CHUPACABRA

About the Chupacabra:

Chupacabra live in tribes, and information varies between those. In fact, several tribes will have very different mythologies, experiences and behaviors. The following data does not always apply to all tribes.

Most tribes have a hierarchical society which is led by a chief together with a council. The council will usually consist of Chupacabra who are either descendants of certain families (tribe founders and warrior heroes), or shamans.

The Chupacabra are considered adults at an age of about 12 earth years (8 years on the planet, as it spins at a slower rate), an age at which they may take a test to prove their adulthood. The tests vary between tribe and individual, and part of the challenge is to find a test on your own that will prove you are now old enough. Most Chupacabra will decide to kill a wild animal and carry its pelt back to the village. The bat-like species are relatively popular targets for this, as they can be captured in a net and killed when defenseless. Many (lower ranked) Chupacabra will be seen with accessories made of bat-alien skin or teeth. More fearless Chupacabra will ambush a bear- or even wolf-like alien and carry its shiny fur as a sign of strength, or try to take the spikes or scales of an amphibious creature. Having passed the test, a Chupacabra will be allowed to color their fur, usually in the color of the creature beaten, and will be given a name derived from their task. Tasks may also be things like climbing up a mountain, or doing any other impressive thing.

Chupacabra are omnivores. Most tribes are collectors and hunters, and only very few have concept of primitive farming. One plant commonly enjoyed by Chupacabra is velvet grain, a crimson bean-shaped ear which tastes similar to sweet potatoes and is used to create mash as well as flat cakes. Chupacabra also hunt animals for their flesh, using leftovers such as skin and bones as ornaments and to build tents. Most animals that have a meaning in the Chupacabra's life have spiritual significance, too. In general, certain parts of predators are considered to increase a warrior's strength, while parts of smaller prey (usually mammals) are symbols of fertility, household, and family.

Chupacabra culture has a range of arts and crafts, as well as spiritual rituals, very differing types of architecture (depending on tribe) and music (mostly chants, without any form of notation). Few tribes have weaving techniques, although most create clothing of some sorts. Jewelry from bones or crystals is common almost everywhere. Chupacabra do have a use for gold, but it is far from omnipresent. In fact, its softness and rareness give it a relatively small role. Some tribes do produce gold trinkets which usually dedicated to the sun (which is also golden). The appearance of the mysterious civilization, which was attracted by gold and unleashed the crystals, might be a reason for this.

Several of the aliens on the planet have a cult meaning to the Chupacabra:

The wolves share traits with wolves on earth and have a similar, though smaller meaning to the Chupacabra. They are strong, but sly warriors and will give their powers away when beaten. As the wolves are mostly active during the night, some Chupacabra depictions show two of them, brother and sister, chasing away the sun to start the night. Those wolves are probably referencing the two moons of the planet. As the leading wolf howls when beginning his wake time, the wolf howl has a meaning similar to earth's "cock-a-doodle-doo" – just to designate the start of night. Chupacabra children learn that the sound marks the time when to go to sleep. Wolves rarely attack settlements that have a fire, unless they are starving, and Chupacabra feel relatively save from them.

The crystals are powerful entities of death. According to legend, the apparition of the great gods of old (the First Expedition aka. The Mysterious Civilization) shattered the sky, and its pieces fell down on the planet and became the crystals (which is why they have the sharp, dark look). Their appearance brought doom upon the Chupacabra, and they are feared as demons guarding the gates to the godly world. Their role in the mythology is not only negative, though. The crystal is also the sign of Chupacabra priests, and as gate-keepers, the crystals are also considered the key to the gates of the afterlife. By worshipping them, the Chupacabra hope to achieve entry when they are dead. Crystal shards (though usually not from the creatures themselves) are part of most funeral ceremonies of the Chupacabra. Given the fact that the Crystals seem to inhabit some of the more prominent monuments left behind by the First Expedition, tribes living closer to those will give the Crystal Aliens additional spiritual attention. Generally, Chupacabra avoid the crystals as much as they can.

