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The Long Game

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

  1. Marcher Jovian

    Marcher Jovian Emperor

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    1. The movement of Altica to the North has allowed an increase in the coverage of snow, increasing the planet’s albedo, reflecting energy away from the planet and causing general cooling.

    2. Tubers in Altica evolve basic poison defenses to discourage consumption by herbivores.
     
  2. TheGryphonPrince

    TheGryphonPrince King

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    1) Amphibian (or semi-amphibian) trilobites have started grouping en-masse in the shores of the Moddier continent thanks to drifts from Altica.

    2) Meanwhile back in Nesseria, the trilobites living in the harsh areas of the continent have begun to evolve better methods of finding food.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2018
  3. erez87

    erez87 Lord of Random

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    1. Evolve ever larger velvet worms.
    2. Have them evolve deep tunneling abilities to be able to hunt trilobites and other pray from underground and have them live a lot in underground tunnels.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  4. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

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    *above post regarding velvet worms is approved by Cephalopod Committee over the previous planetoid strike proposal*
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  5. Everblack

    Everblack Blacker then you

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    1. Evolve Velvet Worms group immune system developing short chains of amino acids, called peptides.

    2. Evolve Velvet Worms group Pack Mentality. Females are the one in charge of lending groups of several males using body motions to signal coordination in the group.
     
  6. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer There may be more posts after this.

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    Thanks again guys, however I do want to say something. I've given people quite a bit of 'leeway' with the original rules for player input (which you can review on the first post) and I don't want to crush creativity, but I also don't want to veer off into the realms of fantasy. This is supposed to be an alternate earth that still has realistic physics and the same harsh realities of survival in the wild. Things like air-floating plants and skies full of glowing spores are 'aesthetic' but those species have still gotta survive somehow.

    That said, I'm happy that some air-floating plant shenanigans could exist, and fungus that traps insects could use biolumesence to lure them in. Just don't expect these to be thriving on the scale of a sci-fi movie scene. I need a lot of convincing first ;)

    @Omega124, you can spawn a plague in Nessperia as an event but I'm not going to allow you to target specific species like that. I fear that would be too 'gamey'. If you go with the plague be aware it will be affecting multiple branches of life.

    @Alguerath, I should've pointed out this is a 'no commitment' type game, you are welcome to post input at any point :) From what I read about arachnids I would say they do have Pedipalps, and some also produce silk but are using it for wrapping up their eggs. Most are carnivores, ambushing insects or catching them on the run. A few larger species prey on the land trilobites and velvet worms, I imagine some would have poison bites.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
  7. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer There may be more posts after this.

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    Okey dokey, I will aim to start updating on Wednesday (tomorrow) evening, so you've got until then to get any more orders in :salute:
     
  8. inthesomeday

    inthesomeday Immortan

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    1. Primitive bone structures for the squiddies

    2. Expand mountain snowpacks
     
  9. Danwar

    Danwar Warlord

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    Orders are already closed, so you'll have to wait until next turn.
     
  10. inthesomeday

    inthesomeday Immortan

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    Oh you’re right. Missed page 6 for some reason :p
     
  11. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer There may be more posts after this.

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    Epoch 4



    Biodiversity reaches a new peak, while the average climate continues to steadily cool, and a new supercontinent begins to take shape.

    The family tree of tetrapods in particular becomes impossibly complicated during this era, with air-breathing fish again evolving to crawl on land in several regions, all while descendents of the amniotes that had survived the Great Dying were swapping their legs again for fins or - by the end of this era - wings. Still other species of amphibians and lizards were losing their limbs to crawl around with snake-like bodies. The end result is a near-global distribution of amniotes for the first time, although with a very confusing evolutionary tree, and many features having been repeatedly evolved in parallel.

    Still, these new vertebrate creatures do not have it all their own way. Much of the world’s landmass is still the domain of highly-evolved invertebrates that have been able to take hold since the Great Dying, and the evolutionary arms race continues...



    First to the continent of Otope, isolated and straddling the tropics, with a mix of forest, alpine and arid regions. Beginning with a diverse population of large lizard-like creatures, this era saw the rise of faster, higher-metabolism creatures, some with a more upright way of walking and running - some even becoming semi-bipedal. These pseudo-archosaurs went through a rapid evolution, with an early branch of small, fast insectivores taking to the trees and rapidly evolving through gliding stages into full powered flight by the end of the era, at which point these pseudo-pterosaurs were visiting every major landmass.

    Back on land, these pseudo-archosaurs compete for many niches, but struggle to overcome the inertia of some of their more primitive relatives; herds of large herbivorous lizards, built like tanks with thick skins and sprawling gaits, still plod their way through the plains and forests. Some of the archosaurs evolve complex pack-hunting behaviours in order to work together to tackle these behemoths.

    In the sheltered coastal bays of Otope, a separate clade of archosaurs evolved to swim and hunt for small sea creatures in shallow waters. While some settle for a crocodilian lifestyle, others evolve further, becoming fully seagoing creatures by the end of this era, with their legs evolving back into large flippers. Evolution occured rapidly in the seas between Otope and the Ailean archipelago; vivipary (live birth) also became a feature of this clade, allowing some species to live permanently at sea without ever coming ashore to nest. While these sea-going archosaurs were rarely top of the food chain, this vivipary combined with increasingly large body sizes allowed them to carve out a niche between some of the monstrous sharks, squid-like creatures and giant predatory fish that now stalked the oceans; these pseudo-plesiosaurs were soon visiting the coasts of every continent.

    While Otope was serving as a launch pad for new kinds of tetrapods to spread around the world, the inhabitants of Altica were not so outgoing. As the continent steadily drifted over the north pole, it did in fact reach a crisis point of maximum glaciation (coinciding with global dips in temperature); some of the native pseudo-mammals and unique cold-adapted plant species were driven into genetic bottlenecks, as for millions of years only a few coastal regions remained habitable - if not for a burst of volcanic activity raising greenhouse gasses, the global cooling trend may have been too much for them to survive. But Altica eventually drifted away from the pole, with much of the continent basking in the relative warmth of a temperate climate towards the end of this era, bringing a return of shrublands and forest where once had been thick glaciers. Winters are still fierce however, getting increasingly cold as the era progresses; hardy tuber-like plants remain common, providing vital food source to the burrowing mammals.

    While this was happening, Altica was also colliding with the volcanic microcontinent of Moddier, raising a large new mountainous plateau out of the seabed, and leading to dramatic, tortured landscapes were former volcanic flows had been steadily tilted and uplifted by tectonic forces. Behind the land bridges formed an isolated inland sea, complete with its own unique set of fish, squid, trilobite and shark species. There was also a partial revival of volcanic activity in the area, with new volcanoes erupting close to ancient extinct brethren.



    The new continent of Almod had now formed, although weakly held together with a chaotic series of fault lines outlining the old coastline of Moddier, and an extensive system of geothermal springs - hosting unique microbial life and providing warmth for larger creatures; a network of ‘hot smokers’ in the seafloor around Moddier also became a stronghold for chematroph reefs, tended by special species of heat-resistant trilobites.

    The pseudo-mammals of Altica rebounded and diversified to exploit the new terrain, colonising the former Moddier continent as soon as land bridges formed - finding no large animals to hold them back, they diversified into many niches. The existence of social behaviours, partially warm blood, a partial coating of fine, feathery growths, sensory whiskers, glands producing a milky substance used to nurture their partially-soft eggs, and prominent teeth such as tusks were all common features of these species. Some also had upright gait evolved in parallel to the archosaurs of Otope, and some also had the breakthrough of giving birth to live young. The mammals were joined by pterosaurs and plesiosaurs towards the end of this era, thriving especially in the steep rocky fjords of former Moddier. It is notable that species of amphibious trilobites persist here, breeding en-mass on certain beaches and using weight of numbers as a response to the new predators.

    None of the mammal species were able to venture beyond Almod, but tectonic forces were steadily narrowing the distance to other continents beyond..

    Nessperia is a continent with a very different story. Of the native tetrapods, only one clade manages to push beyond the rainforests of the east coast - descendents of frog-like amphibians that now evolve lizard-like features in parallel to their cousins elsewhere, complete with tough scaly skin and shelled eggs. Some relatives remain in the rainforest and become adapted for climbing and gliding between trees, partly to escape the vast array of invertebrate predators. But this experimentation in flight is halted by the arrival of their distant cousins - roaming pterosaurs begin to colonise the treetops towards the end of this era, not hesitating to prey upon these gliding-frogs in turn. The appearance of gliding squid-like creatures adds to the commotion in the forests by this era’s end.

    Overall, however, it is the arachnids that are now dominant across the continent - having diversified to fill many niches, from the ancient lines of larger free-hunting predators into tiny herbivorous mites, and thriving in both rainforest and desert. Many species remain carnivores; a new clade of arachnids evolves to dominate predatory niches across the spectrum, from trap-laying insectivores (some using rudimentary silk webs) through to large free-hunting carnivores, reaching up to a metre in width and climbing firmly to the top of the food chain in drier regions. Many have venomous bites to subdue their prey, and some carry their developing eggs with them in special abdominal pouches.

    These arachnids hunt land trilobites, descended from Panzernan ancestors (somewhat resembling giant cockroaches) that are now extremely well-adapted for desert survival and meagre diets. Some of these evolve thick armoured carapaces and the ability to roll up in a ball for defence, while others remain small, evolving sharp senses and quick reflexes.

    Terrestrial squid-like cephalopods of Nessperia split into distinct clades; one is made up of climbing ambush hunters, lurking in branches to drop down on prey and grapple with their tentacles; another are almost snake-like species with elongated bodies and short, folded tentacles, most often found prowling through swamps and undergrowth. Both types share potent camouflage abilities thanks to the chromatophores in their skin. Some of the climbing ambush hunters also evolve the ability to glide between trees, and although they lag behind the flying abilities of pterosaurs which arrive at the end of this era, they are still sometimes able to ambush and prey upon them. Still another clade of land-cephalopds are peaceful herbivores, evolving ever thicker and stronger tentacles to haul around on land, and thicker skins for defence.



    While successful, these cephalopods are still unable to survive in drier climates and where vegetation cover is lacking. Even in the rainforests they are not technically top of the food chain; that crown is taken by monstrous, anaconda-sized, harpoon-spitting species of velvet-worms; a clade which continues to diversify, some species evolving thicker skins and venturing into drier parts of the continent. Others take to a burrowing lifestyle, again shrinking in size but becoming effective ambush predators and scavengers. These burrowing velvet worms are also notable for evolving cooperative social behaviour somewhat similar to the pseudo-mammals of Almod, and thrive in the dry plains of the west, offering the strongest competition to the arachnids.

    The diversity of animals in Nessperia is mirrored by the diversity of plants and other organisms; the continent remains a stronghold of unique species of fungii large and small - some trap and consume insects with sticky secretions, attracting them with bioluminescent growths; others have a parasitic nature, with their spores able to grow inside insects and other small creatures, consuming them from the inside out - some more specialised forms are even able to alter the behaviour of their host species to aid in spreading their spores. Other fungii are vital symbionts for the rainforest trees and merely have passive defences in the form of poisons and other chemicals that act on the nervous systems of animals.

    Nessperia at this time is also home to regular outbreaks of deadly pathogens - virus, bacteria and unicellular parasites - which actually helps diversity over time, as they tend to cause greatest harm to species with the most densely-packed populations, allowing other species to rebound. But velvet worms, particularly the smaller burrowing/scavenger species, are notable for evolving the greatest immunity to these diseases and may even use them as a kind of passive defensive weapon against predators.

    In the Panzerna islands, there are still very few tetrapods or amniotes living permanently on land. Those plesiosaurus that adapt to cold southern waters do not advance far from the shores, and most pterosaurs are seasonal visitors. Specially-adapted land trilobites still dominate here - as the climate steadily cools, some evolve antifreeze proteins in their blood, and are able to hibernate through extreme cold winters in alpine regions. Panzerna also still has the world’s largest terrestrial trilobites, armed with tree-shredder mouthparts, though these are in steady decline as the islands drift slowly southwards and glaciers continue to spread from the mountaintops. Partly as a response to this, some of the larger trilobites are returning to the waters as aquatic air-breathing herbivores with turtle-like lifestyle, though for now they remain limited to kelp beds off the shores of the larger islands.

    Finally to the Ailean archipelago, were plesiosaurs and pterosaurs are able to run riot - some evolving back into fully terrestrial forms. The only resistance is from native species of more primitive lizard-like forms, and from land trilobites - most of these are amphibious or otherwise peaceful herbivores. As a response to the predators, some of the island trilobites evolve poisons and spikes, and advertise this with an assortment of colourful patterns and bright metallic hues in their carapace.

    Coral reefs flourish in the waters between the Ailean islands and the shores of Otope, with sparkles of bioluminescence at night; these are prime hunting grounds for the most advanced squid-like creatures, which have evolved pack hunting strategies to gain an edge over the larger sharks and coelacanths; chromatophores and bioluminescent patches are now used equally for communication as for camouflage. There are no easy comparisons between the cephalopod brain and those of tetrapod lineage, as both have evolved on very different paths, but there is no doubting the increasing intelligence of these cephalopods; as well as complex social behaviours, tool use can also be seen - reusing discarded shells and plant material either for nest sites or for camolague.

    As the continent of Otope continues to head eastwards, and Nessperia and Almod edge towards each other, a new super-continent may soon be forming. The exception is Panzerna, which remains on a slow southern drift. While the tropical regions are still warm, globally a cooling trend continues, likely only to increase as new mountains are raised from continental collisions.

    Spoiler World Map :


     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
    Immaculate and inthesomeday like this.
  12. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

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    Excellent update, Daft!
     
  13. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer There may be more posts after this.

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    Thank you :D

    @inthesomeday yep I'm afraid I have missed your orders while updating. I'm happy to take these orders for this coming turn if you like.
     
  14. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

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    The Pseudo-Mammals of Almod continue to diversify to fill many kinds of niches, including filling the airs and the seas. Live-birthed species continue to dominate, coming to slowly replace the majority of the egged species. This can likely be attributed to the explosion of small omnivorous (and incidentally ovivorous) flying and burrowing mammals who find the tasty proteins and fats in eggs too beneficial to pass up.

    Almod continues to drift southwards, pushing and subsuming the ancient moddier vents. While this will likely have some dramatic tectonic activity as a result, the more dramatic effect will be the general warming of the earth as the poles again become watery.
     
  15. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

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    1) Cephalopod Evolution [+1 Cephalopod Evolution]

    Gliding squids evolve to develop true flight. These "floaters" develop flight bladders filled with organically produced lighter than air gases under their mantles [evolved from rudimentary gaseous sacks in gliding squid] providing lift, while a combination of wings evolved from gliding fins [for aerobatic and regular directional flight] and molluscan siphons adapted to provide bursts of jet propulsion [air jets] for intermittent speed enable them to develop their own niches alongside the pterosaurs. In particular these flying cephalopods are particularly adapted for forest living, being capable of fine manoeuvring in the confines of the canopy and stationary flight with little effort, this leads some to evolve as specialised pterosaur hunters using camouflage and ink emissions to hunt flying prey, while others being small of size hunt insects or develop herbivorous habits. Yet other species develop to live over the sea using their tentacles to engage in surface feeding on marine organisms [spreading across the world] while some species grow to very large sizes [for a flying animal] buoyed by their lighter-than-air method of flight, primarily being adapted to hunting canopy species via dangling tentacles .

