Having evolved from agile and territorial predators, always surrounded by gigantic, violent beasts, first Sinta used weapons for hunting and survival. Later, when the great migrations started, it came to the struggle between different clans and tribes - battles for hunting grounds and natural resources. As societies evolved, new concepts came into being: power, hierarchy, order, territory, responsibility, honour. Blood bonds and familial ties developed into neighbourly agreements, servitude and vassalage relations, tribe unions, chiefdoms and primitive states, most of which were forged and kept together (to the present day in some cases) by the might of arms.
Much like the clan is the basic unit of Unathi society, clan militias form the backbone of all military organizations on Moghes, traditional or new. The militias are often maintained by few hardened veterans, while the ranks are filled by the part-time tribal soldiers - usually male clan members, although this may vary from region to region. Both men and women tend to receive at least some training with traditional weapons to hunt and defend themselves - or in case the dedicated warriors find themselves in need of support.
For the majority of clans, large-scale conflicts are an extremely uncommon occurrence - the planet has seen close to none conventional wars for millenia. However, in a traditional, decentralized society like that of Moghes, the only kind of justice remaining available to many clans is martial justice - land division arguments, legal disputes, grudges and petty quarrels between individual clans are often resolved through armed conflict. The most common way to protect the rights and honours of one's clan and family comes in the form of banes – traditional judicial duels, either between chosen champions or with the entirety of clansmen participating. In case the sacred duel is deemed unnecessary by the kaahnepos, or wasn’t sanctioned by religious authorities, a classic, freeform brawl will invariable be the surest way to settle the score between two sides.
Among fellow Sinta, the denizens of Diamond Peaks are renowned for their physical might and perseverance, but also for narrow-mindedness, sluggishness and (sometimes) short stature. Nevertheless, it is universally agreed that the unforgiving highlands of Moghes breed the toughest, most dependable soldiers on the planet.
While their native lands lack fertile pastures, the highlanders' home was well-shielded from hazardous wildlife or unwanted guests. Moreover, clean water and mineral deposits were abundant, hidden in the depths of the earth. This, naturally, drove local unathi to the trades they could make best use of: crafts and war.
The mountain warrior of the classical period was invariably a foot soldier, armed with a large shield and a melee weapon - the mounts could only be afforded by those representing military or religious elite. The peakfolk made heavy use of metal lamellar armour, which covered the body, limbs and sometimes even the tail. To make the most of their hardware advantage against lightfoot adversaries, Peak warriors operated in tight formations, covering each other on advance. Such tactics required rigorous training and discipline, coupled with strict leadership. Ranged weapons played a largely supportive role, often found in the hands of servants from the conquered clans, although younger highlanders would also arm themselves with javelins and slings, to harass the enemy and assist their seniors.
Eventually, the majority of the lowlanders came to be dominated by the Diamond Peaks war chiefs. Their rule spread beyond the Peaks themselves - highlander colonies in the swamps (Wasghaelli) and deserts stand testimony to the fact. To maintain law and order in the conquered areas, Peak dwellers spent centuries perfecting their standing armies and military administrations. While traditions and methods varied between each clan, some attributes of their rule were quite ubiquitous, such as the use of heavily armored and rightfully feared guardsmen. Those who had the gall to wrong the highlander masters were bound to be seized, beaten and turned into a hardened thrall - or sent to the fields.
While among the first to use primitive arquebus-like firearms, Peak Sinta military practices have plateued during centuries of relative peace. Precursor technology, while revered by highlanders, was rarely used. The big change came when polar city-states began to grow exponentially, the increased demand for security prompted many chiefs to rent their militias out in return for consumer goods and industrial exports. Highlander security units became a mundane sight in the streets of Mumbak and such, much to the displeasure of locals, no matter high or low-status. This development was spurred by the gradual decline of vassalage system in the Peaks. Since the vassals could no longer support their masters with their somewhat primitive agriculture, the highlanders had to search other means of income. The First Contact with alien races only hastened the process - the major ports of Moghes Poles became the place to earn money (and spend money), and mercenary work off-Moghes became a dangerous, yet lucrative option. At the same time, the traditional feudal boundary between the highlanders and lowlanders (or even settlers from other parts of Moghes) blurred out, with wealthier plebeians often rivaling their former rulers in strength of arms.
