Laenfa

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Bigjoe5
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Laenfa

#1 Post by Bigjoe5 » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:01 pm

Laenfa (lay-EN-fa)

Introduction: Telepathic spy master plants. Their reclusive and observant nature is the result of centuries of being made into the most delicious salads.

Homeworld: The Laenfa originated on a tiny ocean world with a single mountainous landmass, previously inhabited by a sentient aquatic race, the Zhnosh.

Physiology: The Laenfa are long and vine-like, able to attach and detach into any number of larger or smaller vines at will. This does not mean, however, that they have a single consciousness. On the contrary, each leaf has its own consciousness, separate from the others and has direct control over the small length of vine to which it is attached. It is autotrophic, collecting light energy from the sun and nutrients from the ground with a sharp proboscis that each leaf is capable of protruding at will. This proboscis can also pierce the flesh of many living organisms, allowing the Laenfa to take on the role of heterotroph in times of dire need.

They have also adapted the ability to change the colour of their chloroplasts at will to take advantage of different colours of light, thanks to the Zhnosh's seasonally festive use of various coloured lenses over large areas of the ocean surface to alter the colour (and therefore the mood) of their surroundings. This is facilitated by the Laenfa's ability to detect visible light via feedback from its photosystems. Laenfa have high underwater mobility and reasonable ground mobility , as they are able to swim and slither like a serpent. The increased effectiveness of attached Laenfa's telepathic communication allows them to synchronize the motions of a single vine for more effective transportation

Laenfa are very efficient at storing energy and moisture, allowing them to exist without water or sunlight for extended periods of time, but not indefinitely. This ability to store energy however, makes them extremely delicious to the Zhnosh, who constantly sought out the Laenfa for use in salads. This predator-prey relationship led to several evolutionary advancements such as the development of a tactile sense and their telepathic and water-retention abilities.

When an individual leaf's vine grows long enough, a new leaf buds and matures until it is finally able to control it's own segment of vine and detach from the parent vine segment.

History: Long ago, the Laenfa were a peaceful civilization of aquatic vines with very few of their present adaptations. Only their ability to attach and detach at will and their high capacity for energy storage could have identified them as the progenitors of the current species of Laenfa. As their culture began to flourish, they started to explore the ideas of construction, technology, and the visual arts. It was this last that alerted the Zhnosh to the presence of the Laenfa, as sketchy murals began to appear on the ocean floor. The Zhnosh initiated a search to discover the cause of these images, the natural result of this was their discovery of the delicious Laenfa. Thus, a predator-prey relationship was forme between these to species which would last tens of thousands of years.

The Zhnosh had no interest in leaving their homeworld. Their population growth was very slow, and they were generally uncomfortable with the idea of leaving the water. Even the large mountain that served as the planet's sole landmass was a place that only the most daring explorers ever even contemplated exploring. They lived through this era much as they had before, only now with the business of capturing and preparing Laenfa boosting their economy.

The Laenfa, on the other hand, were engaged in an intense struggle for survival, and eventually only those individuals with the most outlandish mutations survived to reproduce. This led to the evolution of the Laenfa as they exist today, dangerous and reclusive, with a knack for all things espionage related. Eventually, their physiology and society had progressed to the point where they were able to wage a guerrilla war against their predators, using the planet's only landmass as their base of operations. By this point, they had evolved far beyond the level of the Zhnosh and were able to wipe them out completely, along with any farms of inferior Laenfa that had been captured.

The Laenfa, however, were not naïve enough to think that these would be the last predators they would encounter. They began to devote themselves to the pursuit of space flight so that they could know of the existence and intentions of the other races in the galaxy.

Culture: The Laenfa have a fairly unified culture due to their telepathy, but as their ability to communicate telepathically weakens with distance and cannot reach those on other planets, there is a large central vine that debates and decides on most important decisions. This vine carries out its debates in secret, but takes into account the voices of all Laenfa they are able to detect.

The Laenfa carry out their duties with hive-like efficiency (still fairly inefficient due to their anatomies) with each individual working for the collective goal of gaining knowledge of other species and protecting knowledge of themselves.

Gameplay Effects:

EP is Ocean

All bonuses related to spying. Citizens love spying and hate being spied upon.
All bonuses related to stealth and detection.
Bonus to researching stealth, detection and espionage related techs.

Penalty to research, industry, mining, population growth, diplomacy, economics, and ground combat. Citizens dislike both treaties and wars.

Autotrophic (consume nothing to maintain population)
Last edited by Bigjoe5 on Wed Nov 25, 2009 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Tortanick
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Re: Laenfa

#2 Post by Tortanick » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:20 pm

Very nice, culture could have more detail, biology was great though! I'd never have thought of vines let alone composite multi-person vines like that.

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eleazar
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Re: Laenfa

#3 Post by eleazar » Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:03 am

I don't understand how their EP is ocean if they primarily live on land. Wouldn't they prefer a terrestrial environment with more land? Or are they supposed to be sea-weed?

Rather interesting, if a bit nutty.

I'm not sure i understand the how a vine relates to a leaf and both to an "individual".

I would find them more plausible if they used carnivorous feeding more frequently, or at least whenever they engage in much movement.

Also it doesn't seem plausible that a single leaf could support a human-like level of cognition, or that it would really have a reason to do so, since an individual (i think) can't really do much on it's own. To move around, it would have to coordinate with the rest of the attached leaf-consciousnesses. You don't really specify, but it seem right to me that a leaf individually has a simple mentality, but they can use telepath to link many leaf-minds and think deep thoughts.

Also, they may be photosynthetic, but with all their other qualities, they really aren't plants. "Plant-like" yes, but so is a sea anemone or a sea squirt.

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Re: Laenfa

#4 Post by Bigjoe5 » Wed Nov 25, 2009 4:58 pm

eleazar wrote:I don't understand how their EP is ocean if they primarily live on land. Wouldn't they prefer a terrestrial environment with more land? Or are they supposed to be sea-weed?
Bigjoe5 wrote:Eventually, their physiology and society had progressed to the point where they were able to wage a guerrilla war against their predators, using the planet's only landmass as their base of operations.
This isn't meant to imply that they live primarily on land, only that the landmass was ideal as a base of operations, due to the unwillingness of the Zhnosh to leave the ocean.
Bigjoe5 wrote:Long ago, the Laenfa were a peaceful civilization of aquatic vines with very few of their present adaptations.
This is meant to indicate that the Laenfa are primarily aquatic. They are able to exist without water for extended periods of time, but they still prefer to be underwater, since locomotion underwater is much more efficient.
I'm not sure i understand the how a vine relates to a leaf and both to an "individual".
A leaf and the small length of vine which it controls is considered an individual. These individuals can attach to one another forming longer vines, but these longer vines are not individuals. Looking over, I think it's clear enough in the description. Is that what you were asking?
I would find them more plausible if they used carnivorous feeding more frequently, or at least whenever they engage in much movement.
Being plant-like organisms, they probably find heterotrophy disgusting. Presumably only those engaged in tasks where they would often be without water or sunlight for long periods of time and engaged in highly active work, such as soldiers and spies would resort to it on a regular basis.
Also it doesn't seem plausible that a single leaf could support a human-like level of cognition, or that it would really have a reason to do so, since an individual (i think) can't really do much on it's own. To move around, it would have to coordinate with the rest of the attached leaf-consciousnesses. You don't really specify, but it seem right to me that a leaf individually has a simple mentality, but they can use telepath to link many leaf-minds and think deep thoughts.
That's pretty much the idea. A single Laenfa is inferior in terms of locomotion and cognitive abilities. This could probably be made more explicit in the description.
Also, they may be photosynthetic, but with all their other qualities, they really aren't plants. "Plant-like" yes, but so is a sea anemone or a sea squirt.
I'm not sure they adequately fit into any of the defined biological kingdoms. Calling them plants is probably accurate enough for most purposes, since the defining feature which most people most readily associate with plants is photosynthesis.
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eleazar
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Re: Laenfa

#5 Post by eleazar » Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:10 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:I don't understand how their EP is ocean if they primarily live on land. Wouldn't they prefer a terrestrial environment with more land? Or are they supposed to be sea-weed?
Long ago, the Laenfa were a peaceful civilization of aquatic vines with very few of their present adaptations.
Ok, i guess i should have seen that. I think i was blinded by the strong terrestrial connotations of the world "vine". A vine is something that hangs down, or clings to something else for support, neither of which is not necessary in the buoyant submarine world. I'm not sure there is an idea substitute word for "vine", but at least occasionally describing them as "seaweed" wouldn't hurt.
Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:I'm not sure i understand the how a vine relates to a leaf and both to an "individual".
A leaf and the small length of vine which it controls is considered an individual. These individuals can attach to one another forming longer vines, but these longer vines are not individuals. Looking over, I think it's clear enough in the description. Is that what you were asking?

....The Laenfa are long and vine-like, able to attach and detach into any number of larger or smaller vines at will.
The further you go from the normal and expected, the more abundantly clear a description must be.

So this "attaching and detaching" is just grabbing ahold of each other? You talk about the young detaching, is this different or similar? And why do they attach to each other?
Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:I would find them more plausible if they used carnivorous feeding more frequently, or at least whenever they engage in much movement.
Being plant-like organisms, they probably find heterotrophy disgusting.
Well, as author you can decree they find heterotrophy "disgusting", but in my mind that's far from an obvious characteristic of sentient plants, because:
A) a significant minority of earth plants eat bugs or practice parasitism on other plants.
B) the Laenfa must have biological systems/adaptations designed to make heterotrophy possible. If they find it disgusting, they are disgusted at their own biological nature-- which is possible, but seems more like a cultural trait, than something that's innate.
Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:Also, they may be photosynthetic, but with all their other qualities, they really aren't plants. "Plant-like" yes, but so is a sea anemone or a sea squirt.
I'm not sure they adequately fit into any of the defined biological kingdoms. Calling them plants is probably accurate enough for most purposes, since the defining feature which most people most readily associate with plants is photosynthesis.
Certainly they don't fit into our classification system, that's why i said "plant-like".
But i'd expect that "most people" associate "immobility" more strongly than photosynthesis with plants. Someone who knows what "photosynthesis" is probably also associates a lack of brains, nerves and muscles (or their alien analog) with "plants".

• Certainly it's not easy designing a plausible sentient plant. I think this is FO's best one so far however.

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