    Many of these floaters [in addition to terrasquids] develop more leathery skins building upon previous adaptations [as per update], as an adaptation to land and aerial conditions [while many amphibious and wetland species retain the former configuration] allowing broader diversification of species over various biomes. Other species evolve more sophisticated breeding methods, including bearing live young and developing leathery eggs suitable to drier climates as well as more exotic methods [refer to Immaculates contribution on the next page] with nests being protected by social behaviour and mating habits.

    2) Climactic Changes [+1 warming/wetting]

    Almod descends away from the polar region and collides with Nessperia [forming Nessmodia] resulting in the melting of much of the polar ice [referring to Thomas Berubegs contribution] . This together with an increase in solar luminosity after the previous long solar minimum and an increase of geologically derived greenhouse gases as a result of these same tectonic movements, leads to a general warming/wetting trend which supports an expansion of forest and wetland climates throughout much of the world [barring rainshadow deserts in the Nessmodian interior where once savannah predominated].

    The increase in life also results in an increased oxygen concentration in the atmosphere to the benefit of invertebrate and particularly cephalopod life. Together with their evolutionary adaptations this facilitates their expansion beyond the former Nessperian coastal region.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
  16. Danwar

    Danwar Warlord

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    If the Pterosaurids are to become dominant or even maintain a foothold on every continent, they need to stick together. After all, without a buddy, it's pretty easy to get lost when all you can see for miles around is air and water.
    (+1 point into Pterosaurid communality/sociality)

    With the development of mammalian and cephalopod proto-avians, some of which do in fact eat Pterosaurid eggs, the Pterosaurids have had to acquire biological weapons (i.e claws and talons) beyond just their beaks, designed for aerial combat as opposed to the normal grab-and-run tactics used against fish and insects. This will ensure Pterosaurid dominance in the skies - at least for now.
    (+1 point into Pterosaurid air combat.)

    Amazing update, as usual, Daft. You're spoiling us with these amazing updates. :D
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  17. inthesomeday

    inthesomeday Immortan

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    No worries! I think I’d rather just focus on the squiddies instead of bothering with the snow pack.

    1. Adapting to their new terrestrial habitat, the cephalopodic family begins to develop rudimentary bone structures. This begins in the abdominal structures of the creatures, protecting their vital organs with ribcages and strengthening their neural connections with central spines, while not yet spreading to their appendages.

    2. Furthermore, as a response to the predatory competition presented by the velvet worms and pseudo-pterosaurs, many species of cephalopod develop defensive secretions. Depending on the habitat and diet of the species, these secretions range from highly acidic compounds to toxic ones, all generated and stored in their various developing sacs. Because the flying cephalopods’ sacs have developed towards gas production, rather than liquid production, these breeds’ secretion is gaseous, though less potent than the concentrated fluids of their brethren.
     
    Jehoshua and thomas.berubeg like this.
  18. jackelgull

    jackelgull An aberration of nature

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    1) Move Panzernia North towards the equator
    2) Create a global disaster in the form of a series of earthquakes
     
  19. Alguerath

    Alguerath Chieftain

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    1) Arachnoids develop true Spinnerets, allowing them to produce various types of silk.

    2) Some of the predatory Arachnoid species develop a Cluster (or clutter) behavior, to facilitate hunting and reproduction, which is consumated in rudimentary nests, often located in dark and humid places.
     
  20. Ailedhoo

    Ailedhoo wonderer

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    1) regular shielded volcanic activity will commence in Ailean, adding to the features of the isles and to the fertility.

    2) regular shielded volcanic activity will commence in south Panzernia, adding to the fertility and formations of the landscape.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2018

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