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  • $\begingroup$ Is the following question within scope? worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/156548/… $\endgroup$
    – overlord
    Sep 25, 2019 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH Hello. I am not a new user, but I have a question that I'm uncertain about whether it should go in Worldbuilding or Physics. Should I post it here to get feedback on this? $\endgroup$
    – Qami
    Oct 23, 2020 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Qami This is the right place. Generally speaking, if your question is a real-world question with no direct worldbuilding conditions, it would go to physics. If it's a real-world question with specific and identified worldbuilding conditions, it should be here. $\endgroup$ Oct 24, 2020 at 4:04

6 Answers 6


Graduated Questions List

In accordance with Sandbox Overflow!, answers containing graduated questions will be deleted. This answer is designed to be a repository for all those questions that have graduated. It is a community wiki answer, so add in your question here, at the end of the list, once it is posted on the main site!

  1. Gravity magic - How does it work?

  2. How can animals of various species organize themselves against a super-predator?

  3. How could indestructible materials be used in power generation?

  4. Modification to Chariots for Heavy Cavalry Analogue for 4-armed race

  5. In what ways would cryomancy affect the food eaten by medieval people?

  6. Comprehensive Worldbuilding Outline

  7. How can I design a glamour spell for a creature that meets certain requirements??

  8. Anatomically Correct Huldra

  9. How can I refine the rules of precognition to make it valuable in a fast paced enviromment?

  10. Ambush tactics for dummy witches?

  11. How can I build a school around a particular form of magic?

  12. How can existing methods of plumping, genetic modification, and gmo feeding be altered to accommodate the need for plumper, meatier human food stock?

  13. What is the lower bound for lightspeed? / What is the upper bound for Lightspeed?

  14. Designing a magic-compatible polearm

  15. How can power levels matter in a magic system that emphasizes control?

  16. How can religions without a hell discourage evil-doing?

  17. Why would non-kinetic weapons be used for orbital bombardment?

  18. Kinetic weapons - establishing an upper limit when dealing with grey goo

  19. How can an elder god's corporation remove suspicion from its plans while preserving its clandestine monopoly?

  20. How can you eliminate dreaming without affecting REM sleep?

  21. The North Star in the ancient world sky

  22. https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/152522/plants-and-animals-switch-places-how-could-this-have-happened

  23. How can I motivate mages to recruit individuals for a pyramid scheme of evil?

  24. How can I prevent corporations from growing their own workforce?

  25. How can having multiple casters for a spell create excess heat?

  26. How can you discreetly advertise underground death matches?

  27. How can I shift my country's immigration policy to a skills based approach?

  28. How big could dinosaurs get with super strength and durability?

  29. How can reincarnation lead to a second personality?

  30. How can a long lived species deal with generational shifts in society?

  31. Adapting to a sonic world

  32. How can my hammerspace safely "decompress"?

  33. Can We Prevent an Impact Winter Extinction with Modern Technology?

  34. What would cause a sapient race to evolve oral castration as a core cultural part of reproductive intercourse?

  35. How easily can a medieval granary explode?

  36. Long Term Evolution of Double Planet System in Close Orbit

  37. How to create fictional earth ecosystems with lots of megafauna which can plausibly coexist?

  38. How can an illness make one's eyes turn green?

  39. Utility of Class Crystals

  40. Why does magical defensive equipment not work in layers?

  41. Why Would Mages and Adventurers Wear Impractical Clothing?"

  42. Can an Earth-like world of shallow, global, seas be stable over geological time?

  43. Controlling the late-medieval world with just a network of agents and instant communication

  44. Space Piracy, a case study

  45. I can send small things back in time 500 milliseconds, which item listed would be most profitable to teleclone? (without extortion)

  46. What could reduce sunlight on an Earth-like planet?


What kind of hooves do horses need to race across a river of molten lead?

My steampunk planet involves heavy gambling at an illegal horse race operated by sky pirates, and one of the features I am adding to bring more risk and excitement is having the horses run across the river of lead which deliver wind power to their enclosed cities via large pumps.

The race itself is operated from a hidden outpost away from the city, but runs a course along the energy canal between the wind farm and the city. So they are fully outside in the environment with no shelter.

