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Thread: Protoss power sources

  1. #1

    Default Protoss power sources

    I have been thinking about protoss power sources.

    Templar draw their power from the khala, dark templar from the void. Some of their tech does too. This produces energy to power telekinesis and stuff.

    Both have psi matrices which presumably draw from these sources as well to power their buildings (require constant connection), units (do not require constant connection), wormhole generation, etc. Infrastructure on homeworlds does actual construction.

    Protoss are photosynthetic and eat with skin surface.

    The khala contains the spirits of dead ancestors, who may be spoken to at templar archives.

    Protoss who fall in battle may be revived as dragoons, whether as bodies retrieved or as fallen spirits.

    The protoss teleport retcon. Death animations are a form of teleportation, despite not resembling other teleport animations at all. Even bengalaas do it, despite presumably lacking teleport devices.

    A number of these aspects are unclear or contradictory.

    If the protoss have the khala/void as a power source for everything else (powers, tech, etc), why would they need to have separate photosynthesis or digestive skin? Would it not make more sense that their organ systems atrophied due to dependence on psychic power sources? (The manga depicts an organism grafted with nerve cords slowing fusing its mouth shut, but not becoming photosynthetic, suggesting this is the case. Plus, severed nerve cords are said to bleed energy and need to be caped, further supporting this.)

    Where does the khala/void/psi matrix ultimately draw it power from? Renewable energy like solar and gravity (for khalai)? The ergosphere of black holes (for nerazim)?

    If protoss souls are preserved by the khala, does that not imply they are what is interred in dragoons? Maybe the teleport death animation just refers to saving the soul rather than recovering the body? Could protoss not be revived in clone bodies? If they can mass produce buildings, why not bodies?

    Share your thoughts.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Protoss power sources

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    If the protoss have the khala/void as a power source for everything else (powers, tech, etc), why would they need to have separate photosynthesis or digestive skin? Would it not make more sense that their organ systems atrophied due to dependence on psychic power sources?
    Different forms of energy? They can't eat/convert the energy that comes from the khala/void to fuel/grow their bodies and biological processes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    Where does the khala/void/psi matrix ultimately draw it power from? Renewable energy like solar and gravity (for khalai)? The ergosphere of black holes (for nerazim)?
    I fanoned that the psi matrix maybe tied to the planet Aiur somehow. Maybe there's some weird symbiotic relationship with the planet and the Protoss when it comes to psi energies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    If protoss souls are preserved by the khala, does that not imply they are what is interred in dragoons? Maybe the teleport death animation just refers to saving the soul rather than recovering the body? Could protoss not be revived in clone bodies? If they can mass produce buildings, why not bodies?
    Preservers are maybe the missing link you're looking for here. They're constructs but can be instilled with what amounts to Protoss "souls". There could even be an artificial/Preserver form of the Khala, too.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Protoss power sources

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Different forms of energy? They can't eat/convert the energy that comes from the khala/void to fuel/grow their bodies and biological processes.
    I think it may be the writers losing track of what they wrote yet again. Aside from the dark templar books and field manual, photosynthesis is never mentioned. Gradius argues that the khala/void is a separate power source from the psi matrix (and that photosynthesis is unnecessary/cannot explain) because the void ray apparently says so and we have seen protoss in many situations where they should have long since starved to death due to lack of light, psi matrix, etc. Although I think such problems could be delayed with batteries.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    I fanoned that the psi matrix maybe tied to the planet Aiur somehow. Maybe there's some weird symbiotic relationship with the planet and the Protoss when it comes to psi energies?
    Aiur has lots of power crystals in the surface, but the source of the actual energy is not explained. I think renewable is the only explanation so far, given the protoss supposedly live in harmony with nature.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Preservers are maybe the missing link you're looking for here. They're constructs but can be instilled with what amounts to Protoss "souls". There could even be an artificial/Preserver form of the Khala, too.
    You mean purifiers? I think it is just the writers not understanding the applications of what they wrote. If the khala preserves "souls" (or whatever), then the khalai should by all rights be functionally immortal a la Ghost in the Shell. It certainly solves the teleport death retcon which was criticized as being antithetical to a warrior culture while sidestepping the problem of low population (which is itself a retcon as the lore at one point intimated the protoss held many worlds). They should be able to clone their population and download souls into new bodies, even copy or write new souls. (BTW, The same logic may be leveled at the zerg.)

