Phinnert

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MathGeek
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Phinnert

#1 Post by MathGeek » Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:55 am

Here is my attempt at a race idea.

Phennerts:
Introduction – Flying Monkeys! (Common, give it a chance. I really did put some thought into them.)

Homeworld – Tuma is a fairly large planet with low gravity and a very thick atmosphere. The planet’s composition is very unique as it has a low proportion of heavier metals, but a much higher proportion of other heavy elements, particularly noble gasses. It also has very stable tectonic formations meaning that the surface of the crust is very flat, and so is mostly covered with shallow, standing water. The entire world is like a giant everglade. The plants have been forced to adapt to the lack of soil minerals in several interesting ways, the primary one is to stretch roots far and wide, making a generally gigantic tree. Among this flooded forest lives the Phinnerts.

A reason for leaving the home planet – They have been sitting in their swamp home, staring up at the stars for several millennia now, and they have finally developed the technology to explore space.

Physical description – Phinnerts evolved from medium sized (by human standards) tree-dwelling mammals. Size can vary widely from 1-2m tall, with no difference between the two sexes. They have long arms, with wingspan averaging 175%-200% of height. They have evolved hairy, retractable patches of skin that stretch from wrist to ankle and allow for fully functional flight in the low gravity and thick atmosphere of Tuma. They are very agile flyers and often catch flying bug-like creatures with a fully prehensile nose appendage. Male Phinnerts have longer trunks (up to 30cm which is twice a typical female) and are more apt to hunt or herd, while females are more likely perform research or “manufacturing”. “Farming” often involves both genders with females cultivating and males harvesting. This leads to a higher mortality among males and a corresponding differential in birth-rates (see history).
Like bats they can use some echo-location, though it is not highly developed. Their language is made in the same manner as terrestrial mammals though it has a much wider pitch variety with some sounds far outside the range of human hearing. (Author’s note: I envision it sounding like jungle noises they use in movies: “phinn-ERRR! phinn-ERRR!”). Phinnerts do not typically wear clothes as their body is covered with fur and the weather is generally warm on Tuma. Color ranges from various shades of brown, grey and green, often with brighter patches of color to help camouflage. Hands and feet have opposable first and fifth digits which are ideal for wrapping around branches and all digits are long and have claws for clinging to tree bark. They also have very long tongues for getting nutrition from the interior of the exoskeletons of their invertebrate prey.

Social Structure – Life is much shorter for Phinnerts than most other sentient life, owing to the many dangers of the swamp. Predators lurk in the water below and the sky above; to say nothing of their “agriculture.” They have adapted a very happy-go-lucky response to all of this, generally taking life in stride and not sweating the small stuff (like, for example: the death of family, all of them, in the same day.) All Phinnerts are generally treated as extended family by other Phinnerts and grudges do not last long.
There is not really any one central authority to which everyone answers; government is far more localized, but there is a vague hierarchy. With such a short generation gap, Phinnerts realized quickly that hereditary rule lead to inbreeding. The structure is very fluid and the balance of power can change very quickly with the high mortality rate. Most Phinnerts fully expect this and will probably be totally unable to imagine how other races can live so long without change. Society is far less individualistic, and more focused on the group because the group was here before you and the group will still be here when you bite the big one. Just which group might change from day to day, but there will always be some group left behind when you’re gone.

History/Origins - Phinnerts started as omnivores which typically fed on various types of giant invertibrates that resemble terrestrial bugs. Over time they began herding some of these “bugs” amongst the trees, forming primitive tribes and increasingly using intelligence to solve problems. They also ate and cultivated many different kinds of plants amongst the treetops, but one which has resisted all attempts to domesticate it is the Pikon plant. This plant plays a significant role in Phinnert history, because the Pikon plant adapted to the lack of minerals on Tuma by becoming carnivorous, and it has developed a taste for Phinnerts. Its fruit has evolved to be the most beautiful and most delicious thing imaginable to a Phinnert. This strange relationship, a mutual predator model, persists to this day. The most-respected, highest-paid occupation on Tuma is that of pikon "farmer". It also has an unbelievable mortality rate. Phinnerts, initially were nearly wiped out by the spread of the pikon plant, but they started to have more children in response to the loss of numbers and their birth rate remains high. Over time, only the most intelligent and quick Phinnerts were able to survive the life of a farmer.
Shortened life-spans and the lack of minerals have led to the formation of primarily biologically based technology. Much of their fuel is derived from biological sources and they have even been able to cultivate metal-like substances from the shells of their native invertebrates. Like most races, the stars have always held a certain wonder, but only recently have they developed the technology to make it a reality. They have yet to make first contact. (might be considered for a non-starfaring/native race.)

Race Attributes –
Bonuses:

-Space combat > fast reactions and instinct for 3D tactics
-population growth > high birth rate
-loyalty > society structure (non-individualistic)
-???? > use of biological substitutes for many minerals

Definite Penalties:

-Low-G
-Ground Combat (Too used to flying)
-Mineral Poor HW


Possible Penalties:

-Agriculture (difficult crops to harvest)
-Research or Espionage because their tech is not metal based



These guys will likely start out slow, but if we don't balance them carefully, they might turn into a population steam-roller.
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Re: Phinnert

#2 Post by MathGeek » Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:35 am

Some additional thought and research led me to some more unique game mechanics for the Phinnerts:
  • -I like the idea of making them a reverse-lithovore, ie: they use some of their agriculture for minerals.
    -I also think the Phinnerts should gain little to no benefit from morale type buildings like the MoO II pleasure-dome (owing to their social structure).
    -Instead any type of agricultural buildings, like a hydrponics farm, will be used to grow pikon plants that will raise morale, but lower health.
    -With these changes, they will need a bonus to agriculture to make up for their using it as minerals and not getting it from buildings, but that is entirely in line with their society.
With these changes Phinnert players will worry less about minerals and more about organic richness and terraforming. It will take some doing to balance them so that they don't steam-roll other races after they get terraforming technology, but I think it is doable. They may need to take a morale penalty for not having any farming buildings, so that don't grow too fast. I would like to hear other people's thoughts on if these changes work or not, and how they might be balanced.
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Re: Phinnert

#3 Post by Tortanick » Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:32 am

Really nice race: interesting biology, believable culture that evolved naturally from their surroundings. Flying Monkey's dosn't do it justice, especially with prehensile noses.

Tiny mistake here:
MathGeek wrote:Size can vary widely from 1-2m tall, with no difference between the two sexes.
A short bit later your describing differences in the sexes. I'm not sure if they're supposed to evolve differences later or if you forgot to remove that sentence but its a quick fix either way :)

Also judging from the racial bonuses you've realised that quite a few of their big issues are solvable with technology, if they end up as a spacefareing race rather than natives what preserves their culture once the high morality rate is over? (We've had this problem with coward races, although the solution there: make it genetic, dosn't really apply here).

P.S. we're not having buildings like hydroponics farms, you only build strategically important buildings closer to Civ wonders and the day to day stuff is handedly with meters. But I wouldn't worry about it, the current description makes your intentions clear :) and all race work at the moment is pretty much preliminary.

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Re: Phinnert

#4 Post by Bigjoe5 » Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:09 pm

Why would flying give them a ground combat penalty? Nobody said that ground combat troops actually have to walk everywhere.
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Re: Phinnert

#5 Post by Tortanick » Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:55 pm

Actually if you assume that fliers aren't built to walk, you could make the case that its a disadvantage: lightweight fliers can't carry heavy equipment or armour and there's no cover in the air*, that puts them at a disadvantage against walking races who prepared appropriately.

* A city with skyscrapers or a jungle might change the rules, I don't know enough to judge.

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Re: Phinnert

#6 Post by MathGeek » Thu Mar 26, 2009 2:46 am

Actually, I was thinking they would be too heavy to fly in normal gravity and without the thick atmosphere of their home planet.
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Re: Phinnert

#7 Post by MathGeek » Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:00 am

Tortanick wrote:Really nice race: interesting biology, believable culture that evolved naturally from their surroundings. Flying Monkey's dosn't do it justice, especially with prehensile noses.
Thanks :mrgreen:
Tortanick wrote: Tiny mistake here:
MathGeek wrote:Size can vary widely from 1-2m tall, with no difference between the two sexes.
A short bit later your describing differences in the sexes. I'm not sure if they're supposed to evolve differences later or if you forgot to remove that sentence but its a quick fix either way :)
I guess that is a little unclear, I meant the "no difference" to refer specifically to height.
Tortanick wrote:Also judging from the racial bonuses you've realised that quite a few of their big issues are solvable with technology, if they end up as a spacefareing race rather than natives what preserves their culture once the high morality rate is over? (We've had this problem with coward races, although the solution there: make it genetic, dosn't really apply here).

P.S. we're not having buildings like hydroponics farms, you only build strategically important buildings closer to Civ wonders and the day to day stuff is handedly with meters. But I wouldn't worry about it, the current description makes your intentions clear :) and all race work at the moment is pretty much preliminary.
Yeah, I was really trying to convey that farming boosters would have different effects for theses guys because they farm hostile crops. I needed something to balance their breeding like rabbits. I am toying with the idea of making the pikon fruit being some sort of addictive drug. That might help explain a few things. Thanks again for the feedback; it is especially helpful for my first race :D .
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Re: Phinnert

#8 Post by Sloth » Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:00 pm

Now that Dilvish has added the option to add a time_factor value into the col_bld_gen python script that affects the build time of the colony building, i want to put into effect my wish for fast spreading Phinnert.

I propose to give them the time factor 0.5, which means their colony buildings cost the same but can be build twice as fast. That shouldn't unbalance anything, because Phinnert are not very useful, but adds a ton of flavor.

What do you think?
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Re: Phinnert

#9 Post by Dilvish » Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:38 pm

That raises brings up a question I've been meaning to check up on, but hadn't yet-- if you try this, then for the default five turns, going to 2.5 -- does that truncate to two turns, or get rounded up to three turns?
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Re: Phinnert

#10 Post by MatGB » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:33 am

Try it, see how the maths works in Dilvish's question (I'd rather it rounded to 3 than 2 myself). I do have a minor balance concern, they're not that useful, but a productive world is still a productive world with minimum production and research outputs, etc, but it would be cool.

And I'll try to dig out my Psygnons from the old laptop, they'd want similar.
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Re: Phinnert

#11 Post by Geoff the Medio » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:36 am

It probably rounds down to the next lower integer by default. But this can be adjusted by adding 0.5 (to round to the nearest integer) or 0.9999 (to round up).

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Re: Phinnert

#12 Post by Sloth » Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:25 pm

It will be rounded down. To make sure nothing will be unbalanced, i made the time factor 0.75, that way it will be at least 3.

PR has been created.
Last edited by Sloth on Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Phinnert

#13 Post by Dilvish » Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:26 pm

Sloth wrote:It will be rounded down. To make sure nothing will be unbalanced, i made the time factor 0.75, that way it will at least 3.
Howabout make it 0.6, so the min will still be 3, but for any longer distances you still get a more noticeable effect...
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Re: Phinnert

#14 Post by Sloth » Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:31 pm

Dilvish wrote:
Sloth wrote:It will be rounded down. To make sure nothing will be unbalanced, i made the time factor 0.75, that way it will at least 3.
Howabout make it 0.6, so the min will still be 3, but for any longer distances you still get a more noticeable effect...
"-25% time to build" sounds better and will be more in line with other species traits than -40%.
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Re: Phinnert

#15 Post by Dilvish » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:01 pm

Sloth wrote:"-25% time to build" sounds better and will be more in line with other species traits than -40%.
Can't say I share the opinion about "sounds better", and, as has come up elsewhere recently, I am not at all a fan off the idea that we are constrained to only using bonus/malus multiples of +/- 25%

I'll leave the further details of this to you and Mat, though.
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