228

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 play with "realize what this thing is". There's no reasonable way I can hand-wave an alchemist deducing nuclear fission. The best I think we can aim for is ...


112

Scenario 1: The King declares: "I have decided to use the Truth Stone to root out any and all corruption in my administration." Stone vanishes from behind 5 supposedly locked and guarded doors, with nary a trace the very next day. King Terren reloads. Scenario 2: The King declares: "I have decided to use the Truth Stone to root out any and all cheating ...


97

Replicas The blacksmith did his job to perfection - the equipment just never got to the army. The saboteurs act as middlemen in the delivery system. The carriages holding the gear are intercepted midway and swapped with shitty quality replicas that look exactly like the blacksmith's equipment. This could work in at least two ways: The saboteurs have a ...


76

While distilling leaves you with absolutely clean water, it is very costly. The constant need of burning material is a real problem if a bigger amount of water is required. But fortunately, there is another method that is way cheaper. Filtering: Every citizen can build his own water filter, with gravel, sand, charcoal and some cloth: This filter clears ...


76

For your reference: some years ago in Brazil a scrap thief, while salvaging through the remnants of a hospital, found a piece of material which emitted a nice glowing blue light. He was smart enough to think "wow, this will make a pretty good gift for my wife", and tried to take it with him. Long story short: 4 dead and various contaminated from a piece of ...


53

Heat up the products above the eutectoid temperature to form austenite and then rapidly quench it to induce the formation of martensite. This will induce the formation of hardened steel which is more brittle. Martensite is formed in carbon steels by the rapid cooling (quenching) of the austenite form of iron at such a high rate that carbon atoms do not ...


52

How about this? The stone goes into a church/temple/palace. The accused in any trial has the right to demand a Trial by Stone instead of the usual legal process, but only before that process starts. The accused will be transported to the stone. This can be a slow and degrading route at the king's expense (chain gang) or a faster one paid for by the ...


51

One way to keep the heroes from getting lazy and taking the bandit path is to make these heroes into a religious order. If they are serving the high gods by protecting people from the demonic Outsiders, then they are going to have less desire to break from that path. After all, doing so could have eternal repercussions. This also serves the additional ...


47

The real problem is that the stone does not actually force you to speak truth. So when you speak a half-truth or a misleading truth it will still identify it as a lie. A clever person could still work their way through this by only saying things intended to mislead or deceive. The listener would still have to interpret which parts are a lie. For example, ...


47

She can be an Ethiopian Christian Pilgrim. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_of_Florence https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_Ethiopia In 1441 some Ethiopian monks travelled from Jerusalem to attend the Council in Florence which discussed possible union between the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches. The arrival of the ...


41

Gunpowder was invented in the 800's CE in China Your Mystery Salesman has obviously been there. Either that or he had someone in the family or in the business where he worked at, that — through various misadventures — went to China and either got hold of a big sample of gunpowder, or a recipe. If you go with the latter, that recipe unfortunately got lost ...


38

I admit up front, that my first reaction was to consider the comedy potential of this situation, as the device might have labels on it. That would make a big difference - think of the warnings on a bag of peanuts or a chainsaw, and enjoy imagination ("warning: this product may destroy large cities.", "user safety information: this product can cause cancers."...


36

Winter warfare (at given temperatures, which I would not call "Arctic") maybe uncommon, but absolutely realistic. For example, in the XIII century, Batu Khan's conquest of Rus' (a predecessor of Russia) was conducted primarily by winter campaigns, when temperatures were certainly plunging below -10F/-23C. Steel is not particularly more brittle at these ...


34

They would have no idea whatsoever about what they were dealing with. None. Zero, nada, zilch. Some time later than the Middle Ages, people would start to recognize the conventional explosives, though the first modern-looking explosives didn't appear until the late 19th century. People wouldn't have a clue what the core was until post WWII. There are ...


31

The main thing everyone is overlooking is economy of scale. You've only got one truth stone, but justice needs to happen all over the country. If you are rich and noble you will probably be able to appeal to visit the Final Court (where the truth stone resides). If you are poor and common and guilty you may try to appeal in the hopes that it gives you more ...


29

I recently read the Kingkiller Chronicles, and the author described an interesting system which might make sense to you. Imagine a society similar to Feudal Japan. These people developed certain fighting techniques, which are a highly kept secret. Each martial arts school trains warriors, the best of which are sent out into the world. These warriors - ...


27

Not really. To understand how a nuclear weapon works, they would need an understanding of nuclear physics. That is 20th century science, and even an "inspired" medieval thinker would be unable to get the experimental data to refine this theory. The weapon also contains electronics. Understanding those would require a practical understanding of electricity,...


26

Here are some medieval-ish examples: King Arthur Estimated to live around 500 AD. Became the subject of the 'Matter of Britain.' The first works to chronicle King Arthur were the Historia Brittonum of 828 AD, where he is depicted as a military leader, but not a king; and the Annales Cambiae, written in c. 950 AD where Mordred and Merlin are introduced. ...


26

Usual caveats: I assume you mean Western and Central European Middle Ages. I assume that you know the difference between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Hint: if your world has courtly love, it's the Middle Ages. If it has middle class or noble women flirting with adventurers, it's the Renaissance. The Middle Ages were not spectacularly different from ...


21

A fire heated distiller like Ville Niemi's answer is a good idea, but if the fuel and constantly tending the fire aren't practical, you could try a solar distiller. Shouldn't need any space-age materials, just some glass & metal (avoid lead solder!) or wood containers to hold water in. The Solar Water Still Challenge The guy in the videos on this page ...


21

There is another legal system where participants face a similar threat, where participants believe that false testimony has dire consequences even if no witness could otherwise prove they're lying. So we can look to that system for guidance on how this one might play out. I'm talking about rabbinic courts, specifically in the time of the Sanhedrin. The ...


21

Machiavelli has a lot to say about mercenaries: Mercenary and auxiliary troops are useless and dangerous. Mercenaries are disunited, undisciplined, ambitious, and faithless. Because their only motivation is monetary, they are generally not effective in battle and have low morale. Mercenary commanders are either skilled or unskilled. Unskilled commanders ...


20

To address the obvious problem about cold, have you ever gone on a walk/hike in winter (5-25 degrees F)? Simply walking with a heavy coat and boots makes you extremely hot. Add an inch of loose snow, and the heat from the effort to walk becomes incredible. Lack of heat in a moderate winter is going to be the least of your problems during battle--overheating ...


19

I'd say the miracle worker had the ultra secret almost forgotten formula for greek fire. It was an incendiary liquid that ignited on impact. Bottle it up and throw it at your enemy and he is guaranteed to be distracted. What it actually was really is lost, a now forgotten, closely guarded Byzantine state secret. It was used to fire ships and would burn even ...


19

People of color were rare but not unheard of in those days. Gypsies in the East and Moors in the west were known to be slightly darker skinned. The most venerated Polish painting of Madonna depicts Her as dark skinned woman. The people knew that faraway lands had different races, you only need some reason to be in Europe. In medieval Europe your religion ...


17

Pre-treatment London is built on clay. Clay is highly resistant to water so flow occurs between seams in clearly defined aquifers. As a result soil filtration is limited. To rectify this situation, around the well plant Chrysopogon zizanioides also known as Vetiver in concentric rings at 15cm intervals and 15cm (6") between rings. Allow two years for the ...


17

The perfect premeditated crime in this world would have a focus on obscurity: if you don't know who helped you rob a bank, then you can't incriminate them in court, truth stone or no. That type of cloak and dagger crime is infeasible in most cases, however. Most crime, then, would still need to depend on simply not being caught. Same as in our reality, ...


16

If the seller is really willing to live dangerously, the orbs could be filled with any of a number of nitrated hydrocarbons with detonators built in by sloppy process control. Nitric acid is commonly believed to have been discovered in the 8th century by the Arab alchemist Jābir ibn Hayyān, although this may not be true, and about 1300 is a more certain date,...


14

You could try sinking wells and just boil all the water you draw. Even in the middle ages people didn't typically excrete in their wells


14

Play off blue against red. The parallel is Mongolia. http://www.citiesandplaces.com/where-is-mongolia-located-mongolia-map/ Mongolia is a landlocked buffer state between Russia and China, and before that between the USSR and China. It serves as a buffer, reducing the shared border between these two powers, curbing immigration and reducing tensions. ...


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