Toppers (top lads in the LIR)
The Toppers are in charge of the LIR and have things far better than any other races within it, although it was initially meant to be an equal partnership between the Toppers, Claws and any other races they found after their alliance was formed. This was possible for them because they are very intelligent, have strong drives for power and are naturally dangerous enough to use intimidation tactics here and there, although they usually reserve that for their non-claw lackies.
They have horns on the backs of their heads. Their fur comes off the moment that one is getting dangerously hot but grows back quickly, but can also come off more or less right away if pulled on so that anything trying to grab them will just get a handful of hair as they bolt off. Most modern Toppers deliberately use balms that prevent fur growth to show that they're "civilised". They also have scary snouts, all things considered. 4 fangs and the other front teeth also being very sharp. Their claws are also pretty nasty to get stuck in you. They have triple jointed legs which come with terrifying kicks.
They basically look like werewolves with horns out the back of their heads and their faces not looking like those of wolves but if someone slapped some fur onto a thin-faced death stalker from Fallout.
Genetics and Reproduction
Naturally, they used to be capable of extremely rapid reproduction. Females could give birth to 3 young every 2 months and so their population grew at ridiculous rates. However, they quickly ran into problems when things like overpopulation became apparent and genetically modified themselves over several generations to give birth to a single offspring every year. Due to their advanced technology if they ever really need to bump those numbers up from rookie numbers to master numbers they can use mass cloning or simply (well it's not really simple at all but y'know) genetically modify themselves again to reset their reproduction rates.
Growth Rate & Stages
Toppers take roughly 75 years to becomes adults. In this time they are regularly growing and shedding horns and developing greater intelligence. Fun fact: they never actually stop growing, but just slow down ridiculously and so only gain a couple of inches before their shrinking outdoes their growing and they slowly advance towards death.
Ecology and Habitats
They're believed to have developed in clear areas, as developing vision like theirs doesn't make sense otherwise, probably rocky mountains since their hearing would've gone very well with the echoes. Even they are slightly unsure about this because it appears that there were numerous extremely similar and intelligent species around on their world before them and they're not sure which one their descended from (but their ancestors definitely genocided the rest, except for Claws who, yes, they can crossbreed with, but the children coming from such relations usually die before being born and if they get past that they're not badass mixtures of the two they're disgustingly deformed and bound to live short and painful lives filled with constant scorn and hatred from both Claws and Toppers).
Dietary Needs and Habits
They can and will eat pretty much anything (although cannibalism is generally not done outside of very trying times) short of the most poisonous substances. This is part of how they got so intelligent as they had to figure out methods of getting at the various foods they needed for their varied diet, which includes some meat.
Kid --> Adult --> Dead. Okay but really their bodies come with clocks on the rate of hair growth based on the seasons of the home planet they're from. It's at this time of their year (which is 437 Earth days... we've been doing their years in Earth years don't worry) they remove hair and prevent its growth more often because they are weird.
Age is key to rank amongst this lot. Older means better. Children get literally no respect and are usually used for chores because buying slaves is too mainstream. Funnily enough this is how they naturally work; almost as if not all things in nature should be changed such as HOW YOU LOOK SO COOL WITH FUR BUT WITHOUT IT OH GOD YOU LOOK LIKE FALLOUT DEATH STALKERS BUT SMALLER AND WITHOUT EVEN THE COMPENSATION OF LOOKING THAT SCARY OH GOD WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELVES!?
I don't think it's even possible to domesticate something more intelligent than you. So unless your name is Bill The-Science-Guy Nye then you ain't gon' manage it.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
I mean, the CHG has managed to capture a few and does use them as scientists. That said I believe I mentioned something about any soldier that kills one being on the receiving end of a lot of reward.
Variations: whether or not their upper fangs go a little past the lip and are visible, their horn size and shape, brows, that curve between their eyes and snout has a lot of variety between individuals, head width, eye size and colour, ear size and how much said ears stick out (ears look like those of a certain species of bats with incredible hearing - the more you know).
Geographic Origin and Distribution
There is always at least one Topper-only settlement on every planet in the LIR, as well as Toppers that live in and run most major mutli-species settlements. They're living in every environment where survival is even slightly imaginable for them.
