The Kzinti are a catlike humanoid race, averaging six feet in height, with superior hearing, sight, and smell in comparison to humans. They are rarely psionic and rarely possess magical capabilities. The Kzin once possessed distinct breeds, roughly parallel to Earth 'races', but have since intermingled to the point where no distinct races exist. Kzin fur is usally golden, brown, red, orange, tan, or black in color, although a few have white fur. Their fur does not change color with age, but some have a quirk that enables them to change fur color slowly over a period of months to match climate changes. They are omnivorous, but prefer meat. They are bipedal with hands possessing five fingers and a thumb. They have tails, but they are vestigial.
Modern Kzin culture is highly mercantile and little different from that of other members of the Federal league. However, traditional Kzin culture was grouped around packs, which ranged at various phases of Kzin culture from voluntary societies to warrior societies to gangs of thugs to highly disciplined military units. Young males typically grew up in one pack, then left it to join another one, where they would marry, when they came of age. The Kzin nobility developed as higher levels of social organization became necessary. Gradually, the convention developed that while the males ruled, they held their right of rulership through marriage to the eldest daughter of the previous pack leader. Thus, rulers were unable to pass the throne on to their sons, but instead it passed to their daughter's husband. Finding a good marriage for one's sons thus became crucial.
During the third empire, however, this custom fell into abeyance as the rising merchants began to dodge it by a variety of strategems. By the start of the fourth empire, the custom had arisen of passing the inheritance to the eldest child of whichever sex.
Kzin, the homeworld of the Kzinti, is type MO. It is a low mana world, and is actually the moon of a gas giant. Kzin orbits the planet Dshin, one of only three planets in the system.
The world itself is the second of five planets. Their star is named Khorga. The other planets are:
Kzin legend claims that their world was the first world to be created at the beginning of time. While this remains debatable, it is clear that Kzin is a remarkably old world. In fact, Kzin's sun should have gone out by now. In fact, it should have gone out long before the Kzin themselves ever evolved, if one dates its age by the age of the planetary rocks. However, it seems to only be at the point in the life cycle of a star that is comparable to the current status of Sol or Jurai's star. This mystery remains unsolved, although there is reason to believe the Sidar may have been involved.
It is known that the Sidar visited Kzin. While the Kzin preserve no memories of any contact, Sidarian weather control machines still function in the planetary atmosphere, and the Kzin found destroyed Sidarian gates on Krik, Dvor, and Kzat.
One odd quirk of Kzinti history is the absence of any real alien contact, even with the Things from Beyond, until the Kzinti set out into the universe. Virtually every race has suffered outside domination at some point before the invention of space travel, but the Kzinti are the exception. While the Sidar likely visited, they do not seem to have interfered, except for the weather control machines.
Kzin recorded history begins around 8,000 BC or so with the evention of writing. For thousands of years, the Kzin warred with each other. The Silurian Empire, around 4,956 to 4,053 BC was the first to unite the Kzinti, who have remained loosely united through a succession of empires since then, with interludes of chaos and warring states.
Around 3,500 BC, the Kzinti invented basic space travel and began to explore their system. By 3,350, they had filled up their home system with colonies as best they could, then sank into internal chaos as the latest empire decayed. Thus, while some of the warring states sent out multi-generational colony ships, there was no organized expansion beyond the system. Many of these ships suffered abject disasters, and the only successful one fell into a still functional Sidar Warp Gate and ended up hundreds of light years away. This ship, the KZ Kilrathi then crashed in the system on the other side of the gate. The Kilrathi culture is descended from this group.
The First Empire (2933 BC - 1362 BC)
Around 2933 BC, the Kilgor empire arose on Kzin and in 2885, the Royal Science Academy developed a crude Jump Drive. The Kzin began a careful expansion which gradually accelerated. The Kilgor believed no other alien races existed, and thus were in no hurry to expand the boundaries of the empire. This changed in 2795, when the Kzin made their first contact with an alien race, the Gorns, a reptillian race. It was hate at first sight. For a century, the two races warred, and finally, in 2698, the Kzinti overran Gorn itself. In the course of this war, they became aware of the many races that were building space empires around them, and they began to grab every world they could find.
This brought them into conflict with the decaying Khund Empire. They encouraged and aided the revolts (2730-2650 BC) which broke up the Khund empire. The Kzinti then invaded the region (2610-2506 BC) and for a time, the Khunds became a tributary kingdom to the Kzinti. Many other races were either conquered completely or turned into tributary states.
