Category:Societal Characteristics -- Liir

From SotS


Entertainment and Pastimes

All three of the alien races have music and dance in common, although of course they have very individual interpretations of what a "dance" is.

As for the Liir, they express themselves almost entirely through music and thought. They never stop dancing from the moment they are born until the moment they die—because they can always hear the music. Most of their art is difficult to describe in human terms; it consists of tapestries of sound, memory, motion and emotion. For fun, they tend to engage in various athletic contests or play a game called "hide the idea".

"Hide the idea" is a game which Liir children begin to play soon after birth, much as human babies first learn to play "peek-a-boo" and then "guess which hand the penny is in"? But as the Liir grow older and stronger "hide the idea" becomes a much more aggressive, passionate, fascinating contest of wills. It is a common exercise for hundreds of younger Liir to wrestle the mind of one elder, trying to prize the thought from beneath his layers of defenses. When they finally "find the idea", it sometimes changes their lives forever.

There are other games which would be analogous to water polo, although among Liir this sport is a little more like underwater hurling. Of more recent interest is the invention of the first "toys", as steelsingers create objects which are meant to teach reading to other Liir. Essentially, the object is a puzzlebox with various characters inscribed on its surfaces; as the different parts of the puzzle are moved by telekinetic fine motor manipulation, the player is able to "read" simple vocabulary words. The word changes with each movement of the box's pieces, transforming from one concept to another in an aesthetically pleasing or humorous manner: the classic is a box that begins with the word "steel", which becomes "reflective", which becomes "bright", which becomes "beautiful", which becomes "song".

Any sentient which nurtures its own young and practice any form of animal husbandry will keep pets of some kind. In the case of the Liir, their relationship with biological mechanisms is so intimate that half the natural world is a "pet" to them--i.e., something which they care for, nurture, train, control, and love to the extent that one can love a lesser creature.

The Liir have a fairly common practice of "Tattooing" themselves. Tattoos for a Liir involve painting their bodies with colorful microorganisms, usually fluorescent. Watching an underwater "dance" featuring multicolored/fluorescent Liir can be quite a visual spectacle.


Concept art of a Liirian city
Click to enlarge
All Liir, from the greatest to the smallest, have a voice in government.

But because Elders are the strongest, the wisest and the deepest among them, their voices are stronger and louder. In addition, each Liir world has one Elder who is the largest, the most ancient and most powerful. In general this Liir is given a title of respect by others upon that world ("Eldest"). Liir from other worlds often refer to the Eldest upon that world by the name for the whole planet—so the Eldest of Planet Muur is "Muur", with the implied presumption that he speaks for Muur.

When you play the game as the Liir, you assume the role of a new Eldest—the leader of the Black Swimmers. You are the wisest, the strongest, the largest and loudest voice of the deep—those who follow you will call you Eldest, but planet-bound Liir would refer to you as The Black.


The Liir conceive of The "Deep" on-planet as a place of darkness and crushing pressure, far from light and air. They fear the abyssal trenches and the depths beyond which they cannot swim without pain, rapture and eventually death.

By extension, the Black Sea is the deepest deep of all. To them, vacuum is an airless, lightless, song-killing void which chokes all life in silence. The crushing pressure of gravitational wells is a familiar metaphor for them as well—the drag of deep water which may not let you reach the surface again.

When Liir die, they sink to the bottom and the hagfish "the deep" is not a pleasant thought for them.

Recent developments allow for a great deal of fragmentation of Liirian society. For the first time in history, Liir are growing up, growing old and dying on countless strange new worlds. Some of these populations are bound to drift away from the core and develop their own values and priorities. If their needs/wants come into conflict with those of other Liir, they are now more than capable of behaving violently toward each other.

Structures and Dwellings

Liir do not care to be confined unless it is absolutely necessary.

In any case where a Liir has to remain stationary and underwater for a long time, they either use LOM (liquid oxygen medium) or a compressed air unit. In most cases, a Liir underwater base is a dome with a breathing bubble of air at the top—much like a human underwater facility, except that most of the control mechanisms are underwater rather than dry. It's really not much more difficult for Liir than for humans to create underwater facilities.

Coral and other "building" organisms are common working materials for the Liir; they shape them by various means, as Japanese gardeners shape growing trees and vines.

As for how buildings are erected—that depends on the building. Liir did not have many structures that would answer to this description before the Suul'ka, except for the foundries and forges that were built around volcanic vents. In those days, they would tend to create three-dimensional domes, pillars etc. more for the sake of art than for protection or work.


Whether the Liir have any superstitions or not is difficult to say. Their daily lives are so steeped in a spiritual worldview that almost every act is religious in some way. However, they certainly have a number of taboos, and the consequences of breaking these taboos are not entirely clear—will there be physical punishment? Divine retribution? An awkward silence at dinner?

Pages in category "Societal Characteristics -- Liir"

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