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Author Topic: R'unorian Gaspan  (Read 9206 times)
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Tagaloa
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« on: 24 January 2012, 11:33:14 »

Beastiary>Animals, Wild>Other
Beastiary>Animals, Domestic>Other


A truly marvelous creature native to R'unor and the more outlying islands under Santerran dominion, the Gaspan resemble enlarged jellyfish who have tried and failed to take to the skies. Instead they spend their lives floating above the ground, drinking merrily and eating bugs to their hearts content.

Appearance
The Gaspan is a deceptively large creature, for, despite often floating a full 2.5 peds above the ground, and having bell caps with a diameter in excess of 1.5, they scarcely weigh more than 1 pygge, if that. Taking a cue from the R'unorians, we will divide the Gaspan into three distinct parts, the belly cap, the body and the tentacles.

Bell Cap
The bell cap is the most distinctive anatomical part of these creatures, and resembles the cap of a mushroom, sitting above their smaller bodies. These also provide a convenient shorthand for the sex of individuals, with the females possessing muted red and blue hides, while the males sport flamboyant reds, blues, purple and greens in myriad of patterns, although often it seems a certain colour predominates. At the top of the cap is a small, circular opening that somewhat resembles a mouth. This opening is used by Gaspans to channel the element of wind, which keeps it afloat, allowing it to ascend or descend should the need arise. To allow for this, the Gaspan's cap is incredibly elastic, and can expand greatly, far beyond the usual 1.5 diameter. Coating the bell cap is a sticky mucus that is used to trap insects and small animals, and is also gathered to be used to make adhesives.

Body
Below the bell cap is the body, which is slightly shorter than the diameter of the bell cap (usually, if the cap is 1.5 peds, the body is only 1.2 - 1.3 peds long) and about half as thick. The head of the Gaspan is simply placed on one end of the body, and is a slightly bulbous, colourful thin with large, black eyes - often described as cute by the R'unorians, and otherworldly by the Santerrans - that are never seen to move, although this seems to be an illusion stemming from their large size. Between and slightly below the eyes are their nostrils, which are naught more than a pair of slits, and they themselves rest over a short and exceptionally wide, toothless mouth, from which occasionally spills their large, tri-forked tongue. The tongue has three forks in it, and each extra appendage is completely prehensile. Aside from their eyes, mouths and nasal slits, the Gaspan's body lack any other outstanding features, though they are often rather colourful, in patterns and hues matching those of their caps.

Tentacles
Hanging from their body are eight thin, though relatively powerful tentacles. Completely prehensile, these eight tentacles are used primarily to feed, but some Gaspans have been reported using them to move small obstacles and to gain one another's attention, though this is rather rare and no researcher has seen such incidents - all are anecdotes gained from Gaspan Farmers in Santerra and R'unor. Almost invariably, the tentacles are a dark blue, though exceptions are seen. Males have an extra ninth faux-tentacle, that is actually a tube used to hold and fertilize eggs.

Special Abilities
Most notably, Gaspan possess the ability to float and control their altitude. Their most versatile ability, however, is the sticky mucus they secrete from their bell caps, which is a very powerful adhesive that remains sticky until dried out (which, it should be noted, is much harder to do than it should be). Sarcastically, some may also contend that their smell is a special ability, for they rank as one of (if not the most) putrid smelling creatures in all Caelereth.

Territory
Originally found only in the R'unorian Isles and the most extreme northeastern extent of Santerran dominion, they can now be observed in small numbers in the heart of Santerran territory, Anis-Anpagan and even Santharia as an exotic addition to menageries. Generally, though not exclusively, they prefer swamps and marshers, but anywhere relatively warm with an abundance of insects is agreeable to them.

Habitat/Behavior
In the wild they roam in large groups called blooms that usually range between 20 - 200 individuals, led by a single alpha-female who asserts her dominance through fencing (really, a glorified slap fight with their tentacles), gets to determine where the bloom roams, and enjoys first choice during mating season. On the Gaspan ranches this behavior is replicated, while for the few in menageries, where males predominate by warrant of their more colourful bodies, there is no hierarchy, they simply roam in a loose group.

