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Thread: How would tal'darim work without Amon?

  1. #1
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    Default How would tal'darim work without Amon?

    I have been thinking about how Tal'darim could fit into the lore if Amon had not been retconned into the big bad. (Amend that: if Kerry never became the big bad either. If we need a psychotic bloodthirsty Zerg character, the cerebrate Gorn fits the bill.)

    At first I thought the Tal'darim were an unsalvageable concept because their portrayal is inconsistent from game to game. Then I noticed something interesting: the Judicator caste "banned all xel'naga teachings", while the Tal'darim worship the xel'naga. Protoss religion is barely explained in the games despite being so vital, but since I find it interesting I decided to use this as the basis for my explanation.

    Aiur's state religion has changed over the thousands of years of Protoss civilization. In the First Age (what I'm calling the age before the Aeon of Strife, based on the current age being the Second Age as stated in the manual), the xel'naga were worshiped as gods even if they acted merely as teachers and advisers. Eventually the Protoss turned against each other and the xel'naga, sending the xel'naga fleeing and beginning the Aeon of Strife. Not all Protoss turned against the xel'naga, however. When Khas founded the Khala as the new state religion, the Judicators banned all other religions including worship of the xel'naga.

    It important to note that, technically, the word "Khala" refers to three different things: the system of teaching psionic discipline, the natural telepathic link, and the caste system. The Khala has built on the natural telepathic link to create the equivalent of an internet, using various technologies like psi-link towers to extend its range and crystal computers to store memories and speak with the "dead."

    The Khala, in terms of comparison to Earth religions, is loosely similar to ancestor worship (though with lots of medieval Christian church overtones). When the Khalai talk of gods, what they are really referring to are their ancestors and not the xel'naga (this may be due to translations from Khalani to English obscuring the etymology). Using the Templar Archives computers salvaged from the First Age (as most of their technology is), they are able to read past life memories and even speak with the dead. Is is ambiguous whether the Khala actually preserves the soul of the deceased or the tech assembles a personality a la Zoe-A in Syfy's Caprica.

    When social outcasts and rogue tribes refused to join the Khala, their reasons were varied as they were. The Sargas tribe feared losing their cultural uniqueness, the Tal'darim tribe(s) considered the Khala to be apostasy, etc.

    While the Tal'darim tribe left with the Nerazim, they refused to circumcise and this made them strangers to the Nerazim. Tal'darim have their own telepathic network separate from that of the Khalai, but it lacks many of the features Khalai take for granted. The Tal'darim telepathic link is the same as their primitive ancestors, linking small groups whose members are in close proximity. They do not use psychic technology to extend its range or to store/access information remotely.

    Another difference between the Tal'darim and the Nerazim is that the Tal'darim have continued to actively recruit from the Khalai. While Khalai are indoctrinated from childhood by the Khala, there are always a few social misfits and outcasts who the Tal'darim find and recruit. Certain recruits may be sent to the Nerazim if their personalities fit better there. Tal'darim may also recruit from the Nerazim, and have gone so far as to develop nerve grafts to reverse circumcisions. Ulrezaj is an example of a Nerazim who has converted to the Tal'darim, which explains why he employs them.

    Furthermore, there have been multiple groups since the original schism that have called themselves Tal'darim. The word tal'darim is a pun that literally means "chosen" or "forged", which I am assuming is because those words are homophones. In myth it referred to servants of the xel'naga, so idiomatically it refers to angels, saints and apostles. Hence, it has been adopted by religious fanatics of many different stripes to promote themselves. I would not be surprised if the Tal'darim have a myth about their prophet being born of a virgin and returning from the dead, if the Nerazim are already drawing so heavily from Jewish and Romani symbolism while the Judicators are the Pharisees.

    When the Zerg invaded the Protoss Empire (not just Aiur, they do have an interstellar empire), enterprising Tal'darim appeared out of obscurity to recruit in mass. This resulted in many converts and splinter groups appearing in the wake of the Great War, which the Khalai did not realize were actually a separate ethnic group and not just splinters of the Khala. These tal'darim used their punny name in the sense of "forged", denoting that they have been forged anew by the war with the Zerg. Likewise, Khala followers named themselves Shel'na Kryhas ("those who endure") to indicate their continued devotion.

    The Tal'darim have studied their natural telepathic link and have developed applications that would disgust the Khalai. Not only have they devised nerve cord grafts, they have developed drugs (such as sundrop) that replicate the effects of circumcision without permanent surgery. Among the Tal'darim these drugs serve a variety of religious purposes.

