While I have seen much discussion and lore proposals regarding the Blob and the Fungus, I have not seen much regarding the Triffids. The only threads I’ve seen discussing them are here, and here. From what I have seen, they have been described as only the hearts being intelligent individuals, with the rest of the organisms merely extensions of themselves, like independently mobile limbs. The Triffids on earth currently are basically like first in colonists or pioneers, settling/conquering a newly discovered world.
I would like to propose some further ideas for their nature and the different ways you might interact with them apart from burning their groves to the ground. Any additional suggestions, criticisms, or ideas are welcomed.
Civilization & Culture
1.) Since each Triffid Heart is an individual macro-organism composed of a single mind controlling many bodies, the nature of their existence might be more closely compared to a nation-state than to an individual human.
2.) Triffids are highly individualistic, and their interactions with each other and other species is strictly based on individual needs, resources, and goals. Interactions between Triffid Hearts are normally very formal and objective oriented, almost legalistic; the closest approximation in human culture to a Triffid “conversation” would be diplomats engaged in negotiations. The closest comparison of a typical relationship between individuals would be to human legal contracts or international treaties: trade agreements, employment contracts, mutual defense pacts, etc. The precise degree of formality may vary depending on the current nature of the relationship between them, previous interactions. Triffids who have very close relationships (closest human approximation is mutual reliance) may approach the human norm of conversation, though lacking in “small talk”.
3.) Contracts and obligations are very strongly enforced by cultural norm. While there is no direct punishment for breaking your word or an agreement by Triffid society as a whole (though the victim may seek retribution against an oath-breaker individually), the stigma against oath-breaking means that those who do so will find it much more difficult, sometimes nearly impossible, to interact with the rest of their society, depending on the nature of the offense and one’s overall reputation.
4.) Due to the nature of their biology and individualistic nature, the Triffids as a whole do not have a centralized government, nation-states, or even laws. The highest degree of organization might be equivalent to a Feudal or Corporate structure, but the scope is only the parties involved, not the rest of their society. Disputes are commonly settled between individuals personally, either by direct negotiation, third party arbitration (neutral arbitrator is hired, payed with equal contributions from the disputing parties), or violence. Violent disputes may occasionally result in other Triffids joining in on one side or the other if their interests are sufficiently threatened by the conflict, or due to requirements stipulated in a previous agreement with one of the individuals in the conflict. It is unusual for this type of violence to spiral out of control into a massive conflict (similar to the alliance system which led to WW I on earth), but not without precedent in Triffid history. As a result, the best approximation to a close human “friendship” for a Triffid is somewhere between a mutual defense pact (with specific pre-negotatiated escape clauses), and a human marriage, though it is far more nuanced than this.
Communication & Interactions With Humans
It is difficult for humans to communicate with Triffids directly. Initial contact and communication can be done by:
1.) Using a Human Plant Mutant as a Translator, specifically one with a new mutation, “Plant Whisperer”, which allows the player or NPC to talk to Triffids and prevents trees and other botanical growths from obstructing line of sight (they ask the tree what is on the other side).
2.) Obtaining a Triffid Symbiont, a biological “item” which can be worn on the head to allow you to understand them. Can occasionally be found growing in Triffid groves, or given to the player by a Triffid “Envoy” organism that walks up to the player and attempts to indicate its use via gestures or pictograms. Accepting one of these from a Triffid Envoy is risky though, as it may actually be a Triffid Control Vine, which attempts to hijack the nervous system.
3.) Pictographic Communication or Sign Language may be used, but getting to the point where a Triffid Heart can understand you this way is time consuming, difficult, and can be dangerous, as there is a high risk of conflict occurring due to a misunderstanding or hostilities beginning before communication can be achieved at all.
Though they are typically self-interested to an extent, Triffid motives and personalities can vary just as widely as humans, making any given Triffid Heart an unknown quantity. It is important to note that your relationship with any single Triffid does not represent your standing with the whole. Any given Triffid macro-organism might ignore you unless threatened, attempt communication, offer to trade, or perceive you as a threat and attempt to destroy you on sight without a word.
If you do manage to get one talking, and wish to make a deal, it is important to note that while Triffid cultural norms on agreements and oaths are VERY strong, they only bind them to the WORD of an agreement or contract, not the “spirit”. While this is not to say that every Triffid is like a genie looking to screw you over due to poor wording at the first opportunity, it is not considered unacceptable for them to do so. As a result initial interactions or agreements between Triffids or with other species are generally very careful and legalistic; however to interact with them in this manner once you know them well is considered extremely insulting, and might provoke them into the very genie-like behavior your careful wording was intended to prevent.
What Do Triffids Value: ie, Why Should They Care About You?
Being plants, Triffids have no need for many of the various tools or other goods that humans might find useful, and generally do not desire minerals such as gold that would normally considered valuable. That does not mean there is no reason for them to interact with you, or that there is nothing you could offer them. Some potential sources of value for them could be:
1.) Rich biomatter for growth (fertilizer).
2.) Refined chemicals or rare/synthetic organic compounds.
4.) Mutual defense against common enemies.
5.) Exotic materials (extradimensional matter, etc).
6.) High Technology.
7.) Novelty or entertainment goods. (For example, a Triffid may get its vines on a TV and a bunch of DVD’s and discover it LOVES watching human soap operas or something).