn’t breathe oxygen, and doesn’t consume food, at least not in the way us mammals do; they consume other minerals instead.
Their physiology also makes them a lot more resistant to harsh outside conditions than any other race, and their origin story, while intentionally left mysterious, hints at them having being genetically engineered by an elder race.
I always imagined that the Tulock don’t just look alien, but also have very alien thinking patterns, making communication difficult. I can easily imagine Human intelligence reports on them stating that every encounter with Tulock ships, and subsequent attempts at communication, would end in one of two ways; they would either sit there, listening in silence and then leave, or simply open fire. Likewise, I doubt they would follow the etiquette of declaring war, or bother with ground combat and / or taking prisoners. When the Tulock decide they want your colony, you simply won’t hear from that colony again, and will find only signs of orbital bombardment at the now Tulock – inhabited colony.
With ship design, this translates into a race that thinks and does things a lot differently than anyone else does. Their ships are a lot bulkier and more massive than anyone else’s, and I’ve also opted for a more vertical look, with the bulk of the ship always being in a massive, dome-shaped front, and engines placed in the back, sticking out of the forward section much like a rock formation would on the side of a mountain. The desired effect was to make these ships look massive and alien; if you are a member of any other race, your fear of the unknown would surely manifest itself when seeing a Tulock Battleship from your ship’s windows.
With their resistant physiology, I suspect they would need little protection to survive even in hard vacuum after their ship has been destroyed; they may only use a system that keeps their temperature within life support norms, but don’t need to worry about running out of food or air. As such, they don’t use escape pods, their massive ships instead have sections designed to survive the ship’s destruction - if a Tulock ship is about to get destroyed the crew will either head to the nearest airlock or to an internal safe compartment, waiting to be blown clear into space, and then simply float until rescued. I imagine the Tulock crew that abandoned their ship would look closer to an asteroid field than anything else.
Tulock ships have docking ports at the top and bottom of the ship, with fighter racks and hangar bays also present there. The decks and windows are much larger than that of other species, since the Tulock themselves are physically large creatures. The overall styling of their ship’s "skin" – the paneling, if you will – was designed to resemble rock face while still looking artificially constructed.
I hope you will enjoy this rather unique race as much as enjoyed building their fleet!
Read the next article in the series as I discuss the Tulock fleet design!