This week we’re taking a closer look at the Star Citizen alien race I’m most excited to see in the game, the Banu. I like the idea of their unorthodox societal structure and the fact that they’re welcoming to all races. I’ll to put my thoughts about their participation in the slave market aside. In many cases, it’s being referred to as indentured servants. We’ll have to see just how far down the rabbit whole their practice goes. For now, their lore and star systems sound exciting and hospitable to humans.

Show Transcript

CAVEAT – THIS IS THE BEGINNING

Star Citizen’s feature set and lore are evolving. This article is based on what we know now. The information in the Star Systems section is based on the current ARK Starmap. That said, we know that economy, population and locations of conflict will change as the universe evolves and players begin impacting it. Therefore, this discussion is the likely starting point for the Banu species.

BANU AS A SPECIES

Our first encounter with the Banu occurred in the Davien system. In 2438 an independent nav-jumper named Vernon Tar opened fire on what he thought was another privateer trying to steal his meager claim in the system.  The pilot of the other ship turned out to be Banu. Luckily, the incident didn’t lead to any deaths and became humanity’s first introduction to the Banu Protectorate.

Directly from CIG

Known best for their industrious nature, Banu pride themselves on their artisan craftsmanship and astute business acumen. Rather than the traditional family units or corporations typically found among Humans, the Banu instead have a societal structure that combines both into one single unit – the Souli. Often translated as ‘guild,’ the Souli is the foundation for life in the Protectorate, where Banu work and live together.

This is an interesting characteristic the lore team has decided to attribute to the Banu. Unlike humans, there’s no concept of family within their culture. Their identity and affiliation are defined by the Souli assigned to them which is most equivalent to an occupation for humans. I wonder if they form loyalties of any kind outside of that structure? Do they only mate within that Souli?

More on the Souli from CIG

Each Souli specializes in a specific industry and can vary widely; from a ship manufacturing Souli, to a trade Souli, even a Souli that raises Banu young. There is a Souli for everything. This regimented division of labor translates directly into the skilled expertise present on Banu worlds.

Bacchus is believed to be the Banu’s home world.  We say “believe” because they haven’t been forthcoming on the subject. As with most Banu systems, their trade lanes are always packed with travelers from across the universe. Permanent flotillas are built anywhere they find a confluence of potential customers. The Banu are the traders and lore hounds of the Star Citizen Universe. As such, it makes sense that they would be the manufacturers of the prize among deep space merchants, the Banu Merchantman.  A vessel that is more of a lifestyle than a ship and acts has the primary residence among the stars.

The Banu worship multiple deities. The most popular being Cassa, the Patron of Luck and Taernin, the Great Traveler. Banu societal beliefs and principles are dictated by The Council, their religious leaders located in the Trise system.

Members of The Council intentionally remain isolated from the rest of Banu society.  Pride in craftsmanship is even demonstrated by Banu equivalent to monks who produce elaborate copper-based artwork which has a certain kitsch value.

The Banu Political System is a republic of planet states, each run under its own set of governing laws. The representatives of each planet gather for a quorum to debate legal and trade issues that affect the entire species. Otherwise, each planet is left to their own devices.  The lack of a central government, formal or required communication between the planets and loose historical recordkeeping, means that Banu planets are rife with crime. Criminals can migrate from one Banu planet to the next when things get too hot. And since the UEE is forbidden from crossing borders to pursue wanted felons, Banu worlds are also a haven for human criminals and syndicates.

The Banu do not maintain a standing army.  Local militia keeps the peace within their systems and they’re not especially selective. Even criminals can and do serve.  However, don’t be fooled into thinking this makes the Banu worlds an easy target.  On the contrary, they have the means to muster a formidable fighting force if necessary.  

It should be noted that the Banu belief system supports and participates in indentured servitude. The Kins system is their primary slave trade market. Visitors should take extreme care to avoid dubious areas and refrain from visiting the slave markets.

BANU STAR SYSTEMS

Banu aligned star systems account for 7% of the known Star Citizen Universe. Which means that they govern 6 of the 90 systems currently represented in the ARK Starmap. That’s small compared to the UEE’s 42%. With so few planets, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the populations within their systems is very high.  Unlike other species who have some systems with very low populations, the Banu appear to utilize what they have to it’s fullest and are able to attract other races to them because of their reputation of having diverse and abundant marketplaces.