    EDIT: A GURPS conversion actually does use a system like that I describe, which it calls "death-warp system." It describes this as so (my explanations in brackets):
    Protoss teleportation technology allows a peculiar form of reincarnation: a warrior's psionic essence [spirit, soul] is pulled back through the gestalt [khala] at the moment of death, spared from ultimate demise by instead recycling through the Collective [khala], and into a new biological body – or, if his death was glorious enough, a deadly cybershell [dragoon, immortal, etc].
    Last edited by Mislagnissa; 04-24-2018 at 09:09 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Protoss power sources

    I didn't think of psi energy being food for the Protoss at the time. Then again, I never questioned whether Protoss had to eat or not.

    And yeah, I did mean Purifiers. I knew it started with a "p". Once again, I never thought of their psionic link as something that could hold souls or anything. I thought it was just like some sort of basic wireless network. The Purifiers, being highly advanced technology and being able to reproduce the personalities of living beings, could have their own but artificial version of this psionic link where information can be stored and transferred to create this sense of immortality.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Protoss power sources

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    I didn't think of psi energy being food for the Protoss at the time. Then again, I never questioned whether Protoss had to eat or not.
    It is an easy assumption to make. The original manual stated that psi powered protoss buildings and units. Psi is equivalent to terran Supply, which is an abstract measurement of food, munitions, etc. Zerg have Control which is clearly not equivalent, but they do have creep which nourishes their buildings and eggs. Psi providing the energy for everything (electricity, nourishment, telekinesis, etc) neatly explains away all the logistics you would need to worry about.

    The photosynthesis idea originates from a Q&A session where someone asked what protoss eat. From there it was propagated by the dark templar novels and the LotV field manual. Entirely aside from the problems of autotrophy not being feasible (volume constraints, wrong pigments, different evolutionary pressures, the energy for telekinesis, etc), it was never necessary since Psi was already an abstraction of such things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    And yeah, I did mean Purifiers. I knew it started with a "p". Once again, I never thought of their psionic link as something that could hold souls or anything. I thought it was just like some sort of basic wireless network. The Purifiers, being highly advanced technology and being able to reproduce the personalities of living beings, could have their own but artificial version of this psionic link where information can be stored and transferred to create this sense of immortality.
    The description of the templar archives stated that the templar talked to their deceased ancestors there. One description about the dragoon states that it contains the spirit of the fallen, with body retrieval mentioned in a different section. It is entirely plausible to assume that protoss have their minds preserved by the khala and may be placed in dragoons even if their body was never retrieved. In fact, the statement about body retrieval was strange because protoss templar in the games burst into blue flames upon death rather than leaving a decaying corpse animation like terrans, zerg and protoss robots.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Protoss power sources

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    It is an easy assumption to make. The original manual stated that psi powered protoss buildings and units. Psi is equivalent to terran Supply, which is an abstract measurement of food, munitions, etc. Zerg have Control which is clearly not equivalent, but they do have creep which nourishes their buildings and eggs. Psi providing the energy for everything (electricity, nourishment, telekinesis, etc) neatly explains away all the logistics you would need to worry about.
    Yeah, I kinda thought of psi as more like power/electricity than "food" since most Protoss units are composed up of or rely on sophisticated hardware (including the Zealot powersuit) or rely on it for their powers (like Templar).

    As to the "issues" of Protoss eating via photosynthesis, maybe one can reimagine it as some other fictional matter-energy conversion process based on photons.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    The description of the templar archives stated that the templar talked to their deceased ancestors there.
    People talk "directly" to their deceased ancestors at places of worship, idols and cemeteries, too. Just sayin...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    One description about the dragoon states that it contains the spirit of the fallen, with body retrieval mentioned in a different section.
    You sure it wasn't a figurative use of speech? Even then, a shattered but living body still contains the "spirit of the fallen" so to speak.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    It certainly solves the teleport death retcon which was criticized as being antithetical to a warrior culture while sidestepping the problem of low population (which is itself a retcon as the lore at one point intimated the protoss held many worlds).
    How is the teleport death retcon antithetical to a warrior culture? I'm sure many of the WH40K Space Marine chapters would disagree. They would gladly sacrifice themselves in a fight for good cause but will also do so to recover fallen comrades because of their precious gene-seed. I'm sure Space Marines wish they could have teleports whenever a comrade falls in battle.

    All the manual states about Protoss numbers is that "they are not a prolific people". That could suggest many things but it also does say they bolster their ranks with machines and themselves with technology. As such, teleporting wounded veteran warriors out of the field of battle is not just about preserving life/numbers but also a good strategy and use of their technological know-how.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Protoss power sources

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Yeah, I kinda thought of psi as more like power/electricity than "food" since most Protoss units are composed up of or rely on sophisticated hardware (including the Zealot powersuit) or rely on it for their powers (like Templar).
    Terran Supply and zerg creep represented food, so why not psi?

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    As to the "issues" of Protoss eating via photosynthesis, maybe one can reimagine it as some other fictional matter-energy conversion process based on photons.
    Like wireless transmission through the psi matrix? If the khala literally nourishes the protoss, it brings to mind the Eucharist of Christianity; that fits very well with the Roman-styled religious theme.

    The photosynthesis thing is never mentioned outside a couple of obscure sources (the Q&A, the dark templar trilogy, and the field manual) and it never plays a role in any of the narratives. Protoss survive in lightless conditions indefinitely with starvation or nutritional deficiency never once mentioned, and even in the dark templar trilogy it remains nothing more than trivia to make the protoss seem more vaguely alien. Compare this to creep, which is omnipresent in zerg narratives despite being no more important to them than you would expect photosynthesis would be to protoss.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    People talk "directly" to their deceased ancestors at places of worship, idols and cemeteries, too. Just sayin...
    "People" are not constantly uploading their thoughts and feelings to the internet to such a degree that it is possible to reconstruct their personality. The only strange thing is that this was only exploited when the purifiers were introduced in SC2 and not already the default for protoss society.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    You sure it wasn't a figurative use of speech? Even then, a shattered but living body still contains the "spirit of the fallen" so to speak.
    The manual says at different points:
    Veteran Protoss warriors who have been crippled or mortally wounded in combat can volunteer to continue their service to the Conclave by being transplanted into Dragoon exoskeletons.
    The Cybernetics Core is a secondary Protoss building which houses the construction materials and automated factories essential to the production of the powerful Protoss Dragoons. Located deep within the Core are the mysterious essence translators that bond the spirits of fallen Protoss to the cold metal exoskeletons of the Dragoons.
    Considering that they can speak with their dead at the templar archives, and that prior to the retcon we were led to believe protoss exploded upon suffering sufficient damage, you could interpret this either way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    How is the teleport death retcon antithetical to a warrior culture?
    This is explained in the sclegacy editorial I thought I had linked before:
    This revelation invalidates all we know of Protoss society. The Protoss live for glory, and honor. They are a race of warriors. They are all prepared to give their lives for Aiur, they say so themselves. Now it seems that every Zealot we thought died honorably defending Aiur, instead teleported away to survive. Avoiding death by using teleportation? That is cowardly, the Protoss face death with honor. Everything we've seen about them in game shows that the Protoss value dying in battle like a warrior should. Now, they do not die, they flee. And they are reconstructed in Dragoon walkers. The existence of a Dragoon must be one of torment, for the warrior inside to know he fought hard but still failed, and is forced to use machinery to continue the battle. Why would any Protoss want to continue living in such a state? Simple: they don't. Why do the Zealots and the Templar flee like cowards when the battle is too great? Live a coward's life or die a warrior's death. Which do you believe the Protoss would choose?

    In closing, in StarCraft, the Protoss had a battle cry;

    "My life to Aiur!"

    Now it seems that this quote needs to be restructured to suit what we now know about the Zealot. So the new Zealot battle cry is:

    "My life for Aiur, unless I'm actually about to die, in which case I'll teleport away to be revived as a robot."
    With their level of technology I cannot imagine any way they would not have immortality where they constantly revive in new bodies after death a la Battlestar Galactica or Altered Carbon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    I'm sure many of the WH40K Space Marine chapters would disagree. They would gladly sacrifice themselves in a fight for good cause but will also do so to recover fallen comrades because of their precious gene-seed. I'm sure Space Marines wish they could have teleports whenever a comrade falls in battle.
    That is not comparable. Prior to the retcon we were led to believe protoss exploded upon suffering sufficient damage, not that they left bodies behind on the battlefield. The protoss seem to be able to upload their minds to the khala, further supporting the idea that they are literally resurrected. By comparison, Warhammer has the eldar cheating death with soul stones (which capture the soul upon death and allow it to be placed in robot walkers) and and the dark elder having their souls survive inside their corpses for long enough to be retrieved.


