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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    How common were Iron Age Houses?

    *SNIP*

    When you look for Iron Age houses and villages online, virtually all results you get will be of exactly this type.
    Is it just that there are very few finds that can be reconstructed and happen to be of this type, or was it's really that for thousands of years all over Europe virtually everyone was using exactly this type of house?
    It all depends on what you consider to be Iron Age, and there's the fact that the Iron Age occurred at different times for different people. For Southern Europe, the Iron Age is typically seen to end either with the start of the Roman, or fall of the Roman Empire. However, Scandinavia still had a society that could be considered as Iron Age up through 1000 AD, including the Viking Age.

    So, if you consider Vikings as the last major Iron Age group in Europe, then I suggest looking at their longhouses, which were often made of wood or turf:
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    Turf-covered Longhouse


    Wooden Longhouse


    However, if you discount that, then yes, one of the more common building types was the thatched roundhouse, which you have a picture of above. However, there were also stone structures, although these were typically more for fortification, such as the hill forts of Central Europe and England.

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    Celtic Roundhouse


    Dun Carloway, a Scottish Broch (fort), built circa 1st century BC


    Maiden Castle, example of a Hill Fort


    I'm sure there are other examples, but you need to realize that Iron Age spans a long time, and means different things for different eras. As stated earlier, there is some debate that the Roman Empire was an Iron Age civilization, so you could include their architecture in this category, as well as Greek architecture. It may help if you narrow your search a bit…

    EDIT: I should also point out that most of the Egyptian Empire falls under the "Iron Age" category. Iron tools dating back to 3000 BC were found in Egypt, meaning that their Iron Age started a good 500 years before the Great Pyramid of Giza was created, and continued until it's decline…
    Last edited by Ksheep; 2012-07-05 at 02:10 PM.
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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.

  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Well, main reason that I am asking is because calling them "Iron Age Houses" does seem incredibly simplistic and a gross over-generalization to me.

  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Well, main reason that I am asking is because calling them "Iron Age Houses" does seem incredibly simplistic and a gross over-generalization to me.
    Yeah, a bit of a generalization. However, as roundhouses were used in the British Isles, Ireland, Spain, and Italy, and they were used in several areas that were not "civilized" by the Romans (Celts, for instance), it is the type that has the most current usage. Ergo, those that are found aren't as damaged as other dwellings, some of which are nothing more than outlines on the ground by the time they are found. Still, the fact that the Scandinavian Longhouse was used around the same time, and just as widespread, and yet is not seen as "stereotypical Iron Age House"… probably has to do with the assumption that "Vikings came after the Romans, therefore they aren't Iron Age".
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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.

  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fri View Post
    I have a random question in my mind that I got a few days earlier, for anyone who have too much free time. It's neither important nor pressing.

    Imagine that there's a race that evolved telepathy early. Basically, they never created spoken language, because what's in their mind, ranging from "there's a tiger behind the tree beyond that hill" to "I'm in love with you but I also love that certain other girl because she has similar hobby to mine, but I actually indeed prefer you." can be transmited instantly to another person.

    What would their society looks like. And more importantly, if they ever got to modern age, what would their entertainment be, because this thing popped out of my mind when I was arguing over movies with my coworker, and I thought, how great if we could simply transmit our thought without using this imperfect language, but of course, if we don't have language, we won't have the movie that we're arguing with!
    There's a Humanx Commonwealth book (sci-fi series by Alan Dean Foster) that covers this plus a few other premises in one species. The species is underground, so they have near-vestigial eyes, and telepathy cannot lie. They evolved telepathy before a spoken language, and due to their environment, they have no other means of communication (can't write if you can't read it, and tactile systems take too much development for anyone to bother inventing them if you already have telepathy. Living in caves means you can't get to somewhere that you'd want to leave a message, since there's always someone else nearby). Criminals therefore do not exist, because everybody would know, and there's no way for someone to live on their own in that environment, especially for such a social species.
    Quote Originally Posted by jamieth View Post
    ...though Talla does her best to sound objective and impartial, it doesn't cover stuff like "ask a 9-year-old to tank for the party."
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  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Question: I'm in the beginning stages of a campaign setting. the cosmology is very simple. 1 "star" called the Source that constantly emits positive energy (with electromagnetic radiation such as light being refined forms of positive energy), 3 planets in a complex orbit around each other and the star, and a black hole called the Void that "emits" negative energy (actually absorbing normal, positive energy), including the "energies" of cold and darkness.

