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Old 02-15-2014, 06:49 PM   #15
Arawaen's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Default Re: One of my alien designs

Originally Posted by apoc527 View Post
Fascinating alien design. Some questions to help you flesh them out more:

1. Why did they develop intelligence? What was the evolutionary need for it?
I would think intelligence came about because the more intelligent the better they could communicate and coordinate the groups. One can view them like a hive, but rather than worker bees going out solo to gather pollen, a small team of Daughters went out hunting or gathering.

I don't see why their world would have any less hazards than Earth for primitive Chibi: predators, weather, disease, competition, etc.

2. They seem to be remarkably peaceful and non-aggressive, though you indicate they might be carnivorous. It seems likely that a carnivore would develop some level of aggression and capacity for violence. These Chibi seem perhaps too peaceful.
They are omnivores, early on they were hunter-gatherers but they developed agriculture and husbandry. Competition between Houses did and does happen, in modern times it is rarely settled with violence but TL 4 and before it sometimes happened.

Cliques can form within a House, though a wise Mother would put an end to anything that disrupted the harmony of the House.

Each House dedicates a certain amount of resources to security and I don't see the Chibi having standing armies so much as a paramilitary security force. External threats require an alliance of Houses each contributing to the military strength.

3. In a setting with many starfaring cultures, how do they avoid being dominated by a species that is more warlike? (which has nothing to do with being "female" -- the Asari are plenty powerful in Mass Effect)
Seeing themselves as an extended family, other Houses are cousins they can come together easier than say balkanized nations of humans. The Chibi Union is an alliance of Houses which has among other things the purpose of protecting Chibi interests in the greater galactic community.

Chibi are also very good team players, I see them as having hunted prey in teams allowing them to make up for their small size.

4. What *do* they eat? One of my favorite history teachers said, to echo Guns, Germs, and Steel, "everything starts with farming." If they don't need to farm, they may not develop societies, and thus spaceflight is unlikely.
The only dishes I have come up with them so far are sliced fruit platters, sashimi type platters with pieces of raw fish or insect, a paste made from crushed insect, fruit salad, and a very sweet fruit juice.

I see them as having fisheries, orchards, as well as keeping hives. Farming is definitely a part of their history, it just probably wasn't grain fields.

Anyway, not that they aren't cool, I'm just curious how you'd answer these questions...

Another observation about sci-fi aliens in general--I think that you can apply certain principles of human history to alien cultures without needless anthropomorphism. You have to figure out what evolutionary pressures caused intelligence to arrive and then you have to organize that intelligence into a society capable of producing spaceflight (assuming you want the typical space opera with lots of starfaring humanoids). I think there are plenty of lessons that apply from our history that are perhaps independent of our biology. Yes, many things are linked to that biology, but the whole "everything starts with farming" concept doesn't seem like it would be.

Now I want to invent some exercise!
I acknowledge that the Chibi being humanoid is explained more by the GM wanting humanoid aliens than any evolutionary advantage of the humanoid form for creatures that lived in large swamps.
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