Gaspan behavior is very sex dependent. Males have been described as meek, stupid and apathetic, contrasted to females who've been described as warlike, violent and cruel, and this is reflected in their roles in the blooms, where males... well, males don't do much. They're just there and only make an impact during mating season, while females run the show. Organized into a strict hierarchy, blooms are led by the strongest females who gain their place though bully-boying (girling, in this case) the other females in subservience. At the bottom of this totem pole are the weakest, meekest and eldest, a small number of females subject to frequent, arbitrary violence. These arrangements are fluids and the leading female often changes quickly, as seen on the ranches where they rise and fall almost daily. Interestingly, it has been noted by Entos the Turtle (a famous R'unorian researcher, famed for his tattoos and obesity) that the females in any given bloom outnumber males by an average of 3 to 1. Entos holds this to be the reason for the aggressive behavior of female Gaspan - they're simply afraid of not being able to mate.

Previously described as 'astoundingly stupid' recent observation has shown that the Gaspan's intelligence, while nothing special, is much higher than once supposed. This idea was taken from the fact that Gaspan are very docile in regards to outsiders, allowing other animals and humans to walk freely through their blooms. Seemingly suicidal, this practice seems to be a product of learning that they make really, really bad food - the little meat they have is chewy to the point of being inedible and putrid in taste. The only thing that seems to eat them are Lurker Beetles, and even they would rather have the meat sit out in the sun for a few days!

Diet
Catching them passively in the sticky mucus secreted on their bell cap and then scraping them off with their tentacles, Gaspan are insectivores and feed on bugs of all size. Because of their small size and small energy expenditure, they need little food, allowing a diet of insects to suffice.

Ironically, they only creature that eats them is the Lurker Beetle, though, because of their domesticity, Gaspan are usually slaughtered first and allowed to putrefy a bit before being served to the beetles.

Mating
The mating ritual of the Gaspan is among the strangest in the world. Besides the role reversal between sexes (female Gaspan's are the ones who fight for the right to choose a male) the male actually accepts a single egg - about the size of two dwarves' fists put together - from the female, fertilizes it and cares for it within his faux-tentacles. In 5 months, the newly born Gaspan begins to push its' way out of the egg, and the father releases his progeny. This is where parenting ends - the young Gaspan either lives or dies, it is of no concern to the parents. It is believed, especially by the R'unorians, that the single births and high mortality rate is a natural check on the otherwise invulnerable population. Without these, the world would soon be overpopulated by hordes of floating insectivores!

Mating season begins in the early spring and lasts only about a month, and is marked by vicious (for a Gaspan) combat between females vying for a mate, accompanied by high pitched shrieks (their only known vocalization). Males, characteristically are rather apathetic about it all, and willingly enough accept the egg of any female able to give it to him without being attacked. According to Gaspan Farmers, this is the only time of year they've ever been 'attacked' (we use this term lightly) and most simply avoid harvesting the mucus during mating season.

Uses
The mucus secreted by their bell caps is a very powerful, valuable adhesive, and a respectably strong industry has sprung up in the R'unorian Isles and the northern extremes of Aca-Santerra based on harvesting it. They are called Gaspan Farmers, but they're more akin to ranchers, simply fencing in a large tract of land for their Gaspan to roam. Very little upkeep is necessary, and dead individuals are allowed to rot in order to attract more insects for their animals to keep. Once a week, small teams go out and quietly harvest some of the mucus - which is very viscous and only drys out in extreme heat - in jars. Gaspan Farmers are not poor, as obtaining a viable bloom is an expensive proposition,and the mucus fetches a high price. Often, they are ridiculed by 'true' farmers for how little work they actually have to do!

The mucus is very valuable, as it is not only very strong, but, unlike other glues, very hard to destroy. Only direct, prolonged sunlight of great intensity will dry it out, and it is a rare occurrence for an item glued with Gaspan mucus to come apart. The R'unorians use it prolifically in their bows and armor, and the Santerrans often use it on their ships. Often, it is simply sought out because it's a good glue. Artisans and crafters value it because it will hold longer, therefore prolonging their art longer.

The only other uses for these creatures is to feed the Lurker Beetles in R'unor, which is less common than one might think, and as pets. This may be surprising, given their lack of cuddly-ness, but many enjoy the indifferent company of a male Gaspan, as well as their colours. Related, they are also very popular additions to menageries across Caelereth, though these individuals often die from ignorance on the part of their owners, who simply don't know enough  about them to care for them.

