Page 5 of 50 FirstFirst 12345678910111213141530 ... LastLast
Results 121 to 150 of 1476
  1. - Top - End - #121
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Germany

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

    Also depends a lot on where you are. ca. 500 to 1500 is not only a very large range of time, outside of Europe you can also find highly different conditions. Cities in China could be 20 times as large as in Germany, which requires drastically different infrastructure and use of land.

  2. - Top - End - #122
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Gender
    Male

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

    Urine is also a major component in leather making. Which is generally why the tanning district is as far away from the rich settlement as is possible in most cultures.

  3. - Top - End - #123
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Germany

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

    And preferably both downriver and downwind.

  4. - Top - End - #124
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Conners's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Gender
    Male

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

    If you had a race of the genetically perfect humans or whichever, how much better would they plausibly be? Like, "a lot", "an awful lot", "a crazy lot", or "not as much as you'd think"?
    My Happy Song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcRj9lQDVGY
    Credit goes to Lord_Herman for the fantastic Joseph avatar (and the also fantastic Kremle avatar which I can't use because I'm already using the Joseph one).

  5. - Top - End - #125
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Spiryt's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Poland
    Gender
    Male

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Conners View Post
    If you had a race of the genetically perfect humans or whichever, how much better would they plausibly be? Like, "a lot", "an awful lot", "a crazy lot", or "not as much as you'd think"?
    "Genetic perfection" it's pretty much empty term, which is often understood weirdly.

    "Perfection" is pretty entirely relative to the conditions out there.

    6 feet 5, 280 pounds powerful, fast twitch human may seem completely 'superior' to much smaller, clunkier one, but in situation where there's not enough food, space, or where humans must just run * a lot * from some predators, it's actually becoming a problem.

    Certain micro-flora and general metabolism configurations, will obviously be much more complicated, and mutually exclusive as well, some people will be better suited, genetically to face certain food, weather, diseases etc. than others.

    So it generally get's complicated quickly, but generally 'perfect genes' were mostly sad and dangerous dreams of some guys in USA/Sweden/Germany etc. in 19th/20th century.
    Avatar by Kwarkpudding
    The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
    Rush in and die, dogs—I was a man before I was a king.

    Whoever makes shoddy beer, shall be thrown into manure - town law from Gdańsk, XIth century.

  6. - Top - End - #126
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Conners's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Gender
    Male

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

    6 feet 5, 280 pounds powerful, fast twitch human may seem completely 'superior' to much smaller, clunkier one, but in situation where there's not enough food, space, or where humans must just run * a lot * from some predators, it's actually becoming a problem.
    I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean with this part. Someone who is large and health tends to be as good a runner (or better) than someone who is smaller and less healthy.

    In general, I see a lot more advantages to the 6 foot 5, healthy human, than I do disadvantages. Though, you might've just been using this as an example.
    My Happy Song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcRj9lQDVGY
    Credit goes to Lord_Herman for the fantastic Joseph avatar (and the also fantastic Kremle avatar which I can't use because I'm already using the Joseph one).

  7. - Top - End - #127
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Spiryt's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Poland
    Gender
    Male

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Conners View Post
    I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean with this part. Someone who is large and health tends to be as good a runner (or better) than someone who is smaller and less healthy.

    In general, I see a lot more advantages to the 6 foot 5, healthy human, than I do disadvantages. Though, you might've just been using this as an example.
    I meant 'clunkier' as less dexterous, not less healthy.

    Such a big humans are decent short distance runners, even thogh much smaller ones are optimal (I'm pretty sure that almost no top sprinters were bigger than ~ 100kg) but such build absolutely won't work very well at running greater distances, like the ones primal humans often had to cover.

    Even with healthiest conditions possible, best food etc. such man would be quickly slimmed down a lot to accommodate running long distances, for example. Though 'genetically' he still wouldn't be optimal.
    Avatar by Kwarkpudding
    The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
    Rush in and die, dogs—I was a man before I was a king.

    Whoever makes shoddy beer, shall be thrown into manure - town law from Gdańsk, XIth century.

  8. - Top - End - #128
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Conners's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Gender
    Male

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

    Clunky as in not very dexterous, or just less dexterous?

