Questions tagged [natural-resources]

For questions that deal with the natural resources found in the environment.

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113
votes
12answers
27k views

How long would it take to create a Windows 1.0 capable machine from complete scratch?

I've been thinking about this concept for a while and have not been able to figure out what could be a plausible answer. It seemed appropriate for my first question on this website. Imagine an ...
49
votes
18answers
10k views

How to not starve gigantic beasts

If I create dragons to be castle-sized animals, how am I supposed to let them eat? Won't they need too much for an earth-like planet? I'm currently trying to build a world where a whole lot of ...
42
votes
16answers
5k views

Resources to justify long-distance space mining missions

Earth is setting up mining colonies on Tau Ceti e. But how can they justify the enormous cost of sending people there? ...Because during the initial exploratory missions, it was discovered that in ...
41
votes
3answers
7k views

Is it possible for a mine to contain both gemstones and precious metals?

I have been trying to find an answer to my question for a couple hours now but I haven't had any luck on Google though I might be searching using the wrong terms I'm not sure as I know next to nothing ...
39
votes
17answers
8k views

Is there a way to “poison” oil fields permanently without releasing CO2 from them?

I have a group of ecoterrorists who want to limit the amount of CO2 the world puts out in a drastic way: by poisoning oil fields so that the oil becomes unuseable, or at least forever uneconomical to ...
36
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13answers
9k views

What would America lack if cut off from World trade for years?

North and South America totally cut off from world trade for years in modern times. No intercontinental except between the two. Would there be any current technology that couldn't be made due to lack ...
34
votes
6answers
4k views

Creating a realistic world map - Mineralogy

This Query is part of the Worldbuilding Resources Article. I know how continents are formed and how they evolve over time but what does it look like under the surface? The crust of the planet is ...
25
votes
12answers
9k views

How can a mortal woman successfully carry a demigod to term?

Demigods are special humans that are born partly divine. These individuals have been extremely rare throughout history, and always have various significant effects for the world around them, leading ...
25
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16answers
4k views

Precious Materials in a Galactic Empire

Picture the future, where man kind has spread out across the galaxy. What would be the most precious and sought after materials? Today it is metals like gold and platinum that are most sought after. ...
23
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8answers
3k views

What sort of materials could be used to make clothing in a swamp?

We have some characters living in a wetland biome (freshwater swamp, specifically) without access to trade from other areas. What kinds of options do they have when it comes to using the natural ...
22
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 ...
21
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13answers
3k views

How can magic and the economy reliably stand together?

This question assumes that in any kind of magical world, any form of magi can create nearly anything, but especially -- using only magic, can create gold, silver, gemstones, other currency, etc. as ...
20
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16answers
4k views

Why are there still resources in space?

In this universe humans aren't the first civilization to reach space in the local stellar neighborhood (a bubble of ~1000 light years across). In fact for the past several billions of years ...
20
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7answers
3k views

How can I get enough food into my underground empire?

I'd like to have a large underground world. Imagine the "Underdark" which will be familiar with DnD folks. A huge network of large and small caverns connected by winding passageways. The occasional ...
19
votes
8answers
4k views

Living in a Giant Swamp - Construction

In my fantasy novel, I have people living in a giant swamp forest. The swamp stretches as far as the eye can see, so draining is not an option, as there is simply nowhere to drain the swamp to. My ...
19
votes
15answers
3k views

How can various tiers of worlds be beneficial for God's portfolio?

God is the ultimate world builder who designs various planes, which with their own worlds. He created human beings as living batteries in order to fuel him and give him power. Dea feeds off of the ...
19
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5answers
2k views

Could Inuits survive in Antarctica?

Imagine that a group of Inuits from Greenland settled in Antarctica; let's say on the Antarctic peninsula, if there is no better place in Antarctica. Could they survive there with their traditional ...
18
votes
13answers
5k views

How to decide if a Planet is better off to be Terraformed or Stripmined?

In Science Fiction, when civilizations grow powerful enough to conquer the planet and are in need for room, they turn to the planets in outer space. Obviously, the other planets have very different ...
18
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8answers
6k views

What would be a source of iron to ward off faeries in todays world

In a story I'm writing, I'm going to need iron to ward off magical creatures, faeries to be exact. This iron should not be used in an alloy with other metals or coated with something like paint, tin,...
18
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3answers
3k views

Closest Proximity of Oceans to Freshwater Springs

I am trying to wrap my head around the geography of a settlement in my world. The settlement is situated along the coast, along a river roughly 500m wide with temperate mixed forests surrounding it, ...
18
votes
10answers
2k views

Is there a way to have coal but not oil?

Reading this answer I realized that for my purposes I don't really want a fully steampunk world. All I want is lack of cars and planes as we know them, and lack of oil, or inaccessible deposits of oil,...
18
votes
6answers
2k views

What would be the effect of magic ultraviolet rocks on developing societies?

One of my favorite bits of set dressing is magic glowing rocks. You see them in movies, video games, and every other manner of medium conveying fantasy settings. Personally, I'm perfectly okay with ...
18
votes
5answers
4k views

Getting fresh water in the middle of hypersaline lake in the Bronze Age

An ancient kingdom covers a several rivers in a desert basin all converging on a central, hypersaline, lake. Because of its central location, and the importance of the salt, the lake has important ...
18
votes
7answers
2k views

What would be the next technological step for a civilization after it has depleted all resources that allow for conventional technologies?

Imagine a world that reaches the end of its resources in silicon, petrol, coal, metals... everything that allows for conventional technology — even before it has found a way over it (renewable energy ...
17
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5answers
2k views

Could Spore's Spice Geysers Exist?

Many people here have likely played Spore, a game where you design a species and expand its empire into space and beyond. It was one of those games that worldbuilders absolutely adored and after ...
17
votes
4answers
371 views

What qualities are necessary for an effective herd creature?

What qualities about a land-dwelling creature are absolutely necessary to maintain an effective herd of that creature for food and/or resources? Assume this is an earth-like environment.
16
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14answers
4k views

Alternative source of fuel instead of wood

In my world, humans live on an island. The island is not real big, there is a volcano, a river around which is a marsh.The forest on the island is sacred for them so they cannot enter it and cannot ...
16
votes
10answers
3k views

Imagining a Solar-Powered Economy

For a writing challenge, I'm trying to create a near-future world (2030 or so) where the major Western nations have transitioned to a fully solar economy. Hence the rub. The realist in me is aware of ...
16
votes
3answers
12k views

Would it be possible to smelt and craft things from salt

During a brainstorm session the idea of the ruler of a maritime empire sitting upon a throne made from worked salt came to me. Before I break out the handwavium there is something that I would like ...
15
votes
14answers
4k views

What resources (especially mineral) can you find on terrestrial planets but not asteroids?

I'm writing about people living in space who can mine asteroids and I'm wondering what minerals or other resources, if any, they might need access to larger planets for. Since planets and asteroids ...
15
votes
4answers
6k views

Which Natural Resources Go Where? (Medieval Fantasy Setting)

I am creating a fictional fantasy (Medieval-ish era) world. The area covered by my map is fairly large, and contains an ocean, mountains, plains, lakes, forests, swamps, etc. It's pretty much all ...
15
votes
6answers
3k views

What determines distribution of natural resources?

I am currently creating a world from scratch, and while I have a map, I still need to figure out distribution of natural resources. For resources like fossil fuels, while many do appear in deserts, I ...
14
votes
2answers
522 views

Where do I put diamond mines on my map?

I've got a home-brewed D&D setting. Diamonds, in D&D, are needed for resurrection magic, so access to diamonds is literally life and death for any country with clerics capable of casting such ...
13
votes
9answers
6k views

Using a quarry as a water reservoir

Our country, which is located in thousands of km2 of plains, needs a way to store water. Dams are not an option due to the fact that there are no mountains. We have retired mining quarries that are ...
13
votes
7answers
602 views

How can I explain a sudden abundance of naturally-occurring beer?

Researchers are scratching their heads, and Portland Water Bureau is furious. In Portland, Oregon, a reservoir in one of the City parks has begun spilling out a river of naturally occurring beer/ale. ...
13
votes
1answer
267 views

What sort of water sources could occur in a world tree?

I'm working on a fantasy setting that's literally a giant tree on a planetary scale. Magic is in effect, so concerns of how a tree that large could survive are irrelevant, but I need to figure out ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Creating a realistic world map - Fuel

This Query is part of the Worldbuilding Resources Article. Following the question Creating a realistic world map - Mineralogy , I realized that it was a very large topic to cover all the possible ...
11
votes
19answers
3k views

What aspect of planet Earth must be changed to prevent the industrial revolution?

I am thinking of a planet (I suppose one would call it a parallel earth) where the industrial revolution never happens, and people live with 1700s technology forever. What differences in resources/...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

How would books exist if there would be no wood available?

Based on this question I asked before and it being too broad, here's a more specific question related to it. What would happen to books as we know them, if wood was not available as a resource? I ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Most Energy Efficient Barricade

My story requires humans very quickly creating a ~5km barricade to protect them from the monsters that live in the forest. These monsters are between animals and humans in power/intellect. Currently, ...
11
votes
5answers
3k views

Important resources for Dark Age civilizations?

In a time period with medieval technology, what would be the most important local resources? I've put together a small list and broken it down into categories, but I'd like to know if there's anything ...
11
votes
3answers
927 views

Where in the galaxy would one find the most heavier elements?

I'm trying to flesh out the history of a fictional galactic society, specifically the initial settlements and inhabited worlds. Something that I thought would be important to settlers would be an ...
10
votes
7answers
2k views

What metals will a culture most likely use if use of iron is prohibited?

What metals will a culture most likely use if use of iron is prohibited but it has advanced technology?
9
votes
11answers
3k views

Why would male organs make better ingredients for a spell?

Witchcraft in this world is practiced openly by witches and is exclusively female. Magic works through long, complicated rituals that require multiple components. The most powerful of these demand ...
9
votes
15answers
5k views

Is a world with infinite resources possible? [closed]

In my current fictional fantasy-ish endeavor, I have a world with a great war. This war is vast and encompasses all of the known land. Due to magical means, soldiers for the war are 'summoned' from ...
9
votes
14answers
4k views

Fantasy/Medieval setting - materials to build when wood and stone aren't an option?

In my fantasy novel, I have elves. Unlike most elves, these do not use magic. The architecture of elves is usually depicted as trees that have been flowingly shaped into houses and graceful structures....
9
votes
6answers
909 views

How feasible would mass scale metallurgy be for a post-apocalyptic civilization?

Let's assume that civilization is a total loss so after the initial die-off humanity has to rebuild itself from the hunter-gatherer stage. In a particularly harsh environment it may take a few ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Space wizards city : Is it sustainable?

Context Six thousand years ago, magic users from Earth managed to create a portal between Earth and another planet, far far away. This planet is Earth-like but developed no life forms whatsoever. ...
9
votes
1answer
237 views

Where can a Victorian-level civilization find significant amounts of helium?

According to google Although helium is the second most abundant element in the universe, most of it in the Earth's atmosphere bleeds off into space. Helium used for industrial purposes is a ...
8
votes
5answers
9k views

What types of valuable resources would be available in a fictional swamp?

After doing some research to find natural resources in a swamp, I found that a swamp wasn't really able to do anything beyond it being good for fish growth, as a sort of natural water and air filter, ...