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August 20, 2008, 5:26 pm

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The Krylastys

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"Some creatures are simply hard to talk with. Take the Krys for example…"

Full Description

The Krylastys come from a heavy world with strong gravity, though of relatively thin atmosphere. It appears the nature there preferred to create life of low, robust build, and the Kryl, or Krys as they are often called, are exactly that.

Vaguely reptilian, they move on all fours, but have also two minor forelimbs good for manipulation. They actually can stand up on their behind legs for a short time, in rarely seen displays of power. Their body up to three yards long (not counting the tail), they can certainly impress.

Their large mouth may be full of scarily big teeth, but any skilled biologist can notice their similarity to those of earthly herbivores, and it is a correct hypothesis. Their leathery skin belies as well, they are warm-blooded.

Given the strong magnetism of their world, they are able to feel and to some degree influence it. In fact, they do this intuitively, and generate weak magnetic fields with high variability. This potential passes as another means for revealing and communicating emotions; a walk through a crowd feels very differently for them than for a human. But similarly as for us, unspoken rules govern how an individual may display its emotions in the public.

Origins and early civilization

The Krys were quite able at avoiding or deterring their predators in the adult phase, but hard pressed during the egg-laying season, when they remained stationary. The first adaptation was building of better nesting places, and gathering into groups for mutual protection. At some point, the expansion of their nests, support of the local flora for feeding, and cooperation in defense transcended into primitive architecture, agriculture, and a stratified society.

Once somewhat safe from the predators, their population exploded, and the eternal laws of finite resources made themselves finally prominent. Wise men have theorized that sentient herbivores would be much more gentle to the environment, and certainly less cruel to each other. This folk would later claim the same.

But if there is not conflict for land, there is conflict for good land. Large settlements, where most of the people have lived for a part of the year, required much food, which meant large swaths of land, and the occasional bad weather put even more pressure on their living. For much of their recorded history, any given group of Krylastys has lived in permanent conflict with this neighbor or another.

Good walls make good neighbors

Given their planet’s specifics, and their anatomy, the advantage of height assumed key importance in their warfare; those above had generally better chances than those below. They are also relatively slow, and may not be able to react to surprise attacks. And so they would construct immense fortifications, which the other side deconstructed as patiently, when the time of war came.

The traditional method of making war became to start taking apart the defenses of their opponent; the other side can get on the spot, return the attack and reinforce their defenses - negotiations could be simultaneous. In a long siege could both sides demonstrate their power and voice their opinions on the matter of conflict. Historically, it led to ceasing hostilities on many accounts.

With the advent of modern technologies, however, cases of swift breakthroughs of ancient forts multiplied, even large-scale destruction, horrifying the Krylastys. At last would they build alliances instead of walls, and the wars cooled down. Most of the time.

Living in Space

The move into space had a massive support, for all shared the quiet fear of running out of land and subsequently food, to diversify sources is always better. Besides general defensive tech, they focus on biotechnologies, and are known to be capable terraformers.

On their own turf, the Krys’ can be expected to attack any visitor, not with the purpose of destruction, but to both gauge their power, and to display their own. The attacks, typically hitting upon shields and heavily armored parts, are tuned in power so as to not destroy anyone by chance. Some response is considered natural, unfortunately many such contacts turn into violent conflicts, if the visitors defend themselves with all force, believing to be under attack.

Technically, they have the whole spectrum of ship-types at their disposal. They lean towards solid defenses, and their larger ships are extremely hard to take out. The small fighters, however, are automatic or semi-automatic machines on remote control, as it would be a mistake to enter battle in such a fragile shell. In tense moments, they may destroy their opponent’s fighters indiscriminately, having met a few races with suicidal tactics.

If the Krylastys go to war, they go in all force, with large fleets that can survive all surprises - they rarely engage in surprise attacks, though. The Krys’ are one of the few races actually able of interstellar blockades.

From One to Many

Put all their quirks together, and you have a strange species indeed. But if it comes to emotions, they are not so unique; they can be approached and understood by humans. Safety and comfort are their main driving force. But deep inside they have ingrained migratory instincts - if triggered, they will behave more aggressively.

There is a slight variation with respect to children. A Krylastys won’t be too strongly attached to a fresh hatchling. An egg can be broken, and what is born can die young (or fail the genetic tests for certain known known defects). While fed, they are not treated with any special care, the bonds of love and parenting will form when the ability to survive is proven. Killing a child under a certain age is not considered a crime.

A ‘family’ as we know it is a more temporary affair. Becoming mates for several seasons or years, it is normal to split eventually; genuine monogamous relationships are a thing of legends. But there seems to be true love, and being unfaithful is a rare, scandalous act. (Note: the eggs and hatchlings produced are split between the partners when the time comes.) In rearing, there is no large difference between the male and female; historically, the females were expected to be most often with the offspring.

