Are Gaia's bees (player characters) unable to speak or not in game?

This is a question that has been puzzling me.

  1. A number of the cut scenes have the NPC talking as if your character has asked a question.
  2. There are a number of indications that your character cannot speak as a result of the bee giving them magic. In the opening cut scene the bee enters your character’s mouth. If this were a mundane bee this would likely cause difficulty speaking (at least until the sting healed), so it is not unlikely.
  1. Interacting with a certain group at one point indicates they think you have lost your voice. They say they know why and how you can get your voice back.
  2. In a certain quest you interact with a character who suggests he or she is a “bee”. The character uses a voice synthesizer. Since this character also uses a mask it is not established if this is for disguise or in order to speak at all.
  3. Later (a lot later) in the story line there is a another character who indicates he was a “bee”, yet he speaks.
  1. Your character does have battle grunts, so it’s not complete muteness.

So - is your character unable to speak now? Is this true of all “bees”, or just you, or only most?

OOC - I know why they don’t have your character speaking - it’s the “mute protagonist” that has been explained elsewhere (better immersion, cheaper, etc).

1 Like

If Sarah, Rose, Mei-Ling, Alex and Zuberi are also bees, then their ability to talk would suggest that being a bee does not render you mute.

1 Like

That’s another question. I haven’t seen them in any cut scenes except the flashback - do they still live (apart from Sarah)?

1 Like

Remind please who exactly indicates bees are mute? I only remember characters making fun they are quiet.

And this all is matter of speculation and opinions. I personally believed they can talk fine even before we met Riley. And I have headcanon why my main wouldn’t talk (because he’s shy of accent).

Also we can see trio + Zuberi in New York, they seem lively.

1 Like

Multiple characters make a point of telling our character to not say anything.

1 Like

Who indicates bees are mute?

The Morninglight tent in your hub has a pamphlet and a quiz on the laptop. One of the two has some text on “we know who took your voice and how to get it back” or something like that.

Of course they are not the most trustworthy of sources…

The various admonitions to be quiet become more sinister if the speaker knows your character can’t speak anyway.

“trio + Zuberi” - are they bees? Canon as far as I know indicates that the difference between bees and other magic users are:

  1. They get magic all at once and are chosen to get it rather than through years of study, sacrifice to entities, etc. (or being born as a magical being).
  2. They get resurrected at anima wells if they die.
  3. They regenerate back to perfect health very quickly if they aren’t killed. This means corrupting them via Filth is at least very difficult.

These advantages would make them good soldiers to send into a Filth zone. However as far as I know it’s an open question which of these abilities can also be acquired via the study/sacrifice route.


The way i read into NPC comments about being Silent, it is simply because you are quiet, and a game joke that they didnt Voice your character. ‘taking someone voice’ is a figure of speach, so i wouldnt conclud it as literal. I think zuberi +trio, or at least the trio are bees, and I am pretty sure Sarah is. She speaks of two voices, one being John and the other the bees.

Going on a tangent. If she is a bee, this also opens up to the thought that we are also slowly being infected, or affected by being in Tokyo. While John often speak through Electronics, sometimes there is no obvious source other than our mind.

As for the trio, nyr aside, i think All three factions mentions passing on the message to the corresponding trio member, that you found Sarah, implying they are very much alive =).


Lorraine Maillard spoke quite a bit too, although she is a special case.


Absolutely unrelated to Sarah, I think I saw it somewhere in lore. That bees aren’t exactly immune. Or maybe it was in one of missions? Something around Klein/Ankh maybe? :thinking: Would be nice if someone who’s better with details come and confirm. :upside_down_face:

With trio we kind of can see their interaction in New York and it’s weird. Like, how Zuberi transmits his power into trio and then players’ bees? How Alex says “Well it’s my power now”. It’s also pure speculation but I kind of feel that, 1. Zuberi is not the same as trio, 2. trio is somehow different from bees. But. Hard to tell. Plus we have Rose in tutorial showing wings but tutorial is just vision and not reality. So. :woman_shrugging:

Alex is joking about it possibly being his powers. Zuberi is clearly a step above the other three.


I remember seeing something along the lines of “you think you’re immune because you swallowed a bee?” I want to say from lore somewhere in Kaidan, or maybe an event, but I’m having trouble finding it.*

But you’re right, there is something in the Ankh lore (straight-up stating that there isn’t any true immunity):

Dr Klein takes his medicine daily, tiny doses of Filth. He fancies himself immune, but there is no immunity to the slime that flows along ninety-nine dimensions his science cannot see.

