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Old 02-14-2014, 05:45 PM   #11
ericthered
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Default Re: One of my alien designs

When I first read about one mother and many daughters, I was quite skeptical. Then I noticed that the male increases the mother's lifespan by six to seven times, and things made a LOT more sense.


A few questions (which I hope you'll take as compliments, I don't normally find aliens with different biologies that are well thought out):

How many 'daughters' is considered a large family? how many is considered a small family?
Does wealth stratification tend to happen to a family as a whole, or to a particular individual?

And now for my mind generating what perversions of this system are possible. I know the answers to these are going to vary by society among the aliens.

This order presumably breaks down on occasion. What does that look like? I assume it looks like a large number of sisters going ronin.
Has infanticide ever occurred? A mother who kills a batch of tadpoles when it becomes apparent that none are male, and tries until she has one? I assume such things happen, even if they are abhorrent.
How is the crime of stealing a tadpole and becoming (if only temporarily) a mother looked upon? does this crime take moments, hours, or days? How are the resulting children looked upon?
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Old 02-14-2014, 06:39 PM   #12
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Default Re: One of my alien designs

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
When I first read about one mother and many daughters, I was quite skeptical. Then I noticed that the male increases the mother's lifespan by six to seven times, and things made a LOT more sense.

A few questions (which I hope you'll take as compliments, I don't normally find aliens with different biologies that are well thought out):

How many 'daughters' is considered a large family? how many is considered a small family?
I am struggling with this at the moment. If we assume an average of 36 children born a year (24 to 48) the population grows for 45 years when the first generation starts to die off of old age, we get 1,620, but I want larger populations than that, up to say 5,000. Some will leave by choice and some will be adopted into the House, that may balance out. Some will also leave whenever a male is born and joined to make a new House. The 45 years of age also doesn't take into account TL 10 medicine. I probably need to have more eggs laid or multiple clutches in a year.

As for a starting family, it is generally the Mother and 100 Daughters (50 from her House and 50 from the male's House though the initial numbers can vary somewhat). Growth will be steady in terms of population, but it takes 9 years for a Chibi to reach adulthood, so actual productivity of the House takes awhile to get gowing.

Males are exceedingly rare though, maybe 1 in 1000 births.

Quote:
Does wealth stratification tend to happen to a family as a whole, or to a particular individual?
The Wealth would apply to the House in general, the Daughters would have a wealthier patron, but individually they would still be living in a communal society where their needs are provided for. The Mother technically controls all the wealth of the House.

Quote:
And now for my mind generating what perversions of this system are possible. I know the answers to these are going to vary by society among the aliens.

This order presumably breaks down on occasion. What does that look like? I assume it looks like a large number of sisters going ronin.
A really bad Mother who mismanages her House and/or mistreats her Daughters will see a lot of defections.

Quote:
Has infanticide ever occurred? A mother who kills a batch of tadpoles when it becomes apparent that none are male, and tries until she has one? I assume such things happen, even if they are abhorrent.
While males are valued (for their ability to be used in form alliances with other Houses), Daughters are actually much more useful to a Mother as they are the workforce that keeps the House running. Any infanticide that happened in the past would have been due birth defects or lack of resources, things that almost never happen at the current level of Chibi development.

Quote:
How is the crime of stealing a tadpole and becoming (if only temporarily) a mother looked upon? does this crime take moments, hours, or days? How are the resulting children looked upon?
Becoming a Mother by force is a great crime. It has happened though. There have been cases of a Daughter killing her Mother and stealing the male. The drawback to attempting this is that while a Mother can lay eggs, there is now way she can actually care for that many children on her own without her own set of Daughters. So a successful mutiny of a House would require cooperation from a large number of people. The illegitimate Mother would also be blacklisted by most Houses if it was publicly known what she did which would hurt the prosperity of any such House.

If she managed to survive long enough to have a clutch of eggs hatch, the children could be adopted into other Houses like any other Chibi, but there might be some who whisper bad things about them. The Mother of the House that adopted such a child would not condone such a thing though as she brought the child into the House and she is now her Daughter (adopted or not).

While the male survives symbiotically off the female while in the pouch, he does not actually need to live there. He is more than content to swim his life away in the spawning pool where the other Chibi feed him. So the only danger in arresting a rogue Mother would be possibly harming the male.

Oddly stealing your Mother's male and bonding with a male your Mother spawned are considered incestuous to the Chibi, while a Daughter taking over for her Mother when she dies is not, that is considered preserving your Mother's legacy.

Last edited by Arawaen; 02-14-2014 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 02-15-2014, 01:16 AM   #13
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Default Re: One of my alien designs

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?

