Flora and Fauna

Everything that's good to eat, hunt, cuddle, or run away from!

All around Zekira there are many different types of plants. The notable lack of rainforest has been mentioned before, however there are other niches which are not found on Earth.

Imported flora
From the homeworld of the Zekirans come several wheat and barley like grains. These are commonly grown on farms nearly everywhere on Zekira and they have made certain adjustments to the climate. There is a grain called meto which grows in the extreme wetlands of Reimal best, it has a spicy, strong flavor and is often treated as a luxury item: it does not rise very well on its own, and therefore people who know how to bake it properly are often able to get rich on it. The equivalent of rye grows well in dry climates. The fig trees and imported taava plants as mentioned before do not have a great time growing in most of Zekira's climates. The taava plant is similar to the sugar cane, and has found a niche only directly beside the native zpara on high mountains.

Native flora
Most plants are assumed to have Earthly equivalents, and are often found in very similar climates and zones.
Zpara, unlike the coffee bean plant, grows in most areas of Zekira. There are different varieties of it, but the most common is the Red Zpara, or the Zing plant. The beans are large, brightly red, and surrounded by deep violet-red colored sharp leaves. Some harvesters of Zing claim "the redder the better" and they are often right: the more strongly colored these plants get, it seems, the stronger the effect of the brew made from them. Huge fields of these plants are seen across Zerin and Curra. The Yellow Zpara, or Honey Zing plant grows in dry, high altitude locales, and provides a sharper taste and scent but less effective caffeine high. It is mostly found across the Stetil south peaks.

Cherries and other fruit trees can be found mostly on Tana, in the plains lands or light forests. The small township of Ablan in the center of Difar is commonly known to produce the best cherry wines, pies and wood products of that tree. In the north of Tana, in the H'lan and K'vora valleys, the banana tree is extremely populous. Everything is made from these trees, including clothing and paper. Tana itself has the most varied group of trees and fruits on the planet, with the low shrub-shaped kolli fruit in the cold Tule marshes offering a bitter but useful blueberry-like treat, to the northern Meht woods and their globe-fruits which are nearly the size of grapefruits, but have the texture and taste of yellow grapes.

Curra has its share of fruit bearing trees, though it is mostly used to grow Steed grains and common barleys and rice. There is a black rice grain found here particularly south of Tam in the hills, which is rich and provides not only food but the stalks and leaves of the plant are used for cloth dye, a very dark indigo black.

Kiran is dominated in the north by palms and ferns, since most of its northern coast is touched by the yearly storm systems. The hard-nut plant, or coconut, is harvested here as well as the southern areas of Zerin along Neres bay.
Tubers and roots of all tastes, sizes and shapes are found almost everywhere, including in the deep desert on Kiran. The Sand Nut is a hard shelled and very spicy nut, which plants itself near an oasis or stiffer ground than sand but then when the plant flowers (a towering 25 foot stalk with a large orange colored flower atop it) after pollination hundreds of spore-like capsules leave the flower. They drift on the wind into the sandy desert, and tend to roll around atop the sand rather than burrow into it. Large animals often eat these and deposit them into their proper soil later. Potatoes and yams are grown anywhere north of the equator, and yellow-roots (similar in texture to squash) are found in the hard soils of Emosah.

Grasses and wild rice, grains and such are found anywhere in the world. Most are used as Steed feed, but some can be mulched into fertilizer, used as coloration or dye, or made into useful items such as hats, paper, or baskets.Dry, sandy soil and easily eroded areas give way to Zekiran environmental powers and there are many scrub land areas around Kiran which will slowly be transformed into fertile soils.

High lands and mountains offer the best evergreen trees any world could find. There are not terribly many mountains around the world which have what can be considered a "tree line" although those in Stetil are almost bare on their peaks. Stiff, dry wood and hard resinous trees exist mostly north of the equator. The trees found on flat or hilly land (rather than mountains) are often broader, leafy ones. All kinds of wood and substances can be gotten from those or their evergreen counterparts.

The very closest that the world comes to having a tropics is north west of Corit, in the Web Valley. An extremely narrow section of land has almost constant cloud cover and moisture, and life there has adapted to these conditions with large leafed plants, tall towering parasol trees, and creepers of every description. There are far more bugs in this area of the world than any other, and fill nearly every ecological niche which animals and birds would here on Earth. Animals just don't get on well in this area of the world. There are plants which extrude poisons (collected by very brave or very evil Zekirans), as well as ones which can be harvested to provide soothing gels and cure-alls. This tropic is not in any danger of being over-harvested, Zekirans don't get on well here, either.

