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Thread: Roleplaying with your gut

  1. #1

    Default Roleplaying with your gut

    We all understand how our need to fill our stomach controls behavior. If we are hungry, we get something to eat, but it also result in planned action, we fill the fridge in advanced, we work towards getting money to fill the fridge, oh and not to forget we need to buy a fridge to fill it and a house to put it in.

    The stomach is a strong motivator in our lives and humans have other needs like entertainment, social interaction that we go about accomplishing due to our nature as a pack animal and non-predator, but not every creature in Istaria comes from the human stock, I believe Saris, Sslik and Dragon is different, you might even call them alien. If say cats could have developed human intelligence, they wouldn't lead to anything like the way our human world has developed.

    Many predators is not very social creatures, they have limited social skills thats allows them to function while growing up to adults, but they aren't using them as adult, there is for solitaire predators no natural path that would lead to the human concept of friendship.

    They also come with other type of guts, if a predator isn't able to hunt, it y develope hunting starvation, they have other kinds of ”guts” too, a cat in a captivity had all it's life only been feed meat, when it one day got a fully feathered bird, it went crazy plucking it and then went on plucking the grass, because it was starved of doing this. This is part of the problem of Zoo's of old, though today it's gotten much better as we have learned about these needs and try to satisfy them.

    We don't have examples of human intelligent predators, our best lead to see how predators develope into the Istarian creatures, would be looking at how the house cat has developed.

    Since house cat's doesn't by nature have pack friendship, it uses it's instinct for connecting to it's mother for interacting with others, when the cat is at home it's basically a kitten and it's owner is it's mother, but for cats with outdoor access it becomes a full adult and predator when it's let out. Like some paranormal story with werewolves their is two personalities inside one body.

    Very significant difference is that the genders is equally powerful, not like human where females is physically weaker. For a male predator forcing itself on a female is near impossible as it would result in the male getting gutted.

    Another aspect of predators is that they actually aren't as violent as humans, life as a predator is very dangerous, if it's prey or in competition over hunting area they get hurt it's

    All this relate to how these three races society develope differently than human ones. For one thing we have equality among gender in power and we actually have a clear indication of females having more social power. This would lead to a matriarchal society, but not simply a reverse human society, because we still have gender power equality, it would be a society where it's an advantage to be female, but not one as overpowering as the way human males advantage has been.

    Sslik seems to skip the gender debate entirely, everyone is automatically equal, but it still leads to who ever gives birth to offspring has an advantage, so for simplicity sake it still is a matricidal society.

    It also seems to me that society is largely forced upon these races in order to deal with the pack animal nature of the non-predator races. They had to develope society bonds in order to not be overrun by them.

    The morale of this story,
    if you haven't got a clue,
    is dragons are forever free and faster than you.

    • Part of a poem by Ephantom inspired by me battling with a broken feature in a chat program sometimes around 1994.

    Sslik, Saris and Dragons aren't simply different looking humans, while all of the races have a belly they need to feed, they don't automatically means they all fill it the same way or behave the same way while filling it. Inviting a Sslik, Saris and Dragon to a dinner party, you might serve a pig thats still alive and let the guest chase it down and kill it and it would be a perfectly civilized event for these races.

    The races is civilized and had some time to adjust and the Saris has the easier time using their genes to their advantage, if our house cats is any indication, cats always lands on their feet, but I don't think anyone has ever accused dragons of being easy going. While they have the cats ”lands on their feet” ability, your most likely going to be under ones of it's feet.

    While I've separated out the three predator race, because the difference between a dwarf and a human is smaller, than between a dragon and a human, it's equally important to be a dwarf or a gnome as well as saris and not just play a human with hight or hair growth issues.

    My ”civilization of a predator” take, is meant as inspiration, it's not important whatever you play dragons my way (or the high way), the morale of the story is to think about the NON-HUMAN aspect of the races.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Roleplaying with your gut

    I cannot speak for the other races, but certainly would like to speak of the Sslik on this subject. I certainly do agree with you that Sslik should be played as more than scaly humans. That being said, it is entirely the choice of the player and there is no reason that modern Sslik would not have mannerisms closer to humans. Some may have been raised by mammals, some may have changed their mindset to make themselves more accessible. Some Sslik have even assigned themselves mammalian genders based on their personality and gender role stereotypes. From an RP perspective, there is nothing wrong with this.

    For the Sslik themselves, they are certainly predators. However, their tribal nature and close family bonds would indicate that they evolved from a pack hunting creature. Somewhere along the line they also developed an omnivorous digestive tract which enabled them to live as hunter gatherers. As their culture developed and they came into contact with other races they would have changed mannerisms and habits. While releasing a pig to be hunted down and eaten would be a practiced custom, even a very old and bigoted Sslik like Ssilmath would make sure that any meat presented to a mammal would be properly cooked and presented. While alone in the jungle with Sati though, it would happily chase down the pig and eat it raw...

