Ijad Bestiary?

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Ijad Bestiary?

Postby 2koi » Mon May 02, 2016 12:21 am

Hey, new member here, and I have a question that's been bugging me hard enough that it's basically my main motivation for making an account here.

We know that, handwaving biochemical barriers, the Ijad are capable of bonding with just about any organism with a nervous system, and we know more specifically that their favored traditional mount for war is the Ghanat. The ghanat is a sure-footed, broad-backed quadruped, with six claws per foot, four eyes arranged in a diamond pattern, thick fur and a shell. We even know of a few other creatures native to Shebehu that the Ijad favor, mentioned by name like the flying Huet, or the aquatic Ujekeh that the Aushad-class ship is modeled after.

But aside from names, we know next to nothing about any of the native life on Shebehu. I'm not even sure on some of the names, because they're misspelled in some places in the rulebook and I'm not sure which spelling is the correct form (likely missed in editing for this very reason).

Is the body plan of a ghanat typical of Shebehu life? Are mandibles the most common types of mouths, or are there creatures with jaws as well? Is fur common? Do most animals have eyes aligned with the center of their faces? Is vocalization such a common method of communication that the Ijad language can be so readily adapted to something a human could reliably speak, and even represent with an alphabet?

We have basically nothing to go on here, because we know the barest physiological details of only two native creatures; the ghanat, and the ijad; which are quite clearly not of remotely similar evolutionary origins.

Basically, what I'm asking is: can we get some more details on the ecology of Shebehu? Or even just the typical residents of an Ijad village-farm?
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Re: Ijad Bestiary?

Postby VitorFaria » Mon May 02, 2016 7:59 am

Those are really interesting questions.

One thing that always bugged me was that a native species with free manipulators was never mentioned as far as I know, which makes me wonder how Ijad built their technology.
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Re: Ijad Bestiary?

Postby CmdrRook » Mon May 02, 2016 10:56 am

2koi wrote:Hey, new member here, and I have a question that's been bugging me hard enough that it's basically my main motivation for making an account here.

We know that, handwaving biochemical barriers, the Ijad are capable of bonding with just about any organism with a nervous system, and we know more specifically that their favored traditional mount for war is the Ghanat. The ghanat is a sure-footed, broad-backed quadruped, with six claws per foot, four eyes arranged in a diamond pattern, thick fur and a shell. We even know of a few other creatures native to Shebehu that the Ijad favor, mentioned by name like the flying Huet, or the aquatic Ujekeh that the Aushad-class ship is modeled after.

But aside from names, we know next to nothing about any of the native life on Shebehu. I'm not even sure on some of the names, because they're misspelled in some places in the rulebook and I'm not sure which spelling is the correct form (likely missed in editing for this very reason).

Is the body plan of a ghanat typical of Shebehu life? Are mandibles the most common types of mouths, or are there creatures with jaws as well? Is fur common? Do most animals have eyes aligned with the center of their faces? Is vocalization such a common method of communication that the Ijad language can be so readily adapted to something a human could reliably speak, and even represent with an alphabet?

We have basically nothing to go on here, because we know the barest physiological details of only two native creatures; the ghanat, and the ijad; which are quite clearly not of remotely similar evolutionary origins.

Basically, what I'm asking is: can we get some more details on the ecology of Shebehu? Or even just the typical residents of an Ijad village-farm?


At least a few of your questions answer themselves, namely regarding language. The Ijad speak a language phonetically similar to arabic dialects while riding an animal capable of vocalizing it, and also use gestural and phermonal cues with their pedipalp antennae. "Misspellings" in the book are a result of declension, gender, and pluralization. By what we know of the inhabited region of Shehebu -swamps, grasslands, and rocky highlands- and the literal deification of the Ijad responsible for selectively breeding the most adaptable Ghanat subspecies, we can pretty reasonably conclude that the One-Ghanat is a cross-section of most major land-dwelling species. Rugged, dexterous, warm. They are Atilla's horses in an alien world. I would theorize burrowing small creatures in the grasslands and highlands, and a wealth of rugged herbivores, as on earth, but not prowling predatory animals in the swamps, as they're mentioned to be safe. Hope this gives you a point to go forward from. Maybe Joshua will pop in with some insight.
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Re: Ijad Bestiary?

Postby 2koi » Mon May 02, 2016 11:48 am

Actually, the mispellings I was referring to in particular was the confusion regarding the apaht(?) which has been referenced as "many-apahteh", "many-apatehih" (why teh + ih?), and later "many-apaetehih".

As for creatures with manipulators, there was mention of one in the Intercept Orbit rulebook, the meter-tall "pukethih" (possibly the same as the tiny, stalking "puketeh" mentioned in the Rapid Attack rulebook), which was serving as a communications officer aboard the Ready Fist by operating controls with its four, dexterous limbs. Then again, they may have designed a specialized control interface for foot-operation by a quadruped. Still, I imagine there must be -- if not one species bearing manipulators -- a number of common Ijad work animals capable of working in concert to achieve similar results. An animal to lift, an animal to hold, an animal to guide, and animal to press or squeeze or strike, etc.
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Re: Ijad Bestiary?

Postby Batzorig » Mon May 02, 2016 1:20 pm

2koi wrote:...which has been referenced as "many-apahteh", "many-apatehih" (why teh + ih?), and later "many-apaetehih".

If you check page 51 in the Rapid Attack book, there's a brief explanation of the genders in Ijad language. 'Teh' being the animal notation, and 'ih' being the person notation. So apahteh is that creature when not augmented by an Ijad, and apahtehih is person-animal, which is how they denote the sentience that the creature seems to have as part of a connection with an Ijad. The pah vs pat vs paet in the middle I've got no answer for, could be typos, could be part of some other element of the language I haven't seen.

Sadly, I don't have any other answers.
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Re: Ijad Bestiary?

Postby 2koi » Mon May 02, 2016 2:18 pm

Batzorig wrote:
2koi wrote:...which has been referenced as "many-apahteh", "many-apatehih" (why teh + ih?), and later "many-apaetehih".

If you check page 51 in the Rapid Attack book, there's a brief explanation of the genders in Ijad language. 'Teh' being the animal notation, and 'ih' being the person notation. So apahteh is that creature when not augmented by an Ijad, and apahtehih is person-animal, which is how they denote the sentience that the creature seems to have as part of a connection with an Ijad. The pah vs pat vs paet in the middle I've got no answer for, could be typos, could be part of some other element of the language I haven't seen.

Sadly, I don't have any other answers.


My confusion comes from the fact that in all other instances seen so far, the gender of the creature in question is either 'teh' or 'ih'. "Ghanateh" vs "Ghanatih". The word "Apahtehih" seems contradictory.
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Re: Ijad Bestiary?

Postby Batzorig » Mon May 02, 2016 5:43 pm

2koi wrote:My confusion comes from the fact that in all other instances seen so far, the gender of the creature in question is either 'teh' or 'ih'. "Ghanateh" vs "Ghanatih". The word "Apahtehih" seems contradictory.


Huh! Not sure then! Sorry for the confusion.
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Re: Ijad Bestiary?

Postby gusindor » Tue May 03, 2016 1:48 am

2koi wrote:My confusion comes from the fact that in all other instances seen so far, the gender of the creature in question is either 'teh' or 'ih'. "Ghanateh" vs "Ghanatih". The word "Apahtehih" seems contradictory.

Oh, that's because the apateh is known for having very strong animal instincts, to the point where its Ijad rider can't always effectively guide its actions. Many people familiar with the beasts will use "apatehih" to refer to one being ridden by an Ijad, because while the Iajd-apateh pair is considered a person, it is still a wild animal at heart. It's in the same boat as English words like "y'all": It's on shaky ground grammatically, so not proper for formal situations, but it gets the point across.

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Actually I'm completely making that up off the top of my head, I don't even know what an apateh is. It's probably just a typo. But maybe if enough people believe my theory, it will become canon?


As for your other questions about Shebehu's ecosystem, I'm not sure. Generally just make up whatever suits the models you want to build or the stories you want to tell. Since most life on Earth follows the same basic patterns (two eyes, vertically-opening mouth, head at the front or on top), it's reasonable to assume that most life on Shebehu would also follow patterns. Most animals-Shebehue (I think that's how you'd say "animals of Shebehu"?) are probably about as similar to the Ghanateh as most Earthling animals are to a horse or dog. I'd expect most creatures to have a head at the front or top of their body, with four eyes in a diamond shape and mandibles for jaws, but stuff like fur, shells and body structure probably varies a lot more.

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Re: Ijad Bestiary?

Postby aurlaent » Tue May 03, 2016 2:30 am

gusindor wrote:
Spoiler: show
Actually I'm completely making that up off the top of my head, I don't even know what an apateh is. It's probably just a typo. But maybe if enough people believe my theory, it will become canon?


You win. I believed it instantly!
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Re: Ijad Bestiary?

Postby Soren » Tue May 03, 2016 3:04 am

Seb's answer is pretty great. I might expand on it to say that certain animals (like fish and cetacea, or birds) have body shapes that are determined as much by physics as by ancestry, too, so while Shebehu's 'birds' might be (for example) evolved from gliding marsupials or its 'fish' might have begun as molluscs, certain body features will be immediately recognizable as 'birdlike' or 'fishlike' because they're optimal shapes for flying or swimming. The details might be different, but the broad outlines will be the same.

(And remember that there was no home-grown scientific revolution for the Ijad - the work of cataloguing and classifying Shebehu's diverse biosphere is partial, sketchy, and ongoing, especially in regions where the Ijad symbiote is uncomfortable, like deserts and polar caps. Lots of room for you to fill with weirdness.)
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Re: Ijad Bestiary?

Postby 2koi » Tue May 03, 2016 2:22 pm

Oh, it was always my intention to cook up my own critters wherever possible. I was just hoping there may be more points of reference stashed away in the setting notes somewhere.

Speaking of making our own aliens, I was thinking on the physiology of the Ghanat today, and how I always found it really awkward-looking that its hind legs are pointed behind it; compared to the digitrade legs popular on earth, its seems unnecessarily inefficient and unwieldy. Stable, sure, but you won't be outrunning a wolf or chasing down a stag with that posture. Not if you have a bilaterally symmetrical body plan, at least.

That's where my thoughts got creative. Here we have a rough approximation of the standard terrestrial vertebrate's body plan.

Image

Proportions and anatomical details vary, and extraneous parts may be discarded, but for the most part the majority of chordates are comparable in terms of layout to this model, or some reduced form of it. To my knowledge, at least. I am not a scientist.

Image

Next, I considered the form of the Aushad-class battleship, and what the creature it was modeled after may look like. I initially imagined it as being biradially symmetrical, until I thought back to the scrambler, and how even the illustrated form is basically a disk with four identical legs and a head. Some leaps of logic happened, and the result:

Image

Pentameric body layout! Five vertebral columns, all connected to a single bony 'nexus vertebra', the keystone of the entire beast (and, interestingly enough, an ideal place for a friendly neighbourhood symbiote to set up shop). Four 'arms' or 'trunks' of the axial skeleton curve downward to form the pillars of a big fat sack of guts held within a radial rib cage. At the end of each trunk is the joint in which a single, bilaterally symmetrical limb is set. Muscles connecting the spinal columns allow each leg an extremely wide range of movement compared to a terrestrial quadruped. The fifth trunk is where the brains and primary sensory organs of the beast are located, and is afforded just as wide a range of motion as the legs. Conveniently, in other species this fifth trunk may instead be positioned perpendicular to the other trunks, neatly accommodating the existence of the weird 'head on top of a disk with limbs' creatures like the Ujekeh and the unnamed ghanateforme that I imagine inspired the Suzerain.

Image

With only the ghanat and ujekeh (or rather, the aushad) as reference, this proposal is about as best of a 'standard terrestrial chordate' equivalent as I can come up with. I dunno if this is at all how the ghanat was intended to be built, but personally I think it works.

P.S. Did I mention I'm an artist? 8-)
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Re: Ijad Bestiary?

Postby gusindor » Tue May 03, 2016 9:18 pm

That's a really cool theory!
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Re: Ijad Bestiary?

Postby 2koi » Sat May 07, 2016 7:42 pm

I assembled a list of every Shebehu animal I could find mention of. Because... well... I make good use of my time.

Amtuheht (Amtuhehteh, Amtuhehtih) - a swimming animal
Apahteh (Apahteh[teh?], Apahtehih) - a leaping animal
Boleh (Bolehteh, Bolehih) - no data
Ghanat (Ghanateh, Ghanatih) - the traditional war mount of the Ijad, basically a literal spider monkey, about 40 centimeters wide
Huet (Hueteh, Huetih) - a flying animal
Mehsh (Mehshteh, Mehshih) - a flying animal
Puke (Puketeh, Puke[hih?]) - a tiny, stalking, predatory animal
Puketh (Pukethteh, Pukethih) - a meter-tall creature, with four dexterous limbs
Tishueh (Tishuehteh, Tishue[hih?]) - a stinging, swarming insect-like predator
Uhmetwan (Uhmetwanteh, Uhmetwanih) - no data
Ujekeh (Ujekehteh, Ujekehih) - a swimming creature; inspiration for the Aushad-class capital ship
Utech (Utechteh, Utechih) - a migratory animal

I also have a sneaking suspicion that the Suzerain represents a ghanatoid mountain goat equivalent, rather than just another ghanat. Maybe Striders too, though I originally assumed them to be merely a ghanatih driver with a human gunner, guntank-style.
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