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View Full Version : Why would 'nids fight 'nids?



mistformsquirrel
22-12-2007, 12:28
So I've been spending 9/10ths of my time in Fantasy land lately; however... a 40k question recently crossed my mind and has actually left me really puzzled.

Every other army, one can come up with a reason why they would fight others ostensibly on their own 'side'. Even Tau vs Tau is explainable enough; could just be a practice, or perhaps one or the other group has attempted to go rogue (or is just suspected of it) etc...

But what about Nids?

I mean, there's no opposing 'factions' within the nid hierarchy - the Hivemind is one giant overarching super-conciousness after all...

Can anyone think of some good reasons why the bugs would try to munch... well, other bugs?

Deus Mechanicus
22-12-2007, 12:32
Chaos did it.

Chaos Undecided
22-12-2007, 12:36
I'm sure its mentioned somewhere in one of the codices that meeting hive fleets will actively engage each other. Its like their own form of natural selection, the winning fleet obviously being the stronger and more successful consumes the biomass of the inferior fleet meaning yet more strong bugs

jb85
22-12-2007, 12:39
There are a few possible reasons, although some may be rather convoluted:

The Hivemind pitting one swarm against another to determine who is the strongest (survival of the fittest and all that).

Some form of virus/breakdown causing a loss in Synapse control of some Tyranids resulting in them attacking another group of bugs.

Chaos corruption of a swarm which the Hivemind determines must be purged.

FashaTheDog
22-12-2007, 13:22
Page 16 of the Tyranid Codex answers that very question. In the covergent evolution section of the Imperial report, it explains how various splinter fleets would turn on one another in "full-scale cannibalistic war." The end result is that no resourses are expended at all as this fighting usually happens upon the surface of a planet and all biological matter is consumed by the survivor. It determines which of the two fleets is superior, with the vanquished fleet consumed by the victor entirely. Any strengths or advantageous evolutions of the annihilated fleet are absorded by the remaining fleet, leaving it that much larger by the size of the destroyed fleet (as well as the planet upon which the fighting occurs) and containing all of the best strengths of both fleets. While it may seem strange, when you look to the big picture, it actually make perfect sense as the end result of such conflicts leaves the Tyranids stronger than before.

[SD] Bob Plisskin
22-12-2007, 13:46
Another option is perhaps one hive is tainted in some way and needs to be purged by the rest of the fleet. For example after wiping out one planet they consumed biomass of some Nurgle worshippers and if allowed to intergrate into the rest of the fleet will spread disease...

Easy E
22-12-2007, 13:52
Is it stated as a categorical fact that all hive fleets are controlled by one Hive Mind? I don't recall. If they are not all controlled by the same hivemind, then it is simply a matter of two hive minds competing against each other in an inter-species competition.

Dominus_Serui
22-12-2007, 14:01
There is a 'hive mind' that is uniformly referenced but, and this is emerging from the back of my head, but don't the individual Norn Queens have some kind of seperate intelligence of their own? In that way it would work the same way as the Zerg Overseers (or whatever they were called) in Starcraft, each a servant of the Overmind, but in the same way, each an individual.

FashaTheDog
22-12-2007, 14:02
Page 4, every Tyranid from the tiniest feeder organism to the hive fleets are controlled by the Hive Mind. Therefore it stands to reason that the Hive Mind simply uses the meeting of splinter fleets to not only merge but also to improve fleets.

As for consuming tainted material, would it not be best to simply have the tainted matter used as a weapon at a later time, or if the taint is that dangerous to the fleet, simply ejected rather than risk it contaminating more bio-matter?

Dominus_Serui
22-12-2007, 14:14
Aren't the Tyranids practically immune to direct chaos corruption because of the psychic-based nature and the nids antithesis of the warp as such? Thus, the only way chaos could cause inter-fleet conflict is by making the fleets run into each other?

FashaTheDog
22-12-2007, 14:19
I believe that the original idea was that one fleet would be infected with a disease so terrible that it had to be purged, the whole Nurgle snack being an example of such a plague.

Dominus_Serui
22-12-2007, 14:24
The Codex Daemonhunters one, is the Nids are sitting on a Chaos Artifact...and hence are simply...in the way.

Sojourner
22-12-2007, 19:14
It's suggested that swarms from different hive fleets have difficulty communicating - the more so the more evolutionary space there is between them. Behemoth and Leviathan very rarely interact, but when they do there can be significant confusion. There is one Hive Mind, but if the master synapse creatures somehow fail to recognise those from a different fleet because their 'protocols' are different, conflict could occur.