One unique feature is in the desert of Wo'ad, south of Slust and north of Karif. The deserts encroachment thousands of years before obviously took the forest and scrub by surprise: there is a huge petrified wood zone near the scrub lands. Some of these trees look almost tropical in nature, but most are hardy evergreens. What they were doing in that part of the world is still not known.

There are many opportunities to create plants for specific purposes in a Zekiran game. If the Animal Master in the party is a plant-sensitive or uses their powers to alter things, perhaps they have found a special poisonous flower; maybe it is essential to the plot that the characters find a rare hardwood plant to duplicate an item they have stolen. Anything goes with genetic engineering: Animal Masters will usually be the ones who have access to any complex information, rather than Breeders (who deal nearly exclusively with human genes).

Zekiran Fauna

There are two categories of Zekiran animals: native and imported. The Native population of animals is varied and fills many of the same niches as earthly animals of most terrains and areas (with the exception of purely rain-forest creatures), and as has been mentioned before the dominant form of mammal is the rodent, and there are no primates. The Imported kinds of animals are very small in number, and are mainly Steeds and Cats, some variation with household animals we're familiar with on earth.
Most animals are not intelligent in the slightest, but as noted they may actually be able to reason to some small extent, or have a sort of communication ability. Steeds are covered in their own section.
Generally speaking, small animals are fast, large animals are dangerous.

Hooved Animals
The main native hoofstock types are found all over the world in domesticated or semi-domesticated versions, but wander the plains and grass/scrub lands freely in herds of millions down to families of four.
Grazers are the most common of these hoofstock, vaguely resembling a deer or buffalo. They have horns on both sexes, though the males are larger. Somewhat larger than most Steeds, Grazers are easily tamed and pretty stupid. Used as cows are on earth, but with much more variation in their appearance and use. They are exclusively herbivores, and subsist on nearly any kind of flora on the planet. They rarely make good pets, though they are often found on farms and generally feed the world and provide the leather goods.

On Zerin, Lowland Grazers are typically grey-brown in color with their hides used for many leather and fur industries, and closely resemble water buffalo, with their horns curved back against their head and close to their necks. Zerin Highland Grazers, those usually found in the high mountains of Stetil and Ka are short in body and sure of foot, quite like mountain goats.

On Tana, the Grazer has been bred around the long legs and compact body of deer or antelope, with longer necks and thinner legs, typically looking like a Sable antelope or an elk, shorter horns than either of those earthly types. There is a very small number of an isolated relative of the Tana Grazer, living exclusively in the marshy area of the H'lan Valley, deepest violet and brown in color, this animal bears a striking resemblance to the earthly okapi.

The Curran Forest Grazer is shorter and darker, with heavy fur and more bi-focal vision than their other relatives, their horns are straight and usually either head back over their neck or straight out past their nose. Curra also sports the Reed Grazer, which should more accurately be called the Tall Grass Grazer, for they do not live in wetland conditions at all, they have long thin necks, while much shorter than earthly giraffes, that is their closest comparison.

The Kiran Grazer comes in several distinct types, the Southern Grazer is a large, bulky and short-furred creature resembling a shaved bison, and is the easiest to led into the slaughterhouse; while the Western or Desert Grazer is lithe, tiny, and is faster than all the others. Bred with pale fur, the Western Grazer is great to hunt because of its speed, and its meat is prized. Kiran has several sub-races of Marsh Grazers, similar in nature to the elusive H'lan creature, they are smaller and shorter, with thin horns and often they can be found climbing trees as well as sprinting over marsh lilypads.

Larger beasts resembling rhinos or elephants run around Emosah. There are creatures that defy description wandering the huge plains of Difar: the size of water buffalo, the color of wine, with three huge horns and two on their back, shaggy fur in winter which sheds come spring... Did I mention they have six legs?

Other Hoofstock include tiny mouse-deer found in Curra's forests and in the lower of the mountain ranges; Kiran's Mountain Springers, which resemble nothing more than billy goats; North Zerin Trumpet Horns, which are about the size, disposition and desirability as Moose on earth; the Zucan Woodbreaker, which acts similarly to a bighorn sheep but is most often found in deep forest; and the Tana Splay, which has the widest feet of all the hoofstock, and is designed to run rather quickly in the Kvora marshes.

