The worlds that were lost during the Fall of the Second Republic, are now filled with Barbarians, who follow heretical beliefs and make their way of life making incursions on the Known Worlds for wealth and slaves. Of course, the stereotype that the peasant imagine and reality can vary greatly.
The Kurga Caliphate:
Barbarians of the Kurga Caliphate are very polite and behaved. Their manners can be different enough to scare a peasant, but they are intelligent and learned many things that have preserved the culture of the Second Republic, which was lost to the Known Worlds, after the Fall. The Kurgans are involved in a conflict with the Hazat for a lost world, considered sacred to them, the planet Hira. The Kurgans are well organized, and they were able to hold the Hazat off the planet for a long time, but now are at an impasse and are losing the planet gradually. (Of course the Hazat were fighting in the Emperor’s war against the Kurgas, and each other as well).
The Kurga Caliphate is a barbaric nation of strong contrasts. Where there is opulent wealth and many suffer from extreme poverty and hunger. For citizens of the Phoenix Empire, the Kurga space is lawless and barbarous unintelligible region, devoid of any guiding from the Noble Houses or the inspiration of the Universal Church, a place where even the Merchant League hesitate to make trade. For the people of the Caliphate, however, Kurgan society is the most perfect of cultures, the last bastion of enlightenment in a chaotic universe, while the Empire of the Phoenix is seen as an unruly region of power hungry elitists and unhappy oppressed, of folly and wild ambition.
In the style of big, burly Vikings, they are not unified into a coherent entity, but consists of several small star nations. The Vuldrok raiders really live up to the stereotype of the barbarian advocated by most peasants: they are rude and brutal in their behaviour. Used to take what they want by force, they rarely heed the rules of social decorum and tend to get very irritated when reminded. They make periodic incursions into Hawkwood worlds.
The Vuldrok Star-Nation is a loose alliance of tribes where loyalties shift and change according to the thane (independent leader / “Chief”) that rises or falls in power. The fragmented nature of the Star-Nation makes diplomacy challenging between the Empire of the Phoenix and the Vuldrok, because each thane needs to be negotiated individually. The result is an uneasy peace, punctuated with dishonest thanes making incursions against merchant ships and Hawkwood planets.
The fragmented Vuldrok rapidly unite if threatened or called by a Warlord (thane of thanes, usually claiming a world). The Vuldrok people value freedom and abhor a centralized government and authority and instead prefer a more chaotic tribal organization. Minor thanes often go into war with each other for land and wealth. Those with higher power and land, creates pockets of relative political stability, among a people otherwise balkanized.
From time to time, a closed jumproute reopens or it is rediscovered. Barbarian worlds that were isolated for centuries may appear, either by itself or brought back by explorers of the Known Worlds. The variety of Lost Worlds are endless, since they all have something in common, the long isolation of their planets. Barbarians who visit the Known Worlds are sure to attract the attention of the Church, because they run the risk of corrupting the faith with their pagan ways.