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Early stage barathu

By class level
Any sky (Bretheda)
Source: Alien Archive, pg(s). 20-21

Any sky (Bretheda)
Source: Alien Archive, pg(s). 20-21
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This article might have further canon details available on PathfinderWiki.

Barathus are the most populous and most politically powerful race of Bretheda. They are capable of rewriting their own DNA, making them extremely flexible and adaptable.12


Barathus are soaring, translucent, blimp-like creatures that bear a vague resemblance to jellyfish.1 Their trilling communication gives them the appearance of odd birds or dolphins.3


Millions of years ago, single-celled organisms floating in the skies of Bretheda joined together into a new, larger, more adaptable and more capable being. Unlike what happened on other planets, the Brethedan cells kept their autonomy and function, and retain the ability to join together or detach as they see fit. This adaptation, alongside the ability to rewrite their own genetic code at will, have long been a cornerstone of barathu society.4

Joining consciousness

Barathu are capable of joining consciousnesses, which they use to form super-intelligent collective entities when they encounter problems that an individual barathu cannot solve. These colonies combine the mental and physical prowess of all components, and have unique consciousnesses independent of their zooids. There is no limit to the number of barathus that can join together; numerous Brethedan entities consist of hundreds or more merged barathus. Such entities usually exert significant political or economic influence, and their stable consciousnesses remain intact even if individuals join or leave.254

After the need or threat has passed, barathu collectives usually disband. Each individual component keeps its memories during this time, but these memories are limited by the individual's mental faculties and often hazy, like a highly compressed video feed. Other component barathus' memories and knowledge are also partially remembered, but are even less distinct.4


Since barathus can rewrite their own genetics, ensuring biological diversity and repairing genetic damage, they have no need of sexual reproduction, which is less advantageous than simple budding. With sufficient resources, a barathu inclined to reproduce generates an excess of tissue and genetic material, which eventually splits off.4

Biological technology

Their ability to reconfigure their fundamental biological structures allows barathu to produce custom materials from their own bodies. Such creations can range from simple tools to complex viral and chemical creations.2 This ability is restricted only by the barathu's knowledge and the availability of resources, so combined barathus can often produce larger, more complex objects.6 In this way, barathus have been able to successfully overcome their gas giant's lack of mineral resources, and have become leaders in the field of biotechnology


Barathus do not biologically age since they can simply repair their own genetic code; instead, an individual's psyche slowly falters as it accumulates more and more memories and repeatedly merges and disbands. In the process, the barathu loses the ability to maintain its genetic code. By this time, most barathus choose to contribute their bodies and lifetime of experiences to a permanently combined entity, except a few who choose to remain apart and die alone.6


For most of their history, barathus have had little need for formal government due to their peaceful nature and ability to merge in order to solve problems. Left to their devices, barathus are usually content to sing and dance in the skies of Bretheda. When there is a conflict, they merge and address it as a collective. At some point in the past, however, the need of an overarching structure to prevent other peoples from falling into anarchy lead those barathus who felt the call of public service to merge into Confluence, a hyperintelligent collective that governs Bretheda as a whole. Confluence's policies are usually liberal, providing social protections and wide personal freedoms while harshly punishing violent crime.78

Other species usually have a difficult time understanding barathus, as the concept of 'self' is somewhat nebulous due to their frequent mergers. Barathus who grow up among humanoids tend to better appreciate the mindsets of creatures with static, solitary configurations.5 They still mourn deaths like other species do; while an old barathu can permanently merge with a greater collective, any merged identities they contributed to is also forever gone. Funereal traditions involve rooning songs and slow, wafting dances through stormy skies. Barathys consider the afterlife irrelevant, since petitioners forget their mortal lives, usually cannot communicate and rarely impact the living. Some view it as the ultimate merging, with the soul becoming part of the Great Beyond itself, while others view it as the ultimate disbanding, after which mergers are forever impossible. Barathu ghosts are usually laid to rest when the ghost's memories are accepted by another. These 'ghost merges', though rare, are featured in ghost stories as a way to pass on unfinished business. Great storms like the Eyes of the Ancients are said to hold ghosts that were unable to pass on memories due to the Gap.9

Barathus value knowledge, education and experience, and encourage youths to study the field they most enjoy and collect new experiences. As barathys interact with other species, some early stage barathus have become more adventurous and individualistic than older ones, but have a difficult time merging with others due to their adaptation to humanoid mindsets. Most early stage barathus eventually grow out of this phase, but there has been an increasing number of those who do not, creating a significant cultural divide between 'travellers' and 'residents.8

