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View Full Version : Tyranid = Universe White Blood Cells?



TheDarkSaint
01-09-2008, 04:40
So, we were rheumenating at my local game store about Tyranid and the Shadow of the Warp. I thought it was a smashing idea that the Tyranid were actually the Universes natural defense against Chaos and the Warp.


Think about it. They Supress the warp while moving through space. They also eat everything that might actually contribute emotion to the warp, or one day evolve into something that could create emotion to expand the warp.

A natural defense system to keep sentient populations under control?

Rylanor
01-09-2008, 04:42
that's a real cool idea.

Hellebore
01-09-2008, 04:45
Well that starts from a pretty huge assumption - that the universe (ie all those photons, stars, planets, vacuum etc) is a living thing that has white blood cell analogues in the first place.

Hellebore

Xandros
01-09-2008, 06:31
It seems quite a lot like the Gaia Hypothesis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis

BriareosDX
01-09-2008, 07:05
Well that starts from a pretty huge assumption - that the universe (ie all those photons, stars, planets, vacuum etc) is a living thing that has white blood cell analogues in the first place.

Hellebore

I'd thought of a similar idea, but with a different origin. Instead of assuming a universal "Gaia" theory, the Tyranids may have been engineered by some ancient race in a far off galaxy to hunt down and destroy psychic populations throughout the universe, exactly to stop things like the Eye of Terror and the creation of Slaneesh. In that case, they might have been sent to cleanse this galaxy by their creators as far back as the Old Ones/Necrontyr war. It may have simply taken them this long to get here. The few Tyrannid "precursor" organism that have gone native to various worlds, such as the Catachan Devil, might be the equivalent of remote monitoring sensors, relaying the extent of the chaos-threat back to the hive fleet.

However, I think this theory doesn't fit well with Tyrannid behavior. Much more likely in my opinion is that they're opportunistic predators, testing our galaxy to see if it would be an easy take before risking the bulk of their forces. I'd even go so far as to theorize that the Tyrannids might be refugees, fleeing something far worse than themselves. It would explain why they strip worlds of resources instead of setting up "colonies": They need to "fatten up" for the next sojurn through intergalactic space, and they also want to deny those resources to whatever is chasing them.

Mind, the opportunistic predator angle is probably the best one for the galaxy at large. If the Tyrannids are an inter-galactic chaos-clean-up-crew, they won't stop coming. It's their job. But if they're just here for a pit-stop, they can be dissuaded through stiff resistance. Even a hungry lion wil hesitate to attack a man with a running chainsaw.

Death Before Dishonour
01-09-2008, 07:16
So, we were rheumenating at my local game store about Tyranid and the Shadow of the Warp. I thought it was a smashing idea that the Tyranid were actually the Universes natural defense against Chaos and the Warp.


Think about it. They Supress the warp while moving through space. They also eat everything that might actually contribute emotion to the warp, or one day evolve into something that could create emotion to expand the warp.

A natural defense system to keep sentient populations under control?


I guess that would work as a theory, the only major problem I see with it is don't they pretty much destroy every planet they come across stripping it of every natural resource. If they only killed the psyhic potential races I could see it. But a defence mechanism that destroys the planets of the universe, no I don't think so
:D

Hellebore
01-09-2008, 07:18
If one assumes the Gaia theory true, it's not impossible for Tyranids to be leukemia...

Hellebore

aim
01-09-2008, 09:40
So what would happen with the Shadow in the warp if the nids swarmed straight into the eye?

Clockwork-Knight
01-09-2008, 09:54
Unless they are so many that they could bloat out the volume of the Eye (which is quite difficult, as it defies logic and nature), nothing.

However, if the Tyranids consumed every life in the galaxy, the troublesome beings of the Warp would cease to exist, as there would be no emotion to feed them.

aim
01-09-2008, 11:52
really? thats a bit boring. I mean, I know that the eye is a warp/space crossover, and as such laws of time and stuff dont exist because its all.... warpy and crossovery. But I've never heard of it being Tardislike. I mean, if a big fleet of nids chomped their way to the edge of the eye, the warp around them would get all dead and shadowwy yeah? So in theory couldnt they just rock it on down to the crone worlds and munch away at all the stranded chaos types on each planet as they went.

DantesInferno
01-09-2008, 12:05
So, we were rheumenating at my local game store about Tyranid and the Shadow of the Warp. I thought it was a smashing idea that the Tyranid were actually the Universes natural defense against Chaos and the Warp.


Think about it. They Supress the warp while moving through space. They also eat everything that might actually contribute emotion to the warp, or one day evolve into something that could create emotion to expand the warp.

A natural defense system to keep sentient populations under control?

