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The Long Game

Discussion in 'Imperium OffTopicum' started by Daftpanzer, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. Omega124

    Omega124 Challenging Fate

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  2. erez87

    erez87 Lord of Random

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    *squish*

    but I can understand why it looks so angry :p
     
  3. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

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    Kill all life.

    Kill it.

    Kill it with cold.
     
  4. Ailedhoo

    Ailedhoo wonderer

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    I am maintaining my orders as it is (since we all need to chill out) but I may in future consider making things wetter, for for my plan to ensure Moddier's destiny as a most rainy Iceland.
     
  5. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer There may be more posts after this.

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    Is it too soon for another update? I think there's enough for me to go on.

    I'm thinking of updating this evening UK time, starting ~6 hours from the time of this post. I will post a few hours warning for people to edit their orders and such.

    Again I'd prefer edited order posts as I will look through them all again. Feel free to ping me on discord if you want to make sure any big order changes have registered.

    This world has suffered the same thing. Of individual species, easily 95% are dead compared with before the eruption. Trilobites have survived thanks to some good luck and a lot of love from players on turns 1 & 2.
     
  6. Angst

    Angst Rambling and inconsistent

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    Definitely enough content to do an update.
     
  7. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer There may be more posts after this.

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    This is your 2 hour warning to edit posts or submit some input!
     
  8. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer There may be more posts after this.

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    Sorry, no update tonight after all. I've been falling asleep rather than getting anything done. I will try again tomorrow...
     
  9. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer There may be more posts after this.

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    Epoch 3



    At the beginning of this era, global heating was still in full swing, and was in fact getting hotter. As the Moddier eruptions died away, ash particles cleared from the skies allowing sunshine to strike the surface at full force, but this happened while greenhouse gasses still remained - and even increased, with a blooming of anoxic microbes releasing poisonous gasses from the oceans. A thermal maximum event saw equatorial waters reach well above 40 degrees celsius, and scorching temperatures turned the central deserts of Topica and Nessperia vivid gold and red colours as a result of chemical reactions between rocks and the hot, dry air. Indeed, desert conditions were spreading fast, as parts of the exposed land surface were now simply too hot to allow rain to settle; other areas alternated between flash-flood mudslides and baking dryness, rendering them uninhabitable for almost any complex life.

    However, with the return of full sunlight, a few kinds of hardy photosynthetic microbes were able to flourish across the central oceans in massive blooms, turning large arcs of ocean vivid hues of green and purple - and with no animals able to survive these hot anoxic waters, the remains of old blooms gradually sank and accumulated as sediment on the ocean floor. This, together with the increased weathering of the land surface as it was battered by endless extreme weather, provided a sink for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses to be gradually leached from the atmosphere. In took roughly a million years from the height of the extinctions, but the climate cooled back to a warm, but much more habitable state. In another million years, a rebounding of land plants (led by hardy seed-fern species) - on continents newly fertilised by volcanic ash deposits - reversed the decline of oxygen in the atmosphere, while various kinds of algae did the same for the oceans. It took many more millions of years, but diversity of plants and animals was now free to recuperate from the ‘Great Dying’.

    In the oceans, the dominance of vertebrates (led by bony fish) had been shaken. Squid-like creatures (in reality, what would be called a new branch of Cephalopods) were able to fill many niches previously held by fish, evolving an array of defensive swarming tactics and dazzling patterns of chromatophores; some species even evolving bio-luminescent patches. Other relatives of these pseudo-squid became large, powerful hunters, specialising in large eyes and electro-receptive cells, and lightning strikes with their tentacles, some even evolved the ability to use electric shocks as they hunted in muddy estuaries.

    However, fish were far from finished; many new species of bony fish appeared, especially in the tropical waters and around island chains. Fish also had a head start when it came to repopulating freshwater biomes such as lakes and rivers. A big winner of this era was the coelacanth family, which diversified from mainly deep-water species to large, tough, carnivorous forms hunting closer to the surface. Competition for top ocean predator was fierce, however, as many new species of sharks - survivors of a lineage that had been slowly evolving for many millions of years - now also came to prominence, with predatory senses to match those of the leading Cephalopods, at the expense of the strength and toughness of the giant coelacanths. This evolutionary battle in the oceans looks set to continue for some time.

    On land, the continents shifted into very different fates. North Topica, now known as Altica, settled across the northern pole of the planet, gradually accumulating the first substantial glaciers that the planet had seen for a long time. South Topica, now known as the separate continent of Otope, remained in tropical latitudes. As for the ocean ridge that had separated them, a few large islands remained above water, known as the Aielan islands. These three areas now harbour the last survivors of fully land-dwelling tetrapods - lizard-like amniotes from the storm-blasted plains of old North Topica, that were able to spread by a few lucky rafting events before continental drift widened the distance.