Myth/Lore
In R'unor, there is a whole series of folktales dealing with the genesis of the Gaspan from their humble beginnings as jellyfish. Depending on which tale you hear (and there are many of them) you will learn that they were blessed by Murlar to choose between the deep or land, or banished by him for some grave offence to wander the land. Ever popular amongst children is the tale of How the Gaspan Came to Be, chronicling the creature's rise from lowly whiny jellyfish, to floating whiny jellyfish.
« Last Edit: 31 March 2012, 23:49:16 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged

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seth ghibta
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« Reply #1 on: 27 January 2012, 22:58:22 »

just wanted to stop by and note that I love this idea lots and lots and lots. Can't wait to see it fully written up. I don't know if you're familiar with the children's game in some cultures of tying a thread round the boy of cuckoo bees (a kind of giant bumblebee) and following them around like kites? struck me that any child would love to keep a pet gaspan.
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« Reply #2 on: 29 January 2012, 01:51:13 »

Alrighty first draft is done! And thank you for the pet idea, Seth.

EDIT: 'Cause I forgot. I'd like Valan to take at least a cursory look over this, and give me a yay or nay if this fits into R'unor. I figure it does (they've got giant beetle-horses!) but I'd like his input over whether I incorporated it in a decent way.
« Last Edit: 29 January 2012, 02:00:01 by Tagaloa » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: 29 January 2012, 02:44:53 »

I was just waiting for you to finish up, Tagaloa and might I say that these little darlings fit marvellously in with R'unor.

So, suggestions and then we'll see about a full uri-check.

If you don't mind, I'd suggest editing the size of the gaspan "herds" and perhaps a better word for a group of gaspan I'm sure you and I could think of something suitably colourful if we put our heads together ;) . The isles aren't terribly large as far as landmass goes. Perhaps make 200 the upper limit, rather than 600?

Territory-wise: There's a slightly problem with saying R'unor since it refers to no fewer than four things, three if we're just talking about geography. R'unor is: The Isles of R'unor (the entire chain) the Isle/Island of R'unor (the largest island in that chain) and the City of R'unor (the largest city and capital, conveniently located on the island of the same name). R'unor can also refer to the political entity of the kingdom/empire of R'unor which is of course based in the island chain of the same name.

So, the points to cover: Do we see examples of the Gaspan on islands other than the largest? Take a look at the map if you haven't already to get a good idea. Now, if we need a proper place to put them, flying jellyfish would fit in absolutely marvellously to the ecosystem that I've got planned for the Hylph'xan'ian'kroi Mountains (thanks for reminding me about that entry, I really should finish writing it).

Can they fly/hover over water, or perhaps have been pushed by a tremendous wind to other islands. That would tell us where you'd find Gaspans solely in captivity as opposed to roaming free. There's a quibble I have about the Santerrans here, but we'll leave that for a full dissection of the entry.

You say they float above the ground and yes we're talking about chanelling the element of wind, but these are creatures which, for all intents and purposes, the average Santharian (R'unorians not being the least bit alarmed) would say has no business hovering off the ground like that. So perhaps a mention of this in the special abilities would be warranted. Bear in mind that you don't quite need to worry about explaining some of the more fantastic properties with Ximaxian magical terms. Nybelmar, and by extent R'unor is rather divorced from the elvish conceits about the elements (not even really acknowledging fire at this point). Don't feel the need to do science to things if you don't have to, essentially.
Also, I wonder if there's a smell?

I'm a little worried at using terms like "alpha" and "omega" to describe social standing, but that's really nitpicking at this point.

Honestly, the mucus harvesting has given me an excellent idea for the use of that (perhaps a little odious) substance.

Do you have any Murlarn folklore in mind for this? He'd work stupendously for these, and it gives me a little more to work with when I eventually get back to writing that entry.

Don't mistake this for disapproval Tagaloa, I always try to criticize the good stuff. And if that's really all I could find to comment on, I'd say we're well on our way. grin
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« Reply #4 on: 30 January 2012, 01:55:20 »

Alrighty, changed the term from 'colony' to 'bloom' in accordance with the ancient tradition of jellyfish, changed size of the newly christened blooms from 200 - 600 to 20 - 200 and noted their flight capabilities in the special abilities section. Small grammatical errors I noticed were also edited, but not marked. There were many.

As for territory, I stated in the original that it was the R'unorian Isles, not the R'unor. Concerning the Santerrans, I'm not entirely sure I want to keep that... It just occured to me that with the history of conflict between them, an animal like the Gaspan may have done a little traveling, or a bloom might have survived the migration across the sea to the most extreme Santerran territory.

And yes, they can float over water, but, as there are less bugs there, they really don't like it. I'd say that if they migrated on their own to Santerran territory, it may have been out of desperation. I can't find any tables of R'unorian history, but maybe in the aftermath of the War of the Chosen?
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« Reply #5 on: 30 January 2012, 05:49:13 »

Sorry, it was a pretty cursory initial read. There aren't actually any R'unorian history tables. It's a largely under-developed area. If you need something to work with I'm sure it can be hashed out.
As for the uri-check. I do my comments and corrections in gold, highlighting is done in red

A truly marvelous creature native to R'unor and the more outlying islands under Santerran dominion, with a distinct subspecies living amongst the Taegion Madroth and Taegion Naevreth on Nybelmar. This entry will deal with the larger and much more well known R'unorian Gaspan. Or, as some might say, the Gas Jelly.

Appearance
The Gaspan is a deceptively large creature, for, despite often floating a full 2.5 peds above the ground, and having bell caps with a diameter in excess of 1.5, they scarcely weigh more than 1 pygge, if that. Taking a cue from the R'unorians, we will divide the Gaspan into three distinct parts, the belly cap, the body and the tentacles.

The bell cap is the most distinctive anatomical part of these creatures, and resembles the cap of a mushroom, sitting above their smaller bodies. These also provide a convenient shorthand for the sex of individuals, with the females possessing muted red and blue hides, while the males sport flamboyant reds, blues, purple and greens in myriad of patterns, although often it seems a certain color predominates. At the top of the cap is a small, circular opening that somewhat resembles a mouth. This opening is used by Gaspans to channel the element of wind, which keeps it afloat, allowing it to ascend or descend should the need arise. To allow for this, the Gaspan's cap is incredibly elastic, and can expand greatly, far beyond the usual 1.5 diameter. Coating the bell cap is a sticky mucous that is used to trap insects and small animals, and is also gathered to be used to make adhesives.

Below the bell cap is the body, which is slightly shorter than the diameter of the bell cap (usually, if the cap is 1.5 peds, the body is only 1.2 - 1.3 peds long) and about half as thick. The head of the Gaspan is simply placed on one end of the body, and is a slightly bulbous, colorful thin with large, black eyes - often described as cute by the R'unorians, and otherworldly by the Santerrans - that are never seen to move, although this seems to be an illusion stemming from their large size. Between and slightly below the eyes are their nostrils, which are naught more than a pair of slits, and they themselves rest over a short and exceptionally wide, toothless mouth, from which occasionally spills their large, tri-forked tongue. The tongue has three forks in it, and each extra appendage is completely prehensile. Aside from their eyes, mouths and nasal slits, the Gaspan's body lack any other outstanding features, though they are often rather colorful, in patterns and hues matching those of their caps.

Hanging from their body are eight thin, though relatively powerful tentacles. Completely prehensile, these eight tentacles are used primarily to feed, but some Gaspans have been reported using them to move small obstacles and to gain one another's attention, though this is rather rare and no researcher has seen such incidents - all are anecdotes gained from Gaspan Farmers in Santerra and R'unor. Almost invariably, the tentacles are a dark blue in color, though exceptions are seen. Males have an extra ninth faux-tentacle, that is actually a tube used to hold and fertilize eggs.
No problems here.

Special Abilities
Most notably, Gaspan possess the ability to float and, thorugh their natural attunement to the element of wind, control their altitude. Their most versatile ability, however, is the sticky mucous they secrete from their bell caps, which is a very powerful adhesive that remains sticky until dried out (which, it should be noted, is much harder to do than it should be).
This is pretty good. The only issue I have is with the "natural attunement". While Earth/Wind/Fire/Water is the Santharian/Elven view of the elements, it's not how the R'unorians view it and it's a very... ximaxian approach to things. I don't really think the explanation is necessary here, is what I'm trying to get at.

Territory
Originally found only in the R'unorian Isles and the most extreme northeastern extent of Santerran dominion, they can now be found in small numbers in the heart of Santerran territory, Anis-Anpagan and even Santharia as an exotic addition to menageries.
There's no problem with them existing in Santerran territory here, though I'm wondering if it'd be a matter of when they would have arrived in the Santerran Dominion and when Santerran farming would have begun. Is there any sort of territory they favour or dislike particulary? These do seem like they'd be a nuisance to common folk, so what keeps them from wandering idly through a settled area, or over a field?

Habitat/Behavior
In the wild they roam in large groups called blooms that usually range between 20 - 200 individuals, led by a single alpha-female who asserts her dominance through fencing (really, a glorified slap fight with their tentacles) and gets to determine where the bloom roams, and enjoys first choice during mating season. The last bit here is a little awkward. I'd suggest something like "determines where the bloom roams" removing the first "and" entirely. On the Gaspan ranches this behavior is replicated, while the few in menageries, where males predominate by warrant of their more colorful bodies, there is no hierarchy, they simply roam in a loose group because that's what is normal for them.Unnecessary bit at the end there.

Gaspan behavior is very sex dependent. Males have been described as meek, stupid and apathetic, contrasted to females who've been described as warlike, violent and cruel, and this is reflected in their roles in the blooms, where males... well, males don't do much. They're just there and only make an impact during mating season, while females run the show. Organized into a strict hierarchy, blooms are led by alpha-females who gain their place though bully-boying (girling, in this case) the other females in subservience. At the bottom of this totem pole are the omegas, a small number of females subject to frequent, arbitrary violence. These arrangements are fluids and the alpha-female often changes quickly, as seen on the ranches where alpha-females rise and fall almost daily.

Previously described as 'astoundingly stupid' recent observation has shown that the Gaspan's intelligence, while nothing special, is much higher than once supposed. This idea was taken from the fact that Gaspan are very docile in regards to outsiders, allowing other animals and humans to walk freely through their blooms. Seemingly suicidal, this practice seems to be a product of learning that they make really, really bad food - the little meat they have is chewy to the point of being inedible and putrid in taste.

Diet
Catching them passively in the sticky mucous secreted on their bell cap and then scraping them off with their tentacles, Gaspan are insectivores and feed on bugs of all size. Because of their small size and small energy expenditure, they need little food, allowing a diet of insects to suffice.

Ironically, they only creature that eats them is the Lurker Beetle, though, because of their domesticity, Gaspan are usually slaughtered first and allowed to putrefy a bit before being served to the beetles.

Mating
The mating ritual of the Gaspan is among the strangest in the world. Besides the role reversal between sexes (female Gaspan's are the ones who fight for the right to choose a male) the male actually accepts a single egg - about the size of two dwarves' fists put together - from the female, fertilizes it and cares for it within his faux-tentacles. In 5 months, the newly born Gaspan begins to push its' way out of the egg, and the father releases his progeny. This is where parenting ends - the young Gaspan either lives or dies, it is of no concern to the parents. It is believed, especially by the R'unorians, that the single births and high mortality rate is a natural check on the otherwise invulnerable population. Without these, the world would soon be overpopulated by hordes of floating insectivores!
A natural population check is good, since you've only got the one predator listed.

Mating season begins in the early spring and lasts only about a month, and is marked by vicious (for a Gaspan) combat between females vying for a mate, accompanied by high pitched shrieks (their only known vocalization). Males, characteristically are rather apathetic about it all, and willingly enough accept the egg of any female able to give it to him without being attacked. According to Gaspan Farmers, this is the only time of year they've ever been 'attacked' (we use this term lightly) and most simply avoid harvesting the mucous during mating season.

Uses
The mucous secreted by their bell caps is a very powerful, valuable adhesive, and a respectably strong industry has sprung up in the R'unorian Isles and the northern extremes of Aca-Santerra based on harvesting it. They are called Gaspan Farmers, but they're more akin to ranchers, simply fencing in a large tract of land for their Gaspan to roam. Very little upkeep is necessary, and dead individuals are allowed to rot in order to attract more insects for their animals to keep. Once a week, small teams go out and quietly harvest some of the mucous - which is very viscous and only drys out in extreme heat - in jars. Gaspan Farmers are not poor, as obtaining a viable bloom is an expensive proposition, and the mucous fetches a high price. Often, they are ridiculed by 'true' farmers for how little work they actually have to do!

So what is the adhesive used for I wonder. I've an idea or two, but I'd like to see what you might be able to come up with.
The only other uses for these creatures is to feed the Lurker Beetles in R'unor, which is less common than one might think, and as pets. This may be surprising, given their lack of cuddly-ness, but many enjoy the indifferent company of a male Gaspan, enjoying their vibrant colors as well. Related, they are also very popular additions to menageries across Caelereth, though these individuals often die from ignorance on the part of their owners, who simply don't know enough  about them to care for them.

