Re: Some thought on trolls' darksense

From: sneadj_at_mindspring.com
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2001 15:01:26 -0700


<dag.staalhandske_at_vastervik.mail.telia.com> wrote:

<snipped much excellent info>

> If several troll's are using their darksense simultaneously, do they
> disturb one another? Yes. You cannot automatically tell if an echo is
> yours or another troll's. Therefore, they normally take turns emitting
> ultrasound and listening to the echo. This ultrasound etiquette is so
> natural for them that they do so without thinking. In melee combat it
> is necessary to emit sound several times per second. This becomes a
> problem if there are many trolls in the same melee in the dark. An
> ultrasonic shouting match is going on during the combat and everyone
> is having a hard time to "see" very well. If a group of trolls were
> fighting someone who could see well in darkness with another method
> than ultrasound, the trolls would be at a great disadvantage. This
> could happen if Humakti, whose swords give out light visible only to
> Humakti, were fighting many trolls in the darkness. Still, trolls with
> darksense are at a great disadvantage to most other beings who are
> blind in the darkness.

Actually, since bats and dolphins don't interfere with each other's sonar, I don't see that this would be a problem. Vast clouds of bats can fly extremely close together and even hunt in fairly dense groups w/o problem. I don't know how these creatures do it (perhaps they each use a slightly different frequency, in which case trolls would *not* be able to use each others darksense). In any case, I think this limit can be dropped.

> Can a troll deliberately "jam" another troll's darksense? Yes, by
> using his own ultrasound emitter he can make it very hard for another
> troll to see things close to the jamming troll. By doing so, he makes
> his presence and location very clear to the troll being jammed, but
> the jamming troll makes anything close to him or behind him so blurry
> it is impossible to detect anything.

Again, if their darksense functions like bat sonar, this wouldn't work.  

> Is darksense a 360 sense?
> Well hearing is a 360 sense, and darksense is a form of sending out
> sound and hearing the echo. However, assuming that the ultrasound
> emits from the trolls mouth, it will send a stronger sound in the
> forward direction than backwards. It is easier to hear someone if he
> is facing you when he is talking. Therefore, the darksense is
> significantly better in the direction the troll is facing, but it is
> fairly good in all directions. You cannot sneak up on a troll from
> behind if the troll is using his darksense. If you need to surprise a
> troll, you need to hide nearby and wait for him to pass by close by.

Does anyone know if bas can see 360 with their sonar. I don't think they can, since their sonar pulses are fairly focuses, but I'm not certain.  

> Can a troll move while using darksense?
> Ideally, the head should not move from the time ultrasound is emitted
> until the sound has bounced back. However, for normal troll purposes,
> i.e. walking or running in tunnels, this is not a problem. The troll
> should just avoid moving turning the head rapidly. However, when
> looking at something at a distance, standing still is required.

Bats can do extremely complex acrobatics w/o problem, so I don't think movement is an issue.

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