This chapter is pretty complicated programming wise I’m thinking it will account for half if not more of the actual coding I need to do. So hopefully it’s coherent here.
5. The Selection:
It has led here from the very beginning, and a wrong choice here could spell the end of you and your mission… eventually. But by then it will be too late. You chose the characteristics of the race you create from the native creature.
In Chapter 4 you selected certain traits as part of your life selection Plan. Here you are given an animal that has met those criteria. Some Modules or their upgrades can speed this up but each time you reject a creature you add “Time” to your search. After you find an animal you like… or just the first one that matches you can make some alterations, based on how high your Biology Science Stat is, and the upgrades that affect this, like a complete Genetics lab. Not every creature is created equal, and increasing a stat by a “Step” costs points… Also some stats are Locked in or Locked out, due to your Life Selection Plan, all are generated randomly, so some may have an inherent advantage if they start with more advanced abilities.
At any time you can pause your uplift and release your modified race back into the wild before it reaches sentience, in an attempt to gain new traits. you do not get any points back from doing so, but the traits you have modified stay the same. but this is a lengthy procedure and can cost a lot of time. however, you can “restart” and chose a different animal line at any time as well to get your points back.
Horizontal and Vertical stats:
Stats are listed as either Horizontal or Vertical, what I mean by this is Stats that are Horizontal are stats that are effectively interchangeable and even combinable in some cases. Moving from one to another or adding one only costs one point. Vertical stats are more or less ranked you move up by steps costing a point to move up or down.
Most of the other animals (most of which you’ll only see once, and are only recorded for the duration of the “scenario” are based on what you select. this is to create the illusion that the world is full of animals similar to the one you chose. I’m calling these Primer stats since they Prime the selection in following chapters.
Also, many of the abilities described are situational, Temperature regulation doesn’t come into play (directly) unless the planet has a high axial tilt (and thus having seasons).
Factor X: when I talk about Factor X below I’m talking about abilities are exceedingly rare on Earth or nonexistent but are theoretically possible. They can not be selected directly by may result from random rolls or by traits reaching some levels.
Race abilities and the Ages: What abilities a race has as well as its personality determines what scenarios they encounter as they move through the ages. Some scenarios will not trigger at all if the Race does not meet the requirement’s, while others that are meant to be hard become easy and those are meant to be easy become harder.
How traits are Randomized: Mentioned in many of the headings below is the affect certain planetary stats have on the race’s traits, this is factored in by giving a bonus or penalty to the random roll. Other stats like Habitat and Trophic (but not limited to just these two) further modify the stats in the same way.
Affects: Originally I was going to allow for the player to select an Aquatic species but after come careful consideration I’ve realized that it would mean writing double for Chapters 6 to 15 since there are too many differences between what happens on land and in water.
Biomes: Plains, Desert, Island/Coastal, Woodlands, Swampland, Mountian, Jungle, Arctic.
Affects: This is your races primary Habitat, and many of its abilities are partially determined by this. This can not be changed.
Trophic: Combined, Symbiont, Filter-feeder, Pouncing Carnivore, Scavenger, Gathering Herbivore, Omnivore, Chasing Carnivore, Grazing Herbivore, Hijacking Carnivore, Trapping Carnivore, Decomposer, Autotroph.
Affects: This is a Combinable Horizontal Stat. This determines your Races initial place in the food chain, as well as its primary food source. Its importance comes into play during the early ages, while tapering off by the end of the Medieval Age. it also affects race Personality. Also, a potential Factor X ability is the Radiotrophic Autotroph, it Eats radiation instead of solar light. (there is actually a fungus that does this on Earth)
Mobility: Walking, Slithering, Climbing, Digging, Swimming, Winged Flight, Flight, or Immobile
Affects: Combinable Horizontal Stat. This determines how the race gets around, (or doesn’t if it is immobile). It is a Primer stat as well. You can have two forms of movement, one Primary and the other Secondary, for example, if the race is Primary Immobile, but has a Secondary Flight, it could mean that it spends most of its time in one place and only moves by Air (floating on the wind).
Size: Small, Human-Scale, Large
Affects: Vertical Stat. Mostly flavor description for when you Personally interact with the race. It does determine how innately strong the average member of the race is. It is affected by Gravity of the planet. (at Higher gravities smaller is more common, while at lower gravities bigger is more common). it also generates an average weight based on the size. in all cases, it refers to an adult member of the race.