While the traditional highlander art of armour smithing lost its former importance, one trade remained highly sought-after - the production of mobile suits, or Breachers. Unlike human-built hardsuits, Peak Sinta rigs are carefully handcrafted and individually fitted, and later issued to the best warriors of the clan. Those on the top of highlander military structure may enjoy the elements of Precursor technologies integrated into their power armor, as well as precious gems, baroque patterns and other decorations, including the skulls of their enemies and rare animals. The might of Peak Unathi Clans manifests itself in a form of Breacher infantry attack: an awe-inspiring assault by a rigorously trained, motivated, and well organized metal wall crushing everything under its boot.
The Great Desert
Caravan guards by day and robbers by night, the old sinta of the deserts pride themselves as masters of individual combat, both ranged and melee. Small in numbers and constantly engaged in great hunts and tribal raids, clans of the desert have to rely on hit-and-run tactics, swiftness of movement and mastery of weapons.
The champions of the desert have turned almost every kind of military pursuit into a form of art. While on the move, desert dwellers make exellent snipers and skirmishers, making the most of thrown rocks, javelins or rifles, even from ssisalik or oghash back. In melee, the nomads are equally as dangerous, wrestling even larger opponents to the ground, or attacking them with daggers. Wrestling is especially popular with the followers of the Stratagem - and those are plenty among the desert clans. Those traditional displays of strength are often accompanied by other shows, such as the scimitar-dance, performed by armed desert clan females. While they rarely have enough manpower to sell their entire militias for money, Desert champions are often sought after as bodyguards to Polar strongmen, who value both their skill and lack of attachment to local affairs.
In recent decades, the ways of war in the desert have undergone certain developments, dictated by changes in local lifestyle. For millenia, wasteland clans relied heavily on few animals to move between major oases or rare strips of shrubbery. As the result, the warriors of each clan rarely journeyed very far from their home base, situated on the backs of Ogashes and cart wagons - or near a source of water, in case the clan was settled. The influx of motor vehicles gave desert unathi a great deal of mobility, and allowed many clans to brave territories with limited supply of water and forage. While fuel is not cheap, the expanding trade between the poles brought in plenty of savanna bio-diesel to work with, and sometimes even phoron. At the same time, fuel from Diamond Peak refineries became an important tool in securing the loyalty of Great Desert clans, used first by larger highland clans and then by the Convent.
To make the most out of their supplies, desert unathi tend to use massive, high torque all-terrain vehicles with powerful engines, not dissimilar to ogashes in many ways. Those vehicles, often called "tanks" or "crawlers" by human onlookers, usually feature an impressive set of weaponry (including machine guns and cannons) intended for self-defence - a mere view of such a difficult target discourages smaller clans from raiding the owner.
The swamp pioneers of Moghes are rarely praised for their military prowess - despite this, unfriendly raids into their territory are exceedingly rare. This owes much to the hostile environment of swamp unathi lands - and their masterful use of terrain to their advantage.
Often little more than armed peasants, swamp dwellers generally possess knowledge of local roads and rivers, and usually allow the intruders to delve deep into the marches before ambushing them. Once the unfortunate bandits have lost all their vehicles and pack animals to the bogs, the locals may overwhelm and take them prisoner in mere minutes - this is greatly helped by the fact that people of the swamp can swim almost silently, and can climb trees, unencumbered with armor.
