I have a magic system in which emotional extremes turns people into monsters. What are the possible effects that this magic system would have on a Renaissance-style world?

For example, obsessions can turn a person into a "monster." Sadness, anger, and any other emotion with a selfish origin would be "negative" and turn you into a monster. It becomes easier to become a monster; the closer to death you are. It works best on older or sick people. The younger you are, the less risk you're at. Basically, monsters attack people and possess lower-level intelligence while retaining basic knowledge that they did in life.

Conversely, altruistic emotions turn you into a monster that hunts monsters. However, the altruistic monsters are smarter and live out the vices of who they were before.

Monsters are five times stronger than a human that is very physically fit. Example: a soldier. They also have a durable skin with defensive capabilities comparable to chainmail. They weigh about a ton and would be about the size of a gorilla. Monsters would come in all kinds of shapes.

There are knights/warriors/mercenaries trained to become emotionally neutral, which actually grants them supernatural strength: about three fifths the strength of a monster.

The usage of firearms for defense is increasing, and the need for these trained super soldiers is decreasing.

What kinds of moral philosophy/religion might develop or exist in this context?

Sorry for not making it clear but the older I you get the easier it is to become a monster. So basically, children get a mostly free pass.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to worldbuilding. Please check the help center, there you will notice that we want questions to have a limited scope. "How would X affect society?" is always too broad, no matter if it is modern or past society. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Oct 15, 2020 at 12:32
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    $\begingroup$ So if I broke Grammy's lamp I might literally destroy the town because she turns into a one ton gorilla monster? $\endgroup$
    – IT Alex
    Oct 15, 2020 at 13:37
  • $\begingroup$ seems like it unlikely to develop renaissance civilization, and i think it more likely end up like medieval age with christian value still uphold to maintain the emotion. outside of that the ppl may end up empathetic for all the monster that come out and make chaos and terror for society to develop, and they just goes full genocide to the point only the empathetic or emotionless people left to breed, like natural selection . $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Oct 15, 2020 at 14:12
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    $\begingroup$ "Monsters are five times stronger ... They weigh about a ton" - Average fit human is less than 1/10 of a ton. Your monsters would move like sumo wrestlers :) $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Oct 15, 2020 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I deliberately chose them to be that heavy. $\endgroup$ Oct 15, 2020 at 21:21

2 Answers 2


It would affect the culture of the society by wiping it out.

Firstly - if you reach adulthood, life would suck:

So everyone on earth experiences the intense extremes of emotion as a newborn baby, part of learning to control your own body is controlling your emotions. This is true in 2020, in the Renaissance, and would be true in your world even without the monster consequences.

As you mature, your typical emotional range shrinks. For the first few months everything is cry worthy, then as you get into your first few years tears or rage may occur but the maximum intensity emotions are less frequent. Getting your 8th or 9th year you probably have a decent control on your emotions 99% of days. An adult is generally fine except for extenuating circumstances.

The slope of that line needs to be carefully calculated against the slope that biases the trigger towards the elderly. Any delay in emotional intelligence development would result in someone having a higher likelihood of crossing that line. You may end up turning all autism, adhd, and other mental health issues into children monsters.

If the lines are a really long way apart, then you'll have a very stoic society. Boring and carefully controlled emotions. However you'll have no positive emotions either; No joy, no charity, no love.

People would chastise themselves for feeling hints of these positive emotions and view themselves as failures for thinking thoughts of love or joy, and then chastise themselves for the negative emotion of thinking they're failures for thinking that. I would expect this constant conflict to drive them mad. At which point they're monsters anyway.

Monsters are contagious

Seeing someone important to you become a monster would be traumatic and has a high likelihood of turning you into a monster too. A monster appearing next to you may induce panic which makes you a monster too.

You are important to other people, and or other people may panic upon "suddenly monster". A chain reaction is very plausible.

Theres a decent chance an entire generation could be monsterised within a few minutes of each other.

And your society wouldn't get another generation

Given that intense emotional states are often associated with reproduction, how exactly do you plan on procreation of the humans? Sex is an intense emotional state.

If two people are creating a baby, and one enjoys themselves and feels an intense positive emotional state, what happens to the other person?

What happens if only the female turns into monster during sex? Does a part of the Male that occupied the same space change into an equivalent monster part as well? Do the openings line up? If not does he get all his parts back or does it simply get magicked out of existence?

Let's assume your society can master the art of mediocre sex. How does someone give birth without entering an intense emotional state?

If during the intense birthing process the mother happens to have an intense emotion (how dare she), is there now a human infant inside the monster? Does the baby become a monster?

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    $\begingroup$ Hulk Mad, Hulk Sad, Hulk Scared, Hulk Depressed, and Hulk Love. By their power combined this is Captain Planet Hulk. $\endgroup$
    – IT Alex
    Oct 15, 2020 at 15:40
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the ideas. I completely forgot about sex and birth. It's these sorts of little extra tidbits that are helpful in patching up plot holes. Work around would exist somewhat in the area of younger marriages and births. Or toned down knight mental training. Contagious monsters are part of the beauty of this system. $\endgroup$ Oct 15, 2020 at 22:51

Stoicism. Children will be exposed to all sorts of extreme things physically and emotionally and trained to feel nothing about it. Showing emotion will be taboo and a good way to get people clamoring for your death. When your lover/child dies you show nothing, when your hand is cut off you show nothing.

Having everyone be low level depressed would help as that tends to leave you numb to lots of things. So lots of depressing poetry and stories.

Those that can't control their emotions will be shunned, exiled or put in jobs/positions where they can be watched and killed if they change. Possibly used as slave labor.

People that get too old are going to be killed or encouraged to commit suicide to protect the group. It could work but it's going to be ugly.


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