Ijad and Megafauna

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Ijad and Megafauna

Postby Atavism » Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:22 pm

So I'm liking the idea of great big space animals for intercept orbit, and it raised for me a few ideas/questions about how the Ijad would respond to animals of such magnitude. (And there are a lot of variations and angles, so please bear with me.)

(All examples in terms of Giant Space Whale- GSW, but could be anything superbig, really.)

It is my understanding that when the Ijad bond to an animal they are integrated into its nervous system, they are a part of the animal's body as much as the animal brain is rather than, say, a pilot looking down at the controls or an architect looking at a schematic.

Is there any physical limit to this reach? Like, after a half-mile of nervous system an Ijad start to lose touch with the host, or, for example, the Ijad might be able to "see" and control a flipper of a GSW but the rest would simply be too much?

Is there any psychological limit to their reach? The canon examples are mostly really big animals, would a GSW be overwhelming in scale and complexity for an Ijad to make sense of once they bonded?

Similarly, could the scale at which the GSW's mind exists simply be too different for the Ijad to bond effectively. The GSW might experience time too slowly (or is it quickly, how about we say differently?) for the Ijad to communicate effectively. Or similarly again, the GSW is simply to great and profound for the Ijad to bond to, in a way that humans and beasts are not?

If any of these are true, would bonding be impossible, or even dangerous- Ijad get lost or trapped within the bond?

How might they overcome these obstacles? Strategically bonding at a natural intersection of the GSW's nervous system? Distributing a number of Ijad across the GSW to manage its many parts? Linking with other Ijad to form a cooperative troupe to contemplate its bigness?

I might never go anywhere with any of this, but I'd like to hear your thoughts.
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Re: Ijad and Megafauna

Postby gusindor » Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:32 pm

Short answer: Whatever is the most fun. Never let science get in the way of a good story.

Longer answer:

You're correct about the way Ijad link with animals. Not much to actually "answer" about this part, I just want to confirm that we're starting from the same point.

There probably isn't an absolute limit to an Ijad's range, but there might be drawbacks as the nerves get longer, like slower response times. Then again, maybe having two brains can compensate for that, perhaps the Ijad focuses on planning and decision-making while the GSW handles the moment-to-moment reactions.

A GSW or other sufficiently large creature could very well have very different perceptions of time and space, and if they did this would probably affect the Ijad's mind. I like the idea that Ijad who spend a long time bonded to an animal (huge or otherwise) pick up some of its instincts, Animorphs-style, but you could also see it as being like drugs.

It might not be inherently dangerous for an Ijad to ride a GSW (Ijad biology seems to be compatible with just about any creature, with a few exceptions) but I can easily see it affecting their psyche if they aren't careful.

I believe Ijad always attach at neural nexuses (nexi?), that's why you always see Ijad-human pairs with the feelers coming out the back of their neck. Presumably that's even more important when the creature is the size of a spaceship. It seems like linking multiple Ijad to a single creature would probably cause unpleasant (or at least inconvenient) complications, but it probably depends on the specific creature's biology.

Also, note that most Ijad-animal bondings are only temporary, so if it does affect their mind that raises the question of what happens when they separate. How long they stay bonded is also probably a factor, I imagine that an Ijad who's been bonded to the same animal for longer will be more adept at riding its body but also more affected by its mind.

I have only the most basic knowledge of biology and neurology, so take all of this with a grain of salt, but there's my two cents.
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Re: Ijad and Megafauna

Postby Blorf » Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:43 am

I'd have to start with the basic life support question. Ijad come from a planet with earth-like atmosphere. Giant space whales (by definition, really) live in space. We'll sidestep the question of if the biology is even remotely similar enough to bond to, because it's complicated and makes for fun times. But how do you keep the ijad alive in the environment of space, through and after the bonding? They'd have to resolve that. Bond-friendly ijad space suits? (Atavism design: go!)

I assume if the ijad bond means the creatures are co-linked, the ijad doesn't directly control the miles-away fins any more than it directly controls the inches-away eyes on creatures at home. More so it convinces the creature that it wants to do that. From there the creature's natural processes take over. Consciousness compatibility is a question, but I wouldn't be concerned with physical control.

As for consciousness compatibility, this might be an avenue that depends on the skill or natural ability of the ijad. Some can integrate better with a wider range, perhaps others could not. Perhaps they could train to be able to do so?

As a complete aside, this makes me wonder how the ijad self-classify. Consider games/tests of skill among humans, competing to see who is stronger or smarter. But these differences would mean little to the ijad; essentially it would boil down to "who bonded with the best animal" which is probably more a question of social status and what breeds are available to you. (unless you have the unbonded ijad olympics... heh.) But does that mean they might compare themselves based on bonding skill? Maybe that's a question for another thread.
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Re: Ijad and Megafauna

Postby Atavism » Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:13 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


gusindor wrote:Short answer: Whatever is the most fun. Never let science get in the way of a good story.


True.


gusindor wrote:
A GSW or other sufficiently large creature could very well have very different perceptions of time and space, and if they did this would probably affect the Ijad's mind. I like the idea that Ijad who spend a long time bonded to an animal (huge or otherwise) pick up some of its instincts, Animorphs-style, but you could also see it as being like drugs.


Now I just want a story about Ijad who bond with an animal just because it gets them high. Like a mantis-shrimp that seems all of the colors or something...


Blorf wrote:
I assume if the ijad bond means the creatures are co-linked, the ijad doesn't directly control the miles-away fins any more than it directly controls the inches-away eyes on creatures at home. More so it convinces the creature that it wants to do that. From there the creature's natural processes take over. Consciousness compatibility is a question, but I wouldn't be concerned with physical control.


Thanks for that clarification. I feel like in another one of these threads the answer was something like, "the Ijad could try to exert control, but they'd be terrible at it compared to their mount."


gusindor wrote:
It might not be inherently dangerous for an Ijad to ride a GSW (Ijad biology seems to be compatible with just about any creature, with a few exceptions) but I can easily see it affecting their psyche if they aren't careful.

Also, note that most Ijad-animal bondings are only temporary, so if it does affect their mind that raises the question of what happens when they separate. How long they stay bonded is also probably a factor, I imagine that an Ijad who's been bonded to the same animal for longer will be more adept at riding its body but also more affected by its mind.


Blorf wrote:
As for consciousness compatibility, this might be an avenue that depends on the skill or natural ability of the ijad. Some can integrate better with a wider range, perhaps others could not. Perhaps they could train to be able to do so?


This was helpful.

I'm thinking perhaps it would be possible for someone to link to a GSW and just lose track of where their own body is supposed to be anymore. There's simply too much input from the GSW compared to the Ijad's puniness and it overwhelms their sense of body location, and they become unable to pull out. Would that make sense?

They might develop a system like dive certifications where they have to work their way up to the really deep stuff, but there's always the first guy who finds out its a problem. How would they cope, trapped with the slow but overpowering thoughts of the GSW?


Blorf wrote:
As a complete aside, this makes me wonder how the ijad self-classify. Consider games/tests of skill among humans, competing to see who is stronger or smarter. But these differences would mean little to the ijad; essentially it would boil down to "who bonded with the best animal" which is probably more a question of social status and what breeds are available to you. (unless you have the unbonded ijad olympics... heh.) But does that mean they might compare themselves based on bonding skill? Maybe that's a question for another thread.


I would assume they did. If I recall the book describes one of their hero-epic myths where an Ijad finds (breeds?) the best ghanat. I would imagine there were particularly difficult or rare animals that would be status symbols. (OMG, you just found a SHINY Ghanat! Catch it, catch it!)

I imagine a GSW would either be a proving ground or a religious experience, depending on the mindset of the rider. (Including bitter disagreements between the two cliques.)

I have a strong image of a organized competition where everybody thinks the last guy flaked out until someone shows up late with a video feed of a GSW being ridden (or being brought terrifyingly close to the planet).


Blorf wrote:I'd have to start with the basic life support question... (Atavism design: go!)
[/quote]


Image

Photos are a bit rough, but its a scrambler designed to operate with just the Ijad pilot, providing a bunch of room for environment stuff and living quarters. The tube at the end suckers onto the GSW and fills with atmosphere.
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Re: Ijad and Megafauna

Postby kingodacheez » Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:55 pm

Wow, this is getting to be a really deep thread.
Since the subject matter is a GSW; how about the effects on the Ijad if it were to bond with a giant space-faring Humbolt squid?
Considering how sophisticated their physiology is, and relentlessly brutal their behavior patterns are, there would likely be some difficulty controlling them.
I'm thinking of something like the Gargantia series (anime) squid:maybe if the host GSW had been killed, and the Ijad had no other choice but to bond to the squid in order to survive.
Thoughts?
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Re: Ijad and Megafauna

Postby Atavism » Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:22 pm

kingodacheez wrote:Wow, this is getting to be a really deep thread.
Since the subject matter is a GSW; how about the effects on the Ijad if it were to bond with a giant space-faring Humbolt squid?
Considering how sophisticated their physiology is, and relentlessly brutal their behavior patterns are, there would likely be some difficulty controlling them.
I'm thinking of something like the Gargantia series (anime) squid:maybe if the host GSW had been killed, and the Ijad had no other choice but to bond to the squid in order to survive.
Thoughts?


That'd be an interesting setup for a story. A Ijad peacefully contemplating existence on a GSW gets marooned on a GSS, has to learn to bond to it to get home and maybe becomes a reaver in the process? I'm not sure that in general terms it makes much difference what kind of big animal it was, which is why we're just abbreviating to GSW for discussion purpose, but the animal you pick could certainly be instrumental to, or at least color, the narrative.
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Re: Ijad and Megafauna

Postby Blorf » Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:00 am

Atavism wrote:Now I just want a story about Ijad who bond with an animal just because it gets them high. Like a mantis-shrimp that seems all of the colors or something...

Well, if I had the ability I'd certainly bond with all sorts of things just to experience the world differently. There are so many different ways that humans collect and process information: synesthetes, tetrachromats, or even going the other direction and exploring disability. A lot of good could come out of a better understanding of the differences in how people think. (And maybe people could stop asking "is my red the same as your red?")

Atavism wrote:I would imagine there were particularly difficult or rare animals that would be status symbols. (OMG, you just found a SHINY Ghanat! Catch it, catch it!)

As civilization grows, acquiring these animals would become less about hunting skill and more about social status.

Atavism wrote:I imagine a GSW would either be a proving ground or a religious experience, depending on the mindset of the rider. (Including bitter disagreements between the two cliques.)

All of this sounds about right.

Atavism wrote:Image
Photos are a bit rough, but its a scrambler designed to operate with just the Ijad pilot, providing a bunch of room for environment stuff and living quarters. The tube at the end suckers onto the GSW and fills with atmosphere.


Yeah, I think that would do it. This is super.
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Re: Ijad and Megafauna

Postby davidstrife » Thu Feb 25, 2016 4:42 pm

think pacific rim (i know a bit cliche, but bear with me) and how the two guys at the end paired up to handle the kaiju. an ijad can handle more then a human and therefore the same formula would apply to an ijad and a gsw. on ijad on the left and one on the right. it would levle out the amout of work each does. 2 brains, 2 ijad (in the case of a multi brained megafauna).
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Re: Ijad and Megafauna

Postby Atavism » Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:16 pm

davidstrife wrote:think pacific rim (i know a bit cliche, but bear with me) and how the two guys at the end paired up to handle the kaiju. an ijad can handle more then a human and therefore the same formula would apply to an ijad and a gsw. on ijad on the left and one on the right. it would levle out the amout of work each does. 2 brains, 2 ijad (in the case of a multi brained megafauna).


I had a similar thought when I started this thread, that the Ijad could link together and distribute the "load." I'm not sure how well it parses with canon though. If nothing else, they don't really have any mechanism for distribution, so it might just be that you'd have a bunch of them tripping over each other rather than working together. Again, a nifty thought if the story it makes is good. It certainly makes sense for anything at this scale to have additional smaller "brains" to help distribute the work and increase response time through the body.
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Re: Ijad and Megafauna

Postby gusindor » Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:17 pm

davidstrife wrote:think pacific rim (i know a bit cliche, but bear with me) and how the two guys at the end paired up to handle the kaiju. an ijad can handle more then a human and therefore the same formula would apply to an ijad and a gsw. on ijad on the left and one on the right. it would levle out the amout of work each does. 2 brains, 2 ijad (in the case of a multi brained megafauna).

Hmm... in that case, multi-brained megafauna might actually be easier for Ijad to ride than single-brained megafauna. Now the question is why would a megafauna have two brains... I remember there was a theory about large dinosaurs having second brains to coordinate their movements, but I'm pretty sure that's been disproved... not that disproved theories ever stopped sci-fi!
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Re: Ijad and Megafauna

Postby Atavism » Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:27 pm

gusindor wrote:Hmm... in that case, multi-brained megafauna might actually be easier for Ijad to ride than single-brained megafauna. Now the question is why would a megafauna have two brains... I remember there was a theory about large dinosaurs having second brains to coordinate their movements, but I'm pretty sure that's been disproved... not that disproved theories ever stopped sci-fi!


Dinobrains are disproven, but octopi have nerves all over capable of independant action. Not true brains, really, but they do some thinking of their own.
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Re: Ijad and Megafauna

Postby VitorFaria » Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:36 am

Atavism wrote:
gusindor wrote:Hmm... in that case, multi-brained megafauna might actually be easier for Ijad to ride than single-brained megafauna. Now the question is why would a megafauna have two brains... I remember there was a theory about large dinosaurs having second brains to coordinate their movements, but I'm pretty sure that's been disproved... not that disproved theories ever stopped sci-fi!


Dinobrains are disproven, but octopi have nerves all over capable of independant action. Not true brains, really, but they do some thinking of their own.


Arthropods also have highly distributed nervous systems. remember that a cockroach won't die immediately after you cut it's head out.
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Re: Ijad and Megafauna

Postby gusindor » Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:59 am

VitorFaria wrote:
Atavism wrote:
gusindor wrote:Hmm... in that case, multi-brained megafauna might actually be easier for Ijad to ride than single-brained megafauna. Now the question is why would a megafauna have two brains... I remember there was a theory about large dinosaurs having second brains to coordinate their movements, but I'm pretty sure that's been disproved... not that disproved theories ever stopped sci-fi!


Dinobrains are disproven, but octopi have nerves all over capable of independant action. Not true brains, really, but they do some thinking of their own.


Arthropods also have highly distributed nervous systems. remember that a cockroach won't die immediately after you cut it's head out.

Hmm, that's true. If a creature's nervous system was that decentralized, I wonder if an Ijad could keep them moving after death, and if so, for how long?

I'm not mentioning giant zombie cockroaches, and have no idea where you got that idea.
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Re: Ijad and Megafauna

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:01 am

Most insects just don't keep their brains in their heads. They're heads are a bundle of sensory organs and a mouth. Connected through the neck is their nerve bundle (not really a brain) right behind.
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