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SPECIES CHANGE: Dionae. Announcement and Q&A


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Just like Frances took handling of Skrell, I've picked up Diona. There's no MAJOR changes, but there are changes nontheless. Of course - this is an ongoing change, and I aim to also increase the Diona population - hoping, one day, to see just as much of them as there are Unathi, at least.

My focus on this was fourfold. First, expand on Diona lore (duh). Second, make them more interesting. Third, move them from "universally space hippies" to a more alien, differently-aligned alien with a reason to hate them and with ominous keypoints. And fourth, move them from somewhat closed-concept to completely open to a lot of things.

The new, updated info is still at the same location - on the Diona wiki page

General info for players:

  • Dionae no longer space hippies. Because they're known to, if given the opportunity and not instructed to not, be necrophages (they consume dead bodies). Human insult slang for them is Gravemind, Skrell calls them Deathflower. More derogatory names to come.
  • Okay, maybe still space hippies. Culturally, they believe in not causing undue harm. And unless you can kill a whole gestalt (which can range, depending on the character, from a man-sized bush to a building), you're unlikely to fall under the "due harm" clause.
  • No longer space trees, either. They're more of a mix of a space shrub, space mold with some animal genetics sprinkled in.
  • Kicking the nymph is now animal abuse


And a checklist for the Diona players:


  • You're officially not-a-plant, pretty much. But you're not completely not-a-plant. You're not clearly defined in biological terms.
  • Radstorms and uranium make you giddy, as it helps you grow and repair yourself.
  • Dionae even MORE so a group of nymphs - instead of just a group, a local shared mind. Three to six nymphs per Dionae (not sure if it'll ever be implemented mechanically), and one-to-three dominating "brain' nymphs. Which means "I" is just as acceptable as "we".
  • Rootsong no longer radiation, but actual music-like sound. Mechanically no difference - but lore-wise, it means that there's people who can speak Rootspeak through musical instruments.
  • Dionae no longer JUST bodies. They have different classes - nymphs are smallest, the Dionae themselves are Work forms - but much larger forms exist, like huge. It's not an obligation - but your Diona can now have allegiance to a specific, larger gestalt - and as such your character can now work towards the goal of assisting/improving the gestalt as an option.
  • I'll write more specifics later, but to integrate it better into antag roles, Dionae can now learn/be trained to interface with synthetic devices and machines. HOWEVER this does mean that you can claim your character has some minor electromechanical components for RP purposes - like having a translator for your tertiary language.
  • Dionae have a frenzy of recycling materials. Organic and synthetic alike.
  • You don't have to be afraid of self-defense anymore. While the Diona are still pretty much pacifists, they have a drive of survival - which includes self-defense and assisting anything they feel may help their gestalt improve their situation.
  • No longer globally slow. They're physically slow - but their brainpower is as fast, intelligent and curious as humans, if not more.
  • On the flipside, because of the broad nature of Dionae, it means that all characters previously made are still valid.


Miscellaneous new fluff:

  • There's going to be lore events.



Now, here comes YOUR part. Thoughts? Feedback? Suggestions?

Please make sure to let me know what YOU want to hear about the Dionae as well. I plan on making the lore EXTENSIVE, and I'm accepting ideas.

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Surely just calling them a 'tree' would be an insult?


Not really, as they're not actually plants, but hm.

Though the suggestions for other insults (well rather it's more of a derogatory term, to mark distrust - just like I consider calling a Skrell a squid not so bad)

Though as far as the culture goes - I wanted to keep it simple and flexible. I mean - just how much common culture could two chunks of stuff that floated through space for billions of years have in common beyond what they had billions of years ago? It doesn't stop specific player from ingraining different cultures into their characters. But if you'd like actual culture to be expanded, I can work on that.

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I'm honestly not sure how to feel about this.

Correct me if I'm wrong, as I'm basically trying to conjure up old memories here, but Dionaea (that's the actual plural spelling, FYI) used to be, in the final stages of their life, these massive, planet-like structures that orbited stars. The concept there was quite magical, in my opinion: as a Diona player, your character is presented with the prospect of eventually integrating into this massive, self-contained eco-system, where you can share your knowledge with that of hundreds of thousands of minds similar to yours. But the new version, the present version, sees to drag them back onto the more simpler, grounded plane of having a homeworld, an origin point. And yes, while their final form is technically still around as a footnote, the emphasis on their history, as if it were another humanoid species, takes away from their old being.

Let's also talk about emphasis here. I think this version of lore is mistaken with its placement of emphasis. It details their origin, it details who they are, what they do, but, it doesn't leave any mystery. The other species are very well known: humans have spent a good long deal of time with them. And have even mucked around with a few of them. But Dionaea are something we don't know much about. There's also the misplaced emphasis on combat, the forbidding of it or not. No one really thinks Dionaea to be fully peaceful and peace loving: there was nothing that outright barred them from entering combat if pushed too far. But I don't think putting emphasis on it was necessary, as you did with this quote:

I repeat. No longer space hippies. They're still highly tolerant, but go too far and they WILL fuck you up.


(Funnily enough, I don't actually think the old lore discussed how tolerant they were: curiosity and tolerance are not mutually exclusive.) The old lore is actually a testament to how well placed emphasis can morph the player's idea of a race: outlining them as slow, curious, perhaps friendly-than-most creatures creates the impression that they are less aggressive. And perhaps that much is true. I think the present handling of this impression does not do the old lore justice.

As for the necrophage and radiation stuff. I'm kind of undecided on those. They used to grow simply from solar energy and the radiation that exists is space, which made them mysterious as all hell. Though them being able to eat up large amounts of matter does make sense, ish. Perhaps, again, consider the placement of emphasis, as I discussed in the last paragraph.

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I'm aware of the spelling, and I disagreed with it simply because it feels counter-intuitive (and I saw no players use the actual plural form). I could change it back, I suppose.

And yes, I gave them an origin - merely because I felt they needed one. Sure, it WAS magical to have floating space plants - but I feel that it was a little too far-fetched to have them just... be there. And they don't HAVE an origin for certain - it's xenoarcheology and xenohistory. Plant fossils on the asteroid could have been diona, is my point. I don't want to say too much - but yeah, too much focus is put on the apparent certainty of that section. Think of it like the accuracy of trying to figure out WTF dinosaurs were like. We have evidence and theories, but we weren't there. The fact that it SEEMS like it brings it down was even slightly on purpose - because it's reconstructed from existing archeologic and historic methods, of COURSE it's going to have a human-like bias.

As for the lifespan - I guess I'll elaborate, but Diona do not have a natural death. They keep growing. They need matter to grow, yes - but in the grand scheme of things, it's also a footnote that they need matter. Again, don't want to say too much - I have events to run.

But to finish this point: I brought the concept of the stellar gestalt from "end-of-life diona" to "a possibility to use". And there's absolutely nothing stopping a player from aspiring to integrate with a Shell or the Satellite diona. It just, essentially, means that they can also COME from one.

Though I will heavily modify it if the lore gives a vibe of clearly defining the Dionae - because my goal was the complete opposite of that. They still are not entirely known - but for new players, there are new sources of origins to make characters from instead of being constricted to just "space tree that was more or less found and that wants to join a huge gestalt". Most importantly - there is now, canonically, a SOURCE of diona nymphs - to solve how we get them and how Diona can be widespread.

As far as knowing them - aside from the basic function of a nymph, I don't think I've detailed how they work. Could you elaborate?

As far as combat goes - I'm keen to agree, maybe I did. I mostly used it as an example of how they're not entirely generally pacifist (as it seemed to transpire, I find), but how they're just following a different direction of morale. I'll edit it in consequence. And I know that curiosity and tolerance are not mutually exclusive.

But yes - the old lore did do that, but I disagreed with it simply BECAUSE of how little information we actually had on them. Now we have some publically-available info on them simply to establish possible sources and give players some actual flesh to talk about.

