137

In this world, bodies are more durable than intelligence. Imagine mineral creatures who accumulate bodies of crystals, metals and minerals. It takes a really long time to grow a good body and lots of immatures die before their bodies get big enough to withstand the abuse of their environment. But once those bodies are big, they are super durable. More ...


116

Starting from the ground up: how much caloric energy even exists in the things orcs eat? Energy metabolism for aerobes involves combining oxidizable with oxygen - in essence burning them. One can burn things in a bomb calorimeter to see what the caloric value is. I looked up caloric values for fats, ethanol, protein and conventional carbohydrates (e.g. ...


115

Consider the lowly sling. A couple of lengths of string or leather lace and a pouch, from which one hurls stones or cast shot. The sling was one of the earliest weapons created by man, and it was used by regular soldiers in warfare as recently as the Spanish revolution. In warfare, the Aztec slings were considered to be as effective as the Spanish muskets. ...


105

Targeting. Your gargoyles are the modern descendants of creatures whose main mode of predation was dropping from trees into the heads of unsuspecting passers by. The wings don’t aid in flight but, like the tail of a dart, they do provide a tiny amount of control in where the rapidly descending gargoyle lands. This is critical for a slow predator like the ...


103

They Lack Sophisticated Agriculture Goblins spend a lot of time raiding and extorting villages because they are always on the edge of starvation. Hunter-gatherer populations are never very large: the absolute largest were the indigenous tribes of northwestern North America, who had villages of up to 400 due to the abundance of the salmon runs. The Plains ...


93

Their skin contains a set of proteins that will bind to each other and harden when exposed to certain wavelengths, much like dental composite polymers: Composites are placed while still in a soft, dough-like state, but when exposed to light of a certain blue wavelength (typically 470 nm), they polymerize and harden into the solid filling (for more ...


90

Employ mermaid escorts. They are smart. They like stuff we have because they accept it in payment from ships crossing their territory. Presumably they can deal with criminals of their own kind. Mermaids associated with the area in question accompany boats. They ward off rogue mermaids whom they identify by their ruddy complexions. The mermaid escorts (...


89

Supposedly birds (those with eyes set on the sides of their heads) compensate for monocular vision with rapid head movements, their brains stitching together images from multiple angles into one 3d image. From http://www.ducks.org/conservation/waterfowl-research-science/a-birds-eye-view Another way birds compensate for monocular vision is rapid head ...


87

They're immortals, they've had thousands of years to hone their skills. They don't die easily. They're all veterans of countless battles and know when to retreat. For humans losing mere dozens out of thousands in a pitched battle is a fantastic success. For them even one or two losses is a rare and sad event. Any normal attrition rate would leave their ...


87

You say to avoid political factors but realistically it is ALL about politics. Specifically Orcs cannot sustain political authority or more precisely loyalty. Orcs are loyal to the most charismatic (or simply powerful) leader present. If the leader is not present they will not follow the leader. This might be due to high level of aggression, short ...


80

First off, repopulation. There are two possibilities - either the elves have a birth rate similar to humans or they have a birth rate vastly reduced to match their lifespan. In the former case, the elves would become vastly overpopulated very, very quickly, with a death rate that's negligible next to their birth rate. Such a species could conceivably become ...


78

One word: fire. Cooking and metalworking are the first two things that pop into my mind that are made easier, if not possible, on land. While you could argue that neither is necessary for an aquatic species, neither is necessary for terrestrial species either, but have certainly benefited the human race.


76

I think you have unfairly disregarded the Phalanx Whilst other answers are correct about focusing on ranged weaponry and fortifications, they are primarily defensive measures. You need to be able to take to the field and push the enemy away, because focusing only on defence merely delays your defeat. However your Orthaks sound like they have a lot in ...


75

The different causes of death are the biggest issue here. Humans will lose a lot of children to disease, elves don't seem to suffer from this Humans lose fertility early then die fairly young, again not a problem for elves Most of the death rate for elves appears to be wars, in a time of war they'd need a birthrate approximating that of humans just to ...


74

Some things need to be addressed here. Can the structures be made? When does a mine get too hot? What about asphyxiation? What about food? It should be noted that many of the issues here can be solved or compounded by local factors, so this answer applies in general cases, not specifics. Where the dwarves decide to mine, what rock they are mining, and other ...


71

What your son wants, and in fact you describe /and when their opponent is vulnerable for the final blow, will say: "See you next time" and go home./ is counting coup Any blow struck against the enemy counted as a coup, but the most prestigious acts included touching an enemy warrior with the hand, bow, or coup stick and escaping unharmed.1 Touching ...


69

Square-Cubic Law tells us that at some size the neck of our giant breaks under its own weight(2), but how large is a giant that has a ring that fits a forearm? Our Giant's finger's diameter is the diameter of the forearm of the human. I am a rather slender person of 2 meters height, my wrist is pretty much skin over bone. To fit my wrist, that'd be $d_{w}=...


67

Dogs, Fasting, Passwords and Tokens Modern IT has a similar issue. It is generally handled by having a physical token and a user known password that changes regularly and is unique for each user and both are securely handed out. Add a kidnap password that includes a coded message of location(if known by kidnappee) and when the shapeshifters try to use ...


67

If they don't need to eat, drink or sleep what motivation do they have? Most of our technology was created to help achieve one of the three. It sounds like they should have basically no technology, no curiosity, no drive for exploration. Since none of these give them an evolutionary benefit, unlike humans who need to seek out new resources and thus are ...


66

Santa's Elves are a distinct species, separate from other species of elves, characterised by their submissiveness, lack of imagination, endless patience, love of stable, predictable environments, and delight in performing repetitive, menial tasks. So, far from feeling oppressed by Santa, Santa's Elves thank Santa daily for providing them with the ...


65

What you're looking for is largely the opposite of what we saw for the 1mm tall robots. Surface tension of water is a noticeable thing, there's a clear bulge that would seem smaller than memory suggests it should on any given surface. Of course we're not looking at such a pronounced effect in this case, but it would be significantly reduced. Gravity would ...


65

If the creature needs its ears to function well in battle, or for ritual or cosmetic show offs, you need holes. Helmets for military dogs have them: Otherwise, do fold their ears:


64

The mind and body are less separate than most people seem to think. Changes to body chemistry can greatly change how, and even what, we think: Alcohol is well-known for its disinhibiting effects and also for changing one's perception of what makes an attractive potential partner ("beer goggles"). I have type 1 diabetes and occasionally become significantly ...


61

Deeply. In fact, in Ovid's metamorphoses, Perseus tells that he found Medusa (and the snakes) sound asleep, a condition that canceled the petrifying ability of the monster, thus making it easier for the hero to succeed. I am also suggesting that sleeping on the side does not bring pain to the Gorgon, nor to the snakes. First, some snakes seem to sleep ...


59

Another classic trait of trolls, is a tremendous regenerative ability. Sometimes to the point where only fire can kill them. So I'd suggest trolls create a chemical in their body that boosts their regenerative abilities, and any damage will increase the levels of this chemical. Sadly (for the troll) this chemical reacts with UV light from the sun, and ...


59

They soar. Your fairies fly 5 minutes, straight up. By timing their ascent to the right time of day the lightweight fairies can climb to altitude using thermals to give them a boost. Then they open the fan strapped onto their back, artificially extending their wingspan out to about 8 inches. Then they soar. It takes almost no energy to steer by leaning and ...


58

Hire Caer guards. If they are cheap, hire plenty of them. If they are expensive, hire one or two squads of them and use cheap lookouts. (riff raff, children, low grade guards,...). Once the lookouts spot caer flying somewhere they do not belong, the Caer patrol goes after them and beats them up. Do not kill them, beat them up and let them go back to tell ...


58

They paint their wings like giant butterflies Rainforests house many colorful butteflies, some with wingspans of 4-5 inches. With painted wings and carefully chosen clothes and a bit of bodypaint, fairies can be difficult to tell from real butterflies at a distance of more than a few feet.


57

Centaurs have a permanent curse by horse standards, they are, by design, permanently very heavy on the forehand. Let me fix that for you. Centaurs have a permanent curse by horse standards, they are, by design, permanently very heavy on the forehand [Citation needed] (I couldn't make the citation needed part bigger). According to this community of horse ...


56

The elves have handlers. Here is Theodore Roosevelt on safari. He and his buddy there are the great white hunters. Do you see all those other people? Usually they are moved out of the picture but not here. Those are locals who are along to do the work - the beaters, bearers, animal skinners etc. Bringing the hunter to places where there is likely to be ...


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