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PostSubject: Downplaying the snake   Sat Apr 25, 2009 2:33 pm

This is an issue that's been bothering me for a while, and seems to have no signs of subsiding. I'm hoping that if I at least raise a little discussion, then it might see some correction.

Now, I know I'm not the only one who's noticed this, but I'll ask anyway. Has anyone else noticed that the whole half-snake thing in Felaryan nagas tends to be downplayed? A lot?
Let's face it, as far as this community is concerned, nagas are nothing more than slithering giants.

Now, the same could be said for most Felaryan races, but I think it shows most with nagas. There's really nothing in their behavior or biology to link them to snake-hood.

What is the typical behavior displayed in a naga? Well, they're silent and predatory. That's snake-like. They tend to be social and all of them have, at the very least, a circle of friends. Ok, that's not as snake-like, but for sentient species, it's worth overlooking.
They tend to display racial loyalty, regardless of circumstances. There really isn't a single Felaryan naga right now that is ok with eating other nagas. And considering that snakes are more known for eating each other than any other vertebrate, that's kindof a problem.

Now, I know, cannibalism among sentient beings is looked down upon by humans. But when both the predator and prey and sapient and capable of communicating such, it strikes me as rather absurd to think that the predators might not look to one another for food when it's called for.

Another thing is that nagas really don't have anything in common with snakes. At all.

I mean, look at the other species. Mermaids, dryads, dridders and harpies each have, like, twenty subspecies, all hyper-specialized and modeled after a real animal. There's frog-tongues, extra eyes, water-skimming abilities, nectar-sucking tongues, photosynthesis, chameleon skin, poison skin, dermal denticle skin, rotating eyes, octopus-tissue, basically any adaptation you might find in the animal world, applied to a human base. And frankly, that's what I love about Felarya.

But nagas? What is there? Um.... A tail.
Now, sure some characters are modeled after a particular species of snake, and a few have venom, but so? There's nothing to really seal the deal.

What are snakes known for? Besides venom and having no legs.
Well, there's those nifty heat-sensory pits. Something I think might make a good alternative to the "Felarya-sense." There's the forked tongue - which is the snake's trademark, and something NO naga has ever displayed in the context of Felarya.

There's cold-bloodedness, which I think might be in order just about now. Unhinging jaws? Something two or three can do.
Cobra hoods? Slash pupils? Perpetually open eyes? Gripping teeth? Scale patterns that actually make an ounce of sense? Hell, hair that matches the scales AT ALL?


My problem with nagas is that there's simply no REASON for them to be part snake. Take any random naga character and tell me: What do they gain from being part snake that being a giant human wouldn't offer?
The short answer is, sans a couple venomous specimens, absolutely nothing. And looking at how Felarya has evolved, I think some niche species are in order. Something to set them apart. I mean, when mermaids are gaining mudskipping abilities and venomous spines, harpies are turning into seagulls and hummingbirds, dryads come in seaweed and original recipe and trapdoor-dridders are showing up, it strikes me as rather irksome that nagas - the single most overused species in Felarya - have absolutely nothing to set them apart.


And before anyone brings up the elemental thing, you can explain exactly how that ties into the whole "part-snake" thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Sat Apr 25, 2009 2:54 pm

While I don't think that all of your suggestions would work for all nagas (I don't think Crisis is getting permanantly opened eyes or a forked tongue anytime soon Wink ) However, I agree that some of these "snakey" adaptations would be great ideas for "specialized" nagas besides the regular kind. A cobra naga with more snakish features would be cool. (And is there a Sea-Naga yet?) I think simply that some of your ideas haven't been implimented simply for the "cute" factor, which Karbo has stated he likes. Slit eyes will make anything look creepier (Not to say I wouldn't like to see a subspecies naga with them. Smile)

(One thing is I think the half snake thing does give is some flexibility and hunting advantages though, but mostly when hunting in the trees themselves)
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Sat Apr 25, 2009 4:13 pm

There was Daimo who posted the idea of the desert naga http://felarya.forumotion.com/new-ideas-f2/lamina-t292-30.htm?highlight=lamina

I quote him
Daimo wrote:


Hybrid Predator 1
Desert Naga

Background
Desert Nagas are a species of venomous Nagas that lives in the Lamina Mountain Region. Their appearance compared to the Forest Nagas is a little more feral. Instead of having human eyes, their eyes have regressed back to that of serpents. Their fingernails are also longer, sharper, and slightly curved making them more like claws. And their speech is a little rougher and more brutish sounding.

Desert Nagas hunting hours are during the day and so the color of their skin color is more darkly toned, meaning its usually black, brown, or some other dark color. Their size compared to the other Nagas is smaller. Most Desert Nagas on average are about 60 feet from head to ground, but what they lose in height and mass they gain in speed and agility. Some adventurers find Desert Nagas exotic due to their wilder and animalistic appearance. Desert Nagas are one of the more arrogant and prideful Nagas.

Species Related Ability 1
A Desert Naga has the ability to produce miasma like venom that appears either as glowing blue vapor, glowing blue mist, or blue liquid. The venoms nature is usually highly corrosive and toxic meaning it deteriorates everything it comes in contact to. The effect it has differs when it comes to natural and un-natural things. For example, when it affects something that is natural it acts like a deadly toxic substance that slowly burns its way threw the skin/organs of the natural object until there is nothing left. However, the strength of the deterioration depends on how much venom the Desert Naga uses, meaning it's sometimes only a slight burning sensation a Desert Nagas target would feel or an intense sensation as their flesh is being eaten away. When it comes to un-natural things such as metal and other inanimate objects the venom has a tendency to make the said object weaken over time and become brittle, but once again the strength of that process depends on the strength venom. When hunting a Desert Naga never uses the full strength of its venom, they just use enough to make their prey easier to eat, but if a Desert Naga is out to kill someone then they will use the full strength of their venom. The mist and vapor form of their venom is blown out from their mouth while the liquid form can be excreted from their fangs or claws.

Species Related Ability 2
Desert Nagas natural elemental affinity is earth, and this affinity increases the durability of their skin and scales, allowing a Desert Naga to take a lot more punishment than an average Naga. It also gives them vibration sensitivity, which allows a Desert Naga to be able to sense other animals approaching by detecting faint vibrations on the ground. If a Desert Naga were to live in another region they would develop the ability to use Earth magic, but since magic is low in Lamina they dont develop this ability.

Species Related Ability 3
Desert Nagas have powerful infrared-sensitive receptors in their eyes, which allow them to see radiated heat. This allows them to locate prey easier, especially warm blooded ones. This ability is like a natural thermal vision.

Species Related Ability 4
Desert Nagas have high resistance to heat and cold. This resistance makes them take less damage from fire and ice based attacks.

Eating Habits
Like all Nagas, Desert Nagas have a huge appetite, but they have learned to control it. This means they only eat what they need to survive instead of satiating themselves. Their metabolism is very advanced so they can go for many days without eating something, but if a Desert Naga had a poor hunt and is hungry enough they will even attack and eat other Hybrid Predators to satisfy their hunger, especially ones that enter their territory. But that is rare, since a Desert Naga usually stays close to where their primary food source so they dont need to travel around and waste energy. If a Desert Naga finds a human or tiny humanoid creature, they will instantly gobble them up. There is almost a 0% chance a human will be successful into persuading a Desert Naga to let him or her go.


About snake trait, there is the fact they lay eggs, they shred the skin of their tail when they grow and as snake they continue to grow longer because snake didn't stop to grow. The tongues can be an accessory the writers are freed to use when he/she decides to create his/her naga characters.

For the hot-blooded feature, in a old bio of the character Jasophina only fire naga are known to emit heat and hot-blooded by nature.
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Sat Apr 25, 2009 4:47 pm

A Felaryan naga that's cold-blooded, has no racial loyalty and preys on other nagas is pretty rare for someone to make as a character, yes, I do agree.

