Shirren Host


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Was gonna make a Shirren character and was working on backstory when a thought hit me about their reproduction cycle: does the "host" have to be Shirren?

I was thinking of my character's host being Kasathas who was asked by a male and female Shirren to host the fertilized egg (backstory: Ma and Pa got with their bestie to make a baby to commensurate their friendship and bond among the three of them).

Since what is born is a tiny, worm-like larval, it shouldn't be too evasive like a Xenomorph, right? Or could it....hmmmm.

Thoughts?

In the end, gonna run it with GM for okay since it is GM that gets final say. But the possibilities lol Shirren could be like Asari from Mass Effect lol Any race can host but a little Shirren with some of the host's gene comes out :D


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A bit unorthodox, but I don't see why not.

Have fun!


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Since Host is a distinct Shirren sex, I'm pretty sure they have distinct reproductive biology. Think of the Male as contributing sperm, the Female as contributing eggs, and the Host providing a womb to grow the offspring.

That's not to say advanced medical science can't find ways to allow for non-Shirren hosts, but I don't think it's something they can do by default. Your game's Shirren don't necessarily have to work that way, of course.


The host also adds DNA somehow.


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There's really not any "somehow" involved in the host DNA process, if you just take a moment to adjust expectations. For a very off-the-cuff hand-waving explanation, Shirren could have not DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid, with a double helix structure), but essentially TNA (trioxy, etc, with a triple helix structure) - the 'male' is so marked because like a more familiar male, they provide their portion of the genetic material and at that point have no more biologically mandated role in reproduction. The 'female' provides her portion, and also provides the majority of the initial cell's mass. The 'host' in turn provides the third and final portion of TNA, as well as actually carrying the larvae to term.

That said, I think the Shirren move far enough away from basically everything else in the book to make the "close enough" handwave that fantasy races like elves implicitly have with humans rather less compelling. Genetic engineering and magic intervention could probably permit parents to jump such cross-species boundaries, but I certainly wouldn't think they can just do it normally.


Hmmm I imagine how the Swarm spread and grow in the most terrifying way, which would be very similar to Xenomorphs or like Tyranids from WH40K with their reproduction using any biological contirbution for the species, voluntarily or involuntary *shrugs* Still gonna get GM approval and run the thought with him.

Ja. I think if Shirren were to use another species as a host, they would still prominently appear Shirren, but have subtle semblance of the host (similar to Asari in Mass Effect). Was gonna have my character lack the "option junkie" trait and become more aloof when it comes to choices. Could be the upbring (since the Kasathas character will be raising it) or maybe their neurotransmitter has altered enough where they don't get the pleasurable sensation from choice. Nature vs Nurture :D

Dark Archive

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I posted this in another thread as an example of how I think a non-Shirren host might work.

Marcel and Ralzbix have been partners in the Stewards for a while. During their many adventures, they've grown closer and even though they are different species, the sexual tension is undeniable.

Eventually, Ralzbix has Marcel over for dinner and introduces him to his wife, Heljynne. They all get along fantastically and marcel is surprised by how intimate he can be with the both of them. Soon, they discuss becoming a mated set and have a child.

Marcel is initially reluctant, but soon realizes that he loves Ralzbix and Heljynne and wants to spend the rest of his life with them. The three are joined in a traditional Hylaxian wedding (Marcel converted). Even Marcel's grumpy parents admit that it's a lovely ceremony.

Luckily, Heljynne is a Scholar and a doctor, and having thought about it, has figured out a way to make this work. She and Ralzbix will deposit their egg and seed into an ovation chamber, which Marcel will be tasked with tending and protecting.

Marcel takes his duty very seriously. He makes sure to process the nutrient mix at all the right times (even though it's something that can be automated, all of the set agree it's best for the child if Marcel puts in the effort), and performs the traditional Shirren vocal ceremonies with the help of Wand of Share Language.

The three of them know that their arrangement is more than a little strange to both Human and Shirren, but in the end, they're happy and that's what is really important.


evilnerf wrote:

I posted this in another thread as an example of how I think a non-Shirren host might work.

