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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Question:RPGs often have quite weird deities with improbable spheres of activity. However in mythology throughout history and all of the world, there have been deities worshiped for very specialized causes.

    Let's help making a list of areas of influence, that have been attributed to specific deities in the past and would for example be a "Domain" in D&D.

    • Dionysus, the greek god of grape harvest, wine, and ecstasy.
    • Kali, a hindu mother godess of death and destruction, who represents the aspect of chaos and change, as the old things have to end to allow for the creation of new things.
    • Hestia, the roman goddes of hearth fire, which for most of human history represents not simply a stove, but the heart and centerpiece of the community of a home, making it both the kitchen and living room, or even sleeping quarters as well.
    • Inari, the japanese god of rice. Which in east Asia stands for basically all agriculture and food.
    • Eris, the greek godess of strife. Though here I am not sure how much the lines between a worshiped deity and a "mere" manifested spirit of strife are blurred.
    • Skadi, norse godess of skiing. But also the goddess of winter when skiing is the only way to travel long distances, making her the godess of safe travel in a dangerous environment.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-05-29 at 12:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Eris, the greek godess of strife. Though here I am not sure how much the lines between a worshiped deity and a "mere" manifested spirit of strife are blurred.
    The lines are indeed occasionally blurred, but not in the case of Eris. There was no temple in her honor, no city ever chose her as its matron deity, there's no invocation or hymn praising her. She only exists as a personification of discord. Other gods may send her to cause chaos among the mortals, but she never acts of her own accord - unless you count the time she sprang out of Pandora's box (though that was more "unleashing all bad things" than a bunch of divine entities acting consciously).

    Now, for your question, I believe you describe portfolios rather than domains, though of course the latter can be derived from the former. Would you like me to list the relevant Greek deities, or are they too mainstream and considered known?
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  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Question:RPGs often have quite weird deities with improbable spheres of activity. However in mythology throughout history and all of the world, there have been deities worshiped for very specialized causes.

    Let's help making a list of areas of influence, that have been attributed to specific deities in the past and would for example be a "Domain" in D&D.

    • Dionysus, the greek god of grape harvest, wine, and ecstasy.
    • Kali, a hindu mother godess of death and destruction, who represents the aspect of chaos and change, as the old things have to end to allow for the creation of new things.
    • Hestia, the roman goddes of hearth fire, which for most of human history represents not simply a stove, but the heart and centerpiece of the community of a home, making it both the kitchen and living room, or even sleeping quarters as well.
    • Inari, the japanese god of rice. Which in east Asia stands for basically all agriculture and food.
    • Eris, the greek godess of strife. Though here I am not sure how much the lines between a worshiped deity and a "mere" manifested spirit of strife are blurred.
    • Skadi, norse godess of skiing. But also the goddess of winter when skiing is the only way to travel long distances, making her the godess of safe travel in a dangerous environment.
    Just correcting that Hestia is a Greek goddes (Hestia is Greek for "hearth"), the "Roman Counterpart" is Vesta

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    This thread is fantastic.

    My question: I know about the square-cube law and its limiting factor on animal/plant growth, but what sort of physical laws are in place to govern the size of man-made structures? Are ten-mile-high towers and multilayered dwarf cities feasible? I know anything will collapse under its own weight eventually, should it get big enough, but what measures can be taken to prevent this, and what are some architectural limitations that can't be overcome?

    And it's sort of a useless skill set, but I have lots of linguistics knowledge to drop if anyone needs it.

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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by historiasdeosos View Post
    And it's sort of a useless skill set, but I have lots of linguistics knowledge to drop if anyone needs it.
    Ooh, I have a weirdly specific linguistics question (relevant with worldbuilding for equally weird reasons, never mind that).

    The word "evil" in English is derived from a Germanic root, correct? Now, in Romance languages, if I'm not mistaken, the word evil is equivalent to some variation of "mal", from a Latin root: Les fleurs du mal, for example. However, in these languages "mal" also means simply "bad", which is a lot less intimidating, semantically, than evil. It doesn't carry all that baggage. You can use it to describe a bad meal, or a bad day, a life full of bad habits (mala vida), or a bad - but not Evil - person.

    So, questions:
    1) Is the above correct?

    2) In which languages or families of languages is there a separate word for "evil" (= bad, but really really bad, the incarnation of the worst things in the world, the enemy of all that's good and pure in the world, diabolical, etc)? And in which languages does the word for "bad" fit all purposes?

    3) Any idea how the word "evil" (and its direct equivalents) came to carry all that baggage? In which language or when?
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  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by HeadlessMermaid View Post
    Ooh, I have a weirdly specific linguistics question (relevant with worldbuilding for equally weird reasons, never mind that).

    The word "evil" in English is derived from a Germanic root, correct? Now, in Romance languages, if I'm not mistaken, the word evil is equivalent to some variation of "mal", from a Latin root: Les fleurs du mal, for example. However, in these languages "mal" also means simply "bad", which is a lot less intimidating, semantically, than evil. It doesn't carry all that baggage. You can use it to describe a bad meal, or a bad day, a life full of bad habits (mala vida), or a bad - but not Evil - person.

    So, questions:
    1) Is the above correct?

    2) In which languages or families of languages is there a separate word for "evil" (= bad, but really really bad, the incarnation of the worst things in the world, the enemy of all that's good and pure in the world, diabolical, etc)? And in which languages does the word for "bad" fit all purposes?

    3) Any idea how the word "evil" (and its direct equivalents) came to carry all that baggage? In which language or when?
    *breaks out my etymology dictionary*

    1. Right. "Evil" does come from a Germanic root, which in turn goes back to a Proto-Indo-European (the source of most European and Indo-Aryan languages) root. "Mal", in its various forms, comes from a Latin root of uncertain origin, possibly the Avestan word for "treachery".

    And while I can't speak for the meanings of "mal" in all the Romance languages, I do speak some Spanish, and "malo" can be used to mean either plain-old bad or evil, depending on context. It definitely doesn't have the automatic "morally bankrupt" connotation that "evil" does in English.

