Xelytia

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Bigjoe5
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Xelytia

#1 Post by Bigjoe5 » Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:53 pm

(edit: Updated history, physiology, and racial attributes.)


Xelytia (ze-LEE-tzee-a) Singular: Lytia (LEE-tzee-a)

The Xelytia are a race of lithovores, strong and intelligent, but with a primal fear driving them nearly to the point of insanity...

Homeworld:

The Xelytia originated on a large inferno world. Great oceans of liquid lithium cover 60% of the planet's surface and the Xelytia are incapable of living in them due to their inability to see through them. There are also numerous smaller pools of lithium scattered about the surface very frequently which are vital to the survival of the Xelytia...and the source of their fear. Long volcanic mountain ranges divide the single massive continent into five distinct regions.

Physiology:

A Lytia is a lithium based life form that consumes liquid lithium. Its physiology is very adaptable, however, and thus it is able to sustain itself with almost any liquid metal, and, if necessary, it's metabolism is capable of melting solid metal, though it is not able to consume it as easily. Xelytia have extremely hard skin and are not easily susceptible to any form of outward attack. Xelytia vary in hight and width, as their size increases proportionally to the amount of liquid metal they consume. They have no organic waste, as everything they consume is added to their structure or burned as energy. A Lytia usually progresses from being one meter tall and .2 meters wide to being 24 meters tall and 4.8 meters wide. As their proportions remain the same with growth, a picture of a .5 meter high Lytia is indistinguishable from that of a 12 meter high Lytia, provided no reference is provided.

Xelytia have four legs, 90 degrees apart, that attach near the bottom of their ellipsoidal body through ball-and-socket joints and have a single hinge joint halfway down each leg. Their legs end in sharp points which protrude into the ground like stakes, giving them increased stability when moving. The flexibility of their ball-and-socket leg joints allows them to sit down on the ground with their four legs planted firmly in the ground around them. The legs comprise half their hight, and they are able to rotate each leg 360 degrees.

The upper two thirds of their main body is an eye, the color of which can be anywhere between red and green on the electromagnetic spectrum. Their field of vision is 360 degrees horizontally, and approximately 270 degrees vertically. The only place they cannot see is directly beneath them. The eye is protected by a flexible, transparent covering that the Lytia can separate and repair at will. A Lytia has only one orifice on its body, which can be considered a mouth. This mouth is located directly on the bottom of its body. It eats by sitting in pools of lava and sucking it through its mouth. It also has a sense of taste of sorts, in that it is able to distinguish between different molten metals. It has no tactile sense on the outside of its body except its leg tips however, and thus cannot sense the viscosity or temperature of the lava until it has consumed it. The inside of its body is quite sensitive, and it finds the sensation of consuming lava quite pleasurable.

A Lytia manipulates objects by extending “arms” of heavy, malleable metal - which it is able to harden and soften at will and comprises most of its insides - through its eye covering. As such, it is able to have any number, size, or shape of limbs that it pleases, limited only by its own size, and thus is unsurpassed in its ability to manipulate objects. It can only extend these limbs very slowly, but can retract them quite quickly, so a Lytia usually keeps a few limbs out at all times.

The Xelytia communicate by vibrating the pointy tips of their legs, which sends vibrations through the ground to be detected by the leg tips of other Xelytia, which are interpreted much like sound. This method of communication is useful for communicating at a distance or with a large number of people, but is not ideal for private conversations. Two Xelytia must touch their leg tips together in order to have a private conversation.

Xelytia reproduce when it has consumed too much in a given time for its body to process. It regurgitates the partly processed lava which takes the form of a much smaller Lytia, having been infused with a special bundle of genetic material that forms inside the Lytia when it is about to regurgitate. Naturally, large Xelytia have larger children and smaller Xelytia have smaller children, but it is more common for larger Xelytia to reproduce, because their appetite for lava increases exponentially with size. Xelytia are essentially immortal, but after they have reproduced several times (usually 6), their DNA begins to break down and they become afflicted with a condition with an outward appearance much like leprosy. Eventually, the beings outer layer of skin deteriorates and it's insides leak out, causing a painless death, after which it undergoes decomposition. This condition can also occur if the Lytia goes an extremely long time without consuming lava.

