The basic idea of the vrexul is that they are a collective species of various strands of arthropod-like aliens distilled into a singular "race", joined by a common history of overcoming the dangerous conditions of their homeworld and evolving their ability to precisely modify their bodies thank to a symbiotic relationship with a variety of mutagenic parasites. They are a biotechnological species, utilizing grotesque technology where the metal and the chitin both seem to be equally alive and often integrated into their own bodies or their various constructs. A degree of similary unsettling magic pervades their society, finding uses from the mudane in powering their technology and habitations to a vareity of unpleasantly festering applications in military fields. Much of it manifests like clouds of festering insectoid mass, gnashing limbs piercing out of space like some worming larvae struggling to be born out of their eggs, and miasmatic power of a sickly decomposed texture erupting like fluids from pustulent wounds.
The stories I hope to tell with these creatures will encompass a variety of themes tied to their uncertain place in the cosmos at large. I'd like to write on how they might encounter other sapient life forms and the struggles of learning to communicate with civilizations as alien to them as as they are to others. Their attempts to expand outwards with their particular expressions of ideological, politics, and philosophy interacting with a universe that is likely to have a difficult time wrapping their head around them. I definitely do want to touch on horror to an extent either from their own warped perspective to the various forces perverse and unearthly they frequently come into contact with whether for their own greater aspirations or preying upon them from beyond (or even becoming the problems of the unprepared and unwitting). Of course, there will also be stories about barbarity, bloodshed, and conflict as a species that has not had an entirely peaceful history amongst its own and likely will not have one when forced onto the galactic stage.
There's elements of their history I am still working on as I need to see what works best for the setting but so far this is generally how they stand and I'm willing to discuss any of this in future detail here or on the discord.
However, considering other circumstances I must discuss making some changes with you.
I see you've put the Vrexul into at least one other website, this is a deep concern to me because we have had players attempt to use copyright materials from other franchises, and much of the content here has had to be adapted of necessity to distinguish it from our progenitor site. For this reason among others I would like to see the Vrexul be tailored more for the website to make the best use of it.
First, I would like to see a name change, just to clearly demarcate what the site uses from what you might use elsewhere. It will also allow us to more clearly communicate further changes as compared to your other Vrexul projects. The goal being to craft them into a terrifyingly effective element of the setting.
Second, adding and running a large empire is an enormous project for a single player, and while I appreciate the different approach to civilization, I do not know nor have worked with you well enough to commit to such a large project as an admin. Therefore I would like to bring the project to a more manageable, character focused scope. We have discussed a group of refugees fleeing the Vrexul empire, I believe this might be a good entry point for their appearance in the setting. Details we can discuss.
Third, I’d like to move away from playing a nation as a character. The website has taken the direction at large to focus on character level conflicts with national conflict as the backdrop, not the focus of the story. I understand the argument for an antagonistic species, but a good monster requires good characters to fully bring the horror of the situation to the audience. Imagine if John Carpenters The Thing hadn’t had that famous scene where they started testing the blood with a hot wire, or if Alien didn’t have the chestburster emerging from the guys chest at the dinner table.
I will always be available to consult if you have questions or just want to storyboard and discuss ideas or what I’ve written here. In the meantime, perhaps you would indulge me to shill my own product? I think the Mudwater Paranormal plot may be the closest to what you’re trying to achieve in terms of effect, you can read it here:
https://www.shattered-universe.com/Boar ... f=37&t=568
If you would like an example of higher level nation related writing, I have also co-written a story with Ham about the Solarity of Kowloon’s leadership crisis currently being played out. It is a lot more whimsical, and if I had to make it into a book I would tighten a lot of it up, but it’s there for you to read if you wish starting with the first thread:
https://www.shattered-universe.com/Boar ... f=35&t=577
I didn't actually intend for them initially to be an empire (at least not all of them) with the idea being the player character vrexul faction(s) are more of settlements and nomadic fleets or alterantively, something along the lines of essentially gestating colonies that were only fairly recently awakened but may only hold a small group of worlds and fleets, even if they have some prior knowledge and material support. I don't mind the idea of starting small (even if that ironically enough is an idea that is being carried over but it's general and generic enough that it could be taken in a variety of directions).
I suppose it's not against the rules if I use multiple characters right? I have a bunch on mind and it would make sense for them to some extent work in groups together. Anyways, I suppose if that's so it's easier to find threads if you focus more on characters - we can scale up to factions/nations/organizations/etc. with time right? Will say as a quick clarification I didn't really intend them to be villainous inherently though that isn't out of the way for them depending on which specific group. They are far from monolithic, just like the creatures they are based on.
I'll have to read more about these threads. I generally like stories that focus on the character level but involve characters' interactions that are affected and affect in turn larger scale actions. People being caught up in big things beyond their scope but very much affecting their lives and everyone they know.
You mention a gestalt, I would suggest defining that more so people don’t get confused with a typical insect hivemind if they are meant to be individuals within a thinking noosphere instead of components to a great whole. Perhaps this can be done when you start to write them into the wiki. Forgive me for drawing conclusions about your intention to make them antagonistic, I will detail how I reached this conclusion.