    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    All the manual states about Protoss numbers is that "they are not a prolific people". That could suggest many things but it also does say they bolster their ranks with machines and themselves with technology.
    As for "prolific"... the concept art for Lorcadia depicted protoss spawning in massive numbers like amphibians. SC2 went in the other direction and claimed they could not reproduce without khaydarin fertility drugs. Clearly the writers did not worry about little things like continuity or specificity when they were devising new games.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    As such, teleporting wounded veteran warriors out of the field of battle is not just about preserving life/numbers but also a good strategy and use of their technological know-how.
    They are not teleporting warriors. The warriors explode into blue flames. Teleportation has an entirely different animation, which should have been used instead and side-stepped the issue. The retcon is not even necessary if they can just teleport minds and download them into new bodies. There is no logical reason why they cannot do that when they already have insane manufacturing capabilities and so forth.

    I honestly have no problem with the protoss retreating from unwinnable battles using teleportation, but that does not justify blatantly and sloppily retconning the death animation to a teleport animation rather than replacing it with an actual teleport animation. It means that any character who we saw burst into blue flames is actually alive, such as Aldaris or Tassadar.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Protoss power sources

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    Terran Supply and zerg creep represented food, so why not psi?
    Because the word "supply" can suggest food but is not food specifically. We have different words to mean different things.

    Creep is specifically mentioned as providing nourishment to the Zerg, so the parallel to food is more obvious whereas Psi is not. To me, Psi is more analagous to power/energy/mana than food.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    "People" are not constantly uploading their thoughts and feelings to the internet to such a degree that it is possible to reconstruct their personality.
    Like I said, I didn't think of the communal-link as being anything more but a way to feel empathy for each other at the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    Considering that they can speak with their dead at the templar archives, and that prior to the retcon we were led to believe protoss exploded upon suffering sufficient damage, you could interpret this either way.
    Eh, I prefer a more realistic/grounded take than the fantastical one. The essence translator quote doesn't really specify that the "spirit" that is connected to the Dragoon exoskeleton has to be disembodied. The Templar Archive quote can mean that this "direct" connection is religious or spiritual in nature. This direct communion could also be interpreted as the place being a library (it is an Archive afterall) where one can study up on the past and meditate on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    This is explained in the sclegacy editorial I thought I had linked before:
    I got it but that still doesn't actually invalidate their willingness/spirit to fight and die. I believe the teleport is not something that is activated by the warrior themselves but an inbuilt and automatic mechanism of the powersuit they wear - it's not a cowardly tactic the warrior chooses to do. You could then argue that such warriors would then be too proud to wear such armour but then you'd be arguing that Protoss Zealots are not just warriors but suicidal... and that's a different matter entirely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    With their level of technology I cannot imagine any way they would not have immortality where they constantly revive in new bodies after death a la Battlestar Galactica or Altered Carbon.
    They probably did in the form of Purifiers at one point - but they got smart/independent and left the Protoss.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    Prior to the retcon we were led to believe protoss exploded upon suffering sufficient damage, not that they left bodies behind on the battlefield.

    They are not teleporting warriors. The warriors explode into blue flames. Teleportation has an entirely different animation, which should have been used instead and side-stepped the issue. The retcon is not even necessary if they can just teleport minds and download them into new bodies. There is no logical reason why they cannot do that when they already have insane manufacturing capabilities and so forth.
    This is more of a gameplay-story/lore segregation issue than anything else. The Protoss do indeed use teleporting and warping in technologies in their military level because of the way they "construct" buildings and "train" units in the field and the Arbiter literally has teleport ability, so the retcon of warriors phasing out just before death (whether the warrior is control of that or not) is not that hard a pill to swallow. It's never been stated that Protoss warriors just explode when suffering significant damage anywhere either. It's ridiculous to say that this would happen all the time because this would be incompatible with the existence of Dragoons, which have been explained as housing the broken bodies of Protoss warriors.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    I honestly have no problem with the protoss retreating from unwinnable battles using teleportation, but that does not justify blatantly and sloppily retconning the death animation to a teleport animation rather than replacing it with an actual teleport animation. It means that any character who we saw burst into blue flames is actually alive, such as Aldaris or Tassadar.
    You're blaming a game that was made in the 90's for not having the graphics to visually display teleportation (whether or not they were even capable of doing so at all), as if teleportation has some generic animation that is well-known and recognisable by all? That's... asking a bit much.