    Though Spanish does have ways to make it clear you're talking about evil evil rather than just bad, I think. Normally Spanish adjectives go after the noun, and this is the basic meaning of the word, things that are objective fact. To make it clear you're referring to the morality aspect of "malo", you can move it before the noun. This also functions to intensify the adjective, I think? e.g. Un hombre malo = "a bad man". un mal hombre = "a very bad man, an evil man". At least that's how I'd distinguish the two if I wanted to be especially clear. Native speakers, feel free to correct me on this—it's the niggly bits of grammar like this that always get me.

    2. I honestly can't say. I think it'd be unlikely for an entire language branch/family to have separate words for "bad" and "evil"; general language families have only very broad commonalities, with the languages within being very distinct in terms of vocabulary and shades of meaning. So without being fluent in thousands of languages it's hard for to give a concrete answer. If I had to guess, I'd think it's WAY more common to express "evil" as "bad + intensifier" rather than having a separate word for it. I personally have a fondness for Dutch intensifiers, so this might be something to look at for inspiration.

    3. According to the Internet: Evil used to be used how we would use "bad, unskilled, broken" ("an evil meal", "an evil plow"). The morally-evil version didn't become the main sense until the 18th century.

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  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Taxation in medieval towns.
    How do a city’s tax collectors go about collecting trade taxes from merchants? Specifically how did they calculate how much the trades had to pay, and how they prevented tax dodging?

  8. - Top - End - #38
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by GM.Casper View Post
    Taxation in medieval towns.
    How do a city’s tax collectors go about collecting trade taxes from merchants? Specifically how did they calculate how much the trades had to pay, and how they prevented tax dodging?
    Some older city have names of certain locations that reveal how this was done. Stockholm in particular. All around inner stockholm there's a 18 locations whose name ends with "tull". These were, at the time, the only ways into the city proper. Tull means toll. Which is to say... you had to pay to enter the city with goods (and it was illegal to sell goods outside of cities).
    While the names aren't that similar, I learned that in Edinburgh while I was there that the same policy applied. Toll would be collected by the various gates (such as the cowgate, through which cattle was herded.) From what I understood, same thing in Hanoi, Vietnam.

    This was, contrary to popular belief, the main purpose of a city wall. It wasn't primarily so you could defend the city from attackers (though naturally, that did factor in rather heavily in how you constructed them) it was so you could tax anyone trying to get in.

    I'm not entirely certain how much you had to pay. Swedish wikipedia (sources looks legit in this article) suggests 1/32 of the price of the goods being brought in. Given that prices often were fixed by the guilds, that sounds plausible to me. But I suspect that sort of thing varied from city to city.

    Another common method seemed to be a tax on how much space by the road that your building occupied.

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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by historiasdeosos View Post
    *breaks out my etymology dictionary*
    Thanks, that was very helpful!

    According to the Internet: Evil used to be used how we would use "bad, unskilled, broken" ("an evil meal", "an evil plow"). The morally-evil version didn't become the main sense until the 18th century.
    18th century? Huh. That's... later that I expected. I believe the word "ill-" was often used in order texts like that ("ill-thought", "ill-wrought", "an ill death may you die"), meaning badly or poorly. But I've never heard the phrase "evil plow". Good to know!
    Last edited by HeadlessMermaid; 2012-06-04 at 03:32 PM.
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  10. - Top - End - #40
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    No problem. As for "ill":

    ill (adj.) [as in "an ill death may you die"]
    c.1200, "morally evil" (other 13c. senses were "malevolent, hurtful, unfortunate, difficult"), from O.N. illr "ill, bad," of unknown origin. Not related to evil. Main modern sense of "sick, unhealthy, unwell" is first recorded mid-15c., probably related to O.N. idiom "it is bad to me." Slang inverted sense of "very good, cool" is 1980s. As a noun, "something evil," from mid-13c.

    ill (adv.) [as in "ill-wrought"]
    c.1200, "wickedly; with hostility;" see ill (adj.). Meaning "not well, poorly" is from c.1300. It generally has not shifted to the realm of physical sickess, as the adjective has done. Ill-fated recorded from 1710; ill-informed from 1824; ill-tempered from c.1600; ill-starred from c.1600. Generally contrasted with well, hence the useful, but now obsolete or obscure illcome (1570s), illfare (c.1300), and illth.

    I just made up "evil plow" as an example for the old meaning of "evil"—I don't know if anyone actually ever said those exact words.

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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Romance Languages:

    The noun from which all the "mal" adjectives come from is usually what you want to use when you mean evil. In Spanish, for example, the word "maldad" means "pretty horrible evil." When you say someone is full of "maldad" I dare say it's even worse than saying someone's full of evil in English. The concept of wanting an adjective to have a specific meaning is very Anglo-Saxon, I think. In Romance language, the diversity's in the nouns, and so you structure your sentences differently to take account of this fact. If you want to say that something is evil, rather than bad, you restructure the sentence so that you use the appropriate noun ("¿Qué maldad estás haciendo?" = "What evil are you up to?", "Hay pura maldad en tu alma" = "There's pure evil in your soul"/"There's nothing but evil in your soul" (this one has two meanings depending on regionalisms), and so on). All Romance languages have this distinction, it's just not in the place you were looking for.

    Nitpick (Spanish native speaker here): "Un mal hombre" and "un hombre malo" both mean the same thing in Spanish ("a bad man"). Spanish does sometimes use adjective placement as a way to convey subtleties, but this is really not the norm. If you want to say "an evil man" you say "un hombre lleno de maldad" (a man full of evil) or "la maldad hecha hombre" (evil made/turned man).

    Buildings and Structures:

    Check out old cathedrals, castles and palaces that are still standing. Those things are heavy, made mostly of stone, and they've withstood heavy usage up until today. The key's in the materials and the builders' understanding of physics. It's very easy to have an incredibly huge and heavy building if you are good at weight distribution. That's why a lot of palaces have so many pillars and arcs, because they're really good ways to distribute weight onto specific points (that's why they're so easy to demolish as well). Venice is quite famous for this, supporting a lot of tall stone buildings onto archways and pillars below the city's canals.

    Multilayered dwarven cities are certainly feasible, especially if built inside a mountain, as you can rely on the rock itself to bear a lot of the burden. Extremely high towers, on the other hand, are very vulnerable to winds and earthquakes, something for which ancient builders didn't have much in the way of prevention. You could use magic, of course, but that also lets you justify ten-mile-high towers by enchanting stone to weigh 1/100 of what it normally weighs, letting you build towers a hundred times taller with the same building technology.

  12. - Top - End - #42
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Here are a couple relating to my setting:

    The system works on the assumption that magic can convert any form of energy into any other (with a certain degree of loss depending on the conversion). The most common is kinetic->magical potential, which is used to charge up magical batteries. But I'd like to introduce other sorts of conversion used in niche processes. Converting thermal energy is pretty obvious; the area gets colder. So is electrical current: you get increased resistance on the circuit, and the energy loss becomes magic instead of heat. But what about:
    -Chemical potential energy (converting the energy stored in molecular bonds)
    -Gravitational potential energy
    -Nuclear binding energy
    -Relativistic rest potential

    What's a good way for these conversions to happen?

    Second question relates to goblin society. In this setting, goblins are a single species with three distinct phenotypes (goblin, hobgoblin, bugbear). Since they're all one species, any pair of goblinoids can breed, and their offspring are equally likely to be any of those three phenotypes. Goblinoid children are the same size as human children, but goblins don't get a growth spurt at puberty, and bugbears get a huge one.

    And there are further complications: Rates of physical maturation differ both from humans, and between phenotypes. All three phenotypes mature intellectually around puberty (13): at that point, they're as intelligent as a 20-year old human, and up till that point, they learn much faster than humans. However, they mature emotionally at the same rate as humans, meaning they have the intellect and knowledge of an adult, coupled with the decision-making skills of a teenager. At this point, goblins are also physically mature (due to the lack of a growth spurt); hobgoblins reach full physical development at the same time as humans; and bugbears don't get their full height and bulk until they're around 25.

    Now, the question: what the heck would a goblinoid society look like? Would it be caste-based, given that siblings might be of different phenotypes? Would intellectually and physically-mature goblins be allowed to contribute to society, or would they remain "children" until emotionally mature? How about bugbears, who are small and weak (by bugbear standards) until years after they're emotionally and intellectually mature?

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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Energy:

    If your magic can create matter out of nothing, turning a form of energy into chemical energy is good to justify how you can make it change shape, cohesiveness, fluidity and the like, as all that is governed by molecular interactions. You can even say that magic can summon atoms but you need chemical energy to bind them together and form molecules. If your magic can't break the conservation of matter, turning something into chemical energy lets you explain why magic can make something change shape/form/physical properties. Remember that organic chemistry is based on very similar molecules, so making minute alterations on bindings (or even smaller things like chirality) can create dramatic changes on an organic substance.

    Altering gravitational potential energy doesn't really have an effect on itself, it just means that things have less kinetic energy when they actually fall (remember: potential means it hasn't happened yet), so you'd lessen the damage that something would take if it fell. Since you're not changing the actual force pulling people down or gravity's acceleration, you'd have no observable effect.

    Nuclear binding energy: I am not a nuclear physicist, but my basic understanding of the matter means you'd either be unbalancing the nucleus and thereby causing a nuclear reaction, or it would have no observable effect until the nucleus underwent a nuclear reaction, in which case you'd have a different energy output depending on whether you increased or decreased the nuclear binding energy.

    Relativistic rest potential: That's really not my forte, sorry.

    As for conversion, you simply take whichever energy you want to convert, then the one you want to obtain, and you apply the effects of diminishing one and increasing the other. If you want to turn Gravitational Potential Energy into Thermal Energy, you're causing an object to take less damage if it falls and raising the surrounding temperature.

    Goblinoids:

    First off, you really need to determine the dominance of the genes in charge of determining those phenotypes. I assume that all the genes that regulate the differential aspects are all coded to have the same dominance (otherwise you'd get more phenotypes), so we can sum the dominance up into one pair. On the typical Mendelian dominance system, we have AA, Aa and aa, which would correspond well with those phenotypes. You simply pick which phenotype you want to be dominant, which you want to be recessive and which you want to be heterozygous. Then, to imagine a normal prevalence in a given society, you can take black/brown/blonde hair (for AA, Aa and aa) or Brown/Hazel/Blue eyes (again, for AA, Aa and aa).

    That is, of course, if you want to stick to what'd be more or less normal. It's entirely possible that goblinoid society might favour the recessive phenotype because of its combat potential (bugbear?), so it would be extremely strict regarding breeding in order to prevent the recessive phenotype from being "drowned out" and only appearing in a very small percentage.

    Conversely, they could also think the recessive phenotype is worthless from an evolutionary perspective (goblins?) and actively attempt to drown it out (unknowing it's genetically impossible to make it disappear without making the heterozygous phenotype disappear as well), forbidding marriages between two recessive phenotypes.

    It'd also be somewhat uncommon for families to have siblings of different phenotypes, depending on what the marriage/breeding customs are. If you marry AA with aa, all their children (without exception) will be Aa. If you marry AA with Aa, none of their children will be aa (and conversely, if you marry Aa with aa, none of their children will be AA). The most phenotypically diverse marriage would be two Aa, which would have 50% of their children as Aa, 25% as AA and 25% as aa, a stark contrast when compared to a AA/AA or aa/aa marriage, both of which would have 100% of their children as AA and aa, respectively.

    There is also codominance and incomplete dominance, but those are rare (though I can expand upon them if you want).

    Regarding social customs, you should keep in mind that "emotional maturity" is not something that was known in the past. In previous ages, before the advent of psychology (and the concept of adolescence), the transition between childhood and adulthood was done through rituals, not an external judgement of emotional maturity. Depending on the type of society, you could have hunting, scarification, fighting and other activities as the child bearing proof to its society that he or she was ready to be considered an adult. In the case of females, the most typical sign that one of them had "come of age" was menstruation, which is why most coming of age rituals were male-oriented. The closest thing to a judgement on emotional maturity was when elders or authorities had the power to declare children adults or not, and so they would likely recognise an absence of emotional maturity (even if they couldn't call it so) and postpone their declaration of adulthood until the child had grown wiser.

    Regarding social customs on growth spurts, goblins are likely to be considered "adults" quicker, with bugbears protecting their "children" until far later in life. How this plays out depends on the society: you can have goblins make up the bulk of the work force, with bugbears being the aristocracy (and hobgoblins being the bourgeois/merchant/middle class). Or you can say that bugbears are much more talented than the other phenotypes because they have many more years of apprenticeship and training during their prolonged childhood, which leads them to acquiring greater knowledge and skills.

