From Star Trek: Theurgy Wiki
The Gorn were a warp capable race at one point in their society. They were sentient and had capable thinkers among them.
Gorn were cold blooded creatures that hailed from a humid swampish planet. Their bodies were scaled and very dry on their own, because of this, they required more humid living conditions than other races. Without humidity, a Gorn’s skin would dry out and painful cracks would form. These cracks appeared after or around the 17-hour mark of being in dry air, and they required six hours of rest a day in their humid climate to prevent this from happening. They required a high protein diet and had teeth and claws that were designed for ripping meat from bone.
Outside of their weaknesses to cold and dry air, the Gorn were built to last. It was once said that Gorn were durable enough to survive the vacuum conditions of space. This was incorrect. The Gorn required air as much as the next oxygen breathing race however. They could, however, survive being frozen. Their bodies would shut down in low temperatures and they would enter a hibernation state where they could be thawed out at a later time. They were durable enough that a phaser on medium stun would be more likely to annoy a Gorn solider than hurt them.
They were slow heavy creatures. If pushed to run, they could be clumsy, but in combat they were durable and strong. If they managed to catch another race unaware, they could rip them apart with great ease. Because of their slow nature they were thought to be dumb, but this was merely a biased stereotype.
They were a paired race with male and female genders, though telling them apart would be difficult to an outsider. The cock of a Gorn male was retracted and only made apparent when in use. The pale sensitive skin was protected inside of the male body of the Gorn until erect. The female sexual organs were similar to that of a human female, save that its body would release several eggs for insemination at once. The eggs would then harden and grow inside of the Gorn for about three months, at which point they would be laid out as reptilian eggs.
The Gorn were a paranoid race, they harbored resentment towards all outsiders after years of suffering at the hands of slavers from the Orion Syndicate and Klingon Empires. They came from a very tribal oriented civilization but were united by a common tragedy.
Their government was called the Hegemony and was founded when they abandoned their previous tribal structure. It had the single founding principal that the Gorn needed to be of a single mind, with no outsiders being allowed to have sway in their policies or world.
Their mindset made them isolationists denying anyone and everyone access to their territory, save for very few ports that had strict rules about trade. According to the Ferengi, it was impossible to make a profit with a Gorn. Their isolation and refusal to allow anyone to settle near their world also led to the Gorn being a mystery, with very few encounters outside of intrusions to their territory that always end one single way, with the destruction of the intruding ship.
Most of what the Federation has learned about the Gorn comes from the few ports in the badlands sector that allowed for trade or slaves that have been taken in by either the Klingon Empire or the Orion Syndicate. Since these slaves were often taken at a young age, very little of Gornar’s culture was known to these children, and once taken away, slaves were disowned for fear that they would bring an alien influence to the Hegemony.
The Gorn language was very low guttural in nature, involving more hissing and tongue gestures than actual vocal interactions. The words were often less important than the way they were said as the Gorn vocal cords and jawline made languages like English difficult to speak without slurring s’ and z’ together. The low guttural nature of this language aded to the belief that the Gorn were a primitive race as it often sounded aggressive in nature.
Gornar was a hot swampish world with vicious bugs, and diseases. The Gorn evolved on this world due to the harsh climate their bodies acclimated making them harder and more durable. Much of the deadliness of Gorn warriors came from the harsh marshland of Gornar. The wetlands made them partly amphibious, and they adapted to the constant moisture and heat of their world. The planet’s orbit was locked with no seasonal changes. Day lasted 19 hours’ Federation time, and night lasted equally as long.
Culture & Customs
Gorn life was to be dedicated to the prosperity of the fellow Gorn. Because a single female could lay more eggs than she could care for the state was involved in raising Hatchlings and giving them a role in life. For a Gorn it was commonplace not to know or care about one’s parents but rather dedicate your life to your broodmates, who were the selected members of society that you grew up with. Family became a loose connection of mass marriages and broodmates which quickly became a complicated system when dynastic heads. The system also created the government.
In Gorn customs, a hatchling was born into a class, and from that class and the hatchlings around you, you would form a brood often these were strong kinships that would last a life time. Being expelled from a brood was a very rare punishment and excommunication was a punishment that was even rarer. When in a brood, it was a bit like the adjacent Klingon system of houses. One could move their brood upwards in renown, earning them more of a voice in the Hegemony, and likewise, a Brood could be taken down or even disbanded if they were accused of a great crime.
If a brood was disbanded, the surviving members of the brood would be separated and drawn into other families usually of lower class, but on rare occasions, if a member was seen as valuable, it was actually possible for a disbandment to land you in a more powerful brood then the one where you first came from.
Marriage to another Brood would mean the joining of two families to create a larger one, but all children were given to the state to raise.
The Gorn were at first a war hungry race. They would kill themselves again and again in feudal struggles over their land and resources for ages. Their attacks would be based on their families and clans. They originally had no space travel, and were one of the last in the badlands sector to develop warp capabilities. Their introduction to the outside came when the Orion Syndicate first discovered them. Their warlike nature and brutal tendencies made them natural slaves, and their durability meant that on any warm world, they could not only fight wars for the Orions but often win them.
The Orion’s invasion of the Gorn was the first time the tribal ‘feral’ race of people had ever united, and worked together. When they realized that the skies contained more enemies than they alone could fight, they re-organized themselves. Since the Orions would take children and drive them into slavery, no one family could securely protect the children, so the first heavily protected breeding grounds were formed along with the brood system. The parents would give their hatchlings up to the state to assure that the one unified Gorn government could protect them, and those children would grow up to form families within their ranks. Eventually, they would grow up to protect the next generation, and so on.