My naga character actually does eat large prey by means of unhinging his jaws, has a stomach in the tail, and has gripping teeth to be true to the python he is based. Furthermore, the tail has a pattern that makes sense (and his hair matches the scales do I get brownie points?) - and I thought those traits were well out of the norm.

Very few endeavor to make a Felaryan naga too far from the racial basis set for them by the wiki and existing characters.

Air-tasting is a quirk of some.

Some traits, such as constricting, are abilities held, most appropriately by those with the scale pattern of a constrictor.

I like the heat-sensing thing, obvious, but overlooked. It makes sense, though I think most would think of the movie monster Predator before a Felaryan predator having this ability. The 'predator-sense' is there for sensing, and sense with it they do. All other senses are out of style.

Educate people on the possibilities and you'll have a wider rangs of diversity, and someone might come up with a more realistic character-specific design.
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Sat Apr 25, 2009 5:33 pm

About the "Felaryan sense" It's a sense many creatures in Felarya share in common however it doesn't mean this sense surpass the other ones. Sure it makes Felaryan predators very famous but I doubt they all rely only on this sense to survive. In my opinion it's a kind of sixth sense they developed in addition of the other ones they possess.

There is something I find very funny, if you say a creature is half-human half-snake it means in general this creature shares common features with snakes, is it necessary to explain they share some common abilities with snakes? Which specie? There are a vast variety among the same specie of this creatures. Among the nagas, there are some who have venom not or mix many characteristic different snakes. It can be whole race or just one character, or some can evolve differently their animal counterpart.

When I say a creature it's hybrid human and a animal, if this animal is very common, I won't spend my time to explain what it's obvious about the animal's counterpart but some specificities about the creature which need more explanations.
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:23 pm

Actually Gwada, I've noticed that the Predator Sense tends to override the need for other senses. The Predator cannot be snuck up on (by anything other than another Predator), if someone was hiding and the Predator didn't know about them before the sense will instantly pick them up, they can precisely grab invisible and scentless enemies, etc.

And I agree with GREGOLE's assessment. They tend to be nothing more than slithering humans, with an over-developed hunger for humanity, nekos, and elves. Maybe sometimes they'll drag their "s"'s on for a little bit. Some of these changes would be enjoyed greatly by me, and would throw some variety into the mix as well. At the very least, it'd give people ideas to make for the Wiki.
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Sat Apr 25, 2009 8:39 pm

Malahite wrote:
Actually Gwada, I've noticed that the Predator Sense tends to override the need for other senses. The Predator cannot be snuck up on (by anything other than another Predator), if someone was hiding and the Predator didn't know about them before the sense will instantly pick them up, they can precisely grab invisible and scentless enemies, etc.

It's true it's very to the predator for the hunt but you should not forget there iare artefacts and items which can allow to escape of this sense it's never been said only La possess one. And in addition even if the predator can sense you are here if the other senses doesn't confirm your presence. In clear the predator sense you are here but see nothing and scent nothing after many minutes it will be tired and search another source of food and conclude "It was just an intuition."

The special sense works more as a kind of intuition. Do you think because he was able of precognition spiderman never been attacked by surprise Razz

Any senses can be fooled.
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Sat Apr 25, 2009 8:49 pm

gwadahunter2222 wrote:
It's true it's very to the predator for the hunt but you should not forget there iare artefacts and items which can allow to escape of this sense it's never been said only La possess one.
It should be a sign of the sense's power if you need artifacts to escape it. Assuming it's "artifact" in the traditional Fantasy sense of the word.

Quote :
And in addition even if the predator can sense you are here if the other senses doesn't confirm your presence.
They don't need to, which was my point. You can be invisible to the naked eye, have no scent, be making no noise, have no soul or life force to detect, be the exact same heat as the environment, and many Predators could use their sense to go "Yoink!", grab the character, and swallow them, unless they specifically had "immunity to Predator Sense" tacked on to their non-detection list.

