Planet Gurx: City Animals

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In this scene a vehicle full of Strondovarians drives along the outside road of a city, while animals of various kinds are nearby. An Aunip cautiously stays close to the buildings, in the sky above a handful of Eklooan are flying about, and near the tops of the forest just outside the town a large Tessen feeds.

Aunip

The Aunip may look like a four-limbed animal, but it is indeed a six-limbed Lapaouger. It’s just that they are from a sub-group called Ekkpay, which walk on their two frontmost limbs and their other two have retracted into stumps. Most Ekkpay dwell in the wilderness, but Aunip have adapted to living alongside Strondo civilization so they have spread Gurx-wide. We’ll go into the other Ekkpay at a later date, but we can note here that Aunip specialize in collapsing their musculature down and squeezing through tiny cracks to seek food in Strondo buildings.

Eklooan

Flying high in this picture are some Eklooan. Eklooan are a small Glounaph species that have evolved specifically to live off the kind of garbage that would wind up in a Strondo city. The build nests similar to Earth’s birds, and specifically do it in the nooks and crannies of Strondo buildings. A lot of Strondos consider them an annoyance, but some treat them kindly and feed or even provide homes for them.

Tessen

Most Lapaouger, including Strondos, have a sort of gas bladder attached to their lungs that fills with lighter-than-air gasses to help keep their dense muscular system upright, but that particular system is most highly developed in the Tessen. These massive hot-air-balloon-style creatures float along the tops of forests and hold onto the tops of the trees, from which they will eat for hours. They are completely sightless and communicate with loud songs that can be heard far and wide. When a Tessen dies, it falls to the forest floor and provides a hearty feast for the animals and plants below. While they aren’t necessarily “city animals” they will try to keep near cities in forests because Strondos tend to treat them well and the constant traffic of Strondo vehicles can scare away predators.

Planet Gurx: The Strondovarian Nations

Ve

Although Strondovarian culture is dominated by a singular idea of what it means to be “Strondovarian Culture” there are, in fact, still different groups that divide the population among their number. These groups, called Ve, hold a place in society similar to that of national identities for humanity, but without being tied to any physical place. Instead, your membership in one of these groups is based on your ideals and traditions, so in a way it could be considered closer to a religion. That said, the word “Ve” would more literally translate to English as “community” or “team” so let’s go with those terms.

There are dozens of Ve recognized by the Knowledge Banks, but we’ll just take a look at a few, to get a sampling of what they offer.

  • Ve Tillayath: Currently the largest of the Strondo nations, Ve Tillayath is the dominant force in Strondovarian politics. Governed by a supposedly-just committee of elected elders, Ve Tillayath exerts pressure on all the other nations to keep in line.
  • Ve Marbava: An ancient culture, probably the oldest still-extant nation of Gurx, Ve Marbava doesn’t have the cultural cachet you might think their history would merit. Some of the other nations even claim they’re coasting off their former triumphs.
  • Ve Reliss: Though not as old as Ve Marbava, Ve Reliss was once much larger than now, and the populace of today revels in its former glory with lots of traditions and rituals that date back to distant history.
  • Ve Pwoora: Ve Pwoora is ruled by cultish dictatorship and prefers to keep its populace secluded from the rest of the world whenever possible, which does connect them more to individual physical territory than most other nations. It is a crime among them for the low-ranking to even access the Knowledge Bank. As such, large numbers of their people are unimportant in the eyes of the rest of the world, which means nobody cares that their rulers force them to work in the Gurxian equivalent of sweatshops and slave conditions.
  • Ve Auonaooa: One of the youngest nations, Ve Auonaooa was first formed on a colony world in a different stellar system, intending to have a society that did things differently. Over time, to become more accepted as valid by other nations, their mores have drifted more in keeping with the rest, though they still retain a reputation for being “odd”.
  • Ve Okoliok: Attempting to gain more prowess among the nations, Ve Okoliok accepts any worthy Strondo who seeks to join, and actively reaches out to notable individuals and offers them incentives to join. Many other nations consider this gauche, but if it pays off in the end, it could be worth it.
  • Ve Obiss: While largely a standard Strondo nation that follows along the accepted norms, Ve Obiss has an interesting practice that might be likened to knighthoods from medieval Earth, except their equivalent of “knights” pilot combat mechs and fight in space battles. But otherwise, it’s a standard Strondo nation.
  • Ve Gleaudaran: While the people of Ve Gleaudaran still buy into the Strondovarian ideals that wealth and worth are defined by fame and notoriety, they try to be more egalitarian about it. They work for the fame and notoriety of their nation, not for themselves. Sadly, they’re not one of the more successful nations within Strondo culture so far.

Planet Gurx: Riverside Life

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Along the shore of a small, lazy river we see a Heyohayo stopping for a drink. A bunch of Louk cloud around it, looking to suck its blood, which in turn is a welcome feast for a Biddooa in the river.

