Sjaabor - Open playable race development!

Thread in 'World Building' started by Nasuella, Sep 25, 2013.

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  1. This is an idea which I've had for a long time, but I was stuck on. Eventually I decided I might as well get input and ideas from other people - after all, I do plan for this to be a playable race. It'll be more of a "niche" race - as in, it's a very unusual concept and I don't expect to see a lot of them as PCs - but I love the idea too much to let it go to waste.

    So, what are the Sjaabor? Simple: they're not a pendragon subspecies; they're a seperate species that's a hybrid of insects and sapient plants. They're also a relatively young one; they were accidentally created when a very strong flux of Fromina warped the plants and insects of a part of the wilderness into strange bipedal creatures. Not long afterwards they were discovered by surveyors, and by then they were already developing language and their own culture. Needless to say, the rulers of Ramath-Lehi (the Mahji-Graders at the time) weren't quite sure what to do at first.

    I haven't planned out all of their history yet, but as it currently stands, their total population is very small - they're very slow to reproduce (though a surprising number of them were born during the Flux). Each adult produces seeds, but the majority of them become regular plants - a small fraction of them become "eggs" from which the young hatch. Little sjaabors start out as larvae, eventually going into a cocoon where they morph into fully-functional adults. Some of them stay in the area where the species was created for their whole lives, but a number of them venture out into the world to find their own way.

    Other notable little things which need to be expanded on: each individual is essentially both male and female (and they find the pendragons' difference from that puzzling); they have a sort of exoskeleton; they require sunlight to survive as well as food and drink, but in return do not need to eat as much food; they do badly in badly-polluted areas; they never stop growing, meaning they can theoretically potentially tower over all other races... but the requirements to sustain something that big would be insane, and they could die just from falling over if they're too big.

    (Oh, and if anyone's curious, the name comes from a compound of "sjaa" - Ramathian for "tree" - and "arbor", as in "arboreal".)

    So... thoughts? Suggestions? Lumberjack songs?
    shriker likes this.
  2. Sounds good. They could be used as slaves and then have an uprising that leads too all out war. Off coarse they would have to gain allies of other subspecies of pendragons as well.
  3. As far as slavery, considering that it's long since been made illegal and the sjaabor came to be long after that happened, I seriously doubt they would've become slaves... though, that said, being illegal isn't necessarily enough to completely stop it. But that'd be a pretty complex subject to deal with, and talking about it would have to go beyond what happens to these guys. I'd say that they have the same basic rights as pendragons and any that becomes a slave is seriously unlucky and/or was tricked; they aren't the only non-pendragon race around, after all. (Hi Aquabats!)

    Speaking of which, I could actually see them getting along fairly well with Aquabats, if only on the grounds that they're both separate species from pendragons. :P As far as how well they get along with pendragons and the various subspecies... that would really depend on a lot of different factors. The sheer number of biological differences, for example, means that there'd be some subtle differences that could end up leading to some moments of confusion - like how the sjaabors would be puzzled by how a pendragon could be male or female rather than all of them being both. Like so:

    Sjaabor: So you can lay eggs but you can't fertilise them? That's weird. o_O
    Pendragon: Well... an entire species being able to do both is weird to me. O_o
    Biology teacher: *facepalm*​

    But all in all, I imagine that'd largely be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. At least, that's how I would approach it.

    (Apologies if I came off as rude - it can be hard to check for that kind of stuff. ^^;;; )
  4. I think that they sound absolutely adorable, and probably would never ever be able to set foot in the industrial areas of Bhim... or maybe that's where they go to hang out when they want to stunt their development.

    Would they potentially flourish faster if subjected to magic, or in areas with higher concentrations of magic? I could see a lot of potentially sketchy and illegal experiments being performed on them in that regard.
  5. Considering that hanging out in the industrial areas of Bhim would probably end up killing them if they stayed too long... yeah, I don't see any choosing to live there permanently. :P Though if anyone was feeling particularly cruel...

    And considering that they were created from a flux of Fromina and a lot hatched during the Flux, that idea does make a fair bit of sense. In fact, while thinking about it I randomly got an idea that one of those potentially sketchy and illegal experiments could be a "breeding program" of sorts - seeing if/how magic increases the rate of which of their seeds become eggs. (Cue the cries of speciesism.) Somehow I also got an idea for one sjaabor working as a teacher at a school that teaches magic. :P That could make for some nicely awkward situations...
  6. First of all Nasuella you are anything but rude. I actually find you very polite and intelligent. I do like the idea about Sjaabors and Aquabats being friendly. I vote that your new species officially become a part of Shadowlack. What do you say Iversia?
  7. Thanks for your input, @Marcopolo! @Nasuella is actually a "Shaper" here, so she can create and add pretty much whatever she wants to Shadowlack - she's a trusted authority. Her posting world building pieces here is more of a courtesy, and a way to help flesh out her ideas. So the more questions we ask, and the more ideas we can help think up, the more we can all get involved in the entire creative process. ^_^ If you want to show support for the new species though, you can "vote" by liking her first post in this thread.