Myth/Lore
In R'unor, there is a whole series of folktales dealing with the genesis of the Gaspan from their humble beginnings as jellyfish. Depending on which tale you hear (and there are many of them) you will learn that they were blessed by Murlar to choose between the deep or land, or banished by him for some grave offence to wander the land.I'd love to have one of these tales, or even a fragment of one, in the entry.
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« Reply #6 on: 05 February 2012, 03:28:02 »

Edits have been made in red.
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« Reply #7 on: 06 February 2012, 05:20:21 »

I love these creatures so much. Couldn't find anything to comment on, but those myths sound fascinating. If you don't want to write one, I'd be happy to give it a go, with your permission, of course.
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« Reply #8 on: 07 February 2012, 05:28:14 »

A truly marvelous creature native to R'unor and the more outlying islands under Santerran dominion, with a distinct subspecies living amongst the Taegion Madroth and Taegion Naevreth on Nybelmar. This entry will deal with the larger and much more well known R'unorian Gaspan. Or, as some might say, the Gas Jelly. Will we be elaborating on this subspecies in the entry, or would they get their own? Also, the Taegoion Moadroth and the Taegion Naevreth are cliffs.

Appearance
The Gaspan is a deceptively large creature, for, despite often floating a full 2.5 peds above the ground, and having bell caps with a diameter in excess of 1.5, they scarcely weigh more than 1 pygge, if that. Taking a cue from the R'unorians, we will divide the Gaspan into three distinct parts, the belly cap, the body and the tentacles.

The bell cap is the most distinctive anatomical part of these creatures, and resembles the cap of a mushroom, sitting above their smaller bodies. These also provide a convenient shorthand for the sex of individuals, with the females possessing muted red and blue hides, while the males sport flamboyant reds, blues, purple and greens in myriad of patterns, although often it seems a certain color predominates. At the top of the cap is a small, circular opening that somewhat resembles a mouth. This opening is used by Gaspans to channel the element of wind, which keeps it afloat, allowing it to ascend or descend should the need arise. To allow for this, the Gaspan's cap is incredibly elastic, and can expand greatly, far beyond the usual 1.5 diameter. Coating the bell cap is a sticky mucous that is used to trap insects and small animals, and is also gathered to be used to make adhesives.

Below the bell cap is the body, which is slightly shorter than the diameter of the bell cap (usually, if the cap is 1.5 peds, the body is only 1.2 - 1.3 peds long) and about half as thick. The head of the Gaspan is simply placed on one end of the body, and is a slightly bulbous, colorful thin with large, black eyes - often described as cute by the R'unorians, and otherworldly by the Santerrans - that are never seen to move, although this seems to be an illusion stemming from their large size. Between and slightly below the eyes are their nostrils, which are naught more than a pair of slits, and they themselves rest over a short and exceptionally wide, toothless mouth, from which occasionally spills their large, tri-forked tongue. The tongue has three forks in it, and each extra appendage is completely prehensile. Aside from their eyes, mouths and nasal slits, the Gaspan's body lack any other outstanding features, though they are often rather colorful, in patterns and hues matching those of their caps.

Hanging from their body are eight thin, though relatively powerful tentacles. Completely prehensile, these eight tentacles are used primarily to feed, but some Gaspans have been reported using them to move small obstacles and to gain one another's attention, though this is rather rare and no researcher has seen such incidents - all are anecdotes gained from Gaspan Farmers in Santerra and R'unor. Almost invariably, the tentacles are a dark blue in color, though exceptions are seen. Males have an extra ninth faux-tentacle, that is actually a tube used to hold and fertilize eggs.
Physically, I'm assuming they're not terribly durable?

Special Abilities
Most notably, Gaspan possess the ability to float and, through their natural attunement to the element of wind, control their altitude. Their most versatile ability, however, is the sticky mucous they secrete from their bell caps, which is a very powerful adhesive that remains sticky until dried out (which, it should be noted, is much harder to do than it should be).Again, I'm going to point out "element of wind" doesn't quite work here. You could just lose that whole sentence and simply end it with "possess the ability to float and control their altitude. Is there an upper limit to the flotation? Do we know?

Territory
Originally found only in the R'unorian Isles and the most extreme northeastern extent of Santerran dominion, they can now be found in small numbers in the heart of Santerran territory, Anis-Anpagan and even Santharia as an exotic addition to menageries. Where do we expect in these areas to find Gaspans? Forests, plains?