    What is not well known is that the Khala itself is addictive, and Khalai separated from it will experience psychosomatic withdrawal. Among recruitment efforts, sundrop is used to help Khalai converts overcome their addiction to the Khala.

    Critique? Advice? Suggestions?

    P.S. Note: Protoss words and phrases were devised ad hoc and not as part of a consistent language, but "na" and "nas" consistently meant "we" and "you" in multiple phrases. This may be the same "na" as in "shel'na." The "we" and "you" are personal pronouns, while the "those" and "who" are relative pronouns. Thus, "shel" may be a morpheme(s) which changes a personal pronoun to a relative one. The translation we got is idiomatic rather than literal. This would suggest that Khalani is not an analytical language like English.

    P.P.S. I spent a fair amount of time trying to salvage the teleport retcon too, since it doesn't make sense that the pre-retcon Protoss would not use arbiters to teleport casualties off the battlefield. Furthermore, the SC1 manual disagrees as to whether dragoons were crippled, mortally wounded, or clinically dead when they were entombed. I decided to take the death explosion as a game mechanic and assume that in the fictional world a Protoss' "death" may vary in the degree of damage (leaving anything from a pristine "corpse" to a pile of ash) a la the inconsistent vampire deaths in the Lost Boys. I decided that Protoss have hardier brains than humans, so even one that has been "dead" for days may be revived as a dragoon (which also neatly explains why they don't just replace limbs or organs with bionics or something: the dragoons ARE full-body cyborgs).

  2. #2

    Default Re: How would tal'darim work without Amon?

    I was under the impression that the core Tal'Darim were taken from Aiur by Amon as he and his followers left the First Born to their own devices.

    The Tal'darim have the psionic link, but without the training and discipline of the Khala, it remains at an instinctual level. They may be able to feel the emotions of those around them (and I think they've been fueled and warped by Amon's enduring hatred over the centuries). But without the Khala, they cannot raise that subconscious awareness to a conscious level. This is why Khalai can be controlled by Amon, but Tal'Darim cannot.

    I'd really like to see some Khalai teach rogue Tal'Darim how to make use of the psionic link. Because really, this is now the only way we can combine the powers of the Void and Khala in the future.

    I also think many of the myths attributed to the Dark Templar pre-Great War were actually the doing of Tal'Darim pirates.
    Aaand sold.


    Be it through hallowed grounds or lands of sorrow
    The Forger's wake is bereft and fallow

    Is the residuum worth the cost of destruction and maiming;
    Or is the shaping a culling and exercise in taming?

    The road's goal is the Origin of Being
    But be wary through what thickets it winds.

  3. #3

    Default Re: How would tal'darim work without Amon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Visions of Khas View Post
    I was under the impression that the core Tal'Darim were taken from Aiur by Amon as he and his followers left the First Born to their own devices.

    The Tal'darim have the psionic link, but without the training and discipline of the Khala, it remains at an instinctual level. They may be able to feel the emotions of those around them (and I think they've been fueled and warped by Amon's enduring hatred over the centuries). But without the Khala, they cannot raise that subconscious awareness to a conscious level. This is why Khalai can be controlled by Amon, but Tal'Darim cannot.

    I'd really like to see some Khalai teach rogue Tal'Darim how to make use of the psionic link. Because really, this is now the only way we can combine the powers of the Void and Khala in the future.

    I also think many of the myths attributed to the Dark Templar pre-Great War were actually the doing of Tal'Darim pirates.
    The Tal'darim pirate part makes sense as they've been pilfering the Khalai and Nerazim tech for who knows how long already. It's probably the same with the rumors of the Nerazim merc organizations.

    I'm unsure of the Khalai trying to teach the Tal'darim usage of the psionic link. You'd think eventually they'd find out what happened to Adun and how that turned out for him.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How would tal'darim work without Amon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Visions of Khas View Post
    I was under the impression that the core Tal'Darim were taken from Aiur by Amon as he and his followers left the First Born to their own devices.

    The Tal'darim have the psionic link, but without the training and discipline of the Khala, it remains at an instinctual level. They may be able to feel the emotions of those around them (and I think they've been fueled and warped by Amon's enduring hatred over the centuries). But without the Khala, they cannot raise that subconscious awareness to a conscious level. This is why Khalai can be controlled by Amon, but Tal'Darim cannot.

    I'd really like to see some Khalai teach rogue Tal'Darim how to make use of the psionic link. Because really, this is now the only way we can combine the powers of the Void and Khala in the future.