Symmetry: Bilateral, Trilateral, Radial, or Asymmetrical
Affects: Horizontal Stat. Again mostly Flavor description, Altho radial an Asymmetric get the Resilient Factor X trait, (since they tend to have built in redundancy) It determines how many sides your race has. Humans are Bilateral meaning Humans have two sides, (left and right). the Random roll will favor Bilateral.
Number of Limbs: This follows Symmetry if the race has the walking mobility type it automatically gets one segment (one limb per side) for example. Humans have two segments (two limbs per side, one for walking, a leg, and one for manipulation, an arm). Limb types include Mobility, Manipulator, and weapon.
Tails: This follows symmetry. Tails can be used for many things, from balance to weapons to movement to guidance (in the case of birds). the Random roll will favor no tail. but you still may get one if the race has flight as its primary Mobility.
Manipulators: This follows symmetry, the Race never starts with manipulators above basic (like an elephant’s trunk, sorry no monkey hands for you) but you can change. They come in “sets” which means one manipulator for every side (two for Bilateral). The Random Roll can have up to two passes here, Once to determine if it has basic manipulators, again if said manipulator is a trunk or tail. if your race has a tail it will be a trunk if it doesn’t it rolls to determine if it is a trunk or tail.
Skeleton: None, Hydrostatic, External, Internal, Combiniation.
Affects: Combinable Horizontal stat.This affects whether or not the race has a Skeleton or not. again mostly flavor, it does affect other traits. having an External Skeleton (or Exoskeleton) precludes having to choose between skin types.
Skin Covering type: Skin, Scales, Fur, Feathers, Exoskeleton.
Affects: Horizontal and Vertical Stat. There are five types of skin coverings, from none, to armor plated Exoskeleton. each type has ranks, which indicate tougher and thought skin, or skin with different abilities, both Fur and Feathers lead to Spines (like a porcupine) a weaponized skin covering. While plain skin can lead to Blubber, which can act as armor and a temperature regulator, and Exoskeletons, can be sealed (if the race has an Exoskeleton skeleton) or simply be armor plating.
Lungs: Gills, Lungs-Air Storage, Lungs/Gills, Lungs
Affects: Horizontal Stat. This affects how your race breathes. a sentient race will need Lungs, or Lungs/Gills (indicating an amphibian). and you must change the race to meet this requirement.
Temperature Regulation: Cold-blooded Solar, Cold-blooded Environmental, Partial Regulation, Warm-blooded, Controlled Warm-blooded.
Affects: Vertical Stat. This is how dependent your race is on its environment for maintaining its body temperature. it will come into play a lot in the early Ages and comes back as your race moves into space. the Difference between Cold-blooded solar and Cold-blooded environmental is one requires additional heating (by sunning itself) to function normally, while the other is simply more active the hotter it gets. Controlled Warm-blooded means they can manipulate their temperature at will, producing more or less heat as needed.
Growth Pattern: Metamorphosis, Molting, Continuous Growth, Unusual
Affects: This is again mostly flavor but it describes how the race Grows, Humans fit in the Continuous Growth, category, while most insects fit in the Molting catagory. This is chosen by your other choices. Exoskeletons require Molting for example. If it has multiple Growth patterns. like Metamorphosis and Molting, it fits in the Unusual growth Catagory.
Reproduction: Asexual, Hermaphrodite, Two Sexes, Choice, Multiple
Affects: Vertical Stat. This is the number of individuals needed to create a child of the race. Asexual means only one is needed. Hermaphrodite means either can fill the role of male or female. Two sexes are like Humans and most life on Earth. Choice means that the race can choose to be Male or Female (growing the appropriate organs as needed) and Multiple means more than two. Mostly Flavor, although it likely will come into play in some scenarios. (like Gender equality for Two sexes, and Multiple sexes)
Gestation: Spawning, Egg-laying, Live-bearing, Live-bearing with pouch
Special Gestation: Brood parasite, Parasitic young, Cannibalistic Young (Parent), Cannibalistic Young (sibling)
Affects: Vertical Stat. This affects how the young are brought into the world and also how they are viewed. It will first roll random for the first four, then there is a 5% chance it can get a special gestation method (Horizontal Stat). (all of which are bad for someone else) You can spend a point change this, and a point to add or remove a special gestation.
Reproductive Strategy: Strong K, Moderate K, Median, Moderate R, Strong R
Affects: Vertical Stat. This affects how many children the race produces as well has how much care they invest. This is what the race prefers, not necessarily how it acts as it progresses through the Ages. Modern Western society favors a Strong K Stratagy. while Third world countries tend towards Median. (more offspring less care).
