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So, in a typical fantasy world, mages and wizards have discovered a ritual to create chimeras - they can produce monstrosities by fusing animals together.

Note that by 'fuse', I do not mean any fancy genetic engineering. Rather, the mages are literally combining fully-grown animals with blood magic to produce horrific, multi-headed abominations. It is a brutal and cruel procedure.

As a result, all chimeras end up various degrees of insane. However, the chimeras created can be extremely large sizes and extremely ferocious. A sufficiently large chimera is nigh unstoppable and utterly ravenous.

Taming them is somewhat possible, but very, very difficult and not reliable. They have too many heads, each head fighting for control of the body, and thus they are very unpredictable.

Any animal can be combined in a chimera - but most typically the mages are creating the three-headed snake, goat, lion combination.

So - what is the best way to implement such monstrosities? How to put all of these chimeras to best use of the kingdom?

The obvious answer is as beasts of war, but the chimeras are not easily controlled and people are concerned about releasing giant monsters over the kingdom. There are plenty of enemies that they want to unleash the chimeras on, but there is no way for the army to control who gets mauled.

There's been some success with pitting the chimeras in fighting pits and gladiator rings, but the guy in charge believes that these monsters could do more.

Right now, only one kingdom has the ability to create chimeras.

Assume that the leader here is a sociopath with absolutely no regard for the lives of animals.

Edit: Chimeras in question become much bigger than the sum of their parts. The mages are creating mythical type chimeras, the sort of:

Chimera

Chimera mass increases exponentially to the number of creature's fused, although it's typically limited to three or four heads.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Mołot, John, Frostfyre, JBH, Cadence Nov 7 '18 at 16:03

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ It may be out of scope, but how hard is the ritual to create chimeras ? Is it long, does it needs a lot of components ? And how does the chimera react to a beheading of one head? $\endgroup$ – Don Pablo Nov 7 '18 at 10:59
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    $\begingroup$ "sociopath with absolutely no regard for the lives of animals" - these things are not connected. Culturally, idea that animal lives matter is very recent one. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Nov 7 '18 at 10:59
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    $\begingroup$ The ritual is quite simple in itself - the hardest components to procure are the animals themselves $\endgroup$ – user54563 Nov 7 '18 at 11:02
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    $\begingroup$ I've got an idea. You create the 9-tails-fox and seal it's great power. :D $\endgroup$ – user55267 Nov 7 '18 at 11:15
  • $\begingroup$ Do chimeras have/gain magical power which can be used/extracted? $\endgroup$ – user55267 Nov 7 '18 at 11:16
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As a supreme counselor of this kingdom I don't find that specific Chimera to have practical use except to release it in our enemies capital cities. But these mages whose specialized in blood magic is very interesting. I would assembled a small research team consist of these bloody mages to develop how to fusing bodies with precise outcome. Because if this technique can be perfected, This kingdom will come out as supreme ruler of the continent.

Our cavalry is an army of centaur, with bull horns. We have merman, with shark head as our naval power. And we also have squadron of a harpies, that also can spit venom. This is just for military. For mobility, pegasus become wildly popular mode of transport of our people. Cerberus, one creature that I don't think useful unexpectedly is much more reliable than ordinary dog, as they can guard 24/7 since there is at least one head awake while 2 other heads rest. Last but not least, human body modification is now also starting to be trending, I mean who didn't want a pair of wings or to be able to breath under water?

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Use them to destroy infrastructure and enemy armies before conquering their lands.

Probably the best way to cause terror in a neighbouring kingdom which your ruler wishes to conquer would be to smuggle in a few of your mages several miles behind the border, maybe even close to the capital or important supply fields, have them create their chimeras and cause incredible havoc and terror in the opposing kingdom's capital, mines, corn fields or along their important trade routes without risking his valuable and expensive to train and equip human soldiers, while at the same time weakening his enemies' forces.

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Insane, ravenous, and nigh unstoppable. These aren't creatures for domestic use, keep them well away from inhabited areas and especially cities.

Well, keep them away from your inhabited areas and cities. The best use for them is probably to drop them into outlying towns and villages under the control of your enemies and then running away. No need to consider domestication and control, in fact the harder to control the better.

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These beings are completely useless, because:

They have too many heads, each head fighting for control of the body.

This condition is called policephaly. The wiki has this to say about some examples from real life:

In cases where multiple heads are fully developed and non-parasitic, they share control of the organs and limbs, though the specific structure of the connections varies. Animals often move in a disoriented and dizzy fashion, with the brains "arguing" with each other; some animals simply zig-zag without getting anywhere. Snake heads may attack and even attempt to swallow each other. Thus, polycephalic animals survive poorly in the wild compared to normal monocephalic animals.

There are artificial chimeras in real life as well. Some veterinarians have fused dogs cirurgically:

An artificial two headed dog

In some cases, it was just an extra head. But in at least one case they grafted an extra pair of legs.