    I also think many of the myths attributed to the Dark Templar pre-Great War were actually the doing of Tal'Darim pirates.
    You misunderstand. My point is if Amon never existed, how would the tal'darim fit into the original StarCraft universe as explained in the SC1 manual?

    Taking over the Khala is nonsensical, because it is not a hive mind. Since I am ignoring that retcon, I am not interpreting the link the same way you are. I interpret it as the difference between Facebook and a LAN.

    Yeah, I did figure that the tal'darim could be twilight templar before Tassadar made it fashionable. What makes it hilarious is that they have the disposition of the Sith, not the Jedi.

    Actually, the Nerazim were considered a myth before the Great War. This is never brought up, but then that would have made for a more interesting story.

    Aldaris: Executor, you cannot allow these heretics to roam free!
    Executor: (unimpressed) I don't believe in ghost stories, Judicator.
    Zeratul: (whispering) You best start believing in ghost stories, Executor. (appears from darkness)
    Executor and Aldaris: (girly scream)
    Zeratul: You're in one!

    Quote Originally Posted by ragnarok View Post
    The Tal'darim pirate part makes sense as they've been pilfering the Khalai and Nerazim tech for who knows how long already. It's probably the same with the rumors of the Nerazim merc organizations.

    I'm unsure of the Khalai trying to teach the Tal'darim usage of the psionic link. You'd think eventually they'd find out what happened to Adun and how that turned out for him.
    This is why I think the SC2 retcons are stupid. The explanation in SC1 was annoyingly vague, but the explanation in SC2 makes no sense at all. I could understand if the Overmind implanted itself in the Psi Matrix to attack the Khala by influencing the Judicators to more paranoia or outright mind-raped anyone who crossed the Zerg. It makes no sense that Amon could take over everyone connected to the Khala because it did not and never worked like a hive mind.

    SC1's explanation raises the question of how Adun taught the dark templar without initiating them into the Khala. Khaydarin crystals do that automatically if the nerve cords are intact. Either he painstakingly developed entirely new fields of psychic engineering, or he was teaching students who were already circumcised or high on sundrop.

  5. #5
    Gradius's Avatar SC:L Addict
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    Default Re: How would tal'darim work without Amon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    You misunderstand. My point is if Amon never existed, how would the tal'darim fit into the original StarCraft universe as explained in the SC1 manual?

    Taking over the Khala is nonsensical, because it is not a hive mind. Since I am ignoring that retcon, I am not interpreting the link the same way you are. I interpret it as the difference between Facebook and a LAN.
    What's the point of ignoring SC2? Nobody is going to know you're doing it so you're going to have to end up explaining yourself like this all the time. SC2 is always going to be canon. That's the brutal reality. :P
    Last edited by Gradius; 09-07-2017 at 03:17 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: How would tal'darim work without Amon?

    Taking over the Khala is nonsensical, because it is not a hive mind.
    Perhaps so.

    The communal link, when elevated by the mental disciplines of the Khala, serves as an empathic and mental bridge for the Khalai protoss. Khalai meditate and replenish themselves by subsuming themselves in it. We don't know the extent of the mental overlap that takes place, but it was enough to scare away the Dark Templar who feared for their identities.

    Maybe there was some backdoor mechanism Amon left behind that would allow him to take over the protoss. Though why he never used it in antiquity, or pushed the Tal'Darim to develop their own Khala, is kinda stupid. Maybe he simply never knew that the communal link could have been developed into the Khala until it happened.
    Aaand sold.


    Be it through hallowed grounds or lands of sorrow
    The Forger's wake is bereft and fallow

    Is the residuum worth the cost of destruction and maiming;
    Or is the shaping a culling and exercise in taming?

    The road's goal is the Origin of Being
    But be wary through what thickets it winds.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How would tal'darim work without Amon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gradius View Post
    What's the point of ignoring SC2? Nobody is going to know you're doing it so you're going to have to end up explaining yourself like this all the time. SC2 is always going to be canon. That's the brutal reality. :P
    I have no problem with that. SC2 is just that stupid. I hate it so much that I am compelled to write books' worth of fanfiction which retcons the retcons.

    I don't know if I mentioned it before, but some guy wrote a fanfic bible which does that. It's called StarCraft Enumerate and you can find it on DeviantArt in PDF. It's so detailed and awesome that I cannot think of ways to improve on it. Any fanfiction I write will follow it.

