|Description||Person named “Ian” who drinks beer in bars.|
The Barbeerian (Homo zythus) is a venn-diagrammatic humanoid monster. To wit, each member of Homo zythus primarily inhabits bars, gains primary nutrition from beer, and is named "Ian."
All venn-diagrammatic species start as cultural groups that gradually isolate themselves, to eventually become separate creatures by means of genetic drift. The Barbeerian species is a prime example of this phenomenon. There was a time when the Barbeerian (Homo zythus) was indistinguishable from the hero (Homo [sapiens?]), spending an inordinate amount of its time fascinated with and under the influence of alcohol. Like the average hero or heroine, the proto-Barbeerian was flexible about when and where it consumed the alcohol, and what form of drink the alcohol took. The shift came about with chance discoveries of commonality among the proto-Barbeerians on the bases of names, libation preferences, and indulgence locale preferences.
Every Barbeerian is named “Ian.” Researchers debate what commonality was first discovered, but the majority agree that the name was the most binding commonality, because names are provided instead of chosen, so show the best “serendipity” in coincidence and the longest-term element in a sense of self. For unknown reasons, the Johns and Ellens, Rajas and Karas, and Olegs and Olgas who surely met each other did not form cohesive groups, but the Ians did. Scattered records from the late stage of this time of cohesion record bands of roaming Ians of various degrees of helpfulness and nuisance. Soon, children born within the Ian groups began to be given the name “Ian” exclusively to retain the honors and accomplishments accorded to them, and births outside the group began to take any name but “Ian” to make clear that they were no part of that mess. Gradually, the division of names developed into a division of peoples, and Barbeerians have now spent long enough not intermarrying with the larger populace that they have become their own species.
Every Barbeerian drinks Beer. Sometime during or after the cohesion of the Ians, a further differentiation occurred based on choice of drink. Dr. Van der Schlossen of Vector Field University holds that this was a result of relative strengths of alcoholic drinks. The Beer Ians began to band together socially, sending out hunting parties in search of the most potent and flavorful microbrews. The present day clans solely drink beer, and accord status to clan members by the qualities and relative merits of the beers they drink.
Every Barbeerian drinks at the Bar. Beer Ians show a distinct preference for consuming their libations in bars. There are Beer Ians that drink at home and Beer Ians that drink by fishing holes, but most drink at bars. This fact was not noticed until the advent of Icarus rockets, when a large faction of Beer Ians discovered the joys of drinking in space. Brewers began having to differentiate between the large orders from Beer Ians that were “for here” and “to go.” Thus, the brewers coined the words “Barbeerian” and “Spacebeerian” to ease their delivery confusion. “Spacebeerian” has, of course, fallen out of use since the Ians discovered that ale tastes much better in space then beer does, and so became Spacealeians instead.
Barbeerians are most often found in the bars of Godville, or in their clan longhouses. When sober, they are generally sociable. When in the bar, they hold too much respect for the brewer’s craft to be violent. The problems occur when Barbeerians are drunk and on their way home to their longhouses. For reasons no Barbeerian has ever adequately explained, a drunk Barbeerian finds the prospect of picking a fight with a traveling hero or heroine absolutely irresistible.
A certain subspecies of Barbeerian has elected to take bar exams. They make some of the most accomplished and vicious lawyers in the courts of Godville. Barbeerians have been chief prosecutors in the following landmark cases:
- Citizens of Dogville v. The Council of Feline Supremacy
- Gluttons for Punishment v. Board of Emaciation
- Bow v. Locke, Stach, and Barell
- Shadowy Mole Council v. Heroes of Godville
- Enjoys a good blood feud
- Always equipped with a glass bottle for improvised weaponry
- Capable of using hero skills and equipment
- Pretty heroines, barmaids, and traders’ daughters
- Prone to blindness when sufficiently soused
References and Footnotes
- ”Read the case studies assigned in the syllabus. There will be a test. I suggest you pay particular attention to the treatise on Barbeerians, since that species is the most perfect example of the mechanics of venn-drift ever identified. Come to my office hours if it leaves you with questions, because it is very important that you understand this.”—Oregon Treadwell, Ph.D, M.D., J.D., to the study group for “CRYPT 203: Origins of Species,” Beerburgh Community College, 2203 g.e.
- On Barbeerian Culture: The Impacts of Social Contracts on Genetic Drift, pamphlet, Unspecifiedistan University Press (Imprint). Los Adminos, 2741 g.e.
- Novice Leslie of the Cave of the Weak-Witted Oracle wrote, “26 pilgrims today. 8 Ians. Sharala of Egopolis. Connor of Godville. 13 Ians. Shirley of Sar Chasm. 2 Ians.” Archives of the Oracle.
- From the stele of Chieftain Katarg, “...commemorating the battle of B-Trees Forest where this day was won a mighty victory, and Kestrella was given in marriage to Ian of the Bar Ians who fought beside us in...”
- From a witness statement to the courts of Dogville, “Dat wuz wen de vodka ran out, yer onner, and I’s nevuh seen anyting like it. De Ians wen nuts! Dat bar ain’t standin’ no more!” Circa 1 g.e.
- Iansdottir, Ian. “The Book of Ians of Clan Ian.” Handwritten, residing in the monastery beside Blood-Curdling Stream. Date unknown.
- ”Mrs. Becall’s Book of Baby Names.” 124 g.e.
- ”You see, there used to be Vodka Ians and Rum Ians and Sparkling Cider Ians right along with the Beer Ians, but they started to die out almost immediately. The Sparkling Cider Ians probably left or died first, because they were constantly the caretakers or designated drivers for all of the other Ians, and I think we can agree that the only thing more dangerous than being a Barbeerian is keeping a Barbeerian from doing something hazardous. After that, the Vodka Ians and the Rum Ians went extinct, probably because they drank too much too young to actually reproduce. That left the Beer Ians: not drunk enough to pass out, but too drunk to be considered caretakers in the clan.” Interview, 2459 g.e.
- Homebeerians have a tendency to “wreck the halls” if they have a bit too much, and so are credited with single-handedly elevating local handymen from hobbyists to full professionals.