Race the Zaahir

Discussion in 'NPCs and Creatures' started by Lucid_Dakou, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. Lucid_Dakou

    Lucid_Dakou Void-Bound Voyager

    This is an idea I've been developing for a race (possibly playable). The Zaahir are a species of humanoid arthropods. They exhibit features of various forms of arthropod such as moth-like antennae and beetle-like horns. They have a Persian or Arabian inspired aesthetic.

    Link to Upvote/ downvote if you so wish: http://playstarbound.com/suggestions/?p=view&id=5732

    The Zaahir come from an arid, desert planet. They make their homes on the undersides of craggy rock faces or mountains. When no mountain is available, they will construct one from dirt and a thick resin they can secrete. Their structures tend to be long hanging towers, descending from the rocks, joined by bridges, stairways, or ropes. Many towers sport open balconies overlooking the desert land below and providing a jumping off point, should someone feel bold enough to attempt to leap between towers.

    Numerous tunnels and chambers snake through the mountains cities are built into, providing escape tunnels and emergency shelter should something happen to endanger the hanging towers. The lower class Zaahir lives in the upper levels of the city, near the rock face. The buildings in this area are plain looking and very box-like. The richer, more privileged members of society live in the lower levels, the ivory towers that hang down far beyond the riff raff of the lower bugs (meaning the better loot would be found in the dangling towers). The rulers of a given city would be located in the largest tower, usually built somewhat near the rocks. Members of the ruling class tend to be large, bloated insects that rarely move beyond their chambers.

    Zaahir have come to be known as eccentric merchants around the galaxy. They commonly open bazaars trading rare or exotic wares for exorbitant prices. They are also quite extreme with their punishments frequently condemning a criminal to death for even something as trivial as theft.

    Tech level: The Zaahir are primarily middle ages technology level. They tend to live simple lives harvesting food from underground sources, and farming, usually done on surface of the structure their cities hang from. They have carts pulled by large animals native to the deserts. The upper levels of their cities are bustling trade districts with small shops set out on bridges or individually suspended on platforms. The most commonly carried weapon by the lower class (the majority of a city’s population) are curved swords commonly made of metal found while excavating material for the construction of tunnels or artificial mounds, or resin secreted by the upper classes and then sold among the shops.

    Most Zaahir cities will welcome outsiders with open arms, so long as they know their place. If an outsider stays in the upper levels with the common riff raff and shops, barring any misconduct, there will be no trouble. But if an outsider forgets himself and ventures into the ivory towers hanging below, they will be swiftly met with dire consequences. The Zaahir upper class do not value the lives of creatures they deem “beneath” them and are quick to press for the most heinous punishments for even the slightest misstep. If an outsider is particularly well known or famous, they may be let off with a warning, only having one limb removed, or being black listed which would make the person kill on sight if they showed their face in the city again.
    The Zaahir upper class are large bloated insect creatures several times larger than an average citizen. They rarely leave their quarters in their towers, the lower hanging, the richer they tend to be. They are waited on by servants who are drawn into service by a pheromone the large creatures release and have little to no sense of self preservation should their master become threatened.
    The lower class, the common “riff raff” of the city make up the primary work force and keep the cities functioning. Forced to live in the upper levels in small, simple homes life can be difficult. Some are allowed the opportunity to work directly for the higher class, given better equipment and tools. Others leave the city in search of a better life among the dunes or even the stars.

