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Supplemental worldbuilding questions

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:30 pm
by DanielH
This thread is for questions about how Alicorn and other authors decide to work with preexisting worldbuilding. I feel that a Skin Deep worldbuilding thread, a Tangled worldbuilding thread, etc. would be too excessive given that most of the world is from an outside canon, but there might be some questions from each that can share a thread. I intended to create this thread later with a different question related to witchcraft in His Dark Materials worlds, but I’ll finish canon before I ask that. Instead, I’ll seed the thread with a question I asked in the Storytime sandbox discussion thread:

DanielH wrote:How do thirtieth-century geneticists [from Superluminal] not know about creatures? Are they genetically human, lending support to Incandescence Max’s theory about creature origins? Or do all the geneticists, including an entire caste in a society that recently had a war, know about this and yet it failed to become public knowledge? I have a hard time believing my only other hypothesis, they still don’t know what all the genes do, to be even slightly plausible.


I also thought of another question while writing the intro: where did the idea for plant tasting in the Tangled world come from, and are there any poisonous magical plants?

Re: Supplemental worldbuilding questions

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:46 pm
by Alicorn
Okay. So basically creatureness and creature-y traits have a genetic basis, but it's hiding, it's not in your standard slew of chromosomes. You have to be looking for it. The haut know everything about it and they're all secretly critters and maintain a non-crittery population in their empire elsewise. Critters who go into genetics on other planets may know about it. Random human or sleeper-critter Betan geneticists or what have you don't have any idea or any reasonable way of finding out.

Edited because I remembered wrong: While you can get in trouble tasting plants that you only think are magical, you will not be poisoned tasting a real magical plant.

Re: Supplemental worldbuilding questions

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:07 pm
by Kappa
To elaborate on the genetic basis of creature traits:

A medallioned critter in human form has perfectly ordinary human DNA, with nothing about it to suggest that they might be a critter. A critter in critter form has DNA appropriate to their critter species. Tissue samples from either state can be used to extract the hidden DNA (critter DNA from human tissue or vice versa), but only if you know exactly what you're doing and have access to the appropriate facilities. (Tissue samples from midforms may behave unpredictably, but can be handled to extract both sets if, again, you know what you're doing.) Both the knowhow and the facilities are hard to come by; a critter geneticist could easily find out that medallioned critters have two sets of DNA, but would have a hard time rediscovering how to extract the hidden set from a given tissue sample.

So if you don't already know that critters exist, no amount of gene testing on people who appear to be fully human will tell you otherwise.

The transmission of critterhood itself to offspring is not carried in genes; bespelled critters produce bespelled gametes, which combine into bespelled offspring.

Re: Supplemental worldbuilding questions

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:27 pm
by DanielH
Is the extraction process for the hidden DNA magic, or could some biologist theoretically discover it without suspecting critters exist (even if the biologist is unlikely to be a geneticist)? Obviously if that’s happened they haven’t published their results very widely, but I’m imagining a not-in-the-know biologist discovering something unexpected in a deep analysis of a tissue sample and eventually figuring out DNA can be extracted/decoded from this something.

Re: Supplemental worldbuilding questions

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:40 pm
by Kappa
The extraction process requires some magic. I think the phrase I used in our behind-the-scenes notes was "carefully-and-a-little-magically pored over".

Re: Supplemental worldbuilding questions

PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:32 am
by Bluelantern
Question, how different sci-fi settings physics interact? Would a warp drive work on nexus for example?

Re: Supplemental worldbuilding questions

PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:33 am
by Kappa
Decisions like that tend to be made individually per technology per universe, based on what's convenient at the time, as and when they come up I don't think we've decided anything about that one.

Re: Supplemental worldbuilding questions

PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:37 pm
by Alicorn
And sandbox results might not hold otherwise - if we carry on with League long enough for Linya to test warp drive and it works, this doesn't guarantee that in Effulgence proper warp drive will work anywhere else, even Nexus.

Re: Supplemental worldbuilding questions

PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:14 pm
by DanielH
It seems like so far most things work everywhere except Materia. Certainly this seems to be the case for Shell Bell’s recorder and anything from the Ender’s Game world. Am I correct in assuming that all tech and magic will work if applicable unless you have a good reason for it not to (that is, you’ll default to it working)? Obviously this isn’t a guarantee in any particular case, but does seem to be standard.

Re: Supplemental worldbuilding questions

PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:21 pm
by Alicorn
My intuitive defaults are that tech is portable except into Materia and magic is portable when it's sufficiently personal. (Elcenian wizardry, Lake sorcery, other magics that depend on what world you are in, don't port.) Exceptions to this default can be freely made (warp in particular seems very foundational in Star Trek - species in general reliably discover it when they advance far enough - so if it was going to work normally everywhere, I'd think it would have been discovered long ago in Nexus-family 'verses and possibly have come up at some point in Samaria too. Actually, I'm not sure if we've concretely established that Samaria had a history including FTL of some kind or not.)

Update: kappa and I have decided that warp drive works everywhere but some requisite materials (e.g. dilithium crystals) only naturally occur within Warp.