Thursday, January 20, 2011

Siluroi

Smooth, slimy-skinned catfish-hybrids with large, bulbous eyes that see well in just about any kind of murk, the siluroi have learned how to live in a wide variety of strange, dangerous, even improbable aquatic environments, often building ramshackle shanty-towns along the ledges of the Harbor-Basins of the twelve River Gates, along the Lesser Islands of the River Senube, within eroded niches in the banks of the Misericorde Canal, and deep in the backwaters of the Tributary Gates and the Estuarial Regions.

Physical Appearance
The Siluroi, much like the Lutrin, are hybrids blending various catfish-derived traits into a base human genome. They possess very efficient gill-lung systems that are capable of filtering out most forms of particulate matter commonly encountered in the muddy waters of the various riverine waterways that they were designed to inhabit. Siluroi skin is mottled in a variety of shades of gray tending to blue or black on the backsides, and white tending to yellow, orange or reddish-browns in the front. Some individuals have naturally occuring spots, freckles or even striations along their flanks, but this is mostly just a cosmetic effect and rarely has anything to do with anything unless one of the hoodooers care to spin a yarn about special qualities such markings might signify (for a beer or two) or predict some tragedy that they're willing to help get averted for a small fee.

Siluroi have flexible, collapsible fins oriented with their limbs, the shoulder-mounted fins having the most pronounced spine-tipped pseudo-digits that the Siluroi use in fighting underwater or in the muck. Some of them have learned to poison these spines or else they've bought glandular implants to let them inject venom with these spines, though some of the older hoodooers claim that it's just a natural trait reasserting itself after the tampering and suppression that their people suffered under the Red Demogogue and his anti-urfolk pogroms.

They also tend to have powerfully flexible tails that they can prop themselves up on like a third leg, though many prefer to use a stool as it lets them slap passersby with their tails when they get a notion to do so.

Cultural Aspects
The Siluroi know rivers like other folk know roads, sidewalks or trails. They swim, pole their rafts, guide improbably jumbled houseboats along peculiar currents, and generally make a living for themselves out on the rivers irregardless and irrespective of anyone else's boundaries or claims. They tend not to concern themselves with formalities, aside from politeness and a healthy respect for other people's honest recounting of river-oriented experiences or a good, entertaining tall tale about something off-river. Siluroi are deeply enculturated in every kind, type and style of the blues, including a few forms known only to reclusive enclaves of minor urfolk out past the catchment parks and the filtration-bayous.

Biocultural cousins to the Lutrin, Siluroi troupes can be found rafting slowly along the rivers atop and within the Aqueducts of Xembor and throughout the drainfields, sloughs and canals that pass through the Dregs of Paleg and beyond. Siluroi ply the rivergates and Seagates in their deceptively rickety-looking rafts in pursuit of spiced grubs, gun powder snuff and suitable materials they use to concoct the most heinously-weird forms of home-brew and moonshine imaginable.

Siluroi blues bands tour throughout the River Networks, Tributary Gates,  and often get invited to obscure dives located in the most out-of-the-way locales imaginable, like within the Aquaducts of Xembor, or out amidst the Gas Giant Archipelagoes and even stranger places. They take to the vagabond, musician-nomad life very smoothly, almost as if it were in their blood.

3 comments:

  1. Any blind, albino, subterranean versions of these folk?

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  2. Really enjoying the ethnography posts, the Dezhu and Oodkan are especial faves. Sorry to lower the tone, but I can't hear the Siluroi speaking in anything other than French accents (Costeau casts a long shadow).

    As for "Gas Giant Archipelagoes": oh, wow! Riskail seems to shed - almost in passing - the kind of funky, evocative ideas that make for entire settings in their own right.

    "Don't touch anything! Don't look at anything! Give it the slightest chance and it'll forcibly insert itself into your sensorium and then unpack in a fractal manner, re-writing your neural structure as it goes. There's no telling what people inspired by this baroque madness could end up doing..."
    -- fragment from a lost review of "Riskail", recovered in the aftermath of the Netherwerks Event

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  3. @Trey:Actually yes, there are,but until Edgar & Johnny went on tour, no one believed it...

    @Chris: Thanks for the kind words--we appreciate the interest and the support.
    We have had a lot of fun running Dezhu in the past and are working on a scenario just for local conventions based upon a competition of Dezhu teams attempting to scale a particularly bad bit of terrain on a very exotic world. They have the chance of opening up a peculiar tomb, amongst other fun bits. Once we get to run this one, game session reports will follow.

    The Oodkan have been a favorite of our old Bazra-group...as a potential player-option, but they were rather stymied on more than one ocassion with Oodkan opponents who were able to use harsh words to damage them socially...a rather bizarre thing for any game in the Eighties to feature.

    The Siluroi do have amazingly flexible (almost prehensile in a way...) lips that would make Stephen Tyler jealous. They can imitate any accent they hear, and do amazingly cool things that other people need mouth harps or bottle to accomplish...and their default accent is fairly thick and definitely Cajunish French by way of the Pikeys from Snatch...unless you demonstrate some actual knowledge and affection for the Blues, then they speak cleanly, clearly and very knowledgeably...

    Talibarr is one of the Gas Giant Archipelagoes. That setting actually came about after we ended our run with Silver Griffin back in the late '80s. We'll have more details concerning Talibarr & the other Gas Giant Archipelagoes (how about 12 of them?) both here at Riskail and in time over at Talibarr...which is being developed as a Reference/Resource for Riskail. Rist starts out in Talibarr,for example, and we're in the process of finalizing some major revisions for the Riskail Fiction blog so that it better suits all of our worlds, not just one...no matter how important it might be at the moment...

    Love the review fragment. Absolutely love it.

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