Saturday, 3 November 2012

Species Profile: Sa

The Species of Universe XGT: the Sa

The Sa are one of the odder-looking races in Universe XGT, and have a tendency to appear somewhat cute and harmless - however, the fuzzy exterior is deceptive, and the species has produced many of the sharpest financial minds in recorded history.  The Sa have an elegant civilisation and a rigorously non-aggressive mindset, and their homeworld, Fohi, is almost entirely undefended from a military standpoint, yet of all the planets in the universe, theirs is perhaps the least likely ever to be attacked - because the Sa's influence over the finances of the universe is such that they might not be in a position to invade your planet if you irked them, but they would almost certainly be able to do something far worse: utterly devastate your credit rating.

Species facts & figures
  • Homeworld: Fohi, Tel starsystem, Ge galaxy
  • Other distribution: species controls the whole of its native galaxy; has population centres and fiscal influence in several other galaxies including Vomo and Sardastian
  • Biology: mammals
  • Gestation: 8 months
  • Time to maturity: 17 years
  • Natural average lifespan: 70 years
  • Average adult height: 5 ft
  • Language: Doe
  • Currency: various

Language & Culture

Doe, the native language of the Sa, is notable for its tendency to use very short words.  Some 90% of the monosyllabic sounds which could possibly be constructed in the Doe alphabet are proper words.  Its grammar is not as crudely utilitarian as that of Ballum, but still notably simpler than those of Pathir, Rhugoric or the Five Thoughts.

The history of Fohi is largely a history of economics.  The Sa were one of the first species in UXGT to move beyond a barter system and develop what would now be recognised as currencies, and shortly after this, their culture developed the curious trait of having numerous competing currencies running in parallel within a single society, each controlled by a different patron or organisation, and holding allegiances in a similar way to modern political parties.  Different social classes, or even specific trades, proved more likely to favour certain currency bases than others, and the manipulation of exchange rates between the competing factions became a standard part of local politics.  Variations on this socio-economic model remained in use across Fohi for several centuries, honing the financially-orientated collective mindset for which the species is well known today, before eventually giving way to a more streamlined one-currency-per-state system in most parts of the planet.

Partly as a consequence of their banking-centred culture, Sa architecture has developed into a somewhat paranoid form, with an unusual prevalence of vaults and catacombs, and tendencies towards both over-engineering and grandiosity - the driving considerations being a display of one's wealth, and the ability to protect one's wealth.  Archaeology and ancient literature, however, reveal a somewhat different past, suggesting that earlier Sa cultures tended to build organically, working around living trees and frequently using textile-based construction materials, with records of vast tent cities existing in the middle of forests.


The Sa have six limbs - four legs and two arms - with the middle pair of joints fitting in between the respiratory and digestive sections of the torso.  Their leg anatomy, and consequently their gaits, are broadly similar to those of a horse, while the upper body follows a more humanoid morphology.  The spine is flexible, especially its upper half, which means that although the upright posture can be comfortably maintained for long periods, a Sa is also able to bend down or curl up if necessary.

It is virtually unheard-of for a Sa to produce more than one baby at a time - while multiple fertilisations and post-fertilisation embryo divisions do occur, only one of the embryos will ever develop successfully.  This is thought to be a defence mechanism, as the complexities of Sa morphology could potentially make a multiple pregnancy dangerous.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Species Profile: Phyhene

The Species of Universe XGT: the Phyhene

Perhaps one of the least-understood races of Universe XGT, the Phyhene have never impacted on intergalactic history in any large scale, but their presence has been recorded at more important points in space and time than one might expect.  Limited almost exclusively to their isolated home planet and usually suspicious of visitors from the outside, they have a distinctive physiology and one of the richest and most complex cultures in the known universe, and are a source of fascination to many scholars in the fields of sociology and anatomy.

Species facts & figures
  • Homeworld: Rhugestis, Vartoi starsystem, Morumu galaxy
  • Other distribution: species has settlements on Calateonis and small colonies on Zhazraionis (both also in Morumu); virtually no presence outside their native galaxy
  • Biology: egg-laying mammals
  • Incubation: 6 months
  • Time to maturity: 15 years
  • Natural average lifespan: 90 years
  • Average adult height: 7-8 ft
  • Language: Rhugoric
  • Currency: various

Language & Culture

The Phyhene language, Rhugoric, is extremely complex, using over sixty different letter sounds, a vocabulary of well over a million natively-developed words in common use (discounting technical terms and proper nouns), and an intricate grammar which often requires subtle alteration of some four or five words within any given sentence to correctly articulate the tense.  There is no widespread written form - a few very localised pictographic scripts exist, and some written records are maintained through a textile-based object-script system known as Cording, but the vast majority of the Phyhene are illiterate, and their culture an oral one.