You have time and again mentioned how alien, how disgustingly horrifying, and how aggressive they in our correspondence. You have spoken of their weapons, of their wars, and of their genocidal behavior. I assumed this was the direction you intended to go with them based on our discussions, and I apologize. Perhaps later we can discuss their culture and way of life, their values, and what they like to trade for.
Of course, you may play multiple characters, even in the same thread. However, purely as a player, I’d suggest only focusing on a couple as your main PC’s in a thread, to keep the thread focused. Threads are designed as a super fast, easy way to start roleplaying immediately, but for them to impact the current “meta-plot” has yet to be worked out. I use quotes around meta-plot because that’s literally being laid out as the train is running, and the eventual goal is for players to be able to fork the timeline and create their own alternate universe, while that’s clearly marked for readers to see it’s an AU. But that’s work for the future.
Today, write what makes you happy, the rest will sort itself out. If writing them in character helps you development before we formally introduce them, then so be it. However, I would be mindful that things may chance from then to the future.
Next steps are to get you onto our wiki so you can start to sandbox and codify the new species. How familiar are you with writing on wiki’s? The registration process can take a bit, and if you need more help myself or one of the staff will help set up a user page and your own sandbox page to write drafts on as you like. We also have a beginners template for new species, which I hope will help you focus on areas of development and assist your creativity.
Species Beginner Template
You can copy that code and put it into a notepad or word document to fill in in your own time if you wish until you’re ready or we can get your sandbox page set up for you. Looking forward to it.
As always, if you require any other assistance or just a soundboard to bounce ideas with we can do so here or on discord itself.
Yeah I think that was more of the sort of giant flesh/cybernetics/magical cloud-computer thing I thought of that was meant to look after the fleets/colonies containing the unborn vrexul eggs. Basically a sort of monstrous giant hyper-computer entity that protects the most vulnerable amongst them. For this setting, I might make it that only certain factions get this benefit.
I did mention they had a fairly violent history but at the same time, I don't think I made it sufficiently clear that they aren't really monolithic and a lot of the brutality was either inflicted on themselves or potential enemies. I've always gone with the idea the vrexul mostly encountered are the survivors of the worst of these conflicts but at the same time, I don't really like playing as pretty, aestheticlly pleasing, visually pleasant species. Filth is kind of my default in most scenarios; I don't like the idea that the ugly aliens need to be the baddies off of the bat though I'm not opposed to them being villainous in some scenarios. They are a whole species and their ideologies, behavior, and personalities may differ wildly. TLDR is that they are various creatures that usually live in dirt and filth so they can be pretty gross even when they're being nice.
Would that mean I should cook up a plot and recruit others for it once said characters are ready? And on that note, can I RP a character or characters while writing the wiki or should their wiki articles come first?
I know I've seen this template before but I don't think I got a chance to actually fill it out. I suppose I can start this week. What do you mean getting a sandbox page set up btw?
We have discussed their wars against each other, and the different races that settle under this name of Hral. I must admit, however, that I found it somewhat difficult to follow, and while I do appreciate the effort and thought going in, I do think heaping them together will be an ongoing problem under the way they’re currently presented. Also, the sheer volume of the project to be done well would almost equate to its own fully functional setting on its own. This is a large part of the reason why I think starting small, with a manageable scope and getting stuck straight into interacting with other parts of the setting is going to be important. There are plenty of bridges to cross after that, but we can take them in time.
As far as disquieting visuals go, I’m absolutely not opposed to the idea, although please don’t call it Filth ever again. I will say, however, that to the casual observer, something so monstrous, hideous and unrelatable will likely be seen as potentially hostile if not actively a threat. This gut reaction is another large part why I think you’re going to need a character focused approach to presenting the Hral, as it will hopefully humanize them enough to readers that it is understood they are thinking beings.
This approach will also help guide potential players who might want to try playing as one, as the reason many alien species are roughly humanoid in appearance are so audiences (and players) can get it when one is holding something in their hands, or working on something, and because the costume is cheaper to make. I bring the focus to hands because that is how we humans often interact with our world, and it’s a shift for us mentally to think of characters with alternative appendages.
If you have the players and ideas ready for a thread, I believe you should start one as soon as possible. I would rather you be RPing than fussing with articles before you can even start, however if you wish to bring the Hral to the setting at large I’d suggest writing such articles at the earliest convenience. Articles are a good way to nail things down in the setting and minimize pitfalls such as unwritten lore, it also gives other players something to refer to when writing.
A sandbox page is a wiki article attached to your user page that you can put anything into, you can edit it freely, and use it to draft documents. When you’re ready to release the documents into the wild you can copy the contents of the sandbox and place them into the live version. It’s good for testing presentation and wiki formatting on some of the more complicated pages, as well as early drafts of other projects.
Wiki account creation requires an admin to create the account for you and send you the password, this is to avoid bots. I will tug the sleeve of an admin more experienced at such things than I when you’re ready. Contact me on discord DM’s and I will help you set things up.
I will probably need to recruit folks as I think the best way to flesh some things out is to write them in action rather than churning articles out. I think it's best to have committed to something affecting about the setting rather than writing about something that will at some unspecificied time in the future. If that's so, I'd like to get recruiting people for an RP or rather, to brew something up for one. Or even finding one to join even - anything that lets me test drive hralaxerei characters to demonstrate how they roll.