And finally - this early page is sort of a non-spoilery start version. As I said, there's going to be lore events, and the page will be edited accordingly with the info that's revealed.

Anyhow - I will definitely have a look at it and try to change things around to switch the focus around. Plus you actually gave me some ideas for some more lore events to make things even more exciting. Plus I realized I missed a few things, like naming conventions and speech patterns.

EDIT: Made changes:

  • Changed focus from "will fuck you up" to focusing on the fact that they don't cause UNDUE harm
  • Pointed out what is speculation and what isn't on the wiki
  • Dionae don't actually have NO culture - the basic shared one is very limited, but there's now three predefined groups with different (yet still basic cultures) and a specific mention to how there's also so much more
  • Defined better how speaking foreign languages work and how they sound
  • Added the bit about functional immortality
  • Now 10% more ominous

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@TishinaStalker - I've edited it and removed the main culprit part along with changing a bit of lore. It's still orange/blue morality, though - just agreed to pull back on the fact. The main post now mentions exactly what I meant by that. I DO agree that, at first, I put a too big focus on this - but I've already started revising things to make sure people don't interpret it as a 180 from space hippies to space mongols.

@Madpredator - I'm not going to lie. There's some truth in what you say. There WILL be more Dionae in security, most likely - but it's not going to be because they're ready to kill now. It will be because there will be more. I don't plan on dropping the quality of players that play it, either - so hopefully that will keep the trouble down. Hell - for most characters, it won't even apply, because the scale of it means it's mostly an antagonist clause. As for people complaining it's not reason enough - there'll always be people like that. It's going to go up the more Diona players there are - just like the most abundant complaints are about the most played races (I don't remember the last time someone complained about a Skrell).

So it's less of a "diona now hate people and people hate diona" and more of an option to do so.

@YouJustGotOwened - I understand. I updated the wiki - Dionae now revolutionized grammar. Diona is singular (nymph), Dionae is plural (multiple nymphs or a gestalt - which means by default, Dionae on the station are Dionae) and Dionaea is the plural of plurals, defining multiple gestalts.

AS A SIDE NOTE there was much discussion, and it was agreed that not being planet-bound was integral to their identity - and so I'll be rewriting the whole pre-discovery segment again soon as an acceptable option was found. Stay toasty until then.

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I mean, no disrespect to your work or anything. If it were for any other race or even a whole new suggestion by itself, I thought it would've been neat and creative to see. Don't let anyone discourage you from doing whatever work you please, but...

It's just that the issue is with what the established identity of dionaea is. Even if "space tree hippie" seems too goofy, it's pretty much what they are and what they have been for awhile, and it'd be a shame if that were to change.

I wouldn't be so opposed to providing ancient history or secrets being revealed about the race that hadn't been detailed before, or even what colonies some dionaea pods currently have.

I just think that trying to change the characteristic harm-none sort of pagan-pacifism that the dionaea have would really kill the uniqueness of them.

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Honestly, Dionaea are one race that didn't really need any changes. The old lore more than sufficed, and the simplicity of it allowed it to work very well. Walking space trees was a good enough description for most players to develop their own unique characters. I agree with Skull, that their origins really should remain a mystery, and that they come from/return to large gestalt masses orbiting stars. Also, the Skrell are supposed to be their oldest allies, what's this about them wanting to destroy a Dionaea singularity if they ever come across it?

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@Delta - No disrespect taken, I'm always looking for feedback. I understand what you mean by "established identity" - and I know it's a delicate task. I'm not entirely sure why the undoubtable pacifism was such a big part of it - but my plans were to add a dose of ominousness to it, and I can't foresee doing that with a species that is 100% beyond the shadow of a doubt pacifist - and I also felt that the Dionae needed an opportunity to create an antagonist story that didn't pretty much explicitly clash against their species' identity. And again - I'm not telling players how to play. The framework for pacifism is still there - the players can definitely uphold that feel - and I don't plan on approving any warrior-dionae any time soon.

And as a final note: I have to ask. How unique were the Dionaea, really, if pretty much their only defining trait was pagan pacifism?