    In short, first thing to do is to decide what type of genetic dominance you're going to have, and then decide what sort of societies goblinoids are likely to have. If you can't make up your mind, it's possible (and more realistic) to have very different types of societies according to geography. Perhaps the northern goblinoids have it easier and so their societies are more relaxed, while southern goblinoids are in constant warfare and so they have very strict social customs.

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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    On Energy
    Note that chemical energy is just a measure of the energy inherent in a given molecule's atomic bonds. An example of releasing that energy is any exothermic reaction (i.e., it gives off heat). Chemical energy would best be used in either fueling/containing energy by converting molecules into lower- or higher-energy states, respectively. It would also be useful for converting one clump of matter into another, different clump with a similar composition- such as one type of organic molecule into another. Note that in this instance, you can't convert one atom into another or anything like that without using some sort of nuclear reaction.

    Nuclear binding energy, unless I'm mistaken, would allow you to cause nuclear reactions, releasing absurd quantities of energy. The downside of this is that if you don't have enough control over it, your spell is going to leak high-energy radiation. You could convert elements, but it would be rather inefficient depending on what direction you're going- you'd need to put more energy in than you'd get out if you wanted to make anything heavier than iron. You could of course fuse lighter elements to make additional energy, but that would still require an initial investment from somewhere. It really depends on how picky your magic system is about actual physics.

    On Goblinoids
    So, what you need to do there is go over how their heredity works. First, what you have is not a dominant/recessive scheme, but incomplete dominance resulting in multiple phenotypes. There are also some problems with what you have described if you want to assign genetic factors.

    Since they're all one species, any pair of goblinoids can breed, and their offspring are equally likely to be any of those three phenotypes
    So, here's the thing- this doesn't work for how you've described it. Assuming a genetic cause, parents with similar genotypes would be more likely to produce offspring with a similar genotype as well, meaning that similar parents are likely to have similar offspring, assuming they're not heterozygotes. Parents of a given type will be more likely to have a certain type of offspring.
    Additionally, what you've described sounds like divergent evolution in the goblin population- it's almost certain that some of the goblin phenotypes are preferentially selected over others. This also means that you're going to find more of one phenotype than the others, such as having a larger population of bugbears than goblins and hobgoblins combined. Furthermore, it also means that your goblins will be preferentially breeding with certain types of goblins which in turn may cause their society to find a given subtype to be less desirable.

    On the other hand, there are species that display a similar scheme, but only with the males. In this case, they have three different strategies for mating, resulting in three general male phenotypes, however this does not affect females. They're more or less the same throughout the population. Unfortunately I can't recall the species in question, though I believe they were a type of cuttlefish. The three strategies/phenotypes in question there were basically the traditional alpha male, the smaller sneaky male, and the male that looks like a female- interestingly, the females prefer the sneakier ones to the alpha males, but use the alpha males in a protective role.

    Hopefully that all made sense. Apologies if otherwise.
    There is also codominance and incomplete dominance, but those are rare
    Just putting it out here, but codominance and incomplete dominance are actually pretty common; more so than traditional dominant/recessive schemes. As an example, there are several genes that go into eye color, in a scheme similar to that which determines skin color.

  15. - Top - End - #45
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowknight12 View Post
    Energy:

    Altering gravitational potential energy doesn't really have an effect on itself, it just means that things have less kinetic energy when they actually fall (remember: potential means it hasn't happened yet), so you'd lessen the damage that something would take if it fell. Since you're not changing the actual force pulling people down or gravity's acceleration, you'd have no observable effect.
    I like this...the way that the conversions are usually performed is by establishing a field in which the appropriate energies are converted. Maybe the gravitational conversion creates a field in which, as an object falls through it, the object no longer accelerates due to gravity, and the kinetic energy it would otherwise gain becomes magical potential. This deals with my major reservation, which is that removing enough of an object's gravitational potential energy should make it float...

    Goblinoids:

    First off, you really need to determine the dominance of the genes in charge of determining those phenotypes. I assume that all the genes that regulate the differential aspects are all coded to have the same dominance (otherwise you'd get more phenotypes), so we can sum the dominance up into one pair. On the typical Mendelian dominance system, we have AA, Aa and aa, which would correspond well with those phenotypes. You simply pick which phenotype you want to be dominant, which you want to be recessive and which you want to be heterozygous. Then, to imagine a normal prevalence in a given society, you can take black/brown/blonde hair (for AA, Aa and aa) or Brown/Hazel/Blue eyes (again, for AA, Aa and aa).
    The phenotypes aren't entirely genetically determined (maybe I'm using the term incorrectly); some individuals have a genetic predisposition towards one or more types, but any individual has the genes for all three phenotypes. Up until puberty, individuals all follow the same growth pattern. What they develop into at puberty depends upon which of a wide variety of environmental stimuli they've been exposed to. For example, undernourished children are slightly more likely (~10%) to be goblins, and children that have plentiful food are more likely to be bugbears...but you can't just forcefeed a child in order to produce a bugbear. There are lots of factors at work, including exposure to certain diseases, trace dietary nutrients, childhood injuries, degree of physical activity, etc., that have an effect on the final outcome.

    It'd also be somewhat uncommon for families to have siblings of different phenotypes, depending on what the marriage/breeding customs are. If you marry AA with aa, all their children (without exception) will be Aa. If you marry AA with Aa, none of their children will be aa (and conversely, if you marry Aa with aa, none of their children will be AA). The most phenotypically diverse marriage would be two Aa, which would have 50% of their children as Aa, 25% as AA and 25% as aa, a stark contrast when compared to a AA/AA or aa/aa marriage, both of which would have 100% of their children as AA and aa, respectively.
    I agree that most members of a family would likely be of the same phenotype, not for genetic reasons but because they would grow up in similar fashion. But they might not be the same phenotype as either parent...I have this vision of two tiny goblins trying to raise a family of adolescent bugbears because the environmental conditions have changed since the parents were kids.

