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Ballont Clade - Ironbelly



Most ballonts do their best to keep their bodies away from the water, using incredible extensions to drink from afar or taking only the barest sips before floating away. Staying at its surface at length requires extensive armor, a defense which limits as many options as it enables. Ironbellies reassess this problem: so long as the most immediate threat must come from below, it is only from below that they must be protected. The top and fins may remain exposed, leaving their mobility unhindered and their balloons free to expand: only the stomach and head are encased.

The beak-like helmet serves in the capacity of a true jaw in more advanced species, as well as being a useful tool for extracting hydrogen from other ballonts. Yet more important to these ironbellies’ diet are their tentacles: once merely whiskers to clean the eyes off, these now muscular extensions can reach right into a steelwing’s open backside, where rich cardiovascular and intestinal flesh lies ready for the taking. This ability to bypass their armor makes ironbellies effective steelwing predators, and through similar manipulation, these hunters may also take dibs on fresh conchate and railrattler kills. Their more active lifestyle has also impacted their armor: the stomach-guard now has segmented sides to better allow the lungs and stomach to expand, and frill-like extensions defend burgeoning nervous clusters.
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Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2009
Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2009
© 2013 - 2024 Zerraspace
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space-commander's avatar
These critters are looking good and I like how you're pretty much making an entire ecosystem in detail.

I've got some questions for Part 2 of the expedition story:  1) Would you prefer for the mission to revolve around repairing the main ship that was sent down there or is this more of just an exploratory joyride?  2) Would you like for them to encounter some kind of alien ruin, artifact, or monolith, or is that a little too cliche?  3) Is there any kind of conspiracy theory style conflict that you would like to see in the background?