Heyohayo

Heyohayo are a large, flightless species of Glounaph. They mostly feed on the vegetation that grows alongside rivers, but will eat small animals from time to time. Larger predators do try to make a meal of Heyohayo when they can, but the large spotted beast has a powerful poke that can do a lot of damage to a potential threat if it can get a good hit in. That said, little tiny creatures like the Louk can prey on Heyohayo while barely being noticed.

Louk

A small kind of flying Vootuph, the Louk pierce the skin of larger animals and suck out the blood and juices they find within, so they love when a big clumsy beast like a Heyohayo wanders by the ol’ watering hole. As with most Vootuph, they have sight organs at one end and the mouth at the other. Their compound eye is on a flexible stalk that allows them to see predators, but isn’t always effective, which is good for the next animal…

Biddooa

The Biddooa are a particularly ancient species of Lapaouger that have remained largely unchanged since days long ago. Four of their six limbs are devoted to locomotion, but their topmost limbs have sticky pads that are ideal for capturing small flying Vootuph. They can snag a few and then bring the catch to their Rel for consumption. You can’t see it in my little drawings here, but the bottoms of the legs on a Biddooa look wrinkly and bumpy and rough, all the better for gripping onto the rocks at the bottom of running water.

Planet Gurx: Extinct Varian Civilizations

As mentioned back in the timeline of planet Gurx, for much of the last million years, the Strondovarians were not the only kind of Varian (or “intelligent” creature) one would find. Though Strondos are the only ones alive today and they don’t remember the details of their cousins, there were ages during which civilizations rose and fell and countless adventures were had. If someone out there were, let’sjustsayhypothetically, making an RPG with all this stuff, they’d work as player races. So let’s take a look at them.

Denizens of the Neboosidih

Here we see our pal Nibnassin next to three of the most successful other Varian species. The Strondos of that age were, on average, smaller than those of today, but this will work for scale. We’ll also use the names for these peoples as they are found in the Knowledge Bank of the Strondovarians. They undoubtedly had names for themselves, but modern Strondos don’t know them. Here’s what we do know, going from left to right:

Ealnoosvarian: A dense, round people who lived in caves and mountains, the Ealnoos were adapted for cold and dark. They were possibly the first of the Varians to invent clothing, making pants and gloves out of the skin of animals, and even had some primitive hydraulic technologies. Even at the heights of their civilization, they were unlikely to conglomerate in cities, but lived in small tribes, or even alone. They hid from other Varians whenever possible.
Hradivarian: Perhaps the most numerous and successful of the non-Strondo groups, the Hradivarians were extremely successful at living in forest environments. They built large villages in the canopies of tropical forests. Some of their larger civilizations were based around the rule of individuals worshipped as gods, who often led their people against other Varians (including other groups of Hradis), but they were still not warlike as a whole, and were often skilled rope-users to an extent that other Varians believed them to be magical. They even had hang-gliders, so that reputation is well-earned.
Glorkisvarian: The largest of the Varians still remembered, the Glorkis were seen by the others as we humans might have seen ogres. They were warlike as their reputation might suggest, but they were not so dumb. They actually mastered fire earlier than any of the other groups. They also lived in the largest urban settlement known from that era, a walled city the likes of which the planet has not seen since.

These three types of Varians were the most successful, but other groups existed as well. Sometimes the Strondos find evidence of these other cousins on their evolutionary family tree, but few Strondos care.

Planet Gurx: Sky Life

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One of a pair of Aeobaxaen is captured by a falling Stepao

Aeobaxaen

Aeobaxaen are a type of Glounaph, and Glounaph are a type Aehubar that have adapted to life in the air. Though their leg design is like that of most Aehubar, even Strondovarians, the rest of their limbs have taken different roles: the middle limbs expanded into flexible wings that can catch wind currents and allow for flight, and the topmost limbs fused into a single neck-like appendage, on which the eyes are situated. Aeobaxaen specifically are migratory animals, following schools of the seaborne lifeforms they eat.

Stepao

An ocean-living type of Lapaouger that has evolved to launch itself out of the water and then to spread their limbs wide, allowing them to ride high until the spot prey within their reach. The Stepao will them drop down and engulf the target, pulling it back to the ocean where it can eat. Stepao were considered ill omens in ancient Strondovarian folklore and are still used as a colloquial way to describe impending doom.

Outhess

Outhess are typical of the flying Vootuph found on Gurx, but for the end of their life cycle. They spend their early lives down on the ground, eating away, until they’ve gained enough sustenance for their final voyage, then they launch into the sky to mate. The ultimate goal of the pregnant Outhess is to be eaten by one of the other sky-based animals (usually some variety of Glounaph). The seed/eggs bearing the offspring are not digested, but instead pass through digestive system and are expelled down to the ground below to be born and feast on the rest of the waste. It’s kind of beautiful.