Author Topic: Sangheili biology & culture discussion  (Read 47404 times)

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Offline Slaskia

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Sangheili biology & culture discussion
« on: January 27, 2010, 04:42:38 PM »
For such an iconic species, little is known about them, especially in the biology sense:  culture wise we have at least been thrown a bone or two here and there.  Biology wise, all we have is their appearance and lots and lots of speculation and it doesn’t help that Bungie keeps altering their appearance and beyond overall body structure there has been little to no consistency.  I’ll pick on particular topics of interest of mine for the starting post (anyone can join in btw:  this should be fun :)).

Height/Size

Initially they were stated to be 8’6” on average, then changed to 7’2” in Halo 2 and then changed again to 7’4” via the Halo Encyclopedia (make up your minds Bungie!).  I wouldn’t be surprised if it was changed again for Halo: Reach, but we’ll have to wait and see for that one.

We only have official heights of a couple of Sangheili characters:  Thel ‘Vadam (aka the Arbiter of H2/3) and Ripa ‘Moramee (Arbiter of Halo Wars), whom are 7’10” and 8’1” respectively.  Both used the newest 7’4” average scale, considering both come from the same source (Halo Encyclopedia).  Just for kicks, I calculated how big both would be using the initial 8’6” scale and found that Thel would be an even 9’, while Ripa would be 9’2” (yikes…).

Regardless of official averages however, it is safe to say that they have a wide range of heights much like we do, possibility even determined by region.  Size differences between genders though as been at least partly confirmed by the Halo Legend episode The Duel:  Han was most certainly smaller in both height and frame to Fal and the other males in the episode.  How constant this difference is, is unknown considering we have only seen one Sangheili female (whose overall appearance was confirmed non-canon anyway).

Support for the females being smaller and weaker also comes from the type of society Sangheili have.  Being a male dominated society would lend to the females not needing to be as big and strong as the males, though I am certain there are exceptions to this rule.

Skin

Another area that has been a bit inconstant.  In Halo 2 and 3, Sangheili were scaly (though it was not quite as clear in H2 and H1: CE the it is too hard to tell), while in Halo Wars and now Halo: Reach from what we can see, they have leathery, almost human-like skin (the latter being further supported by a passage in The Cole Protocol).  A likely explanation is that, like their height, whether they have scales or not depends on the region.  Thel, for instance, appears to be at least partly scaly (from the cutscenes of Halo 2, he seems to have scales on the top of his head, back and top of his thighs), while Ripa appears to have no scales at all.  It’s possible that scales is determined by sub-species.

Skin Color

Confirmed skin colors range from browns and greys, though I am sure there are more.  It is highly likely that Sangheili have varying skin colors, perhaps even have various counter shading and patterns dependant on region, but never going beyond ‘earthen’ tones.  The red-brown hide of my OC Runi ‘Gotern is probably the most ‘colorful’ they can get skin tone wise, though I would not be surprised if sometimes one is born with albinism or leusisticism (such as my OC Sari ‘Sasav).

In terms of differences between males and females skin color wise, The Duel seems to support that females tend to be paler then the males.  I am certain there are exceptions to this rule like it is with height, however.

Eyes

In Halo 2 & 3 games Sangheili were depicted to have eyes with slit pupils.  In Halo Wars and the concept art for Halo: Reach the pupils are round.  Like with scales this could be a sub-species variant.  Regardless, Sangheili all appear to have eye-sight at least on the level of humans, though likely better considering they are obviously a carnivorous species.  At least when it came to daytime activities:  how good their night vision is, is unknown.

Eye color

Confirmed iris colors seem to be browns, yellows, golds, and oranges.  The whites of their eyes can be either lighter or darker then the iris (Ripa being an example of the latter): whites colors appear to range in the oranges and dark greys.

More exotic eye colorations are likely possible, such as blues and greens (and no, Rtas does not have green eyes!  The green eyes he seems to have in Halo 2 are the result of him wearing eye covers).  It’s possible those cooler colors are restricted to the female gender (our sole female example, Han, has pale, yellow-green eyes).

Reproduction

Thanks to Thel from Halo 2 (thanks Thel! You have a nice ass! *grins*), we know that male reproduction organs are completely internal and do likely have a penis.  Female reproductive anatomy we have no clue about however.  We can’t use Han from The Duel due to some of her features being non-canon (like what appears to be breasts).  Considering their reptilian appearance, I believe it is safe to say that they likely do not have mammary glands (aka breasts :P).