Predator sense has gone from "harder to escape," to basically "super radar".

Quote :
Any senses can be fooled.
Provided, of course, the author is not writing a perfect character lol!
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:03 pm

Malahite wrote:
It should be a sign of the sense's power if you need artifacts to escape it. Assuming it's "artifact" in the traditional Fantasy sense of the word.
It's just an example to show it can be countered but not the only solution.

Quote :
They don't need to, which was my point. You can be invisible to the naked eye, have no scent, be making no noise, have no soul or life force to detect, be the exact same heat as the environment, and many Predators could use their sense to go "Yoink!", grab the character, and swallow them, unless they specifically had "immunity to Predator Sense" tacked on to their non-detection list.

Predator sense has gone from "harder to escape," to basically "super radar".


I disagree with this statement, this sense is not as powerful as people can think. The predator knows the prey is here but if the prey is out of sight, have no scent, makes no noise, have no soul or life force to detect, be the exact same heat as the environment and out of reach to be grabbed, in addition you are not the only live forms in the area you escape from the "super radars".

The prey can change its presence and create the illusion it's another creature Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Sun Apr 26, 2009 4:00 am

Do they need to act more snake-like? They are based on snake's, but aren't really snakes themselves.
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Sun Apr 26, 2009 4:38 am

The "Predator sense" has been refined and redefined as a whole. It is now an inherant ability of nagas, as well as a handful of other magically inclined races.

It revolves around being able to sense the magical fields of living things in Felarya, similar to how snakes can sense body heat (although, adapted to a magical world). Every living thing in Felarya has a magical signature due to the healing magic of Felarya constantly flowing through them. This magical sense allows nagas, and the handful of other races that use it, to identify the magical signature of potential prey, and get a general idea of where they are at. This is not 100% accurate though, and gets less accureate at longer ranges, so it is still up to the predator to use their more conventional senses to locate the prey item once they are close. In theory, a properly hidden human could be overlooked.

http://felarya.com/wiki/index.php?title=Predator_sense

So, nagas now have a sense that is more unique to them. Fairies and Deerataurs have it as well, but not nearly as accurate...and it is based off of an ability found in real snakes, although it has been adapted for use in a world governed by magic, the basic principle is the same.
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Sun Apr 26, 2009 4:52 am

Malahite wrote:

Predator sense has gone from "harder to escape," to basically "super radar".

Well the predator sense is one of these things that went out of control somehow ^^;
It was mentionned first in Crisis's bo and then before I realized it, it had became cannon and every single predators had it - indeed turning them into radar towers or so...

At this time I didn't realized that and didn't bothered to really explain it but yeah it has become problematic and need to be toned down a bit I think ^^;
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Sun Apr 26, 2009 5:10 am

Just needs a blind spot, like certain types of material blocking it or something like that.
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:54 am

rcs619 wrote:
http://felarya.com/wiki/index.php?title=Predator_sense

Well I feel silly now.
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Sun Apr 26, 2009 12:49 pm

After reading again the first post there are some feature the naga gains to be part snake, the sensitivity to the vibration of the ground which can be very useful against underground attack like how Crisis saved Subeta from the attack of the Tonorion in the manga, or the fact she and Masumi can do sleep-eating if a human walk too much closer, if most of them are not venomous I suppose they can use their tail to constrict their prey or opponent. They are good climbers and swimmers. They can sneak in between narrow places and hide themselves easier etc...

The fact few don't unhinge their jaw it's maybe some don't want to take the risk to be immobile as they digested their meal. But I don't think it's not the case of the Hydranagas who don't have this problem. The two other heads look after the area.

About the cold-bloodiness, in my opinion most of the naga are cold-blooded contrary to fire naga due to their power over fire emit heat and gain the ability to speed up their digestion by warming themselves or lure their others but as drawback they are easily sensed by the others species. There are the ice naga too, due to the fact they live in snowy mountains and the light of the sun is reflected by the sun which warm their body, due to their power they are hot-blooded as their fire cousins but their body a cold aura which allow them to conceal their thermal signature and be hardly swallowed by their cousins without risking to be frozen and eaten by them.

