Forums » The Skar

The Skar: Society and evolution

    • 273 posts
    January 4, 2017 4:25 PM PST

    In doing some recent fanfic research, I was forced to ask the question: What is it like to live in Skargol?  

    Not having a simple answer or even an idea or where to start, I went off to my trusty google and began entering search strings that, a week ago, may have had me living in a padded room.  From "kobold social moreys" to "Goblin evolution" and many "tribal social structures" and "societal aspects of the hyena". I eventually stumbled upon Evolution's Arrow and with a bit of thought applied it to my problem (very interesting read BTW, one I must finish). The following is a compilation of my notes and thoughts as applied to the Skar.

    If there was an opposite to any good thing in every race, the Skar would stand alone in the extreme. Suicidally vicious, tribal and short-sighted, the Skar fear only their "Nine God" and are there fervent only in their hatred. A ravenous desire to consume fits with their thin, predatorial size and build, and they attack to overwhelm quickly, lacking exceptional endurance.

    The Individual

    Individual motivations of the Skar are actually quite simple, in comparison to, say an ethereal race.  The individual is motivated by only primal instincts; food, water, safe sleeping quarters, and reproducing.  Although there are genetic components to their behavior, most of the temperament of the Skar stems from their experiences through their brutal living conditions, and their hatred and worship of D'sath, the Nine God. Their only duties in life are worship, survive, and reproduce.  Such simplicity easily explains why you would see a Skar cannibalize his own, and brothers would fight over scraps.

    The Family

    To my surprise, male Skar are monogamous.  Since all are decendants of the brood mother averish, females are regarded as sacred.  Men worship their females as they would worship averish.  This is also the reason, however, why females are almost always pregnant.  When a child is born, both the mother and father raise, feed, and protect the child from the dangerous of Skargol, but this only lasts until the mother is pregnant again. At which time, the families resources are consumed by the mother, and the father and children are left to fend for themselves.  This is the time when the children seek out reliable sources of food and usually end up as warriors and apprentices. 

    The State

    There is only one single need in Skar society that requires the formation of a government, The worship of D'sath.(Yes, armies are formed in times of need, but ruling of the fighting class is largely left self-regulated.)  Because of this need for forced worship, the nation of Skar is left to the hands of the Priestesses.  Generals and Highly skilled fighters are also considered role models due, mainly, to their accumulation of resources and power.  Production of goods is left in the hands of the individuals.  A great theme throughout the nation of Skar is "solve your own problems, or you bloodline will be cleansed".  If individuals lack the skills to survive or carry their own burdens, they are simply consumed in the great wheel of evolutionary culling.  The strong will outlive the weak.

    In conclusion, the Skar live in a brutal world, designed only to strengthen themselves or the tribe.  The young are born, and left to learn through the acquisition of scars. The strong rise to the top through battle and accumulation of resources, while the weak are culled by evolution. The ruling class are the priestesses, and, as such, women are considered the more sacred sex, and are protected more fiercely than their male counterparts.  Worship of D'sath occurs daily, and is universally hated. 

     

    What do you think?


    This post was edited by Larr at January 4, 2017 5:17 PM PST
    • 1915 posts
    January 4, 2017 4:28 PM PST

    I would think conquest and bravado would be added to the basic needs.

    • 273 posts
    January 4, 2017 4:35 PM PST

    Interesting, I had considered conquest only for Averish, as the priestess led the Skar against the Fs'sok. Perhaps this is a motivator for the priestess class.  

    Pride(by extension of conquest and bravado), however, does not save one from being consumed by evolution.  So I wouldn't consider it a basic need at this moment =).


    This post was edited by Larr at January 4, 2017 4:37 PM PST
    • 1915 posts
    January 4, 2017 4:48 PM PST

    Conquest and pride establishes a hierarchy. The hierarchy determines access to resources and potential mates.

    Therefore, it is absolutely a top concern.

    • 273 posts
    January 4, 2017 5:02 PM PST

    I'll concede that finding their potential mate can be impacted by their conquests.  However, the skar, being so short-sited, are more like animals in my mind, and less concerned about their status.  To me the heirarchy is built around how many resources you have. Those with more food, water, and safer living conditions will attract more appealing mates.  Food isn't given to you because you are skilled in battle, you have food because you are skilled in battle. 

    The Skar are primal. The heirarchy isn't acknowledged societally, it simply exists because some have more than others.

     

    Basic need as it applies to evolution and survival means "I, and my children, won't exist unless I obtain this"


    This post was edited by Larr at January 4, 2017 5:12 PM PST
    • 293 posts
    January 5, 2017 12:17 AM PST

    I caution you to be very careful with some of the assumptions you make about Skar culture here. Nothing supports Nine God worship or rule by theocratic priestesses within the Skar themselves. "Neither [Averish's] original name or race have survived on record" should lead you to infer that she was almost certainly not originally a Skar. To punish her for her apostacy: 

    "Upon the priestess the Nine God lay the greatest humiliation, transforming her into the lone reproducer of the Skar, with an ever pregnant womb like that of a common colony of insects."