In terms of the reproductive process itself, I personally speculate they are ovivipids.  Meaning at one point in their evolution they were egg layers, but evolved so that the eggs stay within the female to develop rather then being laid.  This would be akin to many species of snake (rattlesnakes being an example) and some species of shark.  Temperature deciding the gender is not likely with this set up.  In regards to how long it takes for the baby to develop, I haven’t thought much about that either :(.

I think I’ll stop here for now….

Offline Spog

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Re: Sangheili biology & culture discussion
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2010, 07:40:47 PM »
Well, what with all the random cannon all over the place with them, I just stick to "my cannon", which is basically choices of what I like best (and some made up cannon, mostly with culture though).

Height:  Males would be average 8'6", and have the occasional abnormality in height, whether shorter or taller.

Eye color: I don't speak of most of my OCs eye colors, but I have creative eye colors such as silver, royal blue, and green.

Skin color: This relates to not only region where Sangheili grow in (it can differ with inter-sub-species reproduction, like with humans).  First of all, my made up cannon of the three suns.  I think they are in a straight line vertical down Sangheilios from the north and southern poles, the two suns on either side of the middle being farther apart from the planet itself however, as opposed to the middle which is closer.   There is no snow in the norther and southern poles, the low it had gotten in made-up recorded history was 70 Degrees.

With that said, the names of the suns in accordance with the regions goes like this: Urs (a sun) hovers mostly over the northern hemisphere, and the entire northern hemisphere is called "Ura", where the brown skinned Sangheili originated from (like how Caucasian humans are known most in Europe and norther Russia and other places, Blacks in Africa, Orientals in far east and so on).  They call themselves "Urses".

The middle sun, Fied, closest to the planet (making the equator and most of the desert areas in the higher elevated parts) hovers over Fiedan, the black/charcoal gray skinned Sangheili (Fiedons) originating there.

And the southern sun, Joori hovers over Joorinia, home to the Joorinians, the lighter gray skinned Sangheili.

That's how I imagine origins of skin color and how they can vary; I agree with you Sl'askia that they can have many varying colors, and indigenous sub-species like our Native Americans.

And Sl'askia I agree with you on everything doing with reproduction; and with your idea of how they evolved from egg layers to giving live births.

And as for eating habits, to me, they are technically carnivores, but I think they they choose to eat thick root vegetables for the enjoyment of it, they are "slightly omnivorous".  Although if they ever took a vegan lifestyle...they'd shrivel and die like weeds under pesticide.
"With the stigma feasting upon your flesh I wish you well! Thorns from the fountains of fate licking lepered skin! Worshiped by anyone's mass on our planet hell! What on earth possessed you!?" ~Dimmu Borgir "Kings of the Carnival Creation"

Offline Slaskia

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Re: Sangheili biology & culture discussion
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2010, 08:14:44 PM »
I don't completely understand your arrangement of the sun's Spog (and welcome to the board btw :)).

Personally I think two of the suns are in tight orbit around each other in the center of the system, with the third in a planet-like orbit around them.  Where in the order of planets this third sun is I do not know: could be before, or after Sangheilos.  Sangheilos is mentioned to be on the edge of habitabilty in the system, though we do not know which exteme they mean by that: it is safe to assume though that they mean the 'closer to the suns' extreme.

If the third sun is 'after' Sangheilos, then I can see the planet occassionally going into intervels of full around the globe daylight.

And I agree on them having 'some' onivorous habits.

Offline Spog

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Re: Sangheili biology & culture discussion
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2010, 09:13:22 PM »
Okay, picture the suns stacked on top of each other, vertically.  Now, the middle sun remains stationary, while the others move sideways together a bit and stop, forming a slight triangular formation, and Sangheilios is near them, on the "point" of the triangle (I remember saying that Urs and Joori are closer to the northern and south hemisphere, what I meant was...hm, now I'm confusing myself.  I think I'll just draw a half-arsed diagram or something XD).

................

Okay, one hideous diagram:



That's how I view them to look (I also think that the "greenery" of Sangheilios is mostly jungle, and that the north and south hemispheres would have timberlands like that of north America and other such places.)