    the three planets are a roughly earth-like planet called Thera, a minor positive dominant planet called Elysium (the complex orbit of the planets causes it to spend the majority of the time closer to the Source than to the Void) and a minor negative dominant planet called Hades (as with elysium, but it spends most of its time closer to the Void).

    now, here is the question, what effects does this setup have on the development of life? i'm assuming that in an otherwise empty universe, liquid water would be much less common than on earth, so the planets will not have oceans, although they will have a few large seas where most of the water has collected. also, without any major space debris, mass extinctions would be rare or nonexistent, explaining the greater biodiversity of a D&D world compared to earth (variety of species, not number of species). but what other effects would there be?

    note that because of the magical nature of the energies in space, travel between the 3 planets, even with magic, is only possible during an alignment of all 3 directly between the Source and the Void, which happens once every 5,000 years, when the bulk of Elysium and Hades shield the space between them from most of the energy, causing a "tunnel" of stable energy that teleportation spells and spelljammers can penetrate safely.
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  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    You can't have planets orbiting a star and each other at the same time. You need to elaborate on what you propose the planets orbit to be like?

    Assuming "normal" formation of planets, water and asteroids would probably be just the same as in the solar system. The current model is that the solar system formed out of a single cloud of relatively uniform dust and gas.
    If you want there to be only the two stars and the three planets on the entire plane, then the real world processes of star and planet formation don't apply at all, and you can set everything pretty much as you want to.

  7. - Top - End - #97
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    funny, i could have sworn i read something about binary planets, planets that orbit each other, and orbit the star as a unit. although it would be extremely complex, is there anything that would absolutely prevent 3 planets from forming a similar phenomenon?

    if so, then i guess they can be in separate orbits around the sun, as long as they line up every 5,000 years. the number 5,000 is itself random, but it needs to be rare enough to be a very significant occurrence, while still being common enough to have happened several times within recorded history.

    scale: this is a micro universe, where the Source is the center of the universe, and the void marks the edge. now that i think about it, the Void isn't represented very well as a black hole, since a black hole is 1 discrete object. the Void is the edge of the universe, and material or energy that encounters it is destroyed and then transported back to the source, to be released again as raw energy. only objects of significant mass (the planets) aren't pushed outward by the constant flow of energy at any significant rate.

    water content: the majority of water on earth didn't form with the planet, but was deposited here by comets after the planet's formation. no comets equals much less water. same with asteroids. they got sucked into the void and reduced to raw energy. only the 3 planets were big enough to avoid this fate (so far). without the bombardment of comets and asteroids, there were fewer, if any, mass extinction events, causing the extreme variety of creatures typical of the fantasy genre. while different species may die off, at least some members of each group of species survive.
    78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

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  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    You can't have planets orbiting a star and each other at the same time. You need to elaborate on what you propose the planets orbit to be like?
    I think this is possible with twin planets: Two planets of comparable mass circling each other (effectively each counts as the other's moon), and the pair of them goes around the star. The orbit of each planet separately would be spiral-elliptical, resembling the orbit of the earth's moon. But the orbit of the system as a whole, which in fact passes in between them, would be elliptical like the orbit of the earth. More or less.

    It's not inconceivable to extrapolate from this a system of three planets, though it would be more complicated.

    But other than that, I agree with Yora. Catgirls. The formation of stars and planets goes back to the big bang, requires an expanding universe, and a lot of interaction between matter and energy. Hence, a lot of matter and energy: scattered around, clustering, collapsing, expanding, exploding. I can't imagine how a universe with only one star, one black hole and three planets could ever be possible. And if the rules don't apply, you make your own: do you want oceans? Then the planet has oceans. :)
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  9. - Top - End - #99
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    While it would be possible for three planets to "orbit" each other (rather, all three are orbiting a barycenter, which in turn is orbiting the sun), it would not be the case that one would be closer to the sun at all times, unless there are some really strange things going on.