When a Lytia is angry, it tends to bend its legs more, lowering its stance. The color of its eye also becomes duller. When it is sad, it also lowers in its stance, but the eye color shifts towards blue in the electromagnetic spectrum and becomes shinier. When it is happy, it's eye colour is in its normal state and its knees are only slightly bent. When it is trying to look intimidating, it stretches to its full height and its eye color shifts towards red.


History:

The Xelytia originated on a small volcanic island completely separate from the planets main continent. Having no predators, they mainly spent their days simply sitting around, thinking, creating art, and occasionally developing technology. What little technology they developed however, was simply out of interest, and had no real purpose for increasing their comfort. But as their population continued to increase, they saw the need for more territory. Detachments of Xelytia were sent out on expeditions through the lava to find land, but none ever returned... Before long, they saw that their efforts were futile, so they devoted their resources to building a ship and sailing across the ocean of lithium. This was a successful venture, as they discovered the main continent on their planet. They settled there and lived quite peacefully - for a short time.

Soon, an unknown fear was discovered. Upon partaking of the magma, some Xelytia felt something squirming inside their bodies... Great cracks formed on the lower bodies of these unlucky ones within minutes, and they perished as their insides leaked out, shrieking in pain. After the death of a Lytia, a small creature could sometimes be seen burrowing back into the ground. The Xelytia had not known pain or suffering in their previous home, and were extremely frightened. Lava was the only thing that could keep them alive, and in it was the only think that could destroy them...

Much smaller Xelytia were usually unaffected by this, presumably because the creatures were unable to fit inside their mouths, but while it was not extremely common for this to occur, even in larger Xelytia, feeding was always a risk: to sit in a pool of lava, unable to see beneath them, unable to feel anything moving below... This was the new life of the Xelytia. Each meal was a close brush with death, and sometimes, a head-on collision. Those who were bolder took shorter drinks of lava more frequently, while the most frightened ones waited a long time between drinks and then consumed as much and as quickly as possible. This led to the more frightened Xelytia reproducing more often, as they tended to overdrink, thus passing down greater fear through the generations. Driven to the brink of insanity by this new unnatural fear, the Xelytia put all their efforts into finding a way to protect themselves from this horrible threat.

They first attempted to develop a detection system that would inform them of this creatures presence, but the primitive sensors they were able to create could not distinguish their foe from the rock surrounding it. They could never capture one for analysis, for it was able to melt through any substance that they put underneath a dying Lytia to capture it. Some people tried to find pools of lava where they were less likely to appear; most simply tried to quit drinking lava altogether, though few were able to abstain from it for long. New methods of protection emerged, such as strong meshes to protect the mouth, and spikes made of Lytia skin, to try to deter their new predator. But they had underestimated its strength. No artificial protection could be attached to a Lytia with any stronger a substance that that which comprised its makeshift limbs. A sturdy substance it was, but not sturdy enough to withstand the forceful pulls of the subterranean foe. These artificial guards were torn off violently, undetected by the now defenseless Xelytia, who were penetrated in the same manner as before...

The perspicacity of their foe was driving them to the point of madness, and they saw no alternative but to flee their planet entirely. They put all their efforts into achieving space fight, but their progress was severely hampered by their conditions. In the millenia that followed, the Xelytia became less and less productive, their fear of the creatures become a deeply rooted psychological fear... But their productivity did not cease altogether. At last, they achieved space travel, and were able to rid themselves of their fearsome predators.

Note: The missions that were sent out form the island on foot to find a larger area of land in which to live did not fail entirely. The scouts eventually found the main continent on the planet and settled there. The trouble was, that their inability to see under lava greatly diminished their ability to return to the small island that they came from. None of the scouts that were sent back to the island ever reached it, most likely finding a different part of the continent instead. The scouts that remained on the continent lived very peacefully at first, but soon encountered the predator that drove the rest of the species to the brink of insanity. At this point, it was not extremely skilled at preying upon the Xelytia, but as the insides of the Xelytia contained an already metabolized form of their own food (also lava), which they used a great deal of energy in metabolizing, those who were able to penetrate the Xelytia became stronger, faster, and mare able to reproduce. As a result, they were already quite proficient at preying on Xelytia before the majority of the race migrated to the continent.