This was the birth of the Hegemony, a singular power created to stop the advancement of aliens against the Gorn, who over time would become increasingly paranoid and determined to defend themselves. The Gorn managed to steal some of the slavers ships and learn from them. Their own re-designs - compared to the Orions - were brutish, preferring more weapon mounts, and speed over shields. The Gorn designed their fleet to be as armored as they were, with just as many teeth and claws.
First Contact with the Gorn officially happened on stardate 3045.6 in year 2267 when the Federation attempted to settle a world too close to what the Gorn considered to be their territory. The outpost on Cestus III was attacked and obliterated without warning or diplomacy as the Gorn viewed the Federation as invaders. This led into an incident where the Gorn were drawn into conflict with the USS Enterprise under Captain James T Kirk. The captain of the Gorn ship was spared in the endeavor and while the Federation claimed that showing mercy would lead to future diplomatic talks the Gorn refused all hands of friendship.
Rather, the incident lead to the cementing of the Gorn boarders with the Federation, a line that was not that much unlike the neutral zone where they established the few trade ports that allowed the Federation to learn more about the isolationist race. While the settlement on Cetus III did eventually come to be a thing, the Gorn still regarded the outside as intruders, and so they stayed behind their walls and attempted to crack down on any and all enemy ships that they find. Even so, slavery was still a problem in the later years of the Hegemony.
Government & Military
The Hegemony was the main power of the Gorn they were a dynastic government ruled by families from positions of class power. The rule of the Hegemony was considered absolute as they were created to look after all Gorn interests, and thus controlled every aspect of Gorn life from early education, to breeding grounds, to rituals presiding over death.
Because of this, the government was slow to change its ideas. Moreover, the ruling dynasty served for life, and the Gorn could be a long-lived race when they were kept well fed and warm on their home world. Their isolationism was as much their customs as their government's policy, as any Gorn who left or was taken would usually end up in the hands of slavers from the competing powers in the badlands sector. This led to their policy of destruction. Any ship entering the Hegemony’s space was destroyed without warning.
Family life of the Gorn was run by the state with hatchlings being picked up from their breeding grounds and placed into one of the various dynasties. This, based on cultural signifiers such as coloration of their scaling sharpness of claws and other physical attributes. Once put in their class, there was no room for movement, but each were granted a wide range of tasks. Warriors were not just guards of old times but often served on Gorn ships as the fist of the Hegemony, protecting it from outside forces. Scientists could work almost anywhere making advances for their people. This also included trades like medicine and engineering.
Those they grew up with were their brood and their brood was their family. The Hegemony valued family connections more than anything. Separation was considered the worst thing that could happen to a member of a brood, and even the worst criminal punishments on Gornar do not include excommunication, because the space outside of the Hegemony was considered to be dark and terrifying. They did not expand farther than they could hold onto, but rather held their society behind their great walls with greater guns.
The Gorn military would often destroy any and all outsiders, but eventually - at the insistence of the the Federation - some ports were opened along the Gorn boarder to allow for trade and an exchange of ideas. The fact that the Federation knew so little of the Gorn scientifically was fascinating, but in truth, these were more for show than actual trade. The Gorn that served these Ports did so under several large books of rules on everything from how to speak to how to act while in the presence of a foreign power.
The biggest buy and sell in Gorn space was weapons, which they would eventually turn on those they bought from, because after all, they were still part of the badlands sector.
Gorn ships were brutal in design, prioritizing weapons over shields they were bulky but often had multiple engines and reinforced plating, preferring physical hardened armor over extravagant shields. Guns were often mounted and maintained in clumsy fashion assuring that there was always more fire power that could be mounted onto the ships. They were a warp capable civilization and their fleet, while aesthetically displeasing, was brutally efficient at protecting their home world and sector from intruders.
Their ships were built around their weapons, with larger disruptors and beam weapons at the head of many of their designs. These larger cannon-esque energy weapons had been updated and maintained by Gorn scientists to fire faster and harder in keeping them with the latest in weapons technology.
The mythology of the Gorn tied closely with one of their other neighbors. The Metrons, a race of cosmic beings who have interfered with the Gorn on more than one occasion. The Metron’s were considered a karmic force in most Gorn stories about them, and weren’t so much revered as gods as seen as world makers and breakers. The Gorn had several legends that warned of cosmic beings that would trample over and destroy those they saw as lesser.
The favored mythology of the Gorn was one of Cosmic horror, everything bad came from the skies and the lands beyond their own, it fuelled their paranoia. To them, Gornar was as close to paradise as they could ever hope to achieve and they had to defend it against entities like the Metrons or other more horrific cosmic beings. Exploration and discovery was against most of the beliefs of the Gorn. Preferring solid defendable boarders over venturing far into space where children could be born and die in the vacuum never knowing a proper brood.
The Gorn viewed themselves as small, as victims, and their belief was often one of fear mongering. Their stories almost always ended with the destruction of Gornar or those closest to the narrator since they believed in world devouring cosmic horrors from beyond time and space.
Gorn born outside the Hegemony in slavery would die outside the Hegemony in slavery. No outsider once taken or leaving had ever been allowed back inside the Hegemony. They were considered classless, having no brood and no way into one they are the refuse those forgotten, and while it was a sore spot, there was no hope to reclaim someone who had been taken for fear that they might invite more outsiders.