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In a previous question I asked the users of the site about their worlds and to my surprise, most of the worlds are inhabited by either humans (JohnWdailey's Great lakes world) or near humans (as with James' Seminosia). I was surprised at the lack of truly alien species we have designed. To all of our creature designers, what species are you creating?

This will help us figure out who has the most unique, most interested, or even just plain unusual species among our ranks. But please let's limit it to 1 species per user, so pick your best if you've got more than one.

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  • $\begingroup$ Do they need to be something that exists or can they be say... Goblins and the like? $\endgroup$ – Skye Jul 17 '16 at 12:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Sky it can be anything you like $\endgroup$ – TrEs-2b Jul 17 '16 at 17:42
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    $\begingroup$ I suspect the reason all the worlds focus on humanoids is because the people reading about the world are going to be, with 99.99999999999% certainty, human. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jul 17 '16 at 21:49
  • $\begingroup$ Humans are boring though. $\endgroup$ – Bellerophon Jul 18 '16 at 18:15
  • $\begingroup$ I'm still working out the subtleties, so please bear with me, but shouldn't this be a main-SE question, rather than a meta-SE question? $\endgroup$ – Charles Rockafellor Jul 19 '16 at 6:47
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    $\begingroup$ @CharlesRockafellor the main WB SE page is for questions about worldbuilding (including the worldbuilding process). The meta page is for questions about the community and the site. You'll notice many questions on the meta don't have an accepted answer and are not intended to have one. This contrasts with the main page, where a good question has a fairly definitive answer. $\endgroup$ – Kys Jul 19 '16 at 15:57
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I am designing a world full of alien species . The best so far is probably the Rocsphere. This is pretty much a small brown round rodent living in the desert. The rocsphere is a small, fast rodent of the deserts. This perfectly spherical rodent can often be seen rolling around the sands of Haran propelled by bursts of gas. Easy to train and cheap to feed with an exceptional sense of touch it has been used by the Haran tribes in their hunting for many generations. It is now also finding a niche appeal as a children's pet.

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  • $\begingroup$ I was about to question how such a creature would be used for hunting, then I realized I would probably run in terror from a large spherical rodent rolling towards me. $\endgroup$ – Kys Jul 19 '16 at 15:25
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And I'm being highly ambitious, creating galaxies of aliens... (is that too childish?) My best was meant to be a lampoon of the so-called ET sightings of large-eyed, smooth blue-skinned beings. This happy alien species would be the leader of a galactic summit, owners of several self-established planetary colonies, master-traders, peacemakers and, more importantly, not interested at all in humans except as curious backwater apes with primitive stuff but nice art worth displaying (creating a highly-inaccurate 'noble savage' image of us they have based on their first impressions when they met us). The rest of the galactic bunch were thought out 'scientifically' but just couldn't resist the funny idea when it first came.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's not childish, i have an entire galaxy to :) $\endgroup$ – TrEs-2b Jul 20 '16 at 5:24
  • $\begingroup$ @TrEs-2b: Hahaha, that sure relieves me! Sometimes science fiction needs its humour, I think. $\endgroup$ – artemissunshine Jul 20 '16 at 5:39
  • $\begingroup$ Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy prooved that $\endgroup$ – TrEs-2b Jul 20 '16 at 6:06
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we are catepillars

Post-human uploaded minds can grow in ways that make them less human. With much larger “immediate” memory, faster processing, perfect memory, etc. Would any cultural stuff still make sence or be interesting? Post humans strugle to keep their human mind until they find it's holding them back too much. When they start to transscend there are enough of them to form a new culture, which is totally alien to the human minds. By embracing their new selves and ot maintaining a bridge to the human-like mind anymore, they become more alien than we can even understand.

The point is that when they make the break it’s because they are becoming that different. They are truely alien and un-understandable on any cultural level.

When uploaded minds outnumber biological people, we start to feel that being meet is just the juvinile phase of our existance, for the first hundred years, like being a child. But then the transcendence movement makes them realize that the mature minds are themselves just larva, and must be reborn into something greater and more permanant.

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  • $\begingroup$ Like a horrifying, hideous butterfly $\endgroup$ – TrEs-2b Jul 17 '16 at 2:41
  • $\begingroup$ Although I note the resemblance between my Eldritch Horror answer and the unknowable butterfly, I don’t intend them to be horrifying. More like “there's nothing we could possibly talk about”. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jul 17 '16 at 3:02
  • $\begingroup$ awesomenauts.com/nauts/genji.html , would your denizens look like this? $\endgroup$ – Skye Jul 17 '16 at 12:49
  • $\begingroup$ @sky No, catepillar was being used metaphorically, to express how the being is reborn into a different form rather than gradual growth and change like we are used to. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jul 17 '16 at 18:19
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Blatantly rewriting my answer to this question

The Anthill Would be More of an Ant Pile

Quite literally a pile


As a living organism that needs to hunt, move and grow, remaining in one place would not be very good. The best solution is to act in a similar manner to army ants. Instead of always moving in a direction, they would move as a pile. The primary part of this pile would act as the anthill, with specialized ants guarding the outside. This caste would act as both the Immune system and skin, their best defense would be a combination of formic acid and trap jaws.

