Thursday, 9 February 2012

Species Profile: G'Hon

The Species of Universe XGT: the G'Hon

The G’Hon are one of the three founder members of the Todmaddagan Galactic Union. It was at the formation of the TGU that the galaxy was named, a combination of the word G’Hon, along with their allies the Todma, and the Maddag. They are probably the most 'popular' of the three species, although they're still fairly distrusted and disliked by large proportions of the more civilised universe, and are pitied as dumb animals more than anything else. The G'Hon were very secretive until only about a hundred and fifty years ago when they started to extensively trade (mostly raw materials in exchange for ships and weapons) with the outside universe, and not just the Todma and Maddag.


Species facts and figures:
  • Home world: Rithf’Hon, Elxa’Hon starsystem, Todmaddaga galaxy.
  • Other distribution: Extensively dotted around most of the universe
  • Biology: Placental mammals
  • Gestation: 5 months
  • Time to maturity: 16 years
  • Natural average lifespan: 60-70 years
  • Average adult height: 6ft (F), 7ft (M)
  • Language: Bedene’Hon
  • Currency: Various...

Language & Culture

The language of the G’Hon is Bedene’Hon, which loosely translates as ‘The Words of Men’, from Bedene, a term for words or talking, and Hon, which translates more or less directly as men, or man. In Bedene'Hon,  whenever there is a word in the form of Word'Word, it is a proper noun. The second word is a common noun, such Hon (men/man). If you were just trying to say 'men' you would simply say Hon. The first word in the form Word'Word makes it a proper noun, but is always suffixed with the appropriate common noun. Thus, in spoken English, if one was referring to a man called Johnny, and a film called Johnny, there would be no difference. If you translated the same two examples into Bedene'Hon, the individual would be Johnny'Man, and the film would be Johnny'Film. Single, clipped sounds such as 'G', 'T', 'C', 'P' and a number of sounds that have no human equivalent stand in for short words such as I, you, me etc. etc. Therefore, G'Hon translates as The Men (occasionally translated I, Man).

The defining features of a typical G’Hon are his size, predisposition to war, and stupidity. As a direct result of the latter, G’Hon culture has never progressed very far in disciplines such as art or natural science. However, the one subject G’Hon excel at is strategy, and they would be very good at games such as chess, although they’re probably not smart enough to be bothered to learn the rules. Another reason why G’Hon culture as a whole has never progressed very far is because of their totally decentralised social tradition. At an age of 16 earth years, when a young G’Hon warrior comes of age, he joins up with a group, anywhere between about 100 to 800 strong, of G’Hon of the same age, a lot of whom are often related, and they scour the vast archive of cultures, organisations and ideologies that is being constantly amassed in the G’Hon capital Yhir’Hon. They must find a cause that they all believe in, and then at a special Coming of Age ceremony, swear unfading allegiance, before setting off to defend and, often violently, uphold the ideals of the ideology of choice. As a result of this existence, Rithf’hon has a very low permanent population, with the occasional influx of warriors coming home to celebrate a great victory in the name of whoever they’re supporting.

Physiology

G'Hon have disproportionally short legs, and disproportionally long arms. Their basic body plan could be accurately, but unkindly, described as somewhere between a gorilla and a Neanderthal. They are immensely strong, and are one of the few species (along with Haxxaan and Walarians) who could come out of a fist-fight with a Grud, if not victorious, at least alive. G'Hon armor can weight anything up to 100kg, but despite this G'Hon warriors can run full speed into battle and have the protection to be able to get out again (most of the time).

They have five fingers on each hand, and four toes. G'Hon have no hair, and their skin-tone is more or less the same as a Caucasian human, perhaps a little on the greenish blue side. Albino individuals are known, but are extremely rare, and the only documented cases are in females, though no-one knows why.

G'Hon have poor hearing and little taste but have good eye-sight, and an excellent sense of smell. While they mainly rely on vision for everyday living, it's thought that G'Hon build memories through smell, more than any other sense.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Species Profile: Grud

The Species of Universe XGT: the Gruds

The Gruds are a fairly widespread race, with five eyes, orange to yellow skin, and a very stocky build.  They originated in the Drav galaxy, later spreading across many others including the capital worlds of Vomo and Sardastian.  The species is responsible for some of the universe's largest mining and heavy-industry operations.

Although they are usually lacking in aesthetic taste, and have minimal appreciation for culture, the Gruds are nevertheless a welcome part of intergalactic society, as they are intelligent and industrious, most of them being scientifically minded.  Many of the universe's great technological achievements can be attributed to this unattractive but very productive species.  Out of the small minority of Gruds who do not find a vocation in science or engineering, most tend to work in defence or security positions, for which they are ideally suited due to their imposing physique and no-nonsense mindset.

If you wanted to summarise the entire species in one word, it would have to be 'pragmatists'.  For example, they have no concept of romance, and instead of proposing marriage on their knees using an expensive piece of jewellery, they are more likely to remain standing up, say something along the lines of "I have made many calculations, and I believe it would be mutually advantageous for us to enter a marriage agreement" - and then illustrate the point with a spreadsheet.


