243 votes
Accepted

Would somebody from the middle ages be able to identify an atomic / nuclear bomb?

Let's try to do this. (They told you it can't be done. They're right. Realistically, it can't. So, disclaimer: I'm going to employ industrial quantities of high-grade Improbability). Notes I had to ...
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  • 52.4k
224 votes

Can a substance be more lethal in smaller doses?

What you're looking for is an emetic - a substance that induces vomiting. This is the specific reason why, as @Alberto Yagos already stated in his answer, suicide-by-pills doesn't always work - many ...
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  • 14k
220 votes
Accepted

What cheap modern items can I use to bribe medieval people?

Rubber No seriously a cheap waterproof rain slicker or pair of rubber boots will bribe the average person very easily, waterproof materials were nonexistent. It is also really easy to demonstrate and ...
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  • 71.3k
185 votes

Modern warfare theory in a medieval setting

The question shows a misunderstanding of why the Middle Ages were medieval. It's not that the people who lived in those times did not know any better. They did. In particular, they had good Roman ...
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  • 75.4k
182 votes
Accepted

Would a full body diamond armor and sword guarantee survival and victory against a medieval battalion?

No Ten (or more) knights would grab him by the arms and legs, bind him in iron chains, and then chuck him in a dungeon. No matter what kind of armor or melee weapon you have, you are still limited ...
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  • 13.8k
170 votes

Would a full body diamond armor and sword guarantee survival and victory against a medieval battalion?

There are numerous problems. Diamonds are brittle Hard, but relatively easy to crush, if you happen to hit just right. Armor would be crushed before your hero knows what happened. See Why does ...
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  • 32.8k
146 votes

How can I imprison a wizard who can walk through walls?

Why is everyone always over-complicating things? Step 1) Use a regular room, with a normal, possibly unlocked door. Step 2) Sever the evil wizard's Achilles tendons.
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129 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to create a practical sword that's naturally toxic?

There's a lot of toxic metals. Most are toxic in fact (including iron technically, if you get enough of it). Almost all of them have issues though: Mercury: One of the first metals many people ...
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129 votes
Accepted

How to realistically deal with a shield user?

I practice early medieval (Viking) style semi-contact as a hobby. With blunt steel weapons not with some LARP toys. I can tell you how we deal with an enemy with a shield and then some historical ...
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128 votes

Which professions warranted travel in Medieval times?

Any craftsman during their journeyman years. A journeyman is a craftsman who just completed their apprenticeship. There was a custom during the middle ages (especially in the German-speaking area) ...
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  • 43.8k
127 votes
Accepted

How would a war between immortals be fought?

Focus on imprisoning If you are naked in a cage, you can be immortal as much as you want, you won't be able harm me (in most situations, anyway).
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  • 2,096
124 votes

What professions would a medieval village with a population of 100 need?

Farmer, farmer, and farmer Assuming it is independent and not a satellite settlement (a satellite community is far far more likely) there is only one job, farmer. there is not enough people to support ...
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  • 71.3k
121 votes
Accepted

My carrier pigeons have been replaced by spoons: how can I send messages?

Inspired by Hosch250's comment 1- Carrier pigeons don't actually go to a any given location, they really just return to their nest. 2- Spoons have an annoying tendency to fall into soup bowls. Take ...
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  • 1,634
118 votes

What cheap modern items can I use to bribe medieval people?

There are a few options: Aluminum. Until modern times, it was essentially impossible to produce in any significant quantity, making it far, far, far more valuable than gold. It is also a useful ...
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  • 3,725
114 votes

My carrier pigeons have been replaced by spoons: how can I send messages?

Polish them to a mirror shine. Put one spoon with one operator on a tower within visible distance from another one. Invent coding that uses "long shines"-"short ones". Important messages would still ...
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114 votes

How to make female breast armor viable?

My character lives on a medieval world, and is a female knight, she is looking for marriage and is trying to look more attractive for potential candidates without losing too much protection. I think ...
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114 votes
Accepted

Enforcing a speed limit in medieval times

No technology is needed at all: From http://www.speedofanimals.com/animals/horse: All horses move naturally with four basic gaits: the four-beat walk, which averages 6.4 kilometres per hour (4.0 ...
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  • 27.4k
113 votes
Accepted

Is there such thing as a "one-person" door?

Put it another way: Just let the prisoner out when he/she pays for his/her weight. The prisoner opens the door, gets in, and closes the door. The door is automatically locked. The inner walls are ...
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  • 2,162
113 votes

Help! Mage stuck inside a wall!

Huge robes! source This is why wizards wear those giant robes. Also giant hat (hers is in the wash) and giant beards (also in the wash). By inflating their volume with nonmeat bulky clothes, they ...
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  • 283k
111 votes

Would modern age military skills be useful during the crusades?

No Modern soldiers are trained and equipped to modern warfare. They are next to useless for ancient warfare. At best, they wouldn't be better than any other piece-of-flesh to make for cannon-fodder ...
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  • 8,199
109 votes
Accepted

Which professions warranted travel in Medieval times?

Engineers, stone cutters, and masons were some of the widest travelers of the era, moving between castle and cathedral construction sites regularly, often staying for only a single season of work at a ...
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  • 44.4k
107 votes

What could make a remote village also have reasonably high traffic?

Consider a mountain pass. In short, you need a small village located on a major road. Possibly, your village is located near (on the only road leading to) a mountain pass. You mentioned the ...
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  • 2,732
106 votes
Accepted

What could an average modern human achieve in medieval times?

Depressing, realistic version: John Doe has major problems: His modern skills are of little use in a medieval English village. The peasants don't care about numeracy or crazy ideas, they want ...
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105 votes

Sword in the rock - make it last the ages

Make the Legend last through the ages So, Merlin telemagicks to 5000 years ago, presents the sword-in-cement LEGEND to some fancy king. Then he rigs up some scenario where the sword is found. People ...
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  • 3,729
102 votes

How would a war between immortals be fought?

Others have asked and answered these questions more than 2000 years ago. Just read literature about any pantheon of gods and you'll find a lot of great patterns. Gods can be banished (from places or ...
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  • 4,431
101 votes

Modern warfare theory in a medieval setting

Honestly the 'modern' military theory that would give Lord Gary the biggest advantage would be modern attitudes towards hygiene. It was extremely common in the time period you're talking about for a ...
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100 votes
Accepted

Can a substance be more lethal in smaller doses?

Related to cmaster's solution: The "poison" is actually harmless A. The body converts A to B, also harmless. The body converts B to C, deadly. Once the A->B path has saturated you get an A->D path....
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100 votes

Are "Midas" swords useless for warfare?

Honestly, the best use of this would be to turn corpses (their and yours), waste, and the like into nice safe gold. Campaigning armies in medieval times suffered greatly from disease, and poor hygiene ...
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  • 33.2k
95 votes
Accepted

Sword in the rock - make it last the ages

Merlin knows about metallurgy, and will place in the immediate surroundings of the rock (or even IN the rock) a sacrificial anode made of magnesium, aluminium, zinc or another suitable metal. A ...
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  • 245k
95 votes

Making a sword in the stone, in a medieval world without magic

Requirements: One large hollow rock One dwarf One large pair of pliers One tunnel One loud voiced announcer of who is about to try to pull the sword out Tunnel under the rock for your dwarf to get ...
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  • 114k

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