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Q&A

General Q&A about worldbuilding and other speculative developments that can be extrapolated from science.

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A light tower based communication system

I'm building a world with cities of extremely different technological capabilities. One has a monopoly on gunpowder and one has complete understanding of the magic system in the world. The only t...

5 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Mister Onion‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Mister Onion‭

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Could we build a roof over the Grand Canyon?

(or some other Lesser Canyon) I'm playing with story ideas for a videogame that takes place in the post-post-apocalyptic US. Everything is overrun with monsters and ocean horrors and whatnot, you'...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Appleguysnake‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Appleguysnake‭

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Could a galaxy of Nicoll-Dyson beams hit a single target?

This was an idea for a flashback as I pick up my story around 100 trillions years from now at the point where star formation is ceasing and the red dwarf and stellar remnant era begins. Now living ...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by RandySavage‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by RandySavage‭

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More Human-Like Secretary Birds

So, I am dealing with a certain trouble that I'll need a help with. In my fantasy story, there is artificially formed species (magically created, but non-magic anatomy rules apply) of "humanized" ...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Failus Maximus‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Failus Maximus‭

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Proportions of a giant humanoid?

In a humanoid mammal, say 15-20 feet tall, how would the brain, heart, reproductive organs, facial feature and other attributes scale up? In very large mammals, the brain seems to be comparatively ...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Praearcturus‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Praearcturus‭

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Most efficient actinopterygian jaw structure?

Ray-finned fishes have a variety of interesting and complex jaw structures. Here is the skeleton of an anglerfish Here is the skull of another actinopterygian I am designing a large (roughly...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Praearcturus‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Praearcturus‭

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Is it feasible to have an oxidizing planetary atmosphere without the presence of an organic photosynthesis of some kind on the planet?

With the emergence of cyanobacteria on earth 3.5 billion years ago, the shift from a reducing to an oxidizing atmosphere began. "The atmospheric O$_\textrm{2}$ levels (in PAL; i.e., normalized to ...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by RosesBouquet‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by RosesBouquet‭

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Anatomically correct quadrupedal arthropod?

Most arthropods have at least six legs. Some mites have four and some insects have none, but for the most part, they have six or more. What would the anatomy of a large quadrupedal arthropod be li...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Praearcturus‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Praearcturus‭

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A virus that can mutate a human body into having insane strength and dexterity

Im writing a story about a boy in the year 2033 that is immune to a zombie like virus (world war z like zombies) and when he is bitten instead of turning into a brain dead zombie/infected his body ...

4 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Reaps‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Reaps‭

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Is this a reasonable way to enforce a ban on exotic weapons in an interstellar setting?

In the late 23rd century certain groups of mankind stared down the barrel of what may be possible in the future: cross galactic relativistic kill missile storms, gamma-ray Dyson Beams, Kugelblitz b...

3 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by TheDyingOfLight‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by TheDyingOfLight‭

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Properties of an Argon based gas giant

I am writing a novel where a habitable moon orbits a purple gas giant. In looking here and elsewhere I'm finding it incredibly hard to get a sense of the elements-breakdown of elements that would b...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by RMurphy-Keith‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by RMurphy-Keith‭

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Could a creature using electromagnetic forces or something to do with ions fly?

This is a small arrow shaped creature that can fly without wings. Can it use electromagnetism to fly? Or maybe something to do with ions? Or however ufos are theorized to work? I'm not quite sure...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Chickenpeep Chickenpeep‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Chickenpeep Chickenpeep‭

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How would hands or hand-like appendages evolve from ray-finned fishes?

Tetrapods evolved fingers from the inner-bones of the fins of lobe-finned fish, could hands ever evolve from ray finned fishes if they were to become fully terrestrial, from a mud skipper ancestor?

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Double_S‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Double_S‭

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Feasibility of six inch space-faring aliens

I've recently been playing a alien game with various alien species. After playing for a bit, I wondered whether or not a 6-inch tall intelligent race could exist. I can already see some major disa...

3 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by RotNDecay‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by RotNDecay‭

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What would make a star good for star lifting?

My civilization is planning to being starlifting, mining a star by heating up portions of its surface and using a powerful magnetic field to channel the matter away from the star and into storage u...

4 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by HDE 226868‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by HDE 226868‭

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How large can an animal's eye realistically get?

The largest eye in the world belongs to the giant squid, which has eyes up to 27 cm in diameter (some reports from the 1800s say 40 cm). Extinct ichthyosaurs also had very large eyes, 20-30 cm in d...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Praearcturus‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Praearcturus‭

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Could time travelers go back in time and help teach homonids how to build a civilization?

I'm writing a short story where a group of explorers found a mysterious cave in a remote jungle , Inside the cave they find strange paintings of spirals resembling portals , after exiting the myste...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Pierre ‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Pierre ‭

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A good discerning visual feature for female lizardfolk

So, when it comes to humanoid races, this has been a problem for me for quite some time. Sure, mammals (werewolves, gnolls, minotaurs, centaurs) are a no-brainer. I even decided to give tengu somet...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Mephistopheles‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Mephistopheles‭

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Could a round legless creature be able to move by bouncing?

Working on my Nintendo Kirby alternate universe where things are more biologically realistic. Many life forms are roundish legless creatures that can move by bouncing. How can this work and is it...

3 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Chickenpeep Chickenpeep‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Chickenpeep Chickenpeep‭

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How large could an aquatic humanoid get?

Vertebrates on land are limited in size by various factors. However, in the water, they can get much larger. How large could an aquatic humanoid creature (like cthulhu) realistically get, and what ...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Praearcturus‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Praearcturus‭

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Evolved insect eyes

In one question I asked how insects can evolve their base biology to grow in size here. Which was followed up by this question about how well the antennae would fare when increased in size here ...

5 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Seraphim‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Seraphim‭

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What should my kaiju eat?

So, strength is a bit unusual in that though he's a kaiju that's clearly inspired by Godzilla, he's completely artificial and was created deliberately to serve as a mobile fortress in The Union's (...

7 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Mephistopheles‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Mephistopheles‭

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What species will benefit most from humanity's having been here?

Assuming that as a species, we do ourselves in, not through war but through environmental neglect and overpopulation, what species will benefit most from the effect we have had on the planet during...

15 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Henry Taylor‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Henry Taylor‭

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How far above the galactic plane could an Earth-like planet develop?

I was zooming around on Space Engine and came across the moon of a gas giant that was hovering well above the galactic plane. I'm admittedly not well-versed in under what conditions an Earth-like p...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Vigilant‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Vigilant‭

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What would a thicker atmosphere do to plant growth/evolution?

I'm working on a concept for a habitable world with venus-like atmospheric pressures, where humans have settled onto huge tabletop mountains where the atmosphere isn't as crushing. This is a terraf...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by DehLeprechaun‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by DehLeprechaun‭

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Help With Animal Survival Rates and Understanding Adaptations And Genetics

Skippable Introduction I asked a similar question 2 years ago and never got a real answer. I was told the question was too broad or "it can be whatever you want" "magic can do anything" so I thoug...

3 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Game Master‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Game Master‭

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Would Alcubierre Drive Technology Allow for Artificial Event Horizons?

So, my understanding of how Alcubierre drives would theoretically work is not particularly complete. I know it involves compressing and expanding space, but I don't really have an intuitive grasp ...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by FlyingLemmingSoup‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by FlyingLemmingSoup‭

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Could aliens from beyond the singularity of a rotating black hole survive and colonise regions of a normal universe?

Would it be possible for aliens that originated and evolved in a planetary system beyond the ring singularity of a rotating black hole to send individuals out into a normal universe to colonise it?...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Ichthys King‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Ichthys King‭

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Ending "Natural" Reproduction

Quick Overview Here's the situation: your species, under directive of your friendly world government, has been informed that all "natural" (aka reproducing like your normally would and having a ch...

6 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Millennium‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Millennium‭

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Alcubierre Drive without FTL?

Would the principles at work in the theoretical Alcubierre warp drive apply to a slower-than-light starship? I'm building a setting in which FTL communication and travel is impossible, (due to vio...

5 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Tim McClelland‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Tim McClelland‭

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Cylindrical radiators on spacecraft?

Having your radiators tactically protected from enemy fire by the armor shape of your space warship is nice, but having a regular one or double-sided radiators is still a vulnerability. Other conce...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by zertofi‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by zertofi‭

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How feasible would non-jawed vertebrates be on land?

In my alien world life has evolved very convergently with life on Earth. Carbon-based lifeforms managed to evolve multicellularity and evolved a lineage of organisms in line with early fish, howeve...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by syrus2010‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by syrus2010‭

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How would head shaping affect the ligament attachments of a gorillas skull?

After researching many head shaping cultures like the Paracas and proto Nazca it seems there is no adverse affects beyond physical. What would the affects be on a gorilla? Would it be able to funct...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by MandaloreUltra‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by MandaloreUltra‭

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With dunkle-like Jaws, how long could the neck be?

