Monday, April 8, 2013

Napoleon Ants

Worker Ant image by Mariana Ruiz
Image made available by Creative Commons license
available through the link above.

The Napoleon Ants are an ancient species of translucent-bodied ants whose probable origins are in the times before the Great Burn. The Holy Book mentions "small-bodied but mindful saints whose voices were raised in the unison of constant prayerful labor. They restored life to a dying world." The sacred text may be referring to this species of hearty toilers.

Napoleon Ants have a high resistance to chemical, radiological, and biological toxins. Their resiliency is matched by their determination to isolate and cave-in structures where these dangers accumulate. Napoleon Ants turn over contaminated soil, and have the ability to break down stone, concrete, metals, and plastics. They break down and sequester many dangerous materials. They are also quite invasive and expansionist, but are generally not hostile to humans. Their activities are more likely to intrude upon concrete and worked stone than to destroy crops and food supplies.

Like all ants, these little Napoleons function as a collective. They operate purposefully and in a coordinated fashion. Napoleon Ants can collapse large structures within a few hours when the collective determines it is necessary. They know how to identify and exploit the weak points in both natural and built environments.

Their ghostlike appearance is rather disconcerting. And when humans are near one of their colonies (which can reach into the millions), they often feel they are being watched, assessed, categorized, and processed.

They are.

Napoleon Ants are yet another iteration of the General Intellect in nature. They have a collective consciousness that operates through the a local telepathic field. This field exists whenever two or more ants are in close proximity. While ordinary minds cannot penetrate or communicate with this consciousness, more sensitive minds will feel its presence.This gestalt stores data, and creates and sustains a group memory for the collective. Napoleons visiting from other collectives may upload data to the local collective, or download it to share later with their home collective, allowing information and experiences to be shared over large areas.

Some hive-minds are quite old. It is even possible that some precede the Great Burn itself.

Pray these ancient angry minds have retired to some Elba deep within the earth.


Napoleon Ants
Collective Intellect/Species-Being

  • High Concept: We're all about conquest 
  • Trouble: Creepy little transparent ants
  • Aspect: Collective telepathic consciousness
  • Aspect: Process and isolate
  • Aspect: There's always a way in or out
  • Careful: +2
  • Clever: +3
  • Flashy: 0
  • Forceful: +1
  • Quick: +1
  • Sneaky: +2
  • Find the Weak Point - Because they are skilled at finding the weak points in structures, Napoleon Ants gets a +2 to Cleverly create an advantage by further weakening a structure.
  • Long Memories - Because their collective consciousness persists over multiple generations, once per session a Napoleon Ant colony can remember something from the distant past.

Note: The collective consciousness of the Napoleon Ants exists so long as at least two ants are in the same Zone. It normally radiates outward no more than three Zones from the population center of the collective, although cases of chained clusters of consciousnesses existing over large areas exist.


  1. How much intelligence do individual ants have? Are they essentially just operatives of the hive mind?

  2. @Trey: The individual ants have a lot more intelligence that they should.