Art by, Festerday
Common Jobs: Manual labor
Likes: Working, lending a hand, being useful
Dislikes: Separation, internal conflict
Attack Method: Steinculi prefer hand to hand combat. May break their body up to overwhelm their opponent or avoid being hit.
Steinculi are not known to worship any personal gods, however in recent years, a significant portion of steinculi have been found to be worshippers of the Divided.
Completed Steinculi: On first observation, a 'completed' steinculus appears to be a single being, which in actuality is several living organs put together to make a whole being. Each part/segment of a steinculus is of the same species, each drastically different from each other in both form and functionality. A completed stein is when at least 6 different types of organs that come together to form a body, and in its most basic form will be made of a brain, 2 eyes, a mouth, a stomach, 2 arms and 2 legs. A completed steinculus is far more efficiently functional than its individual parts, and while the individuals have their own autonomy, their lives are far shorter when apart than when they are together. A completed stein's parts will live (on average) up to 50 years, while a steinculus part on it's own may only see 5 years of life without any support of other parts or a prosthetic. Organs that have passed away are eventually replaced, via through reproduction or through introduction of new organs.
Once a steinculus has accumulated enough organs to be completed, they will undergo several changes. Upon bringing together the right amount of organs, steins will form a membrane to connect together their arms, legs and stomach, forming a torso to hold the body together. Usually, steinculi are drawn to making an upright bipedal form, it is very easy for them to mix and match parts, and arrange them at will for either practical or cosmetic purposes. If a completed body remains healthy and stable, it will begin to form a heart inside of it. The heart will always form inside of the torso, just above the stomach inside the chest cavity. The skin membrane of a steinculus has a single y-shaped opening across the chest, so that it may easily remove it's internal organs or add more into itself.
Individual steinculus parts come in any color, in any shade or tint. Not one completed steinculus will be one solid color; with their organs having come from different origins, a completed stein is always an array of mismatched colors. When a steinculus reproduces (by budding), the color of the newly born organ will be a random pick of any of the steinculus' parts. A steinculus will only reproduce after it's been completed, dropping off their newly budded parts so they may go on to create their own body.
The Body Parts: The parts that make up completed steinculi have their own unique personalities, goals, and motivations. Even when combined together, the organs will work together and collectively decide what they should do as a whole. When separated, it's easy to note how the organs act and function depending on their type and grouping. There are seven types of organs, and four different groups.
The Limbs (Mobility & Dexterity): Far more fast moving and hard hitting than one would come to expect from pairs of disembodied arms and legs. These parts are always born in pairs, so it's rare to see an arm or leg without it's twin. Both types have a single eye, and four digits, and ambulate on their own by either walking on their digits or by hopping. Without the brain to tell them what to do, limbs have very little direction and wander aimlessly until they find other organs to join with. Many incomplete steinculi that are made of entirely just limbs have been found to be very easy to manipulate into working for very little pay, simply because they do not know better.
The Logic Organs: (Sight & Interpretation): Arguably, the brain and eyes are the most important parts that make up a steinculus. Brains are the most intelligent of all of the organs, consisting of a large, fleshy mass with a spine-like tail that helps interconnect all the parts together in a completed steinculus. A brain on its own is possibly the most vulnerable organ of all. Delicate and cumbersome, a brain will scarcely survive on their own for very long. They are most likely to pair up with eyes before any other organ, as they work together to process information and avoid danger. Eyes are slightly more hardy than the brain, but not by much. The brain is the cool and collected thinker, the eyes are highly observant of their surroundings, but are easily distracted when alone. Only with a brain are they able to fully interpret their options, and only with eyes will a brain fully understand their surroundings.
The Digestive Organs (Speech & Processing): The mouth and Stomach are a chatty bunch, as they're the only organs to possess mouths with working vocal chords. Mouths have two small legs to support its body, while the stomach will slither and roll around to move. With these organs, a steinculus is able to verbally communicate, and more efficiently process energy with a stomach to digest and distribute nutrients to its other parts. Without the rest of the body, a mouth may mindlessly chatter on about any stray thought that comes to its mind. Lone mouths may babble incoherently, and make any assortment of noises or attempt to mimic noises that they've heard. Stomachs also may verbally communicate, but do not function well as a substitute for a mouth, as their speech is often slurred and slow. Even when paired with a brain, a stomach is liable to not to be able to fully communicate what the rest of the organs have to say, dribbling digestive fluids and complaining about when their next meal might be.
The Heart: Only after all organs have come together to make a whole does a heart form inside of a steinculus. A heart has one eye and no mouth, but when on it's own may sprout four pointed legs so it may ambulate. Hearts are characterized as being soft and sensitive beings, prone to outbursts of emotion and weeping when overwhelmed with feelings. They are the most coveted of all organs, as a completed steinculi without a heart feels empty inside, longing to fill that space inside of their chest cavity. Completed steinculi only produce one heart in their entire lifetime, so separating from one's own heart can leave one desperate to find another to take its place.
Steinculi tend to have an incredibly wide range of personalities and behaviors, considering the fact that a completed specimen may be made up of a minimum of six different people. Completed steins are most commonly described as 'eccentric', and may come off as a little strange in their actions. The individual organs work together to make decisions, but it's not uncommon for them to argue among each other. Because of this, steinculi can be terribly indecisive folk when all organs must agree on a set of decisions. While the attention span of the stein may be unpredictable, given they are made of several individuals they excel at working at multitasking. Completed steinculi will prefer to have several projects open at once for them to jump between, keeping all organs similarly occupied or to distract from boredom.
While individual parts will naturally gravitate towards each other, completed steinculus will almost never congregate. Once finding the organs that make up their person, they feel no need to be with other steinculi, and instead will readily integrate into any societies they happen to find themselves in. Steinculi are quickly bored when given nothing to do, and will look to employ themselves soon after the organs come together to make a whole. This inherit willingness to work makes steinculi are very sought after employee, especially in manual labor type work. A steinculus will only seek out others of their kind if they are looking to replace or trade body parts with another, in most cases to better fit the line of work they wish to take part in. A metal worker may wish to have more arms, another in programming may be looking for a second or third brain to add to their body. While they don't often look for company with each other, completed steins work fantastically well with other completed specimens. An entire workforce of steinculi is a very efficient one.
Very little history of the steinculi's origins survives today. Much of what's been pieced together has been through a number of ads that have been found scattered across the universe. The source of these ads however, has been the subject of debate for years as no historian has been able to trace them back to a conclusive origin. Theories range anywhere between steinculi being the remnants of a lost race, a mad bioengineer's project gone horribly wrong, or even limbo god meddling being creator of the steinculus race. No steinculi has ever confirmed such theories, as none that exist today are nearly old enough to of existed several hundred years ago, the time that the advertisements date back to.
Such adverts, most of which being audio recordings and loose fliers, proclaimed a revolutionary product. The ultimate work hand, customized to your desires. Implications point to that at some point, the steinculi may of been enslaved by the one(s) behind the ads, or had been made to be an enslaved species. The steinculi themselves were discovered as they would randomly show up on different planets across the universe, leading some to believe that they are some sort of anomaly. However, and aside from their unique anatomical quirks, normal steinculi show no anomalous properties, making their origins even more mysterious in nature.
Cluster: Clusters are a rare subspecies of steinculi that are in a constant process of reproducing new parts from their body. One in every 100 completed steinculi may develop into a Cluster, where steinculi will naturally bud new organs at a slow pace, a cluster will rapidly reproduce and quickly turn into a massive colony. These cluster steinculi will eventually slow down reproduction when reaching a certain mass, but will never actually stop creating new parts for their entire lives. Clusters can combat their growing mass by dropping off excess parts to fend for themselves, however clusters that keep growing in mass can become planetary sized over time. Very few of these planetary clusters have ever been discovered, and it's hypothesized that a significant portion of all steinculi have originated from these mass colonies.
Prosthetic Body: The prosthetic steinculi, while not truly a subspecies, are a less common form of 'completed' steinculus where one individual part is set up with a robotic body to support it. They will not undergo some of the changes that a biologically completed stein would (such as the creation of a skin-like membrane or a heart), however they will live longer given the right life support from their prosthetic bodies. Any one organ may be able to use a robotic body, however it is more common place to see a Brain successfully piloting a body than any other. Reasons to operate alone vary between individuals, however many report an inability to connect with their fellow steinculi. Rejected parts may look to prosthetics instead of pairing up with others, finding it easier to act on their own rather than as a colony.
Mix & Match: Each individual organ that makes up a completed steinculus adds their own special properties to the whole.
The brain provides clearer, and more concise thinking skills. It's the body's main source of intellect.
The eyes provide a clearer picture of the body's surroundings. They will often pick up on lucky finds that a body without eyes would otherwise miss.
The arms are the muscle of the body. Their strength is essential in keeping the body alive.
The legs allow the body to walk easier. They provide a speedy retreat when necessary.
The mouth is the only organ that can speak clearly. Their voice provides the body with charm and the ability to voice reason.
The stomach processes food for the rest of the organs. It strengthens the body's health to help endure and survive.
The heart is special. A heart is a wildcard, developing a single trait that it will define itself by. The completed steinculus will reflect this trait in their personality.
Given that a steinculus can be made of any number of these organs, the abilities that each one has stacks with every extra added to the body. This is provided by the fact that all of the body parts get along, however. A healthy steinculus is one that, although may bicker between it's parts, can ultimately make a decision without falling into argument. A steinculus with an organ that does not agree with them can make an executive decision to boot out that specific part, and as such a steinculus made of many, many organs will find it harder to come to a decision.
• While most steinculi are noted for being good at labor intensive jobs, there is also a subset of steins that have taken up Artistry to occupy themselves with. They will take up many projects at once, slowly working through learning to paint while they are attempting to sculpt, and juggling ballet lessons on top of that. Steinculus art is observed as being rather confusing, as multiple brains try to put down their ideas all at once. Many art communities however, see it as nothing short of brilliance.