    Such a big humans are decent short distance runners, even thogh much smaller ones are optimal (I'm pretty sure that almost no top sprinters were bigger than ~ 100kg) but such build absolutely won't work very well at running greater distances, like the ones primal humans often had to cover.
    How is it for cross-country marathons?
    My Happy Song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcRj9lQDVGY
    Credit goes to Lord_Herman for the fantastic Joseph avatar (and the also fantastic Kremle avatar which I can't use because I'm already using the Joseph one).

  9. - Top - End - #129
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Geostationary's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Town

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

    I think what you're not understanding is that "perfect genes" is a rather meaningless term, unless you're trying to describe an organism perfectly adapted to its environment, which would also most likely make it helpless in any other environment. With the human examples Spiryt is giving, you're assuming that a larger, taller, etc. human is preferable when this may not be the case- there's no reason that a smaller, "weaker", human may not be preferable to the larger one. You're assuming that larger=healthier&better when this is not the case. Larger organisms also have limited in ways that smaller ones are not by virtue of their size, which is another factor to consider.

    Basically, there's nothing inherently better about the humans you appear to be envisioning as the "superior" strain, and they may not even be favored by selection due to a variety of evolutionary and environmental reasons.
    Avatar by Lord Fullbladder, Master of Goblins! Three cheers and all that.

  10. - Top - End - #130
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    127.0.0.1
    Gender
    Male

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

    To continue on this train of thought, while a larger human may have some advantages (can reach higher, longer reach, longer strides), they also have major downsides (lower stamina, difficulty getting blood to all organs, more likely to have congenital heart failure).

    For a (rather extreme) example, look at Robert Wadlow: he bordered on 9 feet tall, but he needed braces in order to stand or walk and didn't have any feeling in his lower extremities. He died at age 22 due to an infection of a blister on his ankle caused by his brace.
    Proud owner of: 0.36 0.43 Internet(s) and 2 Win(s)

    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    *Proceeds to google "Bride of the Portable Hole", jokingly wondering if it might exist*

    *It does.*

    What.

  11. - Top - End - #131
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    J.Gellert's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Greece
    Gender
    Male

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Ksheep View Post
    For a (rather extreme) example, look at Robert Wadlow: he bordered on 9 feet tall, but he needed braces in order to stand or walk and didn't have any feeling in his lower extremities. He died at age 22 due to an infection of a blister on his ankle caused by his brace.
    That's a disease, and cannot be used for comparison in any case.

  12. - Top - End - #132
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Gender
    Male

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

    It's also well worth to point out that in terms of fitness and health, upbrining matter a lot. Possibly even more than genes themselves, it's a bit unclear as to exactly how much (look into the "nature or nurture" debate for more information).

    How you're fed as a child, how much you exercise (and how much you injure yourself when exercising), how exposed you are to diseases, education are all very important aspects in forming a fully healthy and intelligent adult.
    A person that has "perfect" genes but is malnourished since childhood is not going to be stronger, smarter and healthier than someone with "lesser" genes.

    Genetics won't really make anyone immune to things either, so an unfortunate infection can ruin the development of even the most ideal genetic predispositions.

    Human development is very very complex. We really only barely scratch the surface of it with our knowledge. But genetics is just one aspect of a multitude.

    I agree with most others though that perfect genetics is a pretty pointless expression. Unless you have an ideal phenotype (dangerous territory, as others have pointed out) there's no such thing.

    Also, if all these "perfect" humans have a similar genetic makeup, they'll be at -higher- risk of genetic disorders among one another than a widely diverse group. Because of inherent problems in replication that is the same for every human, it's far more likely that people of similar genetic makeup spread an error than people with very dissimilar genes.

  13. - Top - End - #133
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    127.0.0.1
    Gender
    Male

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

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Gellert View Post
    That's a disease, and cannot be used for comparison in any case.
    But it shows the complications of being overly large. If you look at the list of tallest people on record, most of them died young, and most of them died due to some complication due to their size. Also, a fair number of them had difficulty standing, among other things.