While swamp unathi militiamen don't use much of specific gear (owing to their mixed background), a traditional weapon is a local variant of war cleaver, called "gharrunhi". Gharrunhi is generally used to cut through the shrubbery and thick wines. However, it is heavy enough to put down the largest of local predators in one swoop. Gharrunhis are directly responsible for many fingerbones hanging from the necklaces of local militia veterans, each denoting one dead or captured (and then ransomed) opponent. In addition, a popular ambush tool for the swamp dwellers is a simple fishing net, often used to entangle or startle the adversaries when dropped from above.
While physically strong and often towering well above their contemporaries, the inhabitants of the savanna belts of Moghes are often regarded as farmers and herdsmen rather than warriors - the ssisalik herds belonging to them feed a considerable proportion of Moghes population. Nevertheless, savanna clans hold two major victories under their belts - victories in two of the three major recorded wars in the history of unathi race, no less.
Expert riders and animal handlers, it comes as no surprise that savanna sinta, both nomads and settled ones, prefer to fight from the backs of their huge mounts. Ssisaliks are most common, while threshbeasts are used as hounds and patrol animals, seeking out the fleeing enemies and hidden dangers. While this makes savanna militias more intimidating, it also gives them great mobility, allowing bands of warriors to carry supplies over long distances.
The finest hour of savanna warriors came roughly 4200 years ago, when the events of the Cult war pitted the the southern clans against Markesheli, who controlled great swathes of savanna and desert territory. Led by the careful kaahnepo Ssvagha Issarik, local militias managed to defeat multiple bands of cultist raiders in detail, bringing an end to the expansion of the cult and setting in motion its downfall.
Yet another example of savanna unathi martial prowess and adaptability came during the Nine Years’ War in 2259 - 2268, when mounted militias barely managed to hold back the advance of Diamond Peak troops marching to break the siege of Nolesk. This time, both sides made use of heavy machine guns, bolt-action firearms and even some imported weapons - the advantage savanna dragoons had in mobility and logistics proved decisive.
With the growing wealth, increase in trade and improvements in technology, motor vehicles have found widespead use in the savannas. The availability of biodiesel, produced by a large number of clan-owned processing facilities for power generation, only boosted the process. While large armed transports are still the most popular type of car with savanna unathi (especially with the merchants travelling from pole to pole), personal vehicles are gradually becoming more common. This includes a certain amount of imported phoron and nuclear-powered hoverpods, especially second-hand ones, brought in by human merchants. Nevertheless, ssisaliks and other pack animals remain the favoured method of conveyance among savanna dwellers, for reasons both economical and cultural.
A long time ago, polar clans were quite similar to those of savannas in their economy, mode of life and even general appearance. Since then, however, the Poles of Moghes have become increasingly urbanised - and their denizens have traided many qualities or rural unathi for other benefits.
For years, polar unathi have increasingly relied on foreign troops to maintain order in their growing domains. Experienced warriors from all regions of Moghes flocked to the city-states, seeking employment. However, this arrangement has it's drawbacks - during the war between Hegemony and Convent, many highlander militias proclaimed neutrality, offering protection only to their direct employers, while some units shared even more dubious loyalties.
In lieu of those developments, many wealthy polar clans became eager to restore the martial traditions of their clans, although many had maintained small militias of their own even before the events. Either way, it is now customary for major polar powerhouses to school their young in the ways of war, with best equipment and teachers their money can buy. Energy weapons, training spacecraft, many foreign and even off-world specialists are sought after by local clans - among the latter, allegedly, retired Sol and Terran officers.
Few continentals (or even alien races) consider the islanders of Moghes warlike. For many Yeosa clans it holds true, although phlegmatic islanders are sometimes capable of surprising feats in combat.
While the Littoral clans may borrow some martial traditions from their neighbours (especially from the swamp sinta), for many an islander fighting an opponent in water remains fairly similar to hunting an animal: pirates, large beast and aggressive exiles are usually confronted with fishing spears, clubs, nets and knives. The Wardens - members of the "third sex" unique to the Yeosa - often use their size and special status to prevent any aggression between people of the sea.
