Lamia in this case describes a race of sapient beings who are human from the waist up, and have a snake body from the waist down. If more detail is necessary, their anatomy and physiology would be something similar to that described in this post, though I am not concerned with gritty details beyond the basic premise of having scaled serpent bodies in place of legs, characteristic of the pop culture image of lamia.

In this world, their societies would have developed in a Mesopotamia-like environment, with an extremely arid climate, neighboring deserts and sandswept desert plateau. Initially, their societies would have been river or oasis-based, but expanded as technology developed to make water more portable.

Currently, the world is at a steampunk level of technology, and there is international travel and trade via blimps and the like, so available resources are not an issue. As this is a steampunk world, resources like oil are not readily available, however.

My question is this: what kind of steampunk-era technology would be developed with lamia in mind, that would not be generally useful to any race? I am looking for something that would make a lamia-dominated city stand out in some way from a pure-human city in the same location.

I imagine it would have to be something that specifically offers convenience to their snake halves, in much the same way that a bicycle is specifically a convenience for someone with legs, but I'm not sure what would fit that bill, given the sheer strength and weight of the snake body compared to legs.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding! The start of your post looks really solid, but I think your question is too broad at the moment and quite opinion-based. We cannot say what would be uniquely to them which humans would not invent, as we ourselves are humans. Furthermore technology is a very broad field with lots of applications. You seem to focus on travel in the rest of the post. Are you specifically interested in technology that would help these creatures move around? If so please state this and remove the "uniquely"-part, then your question could be very good. $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Mar 21, 2017 at 7:43
  • $\begingroup$ Skin or scales? That might impact the kind of things they need. $\endgroup$
    – Mormacil
    Mar 21, 2017 at 8:29
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    $\begingroup$ Just a reminder: Your question is currently on hold so that it doesn't get any answers for some time. Currently it doesn't fit the sites guidelines and should be edited accordingly (see my first comment for a start). If you provide that information you could potentially invalidate existing answers, which is something we don't want. That's why your question is on hold. After some edits your question can be reopened. Edits will put it in the review queue automatically when your question is on hold. $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Mar 21, 2017 at 12:53

1 Answer 1


There are a few things that you will need to decide: how did they develop? What were their ancestors? What did the previous revolutions (agrarian, social, etc) look like?

Let me give an example: they come from constrictor type snakes, and they have around the same weight as humans, but are thinner and longer. They also come from a water environment, so they like to travel and move trough water.

First thing is becoming social and working in teams. As the female of the species is the larger and attracts more males it becomes Matriarchal. Due to intelligence you will need to care for the little ones. The oldest male takes that upon him to tutor and guide the lamini. That way the strong mother of the clan can hunt for bigger prey. Or the other males can use group tactics to hunt. With arms & hands they can use tools. Useful to cut up the large prey. The family sticks together for protection and collective foot sharing. Different clans have different structures. Some have one female leading, others multiple. Some heretics even give their males a say in things.

Next step it herding prey. Why deplete when you can keep them close? The largest of the species can still hunt. But now you need shepherds to watch over the flock. The herd needs food, so some kind of agriculture will develop. Not much, we are talking carnivores here.

Somehow, somewhere, a smart snake discovers how to handle fire. Not a small feat for a society that lives mostly in the water. First step is making tastier and saver food. Spice gardens follow. Now we are thinking about turning nature to our advantage. And with cooking other food sources become available. Not much, but some. Fruits for starters.

Then we want to store what we have gathered. Hello containers, pots and sorts. Hello structures to live in. Movement to other climates becomes possible due to shelters and fire.

And the stored (food) stuffs can be traded. Hello commerce. Hello transportation.

With us humans we had a time of slavery that made labour very cheap and so there was not much need for the industrial revolution. Might not happen here.

But we can make the transportation better, bigger and faster. First rafts, then hollowed out trees then boats. Propulsion can be a snake at first. Then some one thinks about flippers and finds a way to attach them to the rear end. Might help if you have some (very small) limps there.

Not sure why you need metal in there, but led with us to things like the water wheel, that led to the steam engine. From there you just put them on ships, and there you go. You probably want metals that don't interact much with water thou.

But here is the kicker: these lamia have very little reason to go into the vertical. Their world is a horizontal one. Quite wet and adapted to their unique features. I don't think a human would like it much. Low, damp, constricted. And very touchy feely.

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    $\begingroup$ That is fascinating. I had not considered amphibious lamia before. This answer unfortunately doesn't really apply to the arid lamia in my world, but would you mind if I used this concept writing for something else in the future? $\endgroup$
    – Makst
    Mar 22, 2017 at 3:57
  • $\begingroup$ No problem. Hope it helps with your world. As well as giving you an idea of what info is needed to answer your question. Our human technology has one main feature: there are things we need and want to do, with technology we make that happen; easier & faster. $\endgroup$ Mar 22, 2017 at 7:50

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