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46

Contagious infection is the most likely reason such a belief/ fear would arise. Even if the plague was a long time ago, these stories are pervasive and would be passed down through the generations (think of all the superstitions humans held for thousands of years prior to the advent of modern science). A fear of illness from the dead bodies that has become ...


39

Not all threats are for violence. Countries often threaten one another with sanctions without going to war. To intimidate another group you just need the threat of an action which is detrimental to them, not necessarily violent. Use your technological superiority to take their resources right out of their hands, consume a nearby plant with your mining, or ...


37

Fear is not just an emotion, but a general stimulus response The real problem with a species having no fear is how it evolved - fear is very useful as essentially it is a reaction to the perception of danger. If an organism has no fear, then it has no sense of danger and therefore has no responses to it. It would place the organism that has this disability ...


25

I would like the reaction to the appearance of one of my nations navies to elicit a feeling of dread or fear Some answers have suggested sanctions and other such "pacifistic" approaches. I don't like these approaches, but you can try them. Just remember that Germany was France's #1 trading partner before WWI. My approach would be to be harmless but still ...


24

You can make fear "real" by having something happening to bodies shortly after death. A few ideas: There might be some symbiotic organisms that try to leave the body when it gets "uncomfortable" (e.g.: too cold); mixing different "lines" of such symbionts may have adverse effects (e.g.: they will be battling for the "possess" of the human). There are very ...


20

As with the others, I question "what is fear." It's hard to be without something without knowing what it is. There is a model of the "base" emotions known as Lövheim's cube of emotion. It's not an "accepted" model, in that its still new and being tested out, but it's unique in that it ties the 8 base emotions directly to levels of the 3 monoamine ...


18

Big Scary Ships If you can't make it, fake it. Enemies will leave you alone if they think you're a threat. Some animals make themselves appear larger and more threatening to scare off potential threats. Alternative, threats don't need to be violent. The right allies or the threat of loss of trade or the threat of secrets being released can be just as ...


17

The answer is anything you please. It's your world, and gods typically have the power to be... well.. anything you want them to be. Typically we give them fears that us mortals have, so that they resonate with us more. If you want to have some fun, though, you can break out the Lövheim cube of emotion The cube of emotion is a recent model which theorizes ...


15

Trade, economy, political power, WiFi password or defensive system 1) Trade. It does not only cover imposing simple embargo. It also covers informing all other powers, that they are fully free to choose whether they want to trade with you or with that rogue state, but regrettably have to pick one. (US did something like that with Cuba) 2) Political power. ...


12

I almost hate to say it, but: it's magic. Generally speaking, people fear what they do not understand. Hatred, discrimination and many other such things not uncommonly stem from a lack of understanding. Note: I am not saying this is the only chain of causation that leads to your desired goal, but that it is one possible chain of causation. If people don't ...


11

There are a number of answers I can think of that all boil down to "superstition" the real question then is how did they develop such a strong and lasting belief. The answer that immediately comes to mind is a, relatively, recent history with a plague that is similar to smallpox in that the dead stay contagious for an extended period. Such an illness if it ...


10

1. Other gods If by gods you mean entities similar to the ancient pagan gods, then remember that said gods represent parts of nature and the universe (for example, lightning and fire, skies and sea, war and love, harvests and death). This means that gods may fear other gods. You may then enter in a Pokémon type game, whereby gods of a certain type fear gods ...


10

Batesian mimicry. Batesian mimicry is a form of mimicry where a harmless species has evolved to imitate the warning signals of a harmful species directed at a predator of them both. You have probably heard of the coral snake and the milk snake: ”Red on yellow kills a fellow. Red on black venom lack” Due to the many colors of the eastern milk snake (L. t. ...


10

1) You have a way to cut off entire systems from the rest of the universe Through pocket dimensions/FTL scrambling/Very big shields... It's completely pacifist but very scary. 2) A sect of crazy murderous priests consider you are gods and will exterminate anyone that dares to attack you You don't like it at all but they wouldn't listen to your complaints. ...


8

Maybe some kind of belief system about ghosts being able to possess the living. When a person dies, his angry ghost wants a new body. It is a well-known fact that the ghost is "tethered" to stay within a certain distance of its own body unless it finds a new one. Only people wearing special gear (some might be actually useful, like gloves, as well as ...