    The only way I can think of this being possible would be if the center planet of this system was right on the barycenter and was massive compared to the other two, and the others are stationed at the L1 and L2 Lagrangian points… but then it wouldn't be a "once in 5000 years" alignment, but a "constantly aligned". Also, the outward one (the one at the L2 point) would be in a constant "solar" eclipse, whilst the inward one would cause a constant "lunar" eclipse on a spot on the main planet (it wouldn't be a constant black spot as seen from the ground, assuming the larger planet revolves on an axis that isn't aligned with the sun and other two planets).

    EDIT: Just for reference, here's a page with various orbit types for binary systems, triple systems, and quadruple systems. Note on the triple, it shows all three objects around one barycenter as well as two around one barycenter and that barycenter orbits a second barycenter with the third object.
    http://www.atlasoftheuniverse.com/orbits.html
    Last edited by Ksheep; 2012-07-05 at 05:01 PM.
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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.

  10. - Top - End - #100
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    yeah, it was needlessly complex for the sake of a cool mental image. in my second post i revised it so that the Source isn't a star, but the center of the universe, and the Void is the edge of the universe, and everything that gets sucked into the void cycles back around after being reduced to the most basic possible components. the 3 planets were the only things big enough at the creation of the universe that they aren't just carried away by the current like everything else. they don't orbit each other, they just slowly circle around the source, aligning once every 5,000 years to form a lull in the chaos that magic can pierce. btw, both Elysium and Hades are significantly bigger than Thera.
    78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

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  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Put the three planets all orbiting the Source. Make them orbit at different speeds in the same direction and plane (as in flat area). Add a magical element to the system that tries to balance the speeds of the three planets (call it some force of Law or something) but cannot quite manage it due to another force (call it Chaos) trying to keep the speeds different. End result is that relative to the middle planet, sometimes the inner one is a bit ahead, sometimes the outer one is ahead. It sort of bobs back and forth. Since the speed changes are slow (maybe Chaos increases the discrepancy only when they're close to lined up, as it can't plan for the future, and Law is slowed by red tape so it takes a while to react to Chaos messing with the speeds), they only actually line up rarely.

    They're not technically orbiting each other, but this way they still remain close together, only occasionally line up, and you get to make all four forces have a tangible effect in cosmology, instead of just two.
    Quote Originally Posted by jamieth View Post
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  12. - Top - End - #102
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Question about genetics, more to confirm what I think I know than anything else:

    My setting's goblins are a really diverse bunch: you've got goblins, hobgoblins, gobols (bugbears) as well as a lot of rare, hyper-specialized types. But all of them are actually part of a single species; they can interbreed, and their offspring all look the same until they're about ten years old, and then they metamorphose into an adult form depending on environmental factors during their childhood.

    1) Is it actually possible for a goblin individual to have genetic code for each of these subtypes, but only express the proteins for one of them?

    2) How realistic is it for a goblin's adult form to be influenced by childhood factors, with none of the possible forms dominant? The classic short, scrawny goblin is sort of the "base" form, which a goblin child will become if not exposed to enough metamorphosis triggers. Meldings of forms is impossible (or rare, resulting in birth defects). Is this realistic?

  13. - Top - End - #103
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Qwertystop View Post
    Put the three planets all orbiting the Source. Make them orbit at different speeds in the same direction and plane (as in flat area). Add a magical element to the system that tries to balance the speeds of the three planets (call it some force of Law or something) but cannot quite manage it due to another force (call it Chaos) trying to keep the speeds different. End result is that relative to the middle planet, sometimes the inner one is a bit ahead, sometimes the outer one is ahead. It sort of bobs back and forth. Since the speed changes are slow (maybe Chaos increases the discrepancy only when they're close to lined up, as it can't plan for the future, and Law is slowed by red tape so it takes a while to react to Chaos messing with the speeds), they only actually line up rarely.