After the formation of Rah'Zakeh League, a volunteer force of the Sentinels was put together, to enforse the laws of Aga-Eakhe and apprehend pirates. Armed with increasingly popular NanoTrasen-brand underwater flechette pistols, the Sentinels ensure that the will of the Tribunal is carried out, on land and sea - and sometimes even in space.
Clan Leagues. Modern Warfare
23rd century on Moghes was marked by major developments in the field of politics, economy and culture. The explosive growth of city-states was given boost by the contact with expansionist alien empires, which inspired awe in the unathi - but also concern. In the meantime, societal changes led to the creation of new political entities - first, the powerful Krukzuz type of clans, and later clan leagues. The need to secure their place in a changing world of proto-states and aliens fostered the development of the new type of unathi military, in many ways different from traditional clan militaries of the past.
When Moghes Hegemony was created in 2239, the creation of the unified army was not considered by the ruling council of Kaahnepos - after all, most major clans of either Poles were once united in pursue of their common interests, and their militias combined was more than a match for any force that might had challenged them. In the context of new relations with alien empires, space was the way to go - and so, the focus was put on aquisition of spaceworthy vessels, for trade, security patrols and diplomatic missions.
Some twenty years later, the Hegemony faced great difficulties when fighting Ssen-Uuma Convent in the Nine Years’ War, alternatively known as The Riot. Struggling to contain popular discontent in major city-states and stretched to the extreme, polar clans could do little to prevent Diamond Peaks mercenaries from seizing and reinforcing Nolesk. Help came from two sourses - first, Savanna ranchers bailed their polar partners out by raiding Convent's supply lines and taking the brunt of their counterattack. Second, some clans managed to aquire used energy weapons and hovercraft from Solarian merchants - while the prices soared, it was of little concern during the crisis days.
After the cessation of hostilities, many constituent clans petitioned the Council of Honourable Light to fund a new security force, capable of taking on the Convent and other threats to Hegemony's power. While the shock was still fresh, the Council was divided on the issue. The clans less affected by the war were not very fond of the idea - some even desired to estabilish formal relations with Ssen-Uuma to foster possible cooperation. As a compromise, the biggest clans of the Hegemony pledged to increase their spending on collective defence - mainly weapons and other equipment for their expanding militias.
In 2272, a Retainers Guild was finally created within a framework of the Hegemony. However, unlike the earlier designs, its sole task was to give assistance to Hegemony envoys and functionaries. With the staff or around 2000 (consisting mostly of polar unathi and loyal foreigners) the Guild provides bodyguards, secretaries, IT specialists, caterers to those travelling on Moghes and off-planet. While they may dress formally or traditionally for the occasion, their uniform of choise usually consists of tacky sportswear - baggy, with plenty of space for armored vests, hidden weapons and various items of equipment.
While the Hegemony does not have a centralized military of it's own, Moghes Space Force was envisioned to become one - at least on paper. Although several attempts to purchase outdated ships have taken place since 2245, SCG have been stalwart in its desire to maintain its monopoly on military presence in the sector - as for 2307, MSF has 2 outdated patrol ships in its semi-active service, refurbished into revenue cutters. While further expansion is impeded by fuel shortage and rising maintenance costs, the constituent clans of the Hegemony are known to own a considerable amount of private civilian and multi-role spaceships, the maintenance of which is helped by an influx of salvaged parts to the unregulated markets of Moghes.
When the Nine Years’ War came to the conclusion in 2268, Ssen-Uuma Convent faced a severe identity crisis. Despite early strong performance, it could not dislodge the Hegemony from its position as the foremost power on Moghes; dissatisfied voices from radicals and moderates became louder with each upset in the field. Inconclusive results of the conflict and rising poverty led to many Diamond Peak clans breaking rank and beginning to trade with their polar parners right after the war concluded, which put the future of the league in question.