8

Most fears are, at their root, not logical. It's literally part of the definition of phobia: an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. Therefore, there may be no logical reason for the fear, at all. Religious law "Whoever touches a human corpse will be unclean for seven days." ~ Numbers 19:11 "Anyone who touches a corpse, the ...


7

TL;DR -- Consistency Let's say you are John Q. Peasant. With magic in the world, you can't rely on anything. You want the sun to rise in the East and set in the West. You want the rains to come in autumn. You want the Great River to, well, exist every morning. You want a decided lack of portals to Hell in your neighborhood. You want the world to be ...


7

People fear what they don't understand Your species - whether naturally or through the use of advanced technology - possesses a vast and unusual intelligence, or senses that no other civilization understands. Their motives and culture are so complex that they'll appear alien and incomprehensible to anyone who attempts to peek beneath the surface. Even worse, ...


7

Your species has no weapons, but is naturally toxic to most other sentient life. Or their stress-released pheromones are toxic. This could be a chemical toxin, or that they emit radiation, or that they live at several thousand degrees hotter than any other species, ... Or if you really want to be nasty, they're made of antimatter...


6

You need some sort of virus that can be passed from Corpse to a human. Make it something particularly nasty like some form of leprosy. In the ancient world it was taboo to even go near a person with leprosy. They were to be avoided literally like the plague. If there is some sort of virus can be passed from Corpse to Human then it's understandable that they ...


5

Are we talking about an omnipotent God? In that case, I'm not sure there's anything you can do. But if you're talking about a world where gods don't have absolute power, then the answer is simple: anything outside their realm. Take ancient Greece as an example. Zeus had control over the sky, lightning, etc. But he wasn't in control of the seas - that was ...


5

I would suggest either psychological warfare or technological denial tactics. Why psychological warfare, if you make any potential enemy shutter in their boots before ever seeing one of your ships, they may jump to FTL before a full threat assessment is made on your Navy's ships. You can also possess a form that just irks others. Taking a spectral form, ...


5

Your nation could have reputation as being full of a bunch of disaster prone idiots (either deserved or undeserved). Whenever your nation's ships show up, people would dread whatever problems that will come up. For example, maybe your ships will leak space oil everywhere, or docking with them will cause an outbreak of space rats. Your ships could cause any ...


4

Your people have a fear of the cannibals over the next hill. You kill their tribesmen but once every few years one turns up in your village, anyone who dies could be their next meal.


4

Hatred, in this sort of context, can also stem from envy or jealousy; consider that a common reason for persecuting Jews was because they were easily able to make money by loaning money at interest - something forbidden to the wider Christian society during some periods. Also, the Jewish cultural emphasis on education meant that it was that much more likely ...


4

What is fear? It is a motivator to quit your current circumstances and actions because you anticipate harm or other bad outcome. Fear was adaptive to our ancestors because the ones that had fear left more offspring that survived. Could you replace fear with cold logic? Absolutely. I doubt insects feel fear but they hunt, alone and in groups, they ...


4

It's possible, but the environment has to be mostly void of danger and/or there should be a different mechanism for handling it. The phenomenon is known as Island tameness. The most famous example of this is the Dodo bird which didn't have any natural predators at the time humans made contact. Hence it didn't fear humans (and domesticated animals) and ...


4

Reflective Shields Borrowing from Lois McMaster Bujold, you don't necessarily need to have weapons of your own if you can use an aggressor's weapons against them. Your people have a special kind of force field shielding on their ships that perfectly reflects energy and projectiles back to their origin**. If someone decides to attack them, they blow ...


3

Here is the first idea that popped into my head. Perhaps they met some of the other, more civilized/ technically more advanced people, and those people told them about the dangers of corpses, in regards to infection and such. But they did a shitty job of explaining it, or they did a shitty job of listening to it? And now they fear all corpses.


3

Many (perhaps most) human fears are all just a variation of the fear of the unknown. For example: Given that there exist theives, but I don't know if there are theives who are currently planning to rob me. Thus, I fear that theives might be planning to rob me right now. Given that people die and I am going to die, but I don't know what happens when people ...


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