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[Accepted]vviped joins the sromkala, or a skrelldep app

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Ckey/BYOND Username: vvipedout
Position Being Applied For: lore deputy
Past Experiences/Knowledge: actually read the lore beyond robot man bad
Examples of Past Work: effectively the author of the high c'thur rework
Additional Comments: Lyrii was a mistake.

Additional Additional Comments:


On S. Sapiens and Why Alien Aliens Are Just Better


What is a Skrell? A frog midget that looks like a less crusty Davy Jones, sings like an underwater bird, blows kisses from their brain and is deeply confused by the idea of gender. Some are moist, some are dry, some live to 500 and some die at the young and ripe age of 93. A lot of them can’t look at a robot without thinking back to Glorsh; others are more matter of fact about positronics, and others yet can’t think back to Glorsh without wishing it had stuck around for 100 or 300 years more.


In truth, Skrell are aliens that are neither ‘humans but X’ or a single gimmick driven into the ground, regardless of how many generic synthphobe scientists may be played. Playing counter-theme as a frog is neither verboten or necessary to an interesting character; nowhere are Skrell characters required to be from the Federation, socially crippled among aliens, more or less intellectual/inquisitive/scientifically minded, opinionated about synthetics, so on. On the flipside, none but the youngest off-Fed Skrell can be played as functionally human, not the least because of the psychological implications of their lifespan, psionic sensitivity and different understanding of emotion than other species’ average.


Since writing a species is writing culture first and foremost (though culture can and does follow from biology, a culture without biology is far more playable than a biology without culture) it follows that Skrell must have their own, suited to their own traits. Nral’malic as a direct result of Qerr’balak being a marshy ball of saltwater, the forms of communication required to live in said saltwater as a society, and Federation enforcement of the language during its colonial era; Skrell music proceeding from both a Skrell perception of time and sounds, srom’s existence and effects on the mind begetting the sromkala, Listener/Receiver differences from biology to preferred entertainment and fashion, and so on and so forth.


Now this is very good, but there’s a major issue: Skrell culture is nigh exclusive to the Federation as its overarching, defining ethnostate. This does follow a key theme of the Federation as a centralised,  authoritarian entity with a tight grip over its population, and yet completely misses the established fact that a multitude of Skrell are not and in cases have never been citizens at all. No Skrell enclaves outside Federation space are ever mentioned, few if any sectors of human space include the species as something other than a population chart (contrast with Himean Tajara or Dominian Unathi, let alone Wastelander Diona) and the most recent exposure of the species’ lore ingame did little but put one of the most embarrassing aspects of the lore front and centre: the Tup.


A Tup is, at its core, a vatgrown soldier. Not innovative, but not bad unto itself. It’s almost a logical conclusion of designer life depending on the setting, and contrasts nicely with the Hunter Killers or Za. It becomes a bit more trite when the Tup’s main functions are infiltration or unpleasant/deniable work for Jargon, but again, this is not bad unto itself; the PSIS exists, every megacorp uses espionage and sabotage, even Zoleth has (had at the least) her own famous killsquad. Both at once are not necessarily a logical conclusion, even though each separately is, but so far it can work.


It turns bad when the concept devolves into a juvenile, meaningless set of vatgrown supersoldiers fitted with the best of the best, unerringly loyal to the Federation at a biological level, trained in a million martial arts and super secret techniques, remorseless experts at killing, so on and so forth. There’s nothing interesting to do with them narratively without falling into a gonzo mess of ‘wow, cool army’ a la Tribunal Commando or Pegasus’ Cataclysm 2 Cataclysm Harder, and the whole thing falls into action movie territory. And we can’t even blame Warbling for all of it since the issue has existed since at least the Bursa invasion, having a handful of commandos dive into Lii’dra hell and come out with a living lesser queen. It’s silly at best, reminiscent of pointless milwank at worst.