Habitat/Behavior
In the wild they roam in large groups called blooms that usually range between 20 - 200 individuals, led by a single alpha-female who asserts her dominance through fencing (really, a glorified slap fight with their tentacles), gets to determine where the bloom roams, and enjoys first choice during mating season. On the Gaspan ranches this behavior is replicated, while the few in menageries, where males predominate by warrant of their more colorful bodies, there is no hierarchy, they simply roam in a loose group.

Gaspan behavior is very sex dependent. Males have been described as meek, stupid and apathetic, contrasted to females who've been described as warlike, violent and cruel, and this is reflected in their roles in the blooms, where males... well, males don't do much. They're just there and only make an impact during mating season, while females run the show. Organized into a strict hierarchy, blooms are led by alpha-females who gain their place though bully-boying (girling, in this case) the other females in subservience. At the bottom of this totem pole are the omegas, a small number of females subject to frequent, arbitrary violence. These arrangements are fluids and the alpha-female often changes quickly, as seen on the ranches where alpha-females rise and fall almost daily.

Previously described as 'astoundingly stupid' recent observation has shown that the Gaspan's intelligence, while nothing special, is much higher than once supposed. This idea was taken from the fact that Gaspan are very docile in regards to outsiders, allowing other animals and humans to walk freely through their blooms. Seemingly suicidal, this practice seems to be a product of learning that they make really, really bad food - the little meat they have is chewy to the point of being inedible and putrid in taste.
Do they smell putrid as well? That would attract the insects.

Diet
Catching them passively in the sticky mucous secreted on their bell cap and then scraping them off with their tentacles, Gaspan are insectivores and feed on bugs of all size. Because of their small size and small energy expenditure, they need little food, allowing a diet of insects to suffice.

Ironically, they only creature that eats them is the Lurker Beetle, though, because of their domesticity, Gaspan are usually slaughtered first and allowed to putrefy a bit before being served to the beetles.

Mating
The mating ritual of the Gaspan is among the strangest in the world. Besides the role reversal between sexes (female Gaspan's are the ones who fight for the right to choose a male) the male actually accepts a single egg - about the size of two dwarves' fists put together - from the female, fertilizes it and cares for it within his faux-tentacles. In 5 months, the newly born Gaspan begins to push its' way out of the egg, and the father releases his progeny. This is where parenting ends - the young Gaspan either lives or dies, it is of no concern to the parents. It is believed, especially by the R'unorians, that the single births and high mortality rate is a natural check on the otherwise invulnerable population. Without these, the world would soon be overpopulated by hordes of floating insectivores!

Mating season begins in the early spring and lasts only about a month, and is marked by vicious (for a Gaspan) combat between females vying for a mate, accompanied by high pitched shrieks (their only known vocalization). Males, characteristically are rather apathetic about it all, and willingly enough accept the egg of any female able to give it to him without being attacked. According to Gaspan Farmers, this is the only time of year they've ever been 'attacked' (we use this term lightly) and most simply avoid harvesting the mucous during mating season.
This is good. Nothing to comment on here
Uses
The mucous secreted by their bell caps is a very powerful, valuable adhesive, and a respectably strong industry has sprung up in the R'unorian Isles and the northern extremes of Aca-Santerra based on harvesting it. They are called Gaspan Farmers, but they're more akin to ranchers, simply fencing in a large tract of land for their Gaspan to roam. Very little upkeep is necessary, and dead individuals are allowed to rot in order to attract more insects for their animals to keep. Once a week, small teams go out and quietly harvest some of the mucous - which is very viscous and only drys out in extreme heat - in jars. Gaspan Farmers are not poor, as obtaining a viable bloom is an expensive proposition,and the mucous fetches a high price. Often, they are ridiculed by 'true' farmers for how little work they actually have to do!

The mucous is very valuable, as it is not only very strong, but, unlike other glues, very hard to destroy. Only direct, prolonged sunlight of great intensity will dry it out, and it is a rare occurence for an item glued with Gaspan mucous to come apart. The R'unorians use it prolifically in their bows and armor, and the Santerrans often use it on their ships. Often, it is simply sought out because it's a good glue. Artisans and crafters value it because it will hold longer, therefore prolonging their art longer. You want glue to dry eventually, otherwise it doesn't tend to hold tight. I think I get what you're getting at though. There might be a better way to word it, it's like superglue I'm guessing? Is there a way to get it to unstick? Some sort of spirits I would guess. Perhaps as a shellac or varnish, rather than a glue? In my head, R'unorian armor is made out of woven rattan. If this was fire retardant in some way, that could be interesting. Exports in R'unor are strictly controlled by the Triumvirate,

The only other uses for these creatures is to feed the Lurker Beetles in R'unor, which is less common than one might think, and as pets. This may be surprising, given their lack of cuddly-ness, but many enjoy the indifferent company of a male Gaspan, enjoying their vibrant colors as well. Related, they are also very popular additions to menageries across Caelereth, though these individuals often die from ignorance on the part of their owners, who simply don't know enough  about them to care for them. Might the Zohologica have a specimen or two?

Myth/Lore
In R'unor, there is a whole series of folktales dealing with the genesis of the Gaspan from their humble beginnings as jellyfish. Depending on which tale you hear (and there are many of them) you will learn that they were blessed by Murlar to choose between the deep or land, or banished by him for some grave offence to wander the land.
I have to agree again with Seth, if you don't care to write one yourself (not a problem) I'd love if you'd let Seth give a try, it'd really help connect this with the rest of R'unor.

Other than that, be sure to run a spell check over the entry.
« Last Edit: 07 February 2012, 06:00:36 by Valan Nonesuch » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: 09 February 2012, 20:32:58 »

Really good entry once again, Tagaloa! I like the idea of a jellyfish tentacle slap fight!

A few comments:

Your diet entry seems to suggest that gaspans are small and light:
Quote
Gaspan are insectivores and feed on bugs of all size. Because of their small size and small energy expenditure, they need little food, allowing a diet of insects to suffice.
Yet you say that the diameter of the bell is 1.5 peds - that's 1.5 meters - and that they weigh up to 1 pygge (50kg). Now, that's larger and heavier than any bird. Are the gaspans really this large and sustain themselves on insects only? It's not impossible (this is a magical world, after all), but would maybe warrant some further explanation. Personally, I would suggest to make gaspans a lot lighter (but not necessarily smaller).

Habitat: I liked that you paid attention to the difference of behaviours in the wild and in captivity. One comment here: I wonder in what kind of habitats gaspans typically live. Plains? Mountains? Forests? (Probably not forests, given their size?)

A spelling issue: 'Mucous' is an adjective (slimy), and 'mucus' is the noun (slime). Most of the time, if not everywhere, in your text where you write 'mucous', you actually mean 'mucus'.

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« Reply #10 on: 10 February 2012, 07:07:35 »

Haven't made any edits, have been really busy and will remain really busy for... a few weeks. (I have no less than 7 performances in the next three weeks  buck)

Seth: Yes. Go for it. I'd love to see what you come up with.

Valan: In regards to the 'natural attunement to the element of air' I left it there because I'm writing under the assumption that I'm Santharian, and writing for a primarily Santharian audience. Therefore I think it makes the most sense to leave it as is... but, eh, can be changed.

Shabakuk: I have read your suggestions and will adress them when I am not swamped with music.

And, for clarification, I will be gone for the next couple weeks or so. Please don't think I bailed on you guys.
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« Reply #11 on: 10 February 2012, 07:22:28 »

So what kind of musical performances do you do, Tagaloa? Are you part of a band? Are you a composer? Are you a singer? Is there anywhere on line we can listen to your work? If you are a composer ... are you interested in composing something for Santharia?

(Sorry ... just had to get in there ... but I am really interested for the sake of being interested about your performances. :)
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« Reply #12 on: 10 February 2012, 07:40:25 »

Thanks for the update Tagaloa

Seth, if you need any details on Murlar, shoot me a PM.
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« Reply #13 on: 10 February 2012, 08:10:47 »

I'll look forward to your return, Tagaloa. Meanwhile, good luck for those performances. Like Dek, I am curious what music you play. Let us know sometime!
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« Reply #14 on: 10 February 2012, 20:46:41 »

yay! I'll start throwing some ideas about, this should be fun to write. good luck with those performances Tagaloa!

EDIT: just a general note, but there aren't (apparently) any Santharian jellyfish. there are several references to them already on site, but as far as I can see, no actual aquatic creature to base them on. Personally I'd be quite keen to write a jellyfish, but if anyone else wants to that'd be great as well.
« Last Edit: 10 February 2012, 20:59:20 by seth ghibta » Logged

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