I have created a race of naturally mutated humans called the Homo Tenibris that destroy everything they touch(with any part of their body).

The speed at which the object is destroyed is dependent on its size. The mutated race is living on the earth so the earth is being destroyed by them, but due to its size, it is destroyed slowly. It takes longer to destroy something living than non-living. A human-sized statue would be destroyed in 30 seconds while a human would take 3 minutes.

There are no exceptions and so no substances that cannot be destroyed.

They are a hated race and hunted down and killed. They would need to look like everyone else.

I was initially thinking about an exoskeleton but it would need to look like natural clothing.

The object being destroyed would experience accelerated ageing.

Any ideas?

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    $\begingroup$ I think a better deffinition of "destroy" is in order. $\endgroup$
    – Gillgamesh
    May 2, 2022 at 11:16
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    $\begingroup$ It's not an answer but a doubt on your concept : If the definition of "destroy" is to transform particles into dust -or worse, make them disappear-, and human-sized statues (let's say 2m tall for calculations) can be destroyed every 30s, then in two minutes they dug an unclimbable 8-meter hole in the ground, and during their 4 hour long nap they'll wake up in an almost 1-kilometer long hole. They really need to be always on the move to not be stuck inside the Earth $\endgroup$ May 2, 2022 at 11:45
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    $\begingroup$ How are they not destroying all the O2 and N2 molecules in the air, which are quite tiny? They'd float around as radicals/ions, and though they'd eventually resort to becoming molecules again, it's definitely not guaranteed that they'd become diatomic. Have fun breathing ozone. $\endgroup$
    – John O
    May 2, 2022 at 13:32
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    $\begingroup$ Is this an origin story for ripped jeans? I never did understand those... $\endgroup$
    – addaon
    May 2, 2022 at 14:47
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    $\begingroup$ How do they eat or mate? Or even walk for that matter? $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    May 2, 2022 at 19:39

10 Answers 10


/They would need to look like everyone else./

Wear their own hair as clothes!

hair shirt


Your monsters look like everyone else. That means they have hair. That means they can grow their hair out and wear it as clothes. The linked woman did not spend a lot of time getting her hair to look like an actual piece of clothing because most of the time she wears it as hair. But your monsters spend lots of time doing that; weaving and braiding the hair into artistic and nuanced clothing designs.

It helps that their hair grows super fast, everywhere they have it. And they have it everywere, in abundance.

  • $\begingroup$ Wait, so why does the hair not get destroyed? And if the hair doesn't get destroyed, does that mean it doesn't get destroyed when cut either? $\endgroup$ May 3, 2022 at 11:00
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    $\begingroup$ And they could always cut their hair and weave it into cloth. There are stories with super heroes that use clothing made from their own hair so that it will be compatible with their super powers. Nothing quite as awkward as being able to phase through walls only to phase through your own clothing too. $\endgroup$
    – Anketam
    May 3, 2022 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ "They are a hated race and hunted down and killed" The hunters would use body armor. Tenibris body-part armor that is. $\endgroup$ May 4, 2022 at 8:05
  • $\begingroup$ So Willk is going the Bayonetta route and Kevin is extending it along the Golosseum path. Good thread. $\endgroup$
    – VHS
    May 4, 2022 at 20:21

They would wear air

No, seriously, those guys would be nudists.

This should not a problem - just look at the monsters in Attack on Titan. They are deformed and naked all the time, and it just adds to how frightening they are.

Your creatures being humanoid and nude will give them a place in the uncanny valley which will make them better (or worse?) villains.

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    $\begingroup$ Downvote because then the actual naturists would be mistaken for these destructo monsters and risk being destroyed! $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    May 2, 2022 at 22:29
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    $\begingroup$ @Willk - Well, that's easy to solve - just wear a small but visible armband while naked. $\endgroup$
    – Vilx-
    May 2, 2022 at 22:48
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    $\begingroup$ @Vilx - that's not my arm. An easy mistake to make! $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    May 2, 2022 at 23:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Willk Most naturist areas are surrounded by non-naturist areas. It would be highly unusual for someone to turn up already naked in most of them. $\endgroup$
    – Graham
    May 3, 2022 at 11:02

A specially concocted Bacterial Barrier allows them to wear clothes.

