Nostalgia: The Nomad Fleet Dev Diary – Episode 7
Welcome back, everybody! In Dev Diary #6 we covered three of Nostalgia: The Nomad Fleet’s playable races: Humana, Anima, and Fulgor. Today we’ll discover the remaining races, which happen to be the weirdest of all the creatures that boarded (or originated) on the Arks. So c’mon, let’s get started with:
NON-EL (no plural form)
The Non-El race is one of the most unique on the Nomad Fleet and their origins belong to the Earth as well as Humana’s. The Non-El are humanoids similar in size to a Humana but with translucent skin that reveals the veins, muscles, and bones beneath. Their disturbing appearance reflects on their condition, because these beings live a life of torment, suffering from migraines, insomnia, night terrors, and chronic pain. To their credit, the Non-El have learned to accept their fate and mitigate their torment in order to competently pursue their common duties. However, their predicament has seen them pursue opposite paths: some have become wise and self-disciplined while others have embraced anger and recklessness.
Over the centuries, the Non-El have developed pain relief techniques for abating their own pain and others’ pain as well. This skill has afforded them a social role on the Fleet as healers. For this reason they wear white robes with big black stripes to differentiate themselves.
Besides their ability to heal themselves (known as Inner Spiral) and others (Specular Spiral), the Non-El possess several other remarkable abilities, including the power to modify a person’s thoughts and memories, and the ability to control a person’s body for a limited time. This exclusive gift, known as Coalescence, causes severe effects to the subject and his health: for example, a Non-El intervention will create open wounds on the subject’s skin, making deep, extended control potentially lethal. And for the user, Coalescence comes at a great cost in terms of concentration and stress.
The Non-El also have an innate Syntony which grants them direct access to the Anomalies with no need for Dream consumption. This is a feature they have in common with Animas, even though the latter possess far more Syntony than Non-El. That said, Non-El have an incredible power, an “ace in the hole” if you will, that no other race can match: the power to cheat death. In fact, they exhibit a kind of quasi-immortality because when they die, their body disappears and re-materializes anew minutes later. It’s unknown how many possible resurrections the Non-El are capable of; what is known is that it differs from subject to subject.
The last peculiar Non-El feature is called the Oblivion Wave – a progressive, irreversible, complete memory loss. In spite of their extraordinarily long lives, all Non-El eventually forget who they’ve been: all of their struggles and suffering, all they’ve conquered and sacrificed, who they’ve fought, and who they’ve loved. This is why the Non-El lack any memory of Earth, even though many of them were on the Arks that first left the planet thousands of years ago.
Author’s Note: This is one of my favorite races in The Nomad Fleet because they come from the remote past, where the Nostalgia saga began. Their origin lies in the heart of the Ghost War, one of several epoch-forming events that forced humanity to board the Arks and leave Earth. The name Non-El derives from “Non-Living”, which is the name they were once called on Earth.
SEROII (plural Seroiis)
The Seroii are the Fleet’s youngest race, and their origin is unknown: one day they just appeared, lumbering forth from hidden places with no memory of their past. In fact, no one has ever witnessed a Seroii birth.
Complex experiments have confirmed the Seroiis as an artificial species, though no one knows who/what created them. Their skin is made of ceramic tissue and their internal organs float in a dense, purplish liquid, called Liquis, which is the equivalent of a vertebrate’s skeleton. Seroii are short (5ft) and gray, and their heads are surrounded by a wide bone crest. Their bodies and this crest are adorned with natural carvings which help distinguish one Serioii from another, since there are no other noticeable differences.
Seroiis have no sexual variants, and their sex is unspecified because they lack genitalia. Not surprisingly, their reproductive cycle is most unusual: when a Seroii dies, another simply appears somewhere in the Fleet. A “newborn” Seroii “arrives” fully developed both physically and psychologically, with an abnormally broad range of basic skills.
Although their strange appearance can be intimidating, Seroiis are meek and not usually prone to violence. Thanks to their uncommon intellectual capability and eidetic memory, they have taken roles as counselors or wise men in most of the Fleet’s societies, though some of them lead far more dangerous lives.
A Seroii’s life expectancy is very short compared to the Fleet’s other races, and due to their artificial nature they know exactly when their functions will cease. This prescience doesn’t scare the Seroii – instead, they use it as motivation for their activities and purpose, carefully planning their lives and wasting no time in service to the Fleet community. A Seroii eagerly and relentlessly strives for social improvement, a passion which at times renders them less friendly than usual. For a Seroii, the ends always justify the means.
Even though they’re not strong, durable, or possessed of lengthy lifespans, the Seroiis have an organ that raises them above many others: their brain. Besides their extraordinary mnemonic and cognitive abilities, a Seroii can utilize Distributed Thinking, which is the ability to link several Seroiis’ minds to achieve greater potential in terms of calculation and intellectual capacity. Moreover, a Seroii can obtain new skills and ideas through this technique, but only for a while since this “borrowed knowledge” is allocated via a random access memory that will be overwritten with future data. For a Seroii, accessing this power is only possible if other Seroiis are nearby (though close proximity/contact isn’t required).
This mysterious race’s final gift is their ability to activate the Relics – powerful technologies conceived by the Arks’ creators. Also, though the Seroiis are immune to the direct effect of the Anomalies, they cannot access them.
Author’s Note: I like this race as much as the Non-El because of their unknown origin and because their lifespan encourages them to fearlessly fight for the future. And of course I like them because of Mack Sztaba’ awesome design, which is really amazing!
(Fun fact: one of the references we gave Mack for the Seroii race was Dragonball’s Freeza :))
STIGMA (plural Stigmas)
The Stigma race is a direct product of Humana’s sins. A Stigma is born of a Humana couple if the mother or the father (or both) are Dreamers, which mean they either drink Dream regularly or consumed it right before conception. In these cases, the unborn is exposed to and corrupted by the influence of the Aura Spirits, entities entwined with the Aura energy. Babies touched by these Spirits are called Stigma (“mark”, in ancient Greek) and appear dark-skinned and scrawny. A Stigma’s childhood is relatively benign, but during puberty their curse becomes stronger. A suffocating sensation of fear, oppression, and disgust overcomes those who stare into their eyes. What starts as an uncomfortable feeling soon turns to terror, followed by a descent into blind fury and homicidal tendencies. Not surprisingly, a Stigma’s eyes are a big deterrent to social acceptance and a key reason why many don’t survive their teens, since murder at the hands of neighbours or relatives is common. Even a Stigmas’ mother can’t stare into her child’s eyes for too long.
At first, the Stigma Curse seemed a death sentence for these children, since they would likely die before reaching adolescence. But they survived thanks to a faction called The Masks, a large organization devoted to curing those infected with Aurora – an untreatable, contagious, lethal disease. The Masks, whose members were all Aurora-infected, wore creepy masks in order to hide their Aurora symptoms – hence the name. The Masks soon discovered they could withstand the Stigma gaze, and they became the saviors and tutors of these unlucky children.
The Masks fed and educated the Stigmas until adulthood, whereupon the Stigmas reached their full potential as mystical beings split between the living world and the spirit world. In fact, an adult Stigma can shift into the Aura Sphere, a transcendent parallel reality. A Stigma who shifts into the Aura Sphere can turn invisible momentarily, travel fast across great distance, or heal minor injuries. These powers, and the fact that Stigmas were considerably healthier than the Aurora-affected, saw the Stigma eventually assume leadership of the Masks and change the group’s priorities through the ages.
Traditionally, a Stigma is raised by the Masks until puberty. At this point, a Stigma must choose a mask called an Eternal Facade. The chosen mask is the only one a Stigma can wear during their lifetime. A Stigma that loses or breaks its Eternal Facade will become a pariah, shunned by the Masks and forced to live hand to mouth.
Author’s Note: This is a cool race because of the Aura Sphere’s implications and its ability to make Stigmas swift, elusive, and potentially lethal. This is the last race we conceived and I thank God for the idea of perverting the Humana reproductive cycle with Aura Spirit intervention. If not for this, I’d be forced to revive the Space Bard race. Yikes!
Ok, so we’ve now covered all six playable races in Nostalgia: The Nomad Fleet. A recap for the lazy:
- Humana: Descendants of Earthly humans. Can control the power of the Keystones and access the Anomalies through Dream consumption. Humana are the most common race, and the ones who usually hold the power.
- Anima: A bio-engineered female race birthed in artificial wombs. They develop an obsessive bond with their master. Animas have an unparalleled Syntony level that grants them access to the most powerful Anomalies.
- Fulgor: A bio-engineered male race. They wear a large, heavy collar called an Ori, which operates as an artificial immune system and grants the Fulgor some extra features. However, the Ori must be regularly refilled with Aura. Fulgor are ugly, big, and mean. Very mean. Thank God they can’t access the Anomalies in any way.
- NON-EL: A spooky-looking race with incredible powers. They have natural access to Anomalies, are accomplished healers, can exercise mind/body control over other races, and are more or less immortal. However, their lives are very difficult and they will eventually lose all memory of their past.
- Seroii: A race of synthetic beings that are immune to the Anomalies but unable to access them. Their short-but-intense lives are dedicated to societal improvement. They are highly intelligent and have the power to control the Relics, the Fleet’s most ancient technologies.
- Stigma: The sullied spawn of Dreamers. The Stigmas can access the Aura Sphere, an ethereal, uncharted dimension. Their gaze fills other races with uncontrollable rage and terror, so Stigma conceal their faces with creepy masks.
The Fulcrum has fallen and the access doors between Levels are reopened. The multilayered world of Nostalgia: The Nomad Fleet awaits. Choose your race and take your first step into the unknown!
PS: the MONAD System Beta has started... for those who can read Italian. We're gathering precious feedback and will make sure the English translation (due sometime in 2016) integrates all the best suggestions and improvements.