Formulating a few suggestions for added features for the Humanoid Species Pack

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Original post replied in the Dev Diary thread.

I am going to drop you some ideas of humanoid themes.

Humanoid has been around as long as space SF is concerned, even before we had film or tv drama productions. Many novels and anime works exist but they do not have the requirement to make aliens humanoid to make make-up arts easy.

Humanoids are the best ones we have fantasised the most, familiarised the most and written the most, particularly among the themes of common precursors and their seeding.

And Humanoids themselves are superior in terms of evolution, because we have a pair of hands to use tools, good mouth structures to make complicated languages, eyes pointing forward to read fine prints, and being physically not that great to push to adaptability.

Humanoids may share these common themes:
  1. Common ancestors - naturally being able to communicate and have similar cultures
  2. Adaptive evolution - simply being adaptive in many things, at the trade-off that our pragnent women carry long terms instead of laying a clutch of many eggs at the same time
  3. Superior forms - that we simply find our limbs very good at using tools, not leaving body fluid, feathers or scales everywhere
Special themes may include
  1. Cloned race - A race that has just a handful of individual ancestors. All clan members are clones of the clan's founding father. Each individual has self-identity, but everyone has the same genes within a clan.
  2. Segregation by sex - An extension to the above. This time the race takes it a step even further that male and female members don't even live together (see the Zentradi from Macross). Being cloned is not a requirement. Just that all members must be created instead of born. (I think Zentradi aren't cloned.)
  3. Unisex race - Not related to the above. But this time the Asari from Mass Effect. The race is unisex and reproduce by some alternative gene sharing instead of sexual intercourse. This trope is particularly popular for an all-female race for some reasons.
  4. Vampires - Similar to Necrophage but they suck blood
  5. Latent Psionics - Starting as Latent Psionics with a trade-off. A Psychic race is a somewhat recurrent theme in many Space SF
  6. Uncultured - Somehow since we expect a fellow humanoid species to have a similar culture as us, and it turns out this one race doesn't have a culture. It'd be intriguing. (Also a trait taken from the Zentradi from Macross) It means they have no notion of civilians. Everyone is a soldier or a worker for the government. They don't need entertainment. Similar to the Hive's Civic Ascetic. Then, they suffer from a big culture shock at first contact. (Like the Zentradi just froze when they see humans kissing, as they also have segregation by sex)
And to be honest, Humanoids have a very special connection with us humans. You don't find it as strong if an elephant race is psionic in nature. It's that when we see a blue-skined human, we expect them to be just a recolour of us humans. So we have some form of expectation. Then if they act strangely, we have a stronger response. Humanoids are a very good platform to put many SF tropes on.

This post is to actually write them better using Stellaris languages.
  1. New Compulsory Species Traits (Applied to all Humanoids)
    1. Humanoid - Bonus Opinions with other Humanoid countries at first contact, easier infiltration against other Humanoid countries; +10% Habitability, -10% Growth Rate
  2. New Optional Species Traits
    1. Cloned Clans - When a Leader dies, an identical Leader replaces him with 2 Levels lost but keeping all possitive gained Skills (losing all Red skills)
    2. Unisex - -10% growth rate, half-species created with other species will always be a subspecies of this species, begins with Xeno-Compatibility but with only 20% bonus growth
  3. Civic + Species Trait used in conjunction
    1. Vampires - -10% Habitability, -20% Energy income from Jobs; when Planet has other non-Vampire Species occupying more than 20% of population, Food upkeep reduced by 90%, +5% Habitability and +5% Growth
    2. Segregation by Sex - Starts with a nearby country with the same species but with the opposite sex with some rocky relations. When a planet has both the male and the female subspecies, +10% Happiness, +10% Growth; first contact with other species with 2 sexes will have special cultural shock
  4. Just Civic
    1. Humanoid Superiority
      1. Requires Xenophobe
      2. Considers all other Humanoids as Primary Species, no penalty, no ethic attraction, no diplomatic malus
      3. +5% Fire Rate when engaging against Fleet not led by a Humanoid Admiral
      4. Note: Humanoid Robots and Synths are considered Humanoids
    2. Heritage of Precursor Culture
      1. Requires Spiritualist and Xenophile
      2. Considers all Species to have some common Ancestors seeded aeons ago. Bonus Relations with everyone.
      3. Entertainers produce +2 Society as well
      4. Reduces duration of the debuff "Recently Conquered" by half
 
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These are some great suggestions.

