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Questions tagged [history]

For questions dealing with the past events of a given world.

84
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11answers
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What would be the best way to get clean, drinkable water in a medieval city?

Help! I've been transported back in time to London in 1303 AD. After saying hi to the flock of other worldbuilders who have inexplicably travel back in time to Medieval Europe, I decide to set out to ...
69
votes
19answers
11k views

Being reborn with your memories - Knowledge is power, but how much?

Imagine a world like ours, with humans that have a soul which passes on into a new human body, taking the memories with it. They get accessible during puberty, gradually. as the number of humans is ...
68
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23answers
23k views

In what war would one modern military vehicle make a difference?

Somewhat related to this question. Take one modern, new-off-the-production-line, Challenger II battle tank, and one time machine. To what war do you need to send this tank before it can really have a ...
64
votes
14answers
10k views

What would be left of a civilization founded in dinosaur times?

65 million years ago, a mass extinction event (likely caused by the Chicxulub Meteor) wiped out the dinosaurs, and their remains were hidden from us for millions of years. Humanity was not around ...
63
votes
13answers
12k views

I travel back in time: how could I know when I landed?

Today a weird guy with a pointy hat offered me and my friends to play a game: We will all travel back in time, to a random date somewhen from the antiquity to modern times. We will have a limited ...
58
votes
17answers
8k views

From which point on would including a dragon on one side of a historical battle not be an instant victory?

Inspired by this question, I am wondering something similar. In a modern war a dragon that simply flies over enemy forces and torches them with its fire breath there are several ways of taking it down ...
54
votes
15answers
11k views

Most useful knowledge from the 30's to understand current state of computers & networking?

Human-vampire hybrid wakes up from hibernation that started in the late 30's and finds that world has changed. What kind of knowledge from the 30's would be best starting point to learn computers &...
50
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21answers
10k views

Would descendants of Earth people stranded on another planet eventually forget about Earth?

The world I'm building would be based on a new planet discovered and colonized by modern humans (us, essentially). But then some disaster or another happens, and the end result is that all contact ...
46
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11answers
9k views

Time Warp: Modern chemist as court alchemist

Premise The premise is an adept modern chemist is transported back in time and is to serve as the court alchemist to a wealthy prince in the late 16th century. Assumptions: "Transmuting" gold is ...
45
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15answers
5k views

What are the primary triggers for the decline and fall of great empires?

Let's focus specifically on the devolution of empires. How is it that something so powerful falls? The collapse of Rome, Byzantium, the Han, the Mayans and so on. What similarities can be seen in ...
39
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15answers
7k views

Is it plausible that a country developed steam engines before gunpowder?

Man, I really have to find a way to stop getting into logic dead-ends. So, in the story I’m writing, there’s this country that developed big bad war machines that run on steam engines. The way they ...
38
votes
23answers
10k views

What's a possible justification for orcs not taking over the world?

So I'm making a story with the standard Tolkien races. Not terribly original, I know, but it makes for good practice fantasy writing. While I was planning out the history, I realized that orcs ...
35
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7answers
7k views

How far can a time traveller go into the past before his electrical equipment becomes unchargeable?

My time traveller has a maybe 20-minutes-into-the-future smartphone and laptop. They can store large amounts of data, on the Petabytes level or higher. The time traveller can effectively store the ...
31
votes
9answers
9k views

What would modern IT look like if Silicon Valley had been completely destroyed in 1985?

In the 1985 movie A View to a Kill, James Bond discovers--and then foils--a plot by to destroy Silicon Valley, in a manner that makes it look like a natural disaster. The plot for doing so is a bit ...
30
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15answers
11k views

How recently could a god be born? [closed]

Supposing you were creating religions in your world, and your world has advanced along a technological spectrum similar to Earth's. What is the latest point in history that a new god could be ...
28
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10answers
6k views

Can there be a space age without petroleum (crude oil)?

Crude Oil, is a term used to describe petroleum products harvested from geological formations beneath the Earth's surface. As a fuel they maybe called hydrocarbons, hydrocarbons can be found/created ...
26
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9answers
2k views

How do you layer history?