This is the ideal arrangement because the horses are condensation cycle heat engines which increase efficiency $\eta$ with more heat because:

$$ \eta_{\text{max}}= 1- \frac{\text{T}_C}{\text{T}_H} $$

And simply put, it’s the T$_C$ that makes a bigger difference all other things the same. (skip this nerdy part if you want: I mean put a couple numbers in, say for a $\Delta$T = 50°, you can go from 400° to 350° (remove heat), or from 400° to 450° (add heat), which is better? Well, 1-(350°/400°) is 0.125. Or, 1-(400°/450°) is only 0.111. Obviously removing heat is the better choice if possible)


The horses don’t just run autonomously, they don’t even have computers. They are gyrostabilized clockwork machines controlled by jockeys who ride behind in chariots (per the best racing format answer). The jockeys essentially wear what we call an entry suit which connects to the same heat removal process through the chariot.

What’s the point?

OK, so the entire contraption is going to have to run across the molten lava river, chariot, jockey and all, as part of the course. How do they stay aloft and make forward mobility with their hooves? Can there be some attachment or spike or fins that deploy to make river racing possible?

Why not build bridges and a track? Key word: illegal. The race sets up like modern street racing. They come, run the race, and leave without a trace. That’s why there are no bridges or other infrastructure. Any wind maintenance vehicle or military airship passing by one hour after the race would see no hint at all that anyone was ever there (except occasionally some crashed shrapnel, chariots, or jockeys that float down the river into the city generators).

Hooves need to:

  • Improve traction on the molten lead
  • Allow the horse to propel itself
  • Be retractible (which can be hand-waved easily enough)

What would river running horse hooves look like?

  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure I understand; Are we talking about real horses or mechanical ones? If mechanical, what are their speed roughly on "normal" land terrain (normal is very relative since everything seems hot in your setting)? $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Mar 25 at 16:34
  • $\begingroup$ I ask about a base speed to compare to because I think it's quite important physically and to your question goals (racing so gotta go fast!); For instance, hi-tech sailboats nowadays can move faster by "floating" above water, leading to less water resistance. But in order to do that you need to reach some speed for lift to take effect. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Mar 25 at 16:45
  • $\begingroup$ You can organise the question better by removing the irrelevant stuff. The heart of the question is there is a heat-proof horse running on a river of molten lead. There is a jockey. What kind of hooves does the horse need for this type of terrain? They are allowed be retractable so they don't need to also function on normal terrain. Everything about the horse being in a race, made of metal, steampunk, illegal racing can be thrown out. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Mar 25 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ Lead is a bit less dense than mercury. You can stand on mercury $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Mar 25 at 17:31
  • $\begingroup$ @VogonPoet Do you mind if I ask a question about this and see what happens? $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Mar 25 at 17:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Daron in a nutshell, good guy (mechanic) & bad guy prep for race; good guy was surprised that the race location moved (screwed his plans up). Bad guy holds up scary thing (hoof), goes, “Put these on.” “What the H?!” “We’re racing on the river.” “Say WHAT?! How the H does it fit?” “Figure it out. Your the mechanic.” And much drama follows. Scene is important ‘cause an escape uses the river this way. So I need a basic hoof description and function. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Mar 25 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ @VogonPoet I have posted my version of the question. Happy to delete it down the line if you are worried about being closed as a duplicate. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Mar 25 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ The first question they will ask is how heavy the horse is, and the chariot adds piling resistance. So the planet g= 8.9m/s, horses made of brass and titanium and steel (not solid, of course), so like a compact car on earth. Might also ask about temp=400°C $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Mar 25 at 19:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Daron I’ve got a snippet of the story published online if you want a feel for the place I’m building. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Mar 25 at 20:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Daron didn’t even know about the extreme-terrain tag, belongs in everything I write LOL! If this survives a few days I can call the sandbox migrated. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Mar 25 at 23:03

Problems with Parthenogenesis

Sequinoans-or in other words, my take on Amazonians. While reviewing bits and bobs of my story, I've come to realize there is a serious problem I need to take into account; ie. parthenogenesis.

Early on in their history, Sequinoans were female settlers on a otherwise uninhabited* continent. No one is sure why they came by themselves, or why they hid away in this one spot (the Forbidden Woods) for so long, but they had or developed parthenogenesis and used that to survive.

With me so far? What I'm wondering is how parthenogenesis will impact their society in these isolated conditions; or, rather, how being surrounded by those who look and act like you, and perhaps even giving birth to them, would impact their society. Basically, how being isolated to a group of self-perpetuating clones would affect their relationships.

Why, you ask? I have figured out how they will tell each other apart-as they are altruistic and value society over the individual, their names will likely be occupations, like Chef or Weaver, with surnames being achievements like 'slew a Megahorn and made the most wonderful steaks from it' or 'wove the one net trap that Shadowstrike Lizard didn't escape from so we finally caught that nuisance'-so they will have identities.

But, I don't know how family relationships will be impacted by parthenogenesis, and the family is the foundation of society in my estimation, so I want to get that figured out, as I'm pretty sure growing up with multiple people that can be mistaken for your mother will impact this society so profoundly an answer to this may be the key to figuring the rest of this society out. No pressure.

Thank you for your input, I appreciate it!

1. Cultural Context:

The Sequinoans were originally Avradurians, a people known for being highly militant, organized, and patriarchal (if this sounds like they're sexist, there's a reason for that), as well as for their Karystals, the source of their power.

The Sequinoan's ancestors were born in June and thus possessed Moonstone magic, which is how they were able to gain parthenogenesis and avoid being wiped out by disease.

They left Avraduria to a new country because they wanted greater respect and equal treatment and couldn't get it in their highly traditional, lawful society, and when they discovered the only humanoids were humanoid animals, they withdrew and hid themselves away from the 'unnatural' and have strict rules against leaving their territory.

TL;DR: As Moonstone Avradurians, Sequinoans will likely reverence the moon, seeing it as the source of their healing and survival, and as Avradurians, they will have a highly lawful, traditional, and warlike society, with a strict chain of command and an emphasis on combat, obedience to authority, and putting the tribe above oneself.

  • $\begingroup$ Consequences is a very broad ask. Remember that brainstorming and idea generation are not a good fit for this site. It looks like you're asking us to brainstorm "horribly flawed scenarios" such a question runs afoul of our POB, and too broad policies. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Apr 15 at 22:20
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings: thanks for the input! I've tried to clarify. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 15 at 23:14
  • $\begingroup$ It's a long established fact that questions asking "How would X affect a society?" are a poor fit for this site. Especially since you haven't established what the baseline society to be affected is. Your edit still leaves you question too broad and too POB. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Apr 15 at 23:29
  • $\begingroup$ Lack of cultural context makes any answer equally valid. For instance, highly-individualist societies would need some time to adjust, whereas others whose ideals are to act like others will cope with it faster, but since we don't know which one yours is, hard to tell which sentence is best. Then, yes, checking the whole society is asking quite a lot. Here are some narrower approaches I'm thinking of, give or take : Mother/child relationships, identification of people, sickness spreading prevention, birthing rituals... And I guess that's only the tepee of the iceberg 🐭. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Apr 16 at 0:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Tortliena: thanks for clearing things up! I'll add the context. And, I'll try to narrow the scope. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 16 at 0:42
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings: I've added cultural context and will be looking on how to narrow the scope. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 16 at 0:52
  • $\begingroup$ You're still asking "How will X affect society?" Adding a description of the culture helps but your core ask is still off topic for this site. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Apr 16 at 0:54
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings: ah, sphennings, thank you! You always tell it like it is, and I've grown to really appreciate that! I have now narrowed the scope-or I believe I have-and would appreciate your input. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 16 at 1:28
  • $\begingroup$ Similar to how when you wanted to know the effect on their society you needed to describe their current society. If you want us to talk about how their relationships could be affected by parthenogenesis you should describe what their relationships currently are like. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Apr 16 at 1:49
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings: thank you, but that's just it; I have no idea. That's why I made that the new focus of the question! Is....that wrong? $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 16 at 2:15
  • $\begingroup$ It seems like you have some ideas you need to flesh out on your own. Then you can come to us when you have a specific problem that you're struggling with. When you do try to ask a question that follows site policy regarding brainstorming and open ended questions. You should also check that you're providing all relevant information after any edit that changes the core question. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Apr 16 at 2:22
  • $\begingroup$ I've read back, it's much better. First, you avoid the immediate question "But how did they gain parthena... parthenothing thing so quickly"; Then we have some social foundations to work with. To strike more accurately the question contextual needs with "relationships", the demography can be important : you don't need complex systems like ID cards and last names if you're only 20 or 30. Well, without parthenongesis at least.[...] $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Apr 16 at 22:55
  • $\begingroup$ [...] Then, since we are looking at families, how does birthing occur? That is, are they 9 months living eggs outside mom's body, or are they like human placenta embryos (without the "prior... Intense activity")? Something else. Finally, you can remove some rubbles like the Avradurians Karystals. If there's no description and no evident relationship with the new tribe, then it doesn't have to be told ^^. Same for the sickness Sequinoans had, if it's important to their history add one line or two about it, if not you can remove it.[...] $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Apr 16 at 22:55
  • $\begingroup$ [...] Hmmm... And now I'm out of improvement paper now. I'll need some time to buy new ones from the sleep market. At this point however it's getting tricky to find such items now, so consider I cannot help much more... Until a spark lights up! $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Apr 16 at 23:02
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings: thank you for your feedback! It's taken awhile, but I've figured out most of the foundational stuff-I just need to figure out what I'm missing and edit the question accordingly. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 30 at 21:19

The viability of scripted armies

In the Year of our Lady 1150 AD, Balgatorix the Cruel was rejected from theatre school. He promptly took over North Kiltia and, still seeing himself a masterful playwright (and being highly distrustful of the big honchos in his corrupt military), he is obsessed with the idea of scripted armies. Those are groups of scripted soldiers that act without a leader or a hierarchy, with every individual soldier having a script describing their tasks for the duration of a campaign. Those scripts look something like this:

1. Reach Ystradgynlais by day 1 of the campaign, eat in the church basement
2. Reach Pontypridd by day 2, eat in Kidwelly's Tavern. Acquire a horse from Hywel.
18. On day 15, pick up a catapult from Bob in Glynneath. Learn how to operate and transport it.
19. By day 17, reach Fort Maesteg.
20. By noon of day 17, assault the north wall until either:
   - It breaches
   - A different team in your line of sight managed to breach a wall
21. Enter the castle and kill all those who take up arms against you.
22. End of campaign, go back to your home

The scripts get different soldiers to work together without even being aware of each other. Bob in Glynneath has his own script to have constructed a catapult by day 15, the owners of Kidwelly's Tavern have a script to have food for thirty people on day 2, Hywel will have as many horses as there are soldiers with scripts to pick up a horse, etcetera.

At no time is a scripted soldier paralysed for want of instructions; they are trusted to use their own insights when the script is not sufficient for the circumstances in the field. The default option is to fall back to the next instruction. Can't reach Ystradgynlais in time due to bad weather? Find food wherever and try to reach Pontypridd when you can.

Even if improvisation is allowed, the scripts themselves can be as complex as needed (stuff like "if you managed to enter the castle by noon, goto step #23, else goto step #67" is fine). They are limited in physical length; anything more than a few sheets of paper becomes hard to memorise. Scripts can include loops (stay here and cook food for any passersby who knows the password until day #84); and they can even include instructions where to find new scripts if a campaign has to have multiple parts. That does introduce another factor of unreliability; the best place to assign someone a script for an operation is while they are still in their home.

A script is limited in time, the way any commoner's conscription is limited in time when that recruit has a farm to tend. They last for one 'operation' that takes in the low months.

That's it for the individual scripted soldiers. Now scripted armies involve many (thousands) of those people working in concert. Those armies have several qualities; some of them are weaknesses that I have explicitly compensated for. Specifically:

  • Critical scripted soldiers could fail at their task and derail the entire operation - no scripted soldier is critical. The most important tasks are always assigned to multiple people; at least five folk would be picking up that catapult. There is also a certain strength in numbers.
  • Enemies could intercept the instructions - they are encrypted. Even so, soldiers are encouraged to memorise them rather than keep them on paper.
  • Soldiers could get confused or panicked when something goes very wrong and the battlefield becomes a bloodbath - due to a combination of political ideology, peer pressure, and mild hypnosis; every soldier in the scripted army is essentially a zealot. They will trust their script as they trust Balgatorix the Master Playwright. A scripted soldier will march into his death; the only way to get him to give up is to specifically invalidate every next step of their script, which will lead them to conclude that the campaign is over and they'll return to their homes.
  • Scripted armies cannot negotiate since they lack a leader - Balgatorix sees that as a feature. The tyrant does not believe in taking quarter or anything less than a total victory.
  • A scripted army is vulnerable to ambush as they wouldn't effectively evade enemy armies - the scripted soldiers tend to travel in small groups and aren't recogniseable as an army until they have banded together and/or picked up a catapult, which would only happen when necessary, e.g. in the last few days before a planned assault.
  • Spies could infiltrate the army - hard vetting takes place before anyone gets their own script, and someone who walks along without seeming to know what to do is super suspicious. Even so, once someone has infiltrated this army, all they could do is report on its current movements; nobody will say out loud what they are going to do next, and it is impossible to impede the army by assassinating the leader because there is no leader.
  • Some actions on the field require creative action and decision-taking in the moment - under certain circumstances soldiers can be instructed to band together in small groups of five to ten, one person among them the leader. They can take independent creative action for as long as that phase of the script lasts. Still, crucially, those small groups do not make a full hierarchy; there are still no colonels or generals responsible for the army as a whole.

One final asset of scripted armies is the flexibility of their starting position. Like a great chef, a scripted soldier can come from anywhere - even the enemy's citizens can be converted to zealots. So these armies can 'spawn' within enemy territory.

Given these qualities, I want to know a good ratio of scripted armies to regular armies; so their overall applicability to the various aspects of medieval warfare. For example, it is obvious that you can use scripted armies for mundane repetitive tasks like maintaining fortifications, gathering supplies or intel, mapping terrain. There's going to be tasks that work under some circumstances but not on others (marching from A to B can be done easily, harder to do so if there's an ocean in between and you need to charter a boat at the right time of month); and there's probably roles for the army in a war that cannot at all be carried out by a scripted army.

I would like to know if someone considers a ratio between those. How much of a war can rely on scripted armies? A scripted army doesn't have to be 100% as effective as a conventional one in a specific use case, as long as it isn't 0% effective at it.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ My answer to this question would be pretty straightforward. I think it's answerable as it is, however I'd like to know just a lil' more about conscription's scripts : How often are they given to troops, and how long can they last? That is, it seems like it's days, but is it more a monthly script or a biweekly one? Besides, are there possibilities to jump instructions if ordered, à la "book where you are the hero"? For instance : "If you managed to enter the castle, go to order n°492, else go to order n°380". $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Apr 22 at 11:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Tortliena I'll add that information, thank you. $\endgroup$
    – KeizerHarm
    Apr 22 at 11:36
  • $\begingroup$ There never was a "typical war". The performance of a scripted army is going to be dependent upon the strategic goals and doctrine of a nation, as well as the strategic goals and doctrine of whomever they are going to be fighting against. This is before we take into account the military capabilities, manpower and equipment of the belligerents in a conflict. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Apr 22 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ This is rather broad since even if you gave us an idea of your nation's doctrine, material, and capabilities as well as those of their enemies, you're still asking us to assess individually every possible task and it's ability to be "scripted". Can you instead try asking about the scriptability of specific tasks you are having trouble assess on your own? $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Apr 22 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings Ok, ignore all that. I'm going to have to rewrite it again. But first, could I ask what it is you mean with "there was never a typical war"? Because I am a software developer, and I have never written the same program twice, there's always peculiarities about the environment, the use case; and you can make analogies like Agile/Scrum as different military doctrines, etc. for every other parameter. And all that said, one can still ask about software development, there is still established precedent and people can write strategy in the abstract. Why can't you with wars? $\endgroup$
    – KeizerHarm
    Apr 22 at 16:58
  • $\begingroup$ There are military historians who have developed theories of war but those theories abstract away details that need to be filled in before you can meaningfully apply those theories to a specific conflict. Similar to how you can't predict whether a software project will be successful just by knowing "We're doing scrum". Perhaps they're doing scrum poorly. perhaps scrum is the wrong way to organize the work. Perhaps scrum is the right tool and they're structuring it right but a key engineer is going through a rough divorce and needs to take time off blocking everyone relying on him. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Apr 22 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ And unlike a software project which is relatively collaborative, a war has two competing nations with differing strategic goals, planning opposing operations to accomplish these goals, and responding tactically to the realities on the ground when defending against opposing operations and conducting your own. We often think of software in terms of a greenfield project starting fresh. No war has the luxury of starting fresh. The current state of both nations politically and economically greatly informs how they can wage war. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Apr 22 at 17:20
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings The divorce thing is Murphy's law. Scrum doesn't guarantee project success because nothing guarantees anything, but you can write in the abstract e.g. that Scrum is suitable for projects with shifting requirements. And really, I am only asking for the abstract. If someone says that my military plan sounds plausible but X would make it fail, that's great; I can decide for myself whether X will happen in my story. Contrast that with an answer that the plan has a very low chance of success, I can consider whether my readers will think my story plausible if I make the plan succeed. $\endgroup$
    – KeizerHarm
    Apr 22 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Sphennings You're thinking too much about the details here. Yes, the outcome depends of local conditions, but you can actually answer theorically, comparing "traditional" commanding vs scripted commanding. It's hereby not too broad $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Apr 22 at 19:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Tortliena To say "X% of a military could be scripted" requires analyzing trad vs scripted for every potential task a military could take, and then assessing how much they could script. You'd then need to know the tasks a nation intends on using their military for. To assess is X scriptable for every task, is a very broad ask. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Apr 22 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Tortliena The military goals of a nation, shape how then structure their military. A nation concerned with border defense, is going to prioritize different tasks, and as such have different scripting potential, than a nation that is prioritizing projecting force in an offensive war against a neighboring state. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Apr 22 at 19:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @sphennings I'm confident that as soon as I limit it to a specific kind of war, e.g. a proxy war that doesn't involve territorial defense but is based on harassing an overseas enemy with short term local operations - then people will VTC the question for being story-based. $\endgroup$
    – KeizerHarm
    Apr 22 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ @KeizerHarm Depends on the specific question you ask. Given the diversity of ways how murphy's law can be applied to a war there's a lot of room for "authorial discretion" with questions about strategy, operations, and tactics. That makes it a challenge to ask questions about war that are a good fit for this site. Which is why I was suggesting asking "Could you script X?" rather than asking "What percentage of an undefined nation's military could be scripted?" $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Apr 22 at 20:18
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings But I don't want anyone to apply Murphy's Law to a concrete scenario. That would just be fishing for ideas. I am not asking for anything that might cause a plan to fail, I am asking for the viability of a plan. I'm asking for an estimate, a reasoning in the abstract. A general planning a naval landing will take into account a finite number of things when determining likelihood of success, and those include elements like the tides and weather, not random events like a pack of whales beaching at the same time in the same place and giving the defenders unexpected cover. $\endgroup$
    – KeizerHarm
    Apr 22 at 20:43
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings Nobody will judge the viability of Scrum as a strategy by how well it operates when the scrum master is going through a divorce and not doing his job. A strategy like Scrum is judged first in the abstract using models for human behaviour, and then tested over thousands of iterations of actual projects. We don't have the means to carry out a thousand war games so I'm content with just the abstract reasoning phase, accounting for expected risks. Known unknowns. That's all I need, not Murphy's Law. $\endgroup$
    – KeizerHarm
    Apr 22 at 20:49


The Premise This is for a world of mine, where each sentient race was created by a different god. Each god characterized its sons with some of its core elements. So the god of wit created an inventive race, and so on. So, the goddess of war created a race, too.

The Pahilam The pahilam are red-skinned humanoid with tought skin and a penchant to violence and physical labour. They can survive for long times without nourishment, and are quite quick of foot. They are organic as others races, they are sexual with male and female individuals. Since the pahilam are a race bred by a god of war, strife, violence, discipline and hardship. Since most of them live in a matriarchal society (with other races as brothers-in-arms/servants/allies) that is set in a fertile land. So, they could be ant-like in some degree.

Or, to be clearer, they could have some sort of hive-like society. I don't want them to form a hivemind, but some elements of social insects and social mammals (naked moles) could be interesting.

So the question could be: what kind of repercussions could have this kind of nature on society?

First of all, I think of something like "few female, powerful and mighty, and lots of males". Polyandry is one of the few elements of their society that players have already seen. And then? Do they need something in particular? If they do not lay eggs, but give birth to human-like infants, could their race survive? I've been thinking of the pahilam as a "race with few people, with several and numerous servitors of other races". Is it viable?

I fear that this question is still a tad too subjective and opinion based. I'm trying to make it more objective and punctual.

  • $\begingroup$ If you're asking about the decisions of an individual, in this case a god of war, then the answer is entirely dependent upon how you choose to write the character in question. As a good rule of thumb if you're asking "How would you do X" then it's not a good fit for this site. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    May 17 at 17:08
  • $\begingroup$ Your current ask is still basically "Design this race for me" that's not a good question for this site. Try instead to focus on the difficulties you are having designing this race, and ask for help solving that specific problem. Instead of asking us "What race would a god of war create?" ask yourself "What race would my god of war create?" $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    May 17 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ Pahilam, phailam, they're the same, right? Is it just a typo? Anyhow. Yes, I think your fears are founded on the opinion-based topic. Some would say that giving them Wolverine's claws would be perfect, while I'd say that giving them pouncing abilities with firebreath would be nice, too. And both answers would be valid and very difficult to set apart in terms of quality. I'm not sure how you can turn the question around yet...[...] $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    May 17 at 17:29
  • $\begingroup$ [...] But first, let's clear up some doubts you have and that'd help both you and the questions you might have : In which biomes the Pahilam spawned? What do you mean by war Goddess? Is she specialized into logistics, tactics, ruses, raw war strength, honor...? War is very generic by itself, there are many aspects to it : See Athena the wise goddess of war and strategy vs Thor who's more thunderous, for instance ^^. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    May 17 at 17:29
  • $\begingroup$ - Well obviously I don't want to unload the creative process to you. I'm really trying to focus on the right question to make. - Yes, pahilam is right, phailam is a typo. Sorry. - Maybe the right question is "what makes a realistic sentient race" but I feel it's still too subjective. - Talking about war, the goddess is the violent face of God. Could be linked both to general warfare and to duels and savage frays. She can appear controlled and impassive, but under the ruse the goddess is pure destruction. She could be considered similar to Kalì. $\endgroup$ May 17 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ Realistic is a highly subjective metric. Often it's a function of how you present information to your audience rather than the facts of your world itself. For instance there are popular works of fiction which include all sorts of impossible phenomena, such as magic wands, unforgivable curses, holy spirits, resurrection, or rings of invisibility. Even in the hands of a hack author it doesn't take much to get readers to buy into all sorts of impossible things $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    May 17 at 18:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @FilippoOliveri You can unload some of the creative process, but we need a direction, intentions to work with. If you add constraints like what is more precisely your goddess, what kind of environment they live in, what you don't want to see, it'll make your question less opinion-based while still remaining creative for answerers. That's why I often make a conditions/intentions list in most questions I make, like this one about furniture. [...] $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    May 18 at 21:59
  • $\begingroup$ [...] An alternative is to ask more like a reality-check question. What is it? Choose one path among many options and confront how believable it is in the given context. E.g. : If you know they'll live in a desert : My Pahilams are great runners, would they hunt well in an Arabian-like desert? With the answers, you'll know if you're taking a path coherent to your world or not. This can help in the final choice. Notice I also focused more the question : Instead of taking it whole, I focused on a single part, the running ability. It often helps to avoid looking for opin-onions :). $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    May 18 at 22:00
  • $\begingroup$ Don't just tack more and more text as you revise your question over time. This is especially true if you're changing what you're asking to comply with site policy. To rewrite of the question so that every part of the post is clearly in support of what you're currently asking for. Focus on making the current question readable. If anyone wants to know how the question has changed over time they can always read the edit history. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    May 19 at 15:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ After the edit your question is much more readable. However you're still asking "What would my character do?" It's your god so they will create whatever society you want them to create. Instead of asking us to create the society for you, try creating it for yourself, and ask us for help with the specific problems you encounter while trying to do so. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    May 19 at 19:26