    There is a reason why average height for humans is around 5'6" - 6' (depending on region): This seems to be the optimal height. Any larger, and your body can't supply enough oxygen and nutrients to all of it's organs. Any smaller, and you've got a whole other slew of problems: difficulty breathing during sleep, poor motor skills, bowed legs…

    Even if you are of average height, there are other things to consider. While extremely pale skin is great in the northern latitudes (helps with Vitamin D production in the short days during winter), it's horrible if you live in the tropics (easy to sunburn, increased risk of skin cancer). One of the reasons that people in tropical regions have very dark skin. Now, which of these is more "genetically perfect"? If you listened to certain European countries circa 1940, you'd say the caucasian…*but they would be ill-suited to live in a fair chunk of the world (appx. half the landmass, depending on where you draw the line). One of the reasons that humans are so successful is because they are diverse and can adapt (over the course of some generations) to fit many different areas.
    Last edited by Ksheep; 2012-07-11 at 11:29 AM.
    Proud owner of: 0.36 0.43 Internet(s) and 2 Win(s)

    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    *Proceeds to google "Bride of the Portable Hole", jokingly wondering if it might exist*

    *It does.*

    What.

  14. - Top - End - #134
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

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

    Even certain 'obviously' bad things like sickle cell anemia have situations in which they're beneficial (sickle cell anemia helps against malaria), and the problem is when they occur too strongly (certain recessive traits that can 'double up') or when they occur outside their optimal environment.

    The question gets a bit more interesting if you allow for genetic advancements not currently present in the population but theoretically compatible with the human species, since then at least you can discuss the idea of currently inaccessible or at least un-accessed genetic traits. Also, if you look at optimality for the individual rather than the species then the picture changes too (things like senescence - aging - are species-level benefits but individual maluses). Most things past the end of reproductive viability aren't under strong selection, but are still relevant to the individual humans.

    For instance, humans with a blue whale's genetic repair mechanisms would basically get cancer at a rate 2000 times lower.

    There are other things that could be adapted to that humans haven't had time to adapt to, such as the fact that human lifespans right now are about twice as long as most creatures our size. There's a whole host of 'new' diseases that crop up just because we would've been dead from violence or infection long before their age range of occurrence.

  15. - Top - End - #135
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Qwertystop's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Gender
    Male

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

    Yeah, there are certainly things that are good in just about every situation (or at least never bad). Assuming NichG's representation of blue whale genetic repair mechanisms was accurate, I can't see any disadvantage to it (though admittedly I'd never heard of it before). Any sort of disease-resistance is probably always a good thing, as would be a more efficient metabolism.
    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."
    My Homebrew
    Avatar by Ceika.
    Spoiler: Pokemon
    Show
    Friend Code: 1805-2284-9978
    Friend Safari: Mightyena, Crawdaunt, Absol
    I have Aerodactyl, Chansey, Drilbur, Eevee, Elekid, Frillish, Heracross, Honedge, Horsea, Kabuto, Larvesta, Magnemite, Mareep, Phantump, Porygon, Roselia, Rotom, Shellder, Shuppet, Squirtle, Starly, Tynamo, Venipede, Whismur.

  16. - Top - End - #136
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Geostationary's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Town

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

    The caveat with generally beneficial traits being that they can consume more resources, may interact with other genes in peculiar ways, and may generally do bad things that you don't want happening in exchange for better health in a specific area.
    As an example, you now have a mutation that lets you regrow brain cells! Huzzah! On the other hand you're now 10x more likely to develop brain cancer! Boo!

    It's all a matter of trade-offs and unexpected consequences, so even the "good" traits can be a bad at times. Unless you have a very specific set of circumstances in mind, there is no "best" configuration.

    This could also make for an interesting scenario where such advancements are made, only to have a whole slew of new, unforeseen problems arise, be they social or otherwise.
    Avatar by Lord Fullbladder, Master of Goblins! Three cheers and all that.

  17. - Top - End - #137
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Conners's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Gender
    Male

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Geostationary View Post
    I think what you're not understanding is that "perfect genes" is a rather meaningless term, unless you're trying to describe an organism perfectly adapted to its environment, which would also most likely make it helpless in any other environment. With the human examples Spiryt is giving, you're assuming that a larger, taller, etc. human is preferable when this may not be the case- there's no reason that a smaller, "weaker", human may not be preferable to the larger one. You're assuming that larger=healthier&better when this is not the case. Larger organisms also have limited in ways that smaller ones are not by virtue of their size, which is another factor to consider.

    Basically, there's nothing inherently better about the humans you appear to be envisioning as the "superior" strain, and they may not even be favored by selection due to a variety of evolutionary and environmental reasons.
    You're making quite a few assumptions about what I assume :-/.


    Couldn't find cross country, but for World Marathon Majors, the winner of 2006 is 6' 03". He continues to get good placings for the next few years. Relatively short men also win the marathons, so it mostly shows that size doesn't make a fatal difference.


    @Aux-Ash: That's what I'm wondering. How much does having ideal genetics effect things? This might be too unknown an area to consider. But, just humans who don't get sick, or don't get sick often--it'd be interesting to wonder how that'd change things.

    To have a very good gene pool, you'd need genes that not only result in healthy humans, but also need to be diverse, so that children have good genes as well.


    @Ksheep: Being big because of a birth complication and being big due to genetics are rather different. Obviously, we don't get any really big humans without problems (far as I know), because our genetics aren't working out that way. If our genetics were different, you could probably get pretty big, healthy humans.


    The question gets a bit more interesting if you allow for genetic advancements not currently present in the population but theoretically compatible with the human species, since then at least you can discuss the idea of currently inaccessible or at least un-accessed genetic traits. Also, if you look at optimality for the individual rather than the species then the picture changes too (things like senescence - aging - are species-level benefits but individual maluses). Most things past the end of reproductive viability aren't under strong selection, but are still relevant to the individual humans.
    Mm, this sort of speculation and thought is pretty interesting to me.


    @Geostationary: There are some traits that don't have very notable drawbacks. Some people are just healthier, and others are just sicklier.
    My Happy Song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcRj9lQDVGY
    Credit goes to Lord_Herman for the fantastic Joseph avatar (and the also fantastic Kremle avatar which I can't use because I'm already using the Joseph one).

  18. - Top - End - #138
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Geostationary's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Town

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Conners View Post
    You're making quite a few assumptions about what I assume :-/.
    Fair enough.



    @Aux-Ash: That's what I'm wondering. How much does having ideal genetics effect things? This might be too unknown an area to consider. But, just humans who don't get sick, or don't get sick often--it'd be interesting to wonder how that'd change things.

    To have a very good gene pool, you'd need genes that not only result in healthy humans, but also need to be diverse, so that children have good genes as well.
    On the other hand, let's not forget the competition. While we're busy drastically improving ourselves via genetic engineering of some form or another, we're also forcing pathogens to adapt or die- while this may kill off some of them, other will be back with a vengeance if they prove capable of breaking through our improved defenses. This is where having "nonideal" genes is useful, as they 1)improve diversity and 2)provide protection against novel mutations in harmful pathogens. By narrowing down the pool, you're limiting the potential defenses; however this also depends on how you're achieving this. Were you planning on having selective breeding, genetic engineering, or some other system in place? This is important, and will also give you an idea as to how future human society may develop, another interesting question.

    @Ksheep: Being big because of a birth complication and being big due to genetics are rather different. Obviously, we don't get any really big humans without problems (far as I know), because our genetics aren't working out that way. If our genetics were different, you could probably get pretty big, healthy humans.


    Mm, this sort of speculation and thought is pretty interesting to me.


    @Geostationary: There are some traits that don't have very notable drawbacks. Some people are just healthier, and others are just sicklier.
    Actually, they aren't. Gigantism is often the result of a genetic disorder, with all that that entails. If we did have a different genome, we may be able to get larger, but at that point we'd probably either not be obviously "human" or running afoul of physical laws- I'd need someone else to comment on the feasibility of such a thing. As for sicklyness, the problem is a matter of genes and situation. You can be quite healthy in a given environment, yet be sickly in another. An excellent example already mentioned is sickle cell, which is preferable if you are a heterozygote and living in a malaria-infested region; otherwise you're going to be worse off than someone without the allele. I agree that sometimes traits are generally just "better", but they aren't that common, and are subject to all the usual limitations of genes and their interactions.

    So, how were you planning on humans reaching this point? That's also a rather interesting question, and could provide a better idea of their society and views on the "ideal".
    Avatar by Lord Fullbladder, Master of Goblins! Three cheers and all that.

  19. - Top - End - #139
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Conners's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Gender
    Male

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

    This is important, and will also give you an idea as to how future human society may develop, another interesting question.
    That is an interesting question. Hmm... Come to think of it, if the diseases do get stronger, but your immune systems are stronger, won't that just revert things to square one?

