0
$\begingroup$

The setting features biomancers, mages who are like necromancers in that their magic revolves mainly around the use and obtaining or creation of minions or servants or the modification of said servants or themselves, but instead of dealing or interacting with dead things their magic deals with living things.

There are many ways for biomancers to obtain their servants, many of which unspeakable and despicable, but for those who are less morally dark the most common way of obtaining or creating the living things that will do their bidding is through 'growth pods'. Growth pods are modified plants that fulfill similar functions to eggs or wombs in that within them grows whatever organism the biomancer has implanted the 'seed cell' of which into. There is a large amount of biological knowledge required, from anatomical to cellular, to create seed cells that will grow into successful creatures that won't die a mere day or so after exiting their pod, let alone have the correct mental imprints to follow the biomancer's will(if they don't intend to constantly control the creature like a puppeteer), but once they understand how living things work to a well-enough degree they have a frankly ridiculous amount of freedom when it comes to what the pod(or whatever else they use) will grow for them. There are many other things biomancers can do as well but they aren't the focus of this question.

My problem? I don't know if soil alone would be able to provide everything a growth pod needs to grow whatever creature the biomancer wants. Yes everything we eat technically comes from the soil via vegetables and other in-betweens, and yes they may be able to provide the pod with whatever it needs with some ahem fertilizer ahem, but I want there to be a morally 'good' way for biomancers to go about their craft that isn't the equivalent of restricting themselves to plants and being a faux druid.

Would soil alone be able to provide everything necessary to feed their development and grow animal-based living creatures within these growth pods?

$\endgroup$
1
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The soil is fundamentally a substrate; most of what we eat does not come from the soil, it comes from water and air and sunlight. Yes, some components of vegetable biomass come from the soil, but they don't necessarily have to and could be provided in a different way. Plants can grow very well without any soil at all; think of hydroponics, or of seaweeds. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 17:41

2 Answers 2

2
$\begingroup$

Depends what "soil" you're talking about, a nice sandy loam that you would use for cultivating roots vegetables? No, there isn't nearly enough carbon, or water usually, in a typical farming soil to directly support the growth of a large animal. Peat on the other hand is a high carbon source, enough so that it is often cut and dried to be burned as fuel, and contain up to 80% water by weight when wet. Peat could potentially be a suitable incubator for your biomancers.

Added advantage - because peat land traditionally makes poor farmland because of how wet it stays year round your biomancers can set up far from from population centres where people might object to their experiments.

$\endgroup$
1
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Nice. Less of a chance of pitchforks and torches for 'abominable crimes against nature' if you're so far away from the farms :) $\endgroup$
    – Rubrikon
    Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 18:18
1
$\begingroup$

As you said, whatever we ingest as food has come from the soil and it has been elaborated through the various steps of the food chain. Except for one key ingredient: carbon comes from the atmospheric CO2, not from the soil. It is then fixed into glucose and from there enters to organism.

Soil alone will not give you the needed carbon, you need also the atmosphere. Not a big deal unless you plan of sending your pods in outer space.

$\endgroup$
2
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ and water. most biomass is created from co2 and h2o. $\endgroup$
    – ths
    Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 16:54
  • $\begingroup$ I guess it's my fault for wording it in a way that makes it at risk of being taken too literally. Basically the pod would act like a plant with regards to extracting things from the soil, including water, and like plants it'd also have their method of respiration, in the taking in of co2. Should I edit it so that it asks if a plant would be able to grow and animal... or something along that line? $\endgroup$
    – Rubrikon
    Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 17:33

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .