The orcs in my world are humans/dwarves that have been exposed to an airborne mutagen that permanently denatures the myostatin receptors in their skeletal muscles. This stops their muscles from responding to myostatin, which eventually makes them far more muscular than a regular human or dwarf. I have a character who has been brought up to think of them as lumbering, rabid demons, and has (forcibly) been exposed to this; once he discovers this, how long does he have before he's no longer "human" (or considers himself as such)?

As a rough ballpark figure, I have estimated two weeks, based on a brief look at this paper. However, that was for mice and required two weeks of inhibitor injections. Is this time frame plausible for a human, after exposure to an airborne inhibitor?

The only real criteria I have is that it has to be in reasonably real time; not overnight or even over a day or two, but quickly enough to be obvious that it's happened.

  • $\begingroup$ It isn't nearly as prominent if it doesn't happen from birth. So the next generation would have a chance at being quite different, but the current generation? Not so much. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, I got a downvote for this. What can I improve? $\endgroup$
    – user7076
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 8:29
  • $\begingroup$ It is not clear what you mean by 'no longer human'. Introducing deformities, by whatever means, does not necessarily dehumanise the subject. $\endgroup$
    – Lee Leon
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 17:20
  • $\begingroup$ @LeeLeon the orcs are dehumanised in-universe as lumbering, rabid child-eaters. This character's been told that his entire life. $\endgroup$
    – user7076
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ In the Silmarillion, the Orcs are actually devolved from Elves, through Melkor attempting to mock and ruin the Children of Ilúvatar in jealousy for not being able to create beings of his own. $\endgroup$
    – Thucydides
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 22:43

1 Answer 1


It's going to depend a lot on what developmental stage the character is at when they are exposed, a mature adult will see smaller and slower effects than an adolescent, and whether the doses you need for immediately noticeable effects are safe, the only really rapid effect you'd get in their corpse would be rigor if the dose is too high. So ideally an adolescent or child in a rapid growth phase is exposed to doses just short of toxicity for as long as possible, under those circumstances the effects should be quite noticeable and reasonably immediate. For really solid results you want the second and third generation exposed to the same cocktail.

  • $\begingroup$ This character is 14, so he's in puberty. Probably the "best" time for this? $\endgroup$
    – user7076
    Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah pretty much, you're probably still looking at a couple of months to see full effect in the individual, they need time to grow in order to see the full effects of their dose. $\endgroup$
    – Ash
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 10:09

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