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[Member Project] Sessbin; A world without jaws
Topic Started: Sep 25 2009, 10:44 PM (18,028 Views)
yellowdrakex
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occasionally here!
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..or at least, with not very many.

Sessbin is a world I designed a while ago, and recently revisited and re-did completely in order to produce an alien species for me to use in an intergalactic travel roleplay. So, that being said, this isn't as "hardcore" as far as many speculative biology projects go, but it's certainly an interesting way to stretch the mind, eh? Lets get right now to business.

Sessbin's fauna follows many similar paths to earth animals, with a wide range of biomes and innumerable species to populate these. One major difference is quite clear from the start, though.

Many of Earth's vertebrate species have jaws of similar design. A hinged bone jaw. Even with all the varieties these jaws come in, they are still predominant and it's hard to find a large creature without one! Sessbin, not so much. Only a few very rare species of small animals have true bone jaws like this, while the majority of the species are jawless. Some have false pseudo-jaws formed from calcified grinding plates or pseudo-teeth, many have complex semi-liquivorus eating habits and rely upon the planet's strange flora, others still find other ways.

More on the planet's layout and environments once I find a good program for world-mapping (hey, do any of you know of a good one? Plzkthx!) but for now some of the random alien species I find myself sketching during work.

Of course, I'll start out with some nice pictures.

SESSHOUN
Please click the link! The picture is large enough to stretch the forum screen, but it's a demonstration of the basic differences between male and female Sesshoun.
Sesshoun are considered to be the 'dominant' species on the planet much for the same reason humans are on earth. They're technologically adept, sentient, and found everywhere that can sustain life and some places that don't. Descended from nomadic herd-animals that were descended from tree-dwelling packs of small hummingbird-like creatures, they're quite an interesting species. Standing a good several feet over human average, they have slim, jawless, anteater-like heads, strong raptorlike bodies and legs with powerful arms and four-fingered (two fingers, two thumbs symmetrically) hands, and long, heavy tails that are fanned at the ends.
Their entire body is covered with a coat of pale, downy fur of various texture and thickness depending upon individuals. While females have relatively smooth feathers with short, stiff 'ruffs' along their ears, arms, and legs, males have much longer, more elaborate 'ruffs' that, in mating season, can grow into dazzling, colorful displays of long, stiff feathers. Males often retain other colored patterns through the rest of the year, but only have full, dazzling coloration at the height of mating season. Various color morphs of the species as a whole exist, making them a varied, visually stunning species that can display every color and then some.
Despite their large, strong bodies and sharp claws, they're completely herbivorous liquivores and are very friendly and fiercely loyal by their herd-animal nature.

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Iitia and her daughter Toorii, the Sesshoun characters I play in the RP. Iitia is a surgeon, and Toorii is, well, a toddler. Yes, they wear clothes, because I like to imagine that most aliens don't just run about naked all the time, it just seems...impractical. Plus, pockets!
Small children, from birth until adolescence, spend much time riding on the parent's backs. They enjoy the security and comfort they gain from being on a parent's back, and parent's derive a sort of strong, protective pleasure from carrying people on their backs.
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Sesshoun infants are able to walk, albeit slowly and unsteadily, just a few hours after birth. Once their afterbirth-skin (a slippery covering around them) is shed, they quickly become a ball of snow-white fluff, their thick fur designed to protect them from winter cold.
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Children, as they grow older, slowly loose this soft, thick coat of white fur and develop their adult coloration. Males don't' develop their full, colored plumage until their first teen-adult mating season. Of course, at this age, they're more likely to overexhaust themselves or get injured during mating rituals (what teenage boys don't?) and don't impress much by way of the females. Tough luck, guys.

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Sesshoun like wearing bright colors, and are attracted to such. They're a surprisingly nonsexual race, and most of their fun comes from their elaborate mating rituals. They have a very loose family structure. Males are somewhat disconnected from females, and being "mated"-a term similar to "married" only lasts for the few years it takes for children to reach the start of puberty. Females and their children stay in touch for much longer, and form strong family bonds, as family lines are passed down through females legally. Many times, the same males and females come together several times to produce multiple children, although this is uncommon.