    As for Protoss characters not actually dying when killed, well once again that's a gameplay-story segregation thing. For one thing, you're not actually supposed to die since that's a non-standard/unintended story ending. As for Aldaris, I wouldn't mind it if he was indeed teleported elsewhere when he was supposedly killed. He was a character that didn't deserve to die so cheaply and it'd make for yet another interesting plot device to write about (though most likely for ill if Blizz was doing it, considering how they now use plot devices to butcher their story-telling rather than implement it).

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    The protoss seem to be able to upload their minds to the khala, further supporting the idea that they are literally resurrected. By comparison, Warhammer has the eldar cheating death with soul stones (which capture the soul upon death and allow it to be placed in robot walkers) and and the dark elder having their souls survive inside their corpses for long enough to be retrieved.
    The uploading of minds into the Khala is debatable based on information only from the Sc1 and the manual. As to them being Eldar, well, the Protoss are sort of like an expy for Eldar (I think I can hear someone somewhere raging at the thought of this statement) so I get the parallels but I always thought the Dragoons were more like the Space Marine dreadnoughts (which both house the bodies of warriors) than Eldar Walkers (which are powered by stones infused with Eldar souls - which are otherwise done solely to avoid them being consumed by Slaanesh)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    As for "prolific"... the concept art for Lorcadia depicted protoss spawning in massive numbers like amphibians. SC2 went in the other direction and claimed they could not reproduce without khaydarin fertility drugs. Clearly the writers did not worry about little things like continuity or specificity when they were devising new games.
    Eh, I just took it as them being not present in large numbers at any given moment. The reason why, whether it be that they can't reproduce or just prefer it to be that way, was up in the air at the time.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Protoss power sources

    I don't think you understand me correctly.

    In SC1, the protoss exploded into blue flames upon death. I have no idea how they were able to recover those pieces in order to entomb them in dragoons, but dragoons have dismembered bodies inside. The khala, templar archives, etc suggests that protoss can upload their minds into the khala and download into new bodies or cyber walkers. Teleportation has a completely different animation, so there is no apparent connection between the blue flames and teleportation.

    In SC2, the protoss still explode into blue flames upon death, but in some obscure sources this was retconned to a teleportation. The problem here is that this retcon is sloppy, since it makes no sense that the protoss would have two different types of animations for teleportation. A better choice would have been to replace the blue flames with a teleport animation like other teleport mechanics. To add insult to injury, this retcon was applied to events that occurred even before SC2, which produces plot holes since it means any major character who supposedly died would have survived.

    This upset a few people. While it does not upset me per se, I think the approach was sloppy. If you are not going to replace the blue flames with a teleport animation, then I would prefer to explain it as a Battlestar Galactica-inspired resurrection system. Since the protoss are extremely advanced (ignoring all the absurd retcons that their tech was actually made by the xel'naga and they cannot innovate at all), then it stands to reason they can do things like upload/download minds, mass produce clones, etc. This serves as a compromise between the pre- and post-retcon situations: the warrior dies in an explosion of blue flames but their mind survives to be downloaded into a new body or, if circumstances permit, a dragoon or other mech.

    Purifiers are not necessary to explain this.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Protoss power sources

    Thing is, there was no teleport animation in Sc1. Units just appeared from Protoss buildings and units that were teleported by the Arbiters recall ability just disappeared and reappeared amidst some overlayed swirly animation to depict the ability. The death animation of Protoss warriors was given no explanation at the time, so although it looked like an immolation leaving no body it was later explained as actually being teleportation through additive retconning. This "death explosion" being an actuality raises the question of how Dragoons come to be since there'd be no bodies to inter and yet Dragoons have bodies in them. That death animation being retconned into being a teleport animation actually reconciles this issue.

    As to Sc2, well, you do have a case there. The generic teleport animations of Protoss tech should've been consistent with the retcon in that they should look like blue flames from Sc1.
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