Toxic Norn Care Guide

Toxic maleWondering what you need to do to help your Toxic Norns thrive? If so, this Care Guide is precisely what you should read to find out the facts behind this strange but endearing Norn breed. Read on to find out more information about what gives these Norns their odd name, and also how to feed and take care of them.

What are Toxic Norns?

Toxic Norns are quite a bit different to the average Norn. They may appear unhealthy, some of them even seem to be permanently poisoned. And even stranger, the Toxic Norns seem to revel in it - exclaiming to the world just how ill they are!

At first glance it might appear that something is really quite wrong with them - yet they continue to live and breed like any other Norn. But if you take a closer look at their genome you can see there's a deep biological reason for this apparent mystery. Aspects of their biochemistry seem to have been turned upside down through no fault of their own!

Upside down biochemistry?

When most Norns are hungry they are encouraged to eat items from the three main food groups (food, fruit and seeds) by genetically defined instincts - a natural biological mechanism much like we have ourselves.

In the Toxic Norns these standard eating instincts seem to be somewhat weaker than in other Norns. Instead the Toxic Norn's strongest eating instincts centre around encouraging the Norn to eat detritus - which at first would seem to be rather odd.

Detritus - you mean rotting stuff?

Yes, it may sound a bit strange - but if you saw the place these Norns evolved in, you'd understand why. In their odd little corner of the Warp the only nutrient rich food around was either rotten or toxic. Like most Norns this was a bit of a problem at first, but a few of them managed to survive and breed. Over time they evolved past just surviving on toxin-rich detritus. Their genome mutated to the point where they actually thrived on it!

But toxins are poisonous to my Norns!

Yes, to normal Norns, toxins are a very real problem. They can cause severe damage, and may even be fatal. But the Toxic Norns actually become more healthy by digesting toxins. So, they're not only genetically encouraged to eat detritus, but they also have loads of mutant chemical reaction genes that break down usually nasty toxins into important life-sustaining chemicals like starch, fat and protein. So even if your Toxic Norns can't be satisfied by pure detritus alone (yuck!) they can still stay alive, just by being poisoned by toxins.

So what exactly is a toxin?

In this case, toxin refers to all of the nasty chemicals including all eight of the common Albian antigens and other poisons like cyanide and glycotoxin. Many of these toxins can be acquired by an infection of one of the types of bacteria that are present in abundance on board the Creatures 3 Ark or the Docking Station Capillata. But you can help your Toxic Norns by getting them infected by the nasty macrobacteria which comes along with the Toxic Norn Pack.

But due to their strange genome, even normal foods seem to produce antigens and other toxins inside the Toxic Norns. Don't panic, that's a good thing for these Norns, remember!

Feeding your Toxic Norns

In case you haven't already realised, the main food source for Toxic Norns is detritus. The Toxic Norn Pack includes quite a few sources of detritus. Norns can eat the cack from the Cack-in-a-Box, nibble on the macrobacteria's detrital cage or gobble up the rubbish from the strange Toxic Trashcan. Remember, if the Toxic Norn says it is ill you know you've been looking after it well. Toxic Norns think they are ill when in fact they are exceedingly healthy; they're just odd like that - don't let it confuse you!

A lemon a day keeps the Toxic Norns away...

You'd be wrong if you thought these Norns were completely free from the risks of infections and poisons, because they aren't. Just like their strange digestion-related genes, these Norns also have a somewhat reversed immune system. So not only are toxins beneficial to them, but normal cures are actually highly poisonous!

Healing the sick

So if your first impulse upon encountering an apparently ill Toxic Norn is to feed it the lemons from Docking Station and inject it with cures from either the Creatures 3 Medical Bay or the HoverDoc, then you're going to be in for a rather disturbing surprise. This is because instead of being the great cure for antigens, antibodies actually act like poisons inside the Toxic Norn's biochemistry. So the usually healthy and medicinal lemons in Docking Station are quite dangerous for the Toxic Norns as they contain trace amounts of antibodies.

Don't wash their hands, or clean behind their ears!

If you find your Toxic Norn is covered all over in bacteria (including the much more visible macrobacteria) then trying to remove these infections will actually harm your Norn in the long run. This is because Toxic Norns need the poisons and toxins that these bacteria produce - especially if they haven't got a good supply of yummy detritus nearby.

Breeding your Toxic Norns

If you can keep your Norns away from the lemons and other harmful foods and raise them to young adulthood then you'll be able to breed them just like other Norns. There is nothing particularly strange about their breeding, especially when they mate with other Toxic Norns. But breeding these Norns becomes a whole new challenge when you try and mate them with Norns from other breeds.

The Internal Biochemical Conflict

Rather than being the latest News headline, or the next episode of Star Wars - an internal biochemical conflict is what can take place inside the hybrid offspring of a Toxic Norn and a normal Norn.

As explained above, antibodies are poison to Toxic Norns. But in most normal Norns antibodies are extremely important in fighting disease, in fact they are produced naturally by the internal biochemistry of normal Norns.

You might wonder what happens when a hybrid Toxic Norn inherits genes which are producing antibodies like the normal Norn parent, as well as genes from the Toxic Norn parent which make it get severely ill from antibodies? You guessed it, the Toxic hybrid could get very sick and may even die.

Toxic breeding challenge

Because of this it can be rather hard to get a hybrid Toxic Norn to survive for very long outside of the egg. But it is by no means impossible. Sometimes the hybrid child gets just the right sets of genes, without any biochemical conflicts. They might come out as mostly a normal Norn, or they might be mostly a Toxic Norn. But they could be a special hybrid that only you can discover through the trial and error which is part of breeding Toxic Norns. Think of it as a challenge - can you breed happy and healthy Toxic Norn hybrids?

Summary

Here's a few points for you to keep in mind before you go off and start feeding the poor things loads of lemons (I did warn you!):
  • Despite first appearances, Toxic Norns are just like any other Norn breed. It might take a bit longer to get to know what they want and need, but eventually you'll be able to raise them like a professional.
  • They eat mainly detritus, which is usually the decaying remains of other organic agents. There are loads of detritus-producing agents in the Toxic Norn Pack. Also, detritus is created by many agents in Creatures 3, Docking Station and some of the other Norn packs too.
  • They will tell you they are ill when they're actually very healthy!
  • Normal cures and remedies (and fruits and foods which contain them) can make your Toxic Norns ill - they may even die.
  • You may have difficulty breeding them with other Norn breeds, but it isn't impossible.
  • When they are infected with bacteria (or macrobacteria) this is a good thing - you don't need to remove it.
  • They're cool and quirky and in need a good home, and the care of someone just like you!