    I run into the problem of trying to include Tal'darim, purifiers and primal zerg. That may have more to do with them being stupid or extraneous ideas to begin with. Tal'darim are redundant to Nerazim since they were made up for LotV, the primal zerg are boring and stagnant to the point they only make sense to justify the Overmind leaving Zerus to avoid stagnation, and while the Purifiers are not inherently stupid they do not add any value to the plot given the conflicts that already exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Visions of Khas View Post
    Perhaps so.

    The communal link, when elevated by the mental disciplines of the Khala, serves as an empathic and mental bridge for the Khalai protoss. Khalai meditate and replenish themselves by subsuming themselves in it. We don't know the extent of the mental overlap that takes place, but it was enough to scare away the Dark Templar who feared for their identities.

    Maybe there was some backdoor mechanism Amon left behind that would allow him to take over the protoss. Though why he never used it in antiquity, or pushed the Tal'Darim to develop their own Khala, is kinda stupid. Maybe he simply never knew that the communal link could have been developed into the Khala until it happened.
    The Nerazim exaggerated the effects: They never actually knew what it felt like and the Khalai act like individuals from what we see. Given the conclave's behavior in Ep3, I am inclined to conclude that the khala promotes mob mentality like how the social justice warriors on tumblr act.

    Again, Amon is so effing stupid as a character and plot point that I prefer to discuss fanfiction where he does not exist.

    BTW, I read the penpaper StarCraft RPG by Leovaunt. The author painstakingly explored the mechanics of the starcraft universe the Blizzard never bothered to explain. It's awesome like that.

    It recently released rules for playing Tal'darim and it seems their racial traits do not include an innate telepathic link (which only makes any sense if they never, ever use Khaydarin crystals or take sundrop without missing a beat). They're basically just an angrier version of Nerazim with spooky "corruption" powers. It demonstrates how much thought Blizzard put into them (answer: none).

    The Leovaunt RPG seems to have interpreted the Khala as the innate telepathic link and the primordial Protoss (which the Tal'darim are supposed to emulate) as only having automatic mind reading, automatic psychic detection, and conscious telepathic messaging. In fact, the RPG assumes nerve cords are only necessary for natural telepathic link (which is just a more efficient form of telepathy) yet implies the Protoss never had this link before the xel'naga messed with them.

    This muddles the statement in the manual that the first hunters coordinated through an instinctive telepathic link which interested the xel'naga in the first place. I was under the impression that the primordial Protoss did not merely read each other's thoughts like overhearing conversations, they shared their feelings and sensations to better coordinate.

    How were the xel'naga interested by a link that didn't exist? Why did Protoss even evolve nerve cords if they served no purpose until the xel'naga invented the Khala millions of years later? Were the nerve cords added by the xel'naga to expand the natural mind reading to an innate telepathic link? Why then do the tal'darim have nerve cords but not a natural telepathic link? Are the tal'darim hypocrites who suppress their innate link?

    The bizarre thing is that Nerazim get natural mind reading too and are thus unchanged from their primordial state by circumcising, which makes no sense given their fear of sharing thoughts (constantly hearing everyone's thoughts around you would certainly affect you psychologically) and the backstory saying they lost their natural telepathy during the Aeon of Strife. It turns circumcision into a purely social phenomenon that grants slightly different colored superpowers in some areas rather than a fundamental biological change, or implies that the Nerazim are hypocrites who don't accept how their own telepathy worked before the Aeon.

    If I retroactively apply the RPG rules to the Starcraft setting, for the sake of argument and having consistent rules, then this has massive implications for the Protoss backstory. It means that all Protoss are constantly reading each other's minds in close proximity, regardless of whether they have intact nerve cords or not. It renders the whole thing with Khas developing empathy after playing with khaydarin nonsensical too, since he should have already automatically read the minds of those around him. We would have reinterpret that event to something else, like connecting to the psi matrix or something. Every mention of telepathy in the backstory would have to be reinterpreted to account for what level of telepathy is available at the time.

    This is the problem with Blizzard being both vague and prone to retcons. The story falls apart if you try to quantify it, like Leovaunt did. The rules render their own backstory impossible without rewriting it into unrecognizability.