I know you said no exceptions, and I think this respects that. Its not that the bacteria are immune, but rather that they have evolved to work constant death by contact into their lifespan.

Here's the concept - all living things have countless microbes living in and on them. These often play very important roles in vital processes like digestion, immune systems, sexual selection, and so on. So, Homo Tenibris will have some kind of bacterial colony.

Now, obviously, these bacteria are constantly dying. But that's not actually going to stop them. One of the engines of evolution in bacterial life is a process called HGT or Horizontal Gene Transfer, which means that, unlike multicellular organisms who only inherit genetic information vertically, passed from a parent down to a child, bacteria can pass genetic information back and forth between individuals in the same generation. One of the ways this is done is by consuming the dead remains of another bacteria and incorporating strains of its DNA.

So, if the Homo Tenibris is constantly killing the bacteria that try to live on and in them, they aren't necessarily removing those bacterial strains from the gene pool. Instead, they are creating the perfect conditions for an accelerated evolutionary process. The pressure of nearly instant death would push towards bacterial strains with faster and faster life cycles.

At equilibrium, these specially evolved bacteria wouldn't have much of an effect on the Tenibris' abilities. But suppose a kindly scientist who wanted to protect/preserve tenibris sampled these bacteria and found a way to cultivate them or just to encourage their growth. A treatment is developed, probably in the form of a spray, that a tenibris can treat themselves with on a semi regular basis that builds up the bacterial field to intense levels. A thick layer of these bacteria forms an invisible barrier on the surface of the skin, soaking up the destructive forces, allowing clothes to lay atop the skin without being affected.

This would not make them less dangerous - in fact, it may add new dangers. If these bacteria moved off of the homo tenibris and onto normal humans, they would likely become invasive. So it would still be dangerous for Tenibris to touch others even when their buffers were active, and it might be dangerous even to let others handle their clothes.

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    $\begingroup$ I think that rather being invisible it would be more like a slimy layer on top of them. +1 for creepy effect though. $\endgroup$
    – Vilx-
    May 2, 2022 at 22:50

You've painted yourself in a corner a bit, with the zero exceptions rule.

The object being destroyed would experience accelerated ageing.

This means non-rusting metals e.g. gold chainmail could be a thing. Certainly wouldn't look common though.

The other option is through illusion. Maybe their skin can camouflage like a chameleon, so from a distance it looks like they are wearing clothing.

  • $\begingroup$ +1 for gold.. very durable $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    May 3, 2022 at 22:32

...while a human would take 3 minutes

They wouldn't need to wear anything, because they would have an average lifespan of about 3 minutes. Why? Because at all times, they are always in contact with themselves -- their skin is in contact with their subcutaneous layers of tissue, their blood is always running through their veins, ... Following from this logic, they would also be extinct unless they had an exceptionally quick reproductive cycle.

But... if you wanted to argue that they possess some trait that make themselves particularly resistant to their own effects of accelerated aging, then one solution could be to wear clothes made out of the leather of their brethren.


Soaked to the Skin

enter image description here

Clothes absorb water. Throw a wet piece of fabric on the fire and it will not burn. The moisture will steam off before the fabric catches fire. Due to latent heat the steaming phase might take longer than the burning phase.

Likewise If a Dark Human is wearing wet clothes, the destruction effect prioritises the moisture -- which steams off or disappears -- before the fabric is damaged.

Dark Humans can wear clothes provided they make sure to keep them wet at all times.

Maybe in hot places Dark Humans waste all their destructive power sweating and then boiling off their own sweat. So they wear thick clothes in hot places to generate a huge amount of sweat which they then destroy.