Considering the devs seem to base their content on fantasies(as I understand it, broad categories linked to specific trope sets from scifi/fantasy) I'd like to add to this thread by suggesting some loose civic/species myself:

1. Shortening of the Way/Genewitches(civic or origin)
A secret society of witchlike women guides this society from the shadows. They are the shadows behind the throne, companions and confidantes. Leaders have a chance to be Genetic Singularities, gaining special traits. Once enhanched by Zro research, admirals/fleets may unlock the ability to Fold Space, a weaker jump drive(less range, no firepower penalty). Obviously, ripped from Dune.

2. In Fire Forged(Origin)
This humanoid civilization was brutally forced onto the galactic stage, as their homeworld became one of many battlegrounds in a galaxy spanning conflict. Mysteriously, the fighting suddenly stopped, both species retreating from the ravaged world..now, decades later, the inhabitants take to the stars in salvaged ships they barely understand, looking for answers.
Origin where you start with a cruiser, no vettes and a story chain. Think one of many early 2000 scifi series(stargate?) or even Transformers.
Just story, but that is the Strength of Stellaris anyway.

3. The Bureau(civic, xenophobes only)
While this civilization is capable of ftl, information about alien sentient life is tightly controlled by the government, preferring that the vast majority of citizens knows only the bare minimum required.
Imagine a ftl capable US government and the x files/mib together. This country would get powerfull planetary bonuses while no alien pops are present. If alien pops are present, they can construct a Bureau on their world, which provides aliens 'mask' jobs, negating their negative impact on the planetary bonus. How long can you keep your primary species in the dark?

4. Thou shalt not Suffer the Machine(civic)
Behave like a determined extermimator, gaining their bonuses and trait, but only against mechanical or robotic empires.
Your people fought and beat Skynet. It will not happen again.
Also inspired by Dune ofcourse, if you wish to rp the Butlerian Jihad.

5. The Red Planet(origin)
This basically exists in the Expanse and the excellent ST:new horizons mod. Living on a potentially habitable planet in your own solar system has been a grand dream for ages on your world. The era of interstellar exploration looms, but this old dream is now finally in your grasp. Progress through special projects, events and research to breathe life into the Red Planet and gain a powerfull permanent boost in the end.
 
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I don't like compulsory species traits.

All the rest of these ideas seem like fine additions to the game, though I don't see any connection between them and humanoid portraits.
 
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Personally, I feel like the suggestions that require the species to be Humanoid feel too arbitrary. There's either no reason that they should apply to most Humanoids, or that they shouldn't apply to all other Species Classes as well. Why are all Humanoids mammals who don't lay eggs? Why are Humanoid forms inherently superior compared to any other species with the ability to grasp objects? Why does Humanoid Superiority not also exist for Reptilians, Avians and Lithoids? There's very little inherently special about Humanoids that can justify making content only accessible by them. In my opinion, the dev teams choice to instead focus on things inspired by specific types of popular Humanoid societies is a better way to go.
 
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Personally, I feel like the suggestions that require the species to be Humanoid feel too arbitrary. There's either no reason that they should apply to most Humanoids, or that they shouldn't apply to all other Species Classes as well. Why are all Humanoids mammals who don't lay eggs? Why are Humanoid forms inherently superior compared to any other species with the ability to grasp objects? Why does Humanoid Superiority not also exist for Reptilians, Avians and Lithoids? There's very little inherently special about Humanoids that can justify making content only accessible by them. In my opinion, the dev teams choice to instead focus on things inspired by specific types of popular Humanoid societies is a better way to go.
You can't see the references behind them? They are based on some of the unique races in famous SF.

Cloned Clans is based on the Gatlantis from Yamato. Unisex is based on Asari from Mass Effect. Vampires is original. Segregation by Sex is based on Zentradi from Macross. Humanoid Superiority is based on Gamilas from Yamato, which ultimately is a clone of the Nazi Germany. Heritage of Precursor Culture is based on Protoculture from Macross.

They are much more SF flavoured than Space Elves and Orcs in my opinion.
 