    Or, maybe a lot of the viruses die off, but a few ones manage to survive? Not sure how viruses adapt to stronger immune systems, so I can't say.

    Were you planning on having selective breeding, genetic engineering, or some other system in place?
    Originally, I was focusing on how different having the right genes might be. Though, if you changed the genes significantly enough, they mightn't seem human.

    Spoiler
    Show
    I agree that sometimes traits are generally just "better", but they aren't that common, and are subject to all the usual limitations of genes and their interactions.
    So, there aren't that many traits we know of which are good well-rounded sorts?

    So, how were you planning on humans reaching this point? That's also a rather interesting question, and could provide a better idea of their society and views on the "ideal".
    Wasn't meaning the question for anything specifically (there are a lot of possibilities), was just wondering how suped up a human (or human-like) being can get through genetics. Whether their athletes would be better than ours, their bodies requiring more or less food, etc... it could change a lot of things about their society.
    My Happy Song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcRj9lQDVGY
    Credit goes to Lord_Herman for the fantastic Joseph avatar (and the also fantastic Kremle avatar which I can't use because I'm already using the Joseph one).

  20. - Top - End - #140
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Gender
    Male

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Conners View Post
    That is an interesting question. Hmm... Come to think of it, if the diseases do get stronger, but your immune systems are stronger, won't that just revert things to square one?

    Or, maybe a lot of the viruses die off, but a few ones manage to survive? Not sure how viruses adapt to stronger immune systems, so I can't say.
    The immune system happens to be one of those things that are not genetically developed (or at least, the majority is not genetically developed). You could probably alter it to make it marginally better. But a stronger immunesystem is one that sustained and survived lots of infections.

    If there's only a few pathogens left, immunesystems by and large will be weaker. Not stronger. Many recent studies suggest that allergies is a result of understimulated immunesystems, as opposed to flaws in it.

    Originally, I was focusing on how different having the right genes might be. Though, if you changed the genes significantly enough, they mightn't seem human.
    That's not very likely, the genome is massive and a few changes here and there will probably still be within the median variance within our species. Remember, we share 99,5 % of the genome with chimpanzees, 90 % with mice and ~60 % with funghi. And even then... that 0,5 %? That's 16 million basepairs.

    Singificant changes indeed.

    Wasn't meaning the question for anything specifically (there are a lot of possibilities), was just wondering how suped up a human (or human-like) being can get through genetics. Whether their athletes would be better than ours, their bodies requiring more or less food, etc... it could change a lot of things about their society.
    The changes will most likely at best be marginal. Genes do an amazing much, but unless you've studied genetics you're unlikely to appriciate how huge it is. To anyone else, they can probably come across as rather disappointing.
    I guess with the right genes, society would by and large have some advantages over our's. But not large enough to outcompete us on every level. And they'll still largely face the same issues.

  21. - Top - End - #141
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    J.Gellert's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Greece
    Gender
    Male

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Aux-Ash View Post
    That's not very likely, the genome is massive and a few changes here and there will probably still be within the median variance within our species. Remember, we share 99,5 % of the genome with chimpanzees, 90 % with mice and ~60 % with funghi. And even then... that 0,5 %? That's 16 million basepairs.
    Of course most of the genome is "trash", only a very small percentage is actually used to store information (genes).

    That we share 99,5% of the genome with chimps means that we have common ancestry (and thus common junk sequences), not that we are only 0,5% different.
    Last edited by J.Gellert; 2012-07-12 at 01:01 PM.

  22. - Top - End - #142
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Archpaladin Zousha's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    The Vale of Thorns
    Gender
    Male

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

    Question: I'm currently trying to build a campaign setting where the core concept is all the Sealed Evils In Cans got unsealed at the same time and are now wreaking havoc on the world. The deities of the setting (whom I haven't figured out yet) are all dead because they sacrificed their lives fighting these evils. That sacrifice is what has given mortalkind a chance at survival, with civilized races such as humans, elves and such allying with their enemies like orcs, kobolds and gnolls and forming a new post-apocalyptic society where they live in the shadows of these massive monsters and are building the strength to take their world back.