The Apex predator of the Sea of Grass biome from planet Andromeda is mostly bipedal, but capable of facultative quadrupedalism, it has long limbs, powerful claws on its hands and is roughly the siz...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by ProjectApex‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by ProjectApex‭

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Scources for metastable Metallic Hydrogen

Recently I've been looking into Metallic Hydrogen as a fuel for the vehicles of my fictional future world. The only issue is that I'm uncertain if the blasted stuff is metastable. And while I kno...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Seraphim‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Seraphim‭

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What types of climate would form under set conditions?

The continent is located on the Earth-like planet. The first map depicts a rough Köppen classification (which is there to give you bit of a context). Note that: Types 13 and 14 are undefined/p...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by scipio‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by scipio‭

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How large and compact could a cold east Mongolia-like steppe be on an Earth-sized planet?

Welcome to planet X! Planet X is the same as Earth in radius, composition, axial tilt and orbits star Y (identical to the Sun). Planet X has a moon known as moon Z (identical to Earth's moon). Cou...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by galactic_analyzer‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by galactic_analyzer‭

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Can one (re)learn empathy if they have the necessary structures?

In my world, I plan for an alien pathogen to cause drastic mutations in all lifeforms, reshaping animals and humans alike in a scenario of near inversion of positions, with animals achieving human-...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by ProjectApex‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by ProjectApex‭

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Rifle and Bullet Technology

I'm currently working on something where breechloading rifles and cartridge shot are developed very quickly over matchlocks and flintlocks. What major technological hurdles need to be overcome for...

3 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Csraves ‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Csraves ‭

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How could a humanoid species with non-retractable claws strike someone with a fist/closed hand gesture?

In my story there are a species of humanoid bipeds (i.e., two arms, two legs) that have a more-or-less human arm anatomy but differ in having non-retractable claws instead of nails on all five fing...

4 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by user2352714‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by user2352714‭

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Would a civilization living on a planet without a moon still come up with the concept of months?

We divide the year into months of ~30 days because that's roughly the period of the moon, adapted to fit a solar year. However, would a civilization living on a world with no moon but a year of ~3...

6 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by galactic_analyzer‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by galactic_analyzer‭

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Most Likely Way to Protect Against Infectious Disease When Visiting Other Planets?

In various science fiction works, we see our plucky heroes beaming down to, or flying down to planets other than their own. They meet with the inhabitants there, be they human or otherwise and then...

5 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Ralph Bolton‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Ralph Bolton‭

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A clothing material or other method to slow free-fall descent down walls

I'm working on a military sci-fi piece that involves a lot of exo-skeleton enhanced, well, parkour -- for lack of a better term -- and was wondering how to deal with descents from great heights. ...

23 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Delirium‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Delirium‭

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Could a dragon scale mail be made from shed skin?

So, Georgie, the paladin who's still unsure about going down the path of lawful stupid, decided not to kill the dragon. Now, this means they can finally use The Orb of Dragonkind for something afte...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Mephistopheles‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Mephistopheles‭

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How Would I Make an Oceanless World Feasible?

The planet I'm thinking of is of similar size and distance from its star relative to Earth, but it lacks oceans, instead consisting of one massive continent with a huge mountain range (reminiscent ...

8 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by The Weasel Sagas‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by The Weasel Sagas‭

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I would appreciate your advice on the climate of my world

There are some things I don't understand. So far I have my map pretty developed but I think I made some mistakes and there are places I am not sure about. I know I made some mistakes with ocean cur...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Martin Pavlíček‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Martin Pavlíček‭

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Superfluid lifeform

Could a life form that uses superfluids as part of its biology exist? I've read in places that the issue for life outside of Earth and especially the theorised silicon lifeforms is that the existe...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Nierninwa‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Nierninwa‭

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How quickly could a "shapeshifter" lose mass, realistically?

Shapeshifters and mass... ever the bane of realistic science fiction. Basics: Let's say someone is changing shape (for whatever reason, voluntary or involuntary, it doesn't matter for this purpos...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Matthew‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Matthew‭

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How can I make phonological constraints without strangling myself?

There are three main languages in this world: Draconic, used by the "old" races, i.e: tengu, dragons, lizardfolk, etc... Abyssal, used by both demons and angels: Initially was a low-level languag...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Mephistopheles‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Mephistopheles‭

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A practical ice beam (freezing / encasing an object)

It's common to see "ice beams" that are able to freeze enemies or objects. Freezing a large object solid takes time, so most freeze rays aren't practical or logical, especially after factoring in d...

3 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by dinorider‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by dinorider‭

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