A real life chimeric dog, stuffed

In such cases, the heart, lungs, liver etc. have to work harder in order to handle a larger demand for oxygen and general metabolism. You are adding extra bodily mass without adding more vitals to compensate. This is not healthy. If you do try to add more vitals to make up for it, the square-cube law will still punish you - a single-headed cresture is still the most efficient way to be, which is why evolution has been favoring it for five hundred million years.

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  • $\begingroup$ They're created with magic tho. The conflicting-controls could be handwaved by giving them sort of a hivemind, which has total control of (most of) the body. The individual heads then internally struggle over having a say in the hivemind, therefore making actual movement/action possible $\endgroup$ – Hobbamok Nov 7 '18 at 13:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Hobbamok the thing about magic is that you can handwave anything with it. Also this hive-mind thing is not specified in the question. $\endgroup$ – Renan Nov 7 '18 at 14:01
  • $\begingroup$ the hive-mind is only a bad description of the idea that - opposed to reality - the chimeras body always has unison control, and "each head fighting for control of the body" means that the heads are fighting over which one has the complete control (a winner-takes-it-all approach as opposed to the "any head gets a few limbs" of our world). $\endgroup$ – Hobbamok Nov 7 '18 at 14:04
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Well ... You could 'cure' the animals to some point ...
This link:
https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-have-figured-out-how-to-to-erase-your-painful-memories
explains altering the brain a bit. If doing that it might be possible to cure and with that tame the chimeras. The chimeras could be used ...
as what?
Since you haven't explained how big a chimera is, I think of a chimera as pet is cool or as horse.

And you also haven't explained if human can participate in chimeras (I'd assume).
With that in mind the field of usage for a chimera is pretty big.
You need a builder? No problem I have a Gorilla for you. You need Air advantage or exploration? No problem I have an eagle for you.

A thing that's pretty interesting too is that the brains share the same Nervesystem, meaning one brain wants to activate that muscle slowly, while another wants something else. It might be better to kill the other heads down to one.

And what about cancer? You fuse animals, what do you do with genes? do they fuse too?

I hope my thoughts were helpful :)

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As a weapon of terror (not regular war).

Have them be either created near the enemy army if the ritual is quick enough (and your mages teleport away soon after), or airlift (magic!) them into enemy territory (especially army camps or cities) to wreak havoc there.

The psychological damage to either the enemy civilians or the soldiers will be crushing, and repeating that could lead to wars being won without a battle.

In real battle however I would not use them at all, too high is the risk that it turns on you (thus horrifying and demoralizing your soldiers).

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1) Super soldiers- fusing chimeras with humans is a ~'great' way to solve the control problem, elevate the poor peoples social status, and create a more powerful army. Aerial units alone greatly increase reconnaissance, supporting fire, and general communication. Merfolk would make for epic amphibious guerrilla force completely invalidating ship oriented navies.

2) Mail men- Speaking of communication, in times of peace the intelligent areal units can be repurposed as a more effective and protected mail delivery system. It is often overlooked the power information systems add to both war and government administration.

3) Underwater exploitation- In times of peace merfolk could be used to more effectively capitalize undersea resources. Like under sea mining of gold or metals or even agriculture. It would literally double your functioning economically producing territory.

4) Super livestock- variants could be formed that result in superior uses as livestock. Like crossing an octopus and a cow in such a way that you can just hack of meat rich limbs that grow back. Way more efficient than relying on slow herd breeding and even benefits from the size increase. Sheep dogs (lol) no more problems with wolves killing your herds, they can defend themselves now and size increase boosts production. Also since both are fairly docile and trainable you could use them in times of war in similar ways as dogs.

5) Mechanical Power- Worst comes to worse if they are truly uncontrollable you can always harness them to a wheel and beat them to move it, like a donkey. The mechanical energy can fuel industrial applications like blacksmithing, milling, crane wheels, etc. As an added bonus it will either piss them off making them better berserk units in battle or help break them, robbing them of their will and making them more subservient.

6) Transportation- depending on outcomes, some could be useful for transportation like a tri-horse being both domesticatable and much stronger than a normal horse.

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  • $\begingroup$ What about possible humans with wings? $\endgroup$ – user55267 Nov 7 '18 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Jannis that's mentioned in mail men, with aerial mail men $\endgroup$ – anon Nov 7 '18 at 23:42
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Why would such a creature be more dangerous than a lion? A lion could be more effective without the burden of a goat's and a snake's head. A snake could be more dangerous moving around (and finding its way into peoples homes) on its own, than dangling on a lion's tail.

That they are bigger won't be such a great deal, it would actually make them less successful as predators.

The only advantage they could have is a psychological factor. And even that only in the beginning until people get used to them. To use them as a terror weapon by releasing them in a village, a lion or tiger frenzied by the same methods without actually fusing it with anything, would be more dangerous. If you need a fusing to achieve the "frenzy effect", fuse it with a small mouse, so it would hinder the bigger animal as little as possible.

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  • $\begingroup$ Ermm you would be definetly scared of a mouse with super poisinous teeth like a snake. It will bite you and simply wont die/ you can't hit it. It'd be a surprisingly effective killer machine $\endgroup$ – user55267 Nov 7 '18 at 15:55