Race The Arachneidi

Discussion in 'NPCs and Creatures' started by DeadlyLuvdisc, May 2, 2013.

  1. DeadlyLuvdisc

    DeadlyLuvdisc Oxygen Tank

    Meet the Arachneidi--
    Spider Hallway b.png
    Singular: Arachneid.
    Noun: An intelligent alien race of arthropods known for having cultural similarities to the Mid-Eastern cultures of historical Earth. They prefer to live underground because the planets of their native solar system are either very hot or very cold and feature intense solar radiation. They are also well known for literally being backwards; see the section on physiology.

    The home worlds of the Arachneidi are known as Arachne III and Arachne IV. Each one has several colonized moons that lack natural atmosphere, and the surface climates are known to be rather extreme. Arachne III becomes extremely hot during the day, and solar radiation can rapidly dehydrate or even incinerate living creatures that remain exposed. At night, however, the climate becomes more mild and a variety of surface life emerges. In contrast, Arachne IV is frigidly cold and mostly devoid of surface life. Even before interstellar travel was perfected, the Arachneidi had traveled between these two planets and thoroughly colonized them, as well as the moons in orbit.

    Arachne III is covered in flat deserts that are plagued with sandstorms, and has relatively low moisture levels on the surface. However, the crust of the planet was naturally pitted with cave systems that kept most of the water from evaporating. On the rare occasions when it did rain, huge torrents would fill the cave systems, leading to Arachneidan innovations in hydraulic duct work to prevent it from destroying their dwellings.

    Arachne IV is very mountainous and the weather usually features copious snowfall. During the day it is quite a bit warmer and occasionally rises above the freezing point of water in some areas, but the thin atmosphere means that anything on the surface is quickly damaged by solar radiation that can even be fatal over extended periods. Almost all life on this planet lives beneath the surface, under the vast sheets of icy glaciers.


    The Arachneidan anatomy is most certainly strange by most standards. As a result of the process of evolution, the Arachneid has eyes that are upside-down, mouth parts on top of their head, and what was once their back side has become their front. Before the advent of modern science among the Arachneidi, even some of them had a hard time believing this remarkable past!
    The ancestor species was much like Earth's camel spider, creating burrows avoid direct sunlight and stay cool during the day, as well as to ambush prey and hide from predators. To escape these predators quickly while outside of their burrows, they developed the instinct to run backwards on their rear legs because it took too long for the eight legged creatures to turn around. This posture incidentally gave them greater vision of the area behind them, and after many generations this became the usual stance for the species, even when they were not fleeing from danger. As they evolved, they used their increased mobility and mimicry to become successful predators themselves, and gradually developed into a highly intelligent race. Over the course of this evolution they became larger, and their primary four legs became humanoid limbs while the other four shriveled up and remained as small vestigial limbs on their upper backs.

    Evolution of Spider.png
    --Cave Painting found several millenia ago during an Arachneidan Archaeological dig. Carbon dating reveals that this is likely evidence that the legendary origins of Arachneid physiology are true.

    Mimicry is responsible for the wide variety of mouth parts found among the species (known as 'chelicerae' in Terran terminology). At one time these allowed their ancestors to hide among other types of animals, or to intimidate potential predators. The chelicerae are flexible and can fold up underneath any headgear that an Arachneid may wear.

    Concept 4m.png Concept Reverse.png
    Left image is from the front, Right image is from the rear.
    The tongue-like organ protruding from the mouth is called a 'glossa'.

    The vibrant markings on their bellies were once used to confuse predators, but have grown to be used primarily for mate selection since they are no longer located on their backs. Because historians have determined statistical correlations between the belly marks and some castes and rankings, it is hypothesized that at one time the markings were used to determine the caste and rank of another Arachneid.

    Being upside-down and backside-front, they actually have non-inverted vision. Other creatures see the world upside-down because of the way the lenses of the eye bend light, and their brain automatically inverts the image so that they can interact with their world properly. The Arachneidi, on the other hand, see right-side up naturally due to their unusual evolutionary path.

    Arthropods such as the Arachneid do not have an internal skeleton. This means that the structural integrity of their bodies is protected by an external skeleton (or exoskeleton). It is made of a chitin-like material that is more flexible than bone, but not quite as hard. While their ancestors did not have compound cardiovascular, pulmonary, or respiratory systems, the Arachneidi developed more sophisticated methods of breathing and pumping blood as they evolved into larger sizes. Injuries both internal and external are treated in much the same way as for other creatures, except that skeletal damage carries somewhat different health concerns-- The exoskeleton heals faster than bone but slower than skin, so blood loss and dehydration are greater risks, but they are rarely crippled due to skeletal damage.