I would have thought the Orks were a far closer analogy to white blood cells (at least as far as the 40k galaxy is involved. We don't really know anything about the universe outside the 40k galaxy.) The Nids are an external virus attacking.

biggreengribbly
01-09-2008, 12:57
really? thats a bit boring. I mean, I know that the eye is a warp/space crossover, and as such laws of time and stuff dont exist because its all.... warpy and crossovery. But I've never heard of it being Tardislike. I mean, if a big fleet of nids chomped their way to the edge of the eye, the warp around them would get all dead and shadowwy yeah? So in theory couldnt they just rock it on down to the crone worlds and munch away at all the stranded chaos types on each planet as they went.

Now I'm no expert on Tyranids, but I see a problem with this. The assumption regarding the effect the Shadow in the Warp actually has. The way I read it, it doesn't so much nullify the warp in the same way the Necrontyr gadgets and Pariah's work, because that doesn't seem to make any sense to me, since it would potentially defeat the Synapse with which the broods are controlled, and would certainly invalidate Zoanthropes and whatever other warp-attacks other beasties use. The way I always understood the Shadow working was more as a form of 'interference'. The sheer volume of entities all being controlled by psychic communication overloads the 'airwaves' as it were. The Warp is still there, still accessible, there is just such an enormous amount of interference that it makes it essentially impossible.

Gdolkin
01-09-2008, 14:15
I am no expert either, but you're right, the Shadow in the Warp is not a 'deadening' or absence of Warp-activity/conductivity/whatever, but an overwhelming presence of 'noise' and interference (like the rustling and chittering of a billion billion cockroaches, mmmmm.)

Lupercal!
01-09-2008, 14:20
Well that starts from a pretty huge assumption - that the universe (ie all those photons, stars, planets, vacuum etc) is a living thing that has white blood cell analogues in the first place.

Hellebore

Uh, I don't think he means the universe is literally a living creature. White blood cells are the immune system's defense. It's an analogy.

Hellebore
01-09-2008, 14:53
Uh, I don't think he means the universe is literally a living creature. White blood cells are the immune system's defense. It's an analogy.

Yes, an analogy. Hence my use of the term analogue. Unless the universe is a living entity it cannot have a leukocyte analogue - anything else is merely a creature that eats stuff. Leukocytes have a PURPOSE, so if the universe is not a living thing then tyranids don't have a cosmic purpose.

How can a tyranid be the defender of the universe if the universe didn't create them to defend it?

EDIT: Unless the organisms in the universe pose a threat to its existence (ie they can blow up the universe) then it doesn't need an 'immune system'.

For tyranids to be the equivalent of the universe's immune system the universe would need to be:

a) some form of entity
b) be vulnerable to the 'diseases' that are life
c) capable of evolving to its environment

Considering the universe is everything, it is its own environment. There is nothing else for the universe to interact with. It has nothing to compete with, nothing to react to, nothing at all.

Hellebore

Ravensgard
01-09-2008, 18:36
I would rather go with my own theory that all races are created by some godlike beings (old ones probably and C'tan, chaos gods, the emperor (god spirit incarnated), Gork and Mork, etc) and the hive mind is one of them. Each of these beings created the races to defend theirselfs and disturb their other godlike beings (in my version ancient dragon spirits something like the Valheru named in some books of some writer i forgot the name of).

So to make a long and boringsome story short, we in the 40k are in the midst of a game of gods (or as player being these gods).

The necrons being created just to meet the thread of the Tyranids (or maybe the other way around.) That's why they both strip worlds of their resources, and are totally opposed from each other (one alive/flesh, other steel/machine)
it's basicly a war between the C'tan and the hivemind

Iracundus
01-09-2008, 18:39
The Tyranids are meant to be evolution gone mad. They are an example of what happens when you have a predator population in an environment with vast food supply/carrying capacity: predator population expands until that carrying capacity is reached or exceed at which point the predator population either stabilizes or crashes down to a level where it can be supported.

If people really are trying to seek some analog within one biological body for the Tyranids, then they are cancers. Like neoplasms they grow furiously at an unregulated rate and actively co-opt more resources for themselves at the expense of others, even if it ultimately means the destruction of the long term sustainability of their environment. In the Tyranid case, that is the galaxy they are feeding in.

AdeptusOverton
02-09-2008, 08:51
As I see it nids wouldnt survive long in the warp after all they are biological after all they would corrupt some god like nurgle would rot them down to nothing or some god like Tzeentch would evolve them in someway and spit them out near some imperial world to do his bidding.

I agree that the shadow in the warp is like well "nails down a chalkboard" its sole use is to stop astropaths from peeking into the warp to see what the Tyranids are doing whilst in transit to the prey world its a very affective anti psyker weapon

zoodog
03-09-2008, 04:23
Neutrophils maybe? They do seem to rush in and liquify things for their short existence. I guess many of the larger ones would be marcophages or lymphocytes.

I guess the big question would be when the debridement phase will reach an end and the universe can start healing.

Sekhmet
03-09-2008, 05:00
Yes, an analogy. Hence my use of the term analogue. Unless the universe is a living entity it cannot have a leukocyte analogue - anything else is merely a creature that eats stuff. Leukocytes have a PURPOSE, so if the universe is not a living thing then tyranids don't have a cosmic purpose.

I agree with everything until you wrote "so if the universe is not a living thing then tyranids don't have a cosmic purpose" and "How can a tyranid be the defender of the universe if the universe didn't create them to defend it?". Your logic doesn't flow there.



Considering the universe is everything, it is its own environment. There is nothing else for the universe to interact with. It has nothing to compete with, nothing to react to, nothing at all.

Except the warp, which doesn't fit in with most definitions of the Universe, as those can clearly be used to define "real space", whereas the Warp is something else entirely.

And you could have universe competition in a multiverse situation.

Hellebore
03-09-2008, 07:09
I agree with everything until you wrote "so if the universe is not a living thing then tyranids don't have a cosmic purpose" and "How can a tyranid be the defender of the universe if the universe didn't create them to defend it?". Your logic doesn't flow there.


Which part? From what I understood of the original post, the idea is that the tyranids were 'brought forth' by the universe to protect it. If they weren't formed with that intent then they don't have a 'cosmic' purpose (ie no purpose to their existence given to them by the universe).

The tyranids could take it upon themselves to 'defend' the universe without being created for that purpose, but that means the universe wasn't responsible for their purpose. This was what I thought we were talking about.

Anyone can give meaning to their existence, but that is simply rationalising existence, not following a cosmic purpose.

I was just trying to say that unless the tyranids were created by the universe for that purpose, then no matter how much meaning they give to their existence they are still cosmically purposeless.



Except the warp, which doesn't fit in with most definitions of the Universe, as those can clearly be used to define "real space", whereas the Warp is something else entirely.


This is true, although it doesn't strike me as an environment for the universe to exist 'in' (although that is an interesting way of looking at it - the multiverse is a bunch of universes floating in the sea of the warp).

However, everything has a shadow in the warp, even if it is a minute amount. So what would be left in the universe if you removed everything that reflected into the warp? Gravity affects the warp somehow, and the only way to remove that is to remove all the mass in the universe.
There are also some organisms without souls, but the tyranids don't seem to have a preference for life, they eat everything. An immune system should be a little more focused on it's job I should think.



And you could have universe competition in a multiverse situation.

How would this work? If each universe is everything, then they've got nothing to compete 'over'. They aren't feeding on anything. I suppose you could say that the most successful universe is the one that 'eats' the other universes. But how would you tear the dimensions apart? You'd need something to do it for you. Perhaps an organism with a science capability that enables them to pierce dimensions? But if your immune system eats it, then it's attacking the universe's digestive system.:p



Hellebore

Harwammer
04-09-2008, 00:04
hellebore are you cosmically purposeless, or is your cosmic purpose to be your parent's child? (seeing as your parents, I assume, are part of the universe).

I'm interested in your philosophy of purpose and would appreciate if you elaborate.

I don't see why one can't assume a purpose even if that purpose was originally unintended.

Reinnon
04-09-2008, 00:15
I agree with Hellebore: one can have a purpose, but lack an intrinsic purpose. The purpose that you give yourself is in the wider picture meaningless, as the wider picture itself doesn't exist.

I dislike the idea that the tyranids are some form of natural defense against chaos, because it assumes that:

a) The universe is at some level sentient, or at the very least aware of itself on some level. This is something that GW has never claimed.

b) Even if the universe is sentient, it would see chaos as the enemy. People assume that the universe would share the same morality and viewpoints as humanity/eldar/other anti chaos races. One could easily say that the tyanrids are the universes answer to humanity, or to cream tarts.

c) Like hellebron said, it also assumes that the tyranids are a benefical organism.

Rylanor
04-09-2008, 02:18
It's sentient, not sentiant.

While I think that the idea of the 'nids being a kind of white blood cells for the galaxy is cool, it's not likely. How would it have gone about making them? Would it influence the evolutionary pattern of a fledgling planet to create the Tyranid race?

Chaplain of Chaos
04-09-2008, 02:54
What about Tyranids as a manufactured defense against Chaos? Perhaps the Old Ones or the Old One's extra-galactic uncles created them as they approached extinction as a last gasp to stop Chaos.

slaanghoul
04-09-2008, 03:03
What about Tyranids as a manufactured defense against Chaos? Perhaps the Old Ones or the Old One's extra-galactic uncles created them as they approached extinction as a last gasp to stop Chaos.