    My big question is what the fact that the gods were real and that they're now dead would mean for the state of the world. Obviously if various aspects of the world were controlled by the gods the world would have been screwed the minute one of them bit it (killing the god of the sun causes the sun to go out, meaning no photosynthesis or weather, which means no life is possible, or no god of the oceans meaning all the water in the world dries up). But how do I represent the fact that the death of the gods is a very bad thing and they need to be replaced as quickly as possible?

    Two, how should they be replaced? Part of the concept of the campaign is that there's a pack of super-wizards who are basically just rip-offs of the Ten Who Were Taken from Glen Cook's Black Company series, and they're the ones who were actually responsible for the gods' deaths. After the gods were weakened fighting the evils, these guys swooped in out of nowhere and ganked them. I don't want them to be actual gods (though they're powerful enough that they might as well be), but then what happens to the gods' power after its death if it doesn't transfer to the gods' slayer?

    Finally, what effect would this have on society? The various churches would basically be useless, as they no longer have spell-casting abilities since the beings that provided them are dead and their spiritual core has been lost since their object of devotion was murdered basically in front of their eyes. I know this is probably a thorny issue, but I'm having trouble developing the place the PC's are supposed to come from, this new society struggling to protect its fragile borders and eventually seek out the evils and destroy them themselves.

    THE TEN-MINUTE BACKGROUND
    Based off of the Minimus RPG engine, copyright 2008 Ad Astra Games, used with permission. Minimus is donation-ware, if you like it, please contribute as per the instructions in the file.

    Grey Warden avatar courtesy of Dorian Soth. Many thanks!

  23. - Top - End - #143
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

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

    i actually have a "zombie" question. remember the zombieland movie, where zombies are caused by mad cow disease jumping to humans? that got me thinking about genetic engineering gone wrong.

    the premise is this:

    some scientist makes a virus that delivers new genetic material/alters existing material, whatever. this new material alters the way humans heal, cutting healing times roughly in half, and allowing limbs and stuff to eventually grow back. there are 2 main drawbacks to this, though.

    1. the brain now regenerates over a period of roughly 6 months, causing memory and skill loss. basically, if you haven't used a particular piece of information in the last 6 months, you don't have it anymore, causing a progressive loss of memory, advanced skills, etc. it wouldn't effect skills used on a regular basis, such as walking, running, or basic tool use, since those get rewritten often enough not to be significantly affected.

    2. the increased healing rates and faster cell replacement drastically increase metabolism, causing a need for large amounts of food.

    the virus can be spread from host to host by fluid contact. bites, kisses, and sex are the most common means of transfer.

    the end result: a creature that looks mostly human, but operates at a nearly instinctive level, and is almost always hungry. it would probably take a few days for the first symptoms to show up (increased appetite and/or rapid weight loss), with full transformation taking as much as a year.

    would this be a realistic zombie?
    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.

    Where did you start yours?

    The PCs were already a special forces type unit in a kingdom's military, so the campaign started in the general's office.

    Extended Homebrew Signature

  24. - Top - End - #144
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Geostationary's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Town

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Archpaladin Zousha View Post
    Question:
    ...

    My big question is what the fact that the gods were real and that they're now dead would mean for the state of the world. Obviously if various aspects of the world were controlled by the gods the world would have been screwed the minute one of them bit it (killing the god of the sun causes the sun to go out, meaning no photosynthesis or weather, which means no life is possible, or no god of the oceans meaning all the water in the world dries up). But how do I represent the fact that the death of the gods is a very bad thing and they need to be replaced as quickly as possible?

    Two, how should they be replaced? Part of the concept of the campaign is that there's a pack of super-wizards who are basically just rip-offs of the Ten Who Were Taken from Glen Cook's Black Company series, and they're the ones who were actually responsible for the gods' deaths. After the gods were weakened fighting the evils, these guys swooped in out of nowhere and ganked them. I don't want them to be actual gods (though they're powerful enough that they might as well be), but then what happens to the gods' power after its death if it doesn't transfer to the gods' slayer?

    Finally, what effect would this have on society? The various churches would basically be useless, as they no longer have spell-casting abilities since the beings that provided them are dead and their spiritual core has been lost since their object of devotion was murdered basically in front of their eyes. I know this is probably a thorny issue, but I'm having trouble developing the place the PC's are supposed to come from, this new society struggling to protect its fragile borders and eventually seek out the evils and destroy them themselves.
    So, first we need to know more about the natures of your gods- are they lecherous parasites, guiding intelligences for natural forces, embodiments of their portfolio, or something else entirely? How they relate to the world will determine the effects of their demise- it could do nothing, cause natural systems to go crazy and out of whack, retroactively remove their portfolio from existence, or some other thing. Did you have a particular cosmology in mind?