Vaz84
22-12-2007, 21:27
The idea of nids and nurgle makes me think of the simpsons episode where Homer sneezes on a dinosaur which then itself sneezes and wipes out every other dinosaur in a chain reaction of sneezing.

Nids fight to consolidate resources. Its even possible some nid fleets send back a few of their most highly evolved ships to be absorbed by the "god-swarm".

Sephtar II
22-12-2007, 21:39
When a Norn queen gets a significant knock on the head. :angel:

Dominus_Serui
22-12-2007, 21:49
Say....a redirected drop-pod....

dr.oetk3r
22-12-2007, 21:49
Survival of the fittest.

slide
23-12-2007, 00:28
Rutting season - like a couple of billy goats headbutting 'for the ladies. nid swars fighting it out to see who is superior.

Vesica
23-12-2007, 01:18
Would be cool idea to have a fleet that is designed to go around and test the other fleets strenghts and such.

Dragonlv8
23-12-2007, 04:56
They might get bored of killing guardsman, I mean cmon they just break and run away or you might just be at the back of the swarm and want to get to the frount so you might just kill the other tyrinids.

Just my non important thoughts...

Ishmael
23-12-2007, 06:14
I'm by no means an expert on Tyranids what-so-ever, but I'll throw my two cents in.

I think a safe reasoning could definitely be Darwinism. If the Hive-Mind wants to improve the species, then the weak must go... why throw them against the enemy and risk losing the bio-mass when you can pit two swarms against eachother, the victor collecting all of the bio-mass and recycling it into a stronger gene-pool?

Iracundus
23-12-2007, 13:05
People are having a mistaken idea of how natural selection works. Fitness is relative to whatever conditions an organism faces, and natural selection operates to adapt to past conditions.

In other words, Tyranids fighting against Tyranids only selects for Tyranids that are more suited to fighting against Tyranids. It doesn't make them any more suited for taking on any other enemies, and it is extremely wasteful of energy. The Tyranids don't violate thermodynamics, so though technically the biomass of both fleets isn't actually destroyed, energy has to be used to recycle the dead and generate new organisms. Even if some of this energy is gained via solar or geothermal sources, it would still be a net expenditure.

Baltar
23-12-2007, 13:07
Iracundus is right, but it is still the only way to justify seeing two Nid armies fight each other.

ThousandPlateaus
23-12-2007, 13:26
I'd always imagined the Tyranids as more of a biomass-Borg, too, they just simply devour and devour anything in their way, irrespective of what that happens to be. I don't think they're 'thinking' or selective in the way that Humans or other Xenos would be - they're just out to munch, which makes them such a terrifying prospect as they have no working rationale for the Inquisition to try and unpick.

Iracundus
23-12-2007, 13:57
A classic mistake in thinking there is no "thought" involved. While individual Tyranid creatures may be of varying intelligence, the actual super-organism of the fleet or Tyranid race does seem to show some level of thought.

In the past Tyranid Codex (3rd ed.) there is a section on Tyranid planteary assault patterns and the initial target selection. A predator has to engage in judging whether a prey is worth the effort given the risk and the return on risk. Whether that is a wolf on Earth today picking off deer or a Tyranid fleet choosing a planet, some level of decision making is involved.

The adaptation of increasingly sophisticated forms of ranged biological weaponry such as the Barbed Hierodule and the original inception of the Biovore as a form of field artillery shows there is adaptation which seems to break the traditional mould of natural selection at work. There isn't anything in Orkish DNA directly related to making field artillery out of the Orkish organism. The creation of creatures like the Exocrine, Biovore, and Hierodules appear to stem from observation of the enemy then utilization of harvested resources and DNA, rather than pure direct natural selection affecting differential survival and reproduction as we know it today on Earth.

Baltar
23-12-2007, 14:24
Honestly, the fact that the Tyranids have space travel and intergalactic migration pretty much already proves that there is intelligence at work, and that it is amazing.

Iracundus
23-12-2007, 17:40
I actually disagree with that by itself showing any intelligence. In the 40K universe there seem to be other random space dwelling creatures, some of which prey on spaceships. These by themselves seem to lack much intelligence.

I would cite another example. In the attack on Tarsis by a portoin of Leviathan, the fleet had taken some losses after an Imperial fuel refinery was used as a trap and exploded in the Tyranids' midst. However when the Imperials tried to repeat the tactic in a following engagement, by sending a 2nd refinery flying into the oncoming Tyranid fleet, the tactic backfired spectacularly.

