I'm working on a game world where light (Lux) gives literal definition to all matter. Anything in complete shadow (Umbra) is without definition and completely amorphous.

At the center of the world, hovering a couple thousand feet above ground, is a glowing ball that emits light and all definition and life in the world exists where the light touches.

Since this is meant for an RPG style game, I want to make it easy for players to adjust to the world. (Everyone knows what a dragon is, even if there are different flavors of dragon in different worlds, for example)

So the question is this:

How should I handle sleep? I've thought about making the light source slowly pulse, and in the darker periods there's still enough light that existence doesn't melt, but people can sleep/skulk/etc.

EDIT 1--

The world is a flat disk. Lux (the main light source) hovers above it at the axis of the world. Directly below Lux everything is frozen and unchanging because the power of Lux is so strong. The further away from the it you get, the more malleable reality is. So at the edge of the world is a ring of water. Beyond the ring of ocean it fades into Umbra and amorphousness.

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    $\begingroup$ So you can vanquish an opponent by literally "throwing shade" and weakening him? Anyway, there is no requirement that it be dark for beings to sleep. If they really are light-sensitive, then give them blindfolds - easily purchased at Amazon.com $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 15:46
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    $\begingroup$ People can get used to a lot. Some are able to fall asleep in a middle of shopping mall in full daylight. Soldiers can even sleep through a bombardment if they are really tired. $\endgroup$
    – Milo Bem
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ First, I typically work night shifts so I sleep through the morning - no blinds I've just gotten used to it - (as do many people) and even in a pre-industry society one could sleep in a cave during the day (this can be safer). Is this not possible in your world? Meaning does the rotation of the planet and lack of light mean you have to keep moving with the light or you'll stop existing if you end up in total or partial darkness (i.e. everything will need to be outside or with accommodations to allow for constant sunlight)? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ I might be taking this to literally but your clothes cast a shadow on your body. So by getting dressed, you disappear. And that's just the start of problems I see with this plan. $\endgroup$
    – Trevor
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ Can you draw your world for us please? I don't understand how something can be at the centre of the world, but also be floating above the ground. Is your world completely flat? $\endgroup$
    – Trevor
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 16:46

2 Answers 2


TLDR: It wouldn't be a problem for creatures that are native to that world.

Things that evolved in a place like that wouldn't need darkness to sleep. Humans and other diurnal creatures on Earth have sleep cycles that are regulated by light levels (mainly the hormone Melatonin) in order to encourage us to sleep when it's dark and be awake when it's light because we evolved that way. Nocturnal animals (like my god damn cat singing opera at 3am) evolved to be awake at night because they had hunting advantages in the darkness.

Creatures on your world wouldn't be like that, they'd have evolved around other natural cycles in your world. If the Lux is pulsing, then it's reasonable to assume that has OTHER effects beyond just how much light there is to see by, so that'd be a natural rhythm for living things to adopt, but there could be others.

  • $\begingroup$ My cat does the same thing. I've been assuming he's not from my planet, but maybe it's what you said. :-) $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 3:02

If we're talking life that came into being in this world, would anyone/anything need to sleep?

You could have them unihemispheric slow-wave sleep, keeping them active, but reducing effectiveness.

Or sentient beings could meditate, with facing toward or away from Lux having specific effects/meaning.

If humans have been transported to this world, we'd adapt (see comments on the question).

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    $\begingroup$ I like the idea of sentient beings meditating and facing a specific direction. That could lead to some interesting mechanics within the game that a Game Master (GM) could either ignore or heavily pay attention to. $\endgroup$
    – DWShore
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ I had a similar thought, sleep/rest has mechanical uses in other systems, why not this one (: $\endgroup$
    – Alex B
    Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 13:08

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