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Sentience in Fallen London Messages in this topic - RSS

Nigel Overstreet
Nigel Overstreet
Posts: 1220

2/22/2012
Which animals in the Neath are sentient and which can talk?
Obviously the Rattus Faber are as sentient as any man, though not on par in the way of class with men, but which other species would it be, for instance, rude to kill for their meat?
Yes, yes; we have all eaten urchin meat from time to time, but it is still considered impolite. Especially to do so before the fish course. To eat goose, on the other hand, is not even blinked at by the most demure of society.

Do bats have souls? Do they have dreams and thoughts and feeling and a way to express them? Can they speak? What about Lizards or Stallions? Who can give an answer and who can wager a guess?

--
The Romantic Egotist: Most Hedonistic Man in All of Fallen London
Are you or someone you know Overgoated? Please, let me know!

Cider Club
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Diptych
Diptych
Administrator
Posts: 3861

2/22/2012
Excellent questions all - on the Surface and in the Neath. Our own Surface-elephants, for example, seem to be of an intelligence comparable to humans - self-aware, social and empathic. What would Neathy elephants be like?

As you say, we know for sure about Rattus Faber, and I don't believe I've ever met a cat - big or small - who wasn't capable of sarcasm. The bats -seem- rational, but it's easy to project such qualities, as the Doctor Schlomo might put it. Spiders seem able of speech in great enough numbers... personally, I avoid all kinds of meat, but even then, the more mobile species of fungus - the ones capable of pettiness and bad language - are rather worrying.

--
Sir Frederick, the Emancipationist Esotericist. Lord Hubris, the Bloody Baron.
Juniper Brown, the Ill-Fated Orphan. Esther Ellis-Hall, the Fashionable Fabian.
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Zyxx
Zyxx
Posts: 45

2/22/2012
Here's a list I cooked up based on my personal experience and memories: feel free to chip in with your own and to correct me.

Definitely vocal/sentient
Rattus Faber
Most cats
Spider-Councils

Vocal, possibly sentient:
Ravens
Lizards
Bats (Questionable - is "Where's my sodding crickets?" an actual quote from a bat or simply what his gaze conveys?)

Not known to talk:
Ordinary rats
Individual Sorrow-Spiders
Dogs
Goldfish
Seals
Mandrake
Hyenas
Snakes
Weasels

--
Truezyxx on Twitter
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Maurna Frost
Maurna Frost
Posts: 246

2/22/2012
I find your list complete from my own, limited, experiences. I would find weasel rather...in poor spirit I think. Such wily and creative creatures, while unable to speak, surely have a greater sentience.

~MF
A Lady now afraid of her dining plate... perhaps fruit?

--
~MF

I greatly enjoy meeting delicious new friends and participating in deliciously exciting new adventures! Please feel free to drop a card to meet for dinner, exchange favors, give an interview, or any other activity that comes to mind. I DO particpate in exchanges requiring Fate, BUT you must contact me first; twitter, facebook, or here on the forums via PM.

Note: I am currently exchanging parcels with a large number of dear friends and my parcel opportunities are rare. I am always willing to exchange but your rate of return may be rather slow. To find others to exchange with I recommend the Starveling list.
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Dave
Dave
Posts: 215

2/23/2012
Sir Frederick Tanah-Chook wrote:
personally, I avoid all kinds of meat, but even then, the more mobile species of fungus - the ones capable of pettiness and bad language - are rather worrying.



My good sir, is this an oblique reference to our fine elected parliamentarians? Because if so, I can hardly disagree.

Also, though not capable of speech I have found my Hound of Heaven to occasionally answer a direct question about its area of expertise. Which is more than I can say for some Urchins.

--
The Dave, a terrifying, lethal, inescapable and sagacious gentleman
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Martin Hopfield
Martin Hopfield
Posts: 21

2/23/2012
I'm not sure what you mean by animal? Something that doesn't walk on two legs? Are we not animals too?

With that in mind I'd add
Masters
Devils, perhaps some demons
Those of a Rubbery nature communicate as best they can
Clay Men [spoilers ahead]
Snuffers
The Vake
Jack O' Smiles
The Overgoat (since presumably it can communicate secrets it finds, why else fear something that knows your secrets if it can't communicate them.)

I'm surprised that dogs can't talk, but I've not met a dog or wolf that can.
I don't think bats talk as I've encountered bats that haven't met a human in ages, and although docile didn't speak to me.
edited by Martin Hopfield on 2/23/2012
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Urthdigger
Urthdigger
Posts: 940

2/23/2012
Something I've been wondering... just what does L.B. stand for?

