Intelligence and Culture Vortigaunts are very intelligent and social creatures. Outside of the influence of the combine, they can commonly be seen in pairs or groups, and are capable of developing intelligent strategies. When faced with a superior enemy, Vortigaunts will often retreat, and if possible, group together with other Vortigaunts to form a stronger force. Vortigaunts were enslaved by the Nihilanth and used as workers and drone soldiers. Based on comments by the All-Knowing Vortigaunt, it seems that the species has endured slavery for many generations ("We have endured these chafing bonds for eons, yet a single moment of further servitude seems intolerable!" as he says) and enforced servitude appears to have formed the bedrock of Vortigaunt history and culture. Although they're connected by the Vortessence, Vortigaunts are not a hivemind. Each has their own experiences and events that have lead them to where they are today. We're looking for Vortigaunts to be roleplayed as actual characters, not stereotypes. Each with their own stories to pursue rather than acting simply as a companion to the resistance, or just another servitor. Communication and the "Vortessence" Vortigaunts possess their own native form of communication, which, is referred to as "flux shifting". According to the Vortigaunts, flux shifting cannot be understood by "those whose Vortal inputs are impaired", which may suggest that it's tied directly to their physiology, perhaps explaining why they are incomprehensible to humans. Vortigaunts believe in a binding life-force which they call the "Vortessence". Due to their use of this force, which remains untapped by humans ("We are a tapestry woven of Vortessence. It is the same for you if only you would see it.", as said by the All-Knowing Vortigaunt), the Vortigaunt species can communicate with one another telepathically. They believe Vortessence is the fabric of the universe, made of "vortal cords", of which everything is woven (and therefore everything is connected). The Vortigaunts are able to read and control this force for their electrical powers, and likely their ability to take power from objects. They can use their powers coupled with "the extract" of Antlion larvae to heal the critically injured. However, this is a feat no Vortigaunt could hope to tackle alone. Vortessence Abilities and Limitations Combat Potential Vortigaunts have the ability to use an electrical attack, which is devastating, as it tends to kill whatever it hits immediately and knocks the target back a considerable distance. Only objects with significant mass can resist being knocked back, such as the Strider (which appears to be fully immune to the beam) and Antlion Guards. Vortigaunts can siphon an opponent's life-force with their energy beam attack, as they are heard saying phrases like "Give over your essence!" or "Empower us!" during some of their attacks. Healing Capabilities Beyond their ability to cause a devastating amount of damage, they have a large capacity to heal. The Vortessence can be channeled to mend basic wounds, and stabilize humans in critical condition. This is done by simply speeding up the cell regeneration process and powering up the body's natural healing process. When supplied with the right material, vortigaunts can also use their mending ability to help remove foreign pathogens and bacteria from the human body. This is done by supplying a powerful boost to their immune system. However for those who are deathly ill, their only hope at recovery lies in utilizing an antlion larvae to empower the vortigaunt's healing capacity. Early treatment is the best remedy for illness. Other Utilities Vortigaunts possess the ability to power appliances such as televisions, generators, and any other energy-powered devices - but only for a short time. They can also use the vortessence to weld objects together. This can be applied in various ways and in some circumstances overrides the need for a welding machine. They can harness the vortessence into their hand to provide slight illumination in dark areas. Unknown With the right amount of vortigaunts working as one, seemingly impossible feats can be completed. To most humans, the lengths of this power are entirely unknown and the workings of the vortessence remain a mystery. Combine Shackles Shackles are surgically implemented bindings that hinder a Vortigaunts connection to the Vortessence by limiting it's power to only small non-lethal, static shocks and allowing Vortigaunts to speak in Vortigese. It is possible to remove these shackles, though it is a long, cautious and PAINFUL process which should take up a large amount of roleplay leading up to it. To lessen the amount of pain caused by the slow surgery, other Vorts may assist in sharing the suffering with the subject through a mutual connection through the Vortessence, while another works on actually removing the shackles. After the shackles are removed from the host, their connection to the Vortessence is once again restored! Unfortunately enough, it will take some time before a Vortigaunt can manipulate their power at will fluently, as the recent pain from removing the bindings has taken up the majority of their energy.