Hern Rats are the largest sized native rodent to have been tamed by people. Barely. The closest niche on earth could be the guard dog: large, barrel chested creatures with wedge-shaped heads and fierce teeth. They are usually three to four feet tall, taller than most Zekiran's waists! They are carnivorous, actually closer to omnivores as they will eat vegetable matter if they are hungry enough. Skilled hunters, they usually travel in packs of up to twenty (three breeding pairs and their offspring, plus several older relatives) in the wild, and they are best kept that way in captivity. They come in a rust red color, some with stripes of dark brown and black, and also in a paler tan color with grey-yellow bellies and spots on their sides. They are akin to hyenas in their ferocity, and retrievers for loyalty when trained properly. Proper training is needed when even the most prized Hern Rat litter is born, they are simply all born wild, no amount of breeding has taken the instinct out of them.

Ice Wolves are exactly that, one singular species of canine left on Zekira. They exist only in the Curran Tundra, are exclusively white in color, mate for life, and are never taken into captivity. Their will to live is strong, but if they are separated from their mate they actually pine away and die shortly. They are canny hunters, but their prey is not always available. They can eat up to their own weight at one sitting, and often they must if they take down a large grazer: they might not see another meal in the next moon cycle, so they hunt and eat as they can. Animal Masters have attempted to raise these animals in semi-captivity, as long as the procedure of family-ties is maintained they are okay. If anything happens to throw off that balance, the entire family usually dies. It is possibly due to this phenomenon that the other canine species died out, before the Ice Wolves, because there is fossil evidence of at least seven other species before the colony ships arrived.

There are three species of Bear on Zekira, all found in the mountains and deeper forests of their homelands, with the exception of the Winter bear, which is usually in the light forest and tundra.
The Stetil Grey Bear is the most populous of the bears, as its habitat is rich in life. Its prey is usually small mice and rats, or burrowers, as well as insects. As the earthly 'honey-bear' is fond of that substance, there are 'Scarab Bears' on Stetil, which follow particular insects to their burrowed nests, and then scoop out the collected pollen-mix that the scarab beetles assemble for their grubs.
The Striped Bear is found in Tana, mostly in the sparsely populated hills. It is small but mean, taking most of its sustenance from fish. The annual Striped Bear Fishing Watch is a fun event as long as viewed from far enough away -- the spawning fish of the Cimu river gather in huge numbers at the base of the mountain, ready to race back to their higher spawning pools, and the bears gather as well. Normally territorial, the bears can be seen lounging around in the late summer sun, fat as can be before the winter sets in, all nestled among each other with practically no feuding.
The Curran Winter Bear is similar in exclusivity to the Ice Wolves, and in coloration as well. White and pale grey in color, and only slightly larger than its Zerin cousin, the Winter Bear can take down an adult grazer with one swipe of its huge claws, and will defend its territory from even its own offspring once they are old enough to fend for themselves. They mate approximately once every ten years, and often have two or three young to chase away. They are incredibly dangerous to hunt, and do not respond well to Animal Masters' powers. None of the bears on Zekira can be tamed in the slightest, they are plain ornery. The Curran bear is also the last of its kind on that continent, there are three other fossil types, and one more found on Kiran which apparently died out several thousand years before the colony ships came.

Small Animals
Most other rodent-type animals range from the size of a squirrel to an earthly capybara, all serving about the same specific needs. There are mice, rats, squirrels, moles, voles, possums, skunks, bats, raccoons, weasels and ferrets, river otters (not sea-), beavers, badgers and wolverines. All manner of burrowing, chewing, nesting creatures, mostly named either for their typical activities, their appearances, or their native habitats. Tree-Swingers are similar to very long-tailed possums, Stick-legs are odd winged creatures that really don't seem to fly, their gliding flaps are loose around their very long legs and arms while they pick through deep and quickly moving waterways, it is surmised they used to be able to fly, but have since used their flaps only to impress mates and discourage enemies: the flaps are brightly patterned. Leafgliders are similar to flying squirrels or very heavy bats. Speaking of bats, there are nearly 200 species of bats on Zekira, actually more because those that have been counted and classified are only on the four main continents, it's surmised there are nearly 40% more different species of anything when considering Neres.

There are birds of every description on Zekira, however they are less likely to be migratory than earthy birds. The huge yearly circle of storms across the Rainbow Sea precludes much over-ocean travel, for the smaller birds at least. Many will migrate over two thousand miles in any case, if they do at all. There are birds with four legs, on Zerin in the Reimal marshes. How they got that way is a mystery. Pick an earthly bird, it exists in its habitat on Zekira. Rainforest birds such as toucans and parrots are rare, but exist in wetlands mostly. There are several dozen species of purely nocturnal birds, akin to owls, some of which have bat-like abilities with sonics and are nearly blind otherwise, these mostly live in the Aakal to Wintep stretch of southern Kiran.

Reptiles are found mainly in Kiran desert areas, and the warmest reaches of marshes and plains. There are rare examples of upright 'raptor' like creatures, but they have all but died out with the competition of the rat-creatures of the world. There are some large elephantine long-necked types, grazing along side the world's hoofstock, but they are primarily left alone: they're big, they're dumb, and they just cause too much trouble when they're being hunted. They too can be found in quantities up to one hundred (!) but those herds can be counted at below a dozen. Soaring examples still compete with the huge cliff-dwelling birds of the Stetil highlands, swooping into lakes and over woodlands and primarily feeding on small birds and fish.

Insects, as has been mentioned, rule Zekira. There are thousands of different types of insects, from huge moths and butterflies, winged monstrosities which reach four feet in wingspan, to tiny potato bug creatures, and ants. Beetles are the primary species, from scarab like to snapping-turtle size. And attitude. Gnats reign supreme on the Tana plains, but they are extremely susceptible to the insect repellant that has been developed. Most bugs on Zekira do respond to chemicals, and rarely do they develop immunities to them, so the simpler techniques and mild repellants usually do the trick. Some insects can actually be trained to remember certain people or objects and respond to them in one fashion or another, the larger of the beetles particularly. And some of those have been mistaken for birds in the high trees of Curra, since they make calls similar to that of song birds.

Imported animals
Felines that are domesticated and living with Zekiran families come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and types, but are rarely larger than a bobcat or at most a puma. Early in the history of Zekiran colonization, several sets of breeding animals were released into wildlands, and have succeeded in surviving to the present day. They had a long, tough trip, because the native rats and larger predatory creatures did most of them in. They became faster, more fierce, and more resourceful. They are extremely rare, but respond greatly to Zekiran Animal Tunings. Many of the smaller ones have taken to being arboreal, or even burrowing into the soft forest dirt.

Lions, tigers and cheetahs are the typical earthly equivalents to the plains and subtropical forest cats which have been Bred and released. The lion is bigger than earthly ones, more like the extinct Black Lion, and is just as social. Tigers come in several color combinations, here, striped cat is the typical description, but there are flame patterns, jaged lines, dots and all, in pretty much the same variety of colors which Zekirans come in. Fast Cats or cheetahs come in three distinct flavors: like ours, the orange and black one is common. There is a white version, and a grey and violet variety. They have had a slighly easier time adjusting to life on this planet, because their prey is larger and they do not compete much with the Hern Rats.

Show cats and prize winning breeders exist, and are gaining popularity with people who have either no space or not quite enough money for Steeds. They cannot be raced, but they can be watched.
As with most Imported animals, any of these creatures takes best to Breeding rather than those found originally on the world. They are also easiest to cross and splice with humans, and those furry people who are around often have one of these cats as their main influence.

Canines also have been imported, with very little difference from any earthly types. Everything from yappy poodles to pleasant hounds, to greyhounds used to race, guard dogs and huge sheep dogs. Most of these animals are never found in the wild, nor even in feral conditions. They don't survive long because of the Hern Rats. Hern Rats have been known (like earthly coyotes) to take a pet from its yard and simply eat it.

Rodents of a small showy variety have been bred for centuries based on those scavengers and tagalongs found on the colony ships! They hadn't fully intended to bring them, but once the ships and their landing crews came to the planet, of course they discovered the hitch hikers. Rather than allowing them to run rampant in the ecosystem, the colonists successfully captured almost 95% of the rats and mice, and what was left has long adapted to life in the localized areas where the ships landed. The rats are large and hardy, and pretty smart. Mice have become very popular as pets, however they are also pests in certain areas and must be kept under control just like any other rodent.

Stats for Animals

Creature Int Strength Health Agility Reaction Located/Notes

Grazer/Lowland 10 140 100 50 40 Zerin, marsh, low
Grazer/Highland 15 100 80 90 80 Zerin, hills, rocks
Grazer/Tana 10 120 80 80 50 Tana, plains
Grazer/Marsh 20 100 80 60 60 Tana, H'lan Valley
Grazer/Forest 15 60 70 70 70 Curra, forests
Grazer/Grass 10 90 80 80 80 Curra, plains
Grazer/Southern 5 120 90 60 40 Kiran, grass
Grazer/Desert 20 40 50 90 120 Kiran, desert
Grazer/Western 10 50 50 100 100 Kiran, Kirun area
Grazer/Wetland 15 30 40 100 90 Kiran, Marshes
Stomper (rhino) 8 120 100 60 50 Emosah, plains
Tusk Trunk 25 150 100 50 60 Emosah, plains, forest
MouseDeer 10 15 30 120 130 Curra, forest, mtn
Mt. Springers 15 50 40 90 80 Kiran, mountains
Trumpet Horn 15 140 100 50 50 Zerin, Ka, Stetil
Woodbreaker 10 70 80 70 60 Zerin, Zuca
Splay 15 60 70 90 90 Tana, K'vora marsh
Forest Racer 10 40 40 90 100 Ka, Stetil, high woods
Fang Deer 10 50 50 80 70 Zerin, deep forests
Herd Deer 10 50 80 40 70 Difar, plains

Hern Rats 25 80 80 70 70 Northern; domesticated
Ice Wolves 15 60 70 65 60 Curra, northern
Grey Bear 10 50 50 40 40 Stetil, no high alt
Striped Bear 15 40 60 50 60 Tana, hills
Winter Bear 10 70 60 50 50 Curra, northern

Tiny Rodent 5 5 20 70 70 houses everywhere
Tree Dweller 5 7 20 80 70 trees everywhere
Burrower 5 15 30 40 40 soft ground
Urban Dweller 10 10 30 50 50 urban settings
Mustelid 15 15 30 50 70 forests, plains
Water Dweller 15 20 35 70 50 riverways
Midsized 20 35 40 40 50 ground, woods
Bats 5 15 15 60 100 evening/night
Large Rodent 10 40 40 45 50 plains, deserts
Tree-Swinger 5 20 15 40 50 light forest
Stick Legs 5 15 10 20 40 waterways
Leafgliders 10 10 15 50 60 tall trees

Tiny Bird n/a 5 5 60 60 everywhere
SongBird n/a 5 10 60 50 everywhere
Scrub Bird n/a 10 10 50 50 Kiran desert/scrub
Water Bird n/a 20 20 40 60 ponds, water, sea
Sea Bird 5 15 20 40 50 open ocean
Owl 5 20 25 80 60 nocturnal woods
Predator, sm 5 25 20 50 90 plains/woods, urban
Predator, lg 5 30 30 40 90 woods, mountains
Show Bird n/a 10 10 50 70 app 80, domestic
Glider 10 70 50 30 40 2x condor sized, cliffs

Any bird from Earth usually qualifies in the 10/15 Str/Hea area, and most have 'equivalent' versions on Zekira.

Int Str Heal Agi Reac
Tiny Bug n/a 1 n/a 100 90 wasps, bees, etc
Stingers n/a 1 n/a 120 10 ant swarms, plains (health up to 200k in large numbers)
Butterfly n/a n/a n/a 100 40 App 90, everywhere
Small Bug n/a 5 5 90 70 lg roaches, beetles
Medium Bug n/a 10 10 (armor) 50 40 Palm Bugs (fist sized)
Big Bug n/a 15 15 40 20 Rolling Beetle (desert)
SongBeetle 5 15 15 60 50 Arboreal cat-sized
Huge Bug 5 15 30 20 30 Desert Borer, Neres

There are millions of different bugs, most are lower than 15/10 Str/Hea, and most of those are over 100 Agi/Rea

Tiny Fish n/a n/a 1 150 150 like tetras, neons
Little Fish n/a 5 5 120 100 no greater than finger
Small Fish n/a 10 5 100 100 arm sized, rivers
Middle Fish n/a 15 15 100 90 Catfish, trout
Bigger Fish n/a 20 20 90 70 sm sharks, Barb Fins
Large Fish 5 30 20 70 70 sharks, eels
Eatin' Fish 5 40 30 70 60 bottom feeders
Leapers n/a 30 30 90 80 flying fish
Octopods 15+ 40 35 90 40 just like earth's
Huge Fish 5 60+ 60+ 30 30 over 16 feet long
Collosal Fish 5 100+ 80+ 30 20 whale shark/sea monster

Note that with the fish the scale of Body Type is different from most. Anything bigger than "human sized" is ignored and is not desired as food or other interactive bits. They just don't want to mess with things that size in water they can't swim in. Note also that octopods are exponentially more intelligent than other sea animals, and when used in splices tend to produce very smart results.