    They're not technically orbiting each other, but this way they still remain close together, only occasionally line up, and you get to make all four forces have a tangible effect in cosmology, instead of just two.
    well, the source isn't technically good, nor is the void evil. they are just inanimate features of the universe. everything comes from the sources, goes to the void, and is then recycled. the relationship between positive energy/good, and negative energy/evil. is purely cultural, because the angels inhabit Elysium, and the demons inhabit Hades. note that both angels and demons are descendants of two warring nations originally native to Thera, and that they migrated because of the development of WMDs, to protect their society from any means of direct assault from the other. once they migrated, they (and the creatures they brought with them) mutated into their current forms because of the energy imbalance on the planets they inhabit. their alignment is purely cultural, however, and there are a few evil angels and good demons.
    78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

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  14. - Top - End - #104
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by kieza View Post
    1) Is it actually possible for a goblin individual to have genetic code for each of these subtypes, but only express the proteins for one of them?
    Probably. It'll involve some sort of epigenetics, where the genes in question are turned on or off. There are species like the clownfish which change sex in adulthood (all clownfish are born male and, when the female in the group dies, the dominant male becomes female), so I don't see why changing race during puberty would be that much more extreme.

    2) How realistic is it for a goblin's adult form to be influenced by childhood factors, with none of the possible forms dominant? The classic short, scrawny goblin is sort of the "base" form, which a goblin child will become if not exposed to enough metamorphosis triggers. Meldings of forms is impossible (or rare, resulting in birth defects). Is this realistic?
    Again, probably. Diet and stress (and other things causing hormone changes) would probably be good options for factors.

    (I'm not a geneticist, I just always liked my genetics courses )

  15. - Top - End - #105
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    I think this might be the best bet for the described planetary system:

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    There is one known 6-Star-System that is very much like this configuration.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by lunar2 View Post
    if so, then i guess they can be in separate orbits around the sun, as long as they line up every 5,000 years. the number 5,000 is itself random, but it needs to be rare enough to be a very significant occurrence, while still being common enough to have happened several times within recorded history.
    All history is recorded by definition. Do you realize how long 5,000 years is? All of human history from the earliest written words to the present day is a little over 5,000 years. 5,000 years ago, people were abandoning stone in favor of copper to make tools and weapons. You know what's happened since then? Everything else humans have ever done!

    Drop some zeroes.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    You can't have planets orbiting a star and each other at the same time. You need to elaborate on what you propose the planets orbit to be like?

    Assuming "normal" formation of planets, water and asteroids would probably be just the same as in the solar system. The current model is that the solar system formed out of a single cloud of relatively uniform dust and gas.
    If you want there to be only the two stars and the three planets on the entire plane, then the real world processes of star and planet formation don't apply at all, and you can set everything pretty much as you want to.
    Don't the dwarf planents (formerly pluto and its moon) orbit each other AND the sun?
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    Don't the dwarf planents (formerly pluto and its moon) orbit each other AND the sun?
    Technically, they are orbiting a barycenter, the center of gravity between the two. If the two bodies are the same mass, then the barycenter would be equidistant between the two bodies, but it would be shifted closer to the heavier of the two if they are of different mass…
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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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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    Don't the dwarf planents (formerly pluto and its moon) orbit each other AND the sun?
    The important differences are that double stars and planets are orbiting "together" around their shared center of gravity and not "around each other", and I am not aware of any cases in which three bodies form one unit.

    The craziest system I know is Castor, with six stars:

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    You have to big stars forming a binary system, both orbiting their shared center of gravity. Both of these two big stars also have a dwarf star orbiting them like planets.
    And in orbit around the whole thing is another binary dwarf system.

    And to make things crazier, all six of these stars could have planets. Which may include binary planets and moons. And possibly binary planets that have moons orbiting the shared center of gravity of the two planets.

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

    You also have (if you allow for more fictional places) the Verse of the Firefly series. One solar system with 5 stars, multiple protostars, dozens of planets, and hundreds of moons.

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    The system has five stars and seven brown dwarf/protostars. All the stars orbit the White Sun, (also called 34 Tauri (2020) A, or Bai Hu (White Tiger) by the Chinese), which is a class A0 giant, 2.5 times bigger than Sol and 80 times as bright. The "Central Planets" are the terrestrial worlds that orbit the White Sun. Farther out in this system the Red Sun (a class G5, also called 34 Tauri (2020) B, or Zhu Que (Red Phoenix)) and Georgia (class G0, also called 34 Tauri (2020) C, Huang Long (Yellow Dragon)) share an orbit and worlds orbiting these stars are referred to as "Border Planets". The fourth star Kalidasa (class F5, also called 34 Tauri (2020) D, or Xuan Wu (Black Tortoise)), and its planets orbit next. After that, the fifth and last star Blue Sun, (class F0, also called 34 Tauri (2020) E, or Qing Long (Blue Dragon)), and its planets orbit. Worlds orbiting these last two stars comprise "The Rim". Planets too far away from the biozones of the main stars are sustained for habitability by a series of protostars. The protostars Qin Shi Huang and Lux orbit the White Sun. Murphy orbits Georgia. Himmbjřrg and Heinlein orbit the Red Sun, Penglai orbits Kalidasa, and Burnham orbits the Blue Sun.
    Last edited by Ksheep; 2012-07-06 at 10:34 AM.
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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.