LIVE IN THE MOMENT. RELAX BANU STYLE

DIRECTLY FROM CIG

Banu they take their relaxation almost as seriously as they take their work. There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to diversions and there’s sure to be something to match almost any taste.

Traveling throughout the Banu Protectorate offers a variety of exotic sights and sounds. From the flotillas of Yulin to the hallowed halls of Trise, you can find adventure and mystery around every corner. So where do you even start? We’ve assembled a handy guide of some of the systems, to make planning your journey even easier.

  • Bacchus II – Skip between the thousands of archipelagos and islands across this vast ocean world to experience what many consider the quintessential Banu world.
  • Geddon I – Fancy a little danger? Visit the arcologies among the beautiful desolation of this geologically active volcanic world to see how mining soulis are harvesting planetary resources for trade goods.
  • Gliese IV – Ever wonder what an uninhabited planet looks like? Traverse the unkempt wilds of Gliese IV, perfectly habitable to Humans and Banu, but completely unoccupied.
  • Kins II – For you history buffs, no trip to the Banu Protectorate would be complete without seeing the ancient structure on Kins II. Completely defying any existing Banu engineering styles, these sites have long baffled xenoarchaeologists about who (or what) built them.

GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER? Things to Do When Among the Banu

Things to Do When Among the Banu

  • Try your hand at one of the bustling gambling halls where goods are exuberantly exchanged in games of chance.
  • Take in a game of Sataball. The Banu have taken a strong liking to the sport. You can find many Sataball arenas within Banu space.
  • Shop! Banu markets are considered second to none, offering what many consider the best shopping anywhere in the universe. Browse Souli elite craftsmanship and exotic goods from every corner of known universe.  These marketplaces are always built around a central area making it a hassle free experience for visitors.
  • Purchase the Banu’s version of the human magic 8 ball. Tholo, a small three-sided token representative of Cassa, the Banu patron of luck are sold as decision-making devices. Ask a question, then roll the tholo to get a ‘yes,’ ‘no’ or ‘run for your life’ as an answer.
  • Partake in large communal meals. While Banu typically eat with their hands, some places that cater to Humans will have silverware available.
  • Negotiating is a must. It is considered very strange to accept an initial offer.
  • Even though an item or a ship can look the same on the outside, it’s worth taking a closer look at Banu manufacturing can vary widely from Souli to Souli.
  • It is traditional for Banu to offer hospitality while negotiating and you will often see traders gathered around a slomaddon, a large ornate brewing vessel, each of them having contributed an ingredient to the drink, sloma. If you are offered a cup, be polite and take a sip, but make sure to drink responsibility – sloma can sometimes be quite potent.
  • Most Banu will consider a deal final once the transaction is complete. Make sure you inspect everything closely and double check the terms of your agreement before leaving.
  • A good tip for finding a reputable dealer is watching where other Banu shop. If a Souli doesn’t have very many customers there might be a reason for it. If you see something you like, go ahead and buy it! Banu traders are often transient and may not be there next time you return.

So far we’ve only seen two Banu ships. The Banu Merchantman and the recently unveiled Banu Defender. I’ve pledged for the BMM and am waiting with baited breath for more updates on the ship’s design. If you’d like to know more about the BMM check out Causal Citizen Episode 9. I’ll include a link in the show notes.

Of what’s been revealed so far about the alien races planned for Star Citizen, the Banu interest me the most. Their societal structure is very foreign from a human’s perspective. I like that they live in the moment and are cordial to other races. I see a piece of fiction with a Banu protagonist in my future. I’m sure their systems will be among the first that I visit in the live game.

WRAP UP

That wraps up another episode of Causal Citizen. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you have, please considering subscribing to my channel and giving this episode a thumbs up. For more game commentary, lore, reviews and other Star Citizen coverage. If you want to know more about the physical universe being built visit Aly’s Starmap Matrix, a mobile-friendly and easier to read version of the official ARK Starmap data. Be sure to register on Aly’s World for an exclusive Monthly Newsletter.

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This is Alysianah signing off until next time. Be kind and fly safe!

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