    Regarding social customs, you should keep in mind that "emotional maturity" is not something that was known in the past. In previous ages, before the advent of psychology (and the concept of adolescence), the transition between childhood and adulthood was done through rituals, not an external judgement of emotional maturity. Depending on the type of society, you could have hunting, scarification, fighting and other activities as the child bearing proof to its society that he or she was ready to be considered an adult. In the case of females, the most typical sign that one of them had "come of age" was menstruation, which is why most coming of age rituals were male-oriented. The closest thing to a judgement on emotional maturity was when elders or authorities had the power to declare children adults or not, and so they would likely recognise an absence of emotional maturity (even if they couldn't call it so) and postpone their declaration of adulthood until the child had grown wiser.

    Regarding social customs on growth spurts, goblins are likely to be considered "adults" quicker, with bugbears protecting their "children" until far later in life. How this plays out depends on the society: you can have goblins make up the bulk of the work force, with bugbears being the aristocracy (and hobgoblins being the bourgeois/merchant/middle class). Or you can say that bugbears are much more talented than the other phenotypes because they have many more years of apprenticeship and training during their prolonged childhood, which leads them to acquiring greater knowledge and skills.
    I've already decided on at least some tribes declaring goblins adult at puberty, leading to horribly/comically incompetent or cowardly goblin warriors...and also, because they can pick up intellectual pursuits faster, it would result in "crazy" goblin alchemists, wizards, and tinkers. Of course, these tribers would die out or learn the error of their ways pretty quickly...

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    Romance languages

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowknight12 View Post
    The noun from which all the "mal" adjectives come from is usually what you want to use when you mean evil.
    More info, thanks a lot!

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowknight12 View Post
    All Romance languages have this distinction, it's just not in the place you were looking for.
    They do?? What about French? I was certain about French, since mal is both an adjective (archaic, now mostly replaced by mauvais - which again means simply bad, unfavorable) and a noun. And an adverb. I think the closest match of "evil, not just bad" in French is the adjective maléfique. Which, if I'm not mistaken, has too strong a connection with the occult to be used generically in the place of "evil". Feel free to correct me, native speakers!

    And what about Italian?
    (I imagine Portuguese is so close to Spanish so that I don't even have to ask.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geostationary View Post
    Just putting it out here, but codominance and incomplete dominance are actually pretty common; more so than traditional dominant/recessive schemes. As an example, there are several genes that go into eye color, in a scheme similar to that which determines skin color.
    Yes, obviously, but fully codominant or incompletely dominant individual genes aren't that common (that I know of). When we take into consideration gene clusters and polygenic characteristics, then sure, it's not common to find such a group of genes that are all dominant/recessive (otherwise we'd all be quite uniform).

    Quote Originally Posted by kieza View Post
    I like this...the way that the conversions are usually performed is by establishing a field in which the appropriate energies are converted. Maybe the gravitational conversion creates a field in which, as an object falls through it, the object no longer accelerates due to gravity, and the kinetic energy it would otherwise gain becomes magical potential. This deals with my major reservation, which is that removing enough of an object's gravitational potential energy should make it float...
    The equation to calculate the kinetic energy a falling object has (that I was taught) is GPE = KE, KE = 1/2 * m * v^2, so an object that has a reduced GPE (and retains the same mass) would fall slower not because it has a reduced acceleration (since that's a constant), but because it has a reduced KE and therefore a reduced velocity.

    Also, it would never make it float, it would simply make it not fall at all (if you can somehow syphon all of its GPE). The thing is, since the object's height, its mass and gravity's acceleration all remain the same, you could gain an endless source of magical energy by syphoning the GPE of absolutely everything, with the added bonus of it making objects immune to falling.

    I fear this would mean the absolute supremacy of magic in your setting, unfortunately, as any mage with a lick of sense would keep up those syphoning fields at all times for constant magical replenishment.

    On the other hand, this works wonders if you're using a mana system, as this handily explains mana regeneration.

    The phenotypes aren't entirely genetically determined (maybe I'm using the term incorrectly); some individuals have a genetic predisposition towards one or more types, but any individual has the genes for all three phenotypes. Up until puberty, individuals all follow the same growth pattern. What they develop into at puberty depends upon which of a wide variety of environmental stimuli they've been exposed to. For example, undernourished children are slightly more likely (~10%) to be goblins, and children that have plentiful food are more likely to be bugbears...but you can't just forcefeed a child in order to produce a bugbear. There are lots of factors at work, including exposure to certain diseases, trace dietary nutrients, childhood injuries, degree of physical activity, etc., that have an effect on the final outcome.
    Hm. All phenotypes are genetically determined, as a phenotype is the physical expression of a genotype.

    The only way I can see your model working is to let go of genetics and focus on endocrinology (which is based on genetics, yes, but it's not as rigid). Instead of having different genotypes and phenotypes, you have simply different hormone levels (that coincidentally change exactly according to what you describe: environmental factors, diet, physical activity and so on) that determine what kind of goblinoid the child ends up being. I'd personally invent a single hormone that is in charge of regulating the hypothalamus-equivalent in goblinoids.

    Prolonged low levels of the hormone allow the hypothalamus-equivalent to release constant and steady levels of all the other hormones that shape a goblinoid's development, resulting in a slow and steady growth that allows them to reach their full capabilities at the expense of time (bugbears). Prolonged high levels of the hormone result in a burst of metabolites and hormones that cause quick growth spurts and the goblinoid-equivalent of premature puberty, resulting in a creature that matures quickly, physically, but never reaches its true potential (goblins). Prolonged middling levels (or high and low peaks) of the hormone produce hobgoblins, which are in between.

    The last tidbit to tie everything together culturally would be to make the hormone levels dependent, above all else (besides diet, genetic predisposition, environmental factors and so on), on stress. High levels of stress cause high levels of the hormone, which helps goblinoids to develop quickly as an evolutionary advantage. Not only does a swift growth to adulthood means quicker warrior replenishment, but a quick puberty means that they have a better chance to maintain a stable population in times of war.

    I agree that most members of a family would likely be of the same phenotype, not for genetic reasons but because they would grow up in similar fashion. But they might not be the same phenotype as either parent...I have this vision of two tiny goblins trying to raise a family of adolescent bugbears because the environmental conditions have changed since the parents were kids.
    Well, I suggest giving up the genetics angle and going for endocrinology, as I suggested above. The vision of the goblins raising the bugbears is trivially easy in the example I gave you above: the parents would have been raised in wartime, but their children would all have been born in times of peace.

    I've already decided on at least some tribes declaring goblins adult at puberty, leading to horribly/comically incompetent or cowardly goblin warriors...and also, because they can pick up intellectual pursuits faster, it would result in "crazy" goblin alchemists, wizards, and tinkers. Of course, these tribers would die out or learn the error of their ways pretty quickly...
    Well, the problem with choosing "puberty" as a threshold is that it's a continuum, not a single event, so it's somewhat unrealistic. The sole exception would be females, as they are the only ones with a clear event that indicates when they are effectively undergoing puberty. It's very, very murky in males (which is why so many primitive tribes had other adulthood thresholds).

    Quote Originally Posted by HeadlessMermaid View Post
    Romance languages

    More info, thanks a lot!
    No prob!

    They do?? What about French? I was certain about French, since mal is both an adjective (archaic, now mostly replaced by mauvais - which again means simply bad, unfavorable) and a noun. And an adverb. I think the closest match of "evil, not just bad" in French is the adjective maléfique. Which, if I'm not mistaken, has too strong a connection with the occult to be used generically in the place of "evil". Feel free to correct me, native speakers!

    And what about Italian?
    (I imagine Portuguese is so close to Spanish so that I don't even have to ask.)
    They do!

    French:

    fléau: scourge, plague, evil, curse, flail, bane.
    malfaisance: maleficence, evil, wrong, malignancy.

    Italian:

    malvagità: wickedness, evil, malice, villainy, malignity, maleficence.
    malignità: malignancy, malice, malignity, evil, spite, anger.

    Portuguese:

    malvado (adj): evil, wicked, mean, bad, nefarious, reprobate.
    prevaricação: prevarication, malfeasance, evil, forfeit, maladministration.

    Spanish:

    malvado (adj): evil, wicked, tough, flagitious, no-good, tacky.
    maldad: evil, wickedness, badness, meanness, sinfulness, evildoing.

    Romanian:

    rău (adj): bad, evil, sick, wrong, ill, wicked.
    nefast (adj): bad, evil, baleful, baneful, black-letter, poisonous.
    dăunător (adj): injurious, bad, evil, hurtful, mischievous, maleficent.

    As a note, Spanish has "nefasto" as well, with the same meaning as the Romanian equivalent, and also has "dañino", a very similar word to "dăunător", but it has more of a "harmful" connotation when applied to objects or forces and a "sadist/hurtful/enjoys causing damage" connotation when applied to people. Spanish also has "malignidad", with the same meaning as the Italian cognate. I am sure there are more nuances in the other languages, I just mention Spanish so often because it's my mother language (though I've studied the basics of Latin and all the other main Romance languages).


    EDIT: I just remembered, it may not be dramatic/ominous/theatrical enough to use "malo" or its Romance equivalents, but it is used to refer to evil in daily parlance. I say this because I was just reminded of a popular song by a Spanish singer called "Malo Eres" ("You are bad"), in which such a seemingly innocuous word carries such an enormous weight because of the topic the singer is singing about (domestic abuse). Sometimes, if you know the intention behind the word, you can call someone "malo" (or any of the Romance-equivalents) and everyone will know you mean the worst of all evils.
    Last edited by Shadowknight12; 2012-06-04 at 09:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Question:RPGs often have quite weird deities with improbable spheres of activity. However in mythology throughout history and all of the world, there have been deities worshiped for very specialized causes.

    Let's help making a list of areas of influence, that have been attributed to specific deities in the past and would for example be a "Domain" in D&D.
    Just look at Egyptian and Norse mythology. Granted, half the Egyptian pantheon seems to be different sun gods, depending on what era they're from, and Norse gods can be difficult to figure out what their "portfolios" are… except possibly Odin (the All-Father, God of War, Battle, Victory, Death, Wisdom, Poetry, Magic, Prophecy, and the Hunt) and Odin (God of Thunder, of Lightning, Storms, Oak Trees, Protection, Strength, Hallowing, Healing, and Fertility).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    *Proceeds to google "Bride of the Portable Hole", jokingly wondering if it might exist*

    *It does.*

    What.

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    Yes, obviously, but fully codominant or incompletely dominant individual genes aren't that common (that I know of). When we take into consideration gene clusters and polygenic characteristics, then sure, it's not common to find such a group of genes that are all dominant/recessive (otherwise we'd all be quite uniform).
    Ah, we're both looking at this from different scales, as a given gene's alleles may be dominant/recessive, whereas traits based on a group of genes often have more complicated schemes to determine phenotype- but I feel that this may be getting off-topic if I or we keep this up.

    Hm. All phenotypes are genetically determined, as a phenotype is the physical expression of a genotype.
    Actually, the phenotype is influenced by epigenetic factors too, which appear to be the basis of a lot of his variety in goblinoid phenotype. The problem with the purely hormonal idea is that hormones are genetically regulated, but it's a good explanation with environment taken into account. Basically, environment--->changes in hormone regulation--->occurrence of goblinoid subtypes. Environmental and hormonal factors could also silence genes necessary for the development of a given subtype as well, so this could explain how they differentiate without a strict dominance scheme.

    To sum it up: environment affects gene regulation of hormones, causing differing subtypes to develop. For bonus points, said regulation can silence the other subtypes' genes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geostationary View Post
    Ah, we're both looking at this from different scales, as a given gene's alleles may be dominant/recessive, whereas traits based on a group of genes often have more complicated schemes to determine phenotype- but I feel that this may be getting off-topic if I or we keep this up.
    Oh no problem, I'm sure it's all a matter of scale. I still think we shouldn't rely too much on genetics for this.

    Actually, the phenotype is influenced by epigenetic factors too, which appear to be the basis of a lot of his variety in goblinoid phenotype. The problem with the purely hormonal idea is that hormones are genetically regulated, but it's a good explanation with environment taken into account. Basically, environment--->changes in hormone regulation--->occurrence of goblinoid subtypes. Environmental and hormonal factors could also silence genes necessary for the development of a given subtype as well, so this could explain how they differentiate without a strict dominance scheme.
    The problem with epigenetic factors is that they're quite murky and haven't been properly studied. The most studied of them are the ones that depend on other genes, like hormones and enzymes, whether from the person themselves or from their mother in utero.

    I never said hormones weren't genetically regulated, in fact I think I said quite the opposite. The thing is that hormones are far more easily altered by environmental factors than genetics. Also in case it wasn't clear, I completely abandoned the dominance scheme in favour of merely a single unified genotype with only slight genetic inclinations regarding hormone level as per what us humans have in terms of the Growth Hormone (some people are genetically inclined to produce higher levels, while others are genetically inclined to produce lower levels, but the impact genetics have on the GH when compared to environmental factors is very low).

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    Are there any mamals in which body growth is affected by social factors beyond availability of food?

    Some fish and reptiles can undergo quite extreme metamorphoses even in later stages of their life. But are there any cases of individuals developing changes to their appearance because of changing social staus in mammals?
    Like fur color changes or growing tusks or antlers or anything like that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Are there any mamals in which body growth is affected by social factors beyond availability of food?

    Some fish and reptiles can undergo quite extreme metamorphoses even in later stages of their life. But are there any cases of individuals developing changes to their appearance because of changing social staus in mammals?
    Like fur color changes or growing tusks or antlers or anything like that?
    Not that I know of. The only potential things I could think of, the patch of silver hair on male gorillas (just a sign of maturity) and antlers on deer (of which size is dependent on age and food) don't fall under what you're asking… might there be something in canines or felines?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    *Proceeds to google "Bride of the Portable Hole", jokingly wondering if it might exist*

    *It does.*

    What.

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    Registered just so I could have a chance to post some ideas for the goblinoid society/development question!

    Focusing off of genetics seems to be what you want to do, and not want to do as it were.

    Idea: Epigenetic cause, as mentioned focusing on endocrinology and hormones

    Process: Goblins give birth to varied numbers of offspring, ranging from 1-6 on average.

    Impact: Goblins that develop with more siblings in the womb receive lower doses of nutrients, resulting in different hormonal and physical developments that last throughout their lives. Goblinoids that tend to give birth to larger numbered litters tend to give birth to goblins, but not as a rule. A well-fed goblinoid birthing a litter may in fact result in a litter of bugbears, while a starving mother giving birth to a single child may result in a goblin.

    Genetic Tie In: Birth numbers are linked to genetics, a goblin whose parents only had litters of 4-6 will most likely give birth to 4-6 goblins. In a particularly food-rich year they may give birth to 4-6 bugbears, however. While bugbears who have, ancestrally, only produced single offspring litters, do not gain much advantage from food-rich years.

    Societal tie-in: Goblins are actually the higher-caste, as a well fed goblin female is capable of producing a litter of bugbears if she came from a long line of goblins with large litters.

    This can expand into a much more complex society, however, with goblinoids tracing lineages and gaining status based on how many aunts and uncles they have rather than their parents solely. This turns into a very lineage-dependent society, and allows for a lot of complexity on social structures.

    Real world example:
    Macaques- Their social structure is based along strict matrilines, with status being inherited from mother to daughter. Higher social status results in more access to food, better fed macaques are more prone to producing daughters which take better advantage of their mothers position, rather than sons who would inherit nothing.
    Deer- While not a social factor, better fed deer tend to give birth to sons. A doe will reproduce nearly every year, and works as a safe bet for offspring. A buck which was given lots of attention and nutrients from it's mother at birth may wind up mating with every doe in a herd, while one who received less will mate with no one. Got the investment to make a good son? Make one. Otherwise produce daughters. And biology has built in handy-dandy systems to regulate this for you!
    Last edited by Jacob.Tyr; 2012-06-28 at 12:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    But are there any cases of individuals developing changes to their appearance because of changing social staus in mammals?
    Like fur color changes or growing tusks or antlers or anything like that?
    Most things of this sort that come to mind all involve testosterone, and are more linked to age and more of a cause of changing social status. Testosterone makes lions develop thicker, darker manes, becoming more aggressive, and more successful in mating and male-male combat.

    One could argue that fur changes occur in some primate species, macaques come to mind, after a social status change. Higher ranking individuals receive more grooming than others, and have less parasites/cleaner fur than otherwise. This is also followed by better access to food, mates, etc.

    But really to have any sort of change because of social status will be because of access to nutrients, the end goal of all social climbing in animal species. Most gains in human height over the past few centuries can almost be entirely linked to changes in diet. While some groups are genetically predisposed to being taller diet is still the major factor for growth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Question: What are the motivations for colonization, except for natural resources and prestige?
    The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Often people see a bountiful area and want it, even if it can't be supported financially by the main people. Human nature is also very curious. They want to know what is around the next bend. To say they saw what was there first. The race to the moon was along this vein, who would get there first. I've always had a desire to pick up and go that I've fantasized about often, as well as the desire to go somewhere no one else has ever been. I've discussed this with others, and they have had similar thoughts. So I think that's just part of what we are as a race.
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    Oh I have a question. It kind of ties into the first question posted with the telepaths, except it doesn't branch off into the tangent that happened.

    As a bit of background, the people are refered to as ancients, and they're basically human, for all tenses and purposes.

    Ancients do not have a written or spoken language. They communicate by memories. This means when communicating a recount of what happened an Ancient need only transfer the memory to do so. Other more complex things can be communicated through senses, feelings, memories of object and even emotions. The Ancients with this ability can sense other Ancient’s minds in a close proximity, and custom dictates permission must be asked before one talks to (or rather enters the mind of) another Ancient. A connection can be cut off at either end in a communication at any time. Connections can be maintained once started over a long distance, but the farther from someone is the more energy it takes to send information. It takes minimal amounts of energy to communicate to someone you are in contact with or in the close vicinity of. Additionally, sleep or unconsciousness ends the link.

    They can speak through normal means. Their bodies weren't always capable of speaking through thoughts. Despite the evolution of the race, they ar still able to communicate, but whatever language they used has long been forgotten. This means they can only speak in another race's language, and save speaking telepathically to their own kind and/or mate.

    How does this ability affect this people as a culture compared to those that speak?

    So things I'm wondering about are things like - labling a store or other objects, socialization, cause of war, Libraries would likely be memory storage areas (similar to what the trees in Avatar were), theater would instead be a broadcasted memory of perhaps an important event, or maybe even a trivial one. I have a feeling there would be a bunch of advancements in some areas, while other technologies stunted. This race can perform magic too, so keep that in mind. As you can see, I have some grasp on it, I just don't feel I've discovered the full implications of such ability.
    Last edited by TheWombatOfDoom; 2012-06-29 at 10:05 AM. Reason: wording better
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    It probably won't have THAT much of a dramatic impact. Still significant, but not as huge as one might expect.
    After all, people will discover very early on that memories from different people about the same events don't match. So you still have to consider if you follow the conclusions based on what the person did experience. It's like having three video tapes of the same event but from different angles and different distances, and the records are not completely focused on the subject but also many other things that are not within the field of view of the other two.
    And to cimplicate things further, memories are not video tapes, but fragments of data that the brain brings together in a narrative. Even pictures you clearly remember are not actual snapshots, but recreations of the scene based on the narrative stored in your brain.
    In addition, you only get the raw memory, but not the entire thought pattern of the person by which the content of the memory is analyzed and interpreted. Someone sees a shadow and thinks he recognizes it as the shape of a creature he knows. People who don't know the creature will see the shadow, but it's just a blob that looks like nothing they recognize.

    In that case, specialists and experts are still very important. I can give you blueprints for an aircraft, but you still would not be able to build it because you don't have the knowledge what the shapes, numbers, and lables mean, and what tools you would need and what materials you could use in place of the ones listed. Raw data is useless, it's the contecxt that makes them become information.

    Take this example:
    3 eggs
    1kg wheat flour
    1 liter lemon soda
    100g strawberries


    This is completely useless! Is it what someone wants to buy? Is this what currently is inside a cuppboard? Is it a recipe for a cake?
    That's what people would have to face when communicating with images from memory. Also, a historian would not just ask one witness and write things down exactly as the one person remembered and call that the complete truth. You need a collection of many memories and compare them to find the meaning of certain things and events and how they are related and such things.

    Regarding script, I'd expect something like you have in Chinese or Japan. You have symbols for specific objects and when you combine them they represent a concept. But you'd still need to have concensus what which combinations mean.
    "Sun" + "Moon" could mean all kinds of things, but everyone has agreed that it means "Light".
    Or "Sun" is also used to mean "Day" and combined with the symbol for "now" you get "Now + Sun" for "Today", in the same way that "Previous + Moon" means "Last Month".
    Or "Tree + Tree + Tree" means "Forest".

    It's both the beauty and the curse of such skripts that they work entirely without pronounciation. You can read whole sentences in Chinese and Japanese and understand them completely, while still not being able to pronounce them as you don't have any clue what sound is used to describe the concept and combination of symbols.

  28. - Top - End - #58
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Regarding script, I'd expect something like you have in Chinese or Japan. You have symbols for specific objects and when you combine them they represent a concept. But you'd still need to have concensus what which combinations mean.
    "Sun" + "Moon" could mean all kinds of things, but everyone has agreed that it means "Light".
    Or "Sun" is also used to mean "Day" and combined with the symbol for "now" you get "Now + Sun" for "Today", in the same way that "Previous + Moon" means "Last Month".
    Or "Tree + Tree + Tree" means "Forest".

    It's both the beauty and the curse of such skripts that they work entirely without pronounciation. You can read whole sentences in Chinese and Japanese and understand them completely, while still not being able to pronounce them as you don't have any clue what sound is used to describe the concept and combination of symbols.
    I wonder how they would do names as well. Would they be named by objects like native americans? Littletooth or Hornblower or some such.
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  29. - Top - End - #59
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Alright, so just a couple questions. I'm working on a campaign set in the far future after a nuclear war. The catch is that the nuclear war was so long ago that the enviroment has mostly restored itself and humanity is split into several(Actually quite a few) factions along North and Northern South America. The tech level is anywhere from Bronze age to Age of Exploration/Age of Sail depending on the location.

    My questions are this: How long would it take the enviroment to restore itself after a nuclear exchange? Not enough to completley destroy the world but one that managed to wipe out a good 90% of the population(Mostly through radiation and fallout, as well as conventional war)?
    How long would it take a group of humans with only limited means of survival be able to build up to the aforementioned tech level?

    Right now I'm thinking ABOUT 5,000 years, but I feel like that's either too long or too short.
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  30. - Top - End - #60
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    I recently read a number of discussions regarding this.

    One very important thing to note that a nuclear detonation and a nuclear power plant meltdown are on vastly different magnitudes when it comes to fissile materials.

    In a nuclear warhead you got a handful of kilograms of the stuff, in a powerplant several tons. This matters greatly when it comes to irradiating the affected areas. The halflife for most of the produced isotopes is fairly short, but there's a significant amount of it that will have halflifes of several thousand years.
    In power plants this is an issue since large amounts of it is produced. But in a nuclear weapon detonation it will be a fairly small amount. This means that while the dangerous isotopes will linger, it'll "soon" be in so small amounts that it's not dangerous.

    It'll take a few decades, but after that only the sites hit by multipiple megaton groundbursts will remain inhospitable.

    A good example of this would be to look at the two cities that actually got hit by nuclear weapons. They're thriving today.

    From what I understand, both the EMP and the Nuclear Winter are essentially myths. Or more accuratelly greatly exaggerated phenomena that's not nearly as dangerous as portrayed to be.

    Thus, nature will mostly be back to normal after a few decades. The areas that sustained the worst hits (military command bunkers) will probably remain poor places to visit for a century or so before the isotopes blend into the background radiation.

    As for humanity. It really depends on how many people that remains, how many people there were before and how much infrastructure and farmland that was destroyed.
    But overall, the regrowth will be comparable to the time it took to reach that population figure. So using our world as an example, going from 700 million to 7 billion would take about 120 years.
    If the exchange has resulted in farmland being completely destroyed, this regrowth will naturally go about much slower.

    As for technology, it'll be back to an comparable level in a few decades. Just about no technology will be permanentely lost because there's going to be some people left alive that remembers the basics behind it.
    Some venues might be abandoned because the infrastructure needed is lost. Fossil fuels for instance, could be abandoned due to the nuclear exchange causing a shortage never heard of before. But overall, technology will remain on the level it was. Catching up to what it would have been without an exchange would take much longer, but it would happen eventually.
    Once society starts to recover after the exchange and the hit nations start to reform the technological base will recover.

    I suggest reading the "Protect and Survive" threads on Alternate History.com. They're very good reading and people who worked with civil defence and nuclear war planning discuss this a lot in them.
    Last edited by Aux-Ash; 2012-06-29 at 04:00 PM.

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