Amphibious aliens have an equivocal meaning, being both cruel and caring; a commonly recurring theme is them stealing Chupacabra children to eat them, lay them in eggs and have them reborn as amphibians. As such, the amphibious aliens are asked in rituals to not take them away. Flesh of young animal prey is provided to pacify them. In some tribes, they also stood for time and aging, as they prefer to attack the weak and the elderly, but the wolves as chasers of the day, and the Crystals as bringers of death have taken over those roles.

Bats have a messenger role and send news to the other gods. They are also patrons of warriors, as they are often the animal a Chupacabra chooses to hunt to prove their adulthood. Like most animals that affect the Chupacabra negatively in reality, the bat is both worshipped in spirit and fought in action. After killing a bat, Chupacabra can sometimes be observed to mutter a standard verse, asking the bat's spirit to put in a good word to the other gods.

Chupacabra have a sun and a moon calendar. They don't have a concept of weeks, but will count days, moons, or return of the tides. The planet has two moons, with both rotating at different speeds around the planet, and with the lining up of both marking special celebrations. The sun also serves as some kind of deity to most Chupacabra tribes, sometimes even the highest being.

Chupacabra live in (usually) monogamous relationships, and all but the most wealthy and secure tribes have more than 2 offspring (as those can die very young). Male and female Chupacabra are hard to distinguish for the outsider, although male Chupacabra have thicker, longer fur (they can "fluff" it up to impress females) and females will have less contrast in their fur and skin. Also, different ornaments or pieces of clothing will be limited to one gender.

Some of the Chupacabra came into direct contact with the "Mysterious Civilization" – the expedition from the future. Having had concepts of powerful gods long before the humans' appearance (especially the sun), the Chupacabra did not at first associate the new people with those. Only some time after the humans appeared, certain tribes started assuming that they were in fact the gods (the sun and stars) who had come down to the planet, as they had powers no Chupacabra had seen before. When their expedition attempted to mine at a Chupacabra burial ground, the faith of the Chupacabra began to fade.

The Chupacabra have differing stances towards what the humans left behind. As the events were long ago, memory has faded and urban legends were created in the ever-changing narration. In most tribes, the humans are indeed gods, but have proven their malicious intent. The conclusion from this varies strongly. Some tribes will try to appease the gods by making offerings to them or trying to follow their image (such tribes will often have depictions of the human spaceship, and – more rarely – the humans themselves in distorted forms). Others describe them as demons.  Most Chupacabra have no recollection of the humans anymore. The way to depict the sun, the main spiritual being, has been influenced by the human appearance, and a triangle (the human ship's shape) will be recognized as a symbol for the sun (or higher powers in general) almost everywhere.

The area the Mysterious Civilization's spaceship landed in the forests is the most impressive accomplishment, and it is usually left alone as a place of divine powers. The immediate area contains nesting grounds of the Crystal aliens (and some still- active drones as well as leftover radiation), making it a poor place to settle for a Chupacabra. One tribe, however, had the habit to crown their leader in (far) sight of the landing zone, which indicated his reign was empowered by the gods. The same tribe sent criminals down to the forest valley as a punishment, from which they rarely returned. The space ship can also be seen on some Chupacabra reliefs (in abstract, triangular form) where it marks the door to the great beyond, guarded by Crystals.

The real reasons of why the humans vanished are unknown to the Chupacabra, but in the mythology, they lost their power when walking in mortal form for too long and had to return to the heavens.

 

 

MYSTERIOUS CIVILIZATION

("FUTURE PEOPLE"/"FIRST EXPEDITION")

About the Mysterious Civilization:

The "Mysterious Civilization" are actually humans from the future who traveled back in time in search for a new place to live. Their main target was building a time portal to their present, allowing them to settle from the dying earth to a relatively prosperous new world (which wasn't prosperous in their time, due to their own meddling with time). Ultimately, the expedition was a failure, because the time travel technology they created caused them to get sick and develop some kind of madness, which made them completely lose interest in their goals and instead hunt for gold treasures. While their technology harmed them themselves, they also brought a hostile alien species to the planet – the crystals.

