Writing a story about a civilisation of humans with either metal a) skin or b) skeletal systems.

Setting: 1800-1900s on a fictional land that has both desert & rainforest. I felt the Middle-East/Africa had much metal in their soils too, so I'd set it there.

The people used to be normal like us until, during a time of desperation they biologically re-engineered themselves to get stronger and protect themselves from invading kingdoms.


  1. Not everyone survived the transformation as it was rushed.
  2. Not everyone got the same metal. Some people were only as strong as copper or bronze whilst others were strong like titanium and chromium.
  3. More would die from side-effects and illnesses in the future because of this. But the stronger your metal would be, the less likely, and the longer you would last if you did.

  • How would this affect the society, the people's way of life?
  • What would be the disadvantages?
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    $\begingroup$ Can you tell us more about the reason for this transformation? It seems to be as a defense during times of war. Why would these people undergo a potentially lethal transformation instead of, say, donning a suit of armor? Why transform the whole society instead of just the warriors? $\endgroup$ – Nuclear Wang Aug 15 '18 at 17:58
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    $\begingroup$ Can you ask one, specific, question at a time please, as this stands it's far too broad. $\endgroup$ – Ash Aug 15 '18 at 18:03
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    $\begingroup$ Please note that the Worldbuilding SE strongly encourages narrowly-constrained questions. You have five independent questions here that could easily be asked as separate questions and linked together. As a result, this is likely to be closed as too broad unless an edit is made to the question's scope. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Aug 15 '18 at 18:05
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    $\begingroup$ Asking "How would X affect society?" is overly broad. Please narrow it down to a more specific problem. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Aug 15 '18 at 18:15
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    $\begingroup$ Folks with magnetic skin or bones will tend to migrate toward the north side of the bed at night, annoying their spouse and perhaps leading to a slightly higher divorce rate. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Aug 15 '18 at 19:35

How would this affect the society, the people's way of life?

You say this transformation was due to "desperation". So I understand there was an urgent need of "stop being as weak as we used to". Therefore (in my understanding), the stronger the person became, the higher his/her success in that society. So It could lead to a "class seggregation" based on the skin you could get. And the lower social class will be the "plain humans" who could not even get copper. The "normals" will be discriminated and perceived as "failures".
And since the transformation was in part due to be able to protect themselves from invading kingdoms, the stronger ones will be ranked as a high militar class, with the mission to protect the society. And based on the skin type, perhaps a "specialized work division" could take place, according to the capacities of each one.

And I was going to follow up on the next bullets... but they dissappeared. Looks like they were edited.

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  • $\begingroup$ I will be asking those as separate questions soon. Your understanding is correct however :D $\endgroup$ – Honey MASQ Productions Aug 18 '18 at 13:05

I'm assuming that each change was beneficial enough not to crush the user under the weight or poison him with the metal. There would likely be far more useful elements like spidersilk or Graphene but I'll just go with it and assume metals were the better choice at the time.

I would also assume it's going to be a metal skeleton or rather a skeleton that has metal worked through/around it as the thinness of a metal skin and the speed with which it creases and breaks would be too high.


1: Society would change it's diet, with each diet being aimed at metal intake based on the metal (or alloy?) in their bodies.

2: people would weigh more and structures, cars etc would need to change with it. Large-scale paving or otherwise strengthening the ground would happen as walking across soft ground would be more hazardous, and our walks on the beach wont happen anymore due to the loose sand.

3: people with "good" materials like Titanium would have a higher status as they can handle more while still being light, but only if they can keep an expensive diet and supplements to keep their titanium level up. Lucky people will jave abundant and cheap materials for a skeleton that is still light and strong.

4: electric cirquitry would be more secure than ever. Someone lined with copper or other highly conductive material would have both an advantage as electricity would get less time to heat up bodily tissues or damage nerves, but they would also experience more electric mishaps. Probably no wireless charging for these people!

5: currently surgical metal is removed from the body as soon as it has served it's purpose as during accidents the metal will bent when the bone breaks, this ensures malformed regrowth so society will be absolutely careful to prevemt broken bones as it makes it so likely that you'll BR horrifyingly disfigured for the rest of your life.

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