The scouts who were sent out were far from the most intelligent and creative of the Xelytia, and their technology was non-existent, having been sent on their mission with no equipment. As such, their ability to defend from the threat evolved more slowly than the threat itself, and they were eliminated before the other Xelytia arrived. This process occurred over the course of thousands of years, as the Xelytia were a very patient peoples and knew that it would take a long time to find a greater landmass and find their way back to the island with zero visibility. Unfortunately, they underestimated the size of their planet, and thus the difficulty of returning to the island.


Culture:

The Xelytia had no need to develop any form of government, simple because they had no needs that could not be met by sitting in a pool of lava. Once the mysterious parasites were discovered however, they began to form a democratic government, beginning with absolute democracy and evolving into representative democracy as they expanded over the continent. They had never experienced war, as they had no means of harming one another. They have no official beliefs, because each Lytia generally kept to itself, except when showing off a piece of art, or a new technology. This did not change with the social structure, as their primary concern became leaving their homeworld, leaving very little time for philosophy. The Xelytia are peace loving, and cannot fathom the wars that occur in the galaxy.


Racial Attributes:

EP is Inferno

The Xelytia do not consume units of food. They are lithovores.

Xelytia have very slow reproduction.

The Xelytia are peaceful and thoughtful, and thus skilled at diplomacy.

If any hostile lifeforms are present on a planet, the penalty for production on that planet will be much higher than normal, as they are highly paranoid when it comes to indigenous lifeforms. This includes their home planet, unfortunately, giving them a considerable starting disadvantage.

The Xelytia are skilled with research. Their innate intelligence and object manipulation ability allow them to develop technology much faster than normal.

They are good miners and manufacturers, due to their tendency to selectively heat and reshape metals they come in contact with, using their personalizes limbs.

They are exceptional at ground combat: They have the ability to wield a multitude of weapons at once, and are extremely well protected naturally. They are also extremely resilient to orbital bombardment.

Citizens disapprove strongly of military shipbuilding and wars, and approve heartily of trade and treaties with other specie.

When at war, Xelytia feel that they are being preyed upon, and overall productivity decreases.


This is my first non-human race, so I tried to make the physiology very unique. Thoughts & Comments are very welcome.
Last edited by Bigjoe5 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:11 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Xelytia

#2 Post by The Silent One » Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:37 am

Genetic Material: don't say DNA - it's biological (an acid, mind you). Just say genetic material, or how about...
"The genetic material of the Xelytia consists of eight different metal elements which are Fe, Ru, Os, Co, Rh, Ir and Ni that are bound to a silicium backbone. These elements catalyse the diverse chemical reactions within the Lytian body that constitute their metabolism. When Xelytia reproduce, ..."

History: to me it seems irrational that the Xelytia would have developed secluded on a single island without ever having contact with their death enemy. How would their predator have evolved the skill to kill Xelytians when they did not live side by side for eons?
Is the predator also crystalline/metallic? Why can't the Xelytia develop detectors and weapons to kill their foe?
Do other creatures except the predator live on the planet?

Physiology: imo the body shape of the Xelytia seems a little too biologic (legs, joints, eyes) for a crystalline/metallic race. I'd rather have the light caught in prisms, lead to an eye-gem that receives it.

Motion: how about if they were able to heat up their whole body, thus liquefying it and flowing to their destination? I liked the part that they can form limbs at will. They could also do this for the legs and the orifice. (I am aware that this could overthrow the predator aspects. But we already have a race driven of fear :) )

I like the method of communication. However, it is contradictory that they communicate via vibration while they do not feel anything on their outside... either they need tactile receptors or they need a different means of communication... (how about light signals emitted from the "eye-gem"?)
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Re: Xelytia

#3 Post by Tortanick » Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:03 am

Its a good race, nice work :)

However once they spend a few generations away from the predator wouldn't their all consuming fear start to fade? Its clearly the result of nurture, not nature, so remove the stimulus and it should go away.