    Replacing them is also tied to the nature of the gods, but some popular ways to replace them involve true belief in the nature of a thing (such as that "entity X has dominion over Y"), that their power flees to the closest suitable vessel, that it gets distributed as appropriate throughout the world, or it may pass from creation entirely. It's really up to you, and the "best" method is probably one that ties into how gods work in your world.

    As for the effects, I take it that 1) the gods provided the faithful with power, as opposed to faith granting the faithful power and 2)everyone knows the gods are dead. The church, while it would definitely lessen in power, would still have a place. Modern churches do just fine and they don't rely on direct acts of god every Tuesday to keep functioning; clearly there will be more doubt as this previously was the case, but just because there's no longer divine casting doesn't mean there isn't power in the people's belief- it just means that the people will also come to place their faith in new things. Instead of believing in the Great God Om, they'll have faith in the inginuity of their people and hope for the future; they'll place it in ideals and hopes and dreams and probably some of those cults that always seem to pop up in times of crisis. Denial is also a valid option.

    Hopefully this helps.
    Quote Originally Posted by lunar2
    [the premise and symptoms]

    would this be a realistic zombie?
    Depends on what you mean by "realistic". When the brain regenerates, is it fresh-baby new, so that you're learning things like object permanence and how to work your visual cortex shortly before forgetting it again? Or are you reverting to some arbitrary "I know nothing and have no skill/muscle/whatever memory to speak of"? Both cases would end up with lots of dead people, not zombies, as humans aren't really built to run around feral forgetting everything every 6 months, including any skills with only instinct to guide them. Interestingly, the increased healing rates may also increase the incidence of cancer and benign tumors in the infected as the virus probably screws up the cell cycle big-time.

    So? realistic, probably not. While they'd be able to recover from injuries faster, they'd not survive for long in the wild and would easily die from infections and other natural hazards. They'd also starve to death far more easily, as a faster metabolism is not a good thing in this case. The vectors by which it spreads are spot on though.
    Avatar by Lord Fullbladder, Master of Goblins! Three cheers and all that.

  25. - Top - End - #145
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Archpaladin Zousha's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    The Vale of Thorns
    Gender
    Male

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Geostationary View Post
    So, first we need to know more about the natures of your gods- are they lecherous parasites, guiding intelligences for natural forces, embodiments of their portfolio, or something else entirely? How they relate to the world will determine the effects of their demise- it could do nothing, cause natural systems to go crazy and out of whack, retroactively remove their portfolio from existence, or some other thing. Did you have a particular cosmology in mind?
    I honestly don't know. The ruleset I'm using is Green Ronin's Black Company Setting, based on Glen Cook's novels. The official word in those books is that it's simply not known whether the gods are real or not, but if they are, they don't interfere in mortal affairs at all. Meanwhile you've got super-wizards like The Lady and the Shadowmasters who are basically gods because of the sheer amount of magical power they can use, but aren't worshiped so much as feared and obeyed.

    That setting's cosmology is a collection of 16 individual Material Planes linked together by the Plain of Glittering Stone. I'm not sure what this cosmology would be like, but I was thinking of going more for one like this: There's a World (the Material Plane), an Overworld (where the Gods live, sort of like Asgard or Mount Olympus) and an Underworld (where the souls of the dead are supposed to go, with the disaster going on many can't find their way down there, so undead are a persistant problem until the afterlife is properly sorted out). But I'm not sure where to go from there. Where things like demons should come from (in the Black Company setting, I think, any spiritual being that wasn't a former person is a demon).
    Replacing them is also tied to the nature of the gods, but some popular ways to replace them involve true belief in the nature of a thing (such as that "entity X has dominion over Y"), that their power flees to the closest suitable vessel, that it gets distributed as appropriate throughout the world, or it may pass from creation entirely. It's really up to you, and the "best" method is probably one that ties into how gods work in your world.
    The goal is for PCs who've done incredibly well to be able to take on the mantle of a god and start rebuilding the pantheon, as well as prevent unworthy people like those evil super-wizards from becoming gods.
    As for the effects, I take it that 1) the gods provided the faithful with power, as opposed to faith granting the faithful power and 2)everyone knows the gods are dead. The church, while it would definitely lessen in power, would still have a place. Modern churches do just fine and they don't rely on direct acts of god every Tuesday to keep functioning; clearly there will be more doubt as this previously was the case, but just because there's no longer divine casting doesn't mean there isn't power in the people's belief- it just means that the people will also come to place their faith in new things. Instead of believing in the Great God Om, they'll have faith in the inginuity of their people and hope for the future; they'll place it in ideals and hopes and dreams and probably some of those cults that always seem to pop up in times of crisis. Denial is also a valid option.
    I know that one problem that the PCs are going to run into a lot is pockets of survivors who've taken to worshiping and appeasing their local evil so it leaves them in peace. The community they come from is really the only place that doesn't do that because they've settled in a place away from the bigger evils and the only threat they have to deal with at the moment is a tenacious bandit lord.
    Hopefully this helps.
    A great deal, yes. Thank you!

