They are a zealous race of aliens that relies on the Endless technology to survive. Their suits are powered by a unique resource, which you'll need to acquire in an equally unique way. They live in gigantic mother ships, traveling between star systems in search of rich worlds. The thing is, they do not have to colonize any planet - they just need the right technology and an anchored Ark. The Vodyani are a very religious race, and they have made it their policy not to welcome any other alien races into their ranks. They can however, form alliances with major and minor factions, all for the good of the Vodyani church. It's not the best faction for beginners. Their population, living exclusively on ships, increases very slowly, and the entire Ark system may seem a bit complicated to first-timers. I'd recommend the Vodyani to people who like challenges and prefer galactic conquest.
Special ability. The Essence is the basic resource needed to build new Arks and increase the Vodyani population. It is represented by an orange symbol of an Egyptian cross. There are several passive technologies that will enable you to gather this resource, e.g. some support modules. The main method is to send ships with those modules installed into inhabited star systems. Your races will always live in Arks. The ships may be equipped with modules that steal Food from inhabited planets and increase the amount of harvested Essence (1). You can also contact a minor faction and, if your relations' bar is full, conduct Brain Washing, which will result in a permanent alliance. You will receive less Dust and loose some Science bonuses, but you will be given increased human resources and a small amount of bonus Essence. By using the luxury resources you may exchange a unit of population for more Essence from a given system. The Essence cap increases with every Ark you buy. At the same time, it equals the cost of a new Ark.
Arks are the powerful vessels inhabited by the representatives of your faction. They may be bought for Essence in any star system under your control, and it takes only a single turn to produce one. Each subsequent Ark costs more than the last one. The Arks can work in two modes - anchored or as a fleet. In the second mode, they move like any other ship; in the first one, they can capture star systems and colonizable planets. They do not have to colonize planets one by one. One Ark resident works simultaneously on all colonized planets. No matter if there's 1, 2, or 5 of them in the system. Assuming you have the technology that enables you to inhabit those planets, a single Vodyani will grant you profits from all planets in the system. In the beginning, a single Ark can accommodate only 3 residents. All upgrades bought throughout the entire system are installed within the Ark. If you decide to move, you will retain the entire set of upgrades as you reach the next system. The overcolonization penalty depends on the number of controlled systems, not your Arks. An Ark has a large number of HP and 3 weapon slots, including two for heavy weapons. Additionally, it has several slots for defensive and support modules, making an Ark a fortress, if you wish it to be so. Arks are your only means of controlling star systems.
Faction traits. Vodyani are interstellar travelers, having an additional +1 to ship movement. Their infantry has 20% more hit points. Their heroes receive 2 additional points per turn, and require 50% less Dust per turn.
Race traits. They receive a +4 bonus to Dust, Science, Food, and Production per a resident and per each planet. That's why you should search for systems will the largest amount of planets. As a downside, your population grows 50% slower. The Vodyani are influenced mainly by their Religion, Militarists may have some influence on the former. If you manage to gather 20 representatives, you'll receive a 5% bonus to a wide array of FIDSI resources in systems with Vodyani presence.
Colonization method. Only through an anchored Ark. If you have the necessary technology, colonization affects all planets in the system.
Basic ships. Their basic colonization unit is a special ship, whose main purpose is the acquisition of Essence. It offers four support module slots, including one shared with armament and another one shared with defenses. A scout has two weapons/support modules. Medium ships offer a good balance between various modules, and the largest vessels offered by the faction are equipped with 4 dedicated weapon slots (including one for heavy weapons) and several other specialized or mixed.