The Phyhene's homeworld, Rhugestis, has six habitable continents, and the largest-scale government the species have ever recognised is the Continental Parliaments, which operate with very little reference to one another let alone to the outside universe, and even these are informal councils and their deliberations often are not considered binding.  Actual power resides in the hands of various princes, kings, emperors and priestly hierarchies, ruling several hundred, if not a few thousand, independant nations and city-states.  While there are a few shared threads (most notably the core of religious belief), the Phyhene's culture is generally as diverse as their politics.

The planet has been largely closed to outsiders and engaged in little to no interstellar trade since the collapse of the Arpathian Principality over three hundred years ago.

Many sociologists would describe the Phyhene culture (or perhaps rather, cultures plural) as 'primitive', thanks to their adherence to belief systems and ways of life which many other species would regard as outdated or simply illogical; however, a more objective assessment would show that despite being pre-technological and deeply polytheistic, the species is far more sophisticated than many give them credit for.

Perhaps their most outstanding characteristic is that the Phyhene are creatures of intense moral fibre.  While some species (the Gruds, for example) view things in terms of practicality, and others (such as the Harrakk or the Todma) are simply out for personal gain, the Phyhene have a deep-rooted sense of right and wrong which informs all areas of their lives, and which derives largely from their religious outlook.  They worship a complex but highly-ordered pantheon of some thousands of deities and semi-deities, and regard their own kind as being the sacred creatures of the chief gods.  This view of their origins and their place in the universe leads them to condemn not only murder, but even much more minor alterations of the body such as piercings or tattoos, which many other species would regard as nothing significant.  The surface of Rhugestis is dotted with thousands of vast temple complexes, more than a hundred of which are located on the shores of the holy freshwater lake Passandyne in the continent of Solond.

While a few nations practice polygamy, most are monogamistic, and all regard marriage as a sacred institution, with any violation of its sanctity being grounds for the severest punishment, often death.  The wider family structure is very variable between one nation and another, with some maintaining large multi-generational family households while others separate children from parents at an early age and practice collective upbringing.


The morphology of the Phyhene is bipedal, and mostly humanoid in its broader strokes, but much of the detail is very different.  The most obvious outward differences are the shape of the head (with a long muzzle, and pointed, back-swept ears), the presence of a tail (usually on the order of three feet long), and the structure of the feet (the joint equivalent to the heel in most other bipedal species is raised off the ground, leaving the entire weight to be carried on the enlarged ball of the foot).  Internally, the species has a core body temperature of 39 degrees celsius, and an oviparous reproductive system.

The egg-laying mechanism, which the Phyhene have in common with the vast majority of the higher animal species on their homeworld, is one of the contributing factors to the race's cultural distinctiveness.  The adolescence of a female Phyhene concludes with her laying a single sterile egg, usually regarded by the scientific community as a gearing-up process for the newly-matured body, and it is near-universally agreed that the production of this first egg marks the point at which a girl comes of age and is counted as a woman. The process is often a difficult experience, and the various nations have developed a wide array of traditions as to how to deal with it; many cultures link it with courtship or marriage in some way, ranging from those who take it as an indication that the girl is ready to be courted, to others who will already have chosen her husband in advance of the event, and send him in to begin their marriage by supporting her through the egg-laying process.

A Phyhene's tail is a fairly straightforward structure: an line of loosely-connected vertebrae with a nerve chord and artery running through its centre, a vein underneath, and enough musculature around it to make it semi-prehensile, with a line of long hair growing from the upper edge.  Its principal role is providing balance, which is more necessary for a Phyhene than for most other bipeds due to the species' leg and foot structure.  The tail (in particular its hair cover) provides a convenient indicator of a Phyhene's general level of health, as it is often one of the first areas to start showing outward signs of trouble in the event of malnutrition or trauma.

Skin colour in Phyhene is usually some shade of brown, but can sometimes be yellowish, near-white, or near-black.  Most individuals have hair of a darker hue than their skin.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Species Profile: Sardastianite

The Species of Universe XGT: Sardastianites

Although the first thing that most people notice about them is the simple physical fact of their height - being one of the tallest sapient races in Universe XGT - the Sardastianites are one of the oldest and most sophisticated of all known civilisations, with a meticulously-recorded history stretching back some eighty thousand Verruhann years.  Both archaeology and surviving documentation agree that the Sardastianites had amassed huge libraries and developed complex theatrical and musical traditions long before most other species had got as far as devising a written language.  Today, they control two galaxies (their native Sardastian, and the far-flung colonies of Sodestu Semakaaris), and are one of the universe's most culturally influential races.

Species facts & figures
  • Homeworld: Verruhann, Theute starsystem, Sardastian galaxy
  • Other distribution: species controls two galaxies, Sardastian and Sodestu Semakaaris, containing a total of approx 80 to 90 habitable planets; has some presence in Vomo and a few other galaxies
  • Biology: placental mammals
  • Gestation: 11 months
  • Time to maturity: 23 years
  • Natural average lifespan: 150 years
  • Average adult height: 9-12 ft
  • Languages: Five Thoughts
  • Currency: Zamatii and variants

Language & Culture

Traditionally, the Sardastianites favoured a monarchy-based government system.  Over the millennia, however, their ideology shifted towards elected non-hereditary rulers, eventually arriving at the point where their heads of state, although still called 'Prince', are in fact more equivalent to what we would recognise as a President.  The inhabited worlds of Sardastian are divided into seven groups of between four and twelve planets, each ruled from a Capital World headed by a Grand Prince.

While all of the planets in Sardastian and Sodestu Semakaaris use currencies called 'Zamatii' (or a close variant of that name, derived from an ancient word denoting a unit of weight), the various Zamatii are not a single unified financial system any more than Earth's numerous currencies called 'Dollars'.  The most widespread Sardastianite currency is the Dhy Cear Zamatii, used throughout the ten-strong planet group centred on Dhy Cear.

The Sardastianites speak a family of related languages known as 'the Five Thoughts'.  The name derives from the fact that the group comprises five primary languages (called Costrache, Vyrtrache, Jotrazhe, Gortraize and Alnatreans), all of which have remained consistently popular among philosophers and other intellectuals. The various component languages in the group share many of their grammatic, structural and etymological origins, in a way similar to the connection between Spanish, French and Italian.  There is believed to have been an original root language underlying them all, in the same way that Latin underlies the modern Romance Languages.  Although a conventional analysis of the group would say it contains five 'living' languages, a growing school of thought says there are in fact six, as the two main dialects of Gortraize - namely Gortraize Teron and Gortraize Waq - are sufficiently different from one another to count as separate languages.

The use of music is deeply entrenched within Sardastianite civilisation, with every major life milestone and social event having its own musical forms and traditions.  The vast majority of Sardastianites posess some musical ability, either through innate gifting and/or through sheer hard work, and tone-deafness is considered as much of a disability as colour-blindness.  While it is rare for a work to remain completely anonymous, there is little emphasis on legal ownership of a composition or performance, and the general mindset is one of giving credit where credit is due, but being free to borrow and adapt material into new forms.  One of the most notable aspects of Sardastianite music culture is the creation of monumental works known as 'Lifetimes' - a Lifetime being a collection of material (up to several hours long) which an individual has either written themself or has considered to be an important part of their listening, and arranged to reflect their life's journey.  The work will, in most cases, develop over the course of years or even decades in an organic reflection of its writer's experiences, and it is not uncommon for friends or relatives to add the final touches immediately after the writer's death, with the work being performed in its completed state for the first time as part of the funeral ceremonies.  Influential figures are often retrospectively assessed by others through the posthumous composition of non-autobiographical Lifetime works about them.


While the Sardastianites are generally humanoid, they can be easily distinguished by their height, with most adults standing between nine and twelve feet tall.  Other conspicous traits include flattened noses, pointed ears, long necks, and shortish, rather thick legs ending in compact feet.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Species Profile: Rem

The Species of Universe XGT: the Rem

After an ecological disaster rendered their once-verdant homeworld uninhabitable some centuries ago - an event which would have marked the end for many other species - the Rem emerged as a race of adaptors and survivors, taking to the skies in colossal 'cityships' and spreading across most of the known universe, claiming a place in many of the major galaxies.

While the Rem have integrated into a huge diversity of host cultures, the species has retained the core of its own rich civilisation, determined not to allow the loss of their planet to destroy their sense of identity.  Besides cultural and aesthetic pursuits, the Rem's main strengths are in the areas of science, finance, administration and diplomacy.

Species facts & figures
  • Homeworld: Targon (no longer habitable), Kelrequas starsystem, Wreaine galaxy
  • Other distribution: species mostly lives on spacefaring cityships; has presence in several of the major galaxies
  • Biology: placental mammals
  • Gestation: 8 months
  • Time to maturity: 22 years
  • Natural average lifespan: 100 years
  • Average adult height: 6-7 ft
  • Language: Targodi
  • Currency: Rem Credits

Language & Culture

Artists have always been venerated among the Rem, with traditions of painting, sculpture and architecture stretching back many thousands of years and incorporating complex symbolic codes.  The Rem's high arts have been kept alive on board the cityships, and even spread across foreign galaxies.  One notable omission is the fact that the Rem have never developed any significant musical tradition as such; however, they have embraced spoken eloquence as an art form in its own right, making readings and speeches not so much for the sake of the material as for the sheer joy of the tonality of the language.

Their original planetary language Targodi is fluid-sounding, using a large amount of diphthongs, which produces a result not too dissimilar to French in its overall aural quality.  It has a poetic lucidity which makes it one of the perennial favourite languages of the arts not only among the Rem but across the civilised universe, in stark contrast to other more functional universal tongues such as Grud Ballum.  Targodi has had some influence on the development of the universal trade language Rett Melgis, but not as much as might have been expected considering the Rem's wide distribution.

The race has a deeply-ingrained sense of justice, valuing honesty as the highest of the virtues.  Many have found employment in the law courts of Vomo, and in recent centuries much of intergalactic law has been devised with a notable influence from the Rem model.  They are also pacifistic, preferring to settle disputes around a boardroom table rather than with weaponry.

Although the Rem have maintained a presence in their ancestral galaxy Wreaine, with the cityship Gothraya keeping a permenant watch over the ruins of Targon, the largest concentration of their population is now in Vomo, and the second in Sardastian, where their culture has formed a happy synergy with the Five Thoughts civilisations.


The Rem are one of the most humanoid species of Universe XGT.  Outwardly they can be distinguished by their slender stature, elongated heads and lack of hair, but their general physiology and internal biochemistry are essentially unremarkable - one of the reasons why they have been able to adapt and survive so successfully.

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.


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.


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.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

About XGT

On the scale of hard to soft sci-fi, Universe XGT is probably somewhere in the region of ‘just about spreadable’. Yes, we have faster-than-light travel and extremely advanced medical-regenerative technology (so we can hardly claim to be hard sci-fi), but you’ll find no mystical forces or headless monks around here (so we’re not too squishy either).

To continue with the butter analogy: UXGT has been churning slowly in the warped brains of Matt Colclough & Tim Johnston & Sarah Johnston since the summer of 1998. It began its life as a series of games played with Lego characters, including a few that readers / viewers of our previous works might recognise, e.g. Murkum and Forkley. Various other non-Lego bits joined the cast, and then we got carried away adding completely imagined characters, worlds and back-stories.

A brief summary of the geography of UXGT, beginning with a map of the universe (yes, map of the universe; one does exist!):

Most of the habitable galaxies lie in a flattened area across the centre, while stars outside the middle plane tend not to be stable enough to support life. The exact nature of the intersection between UXGT and the universe that we perceive is uncertain, although it is sufficiently stable to have been crossed on numerous occasions.

The ten most important galaxies, from a political standpoint, are probably (in no particular order):
  • Vomo – the political and economic centre of the universe, home to several of the most populous species and the wealthiest planets. It has several habitable worlds (both natural ecosystems and terraforming projects) and multiple native species including the essentially-human Festof, and the not-too-far-from-human Iquahlians.
  • Sardastian – second galaxy of the universe, and held by many to be the cultural capital. Has numerous naturally-habitable planets but just one native sapient species.
  • Drav – home of the Grud race, notorious for their no-frills mindset but valued by the wider society for their technological know-how and their usefulness in the security trade. They have occupied over 30 planets in their galaxy, naming every single one of them ‘Dabox’, with numbers to tell them apart.
  • Arpathia – centre of an empire which ruled much of UXGT between the late 15th and late 17th centuries. Predominantly ruined and abandoned following the fall of the empire. Most of the survivors, a group calling themselves the Axurions, took up residence in a nearby galaxy and named it Axuria.
  • Todamaddaga – the centre of extra-legal trade in the universe, home to three races: the Todma, the Maddag and the G’Hon.
  • Wreaine – original home galaxy of the Rem, a cultured race who have led a nomadic existence on board ‘cityships’ following an ecological catastrophe on their native planet in the mid-late 12th century.
  • The D’Antarran Spiral – home galaxy of the molluscoid S’Anonh, and multiple races of sentient machines who the S’Anonh created. D’Antarran itself, the galaxy’s one notable inhabited planet, was destroyed by Arpathian forces in 1633.
  • U’Quonan – the first of the three machine races created by the S’Anonh were given their independence, and settled in this distant galaxy, naming after themselves.
  • Gortheal – home of the Bocnal, a species forced to adapt as cyborgs in the late 15th century, who now hold the distinction of being the least populous race in UXGT, with just six known survivors.
  • The Tharryk Cluster – a whole galaxy (admittedly a small one) which has been turned into a colossal, utterly impregnable prison, with entire planetoids often serving as individual cells.

Our plan is to run some pieces going into more detail on various races and places, as a scene-setting exercise, before we start publishing any narrative per se. Check back soon…

- Tim Johnston & Matt Colclough (on behalf of ourselves)