The humans appeared on the planet with four ships. The first materialized inside a mountain chain of the arctic tundra. The people on board were immediately dead and after a few days during which the ship had radiated ever increasing heat, it exploded, tearing the mountain in two. Up to now, some of the Chupacabra in that area possess small pieces of shiny metal from the ship, which are allegedly "parts of the sky". The three following ships were placed more fortunate, and made it onto the planet safely. One landed in a forest, another one in a stream, and one in a hilly area not far from a Chupacabra settlement. The three were able to connect with each other, although the people having landed in a stream had been attacked by wild creatures and "sterilized" the area with a high energy beam, which rendered it inhabitable for a long time. However, this also killed most microorganisms and helped the members of the third ship survive the longest.

When the Chupacabra met the humans, they were not at first recognized as gods from their mythology. It was only when the humans showed their "supernatural" abilities that certain tribes spread the word of gods having come down to them.

The invaders had impressive military equipment, but little knowledge of the planet. Looking for natural resources to build their technology from, they sent out expeditions to several places of it and came in contact with different Chupacabra tribes.

The main expedition was reasonably successful, forming an alliance with three local Chupacabra tribes to lead them through the country. To get access to an area they had hoped to find natural resources at, they negotiated with another tribe that had great power and influence, but were attacked when entering their lair. Resorting to violence and supported by the allied tribes, the expedition members beat the attacking Chupacabras, much to the surrounding tribes' rejoicing. However, when the second expedition attempted to mine at the sacred grounds, most of their allies defected to the remains of the overthrown rulers, and only one tribe stood with the humans. The leader of the expedition was killed in a surprise attack set to capture the humans. Provoked, the second in charge stated an example by killing most warriors of the opposing tribes and trying to force the remaining members back into servitude. One of the tribes complied, and the other were killed. At this point the expedition members had already started to develop the “gold fever”, a sickness caused by their time travel. The humans lost interest in their mission, got ill and started collecting gold instead. Some of the higher members even started believing they were in fact Hérnan Cortés, and had the gold they collected put into the shape of coins and other trinkets, storing them in one massive vault called El Dorado. When the sickness became worse, the expedition split up, but the remaining part was overthrown and killed. Most Chupacabra servants of the part traveling back also died, but mostly because of being mistreated and neglected by the sick humans. Halfway to the base ship, the Chupacabra revolted against the humans again, who subsequently left them behind to die. Very few of the humans made it back to the base, where the found that the commando had already been killed on all three ships. The arriving expedition was also confronted with the Crystalline Aliens, which had started to inhabit the area around their ships. An attempt to exterminate them was unsuccessful and – thanks to the sickness – extremely unorganized, and the last members of the expedition ultimately died, too.

A third expedition had before attempted to install a time travel device to get back to their own time. The mission was another failure, as the technology never was calibrated correctly. However, a relic of the time-travel technology will be a part of the "Fountain of Youth" chapter (it makes the user jump back in time just a tiny bit, which used to be farther originally).

The humans left a legacy behind, and when they disappeared, their space ships stayed as a monument of a strange, mysterious power. Three are still partially remaining – the forest one still stands (with the cloaking device still running, which made finding it from outer space impossible), and the hill one has been overgrown, but remains below the surface (it's close to the Fountain of Youth). The ship landed in a stream has been mostly swallowed by a canyon which was created by the stream, and is now in the middle of a desert landscape. Chupacabra have erected three Stonehenge-like monuments around it to mark the position.

The landing place of the visible ships lies relatively far away from the place the new Magellan expansion team (the one played as in this game) landed at, so word of the monuments will trickle down to them in small bits only, over the course of the story.

The Mysterious Civilization also left behind some drones, different models of which were used for facility management and household tasks as well as for military maneuvers. Drones clean and repair themselves, and so many are still active. The same self-repair technology forms the basis for the Crystals' evolution, another thing the First Expedition left behind.

The reason why the time travel causes a sickness is based on the problem of time-travel itself and the special challenge of altering the past in a non-paradox way, which the future people faced. While causing an actual paradox is impossible, it is quite possible to create causal loops in time, where something that you do in the past actually was the past all along. As the Mysterious Civilization did not have good knowledge of the past of Magellan, and little chance to influence individual actions of their Conquistadors, they built their time-travel machine in a way that it could affect the probabilities at which certain events would happen, to make sure the outcome would be pleasant. In a test, the machine was moved to 16th century America. The test worked properly, but for some unknown reason, the AI was corrupted and took that time as it's base from then on. In an attempt to model the time-traveling future humans accordingly, it tried to push their behavior towards conquering, collecting gold and getting sick of long-dead diseases. The AI has the code name Self-referential Occurrence Leverage, short “SOL”.