  21. - Top - End - #111
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    All history is recorded by definition. Do you realize how long 5,000 years is? All of human history from the earliest written words to the present day is a little over 5,000 years. 5,000 years ago, people were abandoning stone in favor of copper to make tools and weapons. You know what's happened since then? Everything else humans have ever done!

    Drop some zeroes.
    well, as with most fantasy worlds, humankind is both significantly older and reached civilization much quicker than real humanity, because of the interference of older, more advanced races such as dragons. in this world, dragons are one end result of dinosaur evolution (warmblooded, bird hipped, intelligent scaly things), with birds and the few surviving dinosaur species being the other branches of that particular tree. humans split into several species (human, elf, dwarf, halfling, goblin, orc. no hybrids, reptilian humanoids, or gnomes) naturally, and evolved into angels and demons supernaturally. note that the "demons" in this setting are more like the baatezu than the tanarri. they want to control everything, not destroy it. this will definitely be a magitec society (not tippyverse, since none of the limited list casters can create a teleportation circle, and they are the only ones that even get 9s), especially on Elysium and Hades.
    78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Ksheep View Post
    You also have (if you allow for more fictional places) the Verse of the Firefly series. One solar system with 5 stars, multiple protostars, dozens of planets, and hundreds of moons.

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    The system has five stars and seven brown dwarf/protostars. All the stars orbit the White Sun, (also called 34 Tauri (2020) A, or Bai Hu (White Tiger) by the Chinese), which is a class A0 giant, 2.5 times bigger than Sol and 80 times as bright. The "Central Planets" are the terrestrial worlds that orbit the White Sun. Farther out in this system the Red Sun (a class G5, also called 34 Tauri (2020) B, or Zhu Que (Red Phoenix)) and Georgia (class G0, also called 34 Tauri (2020) C, Huang Long (Yellow Dragon)) share an orbit and worlds orbiting these stars are referred to as "Border Planets". The fourth star Kalidasa (class F5, also called 34 Tauri (2020) D, or Xuan Wu (Black Tortoise)), and its planets orbit next. After that, the fifth and last star Blue Sun, (class F0, also called 34 Tauri (2020) E, or Qing Long (Blue Dragon)), and its planets orbit. Worlds orbiting these last two stars comprise "The Rim". Planets too far away from the biozones of the main stars are sustained for habitability by a series of protostars. The protostars Qin Shi Huang and Lux orbit the White Sun. Murphy orbits Georgia. Himmbjřrg and Heinlein orbit the Red Sun, Penglai orbits Kalidasa, and Burnham orbits the Blue Sun.
    That's really quite a clever solution.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by kieza View Post
    Question about genetics, more to confirm what I think I know than anything else:

    My setting's goblins are a really diverse bunch: you've got goblins, hobgoblins, gobols (bugbears) as well as a lot of rare, hyper-specialized types. But all of them are actually part of a single species; they can interbreed, and their offspring all look the same until they're about ten years old, and then they metamorphose into an adult form depending on environmental factors during their childhood.

    1) Is it actually possible for a goblin individual to have genetic code for each of these subtypes, but only express the proteins for one of them?

    2) How realistic is it for a goblin's adult form to be influenced by childhood factors, with none of the possible forms dominant? The classic short, scrawny goblin is sort of the "base" form, which a goblin child will become if not exposed to enough metamorphosis triggers. Meldings of forms is impossible (or rare, resulting in birth defects). Is this realistic?
    I remember the first time you asked this, so:
    1) Entirely possible for this to occur. Another example would be social insects- the main genetic differences are if they're haploid/diploid (male/female) and epigenetic factors (queens vs. drones).
    2) Entirely possible. You'd have differing ratios between each type, but it would work. "Meldings" would probably be caused by mutations and may or may not cause birth defects (depends on what the genes in question do- if they have other unrelated roles this may happen). They could also cause deformity/death during the metamorphosis, depending on how that all works.

