Name: The Prizz
Created By: Jay P. Hailey
Short Summary: A race of physical and mental shape changers.
The Typical Prizz looks like an amorphous blob, done in egg white. More often than not the Prizz are using a pear shape, extruding pseudo pods and the need or mood strikes them. However the Prizz can cheerfully take any shape or color that pleases them. Prizz as snakes slithering along, hoops or balls rolling, or kites and gliders are not an uncommon sight.
The average weight/mass of a Prizz is between 100 and 200 lbs. Smaller Prizz are encountered but larger ones are rare, usually encountered during a mating cycle.
Prizz can mimic people, objects or animals, but do this only rarely. In some circles excellence in mimicry is considered an art form, but to the typical Prizz, unschooled in the subtleties of mimicry this is considered derivative and limiting. Some Prizz are "'Hosting'" when a Prizz hosts, he becomes as close as possible a physical duplicate of the being "hosted", biologically (Clothes and tools are not mimicked)
The Prizz are, in fact, an amorphous mass. Their cells are wonders of multi-function adaptability, mobility and flexibility. All functions done by a more conventional being's physiology are distributed evenly through the mass of a given Prizz. Prizz cells cycle through functions over the course of a day, sometimes a sensory apparatus, sometimes a neuron, sometimes a muscle cell and sometimes a part of the digestive system. Prizz Cells are actually larger than most cells belonging to conventional beings.
Prizz cells are immensely mobile within their being. They have complex and durable movement mechanisms which can become anchors at need. A Prizz' cell even seems to retain a primitive awareness of its identity and need to remain part of its individual. If separated by a short distance, cells belonging to a given Prizz will move towards each other and join.
If unable to locate other members of its being, a Prizz cell will start to eat and grow, trying to generate a new individual. Success in this endeavor is extremely rare.
The Prizz eat by absorption. Their cells can generate powerful enzymes which can process most carbon based compounds and derive nourishment from them. The Prizz prefer plants and animals to eat, but can subsist on most any organic compound.
The Prizz can overwhelm and eat living creatures or plants smaller than themselves. Most Prizz eschew this practice, claiming it's unpleasant.
The Prizz excrete very little.
The Prizz reproduce in a very flexible way. A Prizz by himself can reproduce by fission, bulking up past maximum weight and then splitting into two beings. Prizz commonly avoid this. To them it seems unnecessary, unoriginal and wasteful. Under some conditions (if the Prizz is the only one of his kind and seems likely to never be discovered and rescued) it might become desirable.
The second and by far the preferable method for the Prizz is a mating meld. Two Prizz who desire to reproduce and like each other will meld their bodies into a single large Prizz. This combined Prizz then attempts to wander through each Prizz' life according to mutually agreed upon priorities. After a time, variable depending on the availability of food the Prizz has reached a maximum weight (500 lbs or so) the melded Prizz then splits into three beings, The two original Prizz and a third Prizz, mentally and emotional a meld of the previous two.
Prizz report that this mating meld is immensely pleasurable, but exhausting and demanding. Prizz rarely mate for long periods. Instead a Prizz may enter mating melds every few years with a series of Prizz it finds interesting and worthwhile. Prizz leave mating melds with elements of their mates in their psyche. They are changed by the experience, which the Prizz regard as a good thing.
The mating meld is not limited to two Prizz. Three and four are not unseen. The largest in living Prizz memory entailed twenty beings and resulted in a litter of eight new Prizz. This is largely considered a stunt. Nice to have done once, but not worth repeating.
The mind of the Prizz is as amorphous as their bodies. It is distributed amongst their bodies. Given that the cells of the Prizz are variable and mobile, The Prizz nervous system greatly resembles a packet based communications network than a brain. Somehow this works and works reasonably well.
Mentally the Prizz seem to be as flexible and changeable as their bodies. They hold no opinion very firmly, and change easily, and then just as easily change again.
Prizz Memory is unusual. The Prizz stores memories biochemically in each cell in holographic matrix. But memory access changes over time. Newer memories are more easily accessed. Older Memories, while stored with good fidelity, are harder to reach. The older a memory the more difficult recall is for a Prizz. The Prizz don't really forget things, but find older memories rarely worth the effort to recall. Truly ancient memories do degrade but by that time are so rarely accessed that it's not that big a deal.
Prizz do age, but this is a very poorly understood process. The mating meld seems to affect this.
A Prizz who has aged out will enter one last mating meld if possible surrender it's mass entirely to the new Prizz and its partner.
Since memories are shared between one Prizz and its mates and offspring, it's often very difficult to tell one Prizz from another, and where one Prizz ends and another begins. The Prizz either know, but can't express it well or simply don't consider the idea of a "different" Prizz all that important.