A very intelligent human (by which I mean the guy that got nothing but As in school, caught onto new ideas quickly and didn't even need to revise to remember everything for exams, then went on to design a new kind of computer) would be considered of average intelligent amongst these guys.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
They can see twice as much of the electromagnetic spectrum as humans, have advanced hearing and smell and (again with the vision) can see things that are very far away in good detail. Plenty of them have also taught themselves echolocation. This sensory capability has been extremely helpful to the survival of their species as they aren't as strong as the Claws and so being able to know when they're coming to either run away or prepare to fight back is very helpful. Their eye sockets are designed in such a way as that they can see forwards fine but also have very good peripheral vision. Simply put you're not taking one by surprise unless it's in the middle of a lot of crazy to distract it.
Symbiotic and Parasitic organisms
Ahh, yes, it's time for some repeating of myself: there is a species that lives under their skin. They go out onto the skin and kill other species like ticks and will eat any surface tumours without causing internal or external bleeding. They also help defend against bacteria and fungi because of their, well, their urine. They cause green-ness of fur amongst any Toppers that don't wash because they pull out their excess fat stores and place them about so that they aren't encumbered and any fellows of their species that can't find food can eat these fat stores to survive. And those fat stores have green dye in them for easy identification by their future selves and their fellow symbiotic creatures.
Civilization and Culture
Look; these guys have a very weird way of doing names. Firstly; take 5 deep sounding words and then translate them to Topper; you have plenty of options per word because they have an average 32 words for every meaning. Now mash them together. They usually just use the first word when talking casually. Now you've got their name. They avoid accidental incest (which is part of what last names help with) because they can smell whether or not a fellow Topper is closely related to them.
They find a lack of fur sexually unappealing... but do it anyway to avoid looking like savages. Big horns are a sign of good diets. Being very muscular. Large and sharp fangs. A general lack of scars and wrinkles (the old might be higher in the social ladder but the young ones are still having a better life behind closed curtains). Smooth claws. Big ears.
They have all sorts of pointless ceremonies but none of these are at all natural and these change over time so ehhh why bother.
Mate only with your mate and do so rarely; only savages have so much as half-decent amounts of [REDACTED]
Average Technological Level
They are colonising planets and creating intelligent species. They have far more of a focus on fast travel than the humans as their territory is far wider with less stuff per [insert space distance].
Major Language Groups and Dialects
Their language is a result of them knowing every one of their species' languages and them all meshing together. They have like 32 words for the meaning of a finger.
Common Etiquette Rules
They do not usually eat in one another's company. Interaction is solely for communication (and sometimes mating) and anything else like farting, having a good laugh (which they still do anyway) or anything like that is considered wrong.
Common Dress Code
They have a very creepy thing for wearing the skin of other intelligent species.
Culture and Cultural Heritage
Their culture is a little militaristic at the same time as being very conservative (emotionally). This is because of their species having to fight species for a very long time, which caused militancy, and their emotional conservatism is as a result of intelligence being their advantage over other species; so they thought they'd emphasise it in their culture by refusing to smile (although smiling with them is actually just the lightening up of eyes, raising of brows and expansion of nostrils; no lip action).
Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals
They are ridiculously formal and it's painful to watch/listen to if you can get a recording and a translator to attach subtitles to their speech like damn dudes you're really let 9/10 the time of your conversation be filled with formalities rather than just getting to the point?
Emotionalism. Lack of hygiene. Doing any kind of physical labour.
Note: the history of the LIR and history of the Toppers are basically the same thing since the Toppers are 1 of 2 races that started it. Even they are unsure why they had multiple home worlds even before getting any real technology. The same can be said for the Claws that they shared them with. They are unsure why these home worlds were ordered perfectly in a circle around a sun or why these home worlds each had multiple portals between them that never seemed to run out of energy. They do, however have plenty of theories; and one of the crazier ones is correct (some GM Old Ones Version 2 built them during their civil war before getting rekked then Planet Loki did it's thing). They shared these home worlds with the Claws and 12 other intelligent races. These races wiped one another out over time until only the Claws and Toppers remained. The 2 species had managed to form 2 nations, one for each race, and had advanced technology - though the Toppers were always at least a little bit ahead. Claws were incredibly physically strong and fast while the Toppers had brilliant sensory abilities, had more numbers and were a bit more intelligent. Each species hated the other but the 2 nations had agreed to peace out of mutual benefit. Despite this peace, it was really more of a Cold War with both sides constantly building up weapons stockpiles and trying to get ahead of the other technologically, with the Toppers having their own space fleet, even if it was small. The 2 nations lived in suspicion until the Goners (3-4 foot tall lizard/velociraptor people) Nation attacked! The Toppers and Claws formed an alliance to beat them and went out of their way to try and find other intelligent races to recruit (whether they like it or not) against the Goners. This came to be known by the humans as the LIR. Now it gets interesting as the Toppers decided to conquer 2 primitive races without the Claws or other races. When members of the other advanced races go in to check it out, they're *shook* to find that these races, the Sagwalli and Tartles are worshiping the Toppers. This is where the LIR ends up in a weird position of fighting itself at the same time as the Goners because the Claws declare war on the Toppers and, over time, every race under Topper rule that isn't the Sagwalli or Tartles joins them or becomes neutral. Both sides were beating back the Goners whenever they showed up throughout this, which also terrified the Goners because "wait they can have a civil war at the same time as kicking our asses? Oh no boys we got a problem", motivating them to remove military limits on genetic modification and over-breed their populace at the same time as using cloning vats to boost their numbers... which did the trick I guess cos the LIR would've gotten rekked if the Goners hadn't been having the infrastructure behind their armies taken over by Mostly Hairless Monkeys Without Tails (Humans) when they did an oopsie by not sending in a proper military unit to conquer the half-ape scum. Anyway back onto the war: the non-Topper side wins and now there are rules in place that mean that a member of any race can advance in government and the Toppers are banned from forcing races to worship them (they'll get a loophole for it later). Before doing all of that, though, the Goners would call for a peace with the LIR. The LIR accepted this peace on the grounds of "well well well if our armies and infrastructure ain't kinda rekked" and went about trying to get more races while the Goners colonized more planets and did all that stuff I mentioned. The Goners would, however, make a mistake by trying to conquer Earth with a billion untrained volunteer fighters that were given spare outdated weapons who, despite their superior equipment (spare and outdated for a very technologically advanced race), ultimately got rekked by destroying most of their ships before even getting to the ground (the fault of the Goner Admiral, who was a numpty), having to choose between their soldiers dying of disease or being put on so many anti-disease drugs that the side-effects made them practically useless in combat, using untrained and undisciplined soldiers that kept going against orders and underestimating the meaning of "why are the trees talking?". This kinda led to the Goners sending in a more professional force and the LIR declaring war on the Goners by calling dibs on the humans as a race to add to their ranks because, despite already trying to take them, the Goners didn't call dibs. The humans beat this more professional force and ended up having technology slightly more advanced than the Goners... or more accurately the same technology and more creativity in how to use it... and made a 15-year peace deal with the Goners. Trust me humans do matter here and yes that is because I'm a biased piece of human scum. So the LIR and Goners are going at it for a long time in what ends up becoming a war of attrition as neither side could advance and so they just flung soldiers and weapons in hoping that the other side would run out of said soldiers and weapons first. Humans became very helpful to the LIR here. You see, the humans were like "lmao what if we went on the offensive?" after signing another peace deal, this time meant to last 30 years, and so launched their attack right after the peace deal was signed in an outstanding move. Using the Goner remover 9000 and the fact that all the Goner military might was on the other side of the Goner Empire fighting the LIR, the humans went around seizing control over every Goner planet they saw. This meant the Goners lost their factories and workers and pools of recruitment and so couldn't send sufficient forces against the LIR, resulting in them getting rekked. The humans got more than 90% of what had been Goner territory and the LIR wanted all of it in the form of the humans joining. Now THIS is where it gets real jazzy: LIR: hello humans you're pretty gangsta wanna join us? Humans: nah I think I'm good with this space empire I just acquired. LIR: join or else. Humans: *not even becoming 1 nation but instead splitting empire between 6 with sheer confidence* or else what? LIR: we'll rekk you and make you join. Humans: try it. LIR: *sweats* *looks at armies* *oh no they're all used up from fighting the Goners* *looks at human empire* *oh no they're seriously willing to conscript every last Goner and then some of the humans AND have all that Goner war infrastructure AND have no problem with using robots* uhhh maybe later but trust me we're coming for you. Humans: 'kay. 20 years later, the LIR did indeed attack and it just about lost. Wanting to distract everyone from the humiliation of defeat, they went and conquered the Avians . The LIR tried to invade again during the The Unification War but had to change their minds as they were at war with numerous other races at the time and the Sagwalli Templar decided to start massacring the LIR's citizens for not worshiping the Toppers, despite having been ordered to defend the LIR while everyone else went invading. The resulting civil wars took ages for the LIR to deal with. They invaded again during the reign of the The UHN or United Human Nation and suffered a humiliating defeat that was followed by humanity actually invading their territory, only to be stopped by a fanatical and practically suicidal horde of Sagwalli Templar members and their Tartle cannonfodder. Despite this, they actually did end up losing a smidget of territory that they wanted back. They invaded once more, again during the reign of the UHN, only for it to fall into an attritional stalemate that ended in a peace deal that included the LIR getting its smidget of territory back. It's around this time that the LIR obtained itself a noticeable human population due to the fact that humans had moved into the area the LIR got back before the LIR got it back and were prevented from leaving. Pirates and other criminals on the run were also granted sanctuary by the LIR. The economic impact of this war on the UHN was vital to the creation of the CHG as the UHN's citizens lived in poverty and the soldiers were being underpaid. This war also let the LIR become aware of the fact that human technology was actually out-pacing theirs - a very scary idea for them. They used the humans they had acquired as agents to try and figure out how human tech was working, letting them avoid falling too far behind. Then the CHG created Jeff the insanely intelligent AI. Luckily for the LIR, the CHG wasn't really able to expand very much as it was still forcefully re-adding UHN and 6 Nations Period remnants to itself and preferred to play tall so the LIR was able to begin to expand around the CHG. But the CHG decided "hippitty hoppitty everything past us is banned from being your property" and, using Jeff to make their strategies and command their robotnik armies, they were able to prevent the LIR's expansion in that direction. It was weird that the CHG could have so many robots at every battle until they realized that humanity had a new technology that allowed them to move things around really, really fast. Each robot and soldier was fighting multiple battles every day rather than them actually being that numerous. Wanting a way to out-do humanity right as Jeff was inventing cool stuff, the LIR started creating the Uplifted. These were essentially artificial intelligent races such as Skaters that could fill in roles already-existing LIR races couldn't. They also doubled for the Toppers as a means of gaining more influence as the uplifted were always brainwashed into worshiping them, although the Toppers pretended this wasn't the case. Breeding up and making populations of such species took a long time and the LIR used this to test them out while advancing further down the Orion Arm, in which combinations of these proved highly effective. When they invaded again, Jeff was trying to take over the CHG and the Le Automatic Empire ended up having to fight a 2-front war. During this, he got deleted by the humans and the AI Geff replaced him. Geff was a sadistic lunatic who lost the war against the humans and his followers had to retreat with robot armies into the LIR, creating a zone in the LIR before the CHG that was extremely hazardous due to murder robots running all over the place. Nonetheless, the effectiveness of the hyper-varied LIR forces was proven in that they were able to be the reason for the fall of a robot empire. This made them take it further. Maybe too much further. Finally, the LIR got portals. Now the CHG was terrified. Why? Well, remember all that advancing down the Orion Arm the LIR had done and how the LIR has seemed kinda weak this whole time? That's because the humans were only ever fighting a small chunk of the LIR while forces from the rest of it could never get there before whatever war was on ended. Now that the LIR had portals, however, it was play time as they could bring forth all their armies to fight the CHG. Ultimately, the CHG lost several solar systems to the LIR but was able to survive by putting all their Matter Duplication into death-bots and space ships rather than planets, using far better technology, using superior tactics, having mostly better-trained soldiers, the fact that there were humans willing to be nuclear suicide bombers to take out LIR structures, a spy network in the LIR, using human/Goner agents to start up small civil conflicts in the LIR, hiring Zee Pirate Confederation to disrupt their stuff, committing war crimes, having the home advantage, the fact that Geffian death-bots harassed LIR forces as they were passing into the CHG and the fact that LIR soldiers would actually kill one another, specifically Worshipers against Non-Worshipers over religious beliefs. The wealth and information Zee Pirate Confederation gained from this would be very helpful to it in the future. Eventually, the CHG putting so many of their resources into Ship Destruction Planets (aka DEATH WORLDS) along the CHG-LIR border, constant use of human agents to keep starting up crap in the LIR and the fact that each found the other beneficial to a "stay loyal because I'm what's protecting you from them" narrative helped render war unlikely as the 2 fell into a cold war. Currently, the LIR is still making uplifted, still expanding down the Orion Arm and still experiencing frequent small civil conflicts.
Do you want a 3 billion word essay? Cos this is how you get a 3 billion word essay
Common Myths and Legends
They have countless stories of wonderful Topper heroes roaming the world(s) and committing genocide against non-Topper species. Also funny how they did such a 180 on what they do to other intelligent races, even creating new ones, but still think they're better than all the others.
Interspecies Relations and Assumptions
As the ones at the top (haha get it cos they're called Toppers haha what a high-effort joke) of the The LIR or League of Intelligent Races they're subject to some mixed opinions but for simplification: - Claws hate them so much but have to put up with them. They led a civil war against the Toppers, fighting alongside other advanced races to stop the Toppers from continuing to make primitive races they conquered worship them as they feared they might later be forced to worship the Toppers as well and making races worship other races went completely against the spirit of the LIR at the time. This could be said for any species that was advanced when it joined/was conquered by (there was a mix of both) the LIR but is especially the case for Claws - especially since the 2 species were shooting at one another long before either had advanced tech. - Sagwalli and Tartles are the 2 races the Toppers managed to turn into loyal worshipers. 90% of Tartles don't worship the Toppers anymore and around 20% of Sagwalli aren't members of the Sagwalli Templar, with numbers expected to remain around this amount as the religious cults of the 2 races make their members reproduce as much as possible, allowing their proportional growth in numbers to match that of the atheistic/agnostic/other religion Sagwalli and Tartles that either defect or don't force themselves to over-reproduce. Primitive races that are conquered into the LIR other than/after the Sagwalli and Tartles usually like the LIR for the advanced technology and increased life expectancies and whatnot that come with it but hate the Toppers because they know that, if the Toppers had it their way, they would be being forced to worship the hairy buggers. Uplifted races, being ones that weren't even sapient before but were genetically/mechanically modified to be intelligent, are very confusing depending on who uplifted them and why. Uplifting is banned for anyone other than the government of the LIR itself - which is run almost entirely by Toppers - but happens anyway: that said those uplifted illegally are too varied in opinion, situation and so on to properly cover so let's just waltz around them and onto those uplifted by the Toppers. The ones uplifted by the Toppers are made to worship them, much like the Sagwalli and Tartles, as a kind of loophole for the Toppers to get individuals to worship them and therefore gain more power within the LIR. The right of the Toppers to do this is massively contested by non-worshipper races (both on whether uplifting itself or making uplifted worship anything should be allowed) but the Toppers have just made a loophole by pretending "oh we don't know why they're worshiping us we're totally not indoctrinating them upon uplift - when their minds are most malleable because, despite being intelligent, they still know nothing - but hey freedom of religion amirite?" This is made more complex by the fact that the uplifted, sort of arguably, do have something to be grateful for to the Toppers in being given sapience by them. - Non-worshippers also have very sensible paranoia that the Toppers are deliberately breeding up and creating races that worship them to outnumber those that don't for a more official takeover in which everyone would be forced to worship the Toppers.
Regnandi aliena (ruling alien)
They are the very distant cousins of the Claws. There were other cousin races but they got shanked to death.
The LIR is pretty desperate to conserve them, for slightly obvious "we is in charge so we keep ourselves in good situations" reasons. The CHG offers any soldier a permanent tripling of their wages and pensions per Topper they kill in combat, as well as a straight up payment that is more than enough to have you set for life (very few ever get the opportunity, far fewer succeed when the opportunity comes up).
Well they can actually become extremely strong but most just ain't staying in shape.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Well their fur has all sorts of variety as it will vary in colour in different parts of the same Topper's body without much of a pattern to it from Topper to Topper with those colours being grey, ginger, brown, white, black, blonde and green* but guess what THEY SHAVE OFF ALL THEIR FUR AND USE A WEIRD BALM ONCE EVERY FEW MONTHS TO STOP ANY MORE FROM GROWING BACK AND THEY LOOK DISGUSTING OH GOD WHY DO THEY DO THIS IT IS NOT CIVILISED IT IS VOMIT INDUCING *correction: this appears not to be so much the fur as it is the excess fat of multi-cellular micro-organisms living under their skin that contains a green dye for future identification. They pull out their excess fat stores and place them about so that they aren't encumbered and any fellows of their species that can't find food can eat these fat stores to survive.
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