The Orinthon are a bird – like race, which evolved on a low gravity world, and have cybernetically enhanced themselves to overcome their frail physiology. Since they can fly, their understanding of three-dimensional space would give them an advantage over the other races where ship to ship tactics are concerned. Their world is heavily industrialized as well.
When it came to ship design, we decided that this race would visually be something between the Klingon and Romulan designs from Star Trek; we still wanted them to be an original race of their own, however, so the crossbreed of Klingon and Romulan influences was more of an inspiration. The color palette, for example, is more of a desaturated yellow with some grays and greens, which worked well with the heavily industrialized feel these ships need to convey. The ships definitely have some Romulan bird-like influences, but they were designed to be less graceful and more bulky, industrial looking.
Their ships are generally split into three segments: back engineering section and wings, on which the engines are placed, and a command deck in the form of a head and neck connected to the main body. The crew would typically be only present in the command section unless emergency repairs required the presence of engineers in the back; I imagined that the Orinthon’s cybernetic enhancements giving them a greater ability to interface with their ship’s systems, eliminating the need to be physically present in the engineering section in most cases. This would allow for an escape mechanism that would detach the command section from the rest of the ship in an emergency; and while the command sections still contain a number of escape pods, they would only be used of the command section itself was compromised and unable to sustain life.
The decorative elements on the hulls consist of green and brown triangle-shaped markings, placed in such a way so they look like stylized feathers – in going with a less graceful, more bulky and industrial look, we didn’t want to simply paint the wings of a bird onto the ship hull, as that wouldn’t work with the design philosophy of the species.
The engine configuration on these ships differs from that of other races; engines are located in the middle back of the hull, but additional engine pods have also been placed to wing tips. When I tried to get into the way of thinking of a bird – like race, it felt appropriate that at least some of the propulsion power be located on the wings, as for them wings would be a symbol of movement, much as legs are for us. This configuration would give the Orinthon ships exceptional speed and maneuverability, as well as the ability to land on most planetary environments – even higher gravity ones wouldn’t be out of reach with the Orinthon’s cybernetic enhancements to their bodies. Orinthon ships are generally a bit larger compared to the same classes of other races, with some classes even longer than equivalent Tharrn ships – but the Orinthon ships still have less bulk and mass, giving them greater maneuverability and speed.
Read the next article in the series as I discuss the Selach fleet design!