A breakthrough came in the early 2270. After the discoveries of the First and Second EC Moghes expedition became well-publicised, considerable amount of non-aligned treasure hunters began to flock to the planet in search of loot. While early reports of such activities surfaced as early as 2259 (which caused the Riot itself), by the 2270 there were serious signs of uncontrolled artifact appropriation - an event known as the First (Lo) Artifact rush.
Urged by Great Desert clans (which somewhat rose in prominence during the decline period), the Convent militias ambushed the grave diggers and their local allies, taking some prisoners - allegedly, some parties were slaughtered to the last man. This was a risky gamble - however, no strong diplomatic responce followed. While the immediate yield was limited, it boosted the confidence of Ssen-Uuma - and earned it some unexpected positive reputation. Still, there was much room for improvement.
In 2271, the first joint Hegemony-Convent project was launched - a system of radar telescopes designed to monitor orbital activity. While the equipment was prohibitively expensive for the Convent, the Hegemony was preparing to crack down on endemic smuggling - and thus pledged to fund the project. By the middle of 2280s, the system was fully in place, consisting of alpine installations in the Peaks, observatories in the Poles and several other stations (including three situated on Ouere), allowing the clan leagues to monitor the movement of space vessels in Uuoea-Esa system and triangulate the position of ships preparing to land.
At the same time, Ssen-Uuma were undergoing change. While General Staff was seeking to improve the equpment and mobility of its forces, the limitations of Convent economy were understood by all. Bearing in mind the experience of the late war, Convent military switched its old metal armor for lightweight camouflage topped with panama hats; slightly upscaled STS became the standard infantry weapon, owing mostly to its ruggedness and modest price - some were produced locally while many were subcontracted to the Poles. Energy weapons, although admired by many, never gained much traction due to lack or reliable energy sources and complexity of maintenance. Something that gained popularity among shock troop elements was the use of short ranged teleporters. Typically used to close the distance, often into close quarters combat, they are somewhat of a rarity thanks to it's complex and sometimes unreliable mechanisms. It's effectiveness in combat is undeniable, with breacher units able to get close without exposing themselves to fire before swiftly taking opponents down in melee combat.
The organization of the forces themselves changed in lieu of old warbands. Territorial regiments were established mostly in the Peaks and Deserts (with the latter providing ssisalik cavalry or "dragoon" regiments), although some old Diamond Peaks colonies in the swamps participated as well. While most of the officers still came from the high-status highlander clans, many commoners were allowed in - especially those who worked off-world as mercenaries and had experience in asymmetric warfare. A sizeable reserve of wheeled and tracked transport was accumulated, with maintenance rigs and depos littering the areas around Sariz Nirz and other Peak Fortresses. Cooperation with other forces was strengthened - especially with the Sentinels of Rah'Zakeh, since Ssen-Uuma troops lacked any naval component.
By the beginning of 24th century, some unconfirmed reports were claiming the existance of imported orbital defence missiles, allegedly brought in from Partheno System in the aftermath of the Gaia conflict; in 2302, those were seemingly deployed around Diamond Peaks, mixed with Precursor artillery.
As far as general public is concerned, the reach of any authority on Moghes is limited to the planet itself - or the Uuoea-Esa system at most. The Unathi realm posesses no strong fleet, while its diplomatic status is somewhat undefined. With the exeption of Hegemony bureacrats and affiliated merchants, few unathi travel human space in official capacity. Most are contracted workers or freelancers - some participate in private or government programs, like that of EC. Others are simply travellers, colonists or tourists. There is an exeption, however.
Dohruk Company, named after a predator animal commonly found in Salt Swamps, was put together by Ssen-Uuma General Staff in the early 2280s. Reportedly, it was initially staffed by few veterans of Magnitka civil war and few smaller conflicts. While the former claim is debateable, Dohruks are said to be cream of the crop of unathi soldiers of fortune, specifically earmarked for Convent jobs.
