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 Post subject: The Manderans
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2003 3:37 pm 
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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away the Manderans lived on their homeworld of Mandera Prime. They were of average height and size, not unlike the humans, but their origins were amphibic, so their appearance was quite different. Their culture was ancient, rich both in knowledge and material goods. Aside from their interest in arts and culture, the Manderans were also very curious. They loved to explore and in time their culture had developed a rite of initiation that required the young ones to explore the vale of chundara. They were to bring back at least one unknown thing, be it an animal, a plant, a rock or anything else they had never seen before.

And their homeworld offered much to explore as the Manderans had never settled on land far away from their only city. The Manderans had a deep respect for nature and strove to live in balance with it. So, the jungles that had encompassed Mandera since the beginning of time were still almost untouched.

The rain forests of Mandera Prime are habitat to an unimaginable number of species of plants and animals alike. And so it was no small wonder that they drew a steady stream of “scholars of life” as the Manderans called people who devoted their life to the science of living nature.

As the Manderans ventured ever more deeply into the heart of the jungle, one of their oldest and most revered scholars made a remarkable discovery. He had come to study the behaviour of the Pakulo Bird, a colourful little fellow preying on little fish in small ponds. The old man set up camp in a cove near a small river, within walking distance of a large number of promising looking ponds.

Early each morning he went to the hiding spot he had discovered and waited for a specimen to study. And he was soon rewarded by the sight of one of Mandera’s most reclusive predators: the Pakulo Bird he had been looking for. But as the Pakulo Bird stalked a little bright red fish in the shallows the old man was about to see something beyond his wildest dreams. Just as the fish seemed to unwittingly swim closer and closer to his certain doom and the Pakulo Bird was getting ready to jab at it with his pointed beak the pond presented the bird with the last surprise of its life. All of a sudden the “water” rose up and formed a dozen fine tendrills that wrapped around the bird with unbelieveble speed and drew him into the mass that had been the “pond”. The Pakulo struggled and chirped in terror of course, but to no avail. Within minutes there was nothing left but a few feathers.

The old man’s eyes were bulging in surprise. A predator being able to change it’s shape, probably the single greatest discovery in all of his life. He decided to name this new species the Mimic, as the creature had mimicked a pond. He was just starting to take down notes and draw a sketch of the pond when suddenly he was provided with another surprise. The fluid started to gather and gradually took shape. When the process was finished there was no longer a pond, the Pakulo Bird stood in its place. Obviously, the Mimic could absorb his prey and learn from it. The scholar was fascinated. And as curiosity got the better of him he took one step forward and left his hiding place. That proved to be a fatal mistake.

A few weeks later a smiling professor returned to the city. Soon after that he took his class out to see the Pakulos…

It took the Mimics about several years to take over the entire city, but in the end they had absorbed the entire Manderan population. Effectively the Mimics had become the Manderans. And they play their role to perfection, for whenever a Mimic absorbs another being, it retains the memories of the unlucky victim. By fusing with one another Mimics can also share a lot of information very rapidly so knowledge travels fast among them.


Appearance: As a Mimic they appear to be an amorphos glob of slightly purplish goo. But that’s not how others see them. Normally they appear as the Manderans whose role they have adopted. Manderans look something like a humanoid toad. But more slender than your average toad. They are brightly coloured in patterns of various colours.

Traits: Obviously they are excellent spies but they are also pretty skilled in ground combat as they can hide very well and assume other’s identities. Also, they always manage to lay the blame for their spying activities with some other race. Population growth is below average as they need to keep their own young ones hidden until they are skilled enough to assume the role of a Manderan young.

General Note: Maybe it would be fun to have the Mimic appear in the place of an other official race, displaying false race picks and thus being truly secret.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 5:53 am 
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Cosmic Dragon
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This is cool, interesting.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2003 6:00 am 
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Only one sugjestion, make the Mimic come from a crashed meteorite/ship ect (anything that indicates they are not native) as it seems unlikly that they would not have come in contact for the entire evolutionary history of the species or that their would be no life forms even remotly mimic like on the planet.

Do you want me to produce a Biology/physilogy as I did earlier?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2003 7:11 am 
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Space Kraken

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Just these guys a spying bonus and growth penalty seems kinda boring.

How about a special "Pod People" Espionage mission--in stages the mimics slowly replace the leaders of a planet. If the owning player doesn't notice (ie, has weak counter-intelligence), the planet eventually falls under Darlok^H^H^H^H^H^H Manderan control.

This would also be a good race to have some sort of Tolerant pick, re: EP.

As compensation, maybe their research just totally blows. (a large penalty, the equivelent of Uncreative x 2, unable to select research as a primary focus) They'd have to steal or bargin for most of their techs.

It would also make sense for them to have a diplomacy penalty...I mean who in their right mind would trust a bunch of natural spys?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2003 9:33 am 
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Actually I've deliberately given them few picks so far as we don't have the list of picks yet. So, in the end there will be more than just a spying bonus and a growth penalty. That I did not give them the usual research penalty was also intentional. I don't want to make them the usual cliche shapeshifters: "Great spies, everything else sucks". That's what I consider boring.

But as there seems to be a demand for some picks I'll throw out a few of my thoughts:

- As stated they'd get a bonus to spying. small or large, I haven't decided yet. If I go with the small bonus, I'll make sure I can justify that. There are lots of readily available excuses for that: Maybe they can't talk because they simply don't know how as they only communicate telepathically. That would sort of make them stand out in covert ops. Maybe they can't hold their shape for a longer period of time.

- They'll always be able to blame other races when stealing tech or doing some other spying stuff. This one is relatively obvious.

- Diplomacy: I didn't give them a penalty because they don't appear as the big bad shapeshifter. Remember, they replaced the Manderans and now they appear to be an amphibious race of peaceful scholars to the rest of the universe.

- I like drek's idea of the "pod people" mission and I thought about something similar when I first came up with them but dismissed the thought because I thought no one would like it and it might be a little unfair. If something like this does make it into the game it should look like a normal uprising, which sort of means that would only work if we do have uprisings in our game. After all, being a mimic is all about not revealing yourself.

- When conquering an enemy planet they absorb and replace the original population very quickly. They don't integrate others in their empire and thus they can't profit from conquered races' picks. On the other hand they get a working colony with no moral penalty shortly after taking a planet.

- Also, especially in multiplayer, they might not appear as the normal Manderans, but rather as any other of our stock races, displaying false race picks.

Re Impaler: Thanks for the offer, but I'm confident I can come up with what little biology my race needs on my own. After all, biology is my stock in trade, me being a student of just that and all... :wink:

Also, maybe I'll explain why the mimic evolved on Mandera Prime. I don't want another crashed space ship delivering it.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2003 10:36 am 
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Actualy I was kinda more interested in the Biology of the Amphibian Manderans. (The mimics are obviously just gooo that assimilates stuff, not much to describe their). If your planing to have the mimics have the potential of being any race at the start of game then the "original" Manderans will need to be a normal race just like any other or else its a huge give away. Also another reason to make the things from a crashed space ship so the assimilation back story can be any race not just the Manderans. The original Manderans now need to be writen up as an independent race.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2003 11:06 am 
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Space Kraken

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Nightfish wrote:
Actually I've deliberately given them few picks so far as we don't have the list of picks yet.


In my mind, the race picks should flow from descriptions of actual FO races. For example, in the other race thread, those thingies with the hard to spell name are cowardly--so we need a "Cowardly" race pick.

You guys are polymorphic, so "Shapeshifter" would be a race pick (giving some special covert missions and effects--like "Pod People" and framing other empirs for spy actions).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2003 1:09 pm 
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Drek, you're at least partially correct about the race picks. I've been thinking about the process a little and this is how I imagine we might do things:

First we come up with a lot of races and that gives us a certain number of race picks that we need to have in order to make them work. Like shapeshifter for mine, cowards for the unspellables, no pop growth for the forgotten and so on.

Then we need to balance those must-have picks with the obvious ones like "+10% research" and of course all the must-haves must be balanced among themselves, too.

After that we need to take one more look at our races and make sure that all of them use the same number of "race pick points". So, some races will need to be given a good pick and some will have to be dealt a bad one. (I figure by not giving my race too many modifiers besides what's really crucial I'm not going to have to redo to much later)

Then we go looking for exploits and balance some more. Does that sound more or less logical?


Re Impaler: I still don't see the need to drop my poor shapeshifter out of some mysterious space ship. It's just as likely that the mimic evolved on some other planet as it is that he gets dropped on another planet. Either way, the mimic appears where I need him to be.
Impersonating stock races would be a multiplayer only feature as a human probably wouldn't fall for the Manderan-bluff.
Personally, I'm fine with the true Manderans being extinct in our universe. I came up with them a while ago and they didn't really seem interesting enough for a full fledged race so I had the Mimic eat them :D But if the majority of people want to see the Manderans as a normal race I'll post them.

I'll post a more in depth description of the true Manderans biology at a later date. I was sort of under the impression that the true fleshing out of our races would begin only after we had decided on them being in the game. Was I wrong there?


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2003 9:48 pm 
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Cosmic Dragon
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Impaler wrote:
Only one sugjestion, make the Mimic come from a crashed meteorite/ship ect (anything that indicates they are not native) as it seems unlikly that they would not have come in contact for the entire evolutionary history of the species or that their would be no life forms even remotly mimic like on the planet.


@NightFish
You must admit though, it does seem odd, that the mimics suddenly take over the world. Maybe you could make it so that they were trapped in a great valley, where they could not leave. Anyone else were forbidden to go in, no one has ever returned. One day a stubborn and adventurous but foolish explorer ventures into the forbidden valley.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2003 12:15 am 
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I like NF's sujgestion on Race picks, that we make the races first and make the characteristics that we chosse to give the races are initial race picks.

Just like too add a step after that, we should then brain storm race picks independently of races at that point and possibly make a few more races or insert some of the new picks into older races when balancing them. Then focus on assigning a value to each race pick. For example I have a few ideas for race picks that are not currently assosiated with any race.

Fanatical - Recives a combat bonus that is directly proportional to its relationship with the race in question, hate = high bonus, peacefull = no bonus.

Emotionless - all diplomatic actions are tilted towards nutral, actions that move away from nutral are blunted, actions that move toward nutral areaccentuated.

Passionate - oposite of Emotionless, relationships tend toward extreams.

Omnicient - the race is telepathic capable of "remote veiwing" or the race is some kind of non temperal being, think of this as "all knowing" basicaly the player sees all other actions in the universe, like 100% successfull spying on everything all the time. Obviosly an incredibly powerfull ability

Beligerant - Relationships tend to deteriorate with other races, but others can be more easily "brow beat" into giving you what you want (before they beclare war on you that is)

Honorable - Less likly to break agreements with other races but they dislike thouse that do break agreements more then ussual.

Disetfull - oposite of honorable, breaks word alot and dose not hold it aginst other.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2003 6:22 am 
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@ Utilae: I'm thinking it something like this: Before one of the Mimics absorbed the proffessor the Mimics were pretty dumb. Well, not really dumb, but they weren't really sentinent and had no desire to leave the heart of the forrest. Only after that incident did the Mimics realise that if they didn't do anything people would come looking for him and if they found out about the Mimics they would probably kill them all. That's why they decided to take over the city (note that at that time there was only one city on Mandera Prime, so taking over the planet was not that difficult).

@ Impaler: Suggesting random Race Picks now is really pointless. There is no way we will pass them now and by the time we do discuss race picks everything we say now will be forgotten. Also, this is off topic to the thread here.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2003 9:25 pm 
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I'd say, if 'pod people' gets in as a special pick have it (or detailing 'The Manderans' picks)

1. Give a nice spying bonus

2. Give an ability to totally suppress unrest on conquered worlds over time... making the aliens of that world consider your empire their home.

3. Give some substantial irreversible diplomatic penalties that begin to accumulate after conquering another races world, also a conquered population unrest factor that acts the same. (because then everyone knows, and the population of any newly conquered world will resist as your babies come down and infect the planet.)


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 Post subject: Re: The Manderans
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:27 pm 
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I like this species idea, but I don't think they're technically "playable" or even applicable as a typical native species. However the mention of them "faking" an existing species gives me the idea to possibly have them as a special, that could randomly be applied, like moderate or advanced technology, to native species. However it would be a "stealth" special, that you couldn't even discover until you had sufficiently advanced detection technology, and then replace the population with the Manderans when they are "discovered". Here is a general outline so-far.

Manderan Impostors Special
  • Applied to planets with natives.
  • Invisible to the player until sufficient detection.
  • Probably has some noticeable effect, to at the very least tip-off the player something isn't right. Possibly a minor malus.
  • Contagious to neighboring planets/systems via supply connection. Your homeworld/capital planet is immune. Transmission is also invisible. This would be random chance, and low-ish, but growing so that if the player ignores detection they can find themselves in a real jam.
  • Once discovered, the species on all the planets with the special become Manderan. Those planets go into rebellion and leave your empire, however they can be reconquered.

Mandran Species
  • Metabolism: probably self-sustaining or phototrophic. They'd be impersonating species of all different types, so something not tied to any of the usual "specials" would probably be preferable for game-mechanics.
  • Probably xenophobic.
  • Great or ultimate stealth, though kind of irrelevant by the time you actually have to deal with them.
  • Can build ships. Also good weapons, probably.
  • Cannot colonize. Story reasons. Any empire who discovers them isn't going to be too keen on letting them spread further.
  • Bad research, industry and supply.
  • Good or average detection.

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All of my contributions should be considered released under creative commons attribution share-alike license, CC-BY-SA 3.0 for use in, by and with the Free Orion project.


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