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I don't have anything against a cloning origin/civic, unisex and segregated empires, or a vampire-like species (though I personally would reflavor that one as a general parasite species trait). My post was referring to the "Suggestions that require the species to be Humanoid." Specifically, these ones:

New Compulsory Species Traits (Applied to all Humanoids)
  1. Humanoid - Bonus Opinions with other Humanoid countries at first contact, easier infiltration against other Humanoid countries; +10% Habitability, -10% Growth Rate
(No reason all Humanoids would like each other more than all Fungoids would like each other, or why all Humanoids have better Habitability and lower Growth Rate.)​

Humanoid Superiority
  1. Requires Xenophobe
  2. Considers all other Humanoids as Primary Species, no penalty, no ethic attraction, no diplomatic malus
  3. +5% Fire Rate when engaging against Fleet not led by a Humanoid Admiral
  4. Note: Humanoid Robots and Synths are considered Humanoids
(Should be available to all Species Classes, not only Humanoids.)​

As well as these points:
Humanoids may share these common themes:
  1. Common ancestors - naturally being able to communicate and have similar cultures
  2. Adaptive evolution - simply being adaptive in many things, at the trade-off that our pragnent women carry long terms instead of laying a clutch of many eggs at the same time
  3. Superior forms - that we simply find our limbs very good at using tools, not leaving body fluid, feathers or scales everywhere
(I'm not an expert, but as far as I know there's nothing inherently adaptive or superior about a Humanoid body, nor any reason all Humanoids would have a mammal-like reproductive system)​
 
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I don't have anything against a cloning origin/civic, unisex and segregated empires, or a vampire-like species (though I personally would reflavor that one as a general parasite species trait). My post was referring to the "Suggestions that require the species to be Humanoid." Specifically, these ones:


(No reason all Humanoids would like each other more than all Fungoids would like each other, or why all Humanoids have better Habitability and lower Growth Rate.)​


(Should be available to all Species Classes, not only Humanoids.)​

As well as these points:

(I'm not an expert, but as far as I know there's nothing inherently adaptive or superior about a Humanoid body, nor any reason all Humanoids would have a mammal-like reproductive system)​
Humans are at the top of all known evolution chains. Humans are able to advance to us today because we are very good at making tools and adapting to all different environments. Most species we know of today usually just live in some specific areas, and species living in different climates have external differences while we humans just adapt the differences. This also has to do with things like forward eyes, 2 hands, 2 legs to walk, speaking instead of howling, hands with fingers fine enough to manipulate tools... There are just many evolutionary advantages that can only be on humans but not other animals. Apply this knowledge to alien species that are just a recolouring of us, we will have all of the above in common.

Fungoids and other animals are based on too many different species to have a coherent theme. It's like cats and dogs would just like each other because they are both mammals with 4 legs. But no. We see other humanoids as recolours of our own and somehow we just trust them. And of course it'd be easy to infiltrate them since you can skim on make-up artists for your operatives.

Humanoid Superiority is loosely based on the Gamilas from Yamato. They are a clone of Nazi Germany with some of those old themes that you see in old fictions. This is for people who want Space Nazi. It is limited to Humanoids because of the reason stated in the first paragraph. Humans are objectively better than other forms of life. So it makes sense for some Xenophobes to consider other Humanoids equals very specifically.
 
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Every eusocial and intelligent species which evolved to be the dominant species on their planet would have the same advantages that humans have.
 
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Humans are objectively better than other forms of life.
Nonsense. There are a wide variety of ways in which other species are unquestionably superior to humans, it's just that we're able to use our intelligence to compensate for our weaknesses to a degree that no other species can match (as far as we know). And even if your premise was true, it wouldn't matter, because you're comparing humans to real-world Earth animals, not to other sapient species from other planets.
 
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Nonsense. There are a wide variety of ways in which other species are unquestionably superior to humans, it's just that we're able to use our intelligence to compensate for our weaknesses to a degree that no other species can match (as far as we know). And even if your premise was true, it wouldn't matter, because you're comparing humans to real-world Earth animals, not to other sapient species from other planets.
Laughable. There has not been a single proven way in which other speices are unquestionably superior to humans. We are able to use our intelligence to compensate for our weaknesses and it is precisely why no other species can match (as far as we know). And even if your premise was true, it wouldn't matter, because you're basing your theory on imaginary animals not even existing on Earth.
 
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Every eusocial and intelligent species which evolved to be the dominant species on their planet would have the same advantages that humans have.
Evolution isn't magic, nor it is a black box.
 

Lazy Name

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Humans are objectively better than other forms of life.
To be perfectly honest, it feels as if you've already decided Humanoids are inherently superior for some reason, and are just making up evidence to support that idea. Your only proofs are pointing out that our sapient and technologically advanced modern civilisation is for some reason superior to the decidedly not sapient and not technologically advanced animals on earth, correlating this to our humanoid body type, and somehow determining from this that being a biped with an upright stance is the primary cause for our dominance and that this will also apply for every organism that will ever exist. It's true there's no hard proof we aren't the best species in the galaxy, but that's because there's no hard proof of any other sapient species at all, and as the one making a claim the burden of proof falls on you.

Fungoids and other animals are based on too many different species to have a coherent theme. It's like cats and dogs would just like each other because they are both mammals with 4 legs. But no. We see other humanoids as recolours of our own and somehow we just trust them. And of course it'd be easy to infiltrate them since you can skim on make-up artists for your operatives.
I was about to go find a sentient dog to ask how they feel about sentient cats, but it seems like you've already done it for me! Since you've already gone through all the trouble, would you mind asking if their opinion is different for other as-of-yet unknown sentient alien mammalians?
 
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Evolution isn't magic, nor it is a black box.
That's not actually at all relevant.

Path dependence matters. Humans are the dominant species on Earth by chance first and design second - a different planet, with different evolutionary pressures and a different evolutionary history, would produce a different result. So saying that humans are the universal template of successful evolution is just mind-numbingly arrogant.
Prior to the late 1600s, the European population thought that black swans were impossible. It took an expedition to Australia in the late 1600s for that view to be disproved. So here, the onus is really on you to invent an FTL drive and go around cataloguing the galaxy's sapient life, knowing that even a single non-humanoid would disprove the premise of your original argument.
 
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Iosue Yu

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That's not actually at all relevant.

Path dependence matters. Humans are the dominant species on Earth by chance first and design second - a different planet, with different evolutionary pressures and a different evolutionary history, would produce a different result. So saying that humans are the universal template of successful evolution is just mind-numbingly arrogant.
Prior to the late 1600s, the European population thought that black swans were impossible. It took an expedition to Australia in the late 1600s for that view to be disproved. So here, the onus is really on you to invent an FTL drive and go around cataloguing the galaxy's sapient life, knowing that even a single non-humanoid would disprove the premise of your original argument.
The one thing these arguments about a different evolutionary path is that all of these arguments ignore all the components of how humans flourish on Earth. By not looking at all the "whys", you of course open up a whole lot of possibilities, because that's precisely what have been done: by ignoring reasons.

Humans have flourished not by chance. It's because we simply just have all the elements of a successful species. If you want to talk about alternative pathways, you at least need to resolve a few problems.
  1. Being physically not the prime predators so your species is more likely to build tools to compensate
  2. Eyes pointing forwards so that written languages are possible
  3. 2 free limbs to use tools, and therefore 2 legs to walk
  4. Hands with fingers fine enough so that fine manipulation is possible, also supporting written languages
  5. Mouth structure complex enough to produce enough distinct sounds to allow spoken languages
Look at dolphins. They are as smart as us, but they have not evolved like us. They lack the hands to write stuff down and it's the main obstacle.

A different path in evolution does not exempt you from these 5 problems to solve. If there are some mushroom who is able to have alternatives all for these, then they'd also evolve into high culture. And it'd at least be a convincing argument than just "Hey, there are possibilities."

In short,

Just stating "possible" does not exempt from some basic components of a successful species.
 
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HistoricalScore1

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These are suggestions @Iosue Yu ...

Many of them could apply to different races and not just humanoids. I actually think humans should have + Pop Growth. Just look at what our world pop is now vs what it was a decade ago. But who knows. A crocodile lays 25-80 eggs. Maybe humans really are inefficient. Nevermind on +Pop Growth. In a lot of stories non-humans can also be vampires. They just need blood. It could even be blue, purple, or green blood.

Those civics are creative, but pretty low on the tier list. 5% fire rate? Big whoop. And humanoid superiority? I mean, an orc/k is humanoid, as is an elf, and well us homo sapiens. But I don't know if there humanoid superiority would actually happen. INSERT RACE superiority? Yeah, that. Why would Precursor Heritage be Xenophile? Weren't some precursors isolationists?

Humans are at the top of all known evolution chains.

Correctish. Key word is known. ANY spacefaring species that announces itself to Earth would make us like cockroaches in comparison. Or how does Skippy say it in Expeditionary Force. Monkeys, though he considers that a compliment.

Humans are objectively better than other forms of life.

I mean, we figured out how to use fire and make pointy sticks. Doesn't make us better. There's a lot of discussion today about consequences now and in the future because of humans. I consider trees better than humans in a generalizing sense. They give back so much.

There's some obvious limitations humans have and some strengths. If birthed at high altitude, the human will have more of a barrel chest (the body adapted to the environment). I don't know, I consider agriculture a pretty remarkable feat of habitability adaptability --as that's what is actually being discussed, no?--instead. You have plants that over time have actually changed some of their physiology to adapt to the environment. Some plants that don't need as much water, etc. Ants are pretty much everywhere. They may not be in frigid environments, but they are near volcanoes. Can humans live in super hot places? If our internal body temperature goes just a little above 98.5 bad stuff happens. Okay, how about super cold places? Can we eat anything we want? There's a difference between surviving and thriving.

The human body is a mess. There's dozens of ways things could go wrong for us, liver, heart, brain, lungs, etc. No, we're not adaptable in the least. We compensate for our many weaknesses with gadgets and technology.
 
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It's because we simply just have all the elements of a successful species.
steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net.jpg
 
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FlyingPhoenix

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The one thing these arguments about a different evolutionary path is that all of these arguments ignore all the components of how humans flourish on Earth. By not looking at all the "whys", you of course open up a whole lot of possibilities, because that's precisely what have been done: by ignoring reasons.

Humans have flourished not by chance. It's because we simply just have all the elements of a successful species. If you want to talk about alternative pathways, you at least need to resolve a few problems.
  1. Being physically not the prime predators so your species is more likely to build tools to compensate
  2. Eyes pointing forwards so that written languages are possible
  3. 2 free limbs to use tools, and therefore 2 legs to walk
  4. Hands with fingers fine enough so that fine manipulation is possible, also supporting written languages
  5. Mouth structure complex enough to produce enough distinct sounds to allow spoken languages
Look at dolphins. They are as smart as us, but they have not evolved like us. They lack the hands to write stuff down and it's the main obstacle.

A different path in evolution does not exempt you from these 5 problems to solve. If there are some mushroom who is able to have alternatives all for these, then they'd also evolve into high culture. And it'd at least be a convincing argument than just "Hey, there are possibilities."

In short,

Just stating "possible" does not exempt from some basic components of a successful species.
The things you state as being crucial to our success came after we were already successful, specifically, language and tool use. I think you're limiting your possibilities by being close-minded and making your mind up too quickly.
 
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HistoricalScore1

First Lieutenant
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  1. Being physically not the prime predators so your species is more likely to build tools to compensate
  2. Eyes pointing forwards so that written languages are possible
  3. 2 free limbs to use tools, and therefore 2 legs to walk
  4. Hands with fingers fine enough so that fine manipulation is possible, also supporting written languages
  5. Mouth structure complex enough to produce enough distinct sounds to allow spoken languages
1. Just doesn't matter.
2. Flys and spiders have more eyes and wider range of vision. We don't have eyes in the back of our head, so we can't see threats from behind. Can I turn my head completely back? Nope. I'd have to twist my body to compensate. A cat can. An owl can surpass 400 degree rotation.
3. Spiders have 8 limbs. We can only run with 2 legs. Cheetahs can run with 4.
4. Dexterity. Can I flex my fingers backwards? There's a limitation. I have to rotate my wrists or arms in some fashion so I can open and close my fingers in certain directions.
5. Ants have antennae to communicate without need for mouths.

Trying to think of a Humanoid-specific thing and not just a human thing. I suppose starting with humans makes sense since we don't have other humanoid examples. So far I have Wasteful, Persistent, Curious, Emotional, Hedonistic, Selfish, Vain. I don't really know how any of those could be positive + bonuses though. Some Googling. Playful, Kind, Epicurean. Maybe we can eat a greater variety of foods...that's about the best I have found thus far.

I've used some of the shorter 'hunched' portraits for void dwellers.

Usually the dwarves, gnomes, ketlings, and floaty types.

I just figure they suite the environment. So some kind of void trait would be cool.
1623477640338.png


Or do you mean void portrait?
 
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Any species that manages to take over it's home planet, unify into a single society, and create spaceships that can travel faster than light is likely just as good at communication and tool use as humans.
 
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