Also if small Xelytia were immune, surely it would be easy enough to develop some kind of "mouth guard" by making a mesh from some strong heat proof metal, say a spare limb and putting it under their mouth, liquid lava could flow through, predators couldn't. The fact they could get into space but can't deal with a simple problem like that is hard to imagine.
BigJoe5 wrote:They have no organic waste, as everything they consume is added to their structure.
They'd have to burn some of it for energy, they can't just keep adding it to their skin.
The Silent One wrote:(I am aware that this could overthrow the predator aspects. But we already have a race driven of fear :) )
Actually if you count paranoia as a form of fear, we have two ;)
The Silent One wrote: Physiology: imo the body shape of the Xelytia seems a little too biologic (legs, joints, eyes) for a crystalline/metallic race.
IMO there is nothing wrong with a metallic life that resembles organic life, (or vice versa) just providing you don't break willing suspension of disbelief. There are ways to create "muscles" from metals, two separate metals fused together, a layer of each metal, then heat them. Amusing you use the right metals it will bend. Its probably a lot weaker than mussell but I'm sure there's better methods out their.

Since everyone knows how organic mussels work, and no one has seen a live example of metal life it might be worth giving extra details if we get them, but its not a big deal if we leave it vague.

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Re: Xelytia

#4 Post by Bigjoe5 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:51 pm

The Silent One wrote:Genetic Material: don't say DNA - it's biological (an acid, mind you). Just say genetic material...
fixed
History: to me it seems irrational that the Xelytia would have developed secluded on a single island without ever having contact with their death enemy. How would their predator have evolved the skill to kill Xelytians when they did not live side by side for eons?
Is the predator also crystalline/metallic? Why can't the Xelytia develop detectors and weapons to kill their foe?
Do other creatures except the predator live on the planet?
fixed
I like the method of communication. However, it is contradictory that they communicate via vibration while they do not feel anything on their outside... either they need tactile receptors or they need a different means of communication... (how about light signals emitted from the "eye-gem"?)
fixed
Physiology: imo the body shape of the Xelytia seems a little too biologic (legs, joints, eyes) for a crystalline/metallic race. I'd rather have the light caught in prisms, lead to an eye-gem that receives it.

Motion: how about if they were able to heat up their whole body, thus liquefying it and flowing to their destination? I liked the part that they can form limbs at will. They could also do this for the legs and the orifice. (I am aware that this could overthrow the predator aspects. But we already have a race driven of fear :) )
Selectively ignored. :twisted:

Tortanick wrote:Its a good race, nice work :)
Thank you. :)
However once they spend a few generations away from the predator wouldn't their all consuming fear start to fade? Its clearly the result of nurture, not nature, so remove the stimulus and it should go away.
fixed. (increased time span - if that fixes it?)
Also if small Xelytia were immune, surely it would be easy enough to develop some kind of "mouth guard" by making a mesh from some strong heat proof metal, say a spare limb and putting it under their mouth, liquid lava could flow through, predators couldn't. The fact they could get into space but can't deal with a simple problem like that is hard to imagine.
fixed
They'd have to burn some of it for energy, they can't just keep adding it to their skin.
fixed

The history is now a bit more comprehensive to deal with some of those problems, and I gave them another war disadvantage to accentuate their inner fears, encourage a more peaceful play style with them, and make them less unbalanced (I thought they were a bit too good before).
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Re: Xelytia

#5 Post by Tortanick » Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:34 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:
However once they spend a few generations away from the predator wouldn't their all consuming fear start to fade? Its clearly the result of nurture, not nature, so remove the stimulus and it should go away.
fixed. (increased time span - if that fixes it?)
Only if there is some reason it will influence evolution, the more scared ones being more likely to reproduce. Otherwise no amount of time will change the fact that the first generation on a new planet has nothing to be afraid off. Alternatively genetic memories or some form of telepathy would allow the parents fears to pass on to their children but if its not genetic it will fade given enough time. (Of course the species could evolve out of their fear, but keeping genetics is a lot easier to believe than not getting over your distant ancestors trauma). Of course that might not be a bad thing, no one says the races have to remain unchanged through the entire story.
Last edited by Tortanick on Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Xelytia

