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View Full Version : What do we know about the Umbra



ashendant
04-08-2010, 22:07
Well someone asked about the Laer but i'm far more curious about the Umbra, what do we know of them?

baphomael
04-08-2010, 23:02
Without access to my copy of xenology ATM, as far as I remember they are a psychic race native to the warp resembling jet black floaty balls. Sometimes they get dragged into the material real, clustering like barnacles around areas that have strong warp-presence (such as near the warp drives of warp-capable ships).

Umbra have a violence reaction to light, bring light being enough to kill them. As a rather nasty defense mechanism the Umbra are able to turn 'shadows' into nightmarish appendages and mountrous forms they use to attack any threats they perceive.

Thats all I can remember from Xenology, but thats the gist of the Umbra.

MrSatan
04-08-2010, 23:25
IIRC they were and old one called Q'ah who the Hrud worship. When slaanesh was born he tore Q'ah into a million peices and these became the umbra,

Hellebore
05-08-2010, 00:06
They're only about 10cm in diameter too.

However, their aversion to light is silly. If they cluster around space ships etc, they'll be flying through space being hit by light from all directions. Light from trillions of stars will be shining on them at any one time.

Hellebore

Iracundus
05-08-2010, 06:33
It may be dependent on intensity of light. Ambient light may be too weak to cause any problems.

The Umbra sample in Xenology was only "killed" when exposed to high intensity light from all directions in a confined space, such that no area of shadow remained.

Hellebore
05-08-2010, 06:39
That's what I assume, but it really irritates me when they take literary shortcuts, or make subjective statements.

An Umbra is not vulnerable to light any more than a human is. Which is to say, enough light will kill a human, just as enough light will kill an Umbra. More susceptible to light than a human isn't a very reliable metric imo.

It would be like saying 'humans are vulnerable to water'. There are many ways of killing someone with water, but no one is going to claim we're vulnerable to it.

Hellebore

Iracundus
05-08-2010, 06:44
That's what I assume, but it really irritates me when they take literary shortcuts, or make subjective statements.

An Umbra is not vulnerable to light any more than a human is. Which is to say, enough light will kill a human, just as enough light will kill an Umbra. More susceptible to light than a human isn't a very reliable metric imo.


Xenology actually never says any of this. The in-character note in Xenology just notes that the Umbra's aversion to light was used to drive it into a containment chamber.

An aversion to a noxious stimulus is not quite saying the same thing as being vulnerable.

Hellebore
05-08-2010, 06:50
True. An aversion to a noxious stimulus of a certain level of course, which they never give. Obviously like carbon dioxide they have a tolerance threshold, but it seems as though that's at the level of plot rather than a level of lumens. It's strange they didn't give the amount of light required (considering the number of 'is vulnerable to' statements in the book).

Hellebore

Iracundus
05-08-2010, 07:11
The killing all round light had to be on for at least 30 seconds to kill that one sample. The focus of that in-character note seems to be on the need to eliminate any shadow, so that might be a key requirement. Otherwise a high intensity source by itself would just drive it back, as attested to by one of the naval in-character notes in Xenology, much as a human might be driven back by high heat from an open flame or just create very sharp stark shadows. These shadows would then be usable by the Umbra to create weapons or other "shadow implements", perhaps even a shield against the light.