A point where Warbling compensated for its flaws was the visible change to srom; the situation becomes more oppressive, the Skrell collective dream bubble turns bleak and unpleasant. It tells us the dream (psychic imprint, more accurately, but still) depends on who dreams and what informs the dreamer. If we can say Skrell are psychic due to their zona bovinae, it follows all Spur species are less psychic. Nlom/Srom are specifically psychic-sensitive, rather than Skrell-sensitive, meaning we have to ask how other species affect the nlom field and dream bubbles. Are non-Skrell sleeping at Jargon affected? Do Skrell experience a cruder, alien nlom at Moghes? Do psychic images manifest in different ways to different species? This is another point where off-Federation lore ought to be explored. For Skrell, the vibe of a place is a very real and documented phenomenon, and a large part of them scarcely leave the Federation and its carefully tuned nlom; how do they adapt when they do? It’s an open field for questions and ideas, and personally a very fun one.


To finish, Skrell made clothes beyond what we currently have are sorely needed, whether they’re moisture stillsuits or shorts. Or both.


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Posted (edited)

Despite your objectively horrific taste in Vampire: The Masquerade bloodlines you've been a pleasant person to interact with both on and off of the server, who can play a multitude of species and origins. You, to this day, have played the only skrell dreg I've ever seen, and you're certainly able to make memorable characters. You clearly have a mastery of the voluminous lore (and, like me, hate the tup), so really the only thing I have for you are a few questions.

1). More integration between species is extremely good, and I'm glad you brought up some examples. How are some ways in which you intend to do this with skrell?

2). Do you plan to do anything with the existing skrell/[other species] crossovers in lore such as Zeng-Hu, the moon of Moghes (Oureawhom?), the C'thur, or (god forbid) Bursa?

3). Why is your taste in VtM clans so bad like Jesus Christ I can't believe you explain yourself

I look forward to your repsonses!

Edited by NewOriginalSchwann

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Skreg did have a lot of certified Gamer moments, but even then it was a baby Skrell whitelistee's first dive into off-Fed frog concepts and I'm glad they managed to be memorable. I'm also really glad for the questions because holy fuck did I ever need someone to ask so I'd actually have to write down a concrete concept.

1) Lore that doesn't have a page or at least a section to show for it is lore that doesn't get played, from my POV. Starting off probably means a lot of cleanup of bad early lore rather than new content, like post-Pegasus humanlore or whichever poor bugdev had to handle Covert's/Chev's leftovers can attest, but after that I want to pinpoint the places where different groups of Skrell would intuitively be; ZH/Technophile Skrell at Konyang, the odd Jargon expat at Eridani courtesy of BS Gate travel, so on. A planet/settlement at a reasonable place in the map (Frontier as a safe bet, Traverse if spicier) involving alternative Skrell viewpoints and a mixed population would be an ideal basic concept to follow on from there, but that's far along the road most likely.

2) Yes, god, absolutely. Zeng-Hu currently feels like the odd one out in terms of relevance and presence, and their Skrell involvement in practical terms reduces to what feels like an earlier writer's handwaving of 'okay so how can we have a human corp offer cloning' and using the AUMS as a quick answer. Keeping in mind ZH is THE medical corp, specially after Zavodskoi becoming Zavodskoi, working with corplore to incorporate more flavour to ZH and shill Skrell in the process can only be fun. (Also, again, Konyang.) Ouerea is another of those oddly untouched points that badly need at least a paragraph or two of expanding on (iirc, there's more to be said for human-cat interaction in Crevus than can be said for skrell-lizard-human in Ouerea) and goddess willing a snazzy squid outfit to show for it. While I don't mean to push things on other teams ahead of time I'd love to see what Sleepy can think of in regards to Ouerea warblelore and what the bugteam's thoughts are on C'thur crosslore, but I can't say a lot for Bursa. The Lii'dra arc was frankly a mess and salvaging something out of it would be difficult, but if a fun to play concept came out of it then why not.

3) >he doesn't have an actual antediluvian

Thanks for the questions! I had a lot of fun answering them. obligatory reminder to apply for skrell

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These are good responses, and I appreciate that somebody finally mentioned that Konyang exists. I'm also excited to see what you do with Zeng-Hu, as it was recently a topic of discussion amongst the lore team (no spoilers). This application has my support.


> he doesn't exist in 5th edition

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You know everything there is to know about the Lore, know how to use it, know how to bend it, and I vibe with you heavily. I, also, extremely appreciate that you're willing to criticize the lore right to me, rather than buttering me up with compliments about it. I'd be a fool not to approve.

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