...and for the record, I do not think Fied is a giant donut  :-\

And they're much farther away of course, or else the north and south would never get any darkness...or be melted...
"With the stigma feasting upon your flesh I wish you well! Thorns from the fountains of fate licking lepered skin! Worshiped by anyone's mass on our planet hell! What on earth possessed you!?" ~Dimmu Borgir "Kings of the Carnival Creation"

Offline Slaskia

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Re: Sangheili biology & culture discussion
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2010, 09:24:34 PM »
I do not think it is possible for the suns in that configuration to be stationary.  The gravitational pull of the three suns would be pulling and tugging at the others.  At best, such a configuratin would result in the two smallest once to start orbiting the largest.  At worst, they would end up merging into one sun and it wouldn't be a triary system anymore (not to mention the merging may cause a massive explosion that would wipe out all life in the system).

We do know of systems where binary suns rotate closely around each other (and eventually they will rotate close enough to merge).  I don't think we have found a triary system though. I'll have to check.

Edit:  Ok I was wrong: we 'have' found systems with more then two stars in it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_star
« Last Edit: January 27, 2010, 09:32:13 PM by Slaskia »

Offline Spog

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Re: Sangheili biology & culture discussion
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2010, 09:32:22 PM »
Eh, well, it's fiction-fiction instead of science-fiction then :P.  I still like the look of it anyway.  Fits with my "Urse, Joorinian, Fiedon" people thing.  Can't help but be lazy.
"With the stigma feasting upon your flesh I wish you well! Thorns from the fountains of fate licking lepered skin! Worshiped by anyone's mass on our planet hell! What on earth possessed you!?" ~Dimmu Borgir "Kings of the Carnival Creation"

Offline Slaskia

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Re: Sangheili biology & culture discussion
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2010, 09:55:35 PM »
*shrug* I like being accurate when I can:  both canonically and science wise.  After looking at the wiki I linked and re-reading the entry on Sangheilos in the Halo Encyclopedia, I think Sangheilos is 'after' all three suns and that the system would look something like this:



Sun sizes and distances not to scale, obviously (and I no doubt have which sun is which wrong).

Offline Spog

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Re: Sangheili biology & culture discussion
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2010, 05:30:26 AM »
I can compromise with a good percentage of cannon, sometimes I use it to my "advantage" (such as the doctor hating thing, and how Kaidons have been known to have entire families of a Councilor hiring assassins murdered).  Most cannon I'll use to my advantage when I can make up a story of it (mostly the despicable attributes of their traditions, so I can write "morals" against it).  And I could alter the sun thing, thinking about how my layout off the suns could just make the heili apocalypse, I eventually succumb to facts ;P

But there is one piece of cannon that I absolutely refuse to follow.  The "new" naming structure; where everyone's surname is the same of the Keep's Kaidon.  How the hell can you keep track of an entire state of Vadams, or Fulsams or whatever.  What I do is stick with the old naming stucture: Va (meaning some kind of character attribute) - Dam (the family name, this would make Thel's state "The Dam state" [and I pronounce is "dahm"]).  And usually the name line in most states lasts for hundreds of years, but if the line ends their name is remember, but changed of the state.  And everyone else has their own family name and little honorific titles when they earn such.  It seems more heartfelt and "involved" than the other way too, since Sangheili are such strong believers in familial loyalty, I would think parents would love the special moment to see their child's character and gift them an honorific for it.
"With the stigma feasting upon your flesh I wish you well! Thorns from the fountains of fate licking lepered skin! Worshiped by anyone's mass on our planet hell! What on earth possessed you!?" ~Dimmu Borgir "Kings of the Carnival Creation"

Offline Slaskia

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Re: Sangheili biology & culture discussion
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2010, 09:53:50 AM »
Aye the naming thing is a bit confusing:  The Cole Protocol really mucked that up.  Only problem with your set up is the other thing the Cole Protocol introduced:  Sangheili not knowing their fathers.  Can't take the name if you don't know who sired you (and in thinking about it, if someone dishonored the line and earns the lines death, how the heck do you know who the guilty party fathered?).  Granted, The Cole Protocol's naming convention is not mentioned in the Halo Encyclopedia at all from what I remember *double checks* nope. 

Yet, we cannot disregard the The Cole Protocol standard completely imo.  It's possible that naming convention is only for the 'ruling line' or perhaps only certain keeps use it (like smaller keeps).  Maybe even the old naming convention is used when a number split off from a large keep to form a new one?  The latter I used to explain the surname difference between my OC Anko 'Tidumee and Rtas 'Vadum.

I personally believe each keep has their own traditions and rituals (which I will go into shortly).  It's possible which naming convention they use is one of those that varies from keep to keep.  Considering though that I am terrible at coming up with names, I tend to use The Cole Protocol method due to it’s simplicity (or laziness: take your pick).  Unless Frankie or other official from 343 says otherwise (such as ‘we didn’t like that idea either’), I’ll probably keep using it.

Back to the star system thing briefly, while verifying the naming convention covered in the Halo Encyclopedia I found that Sangheilos is on the inner most edge of the ‘habitable’ zone of the system.  It also says that Sangheilos is ‘very similar to Earth in many respects’.

Sangheilos has:
- Saline oceans with multiple continents
- wide variation in temperature and vegetation
- similar size, gravity and atmosphere
- Sky ranges from bright yellow to blood red
- Environmental conditions are ‘capricious’ (basically ‘chaotic’)

Keep Traditions

As mentioned before I believe each keep has their own traditions and rituals.  Some of these would be come from the keeps ancestry, based on how and when the keep was formed.  My State of Ribal, for instance, was formed after a nomadic tribe took over the land of a weakened keep just after the end of the Sangheili/San ‘Shyuum war.  One of the traditions they kept from their nomadic days is one of the ways the position of kaidon is passed on:  some one can challenge the kaidon to mortal combat and if he wins, he gets the position.

Traditions could also be based on their major trade.  Ribals, for instance, are primarily herders and trade meat and hides.  Hilvum’s are similar, but trade in meat and wool (or what would be considered wool there).  Gorten’s have a large metalsmithing base to their keep.  Thel’s keep, the Vadam’s, seem to be fishermen, going by the information we have in The Cole Protocol.  Now, this is not to say the keeps are all ‘one trick ponies’:  they would have other trades as well to ensure self-sustainment.  Their primary trade would simply be one of their means of securing alliances with other keeps.

They would have other traditions that would only effect that keep.  For instance, the Ribal’s have the kar’zu hunt, where they have the children go out into the grazing fields to hunt the rats that infest the area.  The Sahant’s (the character that hails from this keep I haven’t officially introduced yet) have a unique marrying ritual (haven’t thought it out completely yet, so not saying).  I don’t really have any others….

(and I really, hate this ‘jittering’ bug when I am typing a reply *growls*)

Offline Spog

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Re: Sangheili biology & culture discussion
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2010, 11:15:47 AM »
Well, my own "official cannon" that I stick to in most of my stories is the stuff I made up in "Ti Amo".  Such as that some military fathers can bring their families aboard High Charity in a civilian area; and while some states have clans that separate Sangheili from their fathers, most of them have a "traditional" family.  Most of the cannon in Ti Amo is post-Covenant anyway, and has the drastic changes in society and culture, and general mindset.  With the destruction of the Covenant, people realized that they did not need to sacrifice happiness and body for the Great Journey anymore; military rules such as breeding rights to aristocrats were banned, except for certain "feudal" states (not necessarily feudal in the sense of technology, but ideals).  And anyway, it's a female Sangheili with a human father so that's pretty off considering how humans view Sangheili after the war anyway (love's crazy :P).

And how you mentioned a marriage ritual for one keep, I came up with a general wedding ritual myself for Sangheili.  It is similar to that of human weddings, the family of both groom and bride are present, but it is the parents of each that wed their children, not a priest or someone of that sort.  And tradition is them sharing the story of how they met, and the parents sharing any stories as well; basically anyone who wants to make a speech about them does so before they are wedded.  That opens room for all kinds of joyous yet gut wrenching speeches, family jokes, or the less desirable hate speech, in which case the speaker says at his own risk, as either bride or groom have full right to kick his ass without him fighting back.  Then after the wedding it's basically a feast, music, dancing, the usual celebration party stuff.  I think that while Sangheili are conservative and self-controlled of their public image (unlike us wierdo humans :P), they let their spirits go in a comfortable environment private with their family.  They actually crack a smile!  Whodathunkit!? (that's a good line for Gordon in IAW come to think of it XD)

I also happened to notice that in the little wiki about Tala and Kesi that their marriage was arranged by a Kaidon; did you mention that in 'Chains', I can't quite remember.

And replying jitters?  Hell, I get reading jitters when viewing your stories; even if the chapter seems regular; it can change into something quickly.  Yuteri must be pretty smelly for Zeno to pick up like that in "Trials" XP
"With the stigma feasting upon your flesh I wish you well! Thorns from the fountains of fate licking lepered skin! Worshiped by anyone's mass on our planet hell! What on earth possessed you!?" ~Dimmu Borgir "Kings of the Carnival Creation"

Offline Slaskia

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Re: Sangheili biology & culture discussion
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2010, 01:12:27 PM »
I believe that as well, the 'reserved when in public but not in private' thing that is (though Zeno is a notable exception, especially once he has spent 'too much time' with the humans).  Not only does it make sense due to what we know about their society, but it is actually supported by The Duel:  Fal laughs and smiles when he is at home with his wife.

In regards to Tala and Kesi, the mention of a kaidon arranging Tala's marriage was in Breaking Tradition, which has a slight retconning of how their relationship was in 'Chains' (Tala and Anko's that is).  Chains of the Past was written mostly before The Cole Protocol came out and at the time I was assuming they married each other much like we did (chosing their mates and what not).  Now we know this is not usually the case:  not only does it seem that arranged marriages are common place, but there are hints of polygimy as well.  Fal and Han's marriage is likely an exception, not the norm, canon wise.

(the jitters I refer to is a compatability bug with certain browsers (IE8 in my case) when it comes to replaying in a message board or PM.  When you get to a certain length all the text in the box starts 'jumping', like someone keeps hitting the 'Home' key after each character you type.  Very annoying...and I've encounterd it while PMing on FF.net as well.

As for Yuteri...well, many people think Sangheili have a better sense of smell then humans.  So It's not 'that' far fetched I think....)
« Last Edit: January 28, 2010, 01:14:19 PM by Slaskia »

Offline Spog

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Re: Sangheili biology & culture discussion
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2010, 02:19:21 PM »
RE Jitters: Oh um...*facepalm* yeah, error XD  It's either Firefox or Google Chrome for me (I like in Chrome that you can expand the box by dragging the bottom right corner, on almost any site, helps for a small box on my big screen).

And Sangheili having better sense of smell: sure, I believe, just wondering if they have nostrils somewhere (I may be biologically incorrect again, but I think their nostrils are somewhere on the roof of their mouth, near the backs of their throat, and that they can close them so no food or fluids get sucked in by accident.  I also think they can close portions of their throat, as a compromise to how we can hold food/drink in our mouths.  There's honestly gotta be some things they just won't swallow after they've tried :P)

Hmm, a good dare would be for one to try a hard candy sucker, that'd be interesting.  Competitions to see who can suck the longest without accidentally swallowing :P
"With the stigma feasting upon your flesh I wish you well! Thorns from the fountains of fate licking lepered skin! Worshiped by anyone's mass on our planet hell! What on earth possessed you!?" ~Dimmu Borgir "Kings of the Carnival Creation"

Offline Slaskia

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Re: Sangheili biology & culture discussion
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2010, 03:13:19 PM »
Well the heretics in Halo 2 seemed to be breathing solely through their mouths, thanks to the breathing apparatus they have.  They surely do have some means of closing off the pathway to the lungs while eating/drinking, though where olfactory senses are located is another thing.  My vote is in the back of the throat somewhere, perhaps serving as both a sense of taste and smell (granted, though our own sense of taste and smell is linked doesn’t mean it’s the same way for an alien species).

I think a more amusing challenge would be to have them try to suck through a straw ;).

Offline Spog

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Re: Sangheili biology & culture discussion
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2010, 03:37:55 PM »
There could also be the fact that, like reptiles [not saying they are ;) ], they may smell with their tongue (I still think they have those senses in the back of the throat, like you say.)

And straw sucking?  Hell, they'd probably suck the little things right in their throats...ouch.
"With the stigma feasting upon your flesh I wish you well! Thorns from the fountains of fate licking lepered skin! Worshiped by anyone's mass on our planet hell! What on earth possessed you!?" ~Dimmu Borgir "Kings of the Carnival Creation"

Offline Slaskia

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Re: Sangheili biology & culture discussion
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2010, 03:51:52 PM »
Doubtful. If they did, Rtas would have flicked his tongue out to 'smell' the Flood in that one cutscene in H2 (and probably freaked out a few players ;)).

Hmm...The Duel style Sangheili 'might' be able to do to it, depending whether all that extra skin that hides their mandibles covers the bottom of their mouth as well.  But all other style of Sangheili we've seen?  Not a chance.