    The operative word is transform. It's certainly possible that she was already a Skar and "transform" just means something more minor, but taken with the first quote about her original race being lost I find the position untenable. In fiction such information is rarely there for no reason, it would be important to recognize that.

    Secondly, I am not sure that there is actual worship of the Nine God. If anything, the "deified Averish" is their idol of worship, not D'shath. I suppose the one scrap of evidence for D'shath worship comes from the Khägan account, reproduced here:

    There was something about that name -- 'Skar'. Their hatred of it was unmistakable, yet still they spoke it to each other. It was as if they were forced to use it, as we were forced to use skel. The 'Nine God', who they honored with dead hearts... must be the one thing they respect, perhaps even fear.

    Note that there is no other evidence except the term 'honored' here, which is decidedly not the same thing as stating he is worshipped. It does imply some kind of action, but I would be more willing to accept the proposition that honored refers to their forced usage of terms like 'Skar'. As the Averish Curse is apparently annulled as a result of the move to Terminus there is no being enforcing the use of those words, so 'honored' seems like a reasonable term for that kind of thing. 

    The rest of your socio- and xenological assertions re: breeding habits, societal structure, etc., have no basis in the lore beyond the cannibalistic tendencies. I'm surprised you didn't mention the ironic prominence of slavery, but did invent some sanctification of females scenario. I would enjoy your fan fiction if you used more basis from the lore than just a few words.

     

    • 424 posts
    February 19, 2017 4:22 PM PST

    Awesome analysis and work, Larr! The only thing that I wonder about here is the raising of the young and the females' immediate impregnation - maybe you could add something about how fast the Skar grow through infancy or how capable they are at a very young age to fight for food in order to better explain how females can remain semi-indefinitely impregnated. I wonder if Shamans or Necromancers would occupy a higher role as "priests"?

    • 266 posts
    February 19, 2017 4:34 PM PST

    Take a look at the Magog from Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda.  Rev Bem is the only thing that gives me hope in the Skar.

    http://andromeda.wikia.com/wiki/Magog

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magog_(Andromeda)

    • 3405 posts
    March 21, 2017 6:09 AM PDT

    If this race is available for testing, it will be the first one I try.  I am very interested in seeing how their lore plays out and am hoping to get a perspective of their community.  Nice write up ... you should definitely consider writing some stuff for the fan fiction page!

    • 4529 posts
    March 21, 2017 7:12 AM PDT

    oneADseven said:

    If this race is available for testing, it will be the first one I try.  I am very interested in seeing how their lore plays out and am hoping to get a perspective of their community.  Nice write up ... you should definitely consider writing some stuff for the fan fiction page!

    I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that only the continent of Kingsreach will be open in Pre-Alpha, and therefore the only races available for testing at that time will be Human, Elf, and Halfling. Perhaps Skar will be in Alpha. We'll see.

    P.S. Interesting write-up Larr


    This post was edited by Bazgrim at March 21, 2017 7:13 AM PDT
    • 754 posts
    April 4, 2017 11:16 PM PDT

    Some interesting ideas here but I agree with VR on some assumptions being made too.

    ___

    Once upon a time the Skar had priestesses but enough has happened between then and now they very well could have changed. They only had one Averish, whom they worshiped. Other leaders could very well have sprung up, before or after that particular priestess, of any gender, especially if they divided themselves into things like tribes. 

    It's hard to say what gender the skar were during the time of Averish. Did they have females and males, and simply could not reproduce? Were they missing one gender or another?

    Can current skar asexually reproduce like Averish could?

    Considering how harshly the priestess was punished, and the fact that they started worshipping her, their wordly leaders may take on new identities than priestesses altogether, such as shamans, chieftans, or dire "lords".

    Not to mention; The priestess arrived as someone who simply wanted to manipulate the skar to her own ends. Whether she started as an Aza'gn priestess or called herself that after convincing the Aza'gn to follow her instead of the Fs'sok is hard to say. Even her race is up in the air. If she wasn't a skar female then there would be no plausibility for skar worshipping skar women based on Averish alone.

    ___

    Respecting/fearing a God and worshipping that god are two different things. By their lack of any form of racial clerics, they may not worship very hard. However, their monks, dire lords, and necromancers very well could worship the nine God. We know too little about those classes to say for certain.

    Shamans may include the nine god on their totems, but shamans tend toward spirits of nature and/or spirits of ancestry. The Nine God, being highly likely to be neither, may or may not apply to them. 

