32

Magic is a dense material. Magic is quite dense. It tends to fall down with gravity, and tends to cling to the earth. As such, if you get too far above the ground, there tends to be little magic left. Many have attempted to fly, and you can get a bit off the ground, but soon you find your magic drains, any magical storage devices fail, and you crash into the ...


22

You don't need explain why there is no flight. Just write your book or whatever you are doing without flight. If when you are done you think you need an explanation, check out the other great answers here. For example, I read somewhere (on this site I think) that the creators of Groundhog Day tried to explain the repeating day with some voodoo witch stuff. ...


17

There is no oil In your world, it can lack the power of oil, or knowledge how to make powerful fuel from it. In our world, oil was seen as a bad thing for a long time. It took time before they found a use for the black sludge of dead plant organisms. Without such a powerful energy source at your disposal, it is difficult to get alternatives that are strong ...


8

Rivers can pass through mountain ranges Mostly they carve out a path over many, many years. Their erosive properties can make underground rivers as well. Though going straight through a large existing mountain range is more difficult. Possibly porous rock and weaker sediments allowed (over time) to create underground rivers, which eventually caused collapses ...


7

It is crazy windy all the time. Your world is always windy and especially at sea. Sails are great and they do have flight in the form of manned kites. But in a world where you can count on 30 mph winds it is hard to take those first baby steps towards flight, even if you have all the fixings in place. The closest your world comes to flight is fixed wing ...


6

When in your timeline the Montgolfier brothers give their first public demonstration in front of the dignitaries, something bad happens. The balloon crashes and starts a fire which kills, together with the two pioneers, also a good number of the dignitaries attending the demonstration, including some church representative. This was the last straw of a series ...


6

One of the most reliable ways to limit a particular avenue of science and technology is religion. In our own world, this has happened several times, for periods of anywhere from decades to a couple centuries, in Europe (worth noting that some other religions have promoted science; this is not intended as a statement about religions in general). If, in your ...


4

Peak human makes more sense. While everyone talks about how batman would beat superman in a fight, when they say that they mean with tools or planning or whatever. Even characters who are strong like green lantern due to their power ring or whatever are only so strong on their own. Even characters like Daredevil are much much weaker physically than ...


3

Who is your audience? Metahumans battle royale means it is a comic book. Readers want awesome powers, mountains exploding, amazing on top of amazing. And then more of that. Then monsters! Supernatural aliens! ONE PUUUNNCH!! Interpersonal interactions and human scale problems are an afterthought and they save on your special effects budget. But when I ...


3

Your world could lack accessible sources of aluminum, or may never have discovered how to refine it in an efficient and economically viable way. Aluminum was the critical material that gave airplanes the strength required to scale up while staying light enough to remain airborne. Without aluminum, you're restricted to the wood or cloth-over-wooden-frame ...


3

Meet the real world analogy of what you're asking for, the Danube: At this point it's kind of pointless to ask or debate if it's possible because, well, there it is.


2

Downstream must always be downhill. The flatland north of the mountains could be a high plateau, such that the mountains are steeper but (in the passes) not actually higher. Or the gap between individual mountains could be no higher than the flatlands. That's pretty rare, but possible with cinder-cone volcanos. Or the river could flow through a canyon, ...


2

How about you just cripple flight to make it impractical but still allow people to pursue it if they want to? Like what if you have an unstable atmospheric magnetic field which begins to pick up strength a few metres above the surface? If there is a stupidly powerful and unpredictable magnetic field then it could potentially make any kind of powered flight ...


2

Birds! High altitudes are colonised by bird swarms. Earthers and fliers don't ordimarily overlap as birds here prey only on other birds and sleep on magically floating wings even in their sleep. And they are implacably ferociously territorial, with carbide toothed beaks, and 6m wingspans. The family groups have large hunting territories (as large carnivores ...


2

It's very hot and humid This one depends on the world you live in. But the lower the air density the faster a plane must travel for take off. If you don't want your people to live on a tropical forest, then make an atmosphere layer with those characteristics at a low altitude. I don't know what scientific shenanigans would have to happen so that you could ...


1

you didn't really mention if your world had to be above-ground so I think an effective way to prevent flight would be to place your world underground where flight becomes less practical as a means for traversing large distances. This would mean you could still have technology that supports flight, but essentially nobody would actually develop flying machines ...


1

They have not invented the internal combustion engine yet. They're still using steam engines, which would be very plausible for a civilization with technology equivalent to what we had during the industrial revolution. For powered flight, you need to have a good power-to-weight ratio, which is very hard to achieve with steam engines. The Wright brothers used ...


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