#6 Post by Bigjoe5 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:41 pm

Tortanick wrote:I'm just about to reread it, but first:
Bigjoe5 wrote:
However once they spend a few generations away from the predator wouldn't their all consuming fear start to fade? Its clearly the result of nurture, not nature, so remove the stimulus and it should go away.
fixed. (increased time span - if that fixes it?)
Only if there is some reason it will influence evolution, the more scared ones being more likely to reproduce. Otherwise no amount of time will change the fact that the first generation on a new planet has nothing to be afraid off. Alternatively genetic memories or some form of telepathy would allow the parents fears to pass on to their children but if its not genetic it will fade given enough time. (Of course the species could evolve out of their fear, but keeping genetics is a lot easier to believe than not getting over your distant ancestors trauma). Of course that might not be a bad thing, no one says the races have to remain unchanged through the entire story.
I've edited this excuse into the history section:

Those who were bolder took shorter drinks of lava more frequently, while the most frightened ones waited a long time between drinks and then consumed as much and as quickly as possible. This led to the more frightened Xelytia reproducing more often, as they tended to overdrink, thus passing down greater fear through the generations.
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Re: Xelytia

#7 Post by Tortanick » Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:51 pm

Hmmm, to my limited biological knowledge that could work, so in my opinion its good enough ;). although why didn't the smart ones copy this successful strategy? Maybe the lava was just too tempting.

Anyway I finished reading it and it looks better, the increased survival of the smaller ones might want to be modified, if they're immune then theoretically there is a defence, making them just not that attractive prey would keep their survival rates without creating a defence.

One thing I just noticed:
Their method of communication is such that their legs, when out of the ground, are functionally equivalent to a combination of a human mouth and ear in terms of communication, and therefore receive no penalty for communication
How exactly do they make sounds with their legs when their out the ground? And I wouldn't worry about communication penalties, or even adapting their method of speaking to suit spoken sounds, there are odder languages than this ;)

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Re: Xelytia

#8 Post by Bigjoe5 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:10 pm

Tortanick wrote: Anyway I finished reading it and it looks better, the increased survival of the smaller ones might want to be modified, if they're immune then theoretically there is a defence, making them just not that attractive prey would keep their survival rates without creating a defence.
huh? The small ones are immune because their mouths are too small for the predators to fit through. Any attempt at artificially decreasing the size of the hole gets torn off.
One thing I just noticed:
Their method of communication is such that their legs, when out of the ground, are functionally equivalent to a combination of a human mouth and ear in terms of communication, and therefore receive no penalty for communication
How exactly do they make sounds with their legs when their out the ground? And I wouldn't worry about communication penalties, or even adapting their method of speaking to suit spoken sounds, there are odder languages than this ;)
Same way they make it with their legs in the ground: vibrations. But you're right that theres no need to point out the lack of penalty.
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Re: Xelytia

#9 Post by Tsenzouken » Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:54 am

Love the concept.

Minor questions/nags:
-- If the small ones are immune but attempts to fake being small fail, this says something about the predators. Are they also intelligent? Are they true parasites? How quickly do they kill an adult Xelytian? Wouldn't the parasites just rip holes in the smaller ones to feed?
-- Based on history it seems like their research ability would be sub-par, given the sedentary nature of the species and the lack of any need to actively develop tools until late in their development.

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Re: Xelytia

#10 Post by Bigjoe5 » Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:25 pm

Tsenzouken wrote:Love the concept.
Thank you. :)
Minor questions/nags:
-- If the small ones are immune but attempts to fake being small fail, this says something about the predators. Are they also intelligent? Are they true parasites? How quickly do they kill an adult Xelytian? Wouldn't the parasites just rip holes in the smaller ones to feed?
The outside of a Lytia is much too hard for the parasite to penetrate. Any artificial protection is much weaker than their own skin, and thus can be ripped off.
-- Based on history it seems like their research ability would be sub-par, given the sedentary nature of the species and the lack of any need to actively develop tools until late in their development.
Part of their advantage is the lack of need to develop simple tools; they can just use their limbs to control things instead of wasting time developing specialized tools for every new technology they discover. The parasites essentially drove their sedate nature from them, so now they use their technological skills as best they can.
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