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Approved Species Varzigs | Shiftlings

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Little Secrets
  • Name: Varzig or Shiftling
  • Designation: Sentient
  • Origins: The Netherworld
  • Average Lifespan: ~300 Standard Years
    • Can live significantly longer, but many die in their first year or decade.
  • Estimated Population: Scattered | Rarely seen outside the Netherworld or near current/former rifts.
  • Description: What goes bump in the night, claws on your windows, and drips acidic drool upon your sleeping form? If you are truly unlucky, it might be a less than amicable Varzig out for a midnight snack. This is the not-entirely-unearned picture many who know of Varzigs have of their kind, but they are equally able to be stuffy scholars, shady merchants, and even altruists, for above all else they are individuals.
  • Breathes: N/A, none required.
  • Average Height of Adults: N/A, see below.
  • Average Length of Adults: 0.5-3 metres.
  • Skin Colour: Variable, see Races.
  • Hair Colour: N/A, rarely have hair.
  • Distinctions: Varzigs are asexual, clearly inhuman creatures that may or may not have eyes but always have a maw of serrated teeth capable of facilitating the digestion of just about anything. They may be lean or heavily built and are usually equally capable of moving on two or four limbs. They are born as Larvae (usually from egg sack clusters), metamorph into Spawn once they've taken in sufficient quantities of nutrition, and eventually become Elders after amassing sufficient age and experience. If anything, Elders are stronger, not weaker, than the young.
  • Races: Varzigs are divided into distinct subraces distinguishable by the colour of their skin and related properties. They can metamorph from one to another under certain conditions, many of which are elaborated on below - the distinctions are not always as clear, however. The fairly common Orange Varzig finds its niche as an unremarkable middle ground between Yellow Ones and Red Ones, for example, while the Brown Varzigs are known for their burrowing abilities. The rare Grey Varzig is said to possess mystical power over dead bodies and spirits.
    • Yellow: Yellow Varzigs are the weakest and most commonplace of their kind, often spawning from large egg clusters then seeking out nourishment in vast swarms of larvae. In due time most of their kind will metamorph into more potent variants or die trying. They are generally around the same size as a large dog, though some are as large as a human - or larger still, if sufficiently fed and developed.
      • Devourers: While Varzigs in general are known for their hunger, the Devourers take this a step further, often acquiring immense bulk as they devour anything in their path. They may acquire more and more bulk or use excess energy to spawn more of their kind, which can result in quite the infestation, given enough time. They can grow to truly immense proportions if well-fed.
      • Shiftstalkers: Yellow Ones that emphasise stealth and the hunt may metamorph into Shiftstalkers, yellowish Varzigs capable of adaptive camouflage and impressive feats of shifting. They tend towards the gangly and favour speed over raw strength.
    • Red: Red Varzigs are the largest and most physically capable of their kind and typically come to be when a Yellow One succumbs to its bloodlust or defeats (and often consumes) many mighty warriors - the latter tends to make more calculating opponents by far. Due to their size, strength, and durability, they have been known to rip through heavy infantry even without the benefit of modern weaponry.
      • Steelhides: Varzigs are able to digest almost anything with nutritional value, but the Steelhides take this a step further by eating armour, vehicles, and other metallic non-foods, growing incredibly resilient in the process. They are not terribly agile, however.
      • Bloodclaws: Even by Red One standards the Bloodclaws are bloodthirsty beyond belief, having dedicated themselves to the art of battle at the exclusion of all else. They are large, strong, resilient, and generally too primal by far for advanced planning.
    • Blue: Blue Varzigs are a rarer variant known to be universally Force Sensitive - Yellow and occasionally Red Ones may metamorph into these due to, e.g., spending significant time attuning themselves to a Force Nexus or simply eating Force Users. While universally able to wield the Force, their skills are not innate. As such the difference between Spawn and the far more experienced Elders is often vast.
      • Scriveners: Those Blue Ones who choose to dedicate themselves to the acquisition of lore and secrets at the expense of more mundane matters become Scriveners, gaining near-perfect memories and insatiable curiosity. They often inscribe their bodies with sorcerous runes and formulae stolen from the traditions of the Sith, the Nightsisters, and others, with varying effects. They often seek out libraries and archives to pilfer their lore - often the owners never even notice their visitations.
      • Beholders: Among the strangest of the Varzigs, the Beholders or Purple Varzigs are eccentric beings with an aptitude for seeing the future and distant places using the Force. The youngest are known for their precognition while Elders tend to spout oddball prophecies that almost always come to pass, but often not in the way one would expect. Their name is earned from the singular eyeball with which they behold the galaxy - it is known to ease the use of Deadly Sight and Shatterpoint.
  • Force Sensitivity: Standard; most Varzigs are not born Force Sensitive, though they are uniquely enough able to become Force Sensitive by eating other Force Sensitives or adapting to especially strong concentrations of Force energy, notably Nexuses.
  • Adaptation: Varzigs are incredibly adaptable - they can acquire the traits of that which they eat (see, e.g., Blue Varzigs and Steelhides) and the environments they inhabit over the course of individual lives, as opposed to the untold generations of conventional evolution.
  • Shiftling: Varzigs are able to shift their bodies in strange ways, appearing to vibrate with incredible speed or be in several places at once; this can be used to confuse attackers and with practice pass through walls/prey's armour/scales or even teleport (usually short distances).
  • Ravenous: Varzigs are infamously hungry, requiring a steady stream of nutrients to avoid being forced into hibernation. An infestation can easily devastate a local ecosystem if not kept in check by more level-headed Varzigs, usually Elders or Blue Ones.
  • Tool Use: Shifting is a great asset, but it makes carrying items except inside one's body extremely difficult - as such, Varzigs are very rarely seen using anything but improvised tools picked up on the spot; wearing clothing or armour is all but impossible.
  • Diet: Omnivore; famously able to eat just about anything, high metabolism requires frequent and plentiful consumption of food.
  • Communication: Innately capable of simplistic telepathy (communicate emotions and simple concepts), can learn more advanced forms of telepathy and spoken/written languages with time and practice. Blue Varzigs are especially likely to be fluent in many languages.
  • Technology Level: Highly primitive, may learn how to use technology with practice but are rarely particularly capable.
  • Religion/Beliefs: Given that they possess no centralised civilisation to speak off and are relatively self-sufficient even as larvae, the Varzigs are unsurprisingly divergent in their views - they are generally very independent creatures and thus rarely drawn to religious institutions.
  • General Behaviour: What is the nature of a Varzig, what drives them to fight and feast and procreate? Depending on which of their kind you ask, you might experience something resembling a thesis defence with a Scrivener - or a fight to survive against a hungry Bloodclaw.
    • Life Cycle: Varzigs reproduce asexually once they have taken in sufficient nutrition, forming egg sacks in their body and vomiting them out into the world alongside an adhesive that sticks them to whatever surface they strike. Where possible, Varzigs will instinctively place new eggs in pre-existing egg clusters. Eggs generally hatch after mere weeks or even days, producing a larval (typically Yellow) Varzig, which must then seek out enough food to metamorph into a Spawn, a fully-grown Varzig. With time, they in turn become Elders.
    • Habitats: Varzigs can live just about anywhere, but due to their limited technology their populations are typically concentrated in the Netherworld and around current or former rifts to that strange place. A Varzig infestation can devastate a local ecosystem, but if under the guidance of more level-headed leadership a Varzig population is fully-capable of peaceful co-existence (or hiding from the locals).
    • Hibernation: If insufficient food is found and no other options are available, a Varzig may choose to hibernate; in this state, they can survive everything from musty ruins to empty vacuum for surprisingly long stretches of time. If starved upon awakening, they have a sorry tendency to regress to a primal state, devouring anything and anyone they can get their hands on until sated.
    • Metamorphosis: The ability to metamorph into more well-adapted specimens is critical to Varzig survival; not limited merely to the Races listed above, Varzigs have been known to adapt to sunless caverns, the depths of oceans, and more. Within a single generation, one Varzig might be eyeless and relying on echolocation while another developed retractable wings for gliding between mountains.
Many aeons ago, when the world was still new, the great Worm-That-Hungers devoured a lesser god and vomited it out as a million and one Larvae, which spread out across creation and became plentiful. That is one story a Varzig has told of their origins. Another has claimed that they were one of several species created by an eccentric Alchemist of the old Sith Empire, while yet another claimed they were made by Adascorp.

Whether or not they are even native to the Netherworld or simply found a rift at some point remains an open question, for among the vast hordes of Varzigs scattered across the stars only Scriveners tend to preserve lore for posterity - and they are both famously secretive and far more likely to deposit what they have learned in the Unseen Archives of Masque than in your average public library.

What is known is that the Netherworld Crisis scattered their kind to various points of Realspace, albeit usually in small numbers, and that the recent stirrings in Oblivion have provoked sudden activity among many of their kind as they hurry to adapt to the shifting power dynamic.

Given their deeply individualistic nature, they are just as likely to serve Omni as they are to strive against his ineffable agenda.​
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