The Prizz can form telepathic nodes in their nervous systems. First they must know how, which is very difficult. It's rare for the Prizz to exhibit telepathy unless an emergency is going on. No Prizz is naturally a telepath.
The Prizz are strangely vulnerable to telepathy. Their flexible and adaptable minds are easily molded by a telepath. Even Prizz who have gone to the effort to understand and generate telepathy within themselves are still vulnerable to it. This seems related to their method of memory transfer during a mating meld. This weakness seems inherent in the biology of the Prizz. They don't consider it a very serious weakness.
The Prizz do breathe. They need as much oxygen as a comparable sized human being or more depending on the outlay of biological energy. The Prizz breathe through a distributed interchange, and so are impossible to strangle. The Prizz can breathe in polluted environment or in areas where the air mix is wrong for humans. But there must be enough oxygen to support their level of outlay. A Prizz can breathe underwater but must make a conscious effort to do so, this well break character in a "'Hosting'" situation.
A Prizz under low oxygen conditions will become lethargic, matching activity to available oxygen level. If the level of available oxygen drops below a critical point, the Prizz will suffocate and die.
The Prizz has a certain level of reserve oxygen and biological energy available, approximately four minutes depending on size.
A Prizz is not as vulnerable to pressure changes, but under deep ocean of gas giant atmosphere conditions would be squished just as flat and just as dead as any human.
The Prizz in the water must cope with available oxygen and partial oxygen pressure issues. Otherwise they can use their shape changing abilities to dive and swim much better than any humanoid race.
The Prizz are comfortable in colder environments than humans. They can exits happily in conditions where a Human or a Vulcan would get hypothermia and die in minutes.
However the Prizz are vulnerable to heat. They become lethargic and unhappy at 90 degrees (f) and incapacitated at 100 degrees (f) and will melt and die within moments under conditions of 120 degrees (f)
This issue has to do with heat dissipation and radiation away from the Prizz. A normal Prizz under high temperature will seek water or assume a shape with a very large surface area compared to its mass. A Prizz who is 'Hosting' has greater limits and will suffer worse from the effects of high temperature. Prizz do not become delirious when affected by high temperature, but in the final extremes, their networking of nervous system impulses will fail. This and the actual death of cells is what leads to the unpleasant melting effect.
The Prizz reaction to cold is somewhat different. Prizz cells are naturally able to handle freezing. Because of their tendency to retain heat generated through biological activity, the Prizz are able to stay functional and well for long periods at relatively low temperatures. However if exposed to extremely cold conditions, the Prizz will simply freeze sold. This is harmless to the Prizz. The Prizz experience no passage of time while frozen. They are naturally able to enter hibernation.
The Prizz are more or less immune to blunt force trauma. You could beat one with a bat all day and accomplish nothing. Conventional guns while intensely unpleasant do no lasting damage.
If you cut a Prizz in two the two halves will be fully functional if half sized Prizz. They will immediately seek to rejoin into a single full sized individual. If a Prizz falls from a great height and for some reason is unable to take an appropriate shape to slow the descent, it will splatter, but then flow back together.
Some cells always die when struck by such force but due to the Prizz' mobile and adaptable cells, these losses are minor, easily adapted to and easily recovered.
However due to their vulnerability to heat and complex neural networking, the Prizz are more vulnerable to energy weapons. A Phaser on stun will stun a Prizz for longer than a human and the stunned Prizz will loose structural cohesion while stunned. If struck by a disruptor or a Phaser set to kill, it is unlikely that the Prizz will survive, however if it does, it will only be a fraction of its previous mass, a Micro-Prizz, if you will.
The Prizz have no native gender identity, although some Prizz take on the role of male or female as a result of 'Hosting' or by personal preference. They are by nature non-gendered beings.
In ST-OM the Prizz planet is deep in unexplored space. They key to the Prizz is that they're difficult to reach.
The Prizz on the Prizz Home World number approximately a billion. This number has held steady for a long time.
The Prizz have no inherent language. They communicate either by touching and establishing a direct link and sharing thoughts, or by a variety of colors displayed on their skins to express emotions.
The Prizz can mimic humanoid speech, and now do so in a variety of languages. Several languages have been borrowed by the Prizz and have become parts of their culture, among them English. Prizz are notably sloppy about keeping languages separate and so will often drift through several different languages, constructions and dialects in a single conversation or statement.
It's not uncommon to see more primitive universal translators lock up or be damaged when speaking to a Prizz.
The Prizz have no centralized government and likely never will. They do have temporary governments or social organizations as inspired or influenced by Prizz who are Hosting, but these will never stay permanent.