    An Arachneid, by nature, tends to avoid direct sunlight, which has shaped much of their development over the ages. The light doesn't significantly harm them, but they find it more uncomfortable than most of the other races due to their subterranean heritage. To compensate, they learned to use the various translucent crystals and volcanic glass that they discovered beneath the earth to reflect, magnify, and bend light to serve their purposes beneath the surface world. Arachneidan homes that are not illuminated by oil lamps are instead filled with light from other areas that has been refracted through a countless chain of crystals and orbs, creating comfortably dim lighting in a wide array of beautiful colors. This expertise was also utilized in more brutal ways during times of war. This is usually found in the form of light-based weaponry that can incinerate their enemies with a focused beam, or goggles that allowed them to see well in darkness while leaving the vulnerable unprepared. The typical Arachneidi racial equipment bonus is enhanced dark vision, and they often utilize blinding flash bombs.

    Taming light was not their only major achievement. Living underground required excellent plumbing and air flow, so Arachneidan pumps and duct work are famous for being of the highest quality. They also have excellent metalworking skills, and their craftsmanship with glass is the best, bar-none. They've harvested thousands of kinds of silk from all of the other creatures that live on their home planet, and woven those silks into a wide variety of ornate rugs that are exceptionally valuable among the other races. The cloth they weave can even be durable enough to use as armor, thanks to the remarkable strength and toughness of certain silks.

    Advanced Metallurgical practices allowed the Arachneidi to develop efficient melee weapons. While they are difficult to wield, flexible metal weapons like the Urumi (seen here and here) are quite effective once mastered. The Katar and Bagh Nahk (used by Saluk, in Aladdin) are used as punching weapons and are easily concealed in the robes that Arachneidi often wear. The Glaive and Scimitar also have symbolic significance in their culture and are common weapons as well. When their armor is not made of silks, it is generally plate or scale armor. Chain mail has fallen out of use over time because space travel makes air-tight seals more important.

    Electricity was also harnessed by the Arachneidi, though the discovery had much less impact than it had for other civilizations because of previous Arachneidan inventions. For example, they did not benefit that much from electric lights, because they could already light an entire city throughout the night using only a few lamps refracted through crystals and orbs. Several of their domesticated animals were also naturally bio-luminescent, further reducing that need. On the other hand, bio-fuels were instrumental in their development of long distance travel.

    Though they avoided interstellar travel for most of their history due to the outcome of what has come to be known as the War of Light and Darkness, they did have the capability and technology to travel between planets for several hundred years before first contact was made. In fact, during the early years of the War they even discovered evidence of intelligent alien life. However, it was only after first contact that the Arachneidi acknowledged that expansion into the rest of the universe was inevitable, and so they reluctantly embraced it.


    The Arachneidan social structure is based on a caste system, usually also lead by a single figurehead who manages the various castes. This leader is known by a word that roughly translates to 'Successor', and the position is considered to be a great civic sacrifice. The Successor is expected to renounce worldly possessions and spends most of every day visiting the many caste leaders to discuss politics and such, generally without any vacation time and requiring much travel. Successors who do not take this civic duty seriously are often beheaded by castes that feel like their rights are not being protected, although many Successors are lavishly bribed by the castes and end up traveling with entourages and harems that cater to their every whim. The balance of power between each caste is of the greatest importance in Arachneidi politics.

    There are four major castes, each containing many sub-castes of different ranks. The major four roughly translate to the Warrior caste, the Teacher caste, the Artisan caste, and the Laborer caste. While most successors come from the Warrior caste, they are always advised by several members of the Teacher caste (usually from opposing sub-castes). There have been several Successors from the Teacher caste, and there are legends about Successors from the other two castes as well, but they are uncommon because the Warrior caste always has a clear military advantage should it come to civil war.

    The roles of the castes are pretty general, while sub-castes are more like guilds. Warrior caste members are trained in combat and police work, and when they reach high ranks they lead executive forces and carry out the law. Teacher caste members uphold the traditions of society, carry out rituals, instruct the youth, and contribute to academics, science, and philosophy. The Artisan caste produces valuable goods, and carries out trade among each other and with other cultures (including other races and outcastes). The Laborer caste includes farmers, hunters, miners, and any number of other roles that lay the foundation for civilization.

    There are also many Arachneidi who abandoned this caste system during the last great war, and to this day live separately. They are considered to be 'outcastes', a caste below any other. If they are reintegrated into the primary Arachneidan society, they usually end up employed in the most unpleasant positions, like collecting and disposing of garbage, sewage work, cleaning, etc... They are thoroughly shunned by the caste system, and are sometimes even considered 'unclean', perhaps due to the only employment options available to them. Movement between the castes is rare, and generally mating is only done between members of the same caste. It is almost impossible for someone to reach a higher ranking caste via marriage, and the caste of each child is determined by the parent of the opposite sex.

    Their religion is fragmented into many factions with differing philosophical views, and in many cases the great debates between the factions ended up becoming Holy Books that laid the foundations for entirely new factions. They all share one thing in common: They do not have a personal deity. Although in many cases there are mythologies that recount deities of various sorts (usually called demons, in the non-pejorative sense), they are never headed by one deity that is most powerful. Instead, they often refer to something called 'Fortitu'. In some cases this is described as the ultimate unity of everything, the reflection of the whole universe within each individual, as that which exists when no distinctions are made between different things, the interdependency of all existence, or even as boundless void before thought. On occasion there have been traditions that worshiped an anthropomorphic representation of Fortitu, but they were usually shut down by the Teacher caste. Even though there are popular rituals and prayers to honor Fortitu, they never expect any kind of answer. When asked, "what is the meaning of the universe?" most Arachneidi will simply reply "Fortitu."


    The War of Light and Darkness is the most prominent moment in recorded Arachneidi history, in no small part due to the fact that both sides of the conflict were known to burn the libraries of the opposing faction. The war began very shortly after their discovery of practical interstellar travel. The two groups each had different names for themselves, but in time they came to be known as the "darkness" and the "light". The names come from the fact that one faction looked outwards to the stars that radiate light, and the other faction looked inwards and wanted to retreat into the darkness beneath the earth.

    The forces of Light were supporters of interstellar exploration, seeking out new knowledge among the stars. They hoped to find new life and new ideas. To them, the universe was a great adventure waiting to happen. At first, the Light was mostly comprised of scientists and young upstarts in the military hoping for adventure, but after the discovery of ancient alien ruins on other worlds things changed. Many merchants began to support the Light with hopes that exploration could lead to trade with foreign species, and progressive political groups welcomed the possibility of radically new ideas to learn from.

    The forces of Darkness were adamantly against leaving the planet, not out of xenophobia, but because they believed the key to inner peace and social tranquility was to look inwards, not outwards. To this group, the world outside their own was merely a distraction that could jeopardize their way of life. This faction feared that the balance of the caste system could be thrown off by sudden changes. Fundamentalist religious leaders, conservative political leaders, and most laborers were part of this faction. They preferred to stick to tradition rather than make radical changes in their life styles.

    Although the war lasted several centuries, and the tides between the two sides were constantly shifting, the Light was usually the underdog and gradually grew to match the Darkness over time. The Light was fighting with intense desperation, believing that they would be enslaved if they lost the war. In time, the war became more about a struggle between those who supported the caste system and those who rebelled against it. To end the suffering and death, the Darkness made a desperate gambit and launched a remarkable surprise attack with almost their entire population-- men, women and children alike. The action was not out of hatred or anger, but simply the desire to end the hostilities. They call this event the Day of Eclipse, and the result was that most members of the Light became outcastes or were exiled to the various moons in orbit around the two primary Arachneidan home worlds, and in some cases were kept as indentured servants as a form of war reparations.


    Possibly for sun protection, or perhaps for religious purposes, Arachneidi garments are often designed to cover most of the body in light cloth. It is usually a loose-fitting garment of draped silks, often accompanied by some sort of head covering. The elaborate ornamentation is commonly used to show social status and prestige. At one time it was considered shameful to not wear head coverings, but over time it became more optional, especially among lower ranking castes.

    Instead of belts, sashes are used to secure clothing and keep it in place. Since the garments do not have internal pockets, separate articles are worn tucked inside the clothing in some way or another. Flowers are extremely rare and exotic on the Arachneidan homeworlds, so they are very valuable to them and are featured often in their weaving and pottery. Jewelry is also very common article

    Their armor will often feature details that invoke the appearance of admired predators such as beetles or snakes that live in the Arachne system. Most of the other organisms that the Arachneidi interacted with on their home worlds were other arthropods or worms, which did not inspire quite as much artwork or craftsmanship. There is a legend that the first Arachneidi to wear clothing did so because she was inspired by the beauty of snakes and beetles as they emerged from rare Togagi flowers after eating the pollen, since the flower's petals look somewhat like the draped clothing worn by Arachneidi today.


    Having built everything beneath the ground, an Arachneid lives within halls of brick and natural stone that lie near surface level. Columns and archways hold up vast cities, and materials are typically mined from directly underneath, resulting in large structures delicately suspended above deep caves. Holes are carved into the rock to allow the passage of light, and crystal spires and glass orbs shine light upon them from every angle in every color.

    They use stronger foundation materials, but sandstone and clay are the primary materials used in most of their buildings because they are easy to cut and carve with decorations. While these materials might be impractical on the surface due to wind erosion, they work wonderfully underground. Earthquakes can be problematic, but life underground has given the Arachneidi a unique capacity to predict and prepare for them.

    Mirrors are very common in their dwellings for a great multitude of purposes, and also have religious significance in Arachneidan culture because they symbolize self-reflection. Like the crystals and orbs they use to bend light, mirrors help them illuminate their dwellings and serve the practical purpose of self-grooming as well. Some Arachneidi believe that there is even a mirror-world that is identical in every way except for polarity.

    Pictures that inspired my ideas on Arachneidan architecture:
    jordan1.jpg palace_interior_jaipur2.jpg maharajah-room.jpg
    The first picture is of the City of Petra, in Jordan.

    Here come the sprites!~
    Concept 1f.png Concept 1m.png Concept 3f.png Concept 2m.png Concept 4f.png Concept 4m.png
    Concept 5f.png Concept 5m.png Concept 6f.png Concept 6m.png Concept 7f.png Concept 7m.png
    Armor M2a.png Armor F2a.png Armor M2b.png Armor F2b.png Armor M2c.png Armor F2c.png
    Armor M3a.png Armor F4a.png Armor M3b.png Armor F3c.png Armor M5a.png Armor F7b.png
    Armor M6a.png Armor F9c.png Armor M8b.png Armor FXa.png Armor F1a.png Armor F1b.png
    Armor MXd.png Armor FXc.png Armor MXb2.png Armor FXe.png Armor FXd.png Armor MXh.png
    Armor Fg.png Armor Fh.png Armor FXi.png Armor MXe.png Armor FXf.png Armor MXf.png
    Armor FXj.png Armor MXj.png Armor MXk.png Armor FXk.png Armor MXl.png Armor FXl.png
    Armor FXm.png Armor FXn.png Armor MXm.png Armor MXn.png Armor FXo.png Armor MXo.png
    Armor MXp.png Armor FXp.png Armor MXq.png

     
  2. DeadlyLuvdisc

    DeadlyLuvdisc Oxygen Tank

    Reserved for update logs.

    EDIT: LOL I totally forgot to keep track of when I did each update. Well, I'll make sure I don't forget for the next major update.
     
    Bughunter likes this.
  3. Evangelion

    Evangelion Supernova

    They fill in the culture that seems to be missing. Very nice.
    Real spiders though... *shudder*
     
  4. Double S

    Double S Pangalactic Porcupine

    Personally I was hoping for someone to make a good Beetle-type race, but this is excellent. I really like the sprites...even if spiders creep me out.

    Edit: While I did like the Zaahir, I was kinda hoping for a more...err manual Labor heavy or Naturalistic kinda background. I dunno, Stag Beetle just doesn't scream Middle Eastern to me. It screams more along the lines of Industrial Era, or Taoism.
     
    Model QT-377665 likes this.
  5. I prefer this over the Zaahir.
    Very nicely done.
     
  6. Double S

    Double S Pangalactic Porcupine

    Question: I may have missed it somewhere, but is there anything significant about the symbol-like thingies on the torso of the cloth-less sprites?
     
  7. Omega-9124

    Omega-9124 Industrial Terraformer

    Looks awesome. I wonder if the Devs will allow people to make mods, because there are a lot of awesome races I would love to be in Starbound that probably won't be...

    Anyway, I love it!
     
    Model QT-377665 likes this.
  8. They plan to make a modding tool, so I would hope so.
     