How can a religion be made to regard sainthood through deification as a heresy?

citizens of the Byzantine Empire worship a state religion known as Arianism, which sees the Blessed Trinity as a heirachy with God the Father, God the Son, and the lower entities that inhabit the Astral Plane. These entities are essentially smaller pieces of the deity that operate as messengers and serve as intermediaries between God and mortals. These worshippers believe that the purpose of human life is to emulate God through thoughts and deeds by following the example set by his son, the Messiah. This is done through the purification of mind and body with fasting, prayer, and living according to God's will. By being in line with the rules of the faith, one can become closer to God physically and spiritually. One of the highest achievements of any follower is the binding of a higher entity from the Astral Plane with a ritual summoning, in which the spirit willingly submits themselves to the authority of an individual who has proven themselves worthy with their faith. Through this ritual, a pact is made between the spirit and the individual, allowing a person to summon the spirit in times of need to perform a service. This is regarded as the highest honor an individual can achieve, as it shows that they have gained the favor of God.

There is a cult within the main faith that takes this logic further through the process known as theosis, or deification. This is a transformative process whoose aim is to achieve likeness to or true union with God. Only the most devoted followers of the deity would dare to attempt this ritual. To reach this state, a person must undergo intense fasting and prayer for a certain degree of time leading up to the event, as well as repeated ritual cleansing of the body to prepare themselves. At the time of theosis, the individual fuses with the spirit they have bound, with both beings becoming one in mind, body, and spirit. As the higher entity is a piece of God, the resulting being is said to exist within a hypostatic union, with the twin natures of both separate beings intertwined with each other, sharing one divine nature. These individuals are referred to as saints by the cult, for they have reached an exceptional degree of holiness, likeness, and closeness with the deity, making them deserving of higher honor and veneration.

Despite this seemingly benign act, the larger church views this as a great heresy and has declared this sect as heretical, launching a schism within the church. this has led to numerous wars over the years between countries as the two sides attempt to wipe the other out. This is seemingly nonsensical, as the cult is operating within the bounds of church doctrine, and are simply taking it a step further to its ultimate conclusion. By becoming one with a piece of God, it allows for a more intimate connection with their deity and allows them to live closer in line with his will, which should be considered honorable. However, instead of leaders embracing this practice and incorporating it into the larger faith, the larger religion rejects them as heathens and traitors.

How can a religion be convinced to disavow its own teachings to own their detriment and regard sainthood as heretical?

  • $\begingroup$ Please clean up and delete your previous question before starting a new question. Similar to your previous question it seems like you're wanting to start a discussion to generate ideas, and brainstorm, rather than ask for help resolve some specific issue you're having with building your world. Instead of the open ended "how can X?, figure out how it happened in your world, then come to us if you have a specific problem. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    2 days ago
  • $\begingroup$ There can be many reasons to a religion refuting some rules or goals and since you don't tell it, I don't know where you want to go. Let me explain, if getting closer to Gods is an heresy for some, then... It's an heresy. That's a possible "how" you're currently asking, because religions is by its nature highly rational in its irrationality.[...] $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
  • $\begingroup$ [...] Beyond the tautology reason, causes can go from "You cannot touch or portray the true nature of Gods" (something similar to whether christian should use icons or not) to as specific as "All unionated people never eat. But eating food is paying respect to god, therefore you are the deevvviilll!". And I'm not accounting for the many purely political reasons your cult leader can have.[...] $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
  • $\begingroup$ [...] I think we need a direction here, first excluding some options (if you don't want political reasons, strike them out), and then giving an intent regarding it. For example, are you more interested in making the ritual an heresy, or the resulting union? I'm not exactly sure what other things is coming to my mind, but you have a bit of a starting hint. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena

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