    In Altica, cold winters forced the amniotes to evolve on similar lines to some of their extinct relatives - digging shared burrows for raising their young, with food stores harvested in the warm months. However, a radical new adaptation was the ability to spend energy to temporarily raise their body temperature - the first example of bring warm-blooded - in order to brood their eggs and young. This branch of advanced amniotes with mammal-like features came to dominate Altica as it became colder and colder. Some of these primitive proto-mammals have now evolved to hunt their own relatives, while others are omnivores, growing ever larger and radiating into new niches. Altica also hosts unique plant life - primitive tuberous plants have evolved to survive being covered in snow, and hardy kinds of evergreen pine trees form most of the forests here.

    Despite being connected to Altica in recent geological history, Otope is now vastly different; a hot central desert gives way to dry scrubland in the west and tropical forest in the north and east. Lizard-like amniotes thrive here, remaining cold-blooded, but diversifying into many forms and niches, some already growing to several metres in size and gaining a slightly more upright stature. Others have remained small, but already evolved a primitive gliding ability - using flaps of skin to glide between seed-fern trees. Still others have lost their legs and adopted worm-like bodies. Many kinds of amphibious tetrapods have also re-evolved here, tending to dominate the swamps and rivers, while amphibious Trilobytes are limited to the coasts and tidal estuaries, which are also refuges for several species of giant kelp-like plants; some lagoons are home to bizarre new species which are able to float balloon-like appendages clear above muddy water, sometimes breaking off and venturing with the wind - most often to their doom, but sometimes to another bodies of water they can colonise.

    The continents of Nessperia and Panzerna, meanwhile, have yet to be reached by the amniotes, and here evolution has taken a different turn...

    In the archipelago of Panzerna (the remnants that have not fused to Nessperia), the old dynasty of terrestrial Trilobite species still dominate, though these are now radically different to their ancient ancestors in appearance. In the mountainous terrain, some have evolved into long-legged, rock-climbing species, while others have grown rather large - up to several metres long - with special respiration sacs made from modified legs that they have evolved to survive the ages of low oxygen in the atmosphere. These giants reside in caves for shelter, venturing out to gorge on local plant life when the weather is clear, with large rasping mouthparts acting somewhat like a tree shredder. No large predators exist; tetrapods in Panzerna remain limited to some rather primitive amphibian species. Quiet, cool coastal forests thrive in sheltered bays and fjords, harbouring many survivors of more primitive plant species from previous eras.

    In Nessperia, meanwhile, in diverse terrain that stretches from hot desert, to dry plains, to snow-capped mountains, to thriving swampy rainforest - it seems that evolution has run riot. Here, terrestrial trilobites - spreading from the part of Panzerna that fused with the larger continent - now compete with oversized beetle-like insects, giant land snails and slugs, and a revival of large arachnoid predators. The dry plains and deserts of the interior are also home to bizarre cactus-like plants, evolved from fern-like ancestors. But the big winners here are descendents of velvet worms, having evolved their own kind of primitive internal lungs during the oxygen crisis, enabling them to grow substantially larger in size. Though their internal biology and nervous systems are rather basic, some have evolved very specialised modes of attack - such a poisoned-tipped, pneumatically-launched harpoon that can be used to attack prey. Other members of this family are peaceful herbivores, which have evolved detachable tail segments which they use to distract and escape from predators. A variety of these super-velvet worms now dominate the forested, western half of Nessperia.



    Indeed the long eastern coast of Nessperia is now home to the densest rainforest that the planet has ever seen up to this point, and this alone is responsible for drawing a large chunk of greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. In many areas the forest is occasionally flooded by rivers, or is home to large lakes, forming ideal habitat for all kinds of amphibious species - descendants of the old amphibious tetrapods have thrived here, evolving into recognizably frog-like forms, as well as bizarre hammerhead varieties, and some enormous amphibian predators. However, the most remarkable are Cephalopd invaders, relatives of the new squid-like species thriving in the oceans, which have evolved the ability to breath air to a limited extent, and are able to haul out of water to climb trees - either for laying eggs out of reach of aquatic predators, or for a vantage point from which to snatch small prey with their tentacles. The habitat is also home to many unique species of fungii, a leftover of the era when giant fungus was one of the dominant life forms on the continent.

