My army of kobolds (Small, bunny-like rapidly-breeding carnivorous creatures) captured an army of 100,000 human soldiers. The prisoners were transported to my massive underground prisons. My kobolds are weak physically, so they thought to let the humans die of insomnia. What is the best way not to let them sleep if all the prisoners are locked in a massive prison and I also want to harvest their flesh for the kobold cubs? They have access to pre-mideaval tech.

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    $\begingroup$ That's a difficult thing to do effectively on a mass scale. A man usually has to be physically prodded to cause sleep deprivation. You can try making very loud noises (very loud, blowing horns and banging on gongs won't be enough). $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 23:04
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    $\begingroup$ Won't work. Eventually, they'll faint from exhaustion; putting them into what is essentially sleep. $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 23:22
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    $\begingroup$ To make sleep deprivation an effective way to kill a large population, you'd have to find a reason why more mundane and simpler methods of torturous death won't work, like starvation. You already give a good reason why faster execution isn't an option: you don't want to risk your own troops. Why can't you just seal up the prison complex and see who turns into cannibals? $\endgroup$
    – Ghedipunk
    Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 23:30
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    $\begingroup$ @SeraphMyrmidon, my problem with that is death by sleep deprivation will take at least several weeks, which promotes disease in such a large, confined population, spoiling the meat. $\endgroup$
    – Ghedipunk
    Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 23:33
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    $\begingroup$ They captured an army of 100,000 human soldiers on the battlefield, arms armor and all, but are worried that they might not be able to kill them one at a time in a controlled environment? Kobolds are smarter than that $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented Jul 21, 2018 at 0:22

1 Answer 1


Since your goal is to feed your armies fresh meat, I'm going to answer the question in the title, rather than the question itself.

No. Sleep deprivation is not an effective way to execute a large population.

First, in lab tests with rats, it takes multiple weeks for the animal to die.


The method used in this test is to put a rat on a platform that it only has enough room to stand on, but not enough room to lay on, suspended over water. This would not work for our captive humans, because they'll be able to support each other and sleep in shifts.

Most other methods, except for actively prodding people who appear close to sleep, suffer from the same problem: the captives will find a way to support each other and sleep in shifts... and as a parent, I can attest that when a human is tired enough, they can sleep through any amount of noise.

Prodding is not an option here, because your army needs to be close enough to the humans to put your kobolds in danger.

Second, because it takes so long, and you have such a large, confined population, disease will spread, spoiling your meat.

Additionally, a side effect of sleep deprivation is a compromised immune system, further spreading disease.


Since you want fresh meat, you want to avoid disease at all costs, lest you give food poisoning and icky human diseases to your glorious rabbit-kin armies.

My suggestion is to take this as an opportunity to train your archers, so that the captives die as quickly as possible (or at least in single cell-block sized groups), and work quickly to preserve the meat.

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    $\begingroup$ Ah! I just posted the same answer as you did. I'm going to delete mine and leave my closing comment as a post on your anwer: "And not to make too fine a point of it, if you have the Kobold-power to take 100,000 humans prisoner, you have the Kobold-power to pull them out one at a time and slaughter them like prime pork. Cheap, easy, and the humans get easier and cheaper to manage with every passing day." $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jul 21, 2018 at 0:07

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