Outsiders tend to find barathus frank, since from their point of view, secrets are only secret until the next merger. Keeping secrets is almost impossible unless one refuses to merge, which also attracts attention and concern.8


Barathus do not use names among themselves, since they need no such designations with their powerful telepathy, and naming all of their unique personalities is too inefficient. When interacting with other species, barathus adopt names that resemble titles, describing the barathu's role and relationship to larger collectives. Barathus living entirely among others adopt personal names, with no consistent conventions. Barathus find their unique nature ordinary and rarely talk about it; in contrast, they struggle to understand the isolation of non-telepathic species and view them with both pity and condescension.6

Impact of the Gap

Barathus were comparatively undisturbed by the Gap due to their adaptability and connectivity. While they recognise its significance, there were few societal disruptions, since they are used to memory lapses. Many liken the Gap to disbanding from a large, long-lasting merge.6

Influence in the Pact Worlds

Barathus are much more influential in the Pact Worlds than their population would indicate, since Confluence governs both Bretheda and Liavara as well as their moons, whose residents do not always appreciate barathu leadership. The Pact Council is a controversial subject: the barathus see no problem with a collective of hundreds of individuals occupying a single seat, but many others consider this power abuse. Even the number of allocated seats is controversial, since Bretheda's population constantly changes with every merger.9 Barathu councillors tend to stay away from other councillors' alliances and are willing to work with everyone else, engendering scepticism and honesty among more principled politicians. Nevertheless, the Pact Worlds recognise the value of barathus' collective intellect and economic and technological advancements: their weapons defended the Pact Worlds from the Veskarium and the Swarm alike, and their biotech is state of the art.10

Due to their unique traits of biological synthesis, barathus are quite successful in the Pact Worlds economy, and their understanding of wealth and trade is largely influenced by this ability. Some barathus collectives operate corporations (such as the Sopeth Corporation) that facilitate interplanetary trade in biotechnology, a field dominated by them. The oldest barathus often permanently merge with massive conglomerates that serve as corporations, governments or cultural repositories.2573


The Dreamers of Liavara are descendants of barathu colonists who lost their intelligence and ability to merge while their psychic powers improved. Barathus regard their cousins with reverence and protectiveness, leading to their insistence on administering Liavara as a protectorate in the Pact Worlds.11 They also agree that the Dreamers must be left to their own devices; meddling with the Dreamers is one of the few criminal offences among barathus. A small but vocal group opposes this view and argues for freer contact with the Dreamers.8


Many barathu worship Oras, deity of evolution, as an extension of their traditional conscious control over their physical forms.12 Yaraesa appeals to their appreciation of education and knowledge, and Talavet to their shared knowledge, though barathus' faith is less worship and more viewing the deity as a revered teacher.8


  1. 1.0 1.1 Alexander Augunas, et al. Pact Worlds, 119. Paizo Inc., 2018
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Matt Miller. (December 9, 2016). Top of the Table: The Starfinder Interview, Page 5, Game Informer.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Paizo Inc., et al. Core Rulebook, 456. Paizo Inc., 2017
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Vanessa Hoskins, et al. “The Custodians of Bretheda” in The Cradle Infestation, 39. Paizo Inc., 2020
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Paizo Inc., et al. Alien Archive, 21. Paizo Inc., 2017
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Vanessa Hoskins, et al. “The Custodians of Bretheda” in The Cradle Infestation, 40. Paizo Inc., 2020
  7. 7.0 7.1 Alexander Augunas, et al. Pact Worlds, 120. Paizo Inc., 2018
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Vanessa Hoskins, et al. “The Custodians of Bretheda” in The Cradle Infestation, 41. Paizo Inc., 2020
  9. 9.0 9.1 Vanessa Hoskins, et al. “The Custodians of Bretheda” in The Cradle Infestation, 42. Paizo Inc., 2020
  10. Vanessa Hoskins, et al. “The Custodians of Bretheda” in The Cradle Infestation, 43. Paizo Inc., 2020
  11. Paizo Inc., et al. Alien Archive 2, 45. Paizo Inc., 2018
  12. Ben Shaw. (June 11, 2017). Pray To The Gods Of The Starfinder RPG Universe, Beasts of War.