While the Company is mostly associated with Ssen-Uuma, it is equally as often lended to the Hegemony, with its many interests in civilized space - in return for various benefits on its part. The regular tasks involve extracting (or abducting) important sinta and yeosa working off-Moghes, taking back merchant ships captured by the pirates, delivering noteworthy cargo and (ostensibly) collecting debts.
Not much information is generally available on Dohruk Company - its size, composition, available equipment and location of bases remains unknown.
By common accounts, contemporary small arms market of Moghes is dominated by mundane bolt action, recoil and gas-operated firearms, with energy weaponry following shortly behind. In that context, the ubiqutous STS-35 is often set against its biggest competitor in the latter category, Hephaestus G40E laser carbine. While adepts of the latter cite superior accuracy, quality of construction and resistance to adverse weather conditions in the desert and swamp regions, their opponents emphasise availablity of spare parts, easy maintenance, affordable ammunition and general ruggedness of the former. In addition to those, warriors of Moghes skillfully wield a wide variety of traditional melee and throwing weapons, both in hunt and in battle.
Although some local designs are quite similar to what human or skrell realms have to offer, other weapons are notably unique, using materials and principles uncommon with the civilized peoples of the galaxy.
Among those unusual weapon systems one of the more puzzling is "vhurrissh", a sort of large bore pneumatic rifle commonly carried by Desert Sinta. Those guns, made from unknown polymer, are known to have been passed down through multiple generations, alongside powerful compressors and unique pressurised nitrogen generators; while most show signs of heavy repairs or part replacement, few known specimen are in pristine condition. Recent studies of original Vhurrissh barrels had shown that the guns were intended to be used with an unknown type of special ammuniton, even though modern-day users have mostly resorted to primitive ball bullets, cast of soft metal. While Vhurrissh are not unique to the desert regions of Moghes (Peakfolk Clans are said to be in posession of a considerable number of guns), there is a noted connection between those two - allegedly, a great amount of Vhurrissh had been salvaged from ancient bunkers peppering the sands of Moghes. Local denizens believe the rifles to be adequate for self-defence and hunting medium-sized game, although larger beasts are not out of reach with good marksmanship and proper tank pressure. This is greatly facilitated by the general reliability of Vhurrissh, mostly unaffected by extreme temperatures in comparison with later firearms, many of which suffered from overheating, melt and cook-offs.
Another example of a weapon rarely encountered outside Moghes are power axes, known locally as "baghe". Based on a Precursor tool of unclear purpose, Baghe was eventually adapted and turned into a weapon of war, available in various forms - from halberds to pocket knives. Made of complicated tungsten alloy, those blades are designed to turn incandescent in a quick manner with the use of special batteries. In combat, Baghe is known to inflict grievous wounds, leaving severe burns, setting clothes on fire and cauterizing the wound, resulting is slower, more painful regeneration. As such, power axes became notorious as the weapon of choise for drifters, outlaws and even hired assasins (although during the Nine Years’ War it was quickly adopted by many troopers in the field). Some Baghe-like designs are also favoured by bodyguards, taking form of a short sword, a fascine knife or a bayonet. Despite the popularity, early handcrafted Baghe were considered unsafe for carry due to frequent electrical malfunctions and general lack of safety mechanisms - many of these problems have been rectified since then, with the growth of industrial production and implementation of guild-based quality control.
While crossbows and longbows remain a popular tool for hunting, owing to the availability of dried animal sinews, torque-based arms used by unathi are often paired with unusual projectiles. Use of incendiary and toxic bombs made from natural components (mainly bitumen, benzene and hydrogen peroxide compounds found in certain salt swamp animals) launched by arbalests was reported as early as the Diamond Peak colonisation efforts; various types of bolts have also been tried, including cacti thorns and ancient alloy spikes.