Planet Zar: Nexus

Murdon

CLASSIFICATION Sapient Synapsid
HOMEWORLD Zar
SIZE 7'-10'
REPRODUCTION Oviparous
DIET Omnivorous
LIFESPAN Millennia

Biology

Tall, bipedal hexapod aliens. Warm-blooded but egg-laying, the closest classification for murdon would be "synapsid" ~ an evolutionary branch between reptile and mammal. Murdon have an incredibly large brain-to-body ratio and possess four brain hemispheres. Brain anatomy is highly complex and consists of many more dedicated lobes than in that of a human. Because of this, Murdon tend to be incredibly intelligent and have an excellent mind for invention, physics, and complex mathematics and sciences. Their memories are more precise than that of a human and all murdon are capable of highly attuned psionics: telepathy being chief among them, but telekinesis and empathy are also present.

Murdon grow between 7' and 10' tall with little variation between the sexes. They possess two sets of arms. The upper set is considered the "dominant" arms, and tend to be slightly larger and more muscled than the lower "inferior" arms. Murdon can easily use both sets of arms for completely different tasks - indeed, multi-tasking is an entirely realistic and common practice. Murdon have 5 digits on each hand: two thumbs and three fingers, arranged symmetrically. They have digitigrade feet with two large, clawed toes.

Tails are semi-prehensile and posses as soft "bulb" at the end. Tails typically match body length at a 1:1 ratio, with room for a little variation. A crest of soft spines or fronds grows from the shoulder blades and can reach several feet in length when fully extended. These fronds are soft and flexible, able to curl tightly or expand fully. Typically, fronds respond to temperature and emotion. Tightly curled fronds indicate a murdon feeling physical or mental discomfort. Fronds that are fully extended and vibrating express excitement or aggression. Fronds and tail bulbs contain a thick, nutrient-dense, semi-translucent fluid. This fluid can be used by the brain to aid in difficult mental processes. Huge bursts of psionic power often require a great deal of this fluid. A Murdon with thin/unhealthy fronds, injured fronts, or (worst of all) fronds that have been forcibly removed, are weakened and often disoriented and have trouble collecting thoughts.

Murdon typically come in shades of brown with lighter colored bellies and palms. Mottles and speckles are common patterns, but completely solid individuals aren't rare. Brown can be so dark as to appear nearly black or light enough to be mistaken for cream or tan. Fronds can be any color, and indeed are often bright in hue, and very rarely a murdon's hide will match it's fronds - bright and garish in coloration. Eyes are always black or near-black.

Genitals are internal and protected by a keratin sheath. There is no visible sexual dimorphism in the species. Murdon sex is a spectrum where intersex individuals are most common. Most murdon are capable of both bearing eggs and fertilizing them. Some murdon are born entirely without genitalia and are incapable of reproduction. Murdon lay small clutches of soft, semi-transparent eggs, filled with the same fluid in their fronds and tail bulbs. Murdon babies are born capable of telepathic and rudimentary verbal communication and are able to walk only a few weeks after hatching. Murdon are slow to mature, reaching adulthood somewhere within their first century of life. Sexual maturity doesn't occur until near the fifth century.

Physiology & Behavior

All murdon have an innate, genetic desire to create things. Pursuits within the arts and sciences are common and considered highly respectable across cultures.

The act of creation is a physical need (as much as social interaction would be for humans) but can take multiple forms: Artistic pursuits such as writing, painting, or music. Creation and manipulation of lifeforms, both organic and robotic. Pursuit of invention; technological and scientific advancements. Building things, both engineering and architecture.

Procreation, or indeed the raising of any offspring or any species, doesn't appear to scratch this imperative. As a long-lived race, the desire to reproduce is actually quite low in order to keep the population from skyrocketing.

Older, telekinetically talented murdon are capable of manipulating things at a molecular and atomic level. This often allows them to create entire life forms, capable of sentience and reproduction.

Being incredibly intelligent as a species, many murdon look down on "less evolved" race. Indeed, murdon have a habit of experimenting on other species and treating them like less-sapient animals. There are notable exceptions to this, of course, but even in the face of altruism murdon tend to look on other aliens more like "pets" than equals. This has given them a reputation of being haughty and condescending.

While murdon are generally capable of protecting their own minds from other telepaths, they can be intrusive toward other races. It takes training and self-restraint not to read surface thoughts and emotions of other species.

Because sex is a spectrum, murdon have a wide array of gender expression and identities. Pronouns and gender can be quite complex.   There are no gender roles in society and no biases based on sex or gender. Many cultures do have naming conventions that portray gender identity.

Via telepathy learning additional languages is easy for murdon, as long as they have living specimens to speak to. Deciphering written or recorded language without the mind of the speaker present is just as difficult for a murdon as it is for any other being.

Murdon vocalizations tend toward higher pitches and vibrato, and can sound quite musical. They can't imitate humanoid spoken languages perfectly and speak with a notable accent.

Society & Culture

Murdon were once numerous across Zar, a giant purple planet and the technological pinnacle of their solar system. Through a complex combination of events, the murdon turned their planet near uninhabitable. The one lush and flourishing Zar is now so choked with toxic gasses that over 90% of all flora and fauna has perished. The oceans are slick with poison, the soil deplete of nutrients, and the very air a hazy purple smog. Murdon stubbornly cling to Zar in hopes they will one day be able to reverse the damage they've done and return their home to its former glory.

Where once there were hundreds of nations and hubs of civilization, Zar boasts only a few occupied cities which have become cultural mosaics of murdon from all over the globe. These cities are built high, towering above the smog clouds. The lower levels of these towers are sealed air-tight and utilize an advanced filtration system for life support.

Most food and water is imported from Zar's moons and other colonies. There are hydro-filtration and distillery plants in all cities that convert local water to safe limits but this is mostly distributed to the lower classes. Wealthier individuals prefer imported water.

In turn, Zar trades in technology and knowledge. While the planet has a plethora of natural resources in the form of precious gems and metals, mining is difficult and dangerous.

Larger populations of murdon have left Zar. The majority reside on Mwari Station, which orbits their home planet, but groups of others have spread across the known universe in attempt to seek a new Zar-like home or, barring that, the technology or magic required to fix Zar. Some of these colonizing individuals have been less than scrupulous in their actions, causing a great deal of harm to the populations and species of other planets.

Due to the limitations of telepathy (distance, time, record-keeping), all Murdon cultures have both verbal and written languages.

Zar

There are 7 remaining cultural hubs in the form of giant, towering cities. These are:

Izlajos - the largest remaining city, while the majority population is murdon some aliens have come to reside here. Izlajos is known for trade and technology and has Zar's foremost university. Non-murdon residing here are typically ambassadors, diplomats, and scholars. The least xenophobic of the remaining cities.

Biquende - a traditionalist murdon colony located in the Biq mountain range, the highest peaks of which peer above the poison smog. Biquende murdon consider themselves the last true murdon on the planet. They trade as needed but are the most self-sufficient murdon colony.

Gahni - a mining city. Dangerous work, but in return Gahni is the wealthiest remaining city.

Chos

Etzak

Namix

Tzal

Mwari Station

Mwari station murdon tend to be far less elitist and xenophobic than those who remain on Zar. Constant exposure to other aliens does that to a species.