Why Do Kilrathi Not Exist?

I'm curious as to what, exactly, Tolwyn's strike to "knock the Kilrathi back to the stone age" was supposed to be. Our ships and resources were all but spent. How much strength did we have to put into such an offensive? At that point, we didn't have either of our super weapons (Behemoth wasn't completed, and the Temblor Bomb was still a useless pile of parts). I get the distinct impression that a major offensive may have cut deep into Kilrathi space, and possibly knocked out a great chunk of their forces, but would have also served to whittle away the only ships we had remaining, thus leaving us wide open for the Kilrathi forces that escaped our grasp (and, let's face it, you know they still had an ace or two up their sleeves)
There was "Project Omega", plus the eight or so new heavy carriers (Lexington-class) the Confederation brought into service after the Battle of Earth. Project Omega never made it to service, and the new heavy carriers just delayed the inevitable by about a year.
Quarto said:
That actually seems to be the reverse of what really happens. According to Fleet Action (and, IIRC, some vague comments in Freedom Flight as well), the Kilrathi were very short on combat pilots, and they had to rush the replacement pilots through as quickly as possible just to keep up with the losses. This situation would have been made even worse after Fleet Action, with the Kilrathi elite virtually disappearing during that battle. Notice, for example, that we never see a single Drakhai in WC3.
On the other hand, if Confed has similar problems, they're never mentioned.

We can also assume that most of the crew and pilots on the Shiraak (Armada carrier) were low-born - the reward they were promised for their suicide mission was partial nobility for their descendants. There is no reason to believe that the Shiraak would be an exception, so presumably this is the case on most Kilrathi carriers in 2669.

I misread Speradon's post. I thought he said that the Confed troops didn't know anything about Confed society except how to fight...
Yes, not all Kilrathi piltos were Nobles.

On WC1, there's a system full of Jalthis and Grathas with rookie pilots. They got to fly the top fighters because they were nobles, not because they were skilled or experienced.
Delance said:
The roman legions were composed by farmers. Only noble Kilrathi fight? They must have a lot of them... Well, it's a sci-fi warrior race, there's no need for any realistic economic background. They even use slave labor, which is not very efficient.

According to my Japanese history class, at its height, the samurai class made up just over nine percent of the free (non-slave) population. Now, it's a given that two-thirds of those members of the warrior class will be either females (and hence not major combatants in the society in question), or children too young to be full warriors, but that still leaves you with a force at least double the size in proportion to the civilian population as any Earth nation has had without using conscription.
I don't think it's quite accurate to compare Kilrathi with Imperial Japan. Particularly since the Kilrathi seem to regard industry and general agriculture with disdain, while warlords particularly had quite a bit of a healthy desire for more land for the sake of rice production.(The whole concept of "goku" and airiable land being important) Sure there's a "warrior" culture, but in general the most pronounced nobility in the Edo period up to even the World Wars had a healthy appreciation for art, and things foreign.(Hell IJN displays were mostly in English in order to better copy the Royal Navy.)

The Kilrathi are a bit of an overblown charicature as they're portrayed at some points. Having a space faring civilization with no real knowledge of mass farming techniques like hydroponics? Err...yeah, sure.
I don't know if hydroponics is a good example; it's use in human agriculture is also rather limited. For the most part, there's really no good reason to use hydroponics on land. In space, it means you don't need to bring a lot of dirt with you, but on a planet like Earth, that's usually not a problem. Hydroponics is currently mainly used in laboratories and for growing dirt-free vegetables, which have a small market.

Also, the Kilrathi do have an appreciation for art. The Kilrathi make a number of highly stylized artifacts, including their ships. Any quick comparison of Confed and Kilrathi ship designs will show which race is portrayed as utilitarian, and which race is portrayed with a sense for the finer things in life. :) Also various throne scenes, Kilrathi ornamental armor, etc.

Yes, historically the warlords sought land; like any classic feudal culture, land was the primary measure of wealth. However, towards the end of the shogun period, rice and land steadily became less valuable, and the commercial classes which were so disdained steadily acquired more influence. So maybe that's not such a good example, either. And the novels seem to indicate that Kilrathi nobles had a real interest in acquiring vast amounts of "land"/planetary bodies (as would fit a territorial predator species), so perhaps they share that trait as well.

Now, it's certainly true that the Kilrathi showed no real inclination to copy human ways, so that's certainly a point of difference. They did tend not to invent their own technology, but acquire that of conquered races; still, I think that's a rather minor point.

Now, obviously the Kilrathi are a caricature; it's probably a bit much to expect a highly developed and realistic picture of the Kilrathi culture from the very start with the first Wing Commander game; after all, in the first game the Kilrathi are only seen as pointy-eared aliens in comms and a few cut scenes. And Forstchen's liberal borrowing from WW2 history probably didn't make the Kilrathi-Japanese connection any more subtle. However, I think it's quite obvious that the Kilrathi are clearly a caricature of imperial Japan, especially with respect to the Pacific campaign in WW2.
One thing that I feel is completely unrealistic about novels written by authors like Forstchen is how they portray the vast unwashed masses as being a bunch of peacenik morons without the resolve of the military classes.

Eh, Fleet Action goes both ways - it creates this class of 'peacenik morons', but it's also careful to point out that the average citizen doesn't actually believe in the truce...
Regarding Kilrathi and agriculture, we need to remember that the Kilrathi are almost exclusively carnivorous (meat and dairy food groups only--no vegetables or grains, and very little fruit). This means that they would not be planting vast tracts of grain like humans do. Instead, their food production would be based around herding Kilrah's equivalent of cattle and sheep. Cattle ranches would be dominant rather than farming.
An interesting thread about Klingons led me to wonder: Why do the Kilrathi exist? Ignoring the "iT's n07 r34l s0 i7 c4n b3 a3n371ng i7 w4n72 2 B!!!!!!!" argument, we haven't seen any Kilrathi agricultural development, and their entire culture is built upon war and the love of hunting. Without a stable agricultural base, which in turn leads to stable society, what makes them different from, say, the Mopoks?

The claim that a species can't attain 'civilization' without organized agriculture isn't necessarily true - we're looking at a comparison base of one. The universe is probably full of amazing crap that we can't begin to understand... it'd be fairly ignorant to say that because *we* evolved civilization this way that anyone else must.

Kilrathi society is based around force - and force means 'force someone else to do it'. On the modern galactic scale, they subsist by enslaving dozens of other civilizations... Their hierarchal society was probably created in exactly the same way. A small caste of 'warriors' advanced civilization by subjugating the masses - hence the thrak'hra/kilra'hra division in modern day.

There's also the 'luck' - the Kilrathi happened to gain advanced technology through warfare. As various sources claim, had they not aquired spaceflight and jump technology externally they would probably have died out.

Another point: are the Kilrathi truly wired for war and aggression, or is it simply such a major part of their culture they believe it to be true?

One of the revelations in WCP is that the Nephilim had a hand in 'wiring' the Kilrathi - setting up their religion/society/etc. in that manner.
One thing that bugs me is that feline predators are not as gregarious as the proto-hominids were. Of course, there are groups of lions, but apes usually hang out together a lot more. I happen to be a supporter of evolutionism (not in a psychological sense, but the biological one), but I wouldn't worry too much about this kind of scientific knowledge matching the "facts" of WCU... It makes up a fun game, after all.
I like the idea that since the Kilrathi are largely carnivorous, they'd mainly go into ranching; however, one mustn't forget that the stock animals need to feed on plants.

It's the whole energy pyramid: as you go up the food chain, the total amount of energy (starting with the sun) drops due to inefficiencies, but fewer individuals are supported so each individual can make use of more total energy. Basically, there are a handful of Kilrathi, but they eat the a lot of cows, and the cows eat a lot of grass, and the grass soaks up a lot of sun.

So, in the absence of any sort of feed stock, the productivity of ranches will be limited. That's not to say it can't be done; the whole idea of the ranching system is to let the animals freely roam about, consuming the wild vegetation, rather than expending the effort to make your own.

However, the efficiency of modern livestock raising methods focus on more factory-like systems, where animals spend their time stacked up in cages, leading sedentary lives and being regularly supplied with feed derived from grains like corn (maize). While people argue that this is both cruel to animals, and not very tasty, it's certainly allowed the production of much more meat at a lower cost.

Whether the Kilrathi use a similar system is debatable. There's probably no need, since their population density seems to be fairly low compared to the number of worlds they've colonized. While it's likely that subject races require farms to maintain higher population densities on slave worlds, very likely the Kilrathi themselves (even their lower classes) don't need to get directly involved.

