A life form or lifeform is an entity or being that is living. In the Arcane Realms, their are forms of life that are common to Earth, but also those that operate on different principles and abilities.
Various forms of life exist in the Arcane Realms such as those found on Earth like plants, animals, fungi, protists, and bacteria as well as those unique to it like faye, living constructs, magical beasts & flora, and spirits.
Life is a characteristic distinguishing physical entities having biological processes, such assignaling and self-sustaining processes, from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased, or because they never had such functions and are classified as inanimate.
It is a challenge to define life, mainly because life is a process, not a substance. Any definition must be general enough to both encompass all known life and any unknown life that may be different from life on Earth, Kaf, Qarin, the spirit realms, etc.
Since there is no unequivocal definition of life, the current understanding is descriptive. Life is considered a characteristic of something that exhibits all or most of the following traits:
Homeostasis: Regulation of the being's internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, sweating to reduce temperature.
Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more of the basic units of life.
Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into components (anabolism) and decomposing matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.
Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.
Adaptation: The ability to change over time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity, diet, and external factors.
Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of aunicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses ofmulticellular organisms. A response is often expressed by motion; for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototropism), and chemotaxis.
Reproduction: The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms, "with an error rate below the sustainability threshold."
Although many living things perform most of these processes, there is a wide variety of ways to do them based on the type of being. For example, inorganic beings like spirits or live constructs lack cells and metabolize substances other than organic compounds.
These kinds of living organisms all use carbon compounds for basic structural and metabolic functions, water as a solvent, and DNA or RNA to define and control their form. Carbon is abundant on Earth, Kaf and Qarin making organic life or organisms common on these worlds as the element is overall more chemically versatile and is more abundant in the cosmos.
Organisms survive by using the energy of their planet's star (like the Sun) through two complementary systems to power their own life cycles. In a nutshell, green plants, some algae, and bacteria perform photosynthesis, turning the sun's energy, water, and carbon dioxide into glucose and oxygen. Animals, fungi, and other bacteria consume plants or each other for glucose and oxygen to fuel the cellular respiration that which makes energy, water, and carbon dioxide.
ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, is one of the products of both photosynthesis and cellular respiration and in fact, could be considered the purpose for the processes. ATP is a molecule that exists in a high-energy state and is essential for all of the processes that keep organisms functioning. Some scientists even call ATP the "currency of life" because like money, it is transferable to any situation. When chemical bonds are broken, through respiration or photosynthesis, excess energy is ATP molecules used as energy for future processes.
These kinds of living organisms don't use compounds for basic structural and metabolic functions, unlike most organic life. This can take the form of inorganic compounds like the metal and metal oxides. This even includes life that doesn't even exist as chemical matter like software based life composed of digital data or the physical constructs of spirits composed of exotic matter like photonic molecules.
Live constructs are an example of inorganic life.
Intangible life is a subset of inorganic life that is based on intangible matter, a mysterious form of matter that doesn't interact with normal matter and most forms of light and simply passes through it undetected.
Most intangible life is extradimensional, either from the parallel dimension of intangible matter that exist beside the physical matter dimension or the spirit realms that exist in physically separate dimensions.
Spirits are an example of intangible lifeforms.
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