  9. Exkaiser

    Exkaiser Big Damn Hero

    I like these a lot, I'm very glad you've created a formal thread for them- and a name!
     
  10. DeadlyLuvdisc

    DeadlyLuvdisc Oxygen Tank

    It was buried in the physiology section:
    Basically, you know how black widows have that wicked-looking hourglass marking on 'em? Yeah, like that.

    EDIT: And at one point I was thinking the castes were recognizable by the markings shape, color, and the variety of their chelicerae, but I figured it might be too difficult to weave that into the lore. Mostly because NPCs are random.

    Oh yeah. I can't stand seeing real ones, especially up close. Thankfully the sprites aren't spidery enough to bother me.

    EDIT AGAIN: Oh, and I was trying to make the higher tier armors more beetle-like. It's hard to do the horns, but I'm going to make a back armor piece.
     
  11. DubiousDastard

    DubiousDastard Star Wrangler

    Very well done. I'm a pretty big Arabophile, and I find bugs to be heinously underrated, so this speaks to me a great deal. Excellent sprites too.

    P.S. - Spiders are awesome. They just wanna eat all the pests for you, and maybe snuggle up in a dark corner of your house. :love:
     
    creca likes this.
  12. Stubborn AI

    Stubborn AI Orbital Explorer

    So is removing your hat a sign of aggression to them?
     
  13. DeadlyLuvdisc

    DeadlyLuvdisc Oxygen Tank

    Only if you did the limbo while walking away at the same time, maybe?

    I don't think it would really be the same as barring your teeth, since their mouths are kinda on the top/back of their head.
     
  14. enigmatic fluff

    enigmatic fluff Big Damn Hero

    Race looks awesome. :3
     
  15. This is just fantastic.
     
    harmonic_dissonance likes this.
  16. Stubborn AI

    Stubborn AI Orbital Explorer

    I dunno, could cause a few funny diplomatic accidents.
     
  17. DeadlyLuvdisc

    DeadlyLuvdisc Oxygen Tank

    Now I'm imagining Tiy in front of the Successor, doing the limbo backwards while holding his fedora in one hand as his scarf drags across the floor, infuriating millions. "I was just trying to lighten the mood," says Tiy, "not start a holy war!"

    Of course, despite spending a great deal of their past in war, they are actually a peaceful and secluded race that spends most of their time in isolation. The fact that millions of women and children participated in the Day of Eclipse, just to end the hostilities, should be evidence of that. I may need to write more lore about that, since the way I imagine it is actually very non-fatal. They took almost all of the Light-side civilians captive for about 24 hours, and the war was over just like that. The Light armies couldn't risk direct engagement, and they'd be on the losing end of a siege.

    Most violence in their society is actually social or economic violence, like punishing a lower caste member by setting up an arranged marriage with a lower ranking spouse. The warrior caste holds frequent competitions but they are mostly friendly. They do have a gladiatorial arena for outcastes, but it is mostly for show and is often completely fake. Like I said, I can easily expand the lore, I just won't unless several people get interested in it (because I'm lazy).
     
  18. Shadow Wolf TJC

    Shadow Wolf TJC Spaceman Spiff

    I presume that if we were playing as an Arachneidi, that we'd be playing as a Follower of Light, since they are the ones that actually travel across the stars, right?

    Also, how do the Arachneidi, both Light-aligned and Darkness-aligned, tend to view other races? Are the Light-aligned Arachneidi more open-minded, and the Darkness-aligned Arachneidi more xenophobic?

    By the way, the followers of Light and Darkness could use a nickname. How do "Lightseekers" and "Darkseekers" sound?
     
  19. DeadlyLuvdisc

    DeadlyLuvdisc Oxygen Tank

    There would be no distinction of light/dark given to the player. They can roleplay it any way they want.

    The Light is curious about other races and wants to understand them more. The Dark doesn't care and has an aloof attitude. Both sides are equally friendly/hostile towards other races. They would probably have poor relationships with the Florans because they are so one-dimensional (kill, consume, destroy!) and have good relationships with the Avians because they have a similar background with regards to war over the issue of space exploration.

    EDIT: we could call them Lightside and Darkside for kicks. Anyway, the war is over so they aren't really separate anymore.
     
  20. The Question

    The Question Ketchup Robot

    OH HEY!!! SOMETHING THAT ISNT DRAGONS. On Topic. Neat-O!
     
    DeadlyLuvdisc likes this.

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