Not only did the Tyranids keep their vulnerable hiveships clear of the expected blast radius, but they had other ships slow and tow the refinery back at high speed towards the Imperial fleet. Tyranid escorts including some specialized defensive oriented creatures with means to dissipate and weaken Imperial lance weaponry accompanied the refinery. These blocked Imperial attempts to destroy the refinery. When the refinery was in the middle of the Imperial fleet, these creatures then turned on and attacked the refinery, detonating it and blasting a hole in the Imperial fleet.

The above engagement showed the Tyranids, operating at a macroscopic fleet level, have characteristics of higher order thinking. The fleet learned from past failure and avoided a source of further injury. It not only avoided but had come up with a means to turn the tables on its attackers (fling it back at them). Furthermore, it showed the ability to anticipate its enemies by having escorts ready to defend the refinery against the Imperial response.

Baltar
23-12-2007, 18:35
I actually disagree with that by itself showing any intelligence. In the 40K universe there seem to be other random space dwelling creatures, some of which prey on spaceships.

The ability to understand intergalactic travel DOES show it.

Its farfetched to believe that animal instincts could work on a galactic scale, but an intergalactic scale dwarfs even that. No amount of animal instinct without intelligence could lead to intergalactic voyages, for numerous reasons: evolution to adapt to intergalactic void, the willpower to start something that would take millions of years, the understanding that there ARE other galaxies, etc.

dr.oetk3r
23-12-2007, 18:40
Would be cool idea to have a fleet that is designed to go around and test the other fleets strenghts and such.

That is a cool idea.

Zardoz
24-12-2007, 15:42
The ability to understand intergalactic travel DOES show it.

Its farfetched to believe that animal instincts could work on a galactic scale, but an intergalactic scale dwarfs even that. No amount of animal instinct without intelligence could lead to intergalactic voyages, for numerous reasons: evolution to adapt to intergalactic void, the willpower to start something that would take millions of years, the understanding that there ARE other galaxies, etc.

no it doesn't.

Just as a parakeet knowing how to mimic words doesn't mean it understands language.

The Nids are an adaptive species and assimilate anything useful on a natural level.
Just as it could be said that they are a highly advanced intelligence that's been around for aeons having reached the pinacle of evolution (after starting out as something more simply, like a human) it could easily be said that they are nothing more advanced that a virus that 'takes over' other life forms, breaking them down and intergrating them into the gestalt whole.

As for why they fight each other.
My opinion would be that each fleet has it's own intact hive mind and only on some basic level would the different fleets operate together.
The more the fleets evolve away from their base template, the more likely it is that they could fight one another when they later encounter one another. Or, they could even fight one another as a way of re-merging into a coherant whole.
I think of it as the Tower of Babel complex.

But, that's just my way of explaining such things.
Nothing different than black ants vs red ants.

imperial_scholar
24-12-2007, 16:23
How about this.
Nids could fight nids because:
1) A virus could effect them to turn on each other
2) Corrupted during warp travel (do they warp travel)
3) To 'Lean out the fleet'. Maybe there's too many of 1 unit and they can't support themselves logistically for the coming battles.
4) Maybe the hive mind isn't in constant communication. Kinda like a Radio Signal. You can call a radio station and get 6 second delay. Further the distance and the longer orders get changed. Orders like 'destroy all life and assimilate' get sent. Reinforcements come but they continue to fight all?
5) Maybe this is how they replace obsolete equipment.
6) Purpose built army is no longer needed?

My counter arguments:
1) This could work
2) This could work
3) The Tyrannids would probably just let themselves be absorbed. Except genestealers (independent).
4) Highly unlikely
5) Again.. number 3
6) Again #3

But then again... why are some people Canabals. I think there is no point in asking why. Things are just they way they are just because :P.

[SD] Bob Plisskin
24-12-2007, 16:31
Another possibility is that one fleet has had it's higher level Nids killed (like the norn queen was taken out by an assassin) so it is no longer part of the hive mind. The rest of the Nids want to re-assimilate the biomass.

Repzik
24-12-2007, 16:55
yes, they would fight for the soul perpose to share new found biological material. to share it with the other hive fleets

GodofWarTx
25-12-2007, 03:40
If the hivemind is indeed a highly intelligent coscious being, that i would imagine it would have some interesting personality disorders in which logical decisions are not always made and irrational thought might cause some of its hive fleets to annihilate each other. I would like to see more of the strange psychological effects of being the collective intelligence of a trillion trillion creatures being talked about by GW, but it seems often in WD there is less exploration now beyond the immediate background of tabletop scenarios.

Doctor Thunder
25-12-2007, 03:47
Tyranids fighting against Tyranids only selects for Tyranids that are more suited to fighting against Tyranids. It doesn't make them any more suited for taking on any other enemies, and it is extremely wasteful of energy. The Tyranids don't violate thermodynamics, so though technically the biomass of both fleets isn't actually destroyed, energy has to be used to recycle the dead and generate new organisms. Even if some of this energy is gained via solar or geothermal sources, it would still be a net expenditure.

Quoted for truth, and it just goes to show how ridiculously ill-thought out much of gw fluff is.

Kandarin
25-12-2007, 04:24
Quoted for truth, and it just goes to show how ridiculously ill-thought out much of gw fluff is.

I think it could fit into the fluff, but only as a weakness (much as the Imperium's weakness is its continual loss of technology, the Eldars' is their vulnerability to Slaanesh, the Tau their small numbers, etc). The Hive Mind could be so devoted to its ideology of 'survival of the fittest' that its soldiers' actual fitness to fight would suffer. Even galaxy-spanning cosmic intelligences can get stuck in doublethink.

Hellebore
25-12-2007, 08:26
Just because they are all part of the same Hive Mind doesn't mean they won't eat each other.

A starving organism will cannibalise its own body, or naw off a limb to survive.

The Hive Mind would be no different.

Hellebore

Vaktathi
25-12-2007, 08:36
Just because they are all part of the same Hive Mind doesn't mean they won't eat each other.

A starving organism will cannibalise its own body, or naw off a limb to survive.

The Hive Mind would be no different.

Hellebore

The hive mind can simply command organisms to dive into digestion pools and kill themselves to provide needed biomass, I don't see why they would need to physically fight such units to return such biomass, as every organism that hits a planet ends up willingly diving into a digestion pool anyway.

Mr_Rose
25-12-2007, 08:53
Quoted for truth, and it just goes to show how ridiculously ill-thought out much of gw fluff is.
The thing is, what the hell else do they do with all the stuff they eat?

Previously, this discussion has led to some stupidly large numbers being bandied about, but basically it boiled down to the assimilated biomass and energy of a single planet being actually about five times greater than the observed cumulative biomass/energy expenditure of every Hive Fleet in every battle so far, since Behemoth first attacked Tyran. And the 'nids have absorbed hundreds of planets.

Basically, energy expenditure is not actually ever going to be a problem for the Tyranids....

Captian Stormy
25-12-2007, 14:46
I'm thinking that the most reasonable idea is the concept of some sort of disease or virus that is making them recognize the other 'nids as enemies. You know, like how the body can sometimes kill off it's own cells, thinking them to be threats.

Baltar
25-12-2007, 14:48
no it doesn't.


Nothing you said in that post:

a. Made sense
b. was well thought
or c. was constructive to the conversation at hand

Sidri
28-12-2007, 10:14
I personally believe in some sort of personalities... Yeah - the hive mind is cool, but what is producing it? Norn queens are actually not only broodmothers, but also radio stations. And they actually fight for the general idea of Hive Mind. Just like orders - Hive Mind:"You, you and you - create some nasty critters and eat this planet. You, you and you - provide covering fire." And Norn queens control small critters... Sometimes the breaks may occur in communication. Or they may argue over food...

Colonel Dixon
28-12-2007, 12:01
I believe the Hive Mind is in control of is swarms but does not have the cognisience to litetrally make each and every decision that billions upon billions of organisms make. The Hive Mind is just the boss, giving orders and it's up to the other intelligent Tyranid Organisms to follow those orders. I think that Tyranid Synapse creatures don't exert the will of the Hive mind so much as they exert their own will on the rank and file on behalf of the Hive mind. The lowly Tyranid warrior actually consciously commands the guants to fight on, not the Hive mind itself.

I think they follow a chain of command like any other army, albeit, a perverse one. Ego enters into the picture. Why should a Hive Tyrant/Dominatrix/Norn Queen give up its hard earned world to another splinter fleet? So they fight it out. The Hive Mind knows that such squableing will only make the fleet stronger so will allow the infighting so long as there is not a common foe to manage nearby.