The Prizz have no native economy. They have few needs and these are readily gathered from the environment. There is a small economy among the Prizz who are Hosting, who struggle to produce and trade various artifacts of more technological society, aided by such non-hosted Prizz as feel like it at any given time.
The Prizz have no native military force. Although occasionally large numbers of Prizz are motivated and organized by Hosting Prizz these organizations are usually short lived.
It is possible for one Prizz to overwhelm another and even kill him. But incidents of this are very, very rare.
Occasionally predators attack Prizz. The attacked Prizz usually comes away shy some body mass, but otherwise good natured about this. If a predator or group of predators persist in attacking Prizz or out right killing them, then several Prizz will band together and hunt down the predator, either killing it or driving it away.
If a Prizz took a liking to murdering or consuming other Prizz, a similar group would spontaneously form and pursue the rogue Prizz. He would be killed, not driven away.
The History of the Prizz is long but once again somewhat amorphous. It's theoretically possible for a Prizz to remember all the way back to the first Prizz and directly recall all of Prizz history. In practice the effort of this would be brutal and beyond the capability of all but the toughest Prizz after years of training.
There are Prizz who have "remembering" as their calling, delving into ancient memories and bringing them up to a more recent level of recall. They report that Prizz culture has been similar for a very long time, with the principle variation coming from Hosting and it's side effects over time.
The Prizz culture is centered around experiences. The Prizz make excellent artists, philosophers, poets and dramatists. They make rotten engineers and scientists, except under the influence of Hosting.
The Prizz are curious, and thoughtful. On the Prizz homerworld there are many groups of Prizz adventurers out exploring and traveling and seeking new experiences to share with others and pass down to their progeny.
The Prizz believe that experience widens the mind. Although many Prizz seem like lazy daydreamers, every so often (on no set schedule) a Prizz will get bored and go seek a new type or set of experiences.
By far the best of these new experiences are cultural and emotional through the experience of Hosting. The Prizz revere Hosting. It is a central element to their culture and leaves its mark all over their world.
The Prizz religion is centered around an artifact that they have had lying around since before the earliest Prizz can remember. These crystals are called Soul Gems. They were originally discovered in caves but have since been moved to a variety of temples and sacred sites. These crystals hold in them the telepathic imprint of a mind. Each gem that holds a mind holds a specific mind.
The Prizz can absorb the stored mind from the gem. They "host" the recorded being. The identity of the being recorded in the soul gem is replicated into the Prizz and becomes the Prizz' new personality, complete with memory, attitudes and skills.
During a good Hosting, the Prizz actually forgets that he's a Prizz utterly becoming convinced that he's actually the being he's Hosting. The Prizz' shape changing is used to replicate the hosted being's body in such detail as the Prizz are capable of. The new identity then proceed to live it's life from that point forward among the Prizz, in character, but altered and spun by what the new being encounters along the way.
The Prizz have gained all the skills of a technological society in this way, although they don't express this knowledge very directly. The main expression of the borrowed cultures that come along with the borrowed identities are the small villages and temples that have sprung up.
The Villages are inhabited by Prizz and Hosting Prizz who are mimicking other people. Some hosted identities lend their skills to the villages. Other strong personalities try to recreate the Prizz home world according to their desires. Charismatic beings hosted by a Prizz can quickly gain large followings of Prizz, and lead them around. These are usually short-lived phenomenon.
The Prizz do their best to live life in character for the being they are Hosting. It could be considered a form of full immersion role playing, except to the Prizz it has religious or spiritual over tones.
These hosted beings add a lot of vitality and diversity to the over all Prizz culture and are cherished for it.
Strong personalities are more likely to give a good imprinting, causing the Hosting Prizz to forget anything other than being the hosted being. Inexperienced Prizz or weakly imprinted personalities result in a sort of mixed mode Prizz who is both beings at once.
There is a natural course to a Hosting. Eventually the Prizzness of the Prizz Hosting will assert itself. As soon as the being remembers that he's a Prizz who is Hosting, the game is in it's declining phase. Early on the Prizz will keep a majority of the personality dominant but as time proceeds the base Prizz becomes more dominant.
Eventually the Personality hosted is a dim memory. Skills that are commonly used are refreshed but memories that are not visited often become faint and more difficult to remember.
The Hosted being lives an average of 100 years as recognizable entity, before being subsumed by the Prizz side of the being. Some hosted being stay in existence longer.
People from many different races and periods in history are recorded in the soul gems.
The Prizz Hosting a being becomes as close a physical duplicate of the being as possible within the limits of the Prizz shape changing ability. The Prizz mass doesn't alter. So a 200 pound Prizz modeling a 105 pound woman becomes physically similar but sized up to account for the extra mass. The Hosting Prizz will consciously or unconsciously add or subtract mass until he matches the hosted being. This is the only time outside of a mating meld that Prizz will exceed approximately 200 pounds.
There are limits, however. On a fundamental biological level the being is still a Prizz. The Hosting Prizz will be an exact a duplicate as possible, even to physical measurements, and things like fingerprints. But the Prizz won't bleed unless absolutely unavoidable and it's "blood" will fail any laboratory test for blood. The Prizz DNA stays intact and the Hosted Being will fail any such genetic testing. The Hosted being will sleep very little and eat little compared to the real being. A Prizz could not become pregnant except under completely weird circumstances. Prizz are not vulnerable to humanoid diseases under most conditions but have a set of diseases of their own.
The Soul Gem is unique in its capabilities. For best effect and strongest impression a soul gem should be near it's subject for an extended period of time. Some soul gems are elaborately cut and mounted. They are obviously meant to masquerade as jewelry. Still others are small. They may have been actually imbedded in their subject.
The Soul gem, after a term of exposure, becomes attuned to it's subject and records a detailed telepathic impression of its subject. Once tuned, the Soul Gem is only sensitive to one person. A soul gem can be reset by being baked to a temperature of 500 degrees (f), but this also eliminates any previous impression, an idea that horrifies the Prizz.
About the only beings immune to being recorded by soul gems are creatures of very alien origin, Vampire Clouds and Horta for instance, or Prizz.
An impression can even be made of a carefully shielded and skilled telepath although it takes longer. How is mysterious since the Soul gem is undeniably passive and emits no telepathic energy. It does, however feel different to a suitably skilled telepath.
How these gems came to be recorded, and how they came to exist among the Prizz is a mystery. Rememberers recall that ancient Prizz used to vaguely recall something about the origin of the soul gems but considered this prosaic and sensible and so over time, took the origin for granted enough to forget it.
People from all over the universe (Or multiverse if you'd rather,) are represented in soul gems, including some people who simply should not be by reason of time. A soul gem represents Isaac Newton. He died 800 years ago by Trek reckoning, but the gem holding him is over 2000 years old.
How does this happen? It is not known. (It could be the Rishans, it could be the mysterious ancients, it could be almost anything.)
The Prizz do not respect the cultural and social context of their hosted beings very well. They think it's great fun for Surak and Newton to debate math, science, philosophy and religion. The Surak and Newton who do this are altered by the experience but this sort of thing is what the Prizz are after and cherish.
Consequently, when contact is made with outsiders, the Prizz are smitten with the concept. An outside world, filled with new experiences and new kinds of people to meet is Prizz heaven.
Among the Prizz who'd line up to make expeditions away from Prizz-Land are some hosted beings, for whom leaving Prizz-Land would be in character. Sir Richard Burton or Sinbad would leave to seek out the truth of their existence on Prizz Land (It matches no after life either would have expected.)
The Prizz would also view it as a bonanza of new religious experiences, to smuggle raw (unrecorded) soul gems out to interesting people and get recordings of them.
Due to the physical nature of the Prizz they are usually easily out muscled by conventional humanoids in most ways. Prizz who are Hosting also suffer from this tendency.
To cover, some Prizz make use of improvised skeletons, either random rocks and sticks or carefully sculpted frames upon which a Hosting Prizz can drape the appropriate appearance. Other Prizz simply make it a point to avoid arm wrestling or physical confrontations.
The Prizz are a source for deceased or out of reach characters to enter any given campaign, An interesting Alien encounter or a source for interesting ethical dilemmas.
The Prizz are accepting and friendly towards almost anyone. They enjoy having new friends and new experiences to share. Prizz maybe recruited by passersby for one reason or another, but unless altered by a Hosting, the Prizz commitment is not a lasting one.
The Prizz can shape change. They are essentially immune to physical force. They live an open ended amount of time. Prizz can exchange thoughts with other Prizz by physical contact.
The Prizz are vulnerable to heat, fire and energy weapons. They are vulnerable to poison. They are vulnerable to telepathic invasion and influence. A Prizz is easily talked into things.
I knew I had a sort of an image in the back of my mind about how the Prizz looked, But I hadn't identified it with any great care. Looking for pictures I realized what I was seeing in my minds eye were these -
- The New Shmoo based on the Al Capp Character - the New Shmoo could shape change for no adequately explored reason.
- Also there were "Gleep" and "Glorp" - two amorphous shape changing blobs that were characters in Hanna Barbera's The Herculoids
The Prizz are these guys but with attention paid to conservation of mass and others issues, although not so much as to make them unplayable.