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Category:Societal Characteristics -- Zuul - SotS

Category:Societal Characteristics -- Zuul

From SotS


Zuulhead.png

To say that Zuul society is “male-dominated” would be a grotesque understatement. Among Zuul, females are regarded at beasts at best; in general, a male sees the members of his coterie as expendable tools, and treats them as he might treat a body part that can be easily and painlessly replaced. When Rippers meet in social situations, females are generally concealed from view, draped with cloth or ordered to crouch inconspicuously until they are useful.

“Society” as such consists only of male Zuul. At present, the race is organized into a loose theocracy. All Ripper males are members of a single religion, and motivated by a single set of ideas and goals which are tenets of this religion.

Modern Zuul recognize themselves as an artificial species. Their own artificial origin fascinates them, and they have developed an obsessive desire to find the race they call the Creators or the “Great Masters”—a.k.a. Species Y, the mysterious scientists that abandoned them on the surface of Irridia V. It is the belief of modern Zuul that every aspect of their nature represents a deliberate and purposeful choice on the part of the Creators, who made them strong, rapacious, intelligent, etc. in order to serve as part of a greater scheme. They would like to have the details of this scheme revealed to them, and most Zuul appear to believe that their Creators will re-appear and explain a great many things about the universe and the Zuul’s place in it when their creations have somehow proved their worth.

Accordingly, all Zuul ventures into space are conceived as part of a great Crusade, a quest for knowledge and power which will ultimately lead the Rippers to their celestial Fathers—the scientists of Species Y. Opinions seem to differ on whether the Creators are planning to return at some point of their own accord, or whether the Zuul are expected to find them in some colossal cosmic game of hide-and-seek. Regardless, until they meet the Creators face to face, the Zuul believe it is their sacred duty and divine right to act on the imperatives that all males of the species seem to share. They believe that they are obligated and entitled to satisfy their relentless curiosity and thirst for knowledge on the one hand…and to enslave and destroy the weaker, less worthy species that populate the universe on the other.

To the Zuul, the universe and all living things in it are generally regarded as “mother”. Like Species X, all things “mother” are worthless and meaningless in and of themselves. Despicable and weak as it may be, however, that which is “mother” is nevertheless the wellspring of life—a fecund bed of resources, designed to be ripped apart and devoured in order that the divine masculine spark can come to exist. By contrast, that which is considered pure, admirable, and worthy of respect in some way is usually considered masculine, and given the attributes of “father”.

The only true currency of the Ripper economy is information. The wealth and influence of any given Zuul is measured by the number of ships and slaves he can control. Intelligence and strength of mind is highly valued; higher status is conferred upon those with the strongest psionic abilities. Rank among Zuul tends to be analogous to the organization of a religious faith; more influential Zuul hold their positions by the charismatic power of the will, as well as the ability to educate or enlighten others. “Father” , “Lord” or “Master” are the common terms of respect used by those addressing a superior; “brother” is how one addresses an equal, and “son” is the term one uses to address an inferior.

The highest ranking members of Zuul society hold titles equivalent to that of a bishop or a cardinal, and the nearest human equivalent to the Zuul’s “GreatFather” would probably be an ancient pharoah or pope. The orders given by these high-ranking Zuul are obeyed without question…but there is a good deal of debate as to how long this unity and cooperation among the Zuul can last.

Given the rate at which Rippers seem to be absorbing information and ideas from alien captives, some kind of social breakdown or schism is a definite possibility. Even the current organization of Zuul society seems to be a perverse, distorted version of religious and social notions which were somehow “ripped” from other races. If just a few new ideas could have such sweeping, far-reaching effects on their culture, a few more could easily reduce their species to internecine war.

Every sentient race has seen how easily a new idea can become a new ideology. In their hunger to swallow the souls of other races, the Zuul may eventually bite off much more than they can chew.

Farmers

The Zuul consider themselves farmers of the surrounding universe, but what exactly do carrion eaters farm? To simple answer is – carrion eaters farm flesh, of course. They produce livestock for slaughter much as other species do. They simply age the meat a bit longer, and waste less agricultural space growing vegetables or grains for their own consumption.

Zuul society is hierarchical, but the rungs of the hierarchy are based on coercive power and cunning of the individual. This type of merit is measured by the ability to marshal force and control resources. Whether an individual farmer is looked down upon or not, then, depends directly upon how much production he controls, and how hard he can yank your chain with his control of the meat supply.

There is no caste system per se, but everyone is looked down upon if they can be controlled by others. The universe is conceived by the Zuul as an endless cycle of dominance and submission, of power and control. Those to whom you must bow are your masters. Those weaker than yourself are to be controlled--and, if they are weak enough, crushed at your whim.

Adult female Zuul are not traded on the open market, as one Zuul's "wife" is useless to another. Zuul females are not especially easy to re-train and control once they have formed coterie bonds. Pre-adolescent females are harvested regularly, however, as Zuul males run through their "wives" every bit as quickly as they do other servants and resources. Young male proteges are also sometimes sought, when a coalition of males is seeking acolytes to perform menial tasks--like, say, herding meat.

Structure

A male Zuul is very accustomed to using his inferiors as "claws". Female Zuul are significantly stronger, physically, than males. This is conceived as a natural relationship: it does not matter who is physically strongest, if the master has greater force of will. The same is true even of the way that stronger males control weaker males in their society, although a vassal is allowed greater autonomy.

It is not a subject of shame among the Zuul to serve one stronger and wiser than yourself; it is fact natural to seek status and power by serving the most powerful master you can. Part of being the superior Zuul being able to mind control the inferiors around you, especially in the upper echelons of power. It is impossible to become Greatfather unless the Zuul in question is an incredibly powerful coercer and interrogator.

It is common for a superior Zuul to not just order subordinate male Zuul, but also psychically exert control over them or otherwise coerce them with more than just rank or intimidation. Additionally, Zuul benefit from experience and consider information a currency. By Zuul standards, a powerful interrogator is not only fearsome, but also incredibly wealthy.

The Zuul are not a subtle race, but there are subtleties to the uses of force and intimidation which other species may not appreciate. A single powerful experience of pain and humiliation can be a strong deterrent for enemies who might otherwise take your measure more frequently. And if you terrorize a young protege sufficiently during his development, or implant enough suggestions that he should love and serve you while he is still too unformed and weak to defend himself--it can be years before he's able to muster a significant challenge.

Of course, there is always the danger that the younger males could rip apart the mind of a older one if the opportunity presented itself. This process is known as "promotion". In fact it happens quite often. It is very rare for a Zuul to live past the age of 40 or so, not least because many males begin to lose their vigor at this age--at which point their proteges tear them apart.

Pages in category "Societal Characteristics -- Zuul"

The following 4 pages are in this category, out of 4 total.

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