The true family is a small group, numbering a dozen or more. All members know another well, often sharing a particular job or function; most are direct relatives. If someone dies, these people are expected to look after his brood. Note that eggs can last for years if kept in cold… taking an egg of the deceased and allow it to hatch is to show deep respect.

A clan is composed of these families. Thousands and more individuals can be in one clan, seeking mates outside of it is rare; one large spaceship often houses a clan. If it becomes unmanageably large, it will split. In the politics a clan speaks with one voice, decisions are made by vote or the clan’s speaker. Called "The Eldest", it is tradition to choose this figure out of the old, infertile Krys.

Clans form larger alliances, with clearly delimited areas of cooperation, they can overlap, and issues can be escalated higher if necessary. For example, two clans may cooperate in military affairs, but compete in trade. Or, several clans may be responsible for different parts of a system; if attacked, they are on their own - but if the only habitable planet is attacked, all are bound to defend it. There exists a single, overarching alliance binding all clans (one of the clauses is the defense of their homeworld). A person is referred to by its name and clan; if someone is called simply ‘... of the Krylastys’, it is a messenger of highest importance.

These are for all purposes the governing structures. For outsiders they can be hard to approach - nobody ever seems to speak for the government, only for a specific clan. But given the right challenge, they can react dynamically. Clan agreements are a simple matter, but they carry the massive weight of centuries. Breaching such a contract is one of the few times when the Krys would lead war on another.

Today

This civilization spreads very slowly, carefully choosing their next target, and moving in massive numbers sufficient to establish colonies, form the fitting planet(s) in the chosen system to suit them, and engage in the building of their beloved defenses in strategic locations.

Being egg-layers, they can easily control their population, and had a minor explosion in growth, when it seemed the whole galaxy is full of hostile species. Now that they are better known, conflicts are few and trade plentiful, and they don’t grow as much.

Modern long-range communication, and contacts with other races lacking their magnetic sense have but challenged the old ways. Especially if speaking with aliens, they have been known to ridiculously exaggerate their mimics and tone changes (no one has a more forced smile than a Krylastys, it is said). On the other hand, after a time they are likely to fall to their default: to cold, almost robotic voices without any sign of emotion.

Still are they interested in other races, but find it easier on neutral ground. After a few energy discharges will they contact other ships, and their captain will start a merry conversation, while eating some delicious plants. Sadly, only the Thoron seem to be up for a truly good talk.

Relations to lesser species

The Krylastys are one of the few likely to aid a lesser species in development. Charity is not necessary, there is always an opportunity to trade. They choose the ones that have just made the jump into space, and offer them control over the resources of their own solar system. Producing some more primitive spaceships (with chemical engines, most of the time), they help building up a large mining industry, keeping the superior ships for transport and thus ensuring they get their cut.

Offering many gifts, the advanced technologies are available on a strict per-pay basis, and the prices are steep. Prospective candidates may be even offered the option to serve as mercenaries, if the the Krylastys are pushed enough.

Miscellaneous Information

- They are slow actors (but not necessarily thinkers :) ).
- Their old way of life, and tactical challenges bred them into an almost two-dimensional way of thinking. This translates into an instinctive weakness when reacting on events transpiring ‘above’ and ‘below’. They fully know of and specifically train to deal with it in space; so now they tend to overreact to such threats.
- Their artificial gravity systems are all right, but their children, they say, should be born in real conditions. So with all the living among stars they are strongly bound to planets.
- On their ships, and basically anywhere, they like to move around on little carts, that confer them a speed they do not have.
- Those who tried to invade their ships or buildings, have reported that a surprising number of their corridors and rooms are little over a yard in height. Very impractical for most races.
- There is a cultural taboo against eating eggs; biologically, there seems to be no restraint.

Special thanks to Siren for asking many good questions.



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Comments ( 10 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

manfred
July 6, 2007, 16:20
0xp
I am still not happy with it, but let me throw it out anyway. There should be enough information inside to have fun with them!
Siren no Orakio
July 6, 2007, 22:26
1xp
I like this, but, it still seems formative. (Forgive, please, but these are the questions I have to ask.)

What pressures drove them to not just civilization, but intelligence? What wants and needs drive them in their daily life? What's the family structure? Are they able to feel the full range of human emotions? Things we can't understand, or vice-versa? Are they at the top of the food chain, now, at home, with the majority of predators wiped out, or is there still some large beast that looks at them and goes 'nummy!' (We three, the Zoq, Fot, and Pik, evolved in such a way as to acquire sustenance from many sources... The Zebranky also consumed a variety of foods... namely: the Zoq... the Fot... and the Pik.) Do they have any favored beasts of burden or pets?

Do they have a unified government? A fractured government? How many different cultures does their race support? Are they still pure herbivores, or have they learned to scavenge and hunt? Are there particular areas of technology they choose to focus on, besides fortification?

How bio-compatible with humanity is their preferred world system? I am imagining a world of steppes and plains, with few mountains and forests. Can they deal with some of the more varied terrains easily? Can they co-exist harmoniously with an arboreal or aquatic species on a world?

There's tremendous promise here, but from my own work, and what I see here, I think the gold standard of making a new race is going to have to be: 'Can I make a fully developed character using the presented information?'
manfred
July 7, 2007, 2:54
0xp
Time to push it back into work, it is really not ready yet. Thanks for all questions!
manfred
December 9, 2007, 4:22
0xp
What pressures drove them to not just civilization, but intelligence?
Civilization already presupposes some intelligence. The basic factors in its development include tool use, environment adaptations and social living, the exact reasons are still debated, perhaps to no avail.

Are they at the top of the food chain, now, at home, with the majority of predators wiped out, or is there still some large beast that looks at them and goes 'nummy!' (We three, the Zoq, Fot, and Pik, evolved in such a way as to acquire sustenance from many sources... The Zebranky also consumed a variety of foods... namely: the Zoq... the Fot... and the Pik.) Are they still pure herbivores, or have they learned to scavenge and hunt?
They are on the top of the food chain today; kinda ironical for pure herbivores. As written elsewhere, the majority of their homeworld is industrialized, and any dangerous beasts were removed. A few 'wild' territories contain some predators that are to them what bears are for humans... and care is taken that they don't get anywhere near civilization. Larger and more dangerous creatures were known to the Kryllastys, and their stuffed remains and skelets decorate any better museum (not unlike dinosaurs and other megafauna for us). If desired, there can be sea monsters.

Do they have any favored beasts of burden or pets?
Given the size and accompanying strength, they can do well on their own (the modern Kryl tends to be smaller and weaker, however). Two creatures are noted for a significant relationship with them, both lizard-like in their basic build: the Dolgan is a massive herbivore, and a heavy beast of burden (an elephant analog); its use has somewhat declined with the advances in machinery, it is also employed on only one other world. A Krupyk is a tiny creature in turn, evolved into a pet and personal companion from feeding on parasites. They tend to be jumpy and loud, and the way they are raised tells a lot about their owner; numerous phrases apply to them as well. While rarer on spaceships, they follow their masters everywhere, and are the most numerous animal in any city, a planet-based Kryl commonly having 2-8 of them. It is a mark of personal trust to let a Krupyk clean out your mouth after eating.


How bio-compatible with humanity is their preferred world system? I am imagining a world of steppes and plains, with few mountains and forests. Can they deal with some of the more varied terrains easily? Can they co-exist harmoniously with an arboreal or aquatic species on a world?
Worlds with a higher G are strongly preferred, though with medicaments they can adapt to a variety of worlds. They really don't like mountains and other extremes, avoiding them if possible; they have the tech to access them, but a Krys wouldn't live there. They seem to be very compatible with an aquatic species; their strong drive for agriculture would make living with a forest-based people problematic.

Do they have a unified government? A fractured government? How many different cultures does their race support?
As described above, they have something of both - for defense, and the like, they can get together very fast. In trade it is ever Krys for himself.

A clan is the basic cultural unit, and established alliances typically form what we recognize as distinct cultures. Depending on how deep you go in describing them, you can add subspecies ('ethnic minorities') the oldest alliances are built upon.
manfred
December 9, 2007, 5:58
0xp
There's tremendous promise here, but from my own work, and what I see here, I think the gold standard of making a new race is going to have to be: 'Can I make a fully developed character using the presented information?'

What wants and needs drive them in their daily life? What's the family structure? Are they able to feel the full range of human emotions? Things we can't understand, or vice-versa?


This was the hardest to answer. (See the "From One to Many" part.) After a lot of pondering, I have decided against giving them new kinds of emotions, since they are way too hard to make properly (note: their herd-like background offers some possibilities). Likewise, there is no special reason for them to lack any of the 'human' emotions.

So in the end, they can be understood and related to, if you know their culture well.
manfred
December 9, 2007, 6:18
0xp
Updated: At last, I return to them... and they seem to have grown!
Siren no Orakio
December 10, 2007, 19:38
0xp
*bump*

I still think these need a little work, so I'm holding off my vote, but I've discussed that with Manfred first hand, and think it needs some others comments. ;)
Voted valadaar
March 5, 2008, 10:15
0xp
A good solid race, excellent to fill out ones universe with aliens. Nicely done. I think with a little tweaking that they can be a good fantasy race as well.
Voted CaptainPenguin
March 5, 2008, 15:57
0xp
Excellently done.
manfred
March 5, 2008, 17:53
0xp
Thanks to valadaar and Captain! The Krys are still on my mind, and there will be more to them. I'm not done with this universe.

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