Several factors stopped Kzin expansion. Firstly, the Kzin overstretched themselves. Secondly, they collided with the Jurai and T'zili empires. The Jurai were simply too powerful despite their internal chaos, and the T'zili were a highly powerful insectoid magic using hive mind race. A series of futile wars were followed by the decline in the vigor of the emperors starting in the 1600s. By the 1500s, the border dependencies were beginning to revolt. In 1388-1375, the Khunds revolted successfully, provoking a general revolt. While Khund itself was bombed back to a more primitive state, the spreading revolts were then accompanied by the death of the last Kilgorian emperor and abject chaos after 1377 BC.
By 1362, the empire had broken into five warring fragments and lost 50% of its territories to revolts and T'zili aggression.
The Warring States Period (1362 BC - 925 BC)
For four centuries, the Kzin warred among themselves. Five major states battled it out for control of the old empire. The ascent of the Khalid dynasty was assured by one major factor: It was the furthest from the states hostile to the Kzin. As its rivals came under increasing pressure from the T'zili and the Lorax, it gobbled them up.
Finally, in 967 BC, the three remaining states signed the Great Compact and declared a war to the death against the T'zili. It took until 925 BC to crush the T'zili. The Kzin exterminated them utterly, devasting their homeworld and turning it into a burnt out cinder. The last two states swore fealty to the triumphant Kahlids, and the Second Kzin Galactic Empire was proclaimed.
The Second Empire (925 BC - 432 BC)
The Lorax were the next target, as well as many of the now independent former dependencies. By 834 BC, the Lorax had fallen, and most of the old empire regained. The time now came for a showdown with Jurai. It was weak and decadent, and despite its superior size, ridden by disunity. The Kzin felt it was ripe for the plucking. On the first day of the Juraiian year, 19331 JY/834 BC, the Kzinti crossed the border and began their conquest of Jurai.
The Kzinti invasion provoked a general crisis in
the empire, which was at first completely unable to
coordinate a defense agains the Kzinti. By JY 19336/829 BC, the Kzinti were poised to attack Jurai itself.
At this point, the Emperor, Daiken XIV (19309 JY/856 BC - 19832 JY/333 BC) forced Warlord
Krinn to commit suicide and took direct command of the remaining military forces. The populace of
Jurai itself rose up and built a crude fleet which managed to turn back the first Kzinti assault, and
then was reinforced as the desperate warlords rallied around the Emperor. This began the
movement known as the Imperial Restoration. It took twenty years to push the Kzinti out of the
empire (JY 19359/806 BC) and another ten to overrun their border province from which they had launched
the assault. The 35 years war ended with a resounding Juraiian victory at the battle of Yamakir, and marked the beginning of a new period of Juraiian vigor.
For the Kzin, it was a disaster. The Kzin emperor killed himself, and his sons fought a civil war. The Kzin nobility rose up and forced the victor to grant them greater privileges, and the Kzin empire began to blunder down the road the Juraiians had been walking. It was chiefly inertia that preserved the Kzin empire, and the desire of the Juraiians for a buffer state. Several wars stripped away a third of the Kzin empire, adding it to Jurai. The emperors sank into impotence, and intrigue and brief civil wars marked the struggles of the nobles for power.
Finally, in the four hundreds, Lord Claw led a revolt which precipitated a general break up of the empire, which collapsed into pieces again. In 432, Kzin itself was sacked, and this is usually taken to mark the end of the second empire.
The Chaos and the Third Empire (432 BC - 1150 AD)
For a time, the empire sank into abject chaos. From 432 BC to around 113 AD, the empire was a sea of petty states, constantly at war. It was the slow, steady conquests of the Lorax which finally reunited the empire. As the Lorax took worlds one by one, the Kzinti began to transcend their old blood feuds and unite. In 113 AD, the Third Empire was proclaimed on Disir IV.
It took until 193 to drive the Lorax out of their conquests, and another 150 years until the Lorax were conquered again. In 343, the Empire turned its attentions to regaining its old territories. However, Juraiian intervention prevented the Kzin from rebuilding their old glories. Jurai had been throwing around its weight for years, and finally, its neighbors united against it in what became known as the Hundred Years War, which was actually five distinct wars with brief armed truces in between. (20600 JY/436 AD - 20705 JY/541 AD). Jurai was defeated and forced to yield up its more recent conquests. At the same time, a galactic peace keeping force was created, known as the Galaxy Police.
