23 votes
Accepted

Can the princess escape using shoddy craftsmanship in a one-sided lock?

Frame (ahem) challenge. The prison's walls are very thick. The handyman who has to install the windows also does the cleaning, once every two months, and he can see that it would be a right pain to ...
  • 4,422
7 votes

Could a merchant city survive not having an military?

City walls. https://www.the961.com/alexander-the-great-siege-of-phoenician-tyre/ Your merchant city on the water has circumferential walls. Depicted: Tyre. Alexander the Great did eventually defeat ...
  • 288k
5 votes

Could a merchant city survive not having an military?

They can hire mercenaries. Lots of cities relied heavily on hired mercenaries in the event of a war. They are next to an allied kingdom which presumably has a large military. If they need soldiers for ...
  • 26.7k
5 votes

Can the princess escape using shoddy craftsmanship in a one-sided lock?

Some frame challenges More like "you need the following conditions to have the scenario you describe", not the "this is impossible" challenges. Economic constraints There were no ...
  • 1,506
4 votes

Could a merchant city survive not having an military?

A "protectorate" If this city is such a cornucopia, the powerful states on its doorstep will come to depend on it. If those states have prudent, far-sighted rulers, they will take steps to ...
  • 10.1k
4 votes

Can the princess escape using shoddy craftsmanship in a one-sided lock?

The window uses a ward lock. Before the 1800s, there were very few styles of locks and those that existed were pretty easy to beat assuming you had the right tools and knowledge. The two basic styles ...
  • 68.1k
4 votes
Accepted

What is the timeframe for this abandoned space colony revert to a medieval society?

Never A medieval society means superstitious beliefs, often feudal politics, non-existent medical care, terrible sanitation practices... ...None of which are necessary to happen just because your ...
  • 96.9k
2 votes

Can the princess escape using shoddy craftsmanship in a one-sided lock?

I am reminded of a scene from an old "Robin Hood" TV adaptation. Alas I could not find the clip on-line. The heroes are locked in a prison cell, and the hero asks if they have any chance of ...
  • 382
2 votes

Can the princess escape using shoddy craftsmanship in a one-sided lock?

Simplest form of a lock that doesn't need a key on one side, and is unpickable on the other, is a lock that doesn't use a key at all. A simple knob-operated deadbolt is well within 13th century ...
  • 40.2k
2 votes

Could a merchant city survive not having an military?

Careful balancing of power Your city survives by making the risks of attacking it greater than the rewards. It is neutral ground to allow trading, for instance. It does not play favorites with its ...
  • 22.6k
2 votes

Could a merchant city survive not having an military?

A Militia The city does not have a standing army, but instead treats the bearing of arms and fighting as a civic obligation. It was quite common in the Middle Ages for cities to have crossbow or ...
  • 9,458
1 vote

Could a merchant city survive not having an military?

History - the city has a history of providing neutral and efficient banking and other financial services to the lords and leading citizens of surrounding neighboring kingdoms. Not just that it houses ...
  • 13.2k
1 vote

Would insect farming be viable for a preindustrial society?

This is already a thing in our world I know people from a rural part of Honduras where it is common to raise insects as food. The area they are from is still pre-industrial with most people living on ...
  • 68.1k
1 vote

Would insect farming be viable for a preindustrial society?

No, even with modern technology insects farming for consumption is a bad idea. High population density makes farmed insects extremely prone to parasites and disease. An EU study on insect farming ...
  • 71.9k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible