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 Post subject: Tyranids... what are we?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 9:30 pm 
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Broodling
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This is something what I've been wondering...

What really is the existence of the Tyranids? How intelligent are the bugs? Do they react only to their instinctive behavior? Or are they really "smart" using biology in their advantage?

Now, I started 40k in 3rd ED Tyranids. To me, it seems that the 'nids are a nightmare nature threw at mankind. However, when I read about the Zoats, makes me wonder... Do the Tyranids have an agenda?

My current theory :

In a distant galaxy, Nature took a twisted turn and within space itself huge life forms roamed (ala Ryvius). One day, Someone/something found them and use their incredible traits to create "intelligent" self-reliant bio-machines for their own use (think Metriod). However, in the end Nature screw them over and all hell broke loose.

In conclusion, I just think the Bugs act upon instinct employing "intelligent behavior" but aren't intelligent according to our definitions. The Zoats? They were programmed lifeforms the Creator Race made. Now, I don't really know much about the Zoats… I think you only think they are talking to you. You understand them not because they are speaking in your tongue, they're just hacking into your brain and just using collective knowledge (yours and all previous encounter races) to show you how Life will always be bigger than your petty existence. Their “words” are bits of data following into your head messing with it little by little. Either that or with the help of parasite-like organisms (mind slaves). Like how some parasitic worms on Earth literally control ants or how wasp larva zombify spiders to build their cocoons (shivers).

To me it also makes sense that according to this theory, the Biggest bugs (hive ships) where the first. Not the Hive Ships now, but I would believe that these Hive Ship-like beings were the prototype lifeform(s) which all Tyranid existence came from. Why? Just because, biologically that has to be the most AMAZING thing the Tyranids can do. Travel and Live in space without restriction. Life forms with enough Gravity even manipulate the Warp. Think how much genetic data that pinnacle of evolution would have! All other “bugs” kinda have roots in observable nature as of now (well, minus the Psychic stuff). I personally can’t think of a way how these huge ships can even exist in the first place. It makes more sense that that bio-tech was applied to other smaller bugs rather that collective genetic/scientific data of many galaxies to create something that no race has yet achieve or encountered…. I don’t know if I made sense there. Rereading what I just wrote, it’s a paradox. Ah, well. I still stand by this until someone kicks me in the rear end and tells me I’m wrong (which I’m sure will happen).

As for if the Tyranids have an agenda or not… I think they do, just I don’t have anything to support this gut feeling. It’s just their method of invasion seems systematic… I would like to think that they’re not just Nature’s nightmare. Maybe the Creator Race still exists... or they are in fact intelligent.

I know I think too much. But this is one thing I like about the Tyranids. They poke at my knowledge and imagination about life and science.

End Rant.

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Last edited by PeroYasha on Wed Oct 20, 2004 2:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 10:05 pm 
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Quite an interesting theory, PeroYasha.

I'm not sure if I buy the idea of an original "creator race" that spawned and programmed the tyranids for its own unknowable ends, but I certainly think that such a race posesses what we would consider intelligence.

While individual, separated bees will cease to function and die, entire hives operate in unison, acting on something quite other than instinct. The difference between Tyranids and bees is, of course, their biological engineering and their psychic powers. These qualities allow them to take on the aspect of an organism spanning the breadth of the galaxy.

What is intelligence? At the most basic level it is the ability to conduct rational behavior and think in the abstract. The Tyranids have clearly demonstrated an ability to do so by the use of tactics and strategy on a galactic scale - i.e. the Hive Mind.

It seems that the fluff of the zoats is somewhat incongruous with the tyranid image created in 3rd Edition. The Zoats make it seem as if each Tyranid possesses intellect, just in varying quantities. 3rd edition focuses much more on the Hive Mind and the Tyranids as a whole.

Sorry if I rambled on and bored you to death there. The fluff is simply the reason I was attracted to the Tyranids in the first place - no other army can match the sheer coolness of the Tyranids.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 2:44 am 
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Carnifex
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yep , same , i was in awe of the whole "alien hive"-thing since starship troopers, where they sucked out everyones brains to learn and ambushed more humans. then i saw warhammer 40k Tyranids and thought "now THATS the race i wanna play".

first of all , i think the leader tyranids are very very intelligent (HT and Norn queen) , the rest are stupid but very obedient and telepathically linked to the smart ones , so they can be directed to act smart/do smart stuff. but i do NOT think they are self-aware. they are like ants that have gone through NASA training. no individuality that comes with self-awareness , only the collective being.

personally i do think they were created by someone. if not , they MUST have come from a planet where they slowly evolved from a bacteria to tyranids , then found a way to break gravity , go through their atmosphere , survive in space , get propulsion , find a way to invade other planets , ... i dont know, but it doesnt feel right.
i think they are re-designed primitive predators. maybe it was a gene-engineering experiment to create fearless and resilient army , something goes wrong (something always does) and the poor guys end up being supper themselves ?

about the zoats , i have no clue . i didnt know tyranids communicated at all with other species, i thought they were the more silent type. so i cant say anything about that.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 3:32 am 
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Broodling
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Wintermute wrote:
What is intelligence? At the most basic level it is the ability to conduct rational behavior and think in the abstract. The Tyranids have clearly demonstrated an ability to do so by the use of tactics and strategy on a galactic scale - i.e. the Hive Mind.

It seems that the fluff of the zoats is somewhat incongruous with the tyranid image created in 3rd Edition. The Zoats make it seem as if each Tyranid possesses intellect, just in varying quantities. 3rd edition focuses much more on the Hive Mind and the Tyranids as a whole.


Wintermute, I like your assertions. It was not boring at all.
I agree on your definition on intelligence. It's not just knowing facts and being able to build amazing feats... Imagination and abstract thought is needed to take that knowledge to another level. But I don't agree with the Tyranids showing "intelligence."

The ability to adjust tactics is not a show of intelligence. Take for example Fire Ants in the US. We've been bombarding these things with chemicals in a futile attempt to halt their expansion. It worked for a while, until these ants did something unprecedented in other ant hives: 4 to 5 queens are now found in each hive. And they're not even from the same colony! Ants are also observed to cultivate (farm) moss and keep livestock (caterpillars). White Ants make gigantic hives which on a human scale would be the equivalent of making a skyscraper more than twice the size of the Twin Towers. What's more amazing is these are how well ventilated and the fact that almost all these hives are identical not only in size but the direction (in degrees). These are amazing behaviors, yet, still science does not call any Insects to be intelligent. I personally still see the 'nids much like bugs in that respect.

As for Zoats... I don't see them being more intelligent or more self-aware. In my eyes they are built to mess with your minds. To make you feel more inferior and also help asset what's the best approach to deal and assimilate the current target. They are the medium of "communication." Nothing more nothing less.

I'm going to add to my theory I posted.

The Myth
I think the Hive Mind is a myth. Humans can't explain the 'nids through science so they created this myth in attempts to make them more tangible. There is no Hive Mind. There is no singularity. There is no Superior Presence overlooking the entire process. I believe the Tyranids are just a "biological program," with only the goal of expanding. That is the Agenda. Just like the universe expands with no end, so do the Tyranids. There is no purpose.

I do believe that something had to intervene to start the process though. But I guess the term Creator Race was a bad choice. They were just unfortunate to flip the switch to the disaster.

This is probably why I like the Tyranids. They can't be explained. Ironic.

>>Side note: *ahem* my excuse It's past 1AM and I can't sleep. Things probably didn't make much sense since my head isn't fully functioning at the moment. I didn't really think this out.

End Rant

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 3:37 am 
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Broodling
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Another thought...

Theory 3:
They're probably wasn't just one "Creator Race." Tyranids are the result of many un-witting "Creators." Like the upcoming Alien Hunters SMs... hehehe.... Zzzzzz.....

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 9:25 am 
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Great response, PeroYasha.

I agree that the actions of ants could not genuinely be defined as intelligence, any more than a bundle of nerve and sinew could be. For such a creature, it is no more than a matter of action-reaction - hunger is bad, so it develops new methods to find food; death diminishes the hive, so it finds new ways to ensure the survival of the species as a whole.

The major difference I see between such creatures and Tyranids is the presence of the synapse effect. The ability is implied to be more than the secretion of a pheromone to control others, which bees use in conjunction with body motions to find nectar. The psychic synapse suggests something more behind their actions.

The pattern of hierarchy - Warrior, Tyrant, Dominatrix, Norn Queen - makes it seem that there needs to be something beyond, something greater, coordinating the actions of the various fleets. Whether this is just an effect or a self-aware alien consciousness is up to debate. In any event, the pattern has been termed by Imperial scholars as the Hive Mind.

This is, of course, all just conjecture and needn't be taken too seriously. It's fun, though, considering how little is known about Tyranids, to speculate about what is behind the fluff.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 9:26 am 
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Was just thinking...

I knew that ants were able to grow moss and fungi from decaying biomass, but was unaware that they actually nurtured caterpillars. Amazing. It makes you wonder if there actually is more to such actions. It has long been thought that the defining trait of an intelligent being is self-awareness - "I think, therefore I am." Not even primates can recognize their existence and plan ahead for the future. Are hive insects, then, self-aware when taken as a whole? I don't know. Perhaps we will never know.

Interesting to think about though.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 10:04 am 
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yes , ants are the only other creatures beside humans that actually wage way with themselves (inter-colony). they have a special breed for every function (queens , workers and soldiers). they do actually look alot like tyranids , dont they ?
BUT !
there is a certain caterpillar that has a coat around him that ants cant penetrate. it's amazing , he just barges in , goes for the eggs , pupatates in the nest , and a moth comes out and flies off. the ants couldnt do anything at all to stop it. how horrible !
this article , paragraph 4 and 5.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 12:19 pm 
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Wintermute wrote:
This is, of course, all just conjecture and needn't be taken too seriously. It's fun, though, considering how little is known about Tyranids, to speculate about what is behind the fluff.


I totally agree with you there. I think that one of the most entertaining aspects of this game GW has created is the fact that no story they choose to tell us is entirely clear, so that we can speculate and come up with our own ideas and thoughts on the various armies and come up with our own unique backgrounds and stories.

Some thoughts about the Nids: I feel that there was never any "creator species" that somehow tried to engineer an army of super soldiers or anything like that. I think that they were previously existing creatures that evolved into this sort of hive-like way of life much like ants or bees with higher organisms (tyrants, norn queens, dominatrices, warrirors, etc.) used to control the lower organisms and workers.

I do not feel however that they have any form of intelligence; they simply act on instinct and do what they must to survive. Like ants, who do not act as individuals but do what they are "programmed" to do by the queen and the pheremones set by its kin. If pulled away from these pheremones and hive, the ant will begin to act in sporadic ways, because it doesnt know what to do without direction. The same goes for tyranids. They are not smart and do not have the capacity to learn and to think, but they must keep the lower lifeforms under the direction of the hive via synapse, or else they will begin to act on what little instinct they possess.

Something quite interesting actually that I remember from a discussion on another board, was the reality of the Hive Mind. What if the four gods created by the Necrontyr were the same as the four gods of Chaos, and if one of these gods of chaos was the Hive Mind? From what I can remember, three of the gods of the Necrontyr are the Nightbringer, the Deciever, and the Devourer. Now, tell me the Devourer doesnt sound like the Hive Mind? What if the Devourer of the Necrontyr gave a little nudge to the Tyranid Race, helping them to evolve through nature as super predators, and then somehow giving them the ability of warp travel while controling the larger ones with its incredible psychic power? BOOM. The Hive Mind and the Tyranid Race as we know it are born.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 12:40 pm 
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Quote:
What if the Devourer of the Necrontyr gave a little nudge to the Tyranid Race, helping them to evolve through nature as super predators, and then somehow giving them the ability of warp travel while controling the larger ones with its incredible psychic power?


I was wondering about basically the same thing myself, earlier. The inhabitants of the warp (daemons and gods) are supposedly created by the thoughts and emotions of creatures of the 40k universe. Hatred is manifested in the aspect of Khorne, despair in the aspect of Nurgle, etc.

Now, we all know that individual Tyranids, cut off from the Synapse creatures - and hence from the warp - cease to function and die. So, perhaps, a reverse process is going on. Instead of emotions being funneled into the warp to create daemons, thoughts are being funneled out to control the Tyranids. Whether these thoughts are a manifestation of a "Hive Mind" or another being entirely is unclear. If it is another being, Neutrophile's thoughts of a "nudge" could very well be the key to solving the mystery of the Tyranids.

In any case, I think we all agree that there is something beyond the Norn Queens that is controlling the hive fleets as a whole. It may be instinct; it may be a Hive Mind. Whatever it is, it is our friend. :twisted:


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 Post subject: Sentience?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 8:37 pm 
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Wintermute wrote:
Was just thinking...

I knew that ants were able to grow moss and fungi from decaying biomass, but was unaware that they actually nurtured caterpillars. Amazing. It makes you wonder if there actually is more to such actions. It has long been thought that the defining trait of an intelligent being is self-awareness - "I think, therefore I am." Not even primates can recognize their existence and plan ahead for the future. Are hive insects, then, self-aware when taken as a whole? I don't know. Perhaps we will never know.

Interesting to think about though.


Woah. Yeah, those are some spacious thoughts.

The stuff I've been reading about AI make reference to an event called "the singularity", where something, like a critical-mass type density of artifical neural connections, results in a shift to a higher order of organization... sentience.

So, what characteristics would the group-mind of the Tyranid exhibit? Would it involve the type of specialization that it manifests physically? It seems likely there would be critical, high-order components, redundant components...

If it's hungry, and nothing else, is it still intelligent/sentient/self-aware?

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 8:57 pm 
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Tyranids seem very based off of Aliens (see avatar) and so GW might have had them in mind when creating the Nids.

Drones/warriors/praetorians etc. are very intelligent and figure things out themselves and can even set traps, but are still very linked to a hive mind with their queen. The queen is even more intelligent than them however, and can pretty much control them through their complete devotion to her.

This could be true among Tyranids to at least some level. gaunts being decently smart along with carnifexes, warriors etc. (if not especially warriors since they can be considered HQ) while tyrants are much smarter.

When the Aliens took over Earth in the novels there were many queens for the hundreds if not thousands of hives and they did not fight each other, and theres never been anything I can remember of Nids fighting each other in the fluff. On Homeworld though when the main queen died two rival queens sprung up with slightly different genetic make-up (also one was slightly reddish while the other was dominatnly black) and they warred continuously until humans came and nuked both the hives. Tyranids often have differences (color schemes, mutations etc.) and do not fight.

So, a few things might be taken from their book

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 1:45 am 
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I don't know where they came from, but Tyranids are super-organisms of hunger induced death.
You kill a Tyranid outright, or you don't even scratch it.

Remember... the Tyranids don't NEED Chaos.

They ARE Chaos.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 3:02 am 
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in two words tyranids are a...

space marabunta :twisted:

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 10:44 pm 
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Neutrophile wrote:
What if the four gods created by the Necrontyr were the same as the four gods of Chaos, and if one of these gods of chaos was the Hive Mind? From what I can remember, three of the gods of the Necrontyr are the Nightbringer, the Deciever, and the Devourer. Now, tell me the Devourer doesnt sound like the Hive Mind?


The Devourer and the Tyranids… hmmm… maybe... but as for the Necron Gods as the birth gods of Chaos? I find that hard to see since Necron Gods can be turn into spawns of Chaos (pretty funny imho).

=====================================

Let me continue on with my theories:

Theory 4: Necrons and Tyranids

The reason Necrons and Nids may not fight is because they already have with Necrons loosing. Ever wonder why the Necrons are dead in the first place? Necrons may have fled to this part of the galaxy to avoid the nids and now are on the move again because the nids finally came to this part of the universe.

Theory 3: The Manipulator (continued)

Like I said before, I don’t think there wasn’t just one Creator race. Actually, Creator is the wrong term. Let’s take the upcoming Alien Hunters for example: From the fluff I read, they are actually try to take advantage of the Hive Mind itself. Any race that tries to manipulate the Hive Mind is going to cause mass changes in the Tyranid race. This is how Alien Hunters is going to differ from other armies. Tyranids will just go through adaptation of current models to deal with the other problems. Radical changes will happen over time if the Hive Mind is mess with, creating new horrors for others to deal with.

Theory 2: The Myth (continued)

IMHO, I think the whole image of Hive Mind thing doesn't make sense. Why? because of Synapse. A Hive Tyrant's Synapse control or range isn't more powerful or even superior to that of a Warrior. They’re really isn't a hierarchy. Synapse is just Synapse regardless of what the source of the Synapse is. We are just given that illusions that there is an order because of the way armies are structured in 40k. So the theory that personifies Hive Mind is wrong in my opinion. There is no self-awareness or intellect. As long as something is giving off Synapse, Tyranids will do what it needs to do.

This brings me to this theory:

Theory 5: The Devourer

Wintermute wrote:
I was wondering about basically the same thing myself, earlier. The inhabitants of the warp (daemons and gods) are supposedly created by the thoughts and emotions of creatures of the 40k universe. Hatred is manifested in the aspect of Khorne, despair in the aspect of Nurgle, etc.


If Gods in the 40k universe is a manifestation of emotions, then maybe the ENTIRE Tyranid race is the Devourer. Why does a God need to take form of single entity – or actually why can’t we argue that the entire race is ONE entity?

What traits does the Devourer have? Well, I’m not up to par with the other 40k fluff, but to me wouldn’t it make sense, putting Tyranids aside, that the most defining trait of the Devourer would be Destruction – even if that means self-destruction? If Tyranids is the manifestation of the Devourer itself then it could explain why they don’t have self-awareness or the urge to conquest. All they leave behind is destruction - without purpose or resolve. Maybe the reason why the Devourer doesn’t appear in the Necron codex is because He is not self-aware… after all Hunger is an instinct unlike Hatred or Despair.

Adding to Theory 4 here... If the Tyranids is the Devourer, why would Necrons consider this as a God? My thoughts: Necrons would not exist with out the Devourer. The original race was defeated then devoured of both flesh and emotions... for their race to survive they chose the path of becoming Necrons. So, in a sense we created the Necrons.

Just some more random thoughts to ponder about

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