By the end of the Hundred Years War, the third empire was sinking into decadence. It lingered on for hundreds of years under a series of decadent dynasties. The border province of D'shen, however, was marked by constant warfare with the Wara, a race of humanoids who somewhat resembled Earth dogs. The emperors took little interest in this struggle, and finally, in 1145, the Caliph of D'shen led a revolt against the emperor. His highly trained forces easily conquered the Empire and inaugurated a more militant phase of Kzin history, the period known as the Fourth Empire.
The Fourth Empire (1150 AD - 2456 AD)
The first step was to crush the Wara. By 1198, the Wara came under Kzinti domination, freeing the empire to expand in that direction. In 1204, the Second Khund Empire came into contact with the Kzin and the War of Ancient Hatred was fought. The Khunds wanted revenge for the devastation of their world. The Kzin were vaguely amused by it all. By 1224, they broke the Khund onslaught and stripped the Khunds of a quarter of their empire as punishment.
The Kzin focused their attention on expanding into the galactic core and spinward around the main disc of the galaxy, avoiding wars with the major established powers. By around 1430 AD, the Kzin had overextended themselves, and were driven back somewhat. The empire largely stagnated after that, passing its time in petty wars and occasional civil wars.
It was at this time that the Kzin nobility began to decline as the Kzin became more of a trading people. This culminated in the Uprising of the Sires (2193 - 2201 AD), in which various noble houses sought to suppress the Assembly, which had been granted by the Emperors in the face of pressure from merchants. However, the Assembly proved to be far more capable of coordinating taxation and finance than the nobility, and crushed it. Many bloodlines were killed off entirely.
However, this civil war left the empire vulnerable to invasion. In 2203, the Kzin fleet was crushed by the Khunds at Fori II, and by 2215, the Khunds controlled 30% of the Kzinti empire. Two wars of revenge in 2232-2238 and 2270-75 brought further defeat. Only Khund defeat in 2300-2315 in the First Jurai-Khund War enabled the Kzin to regain their losses.
Kzinti society turned inward, seeking the causes of its own weaknesses. The emperors themselves came under assault, and were largely stripped of power, becoming figureheads. By 2418, the Kzin felt ready for another round with the Khunds. They got whipped. By 2432, they were defeated and forced to cede a large strip of the border to the Khunds. Internal revolt followed, and the Kzinti empire fell apart by 2456 AD.
The Fifth Empire (2456 AD - 4434 AD)
The fifth empire slowly rose from the shards of the fourth empire. By 2803 AD, most of the old empire was reunited under the Shalrathi dynasty. It focused on expansion into weakly held territories, trying to keep the peace with its strong neighbors. This was largely successful, and trade flourished. Gradually, the pressures that had brought down the previous dynasty began to build up again.
The emperors became largely figureheads, dominated by the Assembly, which suffered however, from a lack of ability to formulate long-term goals due to its fear of a strong executive. The Kzinti stumbled from crisis to crisis. In 3991-4004, they joined the Khunds in the 12th Khund-Jurai war, scenting Jurai's weakness. However, the Juraiians rallied and drove back their enemies. The renewal of old Khund-Kzinti feuds played a major role in this.
The Khunds, lead by a strong dynasty, began to crush its enemies, and the rising Drasalite Imperium began to press upon Kzin as well. The rise of the Federal League was another problem, as its strong economy began to subjugate the Kzin economy to itself. Gradually, the empire became effectively a dependency of the league, propped up by it.
The fifth Stingray Crisis revolved around the collapse of the Kzinti Empire (AD 4429-4434). The Khunds, armed with new weapons technologies, including the N5 bomb, invaded what was left of Jurai and the Kzinti Empires, and nearly conquered both. Intervention by the Federal League led to the last Kzin emperor willing his empire to the League, and the League supplied Leon III with the weaponry he used to successfully turn back the Khunds, and later destroy them. The use of N5 bombs laid waste to the Khund empire, most of whose worlds were rendered uninhabitable.
Kzin sank into a backwater, although in the last
few years, its prosperity has begun to increase. As of 5002 AD, Kzin is
the Regional Capital of the Kzinti Region of the Federal League.