Species facts & figures
  • Homeworld: First Dabox, Forrad starsystem, Drav galaxy
  • Other distribution: species controls approx 40 planets and has presence on numerous others
  • Biology: placental but non-mammalian warm-blooded vertebrates
  • Gestation: 10 months
  • Time to maturity: 20 years
  • Natural average lifespan: 100 years
  • Average adult height: 6-8 ft (F), 7-8 ft (M)
  • Language: Ballum
  • Currency: Tesseen

Language & Culture

The Gruds originally spoke their own planetary language, called Ballum (which is the Ballum word for 'talk'), but they have diversified greatly, and although nearly all of them still at least understand Ballum, if not actually speak it, most can also speak several of the other major galactic languages including Rett Melgis.  In fact, the Gruds were instrumental in the development of intergalactic trade languages, including both Melgis and its predecessor Transmission, a blend of Ballum and Rett Vome.  All Grud-controlled planets use a shared currency system known as Tesseen - which is not so much a proper noun as simply the standard Ballum term for 'money'.

When living mainly among their own kind, the Gruds tend to use multi-part names to distinguish one another; these operate in a hierarchical fashion, beginning with a national name and moving down through tribes, clans and families until reaching the individual's own personal name at the end.  It is considered bad practice to give a child a full name which has already been used by someone else, although this is often circumvented by attaching a number to the end of the name. The majority of Gruds over the last few centuries have had six-part names, but anything from four to eight parts can occur. However, when living mainly among other species, they usually just use the last part of their Grud name, and suffix it with the phrase "the Grud", for example "Odom the Grud" (full name "Bondu Camren Redda Grimpath Grimpath Odom"), who lived on Ganaran for several years.

Although many outsiders would regard Gruds as having little to no culture as such, this is not an entirely fair assumption.  Most notably, the race has developed several sports, of which the most popular include Hodd (somewhat akin to an extremely rough form of football, played between three heavily-armoured teams on a triangular pitch, with the ball and several other game items set on fire), Ropa (something like cricket or rounders, but often with several balls and batsmen in action simultaneously), and a broad range of motorsports.

Gruds regard the square ("gox" in Ballum) as the ideal shape, and to say someone is "not square" is considered a serious insult.

Grud cities tend to be laid out on whatever pattern will give the most efficient configuration of utilities and transport in relation to the underlying and surrounding geography, with practically no reference to aesthetics.  The results range from cities such as Mass Dythol on Fourth Dabox, the species' new capital world and a fairly pleasant place in a sterilised, highly geometric sort of way, down to the likes of Ponnid on Twenty-Third Dabox, a weatherbeaten industrial pile of metal and concrete as far as the eye can see.

Grud spacecraft can usually be identified by their brick-like shapes.  The Progor-series cargo ships, designed and built amid the mines and shipyards of the industrial galaxy Car Ferrin, are among the most recognisable and widespread in the whole of UXGT.


Physiology

Two of the most noticeable physiological features of the species are their five eyes, and their very short legs.  They also have very different hand and foot structures - they usually have five digits, including an opposable thumb, on each hand (about seven percent of the population have six digits on one or both hands, and this is considered a normal variation, not an anomaly), but they only have two toes per foot.

Most Gruds have excellent eyesight, with their five eyes providing complex depth perception, and allowing them to see slightly further into infra-red, and significantly further into ultra-violet, than most humans.  Besides having the usual RGB cone cells, they also have a subsidiary type of cone which is sensitive to reddish-orange, allowing greater perception of chromatic detail in the higher-wavelength area of the spectrum, while UV-sensitive cones are usually found in the retina of the middle eye.  Some individuals can also see UV with their two lower eyes, and there are scientifically-documented cases (albeit extremely rare) of Gruds who could see UV with all five eyes.

Although the five eyes are usually ganged together in terms of their directional movement, as per most two-eyed species, Gruds are able to spread their eyes (in an inverse 'cross-eye' manner) to give a wider field of vision, at the cost of some reduction in depth-perception quality.  The five-eye system also makes it extremely difficult to trick a Grud's visual cortex into perceiving depth - 'Magic Eye' images and 3-D films are usually an utter failure when presented to a Grud audience.

Due to the structure of their legs, Gruds hardly ever sit down (and, therefore, almost never make or use chairs).  Instead, they can lock their hip, knee and ankle joints into a 'settled stand' posture, called 'jedmig' in Ballum, which makes an adult Grud appear 4 to 6 inches shorter than when they are in a normal or 'active' standing position.  This posture can be easily and comfortably maintained with virtually no muscular activity for several hours, or in some cases days on end.  Although the Ballum term 'jedmig' is more properly translated 'settled standing', it is often rendered 'sitting', as other races find this terminology easier to appreciate.  The word is also used non-literally to describe a firmly-held point of view.

Although Gruds are warm-blooded and give birth to live young, and thus are often mistaken for mammals, they do not produce milk (and therefore, of course, do not qualify as mammals), instead feeding their young on mashed-up versions of adult foods from birth.

Male Gruds stand between six and eight feet tall, with the top of their heads more or less flush with the top of their shoulders.  Females are usually a few inches shorter and less stockily built, and have lower-slung shoulders relative to their heads.   They also lack the goatees and the small horns above the ears which most adult males have.  The species' skin colour range runs from a reddish-orange (usually associated with males), through various oranges and yellows, to a slightly greenish yellow which occurs almost exclusively in females.