    To the north, the microcontinent of Moddier - once the site of active supervolcanoes that devasated the planet - is now a quiet place of dramatic, stepped volcanic landscapes frozen in time. Former volcanoes have already begun eroding into granite monoliths. Only plants and insects have colonised the land here - indeed, coastal plains have formed from eroded rocks and are fertile ground for many species of plants and trees. Amphibious Coelacanth descendents are sometimes to be seen here, hauling onto land in search of a meal. The offshore waters, however, are home to a spectacle - where underwater volcanic vents still occur in relatively shallow, fertile waters, communities of chemotroph ‘reefs’ have emerged, some of sessile species using bioluminescence to lure tiny marine creatures as a compliment to their diet.

    Finally, to return to the tropical Ailean Islands, in the geographic centre of all this strange new world, evolution is experimenting yet further. Here, amniotes have colonised forest-covered islands rich in insects. Some of the lizard-like forms have evolved to return to the waters, becoming adept swimmers, and competing as predators for small fish and cephalopds; though these swimming lizards have yet to establish any colonies beyond the islands. The amphibious trilobites of these islands have richly coloured, metallic-looking exoskeletons. The waters just offshore are unique in being home to the first true coral reefs to re-evolve following the mass extinction; the old volcanic islands are slowly sinking, but this forms ideal habitat for the reefs. Relatives of the Moddier chemotrophs are also found here, adding a sparkle of bioluminescence to the reefs.

    Globally, the climate continues to cool as this era draws to a close - more and more carbon dioxide is being absorbed by plants and locked away in sediment. The tropical regions remain very warm, and the south pole remains free of ice, but glaciers are spreading along the old mountains of Nessperia and Panzerna.

    As the continents drift, Nessperia and Moddier are on a gradual collision course. Otope is heading east at a relatively fast pace. Panzerna is moving slightly south, while Altica seems settled for now at the north pole.

    Spoiler World Map :


     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
  10. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

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    Very much enjoyed the update. Music complemented well. 5/5- would dine here again.
     
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  11. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

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    Effort 1: Drift Altica north/southwest, pushing it OVER the pole, into a collision course for Modier and Nessperia. (That makes sense, right?)

    Effort 2: Some of the (Proto-mammalians) develop social/colonial traits, with many living in packs or herds or warrens. This is a gradual evolution of the fact that they can keep each other warm better as a group than individually, and, as the continent drifts over the north pole, evolution then discovers that alot of things are even easier in groups: It's easier to take down prey, it's easier to keep the kids safe, it's easier to manage and protect areas of rich food as groups. Some, NOT ALL, but SOME, have even started to develop viviparity. (Source on that being doable)
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
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  12. Danwar

    Danwar Warlord

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    The more upright Otopian lizamniotes began to experience the same resurgence of communal genes that their northern bretheren do. The communal genes flourish just as much there due to the equally hostile (albeit for different reasons) biosphere of Otope, forcing the smaller ones to stick together.

    (Both points into communal/social/colonial traits for the more upright amniotes of Otope, on par with those of their northern brethren.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
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  13. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

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    Chemotroph metabolic evolution
    The various species of chemotrophs that used bioluminescence to attract other organisms for vitamins and nutrients not uniquely available from the sea-vents have preferentially flourished and new evolutionary forms are primarily derived from these species. They have now gone further, adapting to use sugars and carbon-based complex metabolism in a way that is complementary to their sulfur-based autotropism.
    Continuing their cooperative evolutions from last turn, they will form mutually-reinforcing communities of dedicated chemotrophs around sea-vents while members of the community at the periphery will specialize in lure-based filter feeding or scavenging of organic debris that drifts through their territories. These will share energy and biosynthetic precursors, addressing needs and surpluses across the population through cooperative vasculature (lateral roots).
    The net effect is mass 'lawns' of bioluminescent grazing filter feeders spreading out in vast nets from sea-vents.

    Cephalopods Pack Behavior
    Many branches of the more successful cephalopods, both hunting carnivores and foraging herbivores, as well as the omnivores between them, will develop cooperative/communal behaviors.
    Predator species will hunt in packs, using primitive communication based on electroscence, bioluminescence, or sound depending on the species and ecological niche. Herbivore species will cooperate to prevent predation and to optimize territorial and foodstock control as well as to better protect their offpsring.
    Communication and cooperation may lead to early forms of learning or planning intelligence.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
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  14. tobiisagoodboy

    tobiisagoodboy Prince

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    1. The Frog boys on Nessperia develope protective scales again the Hammerheads and predators and due to perfect living conditions grow in size.
    2. A sub species of the scaled Frog boys begins to develope away from the water, prefering dry ground and slowly learning the advantages of climbing in the trees and jumping from tree to tree with their strong legs.
     