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    I agree with that. While it is apparently not common in mammals like humans, dogs, or horses, insects, fish, and reptiles are extremely "flexible" when it comes to these things.
    In a fictional world I don't see any reason why a similar genetic mechanism would be impossible in an apparently mammalian species like goblins.
    There are even some existing species that can quite radically change their anatomy in later stages of their life completely dependent only on the social structure of the group, like one kind of fish in which each group has only one female and one fertile male, and when the female dies, the fertile male turns female and one of the infertile males becomes fertile.

    I would say the best way to handle it is to say that all goblionoids start out as "basic goblins" and when they reach maturity they either stay that way or keep growing into one of the other types.

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

    I have a similar genetics question. In my setting, unicorns and pegasi are the same species. Unicorns are male, and pegasi are female. Is it realistically possible for a mammalian species to be so different that one gender actually has 2 extra functioning limbs (plus the bone structure differences a flying animal would have compared to a non-flying one)? I'm not asking whether it's actually happened (obviously not) but whether it would even be realistic.
    78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by lunar2 View Post
    I have a similar genetics question. In my setting, unicorns and pegasi are the same species. Unicorns are male, and pegasi are female. Is it realistically possible for a mammalian species to be so different that one gender actually has 2 extra functioning limbs (plus the bone structure differences a flying animal would have compared to a non-flying one)? I'm not asking whether it's actually happened (obviously not) but whether it would even be realistic.
    If you do some handwaving and say it's a sex-linked trait, you could get away with it. This way the HOX genes or whatever is regulating wings wouldn't activate when some protein encoded on the Y-chromosome is present. As for the other structural differences, you could also chalk it up to differences in gender, but I'll note that pegasi are not exactly built right to fly in the first place, so this isn't so much of a concern. It's also possible that both males and females display the "pro-flight" traits, but only the females use them for such assuming they don't detract from overall fitness too much.
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Working wings are quite a huge difference, but genetically there's not much of a problem. A Unicorn would probably have very tiny bones in its shoulders that never developed into wings.
    From what I know, all animals develop the same way in the first months regardless of sex, and anything that has started to develop at that stage can't be removed later. But it can be stopped from continuing developing depending on sex or other factors. Humans have many such things in the case of genetalia, where the same basic organs develop completely different to the extend that they are no longer recognizable. Or for example wales have tiny tighbones that don't do anything, but are part of the basic blueprints for all mamals at very early stage of development and the special whale characteristics only start to form when the bones have already started to develop.

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    actually, iirc, the "thighs" of a whale do support the genitalia, or something like that. but i get the point. So, bottom line is that it's unlikely that they would appear exactly as they do, but there's nothing inherently wrong with the setup.
    78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

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

    Medieval cities:

    1. How much farmland was necessary for a city to support itself (or nearly so)? I assume the needs progress in a linear fashion and not an exponential one, so we'll go with a city of 5,000.

    2. How much grazing land for that same city?

    3. Sewage. What did they do with it? I assume a large portion went onto those fields.
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Morghen View Post
    Medieval cities:

    1. How much farmland was necessary for a city to support itself (or nearly so)? I assume the needs progress in a linear fashion and not an exponential one, so we'll go with a city of 5,000.

    2. How much grazing land for that same city?

    3. Sewage. What did they do with it? I assume a large portion went onto those fields.
    For the first two, I'd suggest looking at this. Approximately 180 people per square mile of farm/ranch land. Not sure how accurate it is to real life (probably varied a LOT depending on region, season, etc), but it's a start.

    As for sewage, again depends on era and location. Some places (London circa 1700) would just throw the sewage into the streets, whereas some places would have waste collection set up, whereby the excrement would be reused, whether in the fields or for other purposes is up to you (historically, vast amounts of urine was used to make phosphorus before the industry switched to bones and, eventually, mined rock).
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    *It does.*

    What.

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