1. Simon Price

    Simon Price Active Member

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    Most awkward worldbuilding question you've ever had to ask?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Simon Price, Apr 28, 2019.

    I did this once before on the worldbuilding subreddit, and it was pretty fun over there, so I thought I'd try it here.

    We've all been there. At least I think we have. We've got this really cool, or fun, or even just seemingly innocuous bit of worldbuilding set up, and then we take another look at it again and suddenly realize it has really awkward implications, and you find yourself having to think about some really dumb or gross or awkward stuff, because even if it'll never come up in-story, even if no sane mind would ever demand an answer or even know to ask it, you're the creator of the world, and as the creator you just have to know the answer to that damned question.

    So come on, let's share our awkward worldbuilding stories! I'll start:

    Brain: So... fantasy races via shapeshifting?

    Me: Yep! Like in Shadowrun, except voluntary. When I want to introduce a new fantasy race, I'll use the story's runic magic system to give everyone on earth the power to freely transform between their normal body and a new body of that race. They can switch between them for a week and keep whichever one they're in when the week is up. And the new body is totally genetically randomized, to really capitalize on the people not happy with their normal human body, and not just limit the takers to people who like the new racial traits badly enough to give up their old body forever. Which probably wouldn't be too many. This way, I can capitalize on people who just want a better body in general, without making it too appealing for everyone or making the race objectively better than humans.

    Brain: So they look completely different from their old human bodies.

    Me: Yep!

    Brain: ...What would that do to the westermarck effect?

    Me: ...

    Brain: You know, that thing that stops you from getting the physical urge to screw your family members? Would that hold?

    Me: ...FFFF-
     
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  2. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    That's hilarious! I thought the Westermarck Effect ended up being disproved, or only holding in like 60% of cases? It's been a while since I researched it, though.

    Mine is along a similar vein: the elves of my world hate killing, under any circumstances, but on occasion need to execute human criminals or other entities. I thought to myself: "Well, they'd want to do it as absolutely humanely as possible, and also as quickly and painlessly as they could. I wonder what their standard execution tactic would be?"

    I googled "quick and painless ways to die" to research what methods they might use.

    I was greeted with the suicide prevention hotline phone number...

    Oops.
     
  3. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Senior Member

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    I looked up dictators, genocide, and military grade weapons of mass destruction.
    My character is in a futuristic military, and there happens to be a dictator plotting genocide. makes perfect sense why I would look this stuff up.
    however, I realized afterward how bad it looks from the outside.... especially this day and time..... :nosleep:
     
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  4. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Thy rod and thy Staff Supporter Contributor

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    My search history is vile, spent a couple weeks researching the actual physical machinery of how the Holocaust worked, looked up religious verses to justify rape and murder, suicide methods, how likely you are to die from dropping various appliances in the bathtub with you, how to disable a GCFI to make it more likely, read the Wikipedia entries on all the major serial killers... It was only after I wrote a story about a serial killer who preyed on children that someone pointed out to me that it was a rather sensitive topic.

    No danger of me getting confirmed to a cabinet position any time soon I guess is what I'm saying.
     
  5. J. J. Wilding

    J. J. Wilding Member

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    More annoying than awkward. Had this same conversation with so many people, all who've come from a series where the hero prevails in every volume. I suppose educating them on good and bad storytelling got awkward in the end, but a hero that just wins creates zero tension, zero interest and is just so plain dull:

    "You have magic but... it's really weak, what's the point of having it?"

    "It was created for mankind, to help them build their own civilisations and cultivate the land, it's not meant to be powerful or meant for war, that's just an unfortunate development caused by certain individuals."

    "I understand that, but... why can't your main character just win the day by setting fire to the bad guy?"

    "Because the bad guy has his own magic, he could deflect it."

    "Yes but why?"

    "Because otherwise he could just do that in each novel, once he was close enough to the new bag guy. That's lazy storytelling."

    "Yes, but it'd be more exciting!"
     
  6. DarkPen14

    DarkPen14 Active Member

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    My search history makes me look like the biggest devil worshipper since the founder of the Church of Satan.

    I had to put literally hell together, formulate a government for hell, figure out what hell looks like, what is in hell, what do the buildings look like, what magic is down there, how is the world down there affected by magic, what does the infrastructure look like

    And then there's heaven... I put no effort into that whatsoever because the story takes place in hell and the mortal plane for the most part. I made God a woman, cuz I watch too much anime and it had comedic value.
     
  7. halisme

    halisme Contributor Contributor

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    Kinda ironic that you didn't do research into the church of satan.
     
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  8. DarkPen14

    DarkPen14 Active Member

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    Well, that's because I'd probably end up converting, and thus proving these idiots right. If the devil punishes the wicked, how is he the bad guy, anyway?
     
  9. Capslock

    Capslock Member

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    More grotesque than awkward but, I looked into how babies are aborted, including late term. My findings were alarming, and more crude than I thought, considering I have a 3 y/o daughter.

    My curiosity peeked because I looked into it after certain politicians want to support this sort of thing. Not so much because I want to write about it.
     
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  10. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Loved by a Sweet lady. :) Contributor

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    Less a question for google, but more for that of persons with thoughts,
    but have asked this at least once.
    "Is this going a bit too far...(followed by some extreme dark action with
    morally reprehensible consequences). "

    And no it had nothing to do with rape, cannibalism, or zombies. :p

    Results turned up that it in fact was not going too far, so that is good. :)
     
  11. DarkPen14

    DarkPen14 Active Member

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    "How would Sun Wukong handle the modern era?"

    Enter Sunnu, basically Sun but female and not immortal six different ways.
     
  12. Capslock

    Capslock Member

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    Also did general research on how or if a bullet from a .38 revolver can be traced back to me. Should it be used for “eliminating” someone. Looking like a no, if investigators don’t acquire he gun.

    Suspicious Google activity, I know
     
  13. Lilith Fairen

    Lilith Fairen Member

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    My current series setting includes magical beings from another world, including a race of butterfly/moth people who produce silk which they use for weaving clothing, art, and various other purposes.

    Then I wondered where that silk would come out of.

    (The protagonist of that story briefly notes that, of all of the things she wants to know about chrysideans and the one she befriends, where their silk comes from isn't one of them.)
     
  14. Merley

    Merley Member

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    Questions I've had to ask myself are about some of the breeding habits of my species. Because I have goat centaurs and lion centaurs, I've asked myself how reproduction would work. I've also had to think about the ways a lion centaur would torture people.
     
  15. halisme

    halisme Contributor Contributor

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    Nah, the church of Satan doesn't actually worship Satan. He's more a figure taken up to show the groups opposition to traditional religion. Also, the devil is more just trapped in hell and doesn't do any of the punishings, that's a later invention.
     
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  16. DarkPen14

    DarkPen14 Active Member

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    Says a religion that exists because
    *deep inhale* someone was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that was told by someone that the abrahamic faiths worshipped the only real god by someone who may very well have made the whole thing up, and then this religion decided to follow the guidance of an italian playwrite named Dante Aligeri when deciding what Hell looks like. Not bashing religion, but a little consistency would be nice since my soul hangs in the balance here, know what I mean?

    But to keep with the theme of the thread, another awkward worldbuilding question I ask myself is; How inbred are the stone monkeys of Flower Fruit mountain if they all came from 1 and his descendants all reproduce to continue the bloodline?
     
  17. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Because IRL the devil doesn't punish the wicked. He torments the good for awhile, but in the end he will get punished along with the wicked. I.e, "The lake of fire, reserved for the devil and his angels."
     
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  18. The Bishop

    The Bishop Member

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    My search history is filled with things about cocaine, heroin, and all sorts of extremely illegal drugs, like what effects are for first time users, how fast it takes to get addicted, what withdraw from using is like, where to buy them, and how to tell if someone is on them. It's pretty bad, however, it makes sense in context to my story.
     
  19. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Research that claim. It's not true.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019

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