One of the facets of great fantasy worlds is the depth built into the environment. A well built world provides a complete setting in which stories can grow naturally and appear as a small sample of ...
23
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15answers
5k views

What advice could a time traveller give for use of an atomic bomb to end WW2 while minimizing loss of life or later nuclear brinkmanship [closed]

Say someone was sent back in time to roughly the time that they were considering using the nukes on Japan to end WW2. The time traveller wishes to minimize loss of life for both sides, but more so for ...
23
votes
11answers
4k views

What kind of historic event would precipitate a worldwide corporate dystopia?

I have an idea for a story set in a not-too-far future where the political lines of the world map have been redrawn, not by nation-states like France or Belgium but by corporations like MacroCorp, ...
21
votes
18answers
4k views

What's the ideal era for harvesting resources by an advanced society?

It's 2100-ish and we're experimenting on our new time travel device, or let's say time travel bunker. What we gathered of information so far are: We can't really go back in time, literally. Every ...
20
votes
11answers
5k views

An Undercover Army

Suppose you want to invade Russia. But, beating it in a conventional or nuclear war isn't possible for your people for some reason. What if, instead, you line up 500,000 soldiers to move to Russia ...
20
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9answers
5k views

Can Feudalism Endure Advanced Agricultural Techniques?

A multi-state feudalistic medieval society manages to accomplish certain advancements (directly agricultural and supportive), specifically discovering/refining/implementing: Crop rotation "Modern" ...
20
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7answers
4k views

Introducing money to a barter based economy

If a person from a culture that uses money was to try and introduce such a system to a tribe of people that use a barter-based system, how could they do this in the shortest amount of time? What ...
19
votes
15answers
5k views

Would 100-200 years be sufficient to “erase” past atrocities?

In the particular world that I am working on, I am attempting to build a "utopian" society. A major piece of this society is that, effectively, all historical atrocities have been "forgotten" by the ...
19
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6answers
5k views

How long does it take for a fact to become a legend? (In a medieval setting)

Given a vaguely European Medieval society free of magic, how long does it take for historic record to devolve into fiction? Rephrased, how long would it take an Arthurian legend to form, where the ...
18
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2answers
2k views

Population range for a booming/dying frontier town

I'm designing a town in the Ozark mountain range circa 1871, and am unsure what population size to give it. River Bend is an isolated town in the Ozark highlands of Arkansas founded in 1845 on the ...
17
votes
18answers
7k views

Why would people not settle an open plain?

My world consists of a relatively narrow strip of land with the sea on one side and the mountains on the other. However, to the north and south are simply grasslands, and maybe the occasionally forest....
16
votes
5answers
563 views

Balancing science and history when building a world

When building a world, I use one of two approaches: Either figure out the geography or write down the societal history. I can then use the one to influence the other and then move on to the rest of ...
16
votes
5answers
394 views

Online character generation resources: types of occupation throughout history

I need to generate some characters for my world, and at the moment, inspiration fails me. Now, before you reach for the 'Close' link, I'm not asking for the WB community to help me with character ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

What would the Soviet Union have looked like if Trotsky was in power, not Stalin?

During the final days of Lenin, it was time to pick his replacement. For reason no body understood, Stalin was allowed to go into power and he immediately focused on keeping this power. Trotsky and ...
15
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11answers
1k views

If Jesus performed miracles today, how could we convince the people of 4000AD that they happened?

The stories of the miracles of Jesus have survived 2000 years through written records by multiple witnesses. These records were compiled into a collection called "The Bible", which has been reproduced ...
14
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7answers
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What is the most befitting place to drop 'H'itler bomb to score decisive victory in 1945?

Supposedly Adolf Hitler had in his possession a blueprint of a working atomic bomb. Its destructive power is estimated to be similar to or on par with "Fat Man" which was dropped on Nagasaki in 1945. ...
14
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6answers
8k views

Is the Pike Square formation truly invincible? [closed]

According to Wikipedia: With their famed discipline and in combination with heavy cavalry like the gendarme, the Swiss pike squares were almost invincible on the late medieval battlefield. Is ...
14
votes
9answers
4k views

How would one develop a transistor in a medieval setting

What are the requirements for such an endeavour? I am making a novel where the protagonist is reincarnated into a medieval society. His plan is to push forward technology into the modern age. He ...
14
votes
9answers
2k views

What will remain from an eco-friendly civilization after 10,000 years?

Let us assume that about 10,000 years ago there was another human civilization, that was quite similar to humanity. Physically they are humans. The state of development of this civilization is quite ...
14
votes
7answers
1k views

How can I prevent the Christian schism of 1054 in order to create a more unified church?

Schism of 1054, also called East-West Schism, event that precipitated the final separation between the Eastern Christian churches, led by the patriarch of Constantinople, and the Western church. ...
14
votes
5answers
870 views

Methods for creating great people for your world's history

I am working on developing my world's history. Great people help give a world flavor. From profanity to holidays to religions and nations, great people can be the lynchpin on which the pendulum of ...
13
votes
9answers
2k views

Is psychohistory a practical leadership tool?

I just finished Isaac Asimov's novel Foundation, the first book in the Foundation series. Its premise relies in part on one character, Hari Seldon, planning the future of a scholarly world by using ...
12
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9answers
4k views

What would a modern civilization look like if they aren't allowed to write? [closed]

CASE: There is a sentient life form that is snake-like in appearance, and cannot have the means to write or perform elaborate body gestures due to a lack of fine motor skills. Their only proof of ...
12
votes
10answers
3k views

Can the present human understand people in the past verbally?

We are at 2015 present, and assuming we travel back in time and meet the people from the same country but long ago (make it 1000 years ago). Can we communicate and understand whatever each other say?
12
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4answers
650 views

The Magical British Government: At War

Suppose that, while the British were busy making their empire, someone in government discovered magic and let his colleagues in on the secret. However, the magic they have discovered is fairly ...
12
votes
3answers
178 views

Where can I learn more about 1700 era boating?

I want to write about men out doing whaling and fishing with the type of technology similar to that of early 1700s boating. They are going to have a blunderbuss, use old harpoon fishing, sail boats ...
11
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10answers
2k views

Why is old stuff good? [closed]

It's a common pattern in nearly any imaginary world that "ancient items are powerful artifacts" and stuff. But for what plausible reason? I'm trying to come up with some realistic explanation on why ...
11
votes
10answers
9k views

For how long could a modern tank survive in a past war?

A while ago, I asked In what war would one modern military vehicle make a difference? I have now come up with a sort-of sequel. A modern, Challenger II battle tank has been sent back in time to a ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Non-Mongol Steppe Nomads

Most of the quasi-medieval world include nomads, most often there is only one culture of nomads and they are accompanied with the footnote "inspired by the Mongols". Even when that isn't the case, the ...
11
votes
3answers
543 views

How can I keep the state of Muskogee independent?

Background The State of Muskogee was an independence movement in the late 1700's and early 1800's started by William Bowles. The goal was to create a united aboriginal nation in the southeast that ...
11
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6answers
1k views

Why would the Old Gods retreat? [closed]

Many fantasy stories include Old Gods (i.e. pagan deities from largely defunct religions) who still exist during modern times. Whether they're like Marvel's Asgardians, who exist largely unchanged in ...
10
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6answers
3k views

Ancient tanks of war

I plan to go back in time and help Asterix and Obelix to turn the tide of Gallic wars against the romans. To achive this i will build ancient versions of our most dreaded land weapon: Tanks ! The ...
10
votes
7answers
2k views

Unifying two empires?

I have an empire that occupies its own landmass, defined by water boundaries. At some point in the past (maybe 200 to 400 years) it was two main cultural regions, the East and the West. The modern ...
10
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10answers
860 views

What is the ideal time period for 'forgotten history' novels/stories to take place and still end up with our history?

In novels (SF and FF) that hint at being earlier in Earth's history, such as Lord of the Rings and The Wheel of Time, in which period would such a story need to take place to plausibly and ...