    the Zaahir are fairly conservative, rarely developing or accepting new ideas despite having important trade lines between more advanced races. As long as the leaders are content with what they have, they see no reason to change their attitudes or work towards any sort of advancement. Leaders are only concerned over the well-being of themselves and their cities, the rest of the upper class hold even less concern for their community, and workers are deemed expendable and only exist to serve the upper class. Due to the callousness of the nobility towards the workers despite their accomplishments, reports of "mysterious disappearances" or "accidents" among the upper class would be increasingly frequent in large cities.
    Being born on a desert planet, I suspect that water holds high value among the Zaahir. My assumption is that the Zaahir have three main methods of collecting water: using gigantic reservoirs above the city to collect rainwater, tapping into underground aquifers, or trading with other races who have access to abundant water. The latter might be an explanation as to why the Zaahir have become pigeonholed as traders. If their home planet used to have large bodies of water, then fossil fuel might have been one of their main exports, as desert areas tend to have deposits of crude oil buried underneath massive layers of compressed sand. Apart from that, they may also have traded valuable ores that they have no need for, primarily because they lack the scientific knowledge or tools necessary to make use of them. Additionally, they could also have made trade goods that look pretty, but have no real use otherwise (like jewelry, or statues). These things could be made from their resin or other refined excretions, or they could be pieced together from the hard remains of deceased workers, whose empty husks would most likely have littered the ground below their cities (because the lower class isn't important enough to warrant burial rites).
    Typical Zaahir armor would have been cuirasses or other light or medium armor that would allow greater maneuverability than most other armors and is fairly inexpensive to produce. Since the Zaahir army would be mostly comprised of the lower class and thus are deemed as expendable as workers, defense would not have been much of a concern as long as the Zaahir could quickly overwhelm the enemy and destroy key targets in order to achieve a swift victory.

    Reputed as traders the Zaahir’s early interactions with intergalactic visitors resulted in their acquisition of tech through barter. Remaining a fairly simple people, their application of the acquired tech can seem lacking. A common sight might be a beast drawn cart, except instead of wheels, the cart is a hovercraft drifting behind the animal. This also resulted in them acquiring the technology to travel to space, where many Zaahir royal families have spread out across the stars to any suitable planet to establish a new colony and trade routes. Another common occurrence would be lower classes getting a hold of tech either through legitimate business means, or thievery and setting out into the stars to establish trade with the myriad of other life forms, rent themselves out as mercs, or simply explore what lies beyond their desert slums.

    Like some Terran arthropods (lobsters for example) the Zaahir are capable of reaching extremely old age. While these Terran arthopods reach ages that are notable in comparison to other Terran species, the Zaahir reach ages far in excess of many of the other space fairing species. The life cycle of the Zaahir goes through three major stages. In the earliest stage, Zaahir hatch from eggs as larva and then slowly grow and molt their way into becoming full adults. In the middle/adulthood stage, the Zaahir cease to grow and remain at the same size (this middle stage lasts for about the same amount of time as the lifespans of the other playable species). The third and final stage sees the start of a second growth/molting process. In this third stage, the Zaahir will periodically molt and grow larger until (after 2 to 3 human lifetimes) they reach the massive, bloated form of the Zaahir nobility.

    Zaahir have a quite high birthrate throughout their second lifecycle but cease to bear young once in the third cycle.

    Culture (an age-based class system)
    The society of the Zaahir is brutally stratified and built around a sort of top heavy collectivist economy in which all wealth is shared, but the higher classes have exponentially greater access to that wealth than their underlings.

    The culture of the Zaahir is based heavily around their long aging process. Because of a high birthrate, Zaahir parents are relatively unconcerned with the well being of their offspring. While the largely helpless larval Zaahir are carefully cared for, the Zaahir in their nymphal stages (end of the first life cycle) make up the bulk of the lower classes. Only as the Zaahir age will they gain access to greater social privilege and wealth. However, the jobs of the massive underclasses are the most dangerous to the point that each of the many age-based social ranks is smaller than the last.

    The Zaahir upper classes treat those lower than them quite harshly, but the Zaahir are very accepting of their social positions and harsh treatment. This obedience is the result of a culture that is constantly looking toward the individual's further advancement into old age. While a Zaahir might be crafty about how they obey the orders of their higher ups, they make sure to always obey in some form, hoping to avoid making powerful enemies and dying an untimely death. Despite the unlikely nature of ever reaching old age and noble status, every Zaahir looks forward to what they call "the Resting," when the Zaahir has gotten high enough into the social stratification that they no longer have anyone above them. At this point, while older age is still shown respect, the Zaahir act as equals, shifting their concerns from simple survival to amassing personal power and influence. When Zaahir nobles come into open conflict with one another, the results can be devastating.

    Rebels (the Masterless and the Rest-Fearful)
    As with many of the other space fairing species, a handful of the Zaahir are driven to the stars by having desires that land outside those of their culture. Among the Zaahir, this most commonly manifests in one of two ways.

    The cultural rebels called "the Masterless" are those Zaahir who seek to be free of the social stratification of their culture. They don't want to wait until an unlikely old age to have freedom; they desire their freedom now. The Masterless are willing to do what they must to be free and so they often find themselves living far flung from the rest of Zaahir culture. The pride and forcefulness of the Masterless sees them becoming many things, from galactic freedom fighters to vicious space pirates.

    While most Zaahir desire nothing but their Resting, some are terrified of the idea. They don't see the Resting as a time of luxury and power; they see it as a time of pathetic immobility and hateful, endless monotony. These Zaahir seek to accomplish as much and see as much as they can before they become immobile and helpless. Some go so far as to seek ever and ever more dangerous journeys in the hopes of never becoming prisoners in their own bodies. These "Rest-fearful" make some of the most daring explorers the galaxy has ever seen.


    Example of their hanging cities

    A silly doodle of a thief being cornered by some guards, taken from Disney's Aladdin.

    Zaahir dancer by Gnoll

    Zaahir noble/ lord by SamTheEpic


    Zaahir head customization options concept art. Antennae, and additional doodads like the moth's fluff, and the beetles back horn would be "hair" options and will arrive later.

    This is not a completed set of sketches for "hair" concepts, I'm still working on more ideas which include actual hair sort of options. It's just taking me longer to get the time to sit down and sketch than I was liking so I'm going ahead and uploading what I've got.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Holy crap, deafblindmute made some awesome sprites.

    Mechanics stuff:
    Customization: I figure character customization options would involve things like swapping through various heads that resemble various arthropods; mantids, beetles, bees, crawfish, etc. In place of hair, players would cycle through various styles of antennae ranging from just positional differences (like pointing up or down) to various style differences (like fluffy moth antennae, long sweeping crawfish antennae, little beetle ones, etc). Some antennae, such as bee or moth ones, would be accompanied by additional traits such as a poof of fluff wound the neck, and beetle ones may come with a horn. The antennae and any additional accessories that come with them would simply be “removed” when wearing a fully enclosed headgear. Color options would include their main body color, and an underbelly color which would alter the antennae color as well.

    Zaahir racial equipment suggestions (since I figure this is better for the moment than trying to just list a single option.): Clinging to walls
    Wall jump
    Heat resistance/ nullification

    Ideas for racial equipment benefits are welcome.

    more information and drawings when I get around to coming up with more.

    Update: Added some more art to the fold, and some additional information suggested by CGadmirer.
  2. Lucid_Dakou

    Lucid_Dakou Void-Bound Voyager

    blah, I messed up when I made this thread and forgot to give it the little "Race" tag on it. Is there a way to edit it to have that, or do I need to remake this thread?
    samaran123 likes this.
  3. Dave Combine

    Dave Combine Corporate Co-Chair

    Well, it's a little bit of both, so I guess you don't need one. I assume that... Well most people will assume its a race. I like the idea. I can see where you got the idea from, too.
    AlphaMongoose and DeadlyLuvdisc like this.
  4. Atlus

    Atlus Big Damn Hero

  5. Lucid_Dakou

    Lucid_Dakou Void-Bound Voyager

    yeah, a friend of mine on Skype was reading things off from that thread and then people started telling me I should do a bug race with something from there.
  6. Chamomileable

    Chamomileable Subatomic Cosmonaut

    I like this. It fills a gap we have in the lore, and playing as a stag beetle would be pretty boss. You've got my support.

    EDIT: I think a neat idea for racial armor abilities would be something along the lines of being able to either withstand heat or see certain ores just below the surface. I WOULD say the ability to cling on to walls but that would just be too overpowered.
  7. Atlus

    Atlus Big Damn Hero

    I'd play as something akin to a cricket or mantid, personally. Especially if I could dual wield in-game.
  8. Concept art is good. Sprites and Culture needs work.
    Needs more information in general.
    DeadlyLuvdisc likes this.
  9. Lucid_Dakou

    Lucid_Dakou Void-Bound Voyager

    yeah, I'm working on it. They're something I've only recently started working on and I just wanted to go ahead and get something out there initially. I plan to try and expand on it when I've got some time to sit down and think some more things out and try to figure out how their history would fit into the Starbound setting
  10. Chamomileable

    Chamomileable Subatomic Cosmonaut

    If you need some inspirations for sprites, the Atlas, Hercules, Titan, and Stag beetles are all really neat looking bugs, and I'm sure they would give you some cool ideas for head/back/mandible design. Keep up the good work, man.
  11. Shadow Wolf TJC

    Shadow Wolf TJC Spaceman Spiff

    Good starting concept, but it needs to be fleshed out more. Currently, all I'm seeing is Arabian Grasshopper People. What makes their culture different from Arabian culture? What is daily life for them? What is their government like?
  12. JFisch

    JFisch Lucky Number 13

    I really like the idea. As Chamomileable said above, there is plenty of inspiration out there. I already like what you've done, I can't wait to see some progress.
    Chamomileable likes this.
  13. Moctor

    Moctor Title Not Found

    This totally works, I especially like the city designs
  14. Chamomileable

    Chamomileable Subatomic Cosmonaut

    I sort of feel like having everyone live upside down would cause some problems. Doesn't change my mind at all about how good of an idea this is, though.
    Atlus likes this.
  15. Mukin

    Mukin Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    great idea cool race
  16. Lucid_Dakou

    Lucid_Dakou Void-Bound Voyager

    well, the people wouldn't be upside down. The way I pictured it, everything inside would still be normal and right side up, the towers just hang down from the ceiling instead of rising up, and bridges/ walkways joining structures in various locations. I thought it would be a nice variation for a Zaahir dungeon to involve perilous jumping from tower to tower as you try to get lower to the good stuff/ boss, (kind of like the inverted castle in Symphony of the Night) while suspended over a very large drop over the desert below, rather than the dungeons being just another cave system.
  17. DeadlyLuvdisc

    DeadlyLuvdisc Oxygen Tank

    Hey guys. Guys? We should do it. Together.
    Kinda like how the Power Rangers combined their Zords into one bigger, better zord? Like that.
    Only with ideas instead of giant mechas shaped like dinosaurs.

    Three heads are better than one, right? Plus, in the end we can still have three separate suggestions and let the Developers choose what they want to take from each one, kinda like how the Novakid and Anodyne threads are both being used to influence the final product for the Novakid. I mean, the upside down dungeon and pretty concept art? That's gold right there. Darthkitten has amazing furniture art already. And I have tons of experience with Mid-East and West Asian philosophy, so I can write awesome lore. I bet we'd make a good team~

    Plus it means I can slack off on the stuff I'm not as good at, and focus on my strengths. :p
    Gia-Knight, Ado, Reynbowz and 4 others like this.
  18. Chamomileable

    Chamomileable Subatomic Cosmonaut

    I've got a bit of experience with miscellaneous stuff. If someone can get fabrication started I'll see what I can further polish up.
  19. Lucid_Dakou

    Lucid_Dakou Void-Bound Voyager

    By all means feel free to add any input you think would be cool. Brainstorming works best when there's more people bouncing ideas around.
  20. Motie

    Motie Big Damn Hero

    The Sprites are a bit noisy, but I love the personality. Their cities are very unique.

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