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Offline Kenotai

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Tentacular Mix Up
« on: September 18, 2011, 01:19:04 pm »
Tentacular Mix-Up

The Tentacular Mix-Ups (as they are, or rather were, called by the ancient race, the Xonians) are a rather strange creature. They are, as the name suggests, rather mismatched in terms of parts of their bodies.  They have three mouths, previously used to eat from multiple close by sources of food, mostly for speed and efficiency. They have what looks like a large eye behind their head, but it is in fact an electro sensitive organ as well as infrared sensitive. Their actual eyes are in three pairs along their back, each sensitive to one of each of red, green, and blue. They have four pairs of tentacle like hands hanging down from below. Tiny suction cups cover their hands for easier grasping in the watery environment in which it lives. In addition, behind these Tentacular limbs in a large flipper, which, along with its tail, it uses to propel itself through the water.

Another peculiarity of this species is the complexity at which names become when they are written down in other languages. Each mouth is completely capable of its own sounds, and each mouth makes a sound at the same time, and it is this cacophony of different sounds that makes up a phoneme in the Tentacular Mix-Up’s language. When written down, it is written down one mouth at a time, with each syllable beginning with a capital, like this: m1/m2/m3. Sometimes the words look simply ridiculous in other languages, for instance, the name of their home, watery planet is PanSuiMan/RokNanHal/ShatPaFoo. It is not unheard of to abbreviate simply such cumbersome words down to the first letter in each syllable, so the aforementioned word would simple be PSM/RNH/SPF.

Here is the planet as viewed from space:
PanSuiMan/RokNanHal/ShatPaFoo

The culture of the Tentacular Mix-Up is a complicated one.  There are several different religions, each originating in one of their six main, and only, cities. All six cities are named with a different arrangement of Pan, Mi, and Lan, so there’s Pan/Mi/Lan (duh), Lan/Pan/Mi, and so on. Their culture is based on the idea that everyone should help others if they can, and even if they cannot. Pay it forward is generally expected. They are always eager to meet new species, and they have facilitated peace talks numerous times between species. Despite this, however, the family unit is not a strong one, based heavily on the idea that “you don’t choose your family,” instead opting to place their loyalties with friends and colleagues, with these bonds themselves being stronger than the strongest family bonds on Earth.  Swinging back around to religion and the cities, they can easily be summarized in the following way:

1) From Pan/Mi/Lan – This is the oldest city on PSM/RNH/SPF. It is the cradle of their entire civilization. It is a sprawling, domed metropolis home to a billion Tentacular Mix-Ups. Due to the increased support from the water and the better technology than we have, the buildings in this city reach up to almost three times the height of the Burj Khalifa (nearly reaching the surface of their shallow, global ocean).  This is where the fact that it is domed comes into play; if it wasn’t domed, the ocean currents would knock down the buildings that are this tall. The dome is also habitable from the outside, and is covered with residential homes, as well as ports so that one may simply swim into the larger city beneath the dome. Expanding outward from the dome is likewise with even more residential spaces, the density slowly tapers off for a hundred miles, and then there is sprawling farmland that too eventually gives way to the natural sea floor.

The religion of the inhabitants of this city is a polytheistic one.  The ruling deity is the god of Water, called Fal/Man/Om. He is considered a peaceful god that just “goes with the flow” as it were.  There is also the god of Warmth, who has a fiery personality, the goddess of Wrath, in which diplomatic pitfalls are blamed on, and the God of Messages and Dusk,  who is considered responsible for shady dealings and corruption. Some of their important rituals include marriage, the most important rite in the followers lives, as it signifies the bonding between friends that will and usually does (as they wait longer) a lifetime. Others include death rites, where the body of the deceased is dismembered and allowed to drift out into the sea. The afterlife is considered to be so small as to be invisible, occurring between the “particles” (this definition has changed with science) of the ocean. As more powerful microscopes are developed, this is leadfing to a crisis of faith with the believers insisting that it goes even smaller than what they can observe, even if they adhered to a view of the afterlife that was previously larger. The most important holiday in the city for everyone is the Festival of Currents, in which a seasonal strong current passes over the domes of the city. This forces those living on the dome to come into the city, where they pass the time waiting with getting drunk off of seaweed ale. The most important personal holiday is the marriage anniversary, as it solemnizes the bond between two individuals (an aside here is that marriages were never really about procreation, the female keeps the children produced however, meaning that same sex marriages are common, as love and friendship are the two concepts that are conflated, instead of love and sex). The symbol of this religion is a silver circle with an uneven spiral inside it, with a large black disk behind it. In this city, however, religion is followed in a somewhat European style, most people are only casual believers, the most that shows through in daily life is shibboleths in their idiomatic usage (an indicator that one is a native of this city, as well as the “big city” attitude that they show).

2) From Pan/Lan/Mi – This city is the second largest, and the second founded city. However, it is nearly all the way on the other side of the planet, an amazing feat, as the planet is significantly larger than the planet Earth. This city is, again, not as large as P/M/L, and it is not domed as there are no strong currents that pass through this city. The architecture here is much different from the others, instead of tall buildings; instead, it utilizes a huge array of bubbled buildings chained to each other and to the ground in an odd web of buildings. From far away, it is so dense it looks as if there is a large steel colored bump rising out from the sea floor. In addition to this difference, the farming of the city is done in tall spiraling towers with food growing on the tops, bottoms and sides of the inward spiraling terrace.  A good number of these rise up either in the midst of the network of round buildings (a side effect of city growth) or they occur far out from the lower edges of the city. This city is home to 800 million people.

One thing about this city that contrasts it with Pan/Mi/Lan is that this city is a lot more conservative than liberal P/M/L. The religion (more on that in a second) is more strictly adhered to and believed in. This religion is monotheistic in nature, worshiping the one Truth instead of the Many as they call the other religions (whether they too are monotheistic or not). The one Truth is said to pervade all elements of life, and this plays off the innate selflessness of the Tentacular Mix-Up, manifesting in this instance as a near inability to tell a lie. Of course that does not mean they are incapable, it just goes against their principles and a medium sized lie could mean disastrous effects on one’s social standing with your peers. One thing that this city is known for is its religious songs. These songs, to a human ear, almost sound like faster whale songs, being underwater and such. These songs are especially played during the “monthly” (10 times a year) festivals to the Truth. The festivals are times to celebrate your life and peers, and they are also used as a time to grow ones circle of friends, and maybe find a marriage partner, which brings us to another point. Marriage in P/L/M is different from the rest of PSM/RNH/SPF. Instead of it being a personal recognition of a lifelong friendship, it is instead used to further your wealth. In this city, financial conservatism is also prevalent as well as social conservatism. These marriages are always between opposite sexed couples, in order to produce offspring to further a families wealth (this structuring of family is unique to this city).  Same sex coupling is not frowned upon, it just doesn’t result in marriage (here, the conflation is marriage and business, versus marriage and friendship). Side lovers are common. Back to their religion, they have temple services once every eight days (eight for two pairs of hands if you must know). These temples are bubbles like the other ones, but they are more adorned, having large (dull) golden spikes come out of them. These services are generally very solemn compared to the playful festivals that they have. In these services, one casts of your Doubts, which can be considered sin, confessionals which are held to the entire congregation. Generally your entire circle of friends goes to the same temple as you, and in fact that might just be where you got them in the first place. The symbol for this religion is a large gold disk with a tentacle print on the inside in black.

3) From Mi/Pan/Lan – This city is the third oldest of all the cities, but only the fourth largest. The city is made up of large glass and steel step pyramids, rising out of the say floor, about 4000 miles from Pan/Mi/Lan. Think of it as a large, single building. The outside is glass and open, so that “fish” can swim in and out freely. Their farming is similar to Pan/Lan/Mi, except that it is instead a large white ceramic spiral that goes all the way around the pyramids. And unlike Pan/Lan/Mi, the spiral is not like a long curved rectangular prism, but it is curved all the way around like a cylinder. The population of this city is at 700 million.

The culture of this city is similar in many ways to P/L/M, which is to be expected because this city is a colony from there. As such, their religion is somewhat similar, they also worship the one Truth, but the level of devotion is similar to that in Pan/Mi/Lan. There are also several differences in the core of the belief system. They still believe in the one Truth, that is all pervasive, but instead of the nearly Puritanical work ethic, they are much more laid back. They are also much more in tune with nature, as evidenced by letting wildlife swim freely around in their city and homes. They also forgo the ten times yearly festival for a more continuous joyous living. The Truth is a self-truth in this case, and not necessarily truth to others, but Tentacular Mix-Up charity still dictates that you should be honest with each other. This extends to their worship practice, which is nearly nonexistent. Instead, they meet with peers every so often and share good times in an informal session, without necessarily attributing it to the greater Truth of their lives. Drug use is extremely common in this city. They have a seaweed that produces a neurotoxin which numbs the body’s sense of isolation, making the person feel as if they occupy the entire universe and undergo a complete, but euphoric, ego death. Done in groups, this increases the bonds between them. In marriage, their practices are more in line with the customs of Pan/Mi/Lan, in which you marry your best friend and have children outside of the marriage. However, in this case, instead of the mother being the one to keep the children, it is the father who raises the child. Weddings are held far outside the city, out in the openness of the sea. The two to be wed share some of the psychoactive seaweed, and keep consuming it until they feel as if they are a part of each other. And then they consume more, and an officiator, mutually agreed upon, rings an instrument, again and again and again, which causes the newlyweds to associate the sound of the instrument with the feeling of being part of each other. This instrument is played once a year for all to hear at the top of the farming spiral. The symbol of this religion is a gold tentacle on a black disk, the inverse of Pan/Lan/Mi.

4) From Mi/Lan/Pan – This city is the fourth oldest and the third largest. This city is unique because it is built in a field of volcanoes. The volcano is extinct, but it still produces heat that warms the city, which is a good thing as this city is near to the poles of the world. The volcanic vent is gigantic; it stretches along for hundreds of miles before terminating.  Along the way are more traditional cone volcanoes, and there is a large cluster of them, mostly the undersea equivalent of cinder cones. There are two types of architecture to this city, the part built atop of the crack, and districts built on top of the cluster. The buildings associated with the  are huge arches that flare out in the middle, catching the warmer water as it rises. It is made with highly heat resistant metal on the bottom of the superstructure, while the top is glass and steel like in M/P/L. The buildings built over the cluster and other volcanoes are domes, catching the warmth the same way as those along the vent.  The population for this city is 750 million.

The religion that was founded here is based on two entities, the Mother Sea and Father Heat, but these are just translation conventions because these familial terms do not normally apply. It is fairly obvious what these two are implying, but I’ll explain anyways. Father heat is a non-corporeal entity that lives beneath the sea bed, and it provides the warmth for the whole city, while Mother Sea is responsible for keeping Him from overheating the whole area. The level of devotion is minimal, with it being relegated to more of a mysticism that everyone tolerates. However, there are priests and priestesses that commit sacrifices to the two in horrible displays of cruelty. The sacrifice to Father Heat is done by taking a condemned prisoner, tying weights to them, and tossing them into an uninhabited volcano. As a confirmation, this religion is state sponsored and this is a legal method of execution. The sacrifice to Mother Sea is similar, instead of weights, flotation devices are attached, and the victim rises to the cold surface waters and the exposed air, where they freeze to death. These events are public, and despite it sounding like these guys are a bunch of Aztecs that do this to everyone, they do not. They only do it to people that the public have condemned as unsavable, which goes against the more global attitude of charity. This leads to those in other cities to insult uncharitable people as being “as cold as Mi/Lan/Pan.” Marriage here is like in most other cities, you marry your best friend. The ceremony is a plain one, with a state officiator legalizing the union. Some of the holidays that are celebrated here are Summer, when the waters outside of the warmth of the volcanoes become warmer, and your wedding anniversary. Summer is celebrated by travel outside of the city, where you take in the beauty of the surrounding waters.  The emblem for this religion is two joined semi circles, one red, on the bottom, and one bluish purple, on the top.

5) From Lan/Pan/Mi – This city is nearly the exact opposite of the previous city. Instead of a nearly polar location, this is located with a large archipelago of Caribbean islands and atolls. The architecture in this city is the most familiar to anyone from Earth. The architecture could be described as a “modern gothic” with pointed arches combined with more modern elements such as skyscrapers. The whole city follows the Tentacular Mix-Up trend of living in more and more crowded spaces in an effort to save space. As such, in addition to the contrasting old and new buildings, they are sometimes built right on top of one another. You could have gothic arches as the façade to a modern looking square skyscraper. The whole layout of the city is somewhat similar to Pan/Mi/Lan, in that it is not all bunched together and crowded like Pan/Lan/Mi and Mi/Pan/Lan.  The population is 650 million.

