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Some specific lore questions


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Hello everyone. I've just barely started working on designing the first set (corresponding with 2001 Bionicle) for a Bionicle TCG (I'll post more about it on BZP once I have more details), and have a couple specific questions for determining the way I should make some mechanics work such that they'll be in keeping with the lore, as much as I can without it getting in the way of the gameplay.

 

What is the fundamental difference between Noble Kanohi and Great Kanohi? I know the Great Kanohi are generally more powerful, but what is the real difference between them? And why can Turaga use the abilities of Noble Kanohi, but not Matoran? Could a Matoran theoretically wear a Great Kanohi, and if so, would they still be unable to use its abilities? Is it possible for a Noble Kanohi to become a Great Kanohi or vice versa (aside from a Toa just becoming a Turaga)? Does their difference have anything to do with energized vs. non-energized protodermis?

Does activating the ability of a Kanohi deplete any form of energy? Like, a Toa can't just use their Kanohi's ability endlessly, right? How taxing is it for a Toa/etc. to use the ability of their Kanohi, if so? It is similar to how their elemental powers work (they can use it, for a limited time, then just have to wait and recover for a little while)?

*I think I know the answer to this one, but did the Toa Mata's Kanohi have their abilities when they first arrived on Mata Nui? I seem to remember them not having their abilities until they met with the Turaga or something but I could be mistaken. In this case, did the Kanohi actually not have any abilities, or did the Toa just not know how to access them?

(*I just looked at the first comic and it seems like they had access to their Kanohi and elemental abilities from the get-go, so I guess I remembered incorrectly. Does someone know what I'm thinking of with them needing to meet with the Turaga first about something? In any case, I think game-wise it the Kanohi will need to start out powerless, but we'll see.)

How do elemental abilities work for non-Toa? I get that Matoran of a given element are more proficient with that element (e.g., Onu-Matoran are good at mining), but do they have any actual powers? Or is that just restricted to the Toa? Do the Turaga retain any elemental powers?

Energized protodermis prompted the growth of nature that became the island of Mata Nui, but are all of the plants and everything made out of protodermis? Both Mata Nui and Voya Nui have jungle-like terrains unlike what most of what we see in the GSR, so I'm guessing that the energized protodermis just prompted the growth of life already existing in the otherwise natural world of Aqua Magna, in combination with the large supply of water surrounding them to help the plants grow.

edit: One more thing, I'm guessing not, but do we know of any characters with connections to multiple elements? The closest thing I can think of is Takua being a "Ta-Matoran" while actually being an Av-Matoran, but have we seen anyone with actual access to multiple elements?

 

Thank you very much for any help you can give! I'm very excited to be working on this project. I love TCGs and just card games in general, and realized Bionicle is basically the absolute perfect setting for a TCG. The way the world/story/characters/etc. was created was already made in a way such that it's easy to make representations of things in the world (toys), and entails a certain amount of collectability, but in a very natural way. It really just fits perfectly. I'll be sure to share more here once I have the first set done (or at least a lot of work put into it)! Also if any of you have any sort of skill and interest in graphic design stuff, I could really use someone to help me with coming up with the visual design of the cards once I've gotten further into design. I'm extremely non-graphical.

Edited by Kopekemaster
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32 minutes ago, Kopekemaster said:

What is the fundamental difference between Noble Kanohi and Great Kanohi? I know the Great Kanohi are generally more powerful, but what is the real difference between them? 

Noble masks are weaker or more limited in some way. It varies from mask-to-mask depending on its power, though not all masks have a specific description for how the two versions are different. 

For example, a Great Huna allows its wearer to stay invisible for a longer period of time than the Noble version. The Noble version of the Mahiki can only create visual illusions, whereas the Great version also allows the wearer to shapeshift. A Noble Elda only allows the wearer to detect hidden things, whereas the Great version can also track the Kanohi Ignika. 

32 minutes ago, Kopekemaster said:

Why can Turaga use the abilities of Noble Kanohi, but not Matoran? Could a Matoran theoretically wear a Great Kanohi, and if so, would they still be unable to use its abilities? Is it possible for a Noble Kanohi to become a Great Kanohi or vice versa (aside from a Toa just becoming a Turaga)? Does their difference have anything to do with energized vs. non-energized protodermis?

Matoran can't use Kanohi, Great or Noble. I imagine the main reason for this is simply that the Toa are meant to be the heroes of the story, and the "civilian" characters having access to powers would make that less impressive. If I recall correctly, there were originally plans at one time for Av-Matoran to be able to use Noble masks, which is why the 2008 Matoran all have unique mask moulds. 

33 minutes ago, Kopekemaster said:

Does activating the ability of a Kanohi deplete any form of energy? Like, a Toa can't just use their Kanohi's ability endlessly, right? 

According to comments made by Greg, Kanohi do "contain a finite amount of energy", meaning that their powers weaken "after much use, and cannot be recharged." Considering that we see characters who've seemingly been using the same Kanohi for centuries, it's probably safe to assume Kanohi take a very long time to run out of power (or Toa are just quietly commissioning identical masks when their old ones are running out of juice). 

33 minutes ago, Kopekemaster said:

How taxing is it for a Toa/etc. to use the ability of their Kanohi, if so? It is similar to how their elemental powers work (they can use it, for a limited time, then just have to wait and recover for a little while)?

How taxing it is to use a Kanohi probably depends somewhat on the nature of its power. Masks like the Calix, Kakama, or Pakari would be more exhausting to use, since they just enhance the wearer's physical attributes. Masks like the Suletu or Komau would probably be more mentally taxing to use than others.

The real issue is that Kanohi require mental focus and concentration to use. If a character is distracted, or tired, or multitasking, etc. it would impact their ability to use their Mask powers effectively. 

33 minutes ago, Kopekemaster said:

How do elemental abilities work for non-Toa? I get that Matoran of a given element are more proficient with that element (e.g., Onu-Matoran are good at mining), but do they have any actual powers? Or is that just restricted to the Toa? Do the Turaga retain any elemental powers?

Turaga still have access to their elemental powers, but at a weaker level compared to Toa, while Matoran have a sort of passive innate ability that's related to their element in some way. For example, Ta-Matoran and Su-Matoran have greater resistance to heat, Ko-Matoran are more accustomed to the cold, Onu-Matoran can see better in the dark, Fa-Matoran have a better sense of direction, De-Matoran have sensitive hearing, and so on. 

Outsider of the Matoran-Toa-Turaga race, some other species in the Bionicle universe also have access to elemental powers, with their own limitations. Bohrok, Rahkshi, and Makuta have powers that are limited versions of the main elements. Skakdi also have access to elemental powers, but only when channelled through a tool or used in tandem with another Skakdi. 

34 minutes ago, Kopekemaster said:

Energized protodermis prompted the growth of nature that became the island of Mata Nui, but are all of the plants and everything made out of protodermis? Both Mata Nui and Voya Nui have jungle-like terrains unlike what most of what we see in the GSR, so I'm guessing that the energized protodermis just prompted the growth of life already existing in the otherwise natural world of Aqua Magna, in combination with the large supply of water surrounding them to help the plants grow

I can't find any sources denoting a difference between plantlife inside or outside of the Matoran universe. I imagine that much like the distinction between liquid protodermis and real water, the difference is probably negligible.

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Thank you very much for the thorough answers!

1 hour ago, Nato G said:

Rahkshi ... have powers that are limited versions of the main elements

This is something I just noticed today when looking into things. I always thought there were like 50 elements, then I was surprised to see that even including the less common ones, there are only like 15 or something.

Then I saw the Rahkshi page, and realized that's probably what I was thinking of. However, I noticed that some of their abilities are elemental abilities. This made me wonder, what about, say, Poison? There are Poison Rahkshi, could there theoretically be Poison Matoran (that is to say, could Poison be an element, we just haven't seen it outside of the Rahkshi)? What differentiates some of the Rahkshi with non-elemental abilities from Rahkshi with elemental abilities? Sorry if I'm digging in a little too deep here, it's possible I'm asking questions with no answers here. It's also not particularly relevant for the game, I was just curious.

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On 12/29/2022 at 1:52 PM, Kopekemaster said:

This made me wonder, what about, say, Poison? There are Poison Rahkshi, could there theoretically be Poison Matoran (that is to say, could Poison be an element, we just haven't seen it outside of the Rahkshi)?

Broadly speaking, the Elemental Powers are derived from forces of nature. They're things that are abundant in the universe and fundamental to its function. Most of the other weird and wacky Powers in Bionicle lore don't really fit that definition. 

On 12/29/2022 at 1:52 PM, Kopekemaster said:

What differentiates some of the Rahkshi with non-elemental abilities from Rahkshi with elemental abilities? 

It probably makes more sense if you just don't think of the Makuta/Rahkshi powers as being Elemental at all. Just think of them as random powers that happen to have some overlap with proper Elements, like pale imitations of the real thing. The Kraata Powers page has some great breakdowns of the various limitations their powers have; for the most part the element-adjacent ones can only do certain very niche things.

At their highest levels, Rahkshi are more powerful than Toa, but they're still very limited in what they can do. Eg. a Cyclone Rahkshi could create a bigger and more destructive cyclone than any Air Toa could, but the Air Toa can do a whole bunch of other things with their powers, whereas the Cyclone Rahkshi can pretty much only make cyclones.

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Okay, thanks for the clarification.

9 hours ago, Nato G said:

don't think of the Makuta/Rahkshi powers as being Elemental at all

That's actually good news for me, I was planning on the Matoran species being the only ones tied to elements (at least at the start), which lets me just stick with the 6 elements (ignoring the lesser elements, for now at least), then I could tie Rahkshi/etc. to Shadow. However, Shadow complicates things a little bit. I was planning on having generally evil things tied to Shadow (in this set, just Makuta and infected Rahi/Kanohi, and maybe Ahkmou), which I wasn't really considering to be an element, but apparently it actually is. I may just go with some other generally evil thing like "Dark". We'll see, it may just end up working fine to have Shadow and Light as the eighth and seventh elements respectively. Light creates its own problems, but they're not necessarily things I need to deal with at the moment.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Regarding the Rahkshi, they do seem like empty shells. Unless they were specifically made to use the full potential of level 6 Kraata like the 2003 Rahkshi who seemed to be like assassins. ...that would mean any other Rahkshi would be have limited thinking/power akin to a foot-soldier.

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12 hours ago, confused piraka said:

so power levels of rakish are all depending on the kraata?

Technically yes, but only Stage 5 or 6 kraata are used to pilot Rahkshi

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2 hours ago, Lorentz said:

Technically yes, but only Stage 5 or 6 kraata are used to pilot Rahkshi

Going by the info on the BS01 page, this doesn't seem to be the case. Kraata of any level can pilot a Rahkshi, with the level of the kraata used to create the suit dictating the overall level of the Rahkshi's power. (With the use of a staff further amplifying its powers).  

"To create a Rahkshi, two Kraata of the same power type are required, though level does not matter."

"The Rahkshi armor amplifies its Kraata's powers to the same level regardless of the Kraata's stage."

I imagine the only differences the kraata's level would make to the Rahkshi is its intelligence, since they become smarter at higher levels. 

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On 1/13/2023 at 9:35 AM, (-Kopaka Toa of Ice-) said:

like the 2003 Rahkshi who seemed to be like assassins. ...that would mean any other Rahkshi would be have limited thinking/power akin to a foot-soldier.

Oh, so the Rahkshi we see in the Mask of Light arc were uniquely powerful? It would make sense, since they were a pretty major threat while the Rahkshi portrayed through the rest of the story were just like mid-power drones.

 

Here's another question for you all - do Rahi (or at least the Rahi in 2001) need to wear Kanohi to the same degree as the Matoran species? We see them wearing infected Kanohi, and also them wearing uninfected Kanohi (though I think some of the time they were just used as design elements for the sets, rather than actually being KanohI), but do they need to wear them? Will they go unconscious if their masks are removed? In MNOG, the Tarakava Gali fights seems like it goes unconscious after she removes the mask, but other than that I'm not sure.

 

Also, what would you all consider the "philosophy" of each (main) element? I replayed MNOG to look for some in-game direct descriptions to the values of each element but there's not a ton - Ko-Koronians are peaceful and value knowledge, Ta-Koronians are the most powerful warriors and more prone to anger, and...? I know Ga-Koro is connected with more naturalistic and healing themes, Po-Koro is quite industrious, but what do you all think the members of each element are good at, what do they value, etc. Just their general philosophy and themes, particularly for how they're portrayed on Mata Nui, but there are obviously there are similarities across the universe for each element. This is for determining the mechanical identity of each element. I think I have a functional concept for each elemental identity, but having a deeper understanding of the ideals for each element would be incredibly helpful.

 

Thanks for any help you can give! I'm currently waiting on 2000 blank cards to arrive to start prototyping.

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5 minutes ago, Kopekemaster said:

Also, what would you all consider the "philosophy" of each (main) element? I replayed MNOG to look for some in-game direct descriptions to the values of each element but there's not a ton - Ko-Koronians are peaceful and value knowledge, Ta-Koronians are the most powerful warriors and more prone to anger, and...? I know Ga-Koro is connected with more naturalistic and healing themes, Po-Koro is quite industrious, but what do you all think the members of each element are good at, what do they value, etc. Just their general philosophy and themes, particularly for how they're portrayed on Mata Nui, but there are obviously there are similarities across the universe for each element.

I think MNOG 2 possibly offers the best insight into that; from talking to various village inhabitants, Hahli (/ the player) learns about each village's unique guiding principle, derived from different aspects of the three virtues, and their respective associated skill.

In summary: Ta-Koro's principle is courage, and its skill is strength; Ga-Koro's principle is purity, skill is speed; Onu-Koro's principle is prosperity, skill is stamina; Le-Koro's principle is faith, skill is accuracy; Ko-Koro's principle is peace, skill is willpower; and Po-Koro's principle is creation, skill is strategy. [BS01 source]

BS01 also has pages for each principle and skill that give a little more detail (links to each are in the source link above), and the relevant conversations are all included in their MNOG 2 walkthrough pages. I don't know how much more insight that offers, and the concept was never really touched on again outside of that game; but it might help with what you're looking for ^^

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Thanks. I never finished MNOG II (I believe I got a good way into it and got softlocked, and was annoyed by how long it took Hahli to walk across the screen so I didn't want to start over) and have been thinking of starting it over now. At the very least, I'll probably read through the walkthrough (I remember reading the MNOG "narrative walkthrough" a while back and enjoying it). Seems like it could give some good insight into the elemental philosophies.

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7 hours ago, confused piraka said:

the ones in mask of light didn't seem that smart

The movies aren't always the greatest representation of the characters, so it's worth looking at the other media. In the books and comics, Teridax's six Rahkshi were powerful and tactical enough to form Kaitas, defeat the Toa Nuva individually and in groups on several occasions, and collectively destroyed three of the six Koros.   

6 hours ago, Kopekemaster said:

Here's another question for you all - do Rahi (or at least the Rahi in 2001) need to wear Kanohi to the same degree as the Matoran species? We see them wearing infected Kanohi, and also them wearing uninfected Kanohi (though I think some of the time they were just used as design elements for the sets, rather than actually being KanohI), but do they need to wear them? Will they go unconscious if their masks are removed? In MNOG, the Tarakava Gali fights seems like it goes unconscious after she removes the mask, but other than that I'm not sure.

Rahi don't need to wear Kanohi to survive. Terry just slapped infected masks on them to control them. Lore-wise, I think the masks appearing on the sets were mostly just meant as play features and design elements, as you suggested. 

The examples of rahi falling unconscious after having masks removed could be more of a psychological effect, with them passing out due to the mental strain of being freed from Makuta's control.  

6 hours ago, That Matoran with a Vahi said:

...and the concept was never really touched on again outside of that game...

I always assumed those principles were stuff that the Turaga Metru just made up, similar to their revisionist history story about how Mata Nui fell. Nice stories and concepts to keep the Matoran unified, without any basis in their actual history. 

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13 hours ago, Nato G said:

I always assumed those principles were stuff that the Turaga Metru just made up, similar to their revisionist history story about how Mata Nui fell. Nice stories and concepts to keep the Matoran unified, without any basis in their actual history. 

Very possible! Though several of those principles do look to match up with what we saw of each elemental district on Metru Nui, too (particularly stone and creation; ice and peace; water and purity); so if that is the case, the Turaga may have drawn them from a basis of their own respective Metru's experiences, rather than making them up completely.

Alternately, since the Matoran have been living on Mata Nui for 1000 years by this point, it's possible that the principles system was something that they just developed naturally amongst themselves in the meantime. Of the various Matoran who explain the principles to Hahli, they always draw them from experiences specific to life on Mata Nui; so I wonder if, while maybe the Turaga encouraged them to establish a system of principles, they let the villagers themselves discover through experience what to chose for the specific principle that best suited each village.

Either way though, I agree that it's probably a belief system exclusive to the island of Mata Nui, at least when put in such specific terms.

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