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.

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)

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.

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 species...fun exercise!
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:30 AM   #14
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Default Re: One of my alien designs

Quote:
Originally Posted by apoc527 View Post
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 don't have any stats that make them less aggressive than Humans (unless a situation arises in which they're too curious or lonely to shoot you while the average Human would), and we're pretty aggressive, as a group, in case you haven't noticed. A Proud Mother could get her back up over something and order 5,000 Humble, frequently Selfless daughters who have rock-solid camaraderie with the team into battle on a whim. They actually sound kinda dangerous to me.

ETA: And they're all Playful, as the racial average. They can do stuff like the Birthday Boy scene in Full Metal Jacket and almost nobody will quietly freak out - the entire squad will genuinely laugh. Morale bonanza. The more I think about it, the less I want to fight a war against these women.

Last edited by Gold & Appel Inc; 02-15-2014 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 02-15-2014, 06:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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 species...fun 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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Old 02-15-2014, 06:57 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Gold & Appel Inc View Post
They don't have any stats that make them less aggressive than Humans (unless a situation arises in which they're too curious or lonely to shoot you while the average Human would), and we're pretty aggressive, as a group, in case you haven't noticed. A Proud Mother could get her back up over something and order 5,000 Humble, frequently Selfless daughters who have rock-solid camaraderie with the team into battle on a whim. They actually sound kinda dangerous to me.

ETA: And they're all Playful, as the racial average. They can do stuff like the Birthday Boy scene in Full Metal Jacket and almost nobody will quietly freak out - the entire squad will genuinely laugh. Morale bonanza. The more I think about it, the less I want to fight a war against these women.
The only thing that has mitigated wide-spread violence for the Chibi (compared to humans) is the notion of family. A Mother may need to send her Daughters to their deaths to preserve the House (and would do so if she had to), but they are still her Daughters not drones, she loves them.
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:12 PM   #17
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Are there many species on the race's home world (animal level) intelligence with the same tadpole marsupial set up, you know, evolutionary cousins? What allows the rare males to out survive their sisters? Are they spiked, poisonous, or better at hiding in their youth?

I also love this race. I have questions about linguistic challenges with human languages based on human psychology versus the alien... But I'll review the parts on language you've already posted before I do do!
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Old 02-17-2014, 01:45 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by LemmingLord View Post
Are there many species on the race's home world (animal level) intelligence with the same tadpole marsupial set up, you know, evolutionary cousins? What allows the rare males to out survive their sisters? Are they spiked, poisonous, or better at hiding in their youth?

I also love this race. I have questions about linguistic challenges with human languages based on human psychology versus the alien... But I'll review the parts on language you've already posted before I do do!
I have decided that one major branch of 'amphibian' life follows this pattern on their planet, but they have another branch with more more conventional male/female ratios.

I hadn't thought of extra survival ability for males, but they would need it. Better camouflage, sort of like how many female birds lack the bright colors of the males. I also never thought about how the animals are organized, but it seems it would have to be hive/colony like in structure, with the female/male reproductive unit being protected. But as with life on Earth there is undoubtedly lots of variation of strategies.

Other psychology thoughts:
1. no real concept of romantic relationships, they do form friendships, most often within the House because that is who an given Chibi would interact with the most, but also possible outside the House and is much more common in modern Chibi society where Houses interact more.
2. the touching, sleeping together and swimming naked thing mean very different things to them than they do for humans and many other species.
3. curious nature which helps them learn quickly in their shortened maturation process also leads not so much respect for personal space
4. they don't categorize people as male or female, one could say they assume everyone is female or they treat everyone as female, but that is kind of simplification. The concept of separate fashions, behaviors, and the like based on gender is very alien to them.
5. they like to work as teams, and develop the ability to do so very well.
6. an alien can get adopted into a House, it is quite rare even now that the Chibi interact with other species regularly, they get treated as any adopted Daughter with certain limitations on positions that can be held within the House - no alien would ever get a position of authority within a House.

Other linguistic thoughts:
1. purring, cooing and hissing are among their vocalizations. They don't sniff or snort for physiological reasons.
2. I use the she/her pronouns for them, but I think a more direct translation would be genderless since they don't draw the distinction, but we lack such a pronoun.
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Old 02-17-2014, 01:47 PM   #19
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Default Re: One of my alien designs

I want to thank everyone for the questions and thoughts.

I am adding to my write-up of them based on the thinking you guys have made me do. Some of it was stuff I just didn't think to put in and the rest was stuff you made me consider.
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