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Astaci Race - Lobster People

Discussion in 'World Building' started by KorbentMarksman, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. KorbentMarksman

    KorbentMarksman Minstrel

    After finding out that without external factors such as disease and predation, lobsters are functionally immortal. This sparked the idea in my head for an alternative long-lived mysterious race, the Astaci.

    The Astaci can reach seven feet tall, and are coloured ranging from cyan through blue, red and rusty brown. They carry themselves in a hunched but bipedal fashion and have very small, black eyes and long antennae that droop to the ground. Their mouthparts are clearly visible, and they are exclusively carnivorous. Living in mountainous areas, the Astaci form democracies with an Overseer, several Guards and many Workers. Every single Astaci in a given tribe is sexless and asexual except for the Mother, who gives birth to sexless clones of herself. The Worker class, one matured enough, will build the city from crushed stone and saliva, similar to the way termite mounds are built but more complex.
    While Workers have no special features, Astaci born specifically to be Guards are equipped with a specialised claw similar to that of a pistol shrimp (see example here: Slow motion pistol shrimp attack hits 4000â°C! - Slo Mo #14 - Earth Unplugged - YouTube) which they use to protect their tribe, and Guards are judged by their claw size. The Overseer has an oversized 'pistol' claw to show his superior authority.
    Death and war are not very common among the Astaci. With every child a clone of the Astaci before it, mindsets are similar and beliefs are similar, so conflict is rare. One difference between the beliefs of humans on death and the beliefs of the Astaci is that the Astaci believe that in death, nothing is taken away. They believe death is simply a logical next step, like learning how to walk or swim, though this 'next step' can take millennia for some Astaci to achieve.
    When the Astaci do go to war, with their mindset of remorse-free killing and one-mindedness they can be a brutal and possibly predictable enemy. They do not often use weaponry due to their large size and natural armour, but when they do they often use simple weapons such as stone hammers and smoothbore cannons.


    Alright, I just wanted to share my idea
  2. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Troubadour

    That is a cool idea.
  3. Asura Levi

    Asura Levi Sage

    The concept sounds nice. But one thing bothers me, their view about the death. It seems too much elf-like, near-imortal creatures who think the death is ok but they themselves do not experienced that that much.

    I would have a near immortal creature to think of death as a taboo or to not even think about it.
    Human (badly wounded): I don't want to die.
    Astaci (hungry): Die? What is that? Is it edible?

    The above dialogue bring me to my second question: Are they humanitarian? (You have to click the link to know what I mean).

    How does they behave with member of different 'colonies' or they all came from the same single 'mother'?
  4. Ennokos

    Ennokos Dreamer

    Funny enough I just learnt of the mantis shrimp yesterday and now I know of the pistol shrimp! I love the idea of the natural weaponry of the claw with just one question; does the claw grow with factors such as age, wisdom, or battle prowess? Or does the guard that has shown enough of one of the Astaci values gets rewarded with a bigger claw?

    The death thing I think is also cool, and I think it could be done in a way that is far from the usual "superior race" immortality such as a lot of elves and the like. Since it's taking an idea quite from this world it could be more of a natural or ignorant perspective, like Asura Levi said before me, than the spiritual one.

    Love the idea all in all.
  5. KorbentMarksman

    KorbentMarksman Minstrel

    To a certain point, yes, the claw will grow with age until the Astaci Guard in question reaches maturity, but it doesn't grow due to any external factors. It's like the enlarged head and pincers of a soldier ant - it's a genetic variation with a specific purpose in mind.


    That is a very interesting idea. It seems possible that the Astaci could be raised without the knowledge of death simply because it does not occur around them. Thank you, I might look into this.
    And about your cannibalism question; I'm not sure. I'm thinking of including some degree of (perhaps ritualistic) cannibalism, but I'm still gauging the effect this would have upon society.

    There is a very small chance that every Astaci born can become a Mother, and if one of these rare Mothers chooses to she can leave the tribe and form one of her own. Over time, the Astaci tribes have evolved ever so slightly differently to another so they can be distinguished, but rarely fight. I'm still thinking about what exactly they eat.

    Thanks for all the feedback, everyone!
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2013
  6. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    I think they sound fascinating, a real chance to play with a truly alien mind in a very realistic framework.

    On the other hand, I now have the insane urge to melt butter and add a squeeze of lemon - but I'm just bent that way!
  7. phillipsauthor

    phillipsauthor Minstrel

    It's a very interesting idea - I would add that you'd have to think carefully about how they would physically survive in a mountainous region. If they're very large (7 feet tall), they probably wouldn't be going after small, nimble animals. That is, assuming that they need to eat to survive. Not that many large animals live in the mountains, however - at least not in our world, and not enough to keep an entire tribe of large carnivores alive. Would they have learned how to domesticate cows/sheep/llamas/goats? They'd need to have developed sufficient appendages to enable them to control these critters, then. In addition, having antenna that reach the floor might make it difficult to move through a forested environment or long-grass type environment. Just things to keep in mind. :)

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