Alien lifeforms can and should be well alien. While being alien is important, being too far removed from human makes them hard to relate to. So while in reality aliens could be most likely so different from humans that they might not even be recognized as life. For a game making them relatable is a very important aspect that we will have to add to them.
The tug at the corner of your thoughts is distracting. You have noticed this happening more and more as the days go by. What is that tug you feel? You aren’t sure but it might be the tug because you feel like you are missing something. What is it that you are missing? Also why does everyone around you seem not right? Things are not just a problem for you but for those you care about as well.
What is really going on inside that skull of yours? Well sometimes “life finds a way” as the old saying goes. This time life is a bit hard to accept with this form. Thought has given rise to life and how it propagates. This time the thought has come from something that mankind has only just really started to truly dive into. What it has done is give us this mental virus that is taking part of our higher function offline so it can use it to recreate the thought form that has given it life. What is going to happen if or when it all comes online?
Life is always something that humans have trouble putting out there. Past is it a solid? Is it a carbon or silicon based form of life that is also humanoid? These seem to be the big things that humans have decided are the way you can have other life forms. The universe is massive and still expanding so life is going to show up in ways humans might not really understand. What is the first law of thermodynamics? Well we know that part of the human mind is electrical nature. What if there was a race that was just energy? In comes the Rydilian’s as we have started taking to calling them.
What are the Rydilian’s? They are a race of pure energy. They do not have a form that is physical in a way that humans can really interact with them. As pure energy the big question humans have is can they be a way for us to advance? It is possible but communication is hard between the two. Because the number of them we have found is only two so far. Does this mean that that is all of them? No, we are pretty certain that there is more but they are not very forthcoming with information about themselves. Since they are energy they do not have a need for ships. They can travel at speeds we can not understand. So what do they have to offer us? Nothing that they are willing to explain to us. Maybe they are seeing if we are worth trying to help before they do anything.
Not all life forms are macroscopic and sapient. (Or malicious) One of the biggest journey changing discoveries was in the form of extraterrestrial anaerobic bacteria. Named after a science fiction author from the 20th century, these microbes have quite literally been a lifesaver to the crew. These bacteria are extremophiles and can survive in a variety of hostile environments. Additionally, they don’t rely on oxygen to survive. But what makes these microbial miracles so special is that their waste product is oxygen. They have extended the time of EVM, allowing the crew to make lengthy, yet vital ship repairs. They are now a key component for emergency medical packs. They’ve been used as catalysts to help keep certain experiments oxygenated. While these bacteria do require more study, the benefit to the crew and the ship has been immeasurable.
Little is known about these strange creatures. The crew has started to calling them “Star Jellyfish” due to their semispherical “heads” (maybe) and long tendrils. Their semi transparent bodies bend and warp light within themselves, creating a gorgeous tapestry of shapes and colours. They don’t have any observable mode of self locomotion, they ride the gravity waves produced by interstellar phenomenon. (Supernovae, quasar jets, stellar collisions, etc.) As majestic as these creatures are, it is best avoided to avoid them, or risk damage to personnel and craft. While possibly intelligent, these creatures seemingly operate by having a distributed nervous system not a central one. As such each part responds based on external stimuli with no overt coordination. When anything comes into contact with the Surfers, they immediately latch onto it with their tendrils, pulling it towards their translucent dome. The tendrils are incredibly sturdy. An elemental analysis of a broken tendril fragment shows a makeup of every known element, in some very strange configurations. But once something is pulled into its luminant dome, it disappears from view. It’s assumed that whatever was captured is broken down to its elemental parts and then integrated.
So while it is breathtaking to watch these magnificent creatures, do so at a safe distance.
It took quite a while to figure out why the mass distribution seemed to be off between the quadrants of the ship. Things were … close to expected mass but just different enough to require an adjustment here and there. It wasn’t until some poor Prophylaxis Phylum initiate was tasked with cleaning out the recycling ducts near Her Honor Kazuya’s quarters that the first hint of the Mycosapiods were discovered.
Unfortunately, we’ve lost the name of that initiate, likely due to some unavoidable mishap with “first contact” with the Mycos. It is hard enough to get all the factions going along with one plan, but when you are dealing with a distributed fungal consciousness, it is even more of a challenge. As best as the big brains aboard the Eden Ship can figure out, one of the little planet hopping explorations brought back a microscopic piece of fungus that started to replicate within the waste reclamation system. Combine this with an opportunity for unadulterated cosmic radiation and it has evolved into something .. else.
The signs of sentience were hard to notice at first, but rudimentary communication was eventually established even if it mostly amounts to marking territory as off limits, ensuring a specific amount of nutrient density for the Mycos, and their continued improvement on the reclamation and biological systems of the ship. The trade off has been almost seamless, save a few crew who wandered too far astray and were consumed by the Mycos. It’s certainly creepy enough to find the slightly pulsing blanket of fungus down a repair shaft, but recently reports have filtered back that Mycos are starting to form vaguely human shaped mushroom lattices.
Are they still evolving? Or is this what happened on whatever planet they came from? What can you manage to barter with this seemingly sentient ocean of connected fungus?
There is an old saying that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. How do you truly know who falls into which camp? While humans have formed affiliative bonds since time immemorial to help answer this in socio-political shorthand, other options have evolved in the cosmos. One benefit to the occasional trip to a planet when you escape the gravitic well of the ship is to find new ways that flora and fauna reflect and manipulate their biospheres. One such outing found an outpost of symbiotic insectoids that used the local flora as their “hosts.”
The jokes came quickly about how this was just like those old stories from back on Terra! This is another one of those movies or shows, or body snatching creatures! The jokes were not entirely wrong. The K’ltl`moria did require a host to survive for more than a scant few weeks, evolving on a lush world that was teeming with options. They identified a friend not by the shape of the host, but by the treatment of the host itself. While only a few dozen are currently aboard,they are a pleasant change of pace.
Gregarious and open, the K’ltl`moria seek out new experiences in these host bodies taken from the ailing and afflicted crew of the Eden ship. They enhance the metabolism of their host and have proven to be quite accommodating of the requests of the host bodies. The hosts own consciousness doesn’t survive the process, but so far there hasn’t been a rejection of a K’ltl`moria by a human host either. The long slow breeding cycle means it is decades before these dozens turn into hundreds, but when friendly and generous souls … even if they are insectoid souls …. Are trying to be helpful, how can you say no? A shame they didn’t have a better technological grasp than the Eden ship crew itself.
Zendead – If you are watching what is going on with #opendnd While I love lots of different games this is a big thing of our time right now. If you feel inclined please sign the letter and make your voice heard. https://www.opendnd.games/
Joules – Dan Jones and Dragons – Dan Jones (Streamer, artist, youtuber) runs a really entertaining show on his twitch channel. He posts the VODS on his youtube channel
Guard-a-Manger – Designers & Dragons. As you’ve likely heard, the TTRPG community is at a point of inflection as the future of the hobby is up for grabs. To best understand what futures may exist, one should study the past. The incomparable Designers & Dragons is a collection of books I would consult when preparing Card Catalogs to get a near encyclopedic overview of the history of the hobby and the large and medium sized companies and personages that made it up. Head over to Evil Hat today and pick up a digital copy of each of the four volumes.
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