I know that questions that are based on "Actions of individual characters, rather than elements of the world they inhabit" are off topic, but if I had created a specific creature, would it not count as asking about a species?

I'm planning to ask a series of questions based on the aforementioned creature, such as:

  • "[Given the following creature], how would this creature have avoided being hunted down by its predators"
  • "How would the creature defend itself"
  • "What circumstances may have caused this section of the creature to evolve to look like this"
  • "What in the world could this feature of the creature possibly be useful for"

Note: Extremely detailed diagrams, models, and pictures of the creature will be posted along with the question(s).

While I can see that this kind of question isn't listed in the "On-topic" list,

  • Creation of elements of a world (languages, species, buildings, etc.)
  • Effects of events or world elements, including technology and magic, on specific aspects of that world's societies, cultures, and environment
  • How to achieve a specified effect in a defined world, including by the use of technology or magic, while maintaining in-universe consistency

it's also not listed under "Off-topic".

Also, from this help page, it states that if your motivation is “I would like others to explain ______ to me”, then you are probably OK", which seems to fit into the format of the questions I'm thinking of asking.

Should I ask these questions here?

  • $\begingroup$ Gotta love creature-design $\endgroup$
    – James
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ @James Ah, but the creature design tag is more for when you're designing a creature, whereas in my case I already have a designed creature that I want explanations for... $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 20:40

2 Answers 2


It is my firm belief at least that at least most of those questions that you propose can be on topic. However,

Don't make it about the individual. Make it clearly about the species.

Don't say "here are details about this one individual creature I have designed. how would it accomplish X?", but rather "here are details about this species I have designed. how would it accomplish X?".

The former risks being too much about the individual, and as such off topic as "actions of individual characters".

The latter form, assuming sufficient detail is provided in order to come up with an answer, should fall squarely into the "Creation of elements of a world" (specifically species) bucket, because you are seeking help in figuring out some particular aspect of the species you are creating.

  • $\begingroup$ That's perfect because a species is exactly what I'm creating. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 15:34

Rather than drawing difficult lines like that, I'd ask a meta question: "is there a way I can formulate this question such that it is more likely to be helpful to others." In particular, I'd look at the constraints placed on the problem, and see if they are helpful. If the question is tailored such a way that "the creature is 3'6" tall" is an essential part of finding an answer, the question is rather useless to others. However, if "the creature is the size of a child" is the essential part, then your needs may be applicable to others.


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