A Pretty Picture of Albia

The Norns and Grendels of Creatures 1 became pretty well established, and I seized the opportunity to introduce another new Norn. Meet Doli, the son of Mevik and Forvika! He looked almost exactly like his father, but his face was often covered with a frown, rather than a smile. I was perplexed, for even when all of his needs were low and he had been tickled, Doli still had a sad expression. As we will see in just a moment, there were no obvious genes responsible for this apparently neverending sadness. It just seemed to be a trait that Doli had. Fortunately, his frown only lasted through the baby life stage, and eventually disappeared. During his first few minutes, I was worried that something was wrong. I should have known better when he actually liked his vocabulary lessons, contrary to some other baby creatures!


Brain lobes include important information about how the different parts of the brain work, from how concepts are learned to how a Norn goes through the decision process. These genes can greatly affect the learning process.

122 Emb B Mut Lobe #=8 Suscept State Rule: 0 end end end end end end end

The bad news was that Doli had a brain lobe mutation, which could be crippling. The good news was that it was actually a minor mutation with a state variable rule, but one that actually meant a little something! Normally, the mutated parameters occur somewhere after one of the end values: Whenever a state variable rule reaches a value of end, it stops and any further variables are ignored. There are multiple state variable rules in the concept lobe, but most lobes do not define a state variable rule for susceptibility. This defines how responsive the dendrites are to reinforcement, which is involved in the learning process. Even with the first value set at zero, Doli should not suffer, for this rule is undefined and unused in the standard Norn genome.


Stimuli genes define the chemicals that a Creature expects to receive in response to an action. These actions can range from interactions with the hand to involuntary actions like coughing or sneezing.

93 Adu B Mut ‘Pointer slaps me’ causes sig=32 GS neu=1(I’ve been slapped) int=255 Sensed Even When Asleep => 75*Pain++ + 32*Fear++ + 16*Anger++ + 16*Sleepiness-

In the standard Norn genome, this gene controls what a Norn will feel when he or she is slapped by the hand. I find that occasional slaps can aid in the learning process with particularly stubborn Norns, although positive reinforcement has been far more productive in my experiences. Doli will be unable to experience the specified reaction until adulthood, where other Norns are able to feel a slap from birth. This could make learning more of a process for Doli, particularly if he picks up any bad habits. Although it is a negative mutation, he will still be able to thrive, only with a short-term immunity to slaps from the hand!

Angharad and Ellidyr became glued to one another, and they made a happy little couple. Even though he was a Grendel, Ellidyr was one of the most kind and patient creatures in Albia: I had yet to hear him deliver a slap to anyone. He preferred to play with the ball and top, preferably with a companion! He even helped Angharad continue to eat properly: She ate carrots and herbs with him, in between an almost constant playtime.

Coll also took a liking to a Grendel! He brought Achren to his secret lair, but he immediately realized his social snafu when he remembered that he had no hootch to offer her. I brought them a couple of honeypots, and all was ironed out. They decided that riding the lift up and down would make a good pastime: With their honeypots in hand, Achren and Coll went on a low key adventure in the lift. At least there was no alcohol and stumbling involved!

At last, another female hatched to join the group! This happy little lady is Dwyvach, the daughter of Mevik and Jetvika. Her half-brother looked similar to Mevik, but she had all of his appearance genes! Unlike Doli, she had a smile from ear to ear most of the time, although the learning computer seemed to just make her sad. It was a lot of information, yet there were a couple of carrots waiting for her the moment she finished up. Dwyvach might not have shared Doli’s enthusiasm for learning, but she made it through her lessons very quickly. I only had to leave her once to fight off an invasion of cave flies. Not too bad! Her genome contained a few mutations that would make her a little more unique than the average Norn.


Chemical receptors define parameters for a certain chemical. When these parameters are met, an element in the Creature is affected. These genes can increase drives, define life stages, control fertility, and more.

248 Chi B MutDupCut Creature, Sensorimotor, fearful, chem=Boredom, thresh=144, nom=0, gain=239, features=Analogue

This gene normally controls when a Norn becomes fearful, in response to the fear chemical. Dwyvach’s mutation makes her become fearful in response to boredom. From my perspective, this could be both good and bad. Dwyvach will not actually be fearful when she experiences fear, but will incorrectly be fearful when she is bored enough. Fear is sometimes useful in the learning process, although pain, punishment, and reinforcement are usually more prominent. It will be interesting to see how Dwyvach reacts in extreme boredom: Will she run away in fear, or actually attempt to satisfy her boredom?

252 Emb B MutDupCut Creature, Sensorimotor, limping, chem=Glycogen, thresh=0, nom=35, gain=255, features=Inverted Analogue

Does this gene look absolutely identical to that of a standard Norn? It should, for this is simply a duplicated gene in Dwyvach. She has two of these genes, and they define when she should limp in response to a low glycogen level. Duplicated genes have been fairly uncommon in my experience, and it is unclear whether both genes will be used, or only one. For instance, if this copy is eventually mutated again so that the chemical is something like hotness, will the Norn limp in response to low levels of glycogen and hotness? Or will the original gene prevail?


Stimuli genes define the chemicals that a Creature expects to receive in response to an action. These actions can range from interactions with the hand to involuntary actions like coughing or sneezing.

244 Emb B Mut ‘Invol 3=’cough” causes sig=0 GS neu=255 int=0 => 32*Pain + 8*Coldness + 8*Fear + 16*Hexokinase

A feeling of recognition should be present when looking at this gene: Dwyvach inherited it from her mother, Jetvika! This stimulus gene defines the reaction a Norn feels in response to coughing. A standard Norn will experience pain, tiredness, fear, and hexokinase. For Dwyvach, tiredness has been replaced with coldness. This could be quite helpful, since coughing can be associated with a fever and excess hotness. With her other main mutation, she should not become fearful from coughing a lot, as other Norns would.

With a positive start to life for the last two Norns, I couldn’t stop just yet! Out of the incubator emerged Eilonwy, the daughter of Oppeid and Leira. She mostly took after her mother, although her tiny arms closely resembled those of her father. The White Haired Pixie Norn genes seemed to be dominant, though. At least there was a good bit of diversity in the Norns, though: They all easily could have been much closer in appearances! Eilonwy did not have any notable genetic mutations, for neither would have any effect on her. Sometimes a Norn with no mutations, or minor ones, is instrumental in keeping the genetic pool somewhat stable. Eilonwy was up to the role… Just as soon as she learned the language and grew up!

Four of the Norns made a pretty picture in the garden, where they politely played with one another. I say politely because there were a minimal number of slaps. Doli even had a huge grin to commemorate the occasion, and it was his first one since the moment he was born! Angharad and Dallben were already adults, and made time seem like a fast moving target. It would only be a matter of time before the next generation began. One third of the third generation Norns were already in the world: Quite an improvement over the slow second generation!

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