    THE TEN-MINUTE BACKGROUND
    Based off of the Minimus RPG engine, copyright 2008 Ad Astra Games, used with permission. Minimus is donation-ware, if you like it, please contribute as per the instructions in the file.

    Grey Warden avatar courtesy of Dorian Soth. Many thanks!

  26. - Top - End - #146
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Geostationary View Post
    -snip-
    my neurology is definitely lacking, which is why i asked. i'm envisioning memory gradually fading, as individual cells die out and are replaced. skills used fairly often (such as walking, running, problem solving, even talking or social interaction) may atrophy somewhat, but not disappear entirely, while most memories would fade over the course of about a year. the end result i'm seeing is feral pack hunters (since the zombies retain social instincts and rudimentary skills) that stalk whatever the easiest prey is. this is the fast, somewhat intelligent zombie, not the lumbering idiot zombie. i thought of the cancer thing, too, but i didn't now how that would work out with the entire body replacing cells faster, not just the tumor.
    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.

    Where did you start yours?

    The PCs were already a special forces type unit in a kingdom's military, so the campaign started in the general's office.

    Extended Homebrew Signature

  27. - Top - End - #147
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Germany

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

    Here is the simplefied geography of a setting I am working on:
    Spoiler
    Show

    In the west you have a very large dry plain, in the east the open ocean. In the north there is a large temperate forest and in the south there is a tropical jungle. Between them is a narrow valley through which one river (not shown) runs down to the ocean and ends in a large wetland.
    Dark brown are high mountains like the Alps or the Pyrenees, light brown are rugged hills like the Appalachians or Carpathians. The area of the map is roughly like the United States or China.

    Now what would the climate be in the valley marked by the big red arrow?
    I would guess it would form a natural corridor for warm dry air from the plains to flow down the valley to the hot humid wetlands down at the sea, resulting in a climate like Greece or Spain, even while wedged between two very large and lush woodlands.
    Would you agree?

  28. - Top - End - #148
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Spiryt's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Poland
    Gender
    Male

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

    Well, IMHO:

    - existence of such different systems in "blocks" like that relatively near to each other seems somehow improbable.
    I would guess that according to Earth "rule" there should be some bigger region of subtropical flora or some mountains or stuff to divide them, especially with ocean nearby.

    - Carpathians are hardly 'rugged hills' for most part, dunno about Appalachians.
    Avatar by Kwarkpudding
    The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
    Rush in and die, dogs—I was a man before I was a king.

    Whoever makes shoddy beer, shall be thrown into manure - town law from Gdańsk, XIth century.

  29. - Top - End - #149
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Geostationary's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Town

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

    Speaking as someone from the east coast, the Appalachians are definitely mountains. As for the climate, have you looked at the rainshadow effect?- it looks like you have, but I don't want to make assumptions. I'd look at California to see if there are any similar configurations, but I'd figure that the corridor and surrounding land would tend towards a Mediterranean climate- the surrounding woodlands would probably more lightly wooded than you're suggesting though.
    Avatar by Lord Fullbladder, Master of Goblins! Three cheers and all that.

  30. - Top - End - #150
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Germany

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

    I'm from southern Jutland, everything about 30 m is a mountain to us and every bump in the ground a hill. We're not good with these terms.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •