In Celebration of a Norn’s First Meal

I last left Creatures 1 with my two Grendels snuggled up near a very pregnant Astrapia. Her egg was soon delivered without incident, and she settled in for a well deserved nap. Adaon joined her, while Arianllyn waited impatiently for someone to join her in the land of waking! Although the two Grendels had been nearly inseparable, I was rather surprised that they had not yet produced another egg. Perhaps they simply wanted to pace themselves!

Remember this Norn? Junco had caused me all sorts of grief, from the moment that I discovered his brain mutation to the time when I accidentally associated food with another category. His smile was hardly unexpected, since he was unable to feel any sense of hunger. I almost shed a tear when I saw his life force suddenly rise from about 30% to 45%. It took him over an hour and a half, but he finally ate a bit of food on the island! All on his own, too, without any encouragement from me. It looked like the Muggy I had placed on the island helped him find his first meal. Junco was still in pretty bad shape in terms of his glycogen level, but this was a small victory worth celebrating.

Euphonia decided to visit with Junco. Bless her heart, for she timed it perfectly: With one kisspop, suddenly Junco was going to be a father. The Norn I had assumed would crawl off and die peacefully at a young age, never to have a legacy… Actually would live on in the next generation! I peeked at the genetics of the unlaid egg, knowing that there was a good chance that Junco’s attention lobe mutation would be passed along. Luck must have been on his side, for this Norn’s brain was mutation free!

The only natural way to celebrate was to introduce another Norn into the mix. This youngster was the ninth out of fourteen Norns to be used this generation, which seemed to be going by very quickly. Meet Niltava, the daughter of Gurgi and Orgoch! Aside from the body data issues and whatnot, she was simply adorable with that little white tummy and her Santa Norn arms. Niltava was not a typical Norn, though: Aside from her mutations, she was a firecracker! Teaching her words was next to impossible with her feet that never stopped moving. I expected her to pose a few challenges early in her life, but with all of the issues I had run into, this seemed like a walk in the park! My biggest worry was getting Niltava to pause for a moment to pay attention. Talk about energetic!


Chemical reactions define rules for individual chemicals and chemical combinations. These genes can also state the rules for how chemicals are used up, and each reaction has a defined half-life to determine how often it occurs.

Default: 57 Emb B MutDupCut 1*Pain++ => 1*Pain + 1*Punishment; half-life=8
Mutation: 57 Emb B MutDupCut 1*016 => 1*Pain + 1*Punishment; half-life=8

There is a whole set of genes within a Norn which associate chemical increases with their corresponding chemicals and punishment. This gene normally states that pain increase produces pain and punishment. The same can be said for chemicals like hunger increase and loneliness increase. It makes sense that they would convert into the actual chemical, but some may wonder why these should be associated with punishment. The reason lies in learning: When a Norn does something to cause an increase in pain, he or she receives some punishment to encourage him or her to not perform that same action again. Conversely, there is a set of genes which associate chemical decreases with their corresponding chemicals and reward, with a similar reasoning. Niltava’s gene mutated to replace pain increase with chemical 016, which is an unallocated chemical not used for anything. She can still feel pain, but only when she experiences it directly: Pain increase produces no effect in her body.

Default: 112 Emb B MutDup 1*Punishment => 1*Reinforcement + 1*PunishmentEcho; half-life=16
Mutation: 112 Chi B MutDup 1*Punishment => 1*Reinforcement + 1*PunishmentEcho; half-life=16

Mutations involving any of the punishment or reward genes often result in learning challenges. This gene simply states that punishment is broken down into reinforcement and punishment echo. The former is used in Norn learning to reinforce a behavior. Punishment echo lingers in the system longer than the very short-term punishment chemical: It is akin to a long-term sort of punishment chemical that “echos” the punishment for a little longer. A standard Norn has this gene switch on immediately, while Niltava will not experience this chemical reaction until childhood. I doubt this will pose a major problem, since most of the training I do in the baby life stage involves teaching words and positive reinforcement. This still could allow her to continue bad behaviors a little longer than others, though.

Default: 86 Emb B MutDupCut 1*SexDrive- + 1*SexDrive => 1*Reward; half-life=8
Mutation: 86 Emb B MutDupCut 1*Anger- + 1*SexDrive => 1*Reward; half-life=8

This gene is an example of one of the chemical decreases mentioned above. Here, a sex drive decrease combines with the actual sex drive chemical to provide some reward. Since this is a result of a drive-reducing activity, the Norn will be rewarded. In turn, this should create a positive link between kisspopping and reducing sex drive, so that a Norn will learn that when his or her sex drive is high, kisspopping is the logical activity that reduces it. For Niltava, this gene might pose some issues. She is only rewarded when anger decrease combines with sex drive. One possible consequence is that whenever she reduces her anger, her sex drive will diminish as it combines with the anger decrease. The reward she experiences will likely be quite small, but still rather confusing. With the breeding prowess of Norns, though, it is highly unlikely that this will mean that Niltava will not kisspop.

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