The that would suggest that Chaos are the gods of universe, not galaxy. If that is the case. . . I think every being in the milkyway galaxy is doom.... Chaos will win.

They're be too much loop holes for Chaos to be gods of the universe based on emotions.

I think it is best that Tyranids are just biocreatures that are there just to eat and evolve. No anti chaos or anti necron stuff.

Sekhmet
04-09-2008, 03:49
Which part? From what I understood of the original post, the idea is that the tyranids were 'brought forth' by the universe to protect it. If they weren't formed with that intent then they don't have a 'cosmic' purpose (ie no purpose to their existence given to them by the universe).

The tyranids could take it upon themselves to 'defend' the universe without being created for that purpose, but that means the universe wasn't responsible for their purpose. This was what I thought we were talking about.

Anyone can give meaning to their existence, but that is simply rationalising existence, not following a cosmic purpose.


I think I was saying that tyranids don't have to be created by the universe (as a sentient being) with the intention of defending the universe against the warp to be true defenders of the universe. For example, a race of "old ones" that evolved in another galaxy could have found more warp predators in their area of space and created the Tyranids (they're not the universe, but they're part of the universe), to defend realspace against the warp by blanketing it out with static.

Basically, the assumption that the universe as a sentient being has to create the nids for the argument to work doesn't hold that much weight.

Reinnon
04-09-2008, 12:20
It's sentient, not sentiant.

While I think that the idea of the 'nids being a kind of white blood cells for the galaxy is cool, it's not likely. How would it have gone about making them? Would it influence the evolutionary pattern of a fledgling planet to create the Tyranid race?

geez, i'm sorry for mixing up two vowels at 1 AM :rolleyes:

The pestilent 1
04-09-2008, 13:11
Well that starts from a pretty huge assumption - that the universe (ie all those photons, stars, planets, vacuum etc) is a living thing that has white blood cell analogues in the first place.

Hellebore

This is 40k we are talking about...

kdh88
05-09-2008, 03:46
b) Even if the universe is sentient, it would see chaos as the enemy. People assume that the universe would share the same morality and viewpoints as humanity/eldar/other anti chaos races. One could easily say that the tyanrids are the universes answer to humanity, or to cream tarts.



Enemy doesn't imply anything about morality, it implies that an object can inflict harm. If the physical universe was sentient (which I don't think is probable, but I'm assuming for the sake of arguement), then the warp would be the primary threat to its existence, and therefore an enemy.

On the other hand, that would seem to suggest the Crons/C'tan more than the Nids.

Helsing
05-09-2008, 05:01
I doubt it. Tyranids are like locusts, they eat, breed, eat some more and die on the train tracks of the galaxy, derailing the Imperial locomotive and harvesting its lovely wheat fields.

Helsing.:cheese:

Imperialis_Dominatus
05-09-2008, 05:34
I would have thought the Orks were a far closer analogy to white blood cells (at least as far as the 40k galaxy is involved. We don't really know anything about the universe outside the 40k galaxy.) The Nids are an external virus attacking.

I agree. Orks are much more like an immune system- they rise to the threat (which means we will be inundated with Orks in a few decades and everyone will die to massive levels of stompy, choppy, shooty death). Nids are a virus that consumes and destroys everything.

Unless life itself is to be considered the problem, in which case the Nids are more like a kind of pesticide.

Reinnon
05-09-2008, 16:51
Enemy doesn't imply anything about morality, it implies that an object can inflict harm. If the physical universe was sentient (which I don't think is probable, but I'm assuming for the sake of arguement), then the warp would be the primary threat to its existence, and therefore an enemy.

On the other hand, that would seem to suggest the Crons/C'tan more than the Nids.

Thats assuming the warp is a threat to the universes existence, which was my point. Just because the humans and eldar see chaos as a threat, doesn't mean chaos is a threat to existence as a whole.

DarkMatter2
07-09-2008, 10:15
I see the Tyranids less like "white blood cells" per se than as the supreme universal lifeform. The Tyranids have already won the game I think - they're like the Orks in many ways, but on an intergalactic level. In simple terms, the galaxy that represents the entire chessboard for all the rest of the races is only one of the black squares for the 'nids.

heinrichvoncarstein
07-09-2008, 11:40
I rather like my own theory of the Tyranids actually being some sort of peacefull race but the hive mind(a god-like being) came and enslaved the entire race with it's immense psychich presence and then sent the tyranids out to destroy everything to satisfy it's needs to destroy. So actually the tyranids are a bunch of hippies who don't mean no harm at all.:D

Acerbus
13-09-2008, 22:33
i really can't see the tyranids being peaceful. it's possible, but i doubt giant claws and talons would be good for building civilizations.