Author Topic: The Origins of Species (In Shadow World)  (Read 617 times)

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Offline kyussopeth

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The Origins of Species (In Shadow World)
« on: April 01, 2024, 09:03:08 PM »
I've been a fan of Shadow World since the 2nd Atlas came out. One question came to mind immediately upon reading & assimilating the contents. Where did the races of Elves, Men, & others come from? I have three theories & I think they can't all be true. Since Terry is no longer with us I want to settle this, for my campaign & in my mind.

The 1st theory: They're all Althans. The Umli, Haid, Talath, Lydians. The Nomari, Iylari, Lugroki, & even Garks are the result of K'ta'viiri Genetic experimentation. This explains why the Elves & Human races can interbreed because their genes share a common root i.e. the Ancient people of Kulthea. The Lugroki, Garks & Nomari (as far as I can tell) cannot interbreed with Humans or Elves. I imagine these races were created as "servitor races" by the dark K'taviiri maybe even Kadaena herself. Therefore their genes were made incompatable with other Althan genetics. The Elves may have been attempts to raise the Althans up to become something greater. That is they were attempts at creating Essaence Lords. Failed experiments created by Althan science not ruthlessly destroyed, but allowed to live on quarantined by the Althans to keep them from contaminating the Althan Genome or to provide a samples for further testing/experimentation.

The 2nd theory: They're all aliens. All the Althans resembled the K'ta'viiri (e.g. they had six digits on their hands) & the Humans & Elves were brought to Kulthea by the Althans from other worlds both within the universe & from across the multiverse. Brought to Kulthea again as visitors, slaves, allies. Iylari could have been allies to the Duskwalkers in their war against Kadaena & after were stranded on Kulthea. This would to some extent explain Andraax's tendency to align with Elves, especially High Elves. The Ta-lairi are a result of the fact that these Elves come from a reality where such unions are possible. The Garks from some planet where they were the highest form of sapience (homo erectus of some alternate universe) brought to Kulthea as curiosities, pets, guard animals. The Lugroki summoned to Kulthea by the K'ta'viiri as the continents buckled during the war between Utha & Kadaena or far earlier during some other war. The Humans were brought from ancient earth for similar reasons as slaves, pets, soldiers, etc.

The 3rd Theory: They're Aliens or Althans brought into the world by rapid evolution or  the Lords of Orhan not the Lords of Essaence. After the great war that ended the 1st Era the Lords of Orhan carried off some of the survivors & sent some minor spirits from Orhan to heal the shattered world. This is what happened during the Interregnum. Who were these survivors? Althans apparently brought to Orhan some of whom were transformed by their proximity to the Lords of Orhan or by some union with the lesser spirits into the immortal Elves of Kulthea. The rest remained Human, while the Garks, Lugroki, & Nomari survived within the Ash Lairs or with the help of the returning Earth Wardens or the spirits of Orhan. The Nomari, Garks, and all the subterranean races evolved over the course of Millenia their evolution from the Althans accelerated by the hardships of the interregnum including the storms of raw essaence of incredible power acting as catalysts for rapid mutation/change. Therefore the genetics distance from the Althans saved by the Lords of Orhan & the subterranean races became so great that they no longer were part of the same species.

I prefer the 2nd theory because it's what I always assumed was the case since the early 90's. It also fits with things like the Aldari/Taranians. I own everything Terry wrote for Shadow World as well as every ICE publication for the Loremaster series & Shadow World & I found no definitive answer to this. However I think theory 1 or 3 actually fits the facts better.

Anyone else have a better answer or cool theory?


Offline MisterK

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Re: The Origins of Species (In Shadow World)
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2024, 01:04:08 PM »
I don't know if it's "better" (probably not) or "cool" (probably not either), but I think there are at least strong hints and at best evidence in canon that at least elves, and probably a number of other races, are actually former Althan slaves, and likely the result of gene-splicing. Most human races could be as well, though why they were so many ethnic groups is likely the result of local biases or usage of variant genetic stock. After all, the Althan were the masters of a galactic empire, so they could get genetic material from very different environments (including planar).

It's easy to explain the various sub-races with either variations in genetic source material or with creator bias.

It also, and that's one of my pet theories, explains nicely why scientific and technological progress on Kulthea post-First era is so slow: Althan did not need inventors, they needed servitor races, people who worked for them while they invented. The slaves' capability to perform their job was enhanced, but their creativity was inhibited, which, incidentally, also reduced the chance of slave revolt (especially for those who were assigned to menial labour). And, yes, the Althan had robots, but there is always some twisted sense of superiority in having sentient lifeforms serve, and given how they are described, I wouldn't put it past them to create servitor races just so that they could bask in their own superiority.

This does not mean that innovation is not possible. It only means it's less likely, and even long-lived or immortal races suffer from this "design feature".

As for whether the Althan used their own genetic material in their creations, I don't know. One part of me would say that they considered it blasphemy - after all, they *were* the master race. Another part of me would say that the K'Taa'Viiri would think themselves as superior to the common Althan, and could do it. One sure thing is that the Althan race is genetically compatible with some of their creations (though it might require genetic work once again), since part-K'Taa'Viiri do exist.

Offline kmanktelow

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Re: The Origins of Species (In Shadow World)
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2024, 02:00:49 PM »
I always thought that the Altha were the only native inhabitants of Kulthea - and the rest were all alien races enslaved by the Altha/K'ta'viiri who transplanted and genetically modified them to suit their whims/requirements.

The only thing I wondered about, is there a couple comments in various books about the Altha losing their immortality if they leave Kulthea and another comment that Dyari or Elves that follow the Unlife also, lose their immortality - which inclined me think that maybe the Elven races might have evolved on the Kulthea or, been deliberately modified to make them immortal.

Make of it what you will.....  :-D

Offline nash

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Re: The Origins of Species (In Shadow World)
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2024, 11:25:39 AM »
We know the "spirits of Orhan" (Naiads, Nymphs etc) were created by the Lords or Orhan.

I don't understand how any of the true immortal races could have come from elsewhere.  An evolutionary advntage that only triggers if you happen to live in one particular planet... seems weird.   Hence I assume they must be related to Althan's in someway or at least evolved on Kulthea.

Of course we know basically nothing about the three Interregnum civilisations - they may have been involved as well (or be one of them).

Offline B Hanson

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Re: The Origins of Species (In Shadow World)
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2024, 12:36:16 PM »
I put a few things down a few years back: https://ironcrown.co.uk/ICEforums/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=15879.0;attach=3411
www.RolemasterBlog.com
Other stuff I've written: https://tinyurl.com/yxrjjmzg
Files Uploaded: https://tinyurl.com/y47cfcrc

Offline kyussopeth

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Re: The Origins of Species (In Shadow World)
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2024, 07:34:33 PM »
Quote
I put a few things down a few years back: https://ironcrown.co.uk/ICEforums/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=15879.0;attach=3411

I like it