The other part of mating is something reserved for privacy. Rrowr. *wink*

More on the Sesshoun and other creatures in a moment. I think this is enough for a first post, though.
Edited by yellowdrakex, Sep 25 2009, 10:47 PM.
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colddigger
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Joke's over! Love, Parasky
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i don't quite get the whole nonsexual race but much fun from mating rituals thing...

you mean that the guys focus more on just having the ability to put on the greatest display and thus having the ability to get the most girls the easiest, rather than focusing on having the girls themselves? sorta like showing off to the other guys "yeah, you can't compete with this" or something?
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yellowdrakex
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occasionally here!
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Hey look more sessbin life durrrr~

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This creature here is archetypal of a family of predators known as the "Wolverines" by human scientists. In case you haven't gathered, Sesshoun have a very different language system from humans, and this makes it very hard to write the sesshoun names for anything without using sheet music.
Either way, these predators are quite varied in size and shape, and can be found almost everywhere on Sessbin, using their exposed, sharp grinding plates like teeth to eat meat. They're called wolverines not for the earth species, as only one species of "wolverine" actually resembles a wolverine, but rather for their extended, clawed "knuckles" that leads them to remind one of the superhero from popular Earth fiction. These claws are their true phalanges. Their paw-like running and walking pads are actually false phalanges.

These claws, in different species, are used for different things. Some use them as killing claws to strike blows upon prey, others use them in ritual combat for mates or for digging. Here's a varied selection of "Wolverines", not to scale.
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These two are species from an animal family called "boneheads" for their uncovered, horn-coated heads. They are mostly bush-and-tree grazers, and range in size from a meter or so at the shoulder to the size of African Elephants, to as tall as giraffes. They use their size and herd tactics to ward of predators, but are still a common prey animal.
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This creature, a Frilled Runner, lives in small family herds. Only the males have the impressive display crests shown here, and they use them to intimidate other males and predators alike. They're about the size of whitetail dear, and live in rocky areas and smaller scrub forests, being both fast sprinters and climbers alike.
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yellowdrakex
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occasionally here!
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colddigger
Sep 25 2009, 10:55 PM
i don't quite get the whole nonsexual race but much fun from mating rituals thing...

you mean that the guys focus more on just having the ability to put on the greatest display and thus having the ability to get the most girls the easiest, rather than focusing on having the girls themselves? sorta like showing off to the other guys "yeah, you can't compete with this" or something?
It's like...Sesshoun porn is the equivalent of pop art. It's all bright colors and shapes and fast movements. They'd be the type to get aroused watching Saturday Morning Cartoons because they're stimulated by visual cues, and less by physical ones. I actually have a more in-depth guide to how mating actually works, but I'm pretty sure nobody here wants to see my drawings of alien penises, complete with handy descriptions.

But that too. Males are more about out-showing each other when it comes down to it. You'll usually get a few females and a couple of guys all trying to show off to them at one, elbowing each other out of the way and flouncing about. I'd like to do more fashion with them, too, since one of the fun little things in the RP is that when human explorers first visited Sessbin they thought the males were females, because they were smaller, prettier, and wore a helluvalot more jewelry.
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colddigger
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Joke's over! Love, Parasky
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i'm curious what kinds of roles the two sexes filled before any kind of social equality was developed, if ever...

i assume the females would play the more dominant role since they are larger and the males go through the whole mating ritual display thing, although the women also carry their young on their backs, so hunting would be a big no-no for them...

also it must be very awkward to be an artist, especially one working in the film industry if color and movement is so sexual that it would be considered porn...
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yellowdrakex
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occasionally here!
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I think that'd make animation great. :D Plus, I could see it being more artistic than that. A flash of red here, a stroke of blue, the vague impression of feather-shapes...their eyesight isn't all that great, either. If we rate them on a scale of 1-10, with 5 being average-human level, their eyesight's only about a 4 or so. They've got very good color vision, but to look through their eyes would make the world somewhat blurred and indistinct.