@Rusty - That I have to disagree with. While I may have been drastic in my changes, it's a change in progress - I feel that the previous Dionaea lore was pretty much "magical space plants. We know nothing about them. Go nuts but you're pacific". The Dionae needed some definition. On the flipside - I felt that, on the contrary, the vagueness of the actual lore versus the expectations of the players made the Dionae somewhat more restrictive than other species, story-wise - without a drive to anything, without anything to oppose, most players would have to follow a few sets of possible things. And that's to those who actually apply - personally, I never applied to be a Dionae because the old nature - of tiny groups speckling the galaxy - meant that each dionae was almost it's own species and that I had to create something from that without breaking player expectations.

The origins I disagree that they should ENTIRELY be a mystery - but I agree that a species like this cannot have an absolutely known, without-a-fail factual origin. I may have presented it wrong - but all I provided, pre-discovery, was a theory (and it's going to change again very soon). The gigantic gestalt element is still very present - and will soon be very much so reinforced.

As far as the Singularities go - the Skrell don't want to destroy Dionae. The problem is with intelligence singularities - I felt that it would be completely blind that the Skrell would just ignore an organic intelligence singularity composed of a creature with completely alien thoughts while speaking against AI BECAUSE of that singularity possibility.

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So, to clarify the reason why people mostly loved Frances modifications to Skrell and mostly dislike your modifications to Dionaea is because the Skrell lacked identity, and had some encumbersome features that made them ridiculous to roleplay as. The Dionaea have a very strong identity. Their identity is probably the strongest identity on the server.

Your modifications do fix some of the encumbersome features of the Dionaea, and definitely expand on some of the more interesting concepts.

My personal suggestion for writing this lore would not be so much as to focus on the why (Why were Dionaea created, why do they do what they do, and etcetera.) but rather focus history on what we would know (So mostly what Skrell would know, possibly collaborate with Ffrances. [because Dionaea don't write their own history, so they nor their players would know]), and then focus on how they do what they do. (I especially like your expansion upon the nymphs.)

Ultimately, the issue with Dionaea is that they don't have a cultural identity, they lack societal standards, and thus they don't write their own history or even record their nature. Everything we know about them is through what other races canonically know about them. I would write the lore to reflect that, leaving plenty of ambiguity and even misdirection (So long as this misdirection does not actually interfere with how Dionaea are played).

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LordFowl, I know the Dionae had an identity. A very strong one at that. And because it was technically player-created, I feel it may have been TOO strong - in a way, there were so many unwritten restrictions that it may have been prohibitive - I mean, there's only so much people can do when (and someone actually came to me about this) they're afraid to do things that could be described as any way hostile or non-fitting within the "space hippie tree" theme. For instance: diona antagonists were technically going against the lore. Self-defense was an issue - and a Diona player actually got contacted by administration for punching in self defense (it was dropped, but in my opinion the sheer expectation that a Diona player hitting someone is worthy of attention is not good for the species). And it blocks off several options in science. Don't even get me started on security Dionae.

Though I see perfectly what you mean by the change of focus. If that's how players feel, I will work towards that goal, as it is a good way to attain the goal I wanted to reach. I already tried to do it via what other species saw (but people saw what I put down as "theoretical" as an absolute for some reason). But I'm already collaborating with all of the community - the lore team AND, as much as the rest of the community will give me, everyone else (though so far it's been less suggestions and more of "bring back old dionae I feel, but meh - I sort of expected that). And I feel that it's essential for the Dionae to have at least known groups so that people at least have the option of coming from somewhere known instead of needing to create something from scratch.

But yes - I can definitely work with this, it's clear.

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-Removed all references of Diona being ground-bound, and lore events will define this further (no they're not going back to being terrestrial)

-Reworded, as much as possible, to make all of it sound like theoretical talk from information gathered

-Modified cultural traits - they're now clearly defined as not having a global culture even so small, but there are pre-defined cultures that players can pull from

-Added reference to being everywhere since forever

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