Plus the lore for the Filth itself (implying that while some get infected faster, all humans are susceptible including bees, since we’re frequently referred to as “sweetlings”):

All sweetlings are fair game to the drip. But the Filth pours, as dark dreams, directly in the heads of the insane and sadistic.

And there are many times where the Buzzing tries to dig deeper into something Filth-related, but their signal gets disrupted and they have to pull back and give less in-depth information than they wanted to get. And the cutscene near the end of Solomon Island, we need outside help to be cleansed after we get swallowed up by Filth; people can be infected but not show any signs, as per blood testing in that zone; standing in it hurts us…as bees, we are resistant, but not immune.

*I tried searching the old forums to see if I could find that quote, but instead found something nearly as good–a post from Scriv saying we only have higher defenses, not immunity:

There is no full on immunity to the influence of the Filth, but the Bee-imbued have a certain amount of defense, in the short term, the average person doesn’t have.


That would make sense. I got the idea that the Filth is as much a meme (in the original sense, not in the “funny picture” sense) as anything else.

How can you be immune to changing your mind?


This is my preferred way of thinking about it. The main story of the game takes place over a very short timeline from the Filth Event in Tokyo to when the PC gets there. Leaves it open for the PC to get a voice later if Funcom wants to add it and doesn’t contradict all the other bees we see talking.

1 Like

To take the story device and make a reason for it, I tend to think of it as Gaia freaking out and rushing a bunch of bees so most are now temporarily mute. The people in the know tend to use that to their benefit and/or amusement. For RP purposes your PC can ‘age out’ of that state and communicate as freely as the NPC bees.


There is no full on immunity to the influence of the Filth, but the Bee-imbued have a certain amount of defense, in the short term, the average person doesn’t have.

I think some of this resistance is the recreation of the PC’s body after death. If the Filth infects both body and soul, a newly created body would remove some of the progress.

As for defenses against the meme - there are defenses known as rival systems of thought.

As far as temporary muteness goes, it may be the case will all newly created bees - as far as I know we’re only shown our own character being imbued.

My character is Templar. If the PC really is mute, then Sonnac’s pretty little speech about silence being better than any excuses when he shows up in South Africa really is rather more petty than I would have expected of him. This may have been an indicator of stuff flowing downhill though.

1 Like

It is quite intriguing to see this conversation here. The question why the player characters do not speak had also been raised when TSW was released; IIRC back then the answer on the forums was that the developers did not want to give you a voice. TSW/SWL is a role playing game after all, and your character’s reactions and replys should be yours to decide. That is why the developers decided not to give our characters any lines to speak, which would also determine their point of view - which is not necessarily the way we would like to play our characters.

Just listening seems to be a viable alternative. That way we can still make up our characters’ minds. A lot of the missions in the game are also written with that in mind; usually our characters do not accept any orders from NPCs outside their own faction (well, most of the time) as it is the standard trope in most MMOs. Many times we just witness an event or overhear a conversation and decide that we should get involved.

Some ingame indication that our characters can actually speak (IMHO):

In the templar version of the mission “Rogue Agent” we are on the phone with Dame Julia. That alone would be quite hard if our characters were mute, but when we enter Shambala, the conversation also indicates that we obviously (at least to me) interrupted Dame Julia’s ranting when she continues with “… alright, alright, that would be Shambala you are looking at”.


In the OP I did say that a “mute protagonist” fits for a number of reasons (cost for multiple voices, immersion, etc.)

I did give a couple of in-game examples of NPCs treating your character as not being able to speak.

As for the sequence with Dame Julia: the phone is “magic” after all.

It can communicate across dimensions (Earth/Agartha, Earth/Hell) and the New Dawn sequence indicates that being incommunicado is unprecedented, to the point of your faction thinking you’ve gone rogue when it happens.

Why should it not have a text-to-voice function (or even a thought-to-voice function)?

I admit that this last is at least partially to preserve my head canon…

Simply not answering the phone, or seeing your tracker ping would be enough for your handlers to assume the worst.

The New Dawn sequence I’m talking about I played through about a year ago, so I may be misremembering something.
You can turn missions in and get rewards for them, so there is a signal of some sort, but I don’t think you’re actually getting through to your faction.
When your handler visits you in the warehouse (I’m Templar so this is Sonnac), he’s pretty annoyed that you had no contact at all from his POV.
So I think it’s worse than not being able to answer the phone.

1 Like

There are actually multiple times when we go out of touch with our handlers. Dreaming sequences at the ends of chapters of course, but also more minor things, like exploring under the pyramid or a little sting to Dark Agartha where 1 handler disbelieves us, 1 never receives our report, and 1 knows what’s up but chooses to ignore it for greater good