Fuzzies, Not FurbiesEdit
I have been playing a Demarian for almost four years now, and there are players who have managed more dynamic Demarians for even longer periods of time. It is a testament to the character of a race that I can play Silvereye for as long as I have and not grow bored with him or his race. To each action that I feel he would take I have to consider the ‘Demarian Factor’, the essential Demarian quality attached to his psyche. Each alien race has to deal with this, and understanding that factor is key in playing a convincing nonhuman. In my time at Otherspace, I have had a lot of potential Demarians come to me and ask, or I prod them to ask, questions about the race. There is a huge wealth of information that exists about Demarians, though I am afraid the majority of it only exists in the memory of players who have been with their Demarians for some time now and have a good concept of what the race is. I hope to answer a few of the questions I get about Demarians, their history, their relations, and their physical attributes here.
Get This Walking Carpet Out of My FaceEdit
Let us start at the bottom of my list. Demarians are one of the easiest races in OS to picture but also one of the more difficult to manipulate, not because anything is lacking but because a Demarian has so much to keep track of physically when posing. Long story short, Demarians are giant cats that walk on two legs – that is not to imply that they are cat-people (emphasis being on ‘people’ as humans; feline mannerisms add a little spice to Demarian poses) or similar to the cat-girls you see on anime programs. That is the fundamental rule of the Demarians, the concept that any potential Demarian has to overcome and that every veteran Demarian has to keep in mind: DEMARIANS ARE NOT HUMANS WITH FUR. It sounds obvious, but it is always a good maxim to keep in mind when RPing a Demarian. Physicality is a large part of the Demarian’s life and the most material tool you have when RPing a Demarian, and when considering the looks of a Demarian, it must be understood that it is what is underneath that makes a Demarian truly Demarian.
With that out of the way, let us examine the more obscure points of Demarian physiology. In the most simple sense, a Demarian is a cat on its hind legs, tail and all. That tail is pretty nice too, being that it is nearly prehensile. Any feline features you can think of you would probably find on a Demarian. Whiskers, feline ears, muzzle, teeth, (and my personal favorite) retractable claws are all common Demarian features. Observing any housecat for more than five seconds betrays the wealth of expressions that an enterprising RPer can create with these features, but that is for polishing up later. While the feline features are obvious, there are some things that are less obvious, yet no less important to constructing the image of your Demarian character.
First, is height. Demarians are surprisingly large creatures, with their average height being around seven feet. Most humans are not seven feet, so it is something to keep in mind when dealing with the smaller races. I often have to remind myself that Silvereye is really big, and it is fun to figure out the problems this would create on foreign worlds and even when dealing with other races. Second, is the issue of the mane. Obviously, Demarians are covered in thick fur, but it is not as apparent what that fur is like when you get towards the top of the head. This is an area where you can really get creative with your Demarian. There is no hard and fast rule on manes, so feel free to engineer a close cropped look or an actual mane. One thing to keep in mind is that the whole of the character is covered in this fur, which may lead to some consideration on your part when deciding where the hair grows from, since it could literally come from almost any area on and around the head.
Third is for the ladies. I am surprised that I have never seen this little factoid on any Demarian info blurb on the website or on the MUSH; it always has to come out in a discussion. Demarian females do not have human breasts. If we follow feline physiology as a guide, they have a fairly pronounced breast bone but actual breasts are not a Demarian feature. Again, think like a cat. Demarian females have teats on their lower abdomen that serves the same purpose. It is cool to be different.
The Great Foot DebateEdit
Is over. For a long time, there was a question among Demarian players if their race was plantigrade (having human-like feet) or digitigrade (having cat-like feet with the raised heel). The biggest difference is that, in the first, you have the whole foot to accept your weight, and in the second, you are standing on your toes. The main argument was over balance, to see if a bipedal creature could really walk, jump, and generally be cat-like on digitigrade feet. The matter was settled when the Grand Poobah, Brody, ruled in favor of digitigrade.
What does this mean for your Demarian? Well, it means that you can throw out those sneakers you bought at Foot Locker. I hope you kept the receipt. But do not despair! For a digitigrade foot structure not only allows you to create whatever kind of unique footwear you want, but it also helps enable the physical feats that befit any feline. Crouching, running, and especially leaping, all get a boost from this design. Demarians are lighter on their feet and generally more physically agile than a human (not to mention the truism ‘always on your toes’ is a very literal fact in the case of the Demarian-Chalice). Digitigrade is a good thing, and not a cause for worry. At least we have it better than the Centaurans who I swear are suspended by puppet strings.
The Naked Ambition of DemariansEdit
Some people have asked me, and I used to wonder myself, why do Demarians need clothes? Chewbacca does not wear anything more than a bandolier, so why does Lightear Whinypants have to wear his whiny pants?
The truth is that they do not. Clothing has long been seen as simply a fashion symbol by Demarians. Clothing prevails in Demarian society mostly as a non-verbal statement of one’s ineffable fashion sense (and, indirectly, the socio-economic status needed to pull it off), for sheer practicality (pockets have been known to be useful on occasion), and as a nod toward societies that feel nakedness is taboo. (One should impress the nation one is about to conquer, not have their eyes boggle and wander where they should not.)
As a result, any kind of clothing goes; sarongs and kilts being among my personal favorites. If you are having trouble thinking up something snazzy for your Demarian to sport, then you can either join the militia and get a uniform or you can switch on the imagination and think to yourself: “What if clothes are not a necessity, and I do not have to buy pants just to have pants, nor shirts just to have something to cover my rippling chest…My clothing would do nothing more than be an extension of myself, just how I want to embellish what I have already got because, hey, I do not have to cover it all or follow conventions.” Think like that, and you are well on your way to acquiring the Demarian mindset.
The fact that Demarians wear clothing for fashion purposes alone (fur dying occurs as well, but is not as common or as easy) should start to give you an idea of the Demarian attitude towards material things. With this in mind, let us consider the earth cats again. Cats love to be comfortable; stretching, yawning, reclining on pillows and dining on fine foods. Now take this passion for luxury and give it sentience. Give it an imagination and a way of expressing that imagination. Now you are getting closer to the Demarian view of luxury. While generally renowned as fierce fighters and honorable creatures, Demarians take no negative view towards indulging in the luxurious lifestyle so long as it does not interfere with your duties, whatever they may be. Even then, there is some leniency. To get an idea about just how pervasive this is in Demarian society, take a stroll down Brightstar Boulevard. You will notice a bar named the Velvet Pillow, where the patrons literally lounge around on giant pillows while they eat. A little ways down you will find the New Alhiran Baths, a giant Romanesque bathing complex. Demarians are renowned as one of the most extravagant of races when it comes to decoration and luxury, and this is evidenced from the sprawling noble estates that the Demarian elites hold, down to the comforts that underclassers find necessary in their living spaces. Do not let this apparent materialism and passion for luxury fool you; Demarians are, by no means, soft creatures, and if threatened with loss of honor or the life of those they have a duty to protect, they would abandon their luxury and do what is necessary to protect their holdings. Otherwise, a Demarian will usually seek comfort if it is available.
Much That Once Was...Is LostEdit
To once again disregard the outline I provided in the opening, I am going to move on to what is the most daunting, but also most important concepts to grasp about Demarians. More than any other race except, perhaps, the Ungstiri, Demarians are defined by their past. Unfortunately, the essential points of Demarian history are often buried in logs or hidden away in giant timelines. I love the timeline in the e-zine and think everyone should read it, but I understand that not everyone shares my love of history and would rather just get the barebones story on what you need to know about OS history to play a Demarian. However, there is more than what is presented here in this guide to Demarian history, and again I encourage all prospective Demarians to read it. As for the barebones history, here is what you need to know:
2089. The Battle of Opposing Suns. This is the earliest date offered on OS about Demarians, and it is one of the most important. In this year, Altheor, the greatest Demarian hero, leads the Demarian Space Militia against the attacking Nall fleet. The Demarian fleet is nearly wiped out, save for Altheor’s flagship, the Honor Bound. He orders his engines overloaded and self-destructs his ship in the middle of the Nall fleet, devastating it. Impressed by this act of sacrifice, the leader of the Nall, the Vox, calls off the invasion of Demaria. We had proven our honorable character.
This date is important not just because it was when Demaria was spared from Nall occupation and won a great deal of pride (no one had ever resisted a Nall invasion before and kept their planet intact, and would not do so again for another nine hundred years), but because it was when the fundamental Demarian character was changed. You will notice that Altheor does not conform to the Demarian naming convention, because his sacrifice established the naming convention. Faced with such a noble sacrifice, Demarians began to rethink their lives, and came up with the current naming convention that reflected physical qualities in the first name and intangible qualities in the rite name. Understanding that mindset shift, and what it meant for the culture, is key to creating a Demarian character. Altheor is synonymous with honor, courage, and self-sacrifice. These are qualities that prevail in Demarian society up until its collapse.
Demarian society took its most radical turn in 2651 and the years just prior to that date. Demaria was a member of the Stellar Consortium, a body that united the various races of the free worlds together in a loose confederation to best serve the interests of the Orion Arm and to provide a common defense against the Nall Parallax. In the years and months leading up to 2651, Demaria was rocked by a series of scandals, each one undermining the Demarian leadership and faith in the Stellar Consortium.
Pridemaster Dawnfur Morningstar, in the wake of the Bright Horizon’s scandal that exposed considerable corruption in the Consortium leadership, attempted to seize power on Demaria by removing the world from the Consortium. This move was later rescinded, but then Imperator Dawnfur Morningstar could not escape his enemies and his habits – he had a human as an advisor and was believed to be doing business with Lord Fagin, the Pirate King. He was ousted by the greedy Senator Longsnout by legal means, who established rule of the noble Senate once again over Demarian affairs.
Longsnout was no better, if not worse, than Morningstar. He made deals with Lord Fagin to remove Morningstar in return for the liberation of one of his agents, Graeber Brenhault. With this done, Longsnout bombed the village of Pansheera, killing three hundred Demarians. He laid the blame on the Battleclaw ousted alongside Morningstar, Sharpeye Stargazer. Sharpeye later returned to Demaria and exposed Longsnout, removing him from power.
These scandals eroded Demarian faith in their leadership, especially since the evidence that condemned Longsnout also indicted the noble houses for their assent to the plot to bomb Pansheera. However, no one had time to pursue proper punishments or reestablish the government; the apocalypse was about to strike.
The Kretonian Invasion marked the end of modern civilization on Demaria for the next three hundred and fifty years. The Kretonians attacked the Orion Arm and its worlds after their homeworld was destroyed when a freak Otherspace drive malfunction from a Consortium vessel caused their star to go nova. When they came, they destroyed Demaria’s cities and enslaved its people. Demarians were put to work in the mines extracting their planet’s mineral wealth, but remained defiant up until the end of the occupation – an end which came too late, as the Nall swept across the Orion Arm in their genocidal revenge. Demarians were thought to have been exterminated, rendered extinct by their Kretonian oppressors.
So, Demarian civilization is gone and its creators assumed completely destroyed. How do we then have Demarians on the MUSH today? The answer is the Sanctuary colony vessel built by Oswald Cottington as a galactic lifeboat for the Kretonian invasion. Some ten thousand Demarians are estimated to have joined the voyage, and if you are a Demarian today, you will have been on Sanctuary. Sanctuary is how Demarians reentered the galactic arena, some three hundred and fifty years after they disappeared. The galaxy is a changed place; your world is devastated, and there is nothing resembling even the weak galactic unity that prevailed when you left. Your character would have lived through the early days when the threat of Kretonian occupation was very real and imminent, and Sanctuary was the only thing that saved the Demarian race and the lives of almost every Demarian on the MUSH today. These are the facts of the matter. What you as a player do with these facts is your decision; my purpose is to ensure that this knowledge is in your hands so that you can make an informed decision about your character and not be caught by surprise or cheated out of a piece of your character’s history. It is daunting, sometimes, to think what it would be like to know that everything you loved – in many cases, your family and friends – were destroyed while you survived. Every PC Demarian has to confront this fact. How they deal with it is a personal choice, whether it is a point of shame, or something buried in the past and a signal that it is time to move on.
When Sanctuary returned, 350 years later to the rest of the galaxy but only six months to its passengers, there was but one choice left to the Demarian psyche. Rebuild. Sharpeye Stargazer – a representative on Sanctuary, a former Battleclaw of the old Demarian order, and the individual largely responsible for unveiling Senator Longsnout’s treachery – established the colony of New Alhira.
It is a liberal place, where the old Demarian class systems which shall be discussed shortly are abolished. Feeling that what makes them Demarian was being sacrificed to so-called progress; the nobles removed themselves from New Alhira and established Gleaming Star, a rival conservative colony. They were led by the now deceased Stumppaw Sandwalker, a prickly mouthed and deeply proud Demarian. Tensions were high between the two colonies for a while, but with the revelation that a portion of the old Demarian society was preserved on a world beyond the Multiverse Nexus called Pansheera, Stumppaw decided to call it quits and migrated with Sanctuary to Pansheera where the noble order still rules. Unfortunately, the Nall intervene, and the Nobles do not make it. They are homeless in a galaxy that has moved past them, alienated at home and out of place abroad.
In early 3005 Demarians reasserted themselves as relevant to the galactic scene by resisting the invasion of the Nall during the OATO-Parallax War, coming to the aid of their Sivadian allies as the war opened, defending themselves against a direct Nall attack, and finally joining in a coalition fleet that laid siege to Nalhom and succeeded. Demarian morale would never have been higher after the victory in the war, but unfortunately the universe quickly stole that away.
Most recently, in the late summer of 3005, the villain Volari infected the Demarian population of New Alhira with the Advanced Thul Resequencing Virus. With the help of the Sivadian Public Health Service, the GMF Athena, the IND Jackal and the LDF Peacemaker the evacuation of over a thousand uninfected Demarians was coordinated. As they left Demarian Militia elements along with the Sivadian Royal Marines opened fire on a mob attempted to flee the city, resulting in massive riots that destroyed the Imperator’s House and presumably lynched the Imperator himself from a lamppost on Brightstar Boulevard. Snowmist Shadowstalker, his bondmate fled the city with the help of Tuftcheek, a warrior from the Pre-Kretonian period who had been frozen beneath the Sand Mother desert. She returned with the cure and found that Sharpeye Stargazer still lived. New Alhira exists now in a state of tense calm, the Imperator has made no moves to reclaim power overtly yet no one has challenged him either. The city continues to run because it has nothing else to do, and the once proud Demarian Militia is caught in the middle. This is important for all Demarians who lived in New Alhira because it pretty much exposed the weakness inherent in the city’s design and the fragility of the continued effort of Demarians to survive. Characters could be disillusioned with the response of the militia or see it as necessary, or more likely something inbetween.
The most important thing to take away from Demarian history is the weight of tradition and the sense of loss. Again, your character does not have to reflect these things in every single pose, or even every scene, but you should be aware of just how far Demarian civilization has fallen is such a short time. The choice to see the picture as bleak, filled with opportunity, or somewhere in between is up to you and a choice that Demarian players should make when considering what makes their character tick.
The House That Brakir BuiltEdit
Though it is not as pronounced in modern day Otherspace as it was in the past, I still receive a fair amount of questions dealing with just how Demarian society works. Since Demarians have roughly the same lifespan as humans, we can analyze Demarian society on roughly the same lines. The first and most important thing to realize about Demarian society is class. Even though these classes do not really exist within any state anymore, almost all Demarians fit into them, and where they fit in their social strata has a unique effect on how they think and, believe it or not, their self esteem. Playing with the Demarian class concepts when making your character can be fun and even a little challenging when it comes to making the unique history for your character.
If you came to Otherspace bemoaning the lack of properly cultured individuals who are not afraid to tell their inferiors who is best, then look no further than a Demarian noble. Most of my information is gleaned from listening to Brody and reading his writings on the subject nobility, so as far as my understanding goes, Demarian society evolved in much the same way as nobility in Earth’s feudal era. Nobles are strong and can protect the weak, but ask that they be compensated for the protection they provide. Feudalism in Europe did not survive nearly as long as Demarian feudalism, which ruled Demaria up until the Kretonian invasion. When considering a noble you must pick your House, which is an organization of your family members that, like the old families of Europe, can be a sprawling mass of incest and hereditary lines. There are four Houses that survived the Kretonian invasion, and while it is encouraged that you pick one of them, it is certainly possible to invent a minor house. The four houses in no particular order are Pathfinder, Stealthfoot, Windracer, and Sandwalker. Their individual qualities were never truly established by the playerbase, and the first three have all but faded into obscurity. Sandwalker, the house of Altheor, still holds some prominence. The number of PCs occupying Demarian noble roles attached to the Houses is small, and with the death of Stumppaw, they are leaderless.
Despite the dearth of nobles, as characters they are without equal. A Demarian noble encompasses the most romantic and great qualities of their race: the grace, the strength, the intelligence…everything you could want about a Demarian is magnified by the dignity of the noble position. Or so, they would like you to believe. The truth is that even nobles are Demarian, and while they command a long history of great deeds and fancy themselves the pillars of Demarian honor, they are subject to the same weaknesses and the same strengths as other members of their race. It has been a long-held concept that nobles are the only Demarians truly capable of acting like Demarians since they are the ‘old regime,’ the rightful rulers of Demaria. They control the Underclassers, the historically weak of Demaria who went to them for protection, and ended up serving the nobles in whatever capacity they demanded, sometimes even in cruel entertainment. If you choose to play a traditional noble it is important to remember that the attitude expressed at the top of this paragraph is probably your attitude, being a Demarian and, even more, being a noble Demarian entitles you to whatever you want. In this way, you can couple Demarian physical features and their unique background with the haughtiness displayed by European nobility.
Nobody Knows, The Troubles I've Seen…Edit
The nobles would not be so great if they did not have the Underclassers behind them. Or, rather, underneath them licking their boots. Underclassers can be regarded as the dark side to the Demarian culture, slaves and indentured servants that are tied to noble families by generations long contracts. There is not nearly as much to an Underclasser character as there is to a noble character, but some of the choices remain the same.
Underclassers can choose which house they served or still do serve, who they serve and what their function is. Nobles can be considered the brains of the operation while the Underclassers carry out their commands. The roles that Underclassers can fill within a traditional noble society are numerous, from personal attendants and scribes to Sand Eel food. Interesting to note is that Underclassers are, in most cases, not soldiers. The duty of protecting Demaria and its people lies in the hands of the Nobles; or, it did until the noble system on Demaria collapsed. Choosing an Underclasser background is easy, but playing a proper Underclasser presents its own problems. First and foremost is the lack of structure. This only applies to Underclassers that are not actively serving Nobles, but to free Underclassers. Your tradition is being under the yoke of someone else, being told what to do for your entire existence. Now you are free, and you have to figure out what to do with that freedom. Do you feel gratitude, or loss? Do you respect your ancestors or look down on them? As I have said throughout, these are personal choices that each player has to make when shaping their character.
Underclassers are essentially running the show on Demaria now. New Alhira being liberal as it is, Underclassers for the first time are trying their hand at running the planet and, stranger yet, defending it. Freedom is its own problem; it brings with it responsibility and in some cases, a lack of purpose. Underclassers are deceptively simple on the outside, but take into account this new freedom in its historical context, and you can add a whole new depth to a very simple character outline. The beauty of the Underclasser is their simplicity – straightforward Demarian without the noble frills.
Much like their medieval counterparts, Demarians – both noble and underclasser – are something of a paradox. On the one hand, Demarian society is very materialistic; earlier on I was discussing clothing and the vanity of Demarians. They like to look good, they like to build grand estates and generally be comfortable. This seems in direct contradiction with a highly spiritual society that focuses on an elusive concept of honor and sends its young into the unforgiving Sand Mother desert as a mystic rite of passage into adulthood. There are four general entities that define the Demarian faith and their place in the universe, and I am going to assert that at least three of them are key to creating a well balanced Demarian.
The first of the entities is not really a being at all. I once met with another character, a lunite, who referred to the Sand Mother Desert as if it were a deity. I would not go that far, but the Sand Mother is, in many ways, a spiritual thing. The Sand Mother is the home of all Demarians; it is their resting place, it is the place where they are tested to ensure that they are fit to join society. In noble society, if a noble’s honor is called into question, they may take a trial of survival in the Sand Mother desert; braving the heat of the dual suns, the sand storms, and the deadly sand eels to prove that they are worthy and possess honor. The Sand Mother almost comes to symbolize honor in the Demarian society, and is oftentimes the focus of the inner spirituality of Demarians while the other three entities I will mention are more figureheads. After the Kretonian invasion, the Sand Mother has taken on new meaning as it really is not populated by the old Demarians anymore. Scattered tribes roam its surface but it remains open and full of the ruins of the old cities. The history of Demarian civilization is buried in those sands; the Kretonians blasted its cities into nothing, killed its people, even turned portions of the surface of the desert into lakes of glass, but the sands remain, just as Demarians will remain.
The second entity, the second that all Demarians should be acquainted with, is Altheor. Much of Altheor’s significance was explained above when discussing the Battle of Opposing Suns, but he also belongs in the religious section of Demarian society. Altheor is not a god per se, though there are Demarians who invoke his name. To others, he serves as an example, the paradigm of what it is to be Demarian, and to that end his name is invoked when trying to summon similar qualities from within themselves. Asking for Altheor’s strength, his wisdom, or his courage would not be uncommon. Asking him to do something for you would be rather difficult, since he is dead and not really a god in the Demarian pantheon.
The next two are interchangeable, and could both be giants in Demarian spirituality. The first is Brakir, the traditional Demarian god. Unlike Altheor, Brakir is actually a god, and has his own creation myth. Brakir appears as a fifteen foot tall Demarian with tiger stripes. He has claws like sickles and teeth like longswords, the embodiment of Demarian fierceness. It was Brakir, they say, that sprinkled the desert with Oases and Pandraki Desert Bumblers and raised the Stubtooth Mountains to provide cool heights. When it rains on the edge of the desert, it is said that Brakir weeps for the dead souls of lost Demarians. Brakir is the chief Demarian deity, though he is not the only one.
The lesser known Demarian entity, Demar, supplements Brakir as a Demarian creator. She is represented as an angelic female Demarian figure with two wings, one black and one white. It is said she created the Demarian race from five feathers shed from the white wing, while four shed from the black created the Theorian race. While the worship of Demar is not mutually exclusive with the worship of Brakir, the two deities are vastly different and it is not uncommon to believe in one and disavow the other. Each Demarian deity reflects the character of the race, from Brakir’s appearance to Demar’s apparent benevolence. Just like with spirituality in real life, what each deity means to your character is up to you, and the personal spiritual decisions they make will shape their interactions with the faithful or the disheartened, but all of it will be Demarian.
Stalk You LaterEdit
This turned out a lot longer than I had expected, and I hope that this proves a useful guide to what Demarians are and where they come from. All of this is a loose framework and should be viewed as such; the sky is the limit when it comes to character concepts. The purpose of this guide is to introduce potential Demarians to the wealth of information out there about their race so that they can make informed decisions about what they want their character to be like right off the bat. This is by no means comprehensive, even given its length. The greatest Demarian resource that exists are the players themselves, and I strongly urge anyone who has read this far and is still somehow interested in playing a Demarian to get online and TALK TO US. The last thing we want to do is tell you how to make your character, but if you have any questions about Demarians or need something in here clarified, then please do not hesitate to ask us. We love new Demarians, and we hope to see you soon.
~Silvereye’s Player, Devi and Chalice. The information in this guide comes from +LIU entries (the text for the Brakir entry and the Demar entry was modified for this guide), really old forum posts, the JTS e-zine, conversations with other Demarians, questions of Brody, reading questions posed to Brody, and our own experiences playing a Demarian character.