"Matters more urgent caused our absence. Now, witness the result. Outposts destroyed, expansion of the Federation everywhere. Yes, we have indeed been negligent, Captain. But no more... We are back." - Tebok
Ancient Vulcan was nearly torn apart by war, until Surak began to teach his philosophies of logic over emotion, and Vulcan society began to unify under the precepts of logic. A small subset of Vulcans - those who "marched beneath the Raptor's wings" - left Vulcan, and would found the Romulan Empire - one of the most awesome powers in the Alpha Quadrant and beyond.
Romulans seek to avoid direct conflict when possible, and prefer to control their enemies via espionage, manipulation, and long-range manipulations. These qualities even extend to their own internal dealings, leading to a lot of political strife within the Empire. Many believe these characteristics (both a strength and a weakness) are one of the only reasons the Romulans have not been more sucessful with their expansion.
While the warrior code (and the lust for battle) has always been a pivotal aspect of Klingon society, during the 22nd century this aspect of Klingon society became significantly more dominant. This increase in aggression led to conflict with most of the nearby powers, including both the Romulan Star Empire and the United Federation of Planets.
The Romulans have been interfering with local politics for centuries (since they were aware of Vulcan before they Vulcans were aware of the). In the 22nd century, Romulan agents had infiltrated Vulcan and were working to destabalize the region, attempting to provoke wars between Vulcan and Andoria, and between Andoria and Tellar. The first Terran Starfleet vessel, Enterprise was instrumental in cementing peaceful cooperation between these species, provoking the hatred of the Romulans and touching off the Earth-Romulan War.
After the end of this early conflict (and the founding of the Federation), Romulans would not be seen for over a century, until a single bird-of-prey attacked a series of Neutral Zone outposts in an attempt to test two new weapons: a cloaking device and a high-energy plasma torpedo. Though the weapons tests were successful, the invading ship was destroyed by the Federation, preventing a full-scale attack.
Decades later, a new Treaty of Algeron would be signed between the Romulans and the Federation that prohibited the Federation from exploring and developing a cloaking device. After the signing of this treaty, there would be no contact between Starfleet and the Romulan Empire for decades, until an unknown entity (later discovered to be the Borg) attacked the Neutral Zone outposts of both civilizations. Since then, the Romulans have been major players in interstellar politics.
After a failed Reman coup, the future of the Romulan Empire is in doubt, leaving the possibility of a lasting peace with the Federation a real possibility.
Romulans were introduced as one of the major adversaries on the original Star Trek, providing a less savage and more intelligent villian for Kirk than the Klingons. In The Next Generation, Romulans became a primary menace and became more shadowy, dark and manipulative - traits that would persist for their appearances in Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise.
Great Romulan Episodes:
The Romulans were one of the original six affiliations introduced in Second Edition, focusing on the Romulans in Nemesis. The affiliation did not really gain an independent theme until Necessary Evil. Recently, a significant number of Romulan cards appeared in the TOS-era expansion These Are the Voyages, but almost every set contains something for the Romulan player.
Head over to our forum and discuss your favorite Romulan episodes, vote in our Romulan polls, and talk about your favorite Romulan decks and strategies. Stay tuned this week for lots more Romulan content!