    EDIT: Perhaps I am blowing this out of proportion. The easy fix is to give the primordial Protoss an innate telepathic link, and make the tal'darim and nerazim refugees from the Aeon of Strife who forge their destiny unlike their ancestors. This is an interesting avenue of exploration.
    Last edited by Mislagnissa; 09-07-2017 at 10:01 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: How would tal'darim work without Amon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    You misunderstand. My point is if Amon never existed, how would the tal'darim fit into the original StarCraft universe as explained in the SC1 manual?
    Easy answer is that they wouldn't fit at all. The whole history and concept of the Tal'darim is that they're inextricably tied or relate to Amon/Xel'Naga at some level. Afterall, the Tal'darim were introduced after SC1/BW in the "expanded universe", which was used as base fodder for what then happens in Sc2.

    The Tal'darim are just an excuse to have a blatant "evil Protoss" archetype really. This isn't necessarily a bad idea in theory since we know Protoss are capable of it since they committed atrocities against each other during the Aeon of Strife. The Nerazim were ancestors of those Protoss and were thought to be "evil" by your average Khalai Protoss but they more or less turn out to be more "nobly good" anyway. In contrast, it would've been interesting to have actual "evil" Protoss that were ancestors of those that thrived during the Aeon of Strife and wanted to continue that state of affairs for their own selfish reasons since it would give legitimacy for why the Khalai Protoss would fear any other Protoss outside of their Khala. That's probably the only alternative take on "Tal'darim" possible if one had to somehow exclude their inherent ties to Amon/Xel'Naga. Course, they wouldn't be called "Tal'darim" if this was so...
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    Default Re: How would tal'darim work without Amon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Easy answer is that they wouldn't fit at all. The whole history and concept of the Tal'darim is that they're inextricably tied or relate to Amon/Xel'Naga at some level. Afterall, the Tal'darim were introduced after SC1/BW in the "expanded universe", which was used as base fodder for what then happens in Sc2.

    The Tal'darim are just an excuse to have a blatant "evil Protoss" archetype really. This isn't necessarily a bad idea in theory since we know Protoss are capable of it since they committed atrocities against each other during the Aeon of Strife. The Nerazim were ancestors of those Protoss and were thought to be "evil" by your average Khalai Protoss but they more or less turn out to be more "nobly good" anyway. In contrast, it would've been interesting to have actual "evil" Protoss that were ancestors of those that thrived during the Aeon of Strife and wanted to continue that state of affairs for their own selfish reasons since it would give legitimacy for why the Khalai Protoss would fear any other Protoss outside of their Khala. That's probably the only alternative take on "Tal'darim" possible if one had to somehow exclude their inherent ties to Amon/Xel'Naga. Course, they wouldn't be called "Tal'darim" if this was so...
    Good point! The Khala is presented with good and bad sides (Tassadar is the good side, Aldaris is the bad side), but the dark templar are not presented with bad sides. The taldarim are perfect for representing the bad side of the dark templar's philosophy, to the point where they are not so different from the fundamentalist judicators who casually order genocide.

    The name "tal'darim" originated from the Dark Templar Trilogy, where it had a completely different context. It meant "forged [by the Great War]", but LotV retconned it to "chosen [by the Xel'naga]".

    If they still need an evil god figure to make sense, I would like to remind everyone that Ulrezaj is the protoss antichrist.

    EDIT: Don't forget that the judicators banned all other religions, including worship of the xel'naga, so it's still possible for outcasts to worship them. Gods do not need to be real for their faith to have power.

  10. #10

    Default Re: How would tal'darim work without Amon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gradius View Post
    What's the point of ignoring SC2? Nobody is going to know you're doing it so you're going to have to end up explaining yourself like this all the time. SC2 is always going to be canon. That's the brutal reality. :P
    And here I thought you always wanted to ignore the whole thing anyway, Gradius


    Quote Originally Posted by Visions of Khas View Post
    Perhaps so.

    The communal link, when elevated by the mental disciplines of the Khala, serves as an empathic and mental bridge for the Khalai protoss. Khalai meditate and replenish themselves by subsuming themselves in it. We don't know the extent of the mental overlap that takes place, but it was enough to scare away the Dark Templar who feared for their identities.

    Maybe there was some backdoor mechanism Amon left behind that would allow him to take over the protoss. Though why he never used it in antiquity, or pushed the Tal'Darim to develop their own Khala, is kinda stupid. Maybe he simply never knew that the communal link could have been developed into the Khala until it happened.
    You said it yourself it was like a pseudo hive mind, VoK. Plus I saw no evidence that Amon pushed the Tal'darim to develop their own Khala. He knew all along without what the Khalai had, he couldn't mind control the Tal'darim. Well ok maybe he could if he had hundreds of billions of hybrids or something, but apart from that....

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