 

 

 

CRYSTALLINE ALIENS ("CRYSTALS"/"SHARDS")

About the Crystalline Aliens:

Crystalline Aliens are threatening, deadly creatures appearing like solid crystal. They resemble no other species on the planet and are a threat to its inhabitants and ecosystem. They are technically inorganic, as their entire body consists of minerals.

The crystalline aliens are not of natural origin and instead evolved from an inorganic crystal intelligence brought in by the Mysterious Civilization during the First Expedition. They used that intelligence as a part of their technology, and it is possible that the original crystal served the purpose of a computer.

When the First Expedition landed, the Crystals were exposed to new surroundings. Formless, but equipped with data from the space ship, and given the ability to repair itself, the intelligence evolved over time, similar to the process of human evolution. When the expedition members had vanished, the Crystals had already taken their current form, and become known as the vengeful spirits or ill-intended parting gift left by the humans. Up until today, the Chupacabra and other species on the planet suffer from this harm the expedition had unwittingly brought over them.

Crystals can become invisible by changing their skin to break the light differently, but will be blind while doing so, as no light can enter their eyes. Therefore, Crystalline Aliens will always become visible before attacking. It is entirely possible to wake a group of sleeping Crystals unintentionally, and suddenly feel yourself surrounded. Chupacabra, for this reason, avoid areas where crystalline aliens are active. The ability to cloak themselves is possibly a leftover from the expedition's ship's programming.

The Crystals function rather similar to real animals in terms of survival. They hunt prey and use its energy to stay active and survive. Similar to terrestrial reptiles, the Crystals absorb heat energy to cover part of their energy requirements. Because of this, they prefer deserts, deep caves and monuments of the Mysterious Civilization, where they enjoy the radiation. Unlike earth's reptiles, they can gather an small part of their needed energy this way.

Crystals can restore part of their body when hurt and don't intentionally reproduce. Instead, whenever pieces of them break off, there's a slight chance for the shard to restore itself to a full being if conditions are right (mostly if there is radiation or another power source available to "nurture" the larva). Crystals can die of hunger, simply because they will power down into a state beyond return. They will prey on their own kind occasionally, especially half-developed larvae, which is an effective method of population control.

Shards are neither strictly group nor lone creatures, and will group up or go on their own depending on circumstances. They are relatively intelligent, but not to a level that allows them to speak; however, they can make reptilian sounds to communicate with each other.

Generally, they are only partially-developed creatures because of their incredibly sped up evolution. They would not survive as a creature with normal needs and abilities. Their sheer power and low energy requirements allow their existence to be possible.

The crystals, while not traditionally part of Chupacabra mythology (for obvious reasons), have left a strong impression on the tribes. They are considered servants of the gods as well as bringers of death and guardians of the divine world. Nonetheless, they are feared and avoided whenever possible. Luckily for the Chupacabra, Crystals have no specific interest in them, and prefer other prey usually.

 

 

AMPHIBIOUS ALIENS ("LIZARDS")

About the Amphibious Aliens:

As the planet has not evolved the same kind of species as earth, the distinction between amphibians and reptiles falls largely flat. Lizards breathe using both lungs and gills, and are warm-blooded. Their diet is carnivorous, although they prefer to hunt easy prey and will even feast on carcasses.

This includes attacking unobserved Chupacabra children, which has caused them to be feared amongst tribes living near their lairs. Several Chupacabra tales and myths revolve around their existence. Usually those tales are more respectful and fearful rather than hostile – the lizards are considered malevolent but divine creatures in some tribes. There are tribes which will color their warrior's fur to resemble the lizards and make them appear more threatening, or even wear insignia of the creatures for the same purpose. Some tribes believe that the spikes of killed lizards will give their warriors additional power.