Incidentally, Edfilho made a good point about how feline species are relatively unsocial. However, I think this is a case where it's probably a bad idea to extend terrestial analogues to Kilrathi, just because they look like furry cats; heck, sometimes that's a big mistake to make with terrestial species. Frankly, the Kilrathi are an alien species, and while we might derive conclusions from behavior which we feel is somewhat universal, one thing we can not draw any conclusions upon is their superficial resemblence to terrerstial species.

Yes, note that they have claws and fangs for hunting and fur for keeping warm in the winter or just for good looks (important in mating, I suppose), but it's misleading to say that since Hobbes looks like a tiger, the Kilrathi are not social creatures. A number of primate species which you might think look vaguely like humans (hrm, two arms, two legs, big head, must be human) are fairly solitary.
Point taken.
The kats must have a lot of slave races though, considering how big their paws are. Must be dificult to make micro chips with them ;)
Bandit LOAF said:
The claim that a species can't attain 'civilization' without organized agriculture isn't necessarily true - we're looking at a comparison base of one. The universe is probably full of amazing crap that we can't begin to understand... it'd be fairly ignorant to say that because *we* evolved civilization this way that anyone else must.

Actually, we have a comparison base of few more than one. There are a bit more than one civilization on earth. Perhaps the word "civilization" isn't the best one to use, or we could at least add the word "advanced" to it so we can still make the distinction between African Bushmen and, say, England. Either way, any anthropoligist would disagree with your statement.
Well, we can’t have many biological suppositions because the Kilrathi are alien and all that. But perhaps we can use the laws of economy about what we know about the Kilrathi. Since they survive by enslaving others, they must have a bad, inefficient economy. Not that Confed is much better with its overly-centralized society.
Hey, something I might know something about...

The concept of the Kilrathi as a major race is a difficult one. With their societal base essentially being one of hunting, it's pretty much impossible to develop into a "modern" society.

The development of human society was basically consistent with the development of agriculture. The ability to produce food at will through farming allowed for massive population growth and a sedentary existence. Classes developed from this sedentary existence (basically workers and owners, for the elementary Marxists out there) since farming allowed for relatively few people to produce enough food for major populations. That said, the Kilrathi nobles would have needed a similar societal development to even exist as nobles, since all known hunting based societies are basically egalitarian.

In terms of evolution, the Kilrathi are even more difficult to explain. It sounds like the Kilrathi were the most physically superior species on Kilrah. Humans, on the other hand, are exceptionally weak next to other Terrestrial species.

So, in order to survive, humans had to develop weapons to hunt. Stone axes, spears, bows and arrows, then firearms all developed to aid in hunting, which required at least a practical knowledge of physics and chemistry, then eventually mathematics. This allowed for engineering and electronics, then eventually space flight. Thanks to a large population base and abundant food from farming, the sciences could be pursued full time. The Kilrathi, however, would have no use for science since they would never have needed it to hunt in the first place.

But assuming the Kilrathi developed as outlined in the WC universe, a slave based economy couldn't work in the long term since the enslaved races could fairly easily overthrow Kilrathi captors, either by force or by a general strike, if the Kilrathi are truly dependent on slave labor. So, a "slave" in the context of the Kilrathi would probably be closer to an indentured servant, especially if the Kilrathi couldn't actually produce what the slave did, like agricultural products.
Delance said:
The roman legions were composed by farmers. Only noble Kilrathi fight? They must have a lot of them... Well, it's a sci-fi warrior race, there's no need for any realistic economic background. They even use slave labor, which is not very efficient.

I'd just like to point out that about 500-600 BC there existed Sparta in Greece. The Spartans became a large power by slave labour and all their nobles had to successfully undergo gruelling military training from age 7 to 20, making their nobles the backbone of their army, although they did enlist other soldiers. Doing this made them one of the strongest military forces. They were beaten after they reduced their number of nobles to allow more wealth to be distributed among the surviving nobles, reducing their main military force from 10,000 men to 700 men strong.

I'm just pointing this out to demonstrate that the Kilrathi economy is viable and that mass slave labour, training nobles intensely in warfare and having a large warrior caste of nobles has historically worked before.

I'm just pointing this out to demonstrate that the Kilrathi economy is viable and that mass slave labour, training nobles intensely in warfare and having a large warrior caste of nobles has historically worked before.

I believe your exemple had the opposite effect. It only reinforced the opposing opinion. And Sparta was a small society which could just keep capturing slaves around. A few thousand years later, the British Empire realised slavery was bad for really big societies' bussiness, so they outlawed it.