Marcel and Ralzbix have been partners in the Stewards for a while. During their many adventures, they've grown closer and even though they are different species, the sexual tension is undeniable.

Eventually, Ralzbix has Marcel over for dinner and introduces him to his wife, Heljynne. They all get along fantastically and marcel is surprised by how intimate he can be with the both of them. Soon, they discuss becoming a mated set and have a child.

Marcel is initially reluctant, but soon realizes that he loves Ralzbix and Heljynne and wants to spend the rest of his life with them. The three are joined in a traditional Hylaxian wedding (Marcel converted). Even Marcel's grumpy parents admit that it's a lovely ceremony.

Luckily, Heljynne is a Scholar and a doctor, and having thought about it, has figured out a way to make this work. She and Ralzbix will deposit their egg and seed into an ovation chamber, which Marcel will be tasked with tending and protecting.

Marcel takes his duty very seriously. He makes sure to process the nutrient mix at all the right times (even though it's something that can be automated, all of the set agree it's best for the child if Marcel puts in the effort), and performs the traditional Shirren vocal ceremonies with the help of Wand of Share Language.

The three of them know that their arrangement is more than a little strange to both Human and Shirren, but in the end, they're happy and that's what is really important.

Damn. There goes by idea. *goes to rewrite history* lol


I imagine that implicit in this arrangement is some measure of genetic engineering to provide the genes that a host would normally supply as well, and that it is not explicitly mentioned merely as an oversight. The host is not just providing incubation, after all, but also their own considerable genetic contribution.


Why can't the engineering occur naturally? It is mentioned in the Swarm section that they mastered some control of their genetics to make living ships and weapons.

Dark Archive

Yeah, that makes sense. In my scenario, this could be done via donor DNA, or some kind synthetic genetic blend that is applied by the chamber.


I imagine the mating arms are where the cells are deposited into the host. Essentially the mating arms are their genitals (thus the taboo of using them) and the embryo grows in the host like a benevolent parasite...like real babies :D When matured enough, the ooze out of the location of implantation like those larvae from those botfly :D it ain't pretty, but neither is natural birth lol


evilnerf wrote:
Yeah, that makes sense. In my scenario, this could be done via donor DNA, or some kind synthetic genetic blend that is applied by the chamber.

That's probably good enough. After all, I wouldn't want us to walk away from this with critical misunderstandings of a fictional species and its reproductive process!

Which is the point I was getting at, Maku, if that's not clear now - whatever stance you take on whether Shirren naturally can reproduce with foreign species, the host is still contributing their genetics to the child. In evilnerf's example as written, Marcel is merely tending an artificial ovation chamber. A far cry from being a proper host, if he's not giving his third of the genetics!

Dark Archive

Well... personally, when I think of a Host, I like to think of it as not just someone who contributes DNA or carries the baby. It's more like of two members of the same sex have a baby in real life. Sure there may be science, surrogacy, or donors involved, but they are still the mothers, or fathers, or in this case, Hosts. The stuff I was thinking is mainly ritualistic, but it's meant to concrete the role of Marcel as a parent.


Hithesius wrote:
evilnerf wrote:
Yeah, that makes sense. In my scenario, this could be done via donor DNA, or some kind synthetic genetic blend that is applied by the chamber.

That's probably good enough. After all, I wouldn't want us to walk away from this with critical misunderstandings of a fictional species and its reproductive process!

Which is the point I was getting at, Maku, if that's not clear now - whatever stance you take on whether Shirren naturally can reproduce with foreign species, the host is still contributing their genetics to the child. In evilnerf's example as written, Marcel is merely tending an artificial ovation chamber. A far cry from being a proper host, if he's not giving his third of the genetics!

lol I know :D but the scientific use of genetic engineering via a device made the idea less sexy ;) Less touching and wonders of child/larvae birth :D Either way, fluids are swapped and genes are spliced and diced lol


Oh, from a social and psychological perspective, he'd certainly still be a parent - my nitpicking here has been strictly in terms of the biological, not anything else. So far as the other aspects are concerned, Marcel is still... something.

What does one call a host? We have 'father' and 'mother' as terms, but we're rather lacking anything to match the introduction of a third to the arrangement. Are they simply 'host?' 'Parent?' It's a terribly open question...


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Given that the roles of male and female are so similar (as they both mate with the host), I would say that a Shirren has a host mother, a male father, and a female father.

Only the host really cares about the difference between male and female, as reproduction seems to require the host to mate with one and then the other within a relatively short period of time. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of male and female Shirren requiring the aid of a host just to identify a suitable third partner for their trios.


Hithesius wrote:

Oh, from a social and psychological perspective, he'd certainly still be a parent - my nitpicking here has been strictly in terms of the biological, not anything else. So far as the other aspects are concerned, Marcel is still... something.

What does one call a host? We have 'father' and 'mother' as terms, but we're rather lacking anything to match the introduction of a third to the arrangement. Are they simply 'host?' 'Parent?' It's a terribly open question...

I think they settled on "they" and "them" on another thread about pronoun usage lol

As fer biology, I love the TNA idea. Another idea I was dwelling on is that the host cells are treated like recessive genes into the mix via some unusual biological transgensis that Shirren cells have. *shrugs* Gives an opportunity for some odd inheritance down the generation like a Shirren with four arms suddenly appearing or a more humanoid appearing Shirren >.> Maybe a Shirren with a developed taste for conquering planets lol

Dark Archive

Hithesius wrote:

Oh, from a social and psychological perspective, he'd certainly still be a parent - my nitpicking here has been strictly in terms of the biological, not anything else. So far as the other aspects are concerned, Marcel is still... something.

What does one call a host? We have 'father' and 'mother' as terms, but we're rather lacking anything to match the introduction of a third to the arrangement. Are they simply 'host?' 'Parent?' It's a terribly open question...

At least one Host has gone by "They" in fiction. However, I imagine they sometimes identify as male or female.


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Call me old-fashioned, but am I the only one who doesn't really like the idea of undergoing surgery to gestate the child of another species?


No, no, that's not the question - the pronoun issue is settled, so far as I'm concerned. But what is the term for the role of the host in parenting? You have father, mother, and... what? Are they just 'host' here? Are they just 'parent' here?

Pronouns can be and have been handled - we have gender-neutral sets, and we've been implicitly told which to use for hosts. Parental terminology is different, because we don't by default have a third to go with father and mother. That is the lexical gap I'm puzzling over. Maybe it's 'host!' Maybe it's 'parent.' Or maybe it's some other term that may or may not actually ever be introduced - it's not stated, which leaves us to figure it out on our own.


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Sandal Fury wrote:
Call me old-fashioned, but am I the only one who doesn't really like the idea of undergoing surgery to gestate the child of another species?

That's soooo pre-Gap thinking. Get with the times and excrete yer alien child with love and tenderness.

Dark Archive

Well, it might be a cheat to say they have a word, its just not one that can be said vocally and only telepathically.


I definitely wont be allowing shirren to have non-shirren parents in my games unless outsiders are involved.


Hithesius wrote:

No, no, that's not the question - the pronoun issue is settled, so far as I'm concerned. But what is the term for the role of the host in parenting? You have father, mother, and... what? Are they just 'host' here? Are they just 'parent' here?

Pronouns can be and have been handled - we have gender-neutral sets, and we've been implicitly told which to use for hosts. Parental terminology is different, because we don't by default have a third to go with father and mother. That is the lexical gap I'm puzzling over. Maybe it's 'host!' Maybe it's 'parent.' Or maybe it's some other term that may or may not actually ever be introduced - it's not stated, which leaves us to figure it out on our own.

They did mention in the entry that some broods have a "queen" they call mother. *shrugs* Guess it depends on your three way relationship and the gender of the host. My host was going to be referred as "father" since he is a male Kasathas. It ain't gay if it's a three way...>.>

Silver Crusade

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The thing I'm really struggling with here is that Paizo used very poor labels for Shirren genders to start with. The gender they label 'male' is male as we understand that for humans, i.e. providing genetic material only. The gender Paizo labelled 'female' is also serving a male role of providing genetic material. It's the one they label 'host' that actually has a female role. Female in humans is much more about providing a womb than it is genetic material.


In humans, sure :) In seahorses, males carry the baby. Carrying the baby isn't what defines male or female. It is what is being genetically offered into the reproduction (male provides sperm and females provide an egg) that defines gender. In Shirren, the host also provides genetic material, thus is a "third" gender within their race.

However, I proposed the host not being of the same species :) If a male human is carrying the child, he would still be a male despite carrying the child. Like the seahorse.


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But seahorses evolved on Earth, where male and female gametes have well defined characteristics. When dealing with aliens like the Shirren, we would be on much shakier ground.

In fact, I am pretty sure that we would describe a male seahorse as "female" if we were unable to look at and identify what type of gametes they contributed to their children.


The female of a binary species is the one that contributes the ovum. Female humans are more than incubators; they contribute 50% of genetic material. Theirs just comes preinstalled in the egg, that's all.


Re: swarm, I think of the Hosts as being able to host for any species in the swarm if their numbers need to increase quickly. So it might be more reasonable to have two non-shirren parents and a shirren host parent.


lol I kneew I should of paid more attention in xenobiology in school :)

Perhaps tying binary species term to a tetra-gender species is where our problem lies? Or maybe what we consider the definition of gender in a biological sense?

We know two Shirren is used to provide the initial eggs and sperm (which by the way the book has it written, this seems more familiar with fly reproduction versus human). Then a host incubates the fertilized eggs while adding their own genetic material. I think knowing how this fertilized egg(s) is incubated would clear it all up. Does this host Shirren have special body parts to be a host or is hosting more similar to that of the Xenomorphs of Aliens (perhaps less fatal and explosive)?

What I pitch is inline with the Xenomorph-like hosting (parasitic) since I imagine the Swarm, which the Shirren are from, must breed quickly and efficiently to be this organic army that threatens the universe. *shrugs* Just my 2 credsticks :)


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Any species that uses other species as hosts in that manner would need to avoid having that host contribute any genetic material to the offspring, as each generation would then have an ever decreasing portion of its genetic material from the original species.

Silver Crusade

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Pfhoenix wrote:
The female of a binary species is the one that contributes the ovum. Female humans are more than incubators; they contribute 50% of genetic material. Theirs just comes preinstalled in the egg, that's all.

These words in English go back further than our current scientific understanding. In the Middle Ages, the most common theory was that males provided all the genetic material in making a baby (they did not phrase it that way, of course, but that's how it would translate) and then the female's role was to accept that baby into her body and nourish it and let it grow. (By the way, do not use the term 'incubator' for this, it's highly offensive). When we came to understand more about reproduction, we realized that the female was contributing an egg, also. However, that doesn't mean that the way to define female necessarily comes from that genetic contribution.

To put it another way, the Shirren have one member doing pretty much the same thing as a male human in reproduction. We can all agree to call that member male. The human female part is split among two members, and it's not at all clear which is 'primary' and the term female should go with.

My own life experiences are influencing which side of this debate I come down on, of course. Contributing half of the genetic material to my children, well yes, I know that happened. However, than intellectual knowledge can't compare to the feelings of each of those children moving inside my body, interacting with me. Or to the experience of my body changing as those children grew. I experienced my 'female-ness' much more in this way than in my genetic contribution.


David knott 242 wrote:

Any species that uses other species as hosts in that manner would need to avoid having that host contribute any genetic material to the offspring, as each generation would then have an ever decreasing portion of its genetic material from the original species.

What if the Shirren genes are dominant over the hosts? Indeed, constant cross breeding would dilute the gene pool...but that's with Earth creatures. Shirren's genetic biology might have 5 or more chemical bases that allow this subtle diversification without diluting the main genetic chemical bases that define a Shirren.

Dark Archive

Well, I think Paizo is probably going to leave the actual mechanics to our own imaginations. Probably a good move given the directions this thread has gone.

My assumption (and this is based more on simplicity than anything else) is that the male produces some kind of spermium, the female produces some kind of egg (or eggs?). Neither of them are capable of gestation, so they are placed in the Host, and the Host catalyzes the fertilization process and gestation.

If I had someone who wanted to play a pregnant female Shirren, I'd just add one more step: the fertilized egg can then be deposited in the female for gestation once the fertilization has been catalyzed.

No matter how it works though, I think in Shirren society, it's much more than just depositing genetics or gestation. I imagine the Host is just as much as of a parent as the others, with traditions, and a family role of their own.


The word "ovum" is literally Latin for "egg". It doesn't matter what non-scientific ideas people had in the middle-ages. The Female of a species is the one that creates/contributes the egg. How much you "experienced your female-ness" is irrelevant. The term "incubator" cannot be offensive unless you think of yourself that way, since the point I was making was that female humans are NOT incubators.


lol Paizo has opened a can of worms when it comes to Xenobiology, so they better make some answers *shakes fists into the sky*

Also, it is mentioned that Brood queens are seen as mothers in those circles. *shrugs*

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Pfhoenix wrote:

The word "ovum" is literally Latin for "egg". It doesn't matter what non-scientific ideas people had in the middle-ages. The Female of a species is the one that creates/contributes the egg. How much you "experienced your female-ness" is irrelevant. The term "incubator" cannot be offensive unless you think of yourself that way, since the point I was making was that female humans are NOT incubators.

The point I am making is that the terms 'female' came into being as a term for the one who had a baby grow and develop in her womb. It wasn't until later that science realized 'You know what? A female contributes genetic material, too!' but the word didn't change meaning then.

And incubator as the term for a human being growing another human being in her womb is highly offensive. She is not a machine, but rather a human being participating in the making of another human being. By your reasoning, a woman who becomes pregnant by in-vitro fertilization using a donated egg should be called an 'incubator,' and I find it hard to believe that anyone would argue such an unfeeling and offensive thing.


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MakuTheDark wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:

Any species that uses other species as hosts in that manner would need to avoid having that host contribute any genetic material to the offspring, as each generation would then have an ever decreasing portion of its genetic material from the original species.

What if the Shirren genes are dominant over the hosts? Indeed, constant cross breeding would dilute the gene pool...but that's with Earth creatures. Shirren's genetic biology might have 5 or more chemical bases that allow this subtle diversification without diluting the main genetic chemical bases that define a Shirren.

Dominance of Shirren genes over non-Shirren genes would only delay the visible result of the process, not end it. Eventually, there will be pairings that for a given gene pair provide no Shirren gene that can suppress either of the non-Shirren genes present there. It is not a matter of Earth vs. non-Earth genetics -- when every mating involves a host of a different species that contributes a full share of genetic material, the proportion of genetic material from the original species will inevitably decline to nothing over enough generations.

If you remove the host's genetic contribution to the next generation, then the species can use any sufficiently compatible species for its parasitic reproduction cycle.


Redelia wrote:
Pfhoenix wrote:

The word "ovum" is literally Latin for "egg". It doesn't matter what non-scientific ideas people had in the middle-ages. The Female of a species is the one that creates/contributes the egg. How much you "experienced your female-ness" is irrelevant. The term "incubator" cannot be offensive unless you think of yourself that way, since the point I was making was that female humans are NOT incubators.

The point I am making is that the terms 'female' came into being as a term for the one who had a baby grow and develop in her womb. It wasn't until later that science realized 'You know what? A female contributes genetic material, too!' but the word didn't change meaning then.

And incubator as the term for a human being growing another human being in her womb is highly offensive. She is not a machine, but rather a human being participating in the making of another human being. By your reasoning, a woman who becomes pregnant by in-vitro fertilization using a donated egg should be called an 'incubator,' and I find it hard to believe that anyone would argue such an unfeeling and offensive thing.

I think ye missed his point...

@David: Unbreakable chemical base chains could be found within the Shirren genetic material that ensures a Shirren is always born from the union. Why? BECAUSE SCIENCE...fiction >.> lol


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But the genetic contribution of the host is an unnecessary complication if parasitic reproduction is the goal. By default, the hosts in such situations in real life contribute no genetic material to the offspring, so the process works.

I suppose that it is possible that a species frequently used as a parasitized host species might evolve a way to pass some of its genes to the offspring, but the non-host species would be just as likely to evolve a method to prevent that from happening.

Since the basic purpose of evolution seems to be to provide a way for DNA or other genetic material to create more copies of itself, anything that interferes with that happening is strongly selected against. So a parasitized host contributing to the genes of the embedded parasites makes about as much sense as corporeal beings naturally evolving into energy beings with no physical genetic material.


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David knott 242 wrote:

But the genetic contribution of the host is an unnecessary complication if parasitic reproduction is the goal. By default, the hosts in such situations in real life contribute no genetic material to the offspring, so the process works.

I suppose that it is possible that a species frequently used as a parasitized host species might evolve a way to pass some of its genes to the offspring, but the non-host species would be just as likely to evolve a method to prevent that from happening.

Since the basic purpose of evolution seems to be to provide a way for DNA or other genetic material to create more copies of itself, anything that interferes with that happening is strongly selected against. So a parasitized host contributing to the genes of the embedded parasites makes about as much sense as corporeal beings naturally evolving into energy beings with no physical genetic material.

What if the Pact Worlds have seen such a result of a parasitic creature evolving due to the host's genetics? *cough*Shirren's independance from the Hive mind*cough*

Also how would a species evolve a way to prevent a method of becoming a host? The Swarm, if parasitic in terms of reproduction, may not leave living hosts during the birthing process, like how some wasps use roaches as incubators. In the end, the host is dead.

However, we come to our Shirren, who though originated from the Swarm, may have changed their reproduction process much like how they changed their neurotransmitters and connection to the Swarm Hive mind.

In the end, tis all theorycraft.


Perhaps the host's contribution works like mitochondrial DNA or viruses.

Another idea is that two of the three contribute 1/4 of the DNA and the third contributes half. Pick any one of the three sexes to be the one that contributes half, but it's probably constant for the whole species. Natural selection might not readily produce such creatures, but mad science or gods could.

EDIT: 1/3 1/3 1/3 could probably use the same mechanics as 1/2 1/4 1/4.


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MakuTheDark wrote:
Sandal Fury wrote:
Call me old-fashioned, but am I the only one who doesn't really like the idea of undergoing surgery to gestate the child of another species?
That's soooo pre-Gap thinking. Get with the times and excrete yer alien child with love and tenderness.

Perhaps shirren larvae don't initially gestate in a womb or marsupial-ish pouch, but instead via myiasis (don't google this) like botflys (don't google this either)? That might explain why Chk Chk rides around in his jar; Chk Chk has outgrown the host but still has an instar (or more) to grow until he's more self-ambulatory/self-sufficient? Implanting multiple larvae into unwilling hosts could be part of why the Swarm spread so quickly and are so feared.

Edit: On the other hand, a non-shirren humanoid acting as a host for a shirren larva is such a manner could likely be left with a distinctive scar. Such a scar would indicate to other shirren that this humanoid could even be trusted with other shirrens' most precious offspring, and thus, the mark act as badge of deep honor.


Sir RicHunt Attenwampi wrote:
MakuTheDark wrote:
Sandal Fury wrote:
Call me old-fashioned, but am I the only one who doesn't really like the idea of undergoing surgery to gestate the child of another species?
That's soooo pre-Gap thinking. Get with the times and excrete yer alien child with love and tenderness.

Perhaps shirren larvae don't initially gestate in a womb or marsupial-ish pouch, but instead via myiasis (don't google this) like botflys (don't google this either)? That might explain why Chk Chk rides around in his jar; Chk Chk has outgrown the host but still has an instar (or more) to grow until he's more self-ambulatory/self-sufficient? Implanting multiple larvae into unwilling hosts could be part of why the Swarm spread so quickly and are so feared.

Edit: On the other hand, a non-shirren humanoid acting as a host for a shirren larva is such a manner could likely be left with a distinctive scar. Such a scar would indicate to other shirren that this humanoid could even be trusted with other shirrens' most precious offspring, and thus, the mark act as badge of deep honor.

That was exactly what I was thinking!

Dark Archive

Sir RicHunt Attenwampi wrote:
MakuTheDark wrote:
Sandal Fury wrote:
Call me old-fashioned, but am I the only one who doesn't really like the idea of undergoing surgery to gestate the child of another species?
That's soooo pre-Gap thinking. Get with the times and excrete yer alien child with love and tenderness.

Perhaps shirren larvae don't initially gestate in a womb or marsupial-ish pouch, but instead via myiasis (don't google this) like botflys (don't google this either)? That might explain why Chk Chk rides around in his jar; Chk Chk has outgrown the host but still has an instar (or more) to grow until he's more self-ambulatory/self-sufficient? Implanting multiple larvae into unwilling hosts could be part of why the Swarm spread so quickly and are so feared.

Edit: On the other hand, a non-shirren humanoid acting as a host for a shirren larva is such a manner could likely be left with a distinctive scar. Such a scar would indicate to other shirren that this humanoid could even be trusted with other shirrens' most precious offspring, and thus, the mark act as badge of deep honor.

The only problem with this (besides it being incredibly disturbing, and way too dark for a Starfinder game, imo) is that Host is distinctly it's own sex. If this was part of their reproductive cycle, then they wouldn't need to develop a 3rd sex, they would just require Male, female and one of anything else.


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evilnerf wrote:
Sir RicHunt Attenwampi wrote:
MakuTheDark wrote:
Sandal Fury wrote:
Call me old-fashioned, but am I the only one who doesn't really like the idea of undergoing surgery to gestate the child of another species?
That's soooo pre-Gap thinking. Get with the times and excrete yer alien child with love and tenderness.

Perhaps shirren larvae don't initially gestate in a womb or marsupial-ish pouch, but instead via myiasis (don't google this) like botflys (don't google this either)? That might explain why Chk Chk rides around in his jar; Chk Chk has outgrown the host but still has an instar (or more) to grow until he's more self-ambulatory/self-sufficient? Implanting multiple larvae into unwilling hosts could be part of why the Swarm spread so quickly and are so feared.

Edit: On the other hand, a non-shirren humanoid acting as a host for a shirren larva is such a manner could likely be left with a distinctive scar. Such a scar would indicate to other shirren that this humanoid could even be trusted with other shirrens' most precious offspring, and thus, the mark act as badge of deep honor.

The only problem with this (besides it being incredibly disturbing, and way too dark for a Starfinder game, imo) is that Host is distinctly it's own sex. If this was part of their reproductive cycle, then they wouldn't need to develop a 3rd sex, they would just require Male, female and one of anything else.

But what if they evolved to have to a third gender for this purpose? When the Shirren broke away from the Swarm, I imagine where they were left didn't have much choice of hosts since the Swarm already swept by. Thus a third gender was created to make up for the lack of a host. As generations passed, the birthing process became less violent and fatal to what it is now. *shrugs* Once more, speculation with rampant imagination going :)


If they could just use anything as a host then they could use male and females of their own species, it'd be really dumb.


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Milo v3 wrote:
If they could just use anything as a host then they could use male and females of their own species, it'd be really dumb.

Doing so would prevent the needed genetic diversification to breed a healthy Shirren? Maybe the host provides an essential third catalyist that a male and female can't provide for proper gestation? Why don't they have just two genders for reproduction?

It seems to me that having a third gender, while interesting, would be inefficient in breeding unless it stems from some form of reproduction method that required a need for a third gender, such as a host. *shurgs*


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I don't think the "Host" gender is intended to be another female (or male) Shirren or a female or male of any other race either. From what I understand from reading the CRB, the "host" gender is unlike the male and female genders entirely. The shirren are bug people, so think of an Ant or Bee colony. You have drones and workers, and a Queen. The Queen is unlike drones and workers entirely. I think that is what the host gender is intended to be like. A matriarch of some sort, and for all we know a single host may incubate dozens or even hundreds of larvae at a time. The host may not even look like a typical male or female shirren and could be an order of magnitude larger even!

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