The Soldier Caste would also be present in the limbs (see further down) and in small numbers inside of the pile itself. They would be the most expendable of all castes and also the most common. The Soldier also takes on the task of telling the difference between friend and foe. Another caste similar to this would be the Drones, they would basically work as an extension of sight; while all of the ants would attribute to sight (giving Anthills 360 degree spherical vision), Drones would allow the Anthill to find food and predators much quicker.

Inside of this pile you would see a lot of odd grouping of different castes acting as different organs. The workers would act as the dirt on the diagram below. enter image description here

The Queen; The Circulatory, Immune and Reproductive System

The Queen would serve three human purposes; The Spleen, The Bone Marrow and the Reproductive system.

  • By laying eggs, she would be making members of castes, Doing this she works as the Spleen and the Bone Marrow. If the larva is a Drone, a Soldier or a Biter, then she made members of the Immune system acting as the bone marrow. If the larva is any other caste; Worker, Courier, etc then she has made members of the Circulatory system acting as the spleen. If she produces a queen, then the new queen will slowly bud off forming a new anthill, acting as the reproductive system (see the Reproduction System).

The Farms, Digestion

Ants as a species have been farming for over 50 million years. It is completely possible that a part of the digestive system would be a Farmer caste. Using aphid droppings or a kind of Fungus as food. This farming would have be the equivalent to fat storage in humans; the food produced would be used in case of lack of outside food. An interesting idea here is for ants to cultivate bioluminescent fungi in order to make themselves glow. The stomach as a digestive organ would not exist. It would be more akin to fat, since each ants would digest on its own, the stomach would only store food until an ant gets hungry.

The Reproductive System

Anthills would be a hermaphrodite species, able to act as both Male and Female. The female half produces Queens when resources are plenty and they have a mate to keep it alive. The male half provides the Queen with a place to grow while it is weak.

When the Queen produces a Queen (due to a high amount of resources available to the larva) The new Queen (or Princess) will fly into the Anthills mate where it will act similar to marsupial mammals. When inside the 'Father', it will be protected and provided with a breeding male to create a combination of genetic material. The new Queen starts to make its own ants, a specialized caste is needed (The Soldier Caste, see below) to tell that the Princess is not an intruder and alert other ants of this difference. As the Princess' ants grow in amount, she will start to bud off and eventually become her own Queen of a new Anthill.

Soldiers, The Immune System

enter image description here

As said above the Soldier Caste is the most important of all castes, they would be built to prevent disease from spreading by catching it and abandoning the pile, like a sick dog. Also the dumbest caste, they are weaker in all but 2 regards (in which they are ahead by a wide margin); Fighting and Smelling.

  1. They are are extremely powerful, using the 2 best weapons an individual ant has: Trap jaws and Formic acid. Trap Jaws, as seen above, work as razor sharp biological mousetraps delivering a very powerful bite. Formic acid is the simplest carboxylic acid, most commonly found in ant venom.
  2. Their defensive skills are matched only by their sense of smell. They can smell the difference between friendly things, such as other random anthills and enemies, such as predators or anthills with intent to harm and then transmit a scent to the rest of the colony with instructions to treat them as a friend or foe.

The Nervous System

Information and coordination works via pheromones and shared stomach contents between Ants, with no central controller, this is the primary difference between an animal and a collective. A specific caste, the Courier, specializing in sending messages directly to distant reaches rather than diffusing slowly through the population allows for the collective Anthill to think. These can relay messages from one organ to another, directly and quickly. Like an octopus, the Anthill has distributive intelligence, Couriers are found in every part of the pile. Couriers are not like nerve tissue, they are nerve tissue.

The Couriers work by using pheromones, which in turn rely on the hardest sense to duplicate; smell. These pheromones work much like electrical energy in the human brain, though not as efficient, they replace intelligence for a better rounded creature.

Growth and Death

The only factor that limits an Anthills growth is the amount of resources available to it. Similar to a cell, where at a certain size the food will not be able to reach the nucleus, size is a factor for Anthills. If the anthill becomes to large it will need to not only always eat, but be on a food source. Unlike most Earthern animals, age and size have no similarity or connection in Anthills. After a new Anthill buds off, it will technically be fully grown, though the will still age. An Anthill will likely be considered 'fully grown' when it is able to reproduce (though cultural reasons may change this)

When it comes to aging, wounds and disease, Anthills are practically immortal. The Queen simply replaces herself as the spleen when she nears death, Wounds are not a problem due to the Anthills lack of blood and disease only kills an individual ant. Of course these are generalizations and they do have exceptions. For example, the Anthill has a very high metabolism and thus is very susceptible to starvation, especially in a community. Aging also has its limits, as (unless you go with the self reproducing method) the Anthill needs a mate to prevent dying of old age within 30 years, also even assuming the Anthill can endless provide itself with a new queen memory would be fading quickly after 100+ years considering smell is its primary source of memory. Wounds are an Anthills strongest immunity, the only way to kill an Anthill with wounds is to 1; kill the queen or 2; kill all the ants. Saying an Anthill is immune to disease is a stretch, because if the disease is contagious and the first ant to catch it spreads it before leaving, then the Anthill is like any other animal with disease.

Feeding

Emerging from the Central pile are "limbs" (I use the term loosely, a better name would be Chains) consisting of primarily Soldiers with a few Couriers. these will protrude from the central pile for many different reasons.

enter image description here

  1. To meet a predator early on, same reason you put an army outside the castle. By fighting the enemy from a distance, you decrease the odds of damage to the central pile.

  2. Hunting. If it takes less energy to drag the prey to the central pile than to move the pile (which, unless it ways equal to or more than the pile it is) then it makes more sense to drag the prey.

  3. On of the biggest advantages to a collective over monobodied animals is their ability to spread out and search as a group. For example, if the Pile is starving they can send multiple chains in random directions, follow the one that finds food and let the others die.
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To give you fair warning, I'm going to stretch the limit of the one species per person. These species were designed as a pair, and are very similar. They were were created for the purpose of inhabiting a pair of binary planets.

Fun History Lesson

Just as a race of reptilian humanoids was on the cusp of sapience, some super advanced aliens noticed that an extinction level event would occur soon. A planet about the size of Mars was going to crash into the lizard people! So the aliens took all the lizard people off of the planet and moved them to a recently terraformed binary planet. The lizard people were saved from Thei-cough cough an unnamed exoplanet the size of Mars.

A Little Bit Of Biology

One of the two planets was a mainly water world with lots of islands. The other was very dry with few large bodies of water. So one species became more like greater short horned lizards, with hard scales and spikes to protect themselves, and the other species became more like axolotls, with high regeneration rates to protect themselves. (Did you think these aliens would make it easy on them? They'll still have reasonably intelligent predators. at least, enough so that they'll be forced to evolve sapience.) Both groups still have males and females, and still lay eggs.

(For convenience sake I'll dub them WLZ - Water Lizards, and DLZ - Desert/Dry Lizards. At this point I just don't have a decent name for either.)

Society

As a whole, the WLZ are more peaceful, and more inclined to flee from danger. They normally live in small clans of a few immediate families. Parents generally take care of their eggs until they hatch, then they raise them to adulthood. They live a nomadic lifestyle, and when they see fit to keep something, they guard it zealously. They do not a lot of government.

As a whole, the DLZ are more warlike, and more inclined to fight when in danger. They live in large underground metropolises, with communal chambers where eggs are hatched and raised by designated members of society. They have a caste system and an aristocracy, and there is almost no ownership of property.

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I've created a species that grew out of halflings from D&D/pathfinder and other systems. I basically looked at their stat build and started asking questions as to why they might have a +2 to charisma.

-2 strength (makes sense because they are smaller) +2 dex (I can get behind their agility being higher because of this) and then +2 charisma.

The explanation was that they are "strong-willed" however charisma doesn't build into Will (which is wisdom-based). So, for some reason they have a stronger force of personality. Charisma as a stat isn't about physical attractiveness, nor is it about them being non-threatening. Charisma is force of personality. It determines whether or not people listen to you when you order them to do something, ask them and how believable your lies are.

So you've got a really small person who is more likely to be listened to than your bog-standard human (although any human can add a +2 to any stat including this one because of their flexibility).

I wondered, what was it about their society, their way of being which gave them this advantage? In evolution we gain advantages because there's a push, therefore, I decided that, their society had to be highly competitive socially, pretty much from birth, and that the advantage had to benefit them. So--I decided that they had children in litters. Then, I made them highly imitative. Groups, and where you fit into them are extremely important, and generally, they don't take things on alone. Anyone who does is strange in their society, so you have to be good at getting others to participate with you.

These changes lead to a lot of other things--they skew towards matriarchy for instance. Also, everything is based on circles and families. In a patriarchy, things are line based--anyone can get in a line, even if you are at the end. Things seem more equal when it's a circle, but in a circle, someone has to let you in for you to be part of it. I also made their life-cycle shorter than humans because they come out in litters, but it also means they mature faster and learn faster than humans do.

I don't call them halflings because, honestly, that sounds less like a name and more like a racial slur the talls came up with.

They aren't the only fantasy-standard race I've been messing with, but they are the focus of what I've been writing. Perhaps too humanoid for your liking--but there it is!

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