There are another possibilities:

-Lightening naga type and diamond naga is very special they are still cold-blooded but their body are charged with electricity or magical energy. It's makes them very active.

-For the nature one it is can be in the same way but more to the photosynthesis with the light of the sun they energize their body.

-Earth naga use the geothermal activities to stay active or digest faster.

-Water naga can played with the water contains inside their bodies e

About some characters of Felarya:
Vivian due to the fact she lives near a waterfall she tend to be lazy but what she gains by being an half-snake it's simple the charisma of some snakes are famous for which can make their prey accept their fate. In addition of her two natural assets it's difficult to resist.
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Sun Apr 26, 2009 2:44 pm

When Vivian's involved, they don't accept fate. They just don't know anything's happening until it's too late.
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:35 pm

yeah vivian does seem to be lucky among her species to be able to sit there and prey just "wanders" into her XD

I also think that the "felaryan sense" would be more species-specific than anything else.

Also, just because a naga is half snake doesn't mean it's completely snake-like some snake and human traits i think would give the advantages of both, instead of just having all the abilities of a snake.

I think the slit eyes are really cool, and they could be implimented but human eyes blink, so have that as well.
Scales would give armor, but the warm-blooded human trait would make it so they can survive in cold.

See what I mean? These species are hybrids.
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:22 pm

For the unhinging jaw issue...
Quote from unmuseum.org
"Although it is often said a snake's jaw can be unhinged from the skull to allow something much larger than the snake's mouth to be swallowed, the jaws are actually connected by a ligament that stretches."
So snakes cannot unhinge their jaws. Therefore why should nagas?
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:18 am

GREGOLE wrote:
There really isn't a single Felaryan naga right now that is ok with eating other nagas.

Yes there is. Jissy. She acknowledges that most other nagas don't do that, though.

Quote :
And looking at how Felarya has evolved, I think some niche species are in order. Something to set them apart. I mean, when mermaids are gaining mudskipping abilities and venomous spines, harpies are turning into seagulls and hummingbirds, dryads come in seaweed and original recipe and trapdoor-dridders are showing up, it strikes me as rather irksome that nagas - the single most overused species in Felarya - have absolutely nothing to set them apart.

We're obviously not going to change the facts about existing naga characters. But subspecies with distinguishing characteristics, as you propose, strike me as a very interesting (and logical) idea.

Go and create some. Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:32 am

GREGOLE wrote:

My problem with nagas is that there's simply no REASON for them to be part snake. Take any random naga character and tell me: What do they gain from being part snake that being a giant human wouldn't offer?
The short answer is, sans a couple venomous specimens, absolutely nothing. And looking at how Felarya has evolved, I think some niche species are in order. Something to set them apart. I mean, when mermaids are gaining mudskipping abilities and venomous spines, harpies are turning into seagulls and hummingbirds, dryads come in seaweed and original recipe and trapdoor-dridders are showing up, it strikes me as rather irksome that nagas - the single most overused species in Felarya - have absolutely nothing to set them apart.
.

Well they are fast, have amazing reflexes, keen senses and are very agile with their tail for climbing and so. This seems quite snake-like to me Razz
Having said that I am open to any suggestions to flesh them out ^_^
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:19 pm

Quote :
For the unhinging jaw issue...
Quote from unmuseum.org
"Although it is often said a snake's jaw can be unhinged from the skull to allow something much larger than the snake's mouth to be swallowed, the jaws are actually connected by a ligament that stretches."
So snakes cannot unhinge their jaws. Therefore why should nagas?

That is the single most pointlessly irrelevant thing I have ever heard brought up in a discussion.

Ok mister technical, have it your way.
Why aren't more nagas seen stretching the tissue that links their jaws in order to accommodate prey that is larger than the span of a human mouth of similar size?

EDIT: Actually, looking back on it, that IS unhinging. Which makes that statement even more pointless.


Quote :
Well they are fast, have amazing reflexes, keen senses and are very agile with their tail for climbing and so. This seems quite snake-like to me Razz
Having said that I am open to any suggestions to flesh them out ^_^

Snakes are reptiles. They aren't known for being fast. They have quick bursts of speed, but very few species are capable of great speed for extended periods.

It's also problematic that all these traits are found in ALL Felaryan predators.
There's really no denying that nagas have become nothing more than legless giantesses. And I for one, shudder at that thought.

There's an infinite number of things to be done. Depict more nagas swallowing things larger than their heads, for one. Introduce some viper-based species with heat-sensory organs under their eyes. Give them forked tongues. Have more of them willing to eat other nagas. Introduce more specialized species.

One of the biggest problems with the downplaying of the snake is that, in my opinion, asinine element thing. It does absolutely nothing but further shroud the fact that nagas are part snake. They're slithering, magical giants, not snake-people.

Almost every naga character out there has magical abilities which they have absolutely no need for, that offer absolutely nothing in terms of story, and only serve to make the character cluttered and uninteresting.

I love Rin as much as the next guy, but am I the only one who groans at the idea of "ice nagas"?

Other chimera species are modeled after real animals. They occupy ecological niches based on that animal.

But an ice naga? That not only breaks the rules of biology, but goes out of its way to shit on them.

Snakes are not elementally imbued creatures. The whole element thing would be much better suited to fairies. Hell, fairies have already more or less stolen the idea, what with all the countless species of half-elementals running around.

I mean, if you're going to downplay the chimera nature of a chimera race, at least focus that downplay one ONE species. Everyone already hates the idea of acknowledging that fairies are part insect. Why can't all the magical garbage belong to them?

Quote :
Yes there is. Jissy. She acknowledges that most other nagas don't do that, though.
Which does more to further the problem than it does to solve it.

Nagas, being part snake, should be more likely to eat their own kind than any other vertebrate chimera, being that snakes are one of the most cannibalistic vertebrate species alive.

Refusing to eat one's kin should be the exception for nagas, not the norm.
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:40 pm

In clear an application of what you read in a biological book.
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Malahite
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:40 pm

Hm, looking on the wiki I notice a distinct lack of Spitting-Cobra Nagas. Perhaps use those for the mainly-cannibalistic type? Reduces the use of magic, increases the number of non-insect venomous creatures, allows them to still be effective human-hunters before becoming adults, etc.
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rcs619
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:57 pm

Malahite wrote:
Hm, looking on the wiki I notice a distinct lack of Spitting-Cobra Nagas. Perhaps use those for the mainly-cannibalistic type? Reduces the use of magic, increases the number of non-insect venomous creatures, allows them to still be effective human-hunters before becoming adults, etc.

http://rcs619.deviantart.com/art/My-Girls-colored-103364693
*points at the redhead on the far right*

She's a spitting cobra naga, based on the red spitting cobra http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/partypictures/2006/07_07_06/images/nathistory/159-Red-Spitting-Cobra.RM.jpg.
Also, the main cannibalistic cobra is the King Cobra. Spitting cobras tend to be smaller and primarily feed on lizards, frogs and such. If we are going to look into cannibal nagas....we should consider basing them on King Snakes, since they eat other snakes anyway.
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Asuroth
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PostSubject: Re: Downplaying the snake   Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:23 pm

I believe Zoekin was creating a character based on king snake actually and makes an appearance in this story:

http://zoekin.deviantart.com/art/The-Predator-112493626

Though she comes from Londore I believe Felarya could also have some of its own King Nagas, why not as almost every predator has a predator of its own as well. These could be prime candidates to instill more snake qualities as mentioned tuned to hunt other Nagas if the current ones are lacking in that area- a spot the predator takes advantage of with superior senses dedicated to hunting other Nagas if you will.
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