    As for gender related issues, there are none amongst the Sslik. A mated pair could switch which one they wanted to carry the eggs between batches, or one could have that burden while the other one does the hunting. There is no matriarchal society because there are no matriarchs. There is a parent who gave birth to you. There might be one that provides primary support. But it is the community that raises the hatchlings. Mated pairs are also not a rule nor even that common due to the community mentality.

    From an RP perspective, let people play their Sslik how they want. If they want to use gender pronouns, let them. Sslik society has recently been introduced to the idea and some younger ones may feel that they fit one gender or another. Older Sslik might frown on it, but since it doesn't hurt anything I doubt they would stop it. If a player wants their Sslik to be a vegetarian, there is nothing stopping them from that. If they want a peaceful farmer forced to become a warrior that is fine. If they want to play a barbaric predator chafing under the laws of peace (Ssilmath) that is fine as well.

    If you really want to explore the alien mindset of Sslik, here's a few things to keep in mind. They are very patient and keep grudges...once the war with the Aegis is over, there is going to be another one soon. Eating other intelligent creatures is not seen as cannibalism, but pragmatic...Why waste the food, and if killed in battle you might absorb their strength. For the majority of their history, Sslik had no home city...Permanency is not in their mindset. Those are some starting points that I would tell a new Sslik player. But I'd also make sure they found something new and fun that defines their character, not just Sslik #442.
    Ssilmath Torshak, Paladin of the Lost, Shaman of the Damned, Master Armorsmith

    My other "crack would be cheaper" hobby

  3. #3

    Default Re: Roleplaying with your gut

    Your entire premise presents itself as based on what you see as facts, when in fact, all of what you said is opinion.

    For example - you have no idea wether or not a housecat - if gifted/evolved with human-esque intelligence - would or would not end up acting like a human. By your opinion, you feel they would not - but there is absolutely nothing anywhere close for you to base this in fact. When, for all yoou or I know - they could evolve to a very similiar society. We have no idea.

    Much less comparing dragons, sslik, and saris - fantasy creatures WITH human-esque intelligence - to creatures in the real world that do NOT exist in Istaria (there are no actual cats in Istaria to even begin to suppose how an Istarian cat would conduct itself, much less how an Istarian cat with intelligence would conduct itself - and I would not call a Saris a cat anymore than I would call a dragon a lizard) LOL.

    So - I really think the entire justification of what I thought your point to be - to be argumentative and a way of trying to convince everyone that somehow dragons, sslik, or saris wouldn't act anything like a human...

    It put me, clearly, on the defensive. When really what I thought the message really was - was - RP "more creatively" (if you feel RPinga dragon in non-human ways is creative?) and try to think of alternate motivations for why your character acts the way they do.

    Which as a whole - I agree with. My dragon has motivations and thoughts that me, as human, would never have - however, BEING human makes it very, very difficult to not in SOME ways have our characters ACT human LOL.

    And I would argue that - looking at all higher intelligence PREDATORY species on earth (as determined by those who determine these things - species such as primates, dolphins, etc.)) - if we are making comparisons between earth animals and fantasy Istarian creatures - they are, by and large - social - have friends - and play (both to play for social bonding/play sake and play with their food...).

    Thereby really making the argument that the higher the intelligence of a species - the closer and closer they get to human-esque behavior (which seems to be the opposite of the argument you are trying to make? - much less somehow feeling that the majority of predators are not social which I don't think is a true premise to start with!)

  4. #4

    Default Re: Roleplaying with your gut

    I did mentioned this wasn't the guide to end all guides, it was inspiration, the core point was to avoid everything just being another form of human.

    Even after all this time women and men is different due to past evolution and thats within the same race, I see no scientific evidence to suggest that this would be untrue of any other race that comes as far as the human race. Any natural evolution brings the past with it. Even a thing like where you vote in politics is more likely to be genetics more than social upbringing.

    So there is one core elements of these races.

    They evolved from predators. They will still have these instinct with them in some form.

    A secondary thing, but that I find fascinating, is that the separate path of gender that the human race has evolved with, would either be reduced or non existent. This can only lead to a radically different female behavior, with the Sslik being the extreme example of killing gender difference.

    As pointed out in the other post there is nothing that prevents a Sslik from choosing to be more female or male, but only because the race has the genetic background to do it, but a Sslik choosing to be a human female? I just don't see how that possibility is anywhere in it's genes.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Roleplaying with your gut

    Quote Originally Posted by Miravlix View Post
    As pointed out in the other post there is nothing that prevents a Sslik from choosing to be more female or male, but only because the race has the genetic background to do it, but a Sslik choosing to be a human female? I just don't see how that possibility is anywhere in it's genes.
    Well there IS something preventing them, and that would be that lore-wise, Sslik actually look down on those who refer to themselves as male or female, hence why they say 'this one' or 'that one' when speaking of themselves or others.

    If a sslik chose to actually call themselves male or female, they would likely be ejected and dishonored within the society of ssliks as a whole.
    "State your case, but do it well. I do not suffer fools gladly." ~Sereamha Balla-dor

  6. #6

    Default Re: Roleplaying with your gut

    Quote Originally Posted by Sereamha View Post
    If a sslik chose to actually call themselves male or female, they would likely be ejected and dishonored within the society of ssliks as a whole.
    Good thing Akrion doesn't often hang around Sslanis I guess. x3
    Avatar is of my character Akrion, snipped from Hrae's Hoard of Creatures by the excellent moss loving artist Nambroth. <3

  7. #7

    Default Re: Roleplaying with your gut

    I very much disagree with you Sereamha. While some Sslik would certainly be upset about a Sslik assigning itself a gender, I think that the majority of them would more or less accept it. It really does not hurt anything to let them do so, and it may in fact make the integration with mammal society smoother. If the mammals see us as less alien, that might even prevent racial tensions from rising once the Aegis are gone. Honestly, of all the races, Sslik seem to have the most laid back attitude of the here and now while being very aware of the past.
    Ssilmath Torshak, Paladin of the Lost, Shaman of the Damned, Master Armorsmith

    My other "crack would be cheaper" hobby

  8. #8

    Default Re: Roleplaying with your gut

    I just going off of the lore @_@ They REALLY hate assigning gender to things so I assumed if one of their own assigned itself a gender as a 'he' or 'she' it would be greatly frowned upon. *shrug* becoming less sslik and more softskin perhaps.

    Oh well, that is the impression I got from the sslik background and lore anyway.
    "State your case, but do it well. I do not suffer fools gladly." ~Sereamha Balla-dor

  9. #9

    Default Re: Roleplaying with your gut

    First off, I apologize for derailing the thread, Miravlix. I'll get back on topic in a second. Sereamha, the only reference I can see to Sslik and genders is that most Sslik find using gender pronouns in conversation to be distasteful. In the same section, it is stated that elders are attempting to get Sslik to speak like mammals in order to ease the racial tensions that still sit under the surface. It can then be inferred that it would be acceptable for Sslik to utilize genders in speech and would then possibly assign themselves a gender to facilitate that. Anyways...

    On the topic of Sslik being evolved from predators. Keep in mind that humans and dogs are both evolved from predators, though humans were not apex predators until relatively recently. Both species developed pack and ambush/endurance hunting techniques that encouraged cooperation and resource sharing. These formed the basis for most of the values and instincts that shape our culture and allow dogs and humans to have a basic understanding of each other without a common form of communication.

    Now, there is nothing in lore that I know of that details the evolution of the Sslik, only their mythological origins. What is known is that by the time humans (An ancient civilization) had established cities, the vast majority of Sslik lived as nomadic hunter gatherers with a complex inter and intratribal society that emphasized consensus and peaceful solutions to conflict. It can be inferred that the proto Sslik were cooperative ambush predators that would move around in search of food and were not violently territorial.

    To address the gender thing from a slightly different angle. It is true that the Sslik do not have a gender and there is no matriarchal or patriarchal aspect to their society. When it is said it takes a tribe to raise a child, that is meant literally. However, there is going to be just as wide an array of personalities, quirks and personal behaviors as in any mammal race. When coming into contact with these races and gaining an understanding of them, stereotypes are going to arise. When a Sslik looks at those stereotypes, they may think "Hey, that kind of fits my personality." Depending on how they view mammals, they may begin to describe themselves as that gender to the mammals to facilitate easier understanding on the part of the mammals. Some young ones may do it just as an act of rebellion and find they enjoy having the distinction in their minds.

    To play up the different mindset consider these topics. How would a relatively barbaric race view consumption of other sentient beings? How would a creature with wildly different non verbal communication (Feathers, crests, posture) communicate with a human (Facial expression, gestures, eye contact)? How difficult would it be for something with a foot long mouth and sharp teeth to speak common? How would they view a creature that can have different colored hair from the parent or identical skin as someone from another village, when feathers, crests, scale color/pattern and head shape are indicators of lineage and tribal affiliation? Try playing those up to spice up your RP.

    Apply the same to Saris and Dragons. What is the difference between a lion and tiger. How about being primarily carnivorous and the conflict that would have with their peaceful and enlightened society. How did they develop that society in the first place, and why does your character adhere/not adhere to it?
    Ssilmath Torshak, Paladin of the Lost, Shaman of the Damned, Master Armorsmith

    My other "crack would be cheaper" hobby

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