I think their entertainment would focus more upon sound. They've a very good sense of hearing, and their language is very complex and musical. I could see cartoons being less colorful, and much louder. Hmm...I should think on this more.

Females tend to be more dominant and organized, and take care of child protection and rearing. Males are a bit more...eh-heh...narcisstic, I suppose. Although both genders do play a lot of the same roles, as technological advancement is the great equalizer.

I'd like to look back into their evolutionary history, though. I think it'd make for a fascinating glimpse from being a species where females lived in tight-knit packs with the young, perhaps? I wonder if males or females would have been faster to defend against predators, or pick fights...
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colddigger
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Joke's over! Love, Parasky
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hrm, so the males are nomadic, not sticking with any herd eh? i would imagine that they would be very quick, alert, and jumpy even, he would have to have a mentality useful in out smarting a predator and figuring out problems alone i think too... the females i would think would be the stronger ones fending off predators and as you said would probably have a strong attachment to one another and would probably have a mentality useful for outsmarting predators and figuring out problems as a group... also i would figure the males wouldn't be very prone to want to assimilate into any kind of close knit society that the females would develop if they started out being loners by nature, also being nomadic (assuming they didn't have any kind of territory that they patrolled) i would think the males wouldn't be very aggressive toward one another, except maybe during the mating season (another interesting thing, curious how that would play out in an advanced society) when they would compete...

I can definitely see the men being narcissistic, at least during the mating season, and they would definitely have no desire to be monogamous... if they were then that would mean actually getting a mate would be incredibly rare if they compete for one...

i'm wondering if the films would even really be considered as art to them, the ladies would likely be turned on by it while the men might feel intimidated by it if they were to even bother watching the film...
Edited by colddigger, Sep 26 2009, 12:25 AM.
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lamna
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Yeah, that's a bleeping dead alien body if I ever bleeping saw one.

Sounds like a very interesting world, I would imagine they came up with great music, and could sell their porn to earth as great works of visual art.

How do the Boneheads eat? Surely they are not drinking nectar.

And I for one would like to know more about the mating and their wangs. For purely scientific reason of course.
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yellowdrakex
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occasionally here!
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See the little 'dent' in the front of the boneheads' faces? If you were to look in there, you'd actually see some soft, fleshy lips and teeth-like plates that they extend out to grab leaves and grass and omnomnom them. I'll have to do some sketches of other plants, since there are plants large enough to support large-sized nectivores.

And as for flashy mating competition in an advanced society...well...look no further than a high school dance for an excellent example of that. I imagine the equivalent of nightclubs would be packed solid during mating season. Then again, I do see a lot of their buildings being outdoors...
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lamna
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Yeah, that's a bleeping dead alien body if I ever bleeping saw one.

I see it and get it now. So they eat like white rhinos and cows do, using their muscular lips?

I would like to see what they made of discos
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colddigger
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Joke's over! Love, Parasky
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except this dance would include the entire country at once, and probably would take place anywhere convenient, it would be like one of those musical/dance movies except in real life! unless there were laws set up to control the males uncontrollable urges to display... you know, to protect the children from such obscene things...
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lamna
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Yeah, that's a bleeping dead alien body if I ever bleeping saw one.

Dear God it's the planet of the musicals! Implement Plan R!
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yellowdrakex
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Well, if it helps, you have to distance the 'arousal' from 'sexuality' part. If you ever read the Finder Series (especially the book "Mystery Date") you'll see what I mean.

It's like...everybody can appreciate a bellydancing troupe, even little kids. But only adults in heat can /appreciate/ it. Rrowr.
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lamna
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Yeah, that's a bleeping dead alien body if I ever bleeping saw one.

Ah I get what you mean. I think most of us have liked stuff as kids and come back to it later and noticed how kinky it is.

What do these guys think about morality and sex then? Is it something to do in private or what?
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Holben
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Will of the People

Of course, morality is best kept private.
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