The culture of this society is very giving, even more so than the other cities. Personal possessions are almost unheard of, in a sense, as they are constantly being traded among peers.  Everyone shares, and this is a guiding principle of all interactions in the city. Peers groups as a result are incredibly close, even more than an immediate family would be on Earth. These peer groups generally all live together on the same floor of a flat, in some odd combination of roommate and neighbor. The faith of this city is a reform of a previous, savage religion. During ancient times, there was a lot of slavery and war within the city. Yes, this species does do things in really tight quarters. The religion sanctioned it as being part of the plan of some cruel God that wanted the blood of enemies to appease him. Well, the definition of enemy was never defined, and as such, it was one tight knit group fighting others, making alliances, declaring vengeance.  This went on for centuries, and people who were born here left the cruelty of the city and made their way to settle a new city, one that would rise above all the others in achievement, despite its smaller size.

6) From Lan/Mi/Pan – This city is the crown jewel of all of PAM/RNH/SPF. It is a scientific dream, designed from the ground up to be as modern as possible and to integrate all the latest advances into its basic infrastructure. The city’s architecture is similar to that of its ships and space stations, and for a very good reason. It was the “winner” of the planet’s space race, and has since reached further and further into the future, sometimes making the other cities feel like throwbacks in a sense. The buildings are all soaring and made with lots of curves at the bases of the buildings, tapering into spires at the top. Blue is a dominant color, as it is with most of the other cities. Think of any futuristic pipe dream of a city shown in the media (most especially Corning’s City of Glass demonstration), add the obviously missing criminal element, and you have this city. The citizens live in the lap of luxury, but it isn’t all good, of course. It is located near the equator, but it is not anywhere near as tropical as Lan/Pan/Mi, instead being more mild in terms of oceanic weather. 

It is from this city that we get the designs we have for their ships, take this personal ship:

More to come. Comments please!



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Offline Crazen

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Re: Tentacular Mix Up
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2011, 02:44:23 pm »
what
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No capitalization......

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Offline Kenotai

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Re: Tentacular Mix Up
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2011, 03:44:57 pm »
What isn't there to get?
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Offline UFO King

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Re: Tentacular Mix Up
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2011, 05:32:41 pm »
I'm really overwhelmed at how amazingly detailed you've made this. Couple questions, though:
1. How in the world did they manage to create a civilization if they live underwater? That means no fire, which means no metalworking (among other things), which means they couldn't have made those cities unless there's something I've overlooked and/or don't know about.
2. How advanced is their space travel? Have they discovered warp drives or hyperdrives yet? Have they even made it to another system?
3. Where in the galaxy are they, in relation to other space-faring sapients?
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Offline Kenotai

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Re: Tentacular Mix Up
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2011, 06:07:44 pm »
1. I am not sure. Let's pretend and not spoil my otherwise hard work.
2. They use artificially created wormholes (sort of like the jump gates in Babylon 5, except the technology to do so is much smaller so even small ships make their own like the large ones in Bab5). These tunnels through space are really efficient and can travel great distances in a matter of minutes. However, they are unmilitaristic and compactionist (not a word, but you get the meaning). So, while they have taken a peak at several systems (okay, maybe more than that) they have only one colony which I will detail later.
3. These critters actually come from my novel, so the distances are not comparable. In the novel, they are three thousand light years closer to the core than Earth, while the Vykusi are 1000 away from Earth in a perpendicular direction, and the Xonians the same distance in the opposite direction. I suppose that the distance can be translated over to the OG/RG map, and I also intend to use these for Kosmosis if it starts up again, and for that I have no idea since I probably won't use the Vykusi for Kosmosis.

I intend to expand on the final two, as well as drawings for all the cities (mostly done already). The next update will be the pictures and a detailing of all the inter city relationships (and expanding the couple that I already mentioned)/
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Offline UFO King

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Re: Tentacular Mix Up
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2011, 06:16:28 pm »
I wonder what the Xonians are like?
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Offline Kenotai

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Re: Tentacular Mix Up
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2011, 06:30:47 pm »
This is what they look like. (I don't like the shading but I had a hard time with their shade of yellow)
They weren't gone in my novel, but it's easier to say they are for this (or these) universe(s). Maybe I'll make them un-gone for some stories in the future.
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