Special pigment cells or controllable chromatophores

They have special pigment-containing cells or controllable chromatophore organs controlled by muscles like some cephalopods (octopus, squid, cuttlefish). They can change their color in such a way that it looks like they are wearing clothes. It can help them to camouflage into their surroundings also to avoid being hunted.

enter image description here


Arrgh! I lost an answer which I worked on for a long time. Here I go again.

Shart Answer: It is my recommendation that the members of Homo tenebris be cyborgs with super advanced scientific machines implanted in bodies to perform all the almost totally impossible things they do.

LOng Answer in ten Parts:

Part One: Falling.

How would they avoid sinking into the Earth while sleeping, and how could they get out of their pits after they wake up?

And when the sides of the pits collapse and fall on them, they could suffocate for lack of air or be killed by rocks falling on their heads. So to avoid those types of deaths, they would have to disintegrate rock and dirt very fast.

But to avoid sinking to the center of the Earth whenever they stood or lay down in one place, they would have to disintegrate rock and soil very slow.

I don't think that those two speeds of destrying rock and soil can be consistent.

Part Two: A Clothing Problem.

How can Homo tenebris wear clothing that won't rapidly vanish. Gabriel Pierce's answer suggest wearing living plants which grow faster than they vanish or at the same rate. Do the plants get all the nourishment they need from air? Do members of wear flowerpots in their clothing?

Part Three: Getting Stuff In and Out.

How can Homo tenebris breathe, drink, or eat? Their destructive properites will make no problem with excreting wastes, since those wastes may be destroyed in the process of being expelled from their bodies. But how do they eat, drink, and breathe?

They could lie on their backs and have terrified slaves pour a nourishing soup down their throats. But why wouldn't the nourishing soup vanish as as soon as it touches their insides? Why wouldn't the air vanish as soon as it touches the insides of their lungs?

Part Four: An Outer Covering of Micro Black Holes.

One possible method for them to destory everything which they touch or which touches them would be if they project a forcefield that extends a short distance from their body, and the edge of that force field holds firmly in place gazillions of micro black holes. The force field keeps the micro black holes from escape, from merging with each other, and from contacting their body.

Thus, depending on the radii of the event horizons and the spaces between the event horizons, a Homo tenebris might be totally visible to people outside, or else totally blocked from sight by light absorbing event horizons, or somewhere in between. The same may be said for the ability of a Homo tenebris to see the outside world.

And the radii of the event horizons and the spaces between them would determine how rapidly subatomic particles, entire atoms, or entire molecules enter the blackholes and thus how rapidly objects are absorbed by the layer of mini black holes around the Homo tenebris.

Since the actual body of the Homo tenebris does not destroy matter, they could be fed by terrified normal slaves. They would lie on their back and the slaves would pour liquid nourishment into their mouths. The radii of the event horizons and the spaces between them would determine how much of the poured nourishment reached their mouths & digestive systems and would keep them alive and how much entered the event horizons.

To be continued.

Part Five: Wormhole Mouths.

Another possibility would be that the Homo tenebris might be surrounded by many tiny and closely spaced wormhole mouths, with sizes and spacing roughly equivalent to those of the black hole event horizons suggested above. Thus matter which contacted the wormhole mouths would pass through the wormholes to other times and/or spaces and seem to observers to be destroyed.

Part Six: Turning Ordinary Matter into exotic Matter.

Another possibility would be that the Homo tenebris might be surrounded by some sort of force that does not touch its body but does turn every bit of matter which touces the force into some exotic type of matter, such as mirror matter, which does not interact with light and doesn't interact with normal matter except through gravity. So all the matter transformed into that type of exotic matter would be invisible and intangible and would seem to have disappeared, even though it was still where it used to be.

Part Seven: The Clothing Again.

So what type of clothing could the members of Homo tenebris wear while they are surroundeded by black hole event horizons, or by wormhole mouths, or by some "mysterious unknown force" that turns all matter that it touches into some time of undetectable exotic matter?

They could wear clothing of any type at all, so long as that clothing hugs their skin and stays between their skin and the zone where matter is destroyed or appears to be destroyed. What they couldn't do would be to put such clothing on or take it off. Putting the clothing on or taking if off would make the clothing pass through the layer or zone of destruction around them.

So they would have to stay naked all the time.

Unless they could somehow turn on and off the process which destroys all matter which approaches too close to them - or at least appears to destroy that matter. And I think that being able to turn on and off that process would be even more fantastically implausible than having it on all the time.

Part Eight: Homo tenebris* Cyborgs.

And the thought has occurred to me that those the members of Homo tenebris might not be any sort of natural mutants, nor the results of atomic war, but possibly cyborgs created by an advanced civilization implanting super advanced machines into their bodies for some unspecified by me (but obviously nefarious) purpose.

So one device or set of devices implanted in a cyborg member of Homo tenebris might generate the forces that might hold gazillions of micro black hole event horizons in position a small distance from their skin.

Or maybe that device*s) might generate gazillions of artificial wormholes with their mouths held in position a short distance from their skin.

Or maybe that device(s) might emitt forces which strike all matter that is a short distance from their skin and turn that matter into some exotic form of matter which can no longer be detected and thus appears to have been destroyed by contact with their body.

Part Nne: Other Cyborg Implants.

And possibly those cyborg members of Homo tenebris might thave other devices implanted in their bodies. Perhaps machines that generate wormhole mouths for sending geses, liquids,and solid food into their bodies, and for sending gaseous, liquid, and solid waste out of their bodies to somewher else.

And another cyborg implant might be an antigravity generator to keep them from falling toward the center of the Earth whenever they stay in one place for long.

And with all those machines inplanted in their bodies the members of Homo tenebris might start to seem like Obi-wan described Darth Vader, "more machine than man". They almost might as well be robots.

So some writers might want to depict members of Homo tenebris as cyborgs with machine implants to do all the scientifically implausible activities, and other writers might think that they might as well be some sort of robots. But I doubt whether any writers who care at all about scientific plausibility would want to make members of Homo tenebris pure biological beings.

Because however doubtful and implausible it might be for them to have small machines implanted in their bodies to generate micro blackholes or wormholes, it would be gazilliions of times less pausible for any organs made of protoplasm to be able to do that.

Part Ten: The Scale of Hardness.

Posssibly someone might wonder where a story with members of such as I have described would fit on the famous Sliding Scale of Science Fiction hardness, where the higher the score the more plausible and realistic the story would be.


My guess is that most science fiction experts would put the cyborgs I describe at the lowest levels on the scale, 1 or 2, considering them to be very implausible.

But if the members of Homo tenebris were described as being 100 percent biological, with their force fields, antigavity, black holes, and wormholes being created by organs of protoplasm, then the score of the story would be much lower, perhaps minus 10.

Of course in a fantasy story if the members of Homo tenebris were described as being cyborgs with superadvanced machines implanted in them, or if a character speculated that was the cause of their strange atributes, readers might think that the writer was going the extra mile to minimize the magical and fantasy element and make their story more plausible.

PS It is Homo tenebris*, not Homo Tenebris*. In binomial nomenclature the second word is not capitalized.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Please format your text with headlines and such... $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    May 3, 2022 at 9:38

Mind Control: They can strut around au naturale, while telepathically controlling those around them to believe they look normal.

Somewhat nerfed option: The observer is unable to "see" them, as such, but instead sees a projection of his own unconscious.


Wear large clothes that are destroyed at the same rate as or slower than the individual approaches death

This works because you said large things are destroyed at a disproportionately slower rate.

enter image description here

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yeah, the weird thing about OP's settings is that the ground is considered some kind of homogenous "big" thing and not a collection of lots of small things that would be destroyed individually. So the answer is indeed to have very massives clothes. Maybe have very dense weights under the clothes, or have a long string that links the clothes to an extremely big object so that the "whole" gets erroded more slowly. $\endgroup$
    – Jemox
    May 5, 2022 at 12:16

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