Even though they appear dreadful, the lizards are highly social animals and live in familial colonies. Unlike most earthly reptiles, parents nurture and care for the young, and usually freshly hatched lizards will cling to the back of members of the clan for weeks. Lizards are capable of spewing a toxic substance at their victim, although one can become immune to it by consuming very small doses of it regularly. Young are not yet immune to the poison themselves, but become so before they start producing it. Eggs are placed in damp areas, as they might dry out otherwise. Caves and areas slightly below the surface of swamps are preferred nesting places.

The lizards have 4 eyes, with the two in the middle being secondary. The fact that they have 3D vision on each side of their head makes them capable of spitting the poison incredibly accurately even if a target approaches from the side. They might not have eyes on the back of their head, but it's pretty close. They have several rows of teeth that are divided by flesh pockets, which the lizards can use to transport prey (again, to their young).

In battle, Lizards will rely on the strength of the group. Individuals rarely get into a fight. They can be seen trying to snatch slain prey from Wolves, although they are usually just as obtrusive to get their share without provoking a fight. Neither amphibians nor wolves have interest am  in fighting the other, although Lizards will prey on dead wolves like on any other creature.

 

WOLF-LIKE ALIENS

("WOLVES"/"HORN WOLVES")

About the Wolfe-like Aliens:

The Wolf-like aliens are rather similar to their terrestrial counterparts. Unlike those, however, alien wolves (wolves for simplicity) are mostly active during the night. When Anna Weimann lands next to a wolf colony during the first chapter, she wakes them, and is subsequently faced by a mob of cranky animals.

Because the planet's sun has a slightly different light spectrum than earth's, the wolves have better vision during the night than the humans, who cannot see as many colors. The Chupacabra, Bats and a few other mammals share this ability.

Wolves are carnivores and have a strict social hierarchy. The spikes showing out of a wolf’s fur are actually antler-like outgrowths, which are sharper and larger for the dominant specimens. The wolves are born without them but they grow with age. The spikes at their feet are claws. When the pack leader wakes up, it will make a howl to signal its territory and the fact it's awake.

The wolves hunt in small groups and prefer to ambush their prey. Tactically mellowing their victim, like terrestrial wolves do, is not a strategy they use. If the leading wolf is killed in combat, the fight doesn't stop. Instead, another wolf takes over.

Wolves and other predators, especially the slightly smaller amphibians usually ignore each other, as a fight means losses for either side. Wolves will even tolerate them taking away carcasses, as soon as they are halfway satiated themselves.

Wolves avoid fire, which means lighting one up will keep Chupacabra settlements safe at night. They live in various areas around the planet, including caves, mountain passes, woods and tundra, even in rainforests. Their fur color depends on the area and the time of year. One of their names, "Jumper", is derived from their ability to jump great distances.

 

 

BAT-LIKE ALIENS ("BATS")

About the Bat-like Aliens:

The bat-like species inhabits the trees and cliffs of the planet, and is domiciled in forests, woods, caves, beaches, and near mountain passes. They live off flesh and hunt their prey both on the ground as well as in the air. In flight they target smaller dove-sized birds, and on the ground they snatch mammals or other animals similar to falcons. In fact, bats will even target prey slightly below the surface of the water. They attack even well-protected animals, cracking them open using a hard area at their forehead. Their toes and fingers also have claws that help the bats cut up their prey.

Bats feast up in their trees and cliffs, which means that they do not usually target larger animals to eat them. However, being highly territorial, they will still attack those, especially in breeding season. Bats are loners and males leave the females alone with the young, who will have to protect them against other specimen on occasion. Usually, bats have two to three offspring, but only one of them will survive. Bats will have offspring once a year (although years take longer on the planet than on earth) and in that time, build a nest inside tree openings. To find a mate, bats give chilling shouts that can be heard many kilometers away.

Their role in the ecosystem is mostly as a pest control, as bats have a wide variety of hunting options. Chupacabra avoid their nesting sites because of the territorial behavior, unless they want to capture a bat. To do so, a bait is placed near to a nesting site, and a net is thrown over the bats. Given their sharp fingers, Chupacabra have to act fast to keep the bat from freeing itself. Their skin is used for a variety of things.

Bats are too large to be able to fly on a planet like earth. However, the air on the Chupacabra planet is heavier than earth's, which makes the Bats lighter in comparison.