    ___

    I agree with you on the idea that Skar likely protect their children (else they would've all died a long time ago) is true, and that their children are probably left to their own relatively quickly is also true. The race does seem like one which would value personal achievement and survival in battle over working together to achieve a common cause. At least beyond what is strictly necessary for survival (they do things like have tribes or build cities like skar'gol).

    ____

    Where did you see the part on their females being constantly pregnant, post Averish? I suppose it would make sense that you would need to reproduce a lot if you kill yourselves a lot. I don't think it was ever mentioned, though. 

    ____

    It's safe to say they value food. Their endurance is apparantly not very high which would mean they need more regular meals. I don't think we can assume base needs are their direct reason for wreaking havoc, however. They could fight because they simply evolved to enjoy battle. They could fight because they are afraid they will be taken advantage of, or killed by other fighters, if they do not constantly show their ferocity. They could fight because they know that fighting makes them strong, and they, for whatever reason, want to be as strong as possible.

    _____

    Their emotional range is up to question. Their value of self also is. How would they feel about dying for some cause or another? What do they do if they "lose everything"? How do they feel when a member of their family dies? How do they decide who they hate and who they work with?

    _____

    We simply don't know much about Skar. I beleive it is safe to say:

    • They are agility type fighters with low endurance, who therefore have greater need of physical resources
    • They are ferocious and effective fighters
    • They used to be enslaved, treated that slavery in an indifferent way, and yet don't like their slavers (It's possible they are just prejudiced against anything that is not them or not far stronger than them)
    • They don't care about philosophical values like freedom so long as they can fight
    • They respect and possibly fear their god
    • They are very straightforward about reproduction, having worshipped Averish
    • They recognize the need to live together in units, such as tribes, despite their bloodthirsty nature
    • They use their name despite not liking it (showing a particular sense of historical duty to their nine god)  
    • They lack many basic morals we might expect from humanoids, such as "don't be cannabalistic" 

    This post was edited by BeaverBiscuit at April 4, 2017 11:23 PM PDT
    • 273 posts
    April 9, 2017 8:00 PM PDT

    We simply don't know much about Skar

    This is the crux of my assumptions. I had to answer the question "what is it like to live in Skargol?" in order to write my fan fic, so I offered my notes as a point of discussion.

    With regard to averish's race... She was, for a time, the lone reproducer of the skar. If she wasn't of the species to begin with, her genetics certainly are embeded deep within them now.

    I do see your point about sexual vs assexual reproduction; obviously i had only considered sexual reproduction.

    Why I believe the skar worship females so intensely:

    The priestess liberated the skar from their chains of slavery. She led them into such a strong position on D'soth that they nearly consumed their entire world.  She made it possible for them to explore their ravenous desires to consume (this consumption desire, it is important to note, I attribute to genetics. unavoidable state of being a skar). She was the lone queen and mother, for how many years is debatable. but the single most telling point is that they keep her preserved body deep below the dead shear.  

    Wether or not she was a self serving priestess who had dreams of conquest, is also impossible to tell. but we do know that The skar had a desire to follow her on D'soth (powerful, or charismatic), they let her lead them and she freed them from slavery (compassionate).  She was the usher of their golden age of consumption (wise, fierce), and she gave them things to consume (generous), and was punished for it through 1200 years of being a breeder(martyr). Powerful,Compassionate,Fierce, Wise, Generous, and a Martyr. She is their verion of [insert various holy figures]. They preserved her after her death in the hopes that she will rise again.

    I originally made a comparison chart of pros and cons about wether or not males were polygamous or monogamous in order to better understand the family units.  And Given the fact that the skar could not reproduce without averish, and the fact that the genders regained their abilities after her death, I could not ignore the fact that the female ability to reproduce would have been seen as a miracle. (can you imagine the first female waking up one day, visibly pregnant? even the most primitive societies would have immediately assumed divine intervention).   Because of the sanctification of averish, and the miracle of first reproduction, I could not predict any socially accepted scenario other than monogamy and worship.

    Constantly pregnant was but one possibility. I essentially considered very low life spans, many not making it out of childhood, therefore a need for great numbers.  

    RE: evolving to enjoy battle.  If they all evolved to enjoy battle, to me they should be more organized, mobile, and more of a threat to terminus.  Their primitiveness keeps their numbers in check, tho, so I can't agree that they fight for any cause other than gaining or showing strength, ferocity, and survival.  

    My 2 cp on emotional range: emotions are only for influencing others, and have no place in evolution. How does a skar "feel" when "X" happens is irrelevant. A skar is content to see his next meal and will display emotions only if it improves his position/prospects. (i know, cold, right?)

    Again, We know nothing, and assumptions are all we have. I know I jump to assumptions for creative reasons, but I DO try to make assumptions based on probabilities, and history.

     


    This post was edited by Larr at April 9, 2017 8:02 PM PDT