The Senses: Primer Stat. There are four senses (Visual, Hearing, Touch, and Taste/smell (chemical)) All the senses are Vertical stats, Higher level stats also lead to Factor X traits, like 360 vision, or the ability to detect electric fields (like sharks on Earth) or even forms of radar or sonar. Also, your race has a Primary sense, this is what they used before becoming sentient to hunt and gather food. it is also what they rely on for information since becoming sentient. Also at certain levels senses can be used for communication. From visual Hand signals to pheromones. Choosing the primary method of communication affects how the race will communicate in the story, (squirting chemicals at each other, or tap dancing for example)
Lifespan: Short, Normal, Long, Extended, Unlimited.
Affects: Vertical Stat, This affects how long a member of your race lives, it is directly affected by things like the races’ reproductive stratagy, gestation, and size. Short is around 30 to 60 years, Normal is 60 to 90 years, Long is 90 to 120, Extended, is 120 to 180, while unlimited is they only die by accident or intent. Unlimited is a Factor X trait.
Race Personality: These are the movers in the Ages, Most are requirements for particular scenarios. Most of these have special rules when you spend a point on them. they are generated randomly but are affected by previous choices.
Intelligence: IQ ranked 1-10
Affects: This affects how smart your Race is on average (and how much they favor intelligence over strength.) while Ranked 1 - 5, 5 indicates presentient, 6-10 indicates sentient. going from 5 to 6 is free, going from 6 to 7 cost 1 and so on.
Mating Behavior: No Pair Bond, Temporary Bond, Permanent Bond, Harem, Hive
Affects: A Prime driver of some senerios, basically how the race views Mating. Is it just something that happens, or is there Love? is it political or a purview of the Nobility? Costs are related to reproductive strategy, and the default is set by it, the further you move away from it the more it costs.
Social Organization: Solitary, Pair-bonded, Small Groups, Medium Groups, Large Herd
Affects: This affects how naturally how large of a group the Race likes to congregate. Solitary means they don’t come together except if they need something the other has, while a Large Herd doesn’t feel right unless there is a large number of their kind easy to access and mingle with. Costs are related to reproductive strategy, and the default is set by it, the further you move away from it the more it costs.
Chauvinism: Ranked 1-7, Can not spend points on.
This Measures how the race views itself as a group compared to others. High ranks mean they are Xenophobic, while low ranks make them Xenopilic. This will come into play if you reveal yourself to your contact or during Contact.
Concentration: Ranked 1-7, Can not spend points on.
Concentration describes how well individuals members of a race can focus on a task. High Ranks means they are more and more single-minded, while the lower ranks lead to OSS, Oh Shiny Syndrome
Curiosity: Ranked 1-7, Can not spend points on.
Curiosity includes how receptive the species is to new things, and how interested they are in finding them. High ranks mean that they are incredibly curious while a low rank means they won’t investigate why they just grew a tail… Its not that they are afraid of the answers just that they don’t care.
Egoism: Ranked 1-7, Can not spend points on.
Egoism is a measure of how personally self-important members of this race are, compared with others. Like Chauvinism but for the individual. High ranks mean they are very selfish, while low ranks mean they are selfless.
Empathy: Ranked 1-7, Can not spend points on.
Empathy measures how well individuals can sense or care about the feelings of others, both within and outside their race. At high levels, they truly do care about others, at low levels they tend to be callous or even sadistic.
Gregarioususness: Ranked 1-7, Can not spend points on.
This indicates how sociable members of the race are, and how much they need the company of others. It doesn’t say how the species feels about other forms of life. High levels mean they generally like the company of others while low levels mean they prefer solitude.
Imagination: Ranked 1-7, Can not spend points on.
Imagination indicates how well members of the race come up with new ideas, see patterns, and invent new behaviors. High levels mean they are incredibly imaginative while low levels can mean not only do they not think so things they actively reject ideas. (it can reduce your races’ IQ)
Suspicion: Ranked 1-7, Can not spend points on.
This is how distrustful and fearful individuals of the race are about new things or surprises. High levels can lead to them fearing their own shadows, or cowardice or global paranoia, while low levels, can lead to fearlessness, (and overconfidence)
Playfulness: Ranked 1-7, Can not spend points on.
Playfulness measures how willing a race is to play, to do things purely for fun rather than for any material benefit. Playful animals may be easier to train and playful sapients are likely to have a sense of humor. At high levels members of the race tend to be pranksters and actively enjoy being tricked or pranked. While at low levels they take being tricked … personally… very personally…