    Anyway, do you think we could tie Trilok into the potential experimentations? I've been trying to think of ways to liven it up, and a controversy like that might work. Maybe have "Save the Sjaabor" protestors and campaigners? Then perhaps there could be some sort of facility for them in Mansukh, where Fronima is often said to be the strongest. Maybe tie in @Lautir's cultists, and a few other things.
    Fey likes this.
  8. Did someone say kidnapped Sjaabor? Oh... no? I'll keep my mouth shut then :x
  9. @Iversia pretty much has it right about why I'm posting it here, though I should mention that this thread's also to gauge interest in the idea. Even if there might not be a lot of sjaabor PCs, though, I can already see how adding them to the setting could get a lot of interesting stories out of it. ^_^ That makes me happy, as a writer and a world-builder.

    I have to admit the idea of "Save the Sjaabor" campaigns amuses me far too much, probably because I could easily see stuff like that happening. (And the alliteration.) As far as the Trilockist experiments on them... well, a sort of mini-storyline came into my head when I read that. Perhaps, for whatever reason, after a while information on the experiments was leaked - possibly by a member of a rival noble Khell family, or former employee, or even an escaped sjaabor? Either way, the resulting controversy, campaigns and stuff like that ended up being the reason that legally, the sjaabor have the same basic rights as pendragons. Granted, in practice, there are still those who'd treat them as "sub-pendragon" - maybe there are still illegal experiments, but the experimentors are different, and they would've had to cover their tracks a lot more thoroughly. Particularly since the Khell family running the original illegal experiments became very unpopular after that discovery.

    All that, and I just realised that it doesn't answer the question of whether the sjaabor can use magic themselves. :P I'd have to think about that.
  10. I think that they should be able to use magic, however it could potentially act as a literal life drain. Assuming that they're byproducts of Fronima and they aren't (currently) connected to the spirit realm, their magical powers could be a finite resource. So the more they use, the more they wither and stunt their growth. D:
  11. Interesting thought - if they weren't connected to the spirit realm the way pendragons were, that could bring up a lot of questions. It even raises the possibility of people going, "They can't be people, they don't have souls!" (Again, cue the cries of speciesism... a lot of them.)

    Anyway, I've gotten started on writing their history proper - I even have the exact year they were discovered.
    Basically, in the year 80976, there was a rather sudden and bizarre explosion in the Vivuli Jungle. I say bizarre because when people went to ground zero to investigate, there was nothing left in a 10m² (roughly 108ft²) area - no plants, no animals, just dirt, water and air. Magic experts recognised that a fluctuation of Fromina was the most likely cause of this, and urged people to keep an eye out for anything that might've come from it.
    Weeks later, one of the surveyors studying the area quite literally ran into a strange, bipedal insect-like creature. Needless to say, both of them got quite a fright at first! After the initial shock, though, they both realised that neither of them were hostile... and in fact, the surveyor noticed that the creature seemed to be intelligent. After a few more meetings, a group of scientists and mages came to see the creature - and realised that yes, this was not only intelligent, but fully self-aware. And the mages worked out shortly afterwards that this creature was most likely a byproduct of the explosion.
    Imagine their reaction when they learned that this creature was not the only one of its kind - there was a small group of others living deeper in the jungle. And imagine how the people of Ramath-Lehi reacted when they learned that that explosion had created a new self-aware species, on their own world...

    I did have a few thoughts about one thing in particular - if a fluctuation that more-or-less wiped out a patch of a jungle was what it took to create the sjaabor, what about the Flux, which was on a scale never seen before or since? What makes that different? I'll have to think about that one...
  12. Love it.
    First thing, I saw no mention of how long they typically live, and I was reading through this getting the impression that they can basically live forever given they stay healthy. The downside obviously is if they live too long, they grow too big and fall over and die. For this reason I would think that to avoid this fate many of them intentionally stunt their growth, but this also is unhealthy and can make them sick and eventually die. So I was thinking of it as a sort of balance, do you live healthy until you are huge and cant stand anymore and fall over and die, or do you make periodic visits to Bhim to stunt your growth and over the years build up a sickness that eventually kills you. It just seems like they would fear their own growth like pendragons or humans fear our decay in health. Since their health does not naturally decay, they might not value it as much as we do, and would be willing to sacrifice a bit of health to keep from growing.

    Second thing, the first thing I thought of when I read plant/insect was a sentient race that could essentially take root. It could be cool. Probably not all of them do it. It could be sorta like hibernation, or for ascetic practices, or as hermits, or maybe just to sleep. Or maybe they start off their lives like seeds, blowing in the wind, free to roam, but as they grow old and huge they get the urge to take root, to help them stay upright. Maybe gathering in like...old folks groves. And then eventually they die, leaving behind a huge rooted corpse like a dead tree.

    Anyway. Just ideas. Love it.
    shriker likes this.
  13. Interesting ideas there; have to admit I did think a lot about the idea of them taking root. Obviously the big advantage of that would be a reduced risk of falling over, though at the price of being locked in place. And if a really strong storm came... well, the word "screwed" comes to mind.

    I do have to make a confession: the reason I haven't gone into much detail on their biology is that I've had trouble figuring out how it'd work in the first place. I do know a guy who studied biochemistry in college, so I might ask him for advice there.

    (Yes, consulting a scientist. That's how SRS I am about this. :P)
    PirateFerret and shriker like this.
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