  15. Ailedhoo

    Ailedhoo wonderer

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    1) Shield volcanic activity will occur in the north-eastern sectors of Moddier, producing regular let not as destructive eruptions, the lava helping further fertilise the land.

    2) With the eruptive activity the waters of Moddier will start to rise from the Earth ever heated, resulting in natural hot spring occurring over Moddier.
     
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  16. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

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    1) Accelerate Terrasquid Evolution

    The hitherto amphibious cephalopods continue to evolve and adapt into truly terrestrial forms, including social [referring to Immaculates development] and fully arboreal variants that communicate with vivid bioluminescent chromatophores. Various other forms [Referring to Angst's developments below] speciating into numerous niches emerge [herbivorous, carnivorous and omnivorous, with some even being specialised fungivores including filter feeders feeding on floating spores (see below)]. Some arboreal species develop rudimentary gliding abilities aided by gaseous sacks in their mantles, to better catch flying prey with their tentacles and sticky ink emissions while some more solitary forms develop morphic [like some octopus] camouflage abilities and act as ambush predators hunting trilobites, flying insects and other hapless prey. Terrestrial [non arboreal] as well as those species that remain truly amphibious also continue their speciation into new variations, some of the larger herbivorous and omnivorous kinds growing very large and evolving muscular rigid tentacles under their bodies able to better serve as legs and carry their weight while others burrow underground to lay ambushes for the smaller velvet worms, as well as Trilobites and other terrestrial arthropods that inhabit Nessperia. Likewise as an adaptation to drier conditions the egg cases of these terrestrial species develop to become rubbery, converging to function similarly to those of amniotes. These fully terrestrial variants spread out from the forests and swamps across the continent even unto the dry plains.

    2) Accelerate Fungal Evolution

    Fungi in Nessperia evolves novel new forms, these include large lichen trees in the understory of the wet forests in which the trunks are formed of deposited fungal filaments while algal symbiosis enables photosynthesis. Large bioluminescent traditional fungi that feast upon the rich decomposing matter produced by the forest and expel floating spores that travel through the air currents that cross the forest landscape also emerge, with their light serving as camouflage for bioluminescent cephalopod hunters of the forest. A convergent evolution of fungal cones also emerges at this time recalling the ancient form from the distant past, albeit they do not reach the great size of their extinct ancient analogues. Other exotic forms include a type of fungus that spreads across the continent that has developed a means to discharge electricity as a defence against predators and even to kill prey to sustain the fungal colony and a family of bioluminescent epiphytic fungi that supplements their nutrition with captured insects obtained via sticky sensory feelers. The most bizarre branch of fungi that emerges is a parasitic form that preys upon the amphibian and scaled-frog denizens of the continent and consumes them from the inside out while partially controlling their mental processes and movements [like an unholy cordyceps/chytrid hybrid] to facilitate transmission. This variant spreads both by contact [biting by infected organisms] and by airborne spore emission in the terminal stage of infection when the sporangium emerges from the infected and still living body.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
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  17. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

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    1. Period of decreased solar output lengthens, causing further cooling of the planet.

    2. Accelerate Fungal evolution in Altica

    Exotic forms of fungi capable of surviving in colder temperatures evolves, parasatizing upon existing vegetation with photosynthesising filaments forming across the canopy of forests.
     
  18. Angst

    Angst Rambling and inconsistent

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    Nessperian Cephalopods can survive on land longer
    Larger, predatory cephalopods here make longer treks on land, solitary and large, to prey on land

    Communal cephalopods become more diverse
    Whether pack hunting per Immaculate or using communities to minimize casualties, cephalopods become highly diverse. Experiment with lights, reshaping, communication, coordination to aggressively attack predators to protect the pack, get smaller or larger, all that jazz.
     
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  19. Alguerath

    Alguerath Chieftain

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    Hi there, is it late to join?

    If not, I'd like to invest a point in the acceleration of Nessperia's Arachnoid predators evolution. (I have a feel that arachnoids have potential.)

    Do they have palpi? if yes, invest a point in enhacing them, if they are already past that stage, invest the two points in accelerating Arachnoid evolution.
     
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  20. Omega124

    Omega124 Challenging Fate

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    1. A viral plague of epic proportions evolves on Nessperia, which targets especially the underdeveloped immune systems of the velvet worms.

    2. Meanwhile, the terrestrial trilobites in the same region prove to be hardy creatures. The plague mostly passes them over, and they use the freedom of the decline of their competition to become the dominant form of life in Nessperia
     
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