--
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Malt Jones
Malt Jones
Posts: 69

2/23/2012
Martin Hopfield wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean by animal? Something that doesn't walk on two legs? Are we not animals too?


Oh my, if I didn't any know better I'd mistake you for one of those darwinists.

--
"I can resist everything except temptation"
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artsieaspie
artsieaspie
Posts: 16

2/23/2012
Urthdigger wrote:
Something I've been wondering... just what does L.B. stand for?


I'm of vulgar peasant stock, so I assumed it was little bastard.

These days, I consider everything in the Neath to be sentient until satisfied that it isn't. Sentient and probably out to get me.
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Dave
Dave
Posts: 215

2/23/2012
Something I am curious about is the nature of animals on the surface. Firstly, because no one seems to think sentient animals is unusual - though of course this could simply be because it is no more unusual than devils, stolen cities, near immortality, and other daily facts of life in the 'neath. Secondly, the bandaged raven is said to be a surface raven and yet it is able to communicate memories of its surface days. Are animals on the surface sentient? Or do they become sentient upon entering the 'neath? Do they lose it upon leaving the 'neath if so? (that would put a new spin on the "Send your _____ to a friend on the surface" cards!)

Clearly, these questions call for some scientific experimentation of the type that the squeamish find distasteful.

--
The Dave, a terrifying, lethal, inescapable and sagacious gentleman
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Owlor
Owlor
Posts: 152

2/23/2012
Oh lord, EVERYTHING is sentient down here!

Nightmares is increasing.

--
"He never really loved her. Or her money. He wanted her secrets."
Jack Owlfisher's profile (@Owlor on twitter)
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Kaesa
Kaesa
Posts: 33

2/23/2012
And here I thought that was only the case in Polythreme.
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UneasyRiderNC
UneasyRiderNC
Posts: 9

2/23/2012
This is from the "Song of the Mandrake" card: "The things it sings when it's this cheerful still eat through your protective silk, but they are well worth catching." Seems to imply that even the mandrakes can speak (well, sing) understandably.

Whether they know what they are singing, or are just parroting, is questionable since they are "happy little tuber"s singing apparently horrifying songs.
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Passionario
Passionario
Posts: 777

2/25/2012
Kaesa wrote:
And here I thought that was only the case in Polythreme.


In Polythreme the bed I slept on was a baroness. The room where I slept was lovingly carved from joyous singing stone. The water I drank begged me to never stop. They paid me in coin that predicted my greatness. The memories are soothing. This place is duller.

--
Passionario: Profile, Story, Ending
Passion: Profile, Appearance
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Abraham Bounty
Abraham Bounty
Posts: 251

2/25/2012
Dave wrote:
Are animals on the surface sentient? Or do they become sentient upon entering the 'neath?


That question prompted a thought of my own, namely do neathy-sentience and neathy-immortality stem from the same source? On the one hand we, human beings that is, do not gain sentience upon entry into the neath as most of us were sentient even on the surface. Rats on the other hand gain sentience upon entry into fallen London.

Is this a case of one or the other? Does that mean that the non-LB rats are immortal as we? Does that mean the thousands of Rats on a String I have all have an LB source? Does that mean our members of parliament, who gained at least a measure of sentience (thought they use it ineptly I must say), do not share our quasi-immortality? What, if anything, do devils receive upon arriving here from hell, as they are presumably both immortal and sentient prior to their arrival? And does any of this have anything to do with the deal struck between the traitor empress and everyone's favorite Masters of commerce?

--
News in the Neath: Noted citizen of Fallen London, Abraham Bounty, has acquired six hundred and sixty six souls. Additionally rumour has it that the lion's share of those souls was from a theft of The Brass Embasy itself. We are quite certain that this portents nothing ominous for him. Well, nothing unusually ominous anyway.
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Patrick Reding
Patrick Reding
Posts: 440

2/25/2012
Abraham Bounty wrote:
Dave wrote:
Are animals on the surface sentient? Or do they become sentient upon entering the 'neath?


That question prompted a thought of my own, namely do neathy-sentience and neathy-immortality stem from the same source? On the one hand we, human beings that is, do not gain sentience upon entry into the neath as most of us were sentient even on the surface. Rats on the other hand gain sentience upon entry into fallen London.

Is this a case of one or the other? Does that mean that the non-LB rats are immortal as we? Does that mean the thousands of Rats on a String I have all have an LB source? Does that mean our members of parliament, who gained at least a measure of sentience (thought they use it ineptly I must say), do not share our quasi-immortality? What, if anything, do devils receive upon arriving here from hell, as they are presumably both immortal and sentient prior to their arrival? And does any of this have anything to do with the deal struck between the traitor empress and everyone's favorite Masters of commerce?

I believe it's been explicitly stated that only humans benefit from Neathy resurrection, and that it's likely the same as the immortality conferred upon the residents of Polythreme, weaker due to distance. I believe there are challenges in the game that give you Rats on a String for killing normal rats. Devils, of course, are by their nature not mortal, and resurrect in Hell upon "dying" in the Neath.

--
http://echobazaar.failbettergames.com/Profile/Yana
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ladymadsci
ladymadsci
Posts: 105

2/25/2012
I have my own theory about the bats. I suspect that, individually, they not be much—
but together, the aggregate (maybe something like the sorrow-spiders coming together to make a spider-council) makes up the primary component of the bodies of the Masters of the Bazaar.

This would explain a lot. Ever failed robbing from the Bazaar? The bats caught you. Almost all the Masters have high-pitched voices... bat squeaks, maybe? And there's an old Egyptian legend... supposedly, a bat encountering a human will attach to the person's face and not let go unless he (the person) plays a Dara Buka drum. Talk about bad press for the Masters, being compared to face-huggers!

That said, I suspect that despite this, Mr Eaten is something different— SEVEN IS THE NUMBER— entirely.

Erm. Sorry about that. Slight cough.

--
{quiet smile} behind you
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theodor_gylden
theodor_gylden
Posts: 117

2/25/2012
Patrick Reding wrote:
Abraham Bounty wrote:
Dave wrote:
Are animals on the surface sentient? Or do they become sentient upon entering the 'neath?


That question prompted a thought of my own, namely do neathy-sentience and neathy-immortality stem from the same source? On the one hand we, human beings that is, do not gain sentience upon entry into the neath as most of us were sentient even on the surface. Rats on the other hand gain sentience upon entry into fallen London.

Is this a case of one or the other? Does that mean that the non-LB rats are immortal as we? Does that mean the thousands of Rats on a String I have all have an LB source? Does that mean our members of parliament, who gained at least a measure of sentience (thought they use it ineptly I must say), do not share our quasi-immortality? What, if anything, do devils receive upon arriving here from hell, as they are presumably both immortal and sentient prior to their arrival? And does any of this have anything to do with the deal struck between the traitor empress and everyone's favorite Masters of commerce?

I believe it's been explicitly stated that only humans benefit from Neathy resurrection, and that it's likely the same as the immortality conferred upon the residents of Polythreme, weaker due to distance. I believe there are challenges in the game that give you Rats on a String for killing normal rats. Devils, of course, are by their nature not mortal, and resurrect in Hell upon "dying" in the Neath.


Yet there is the tomb-lion. That suggests lions resurrect, if not rats, though I cannot think why that would be so.

--
Journal: http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/echo_theodor
Annotations & Epistles: http://theodor-gylden.dreamwidth.org/
Storylet: http://theodor-gylden.dreamwidth.org/11160.html
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Andrew Zelinske
Andrew Zelinske
Posts: 61

2/26/2012
I think one of the Jack-of-Smiles sidebars gives a good indication as to why LBs don't usually come back.

Poor Jack's a-cold
In a city where death can be temporary, lunatic murderers are not treated with especial respect. Jack-of-Smiles is still dangerous. If he slices you into proper collops, you're not coming back. But a throat-cutting spree is not very much worse than a wasp's nest. It must be vexing for him.

Being small, it probably doesn't take much for an LB to get wounded to the point that they cannot simply walk it off. As for why some rats are LBs and some arn't, I'd go as far as to speculate that on occasion, normal rats graw open certain jars in the expectation of finding something edible within...
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Martin Hopfield
Martin Hopfield
Posts: 21

2/27/2012
Malt Jones wrote:
Martin Hopfield wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean by animal? Something that doesn't walk on two legs? Are we not animals too?


Oh my, if I didn't any know better I'd mistake you for one of those darwinists.


What are you implying, Sir? Although I have a scientific outlook, I don't follow every whimsy that scientists come up with.

Besides, Aristotle regarded humans as having an animal aspect to their souls, so the idea is hardly new. He also thought that humans and animals had a plant aspect to the soul. What would he have thought of the Exceptional Rose?

I prefer well established scientific facts, and you may occasionally find me around Wolfstack Docks rehabilitating criminals through phrenological adjustments. If someone attempts to rob me, a carefully judged blow to the head can set them on the path to becoming a useful member of society. As far as I can tell I have had significant success as I have yet to meet any of these individuals attempting to rob me a second time.
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