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Random Questions Thread:

Hello, fellow writers! Got any question that you can't find answer from Google or Wikipedia, but you don't think it needs a separate thread for? You came to the right place!

Don't be shy, and just ask away. The nice folks here, writers and non-writers, experts and non-experts, will do their best to help you.

Here are links for special interest threads, mostly at OTC, but also from Yack Fest and Troper Coven.

Now, bring on the questions, baby!

edited 11th Sep '14 8:51:55 AM by dRoy

 6901 montmorencey, Sat, 2nd Mar '13 2:04:00 AM from the quaint town of Grimm, Bismarck and Gauss
So...yeah.
Was handled differently in different countries during different periods. You'd have to look up the laws of the specific country and era you're interested in. Though in the majority of cases, an adopted son would not have been able to inherit, since inheritance usually goes by some measure of proximity of blood, even when primogeniture is the dominant concept. I don't see why it couldn't happen in a fantasy world, though, and even if you're dealing with RL, there are ways to muck with your hero's bloodline to make it plausible. Probably.
Complicated - because simple is simply too simple.
 6902 Morwen Edhelwen, Sat, 2nd Mar '13 2:28:09 AM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
It's dwarves in a fantasy world inspired by Norse mythology. Googling Ancient Norse kingship reveals that election dominated the succession process.
The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
So Bob has Alice pinned to a wall. Alice stomps on the instep of his foot. She's wearing shoes with a wide/thick heel.

What's the physical response from Bob? Hobbling? Something else? Also, how much damage would that do to his foot?

 6904 risingdreamer, Sun, 3rd Mar '13 9:26:51 AM from Peixeroland
Insert witty title here
Is it possible for someone to be naive in some areas (idealistic as fuck, blind about people's intentions) and not so much in others (make several sex related joke-comments and innuendos)?
Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. ~Russel Baker
 6905 Septimus Heap, Sun, 3rd Mar '13 9:27:39 AM from Zurich, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
A Wizard boy
Why not?

 6906 Last Hussar, Sun, 3rd Mar '13 1:23:23 PM from the place is here.
The time is now,
Stamping - Obviously depending on a number of variable - contstruction/material of shoe, Alice's weight, but broken bones could ensue. Try walking when its agony to put weight on the foot!

Is it possible for someone to be naive in some areas (idealistic as fuck, blind about people's intentions) and not so much in others (make several sex related joke-comments and innuendos)?

Yes. Might be a result of mild Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Will possibly end up making the wrong joke at the wrong time.
Do the job in front of you.
[up] I'm going with broken foot then. Thanks!

 6908 Marq FJA, Sun, 3rd Mar '13 2:19:00 PM from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
Say we have a Nanomachine-based robot/vehicle designed via melding human science/technology with ImportedAlien Unobtanium that is the source of the robot/vehicle's superlative characteristics to purely human science/tech-built counterparts, and then the human scientists involved in this endeavour get killed, with the design blueprints, research documents, and existing prototypes destroyed as well. Would it make sense for said robot/vehicle to be capable of accepting a certain but limited degree of upgrading/tuning by human operators using purely human science/technology despite the Imported Alien Unobtanium component being an irreproducible Black Box?

edited 3rd Mar '13 2:31:44 PM by MarqFJA

Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
Shadowed Philosopher
Well, it depends on how precisely the thing works and which functions are handled by which pieces of it. What might make sense is that the vehicle's basic functionality is run by human tech, and the role of the unobtanium is self-repair/self-modification/integration/control. In this scenario, you could add other functionality via human tech, and depending on how the unobtainium is configured it could work.

Honestly, there are two possible paths here: one is to actually work out the basic workings of the machine, and what the black box does even if how it does it is Plot-powered, and then work from that basis. This is a lot of work and requires some personal engineering knowledge. The other is to rule that the entire thing is a black box and works or fails due to Plot. This might lead to breakage of suspension of disbelief, depending on how it's handled, but it's much less work and might be all you need.
Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
 6910 Khantalas, Sun, 3rd Mar '13 4:09:37 PM from ((Not actually a creepy adorable little girl.))
Creepy adorable little girl
I'm thinking about how we didn't know how human cells worked, exactly, for a long time, yet we still managed to improve the human bodies through addition of technology. So I'm guessing that it doesn't really matter how the black box works as long as you can extrapolate from what you can observe.
"Be mine, dear big brother."
 6911 Morwen Edhelwen, Sun, 3rd Mar '13 9:30:02 PM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
Could someone be "stabbed" by a blunt sword?
The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
 6912 montmorencey, Sun, 3rd Mar '13 9:51:21 PM from the quaint town of Grimm, Bismarck and Gauss
So...yeah.
Sure, why not. It'd take some force though. But people impale themselves/limbs on pipes, metal bars and whatnot. Blunt sword seems easy in comparison to some of the absurder stuff. Like pencils.
Complicated - because simple is simply too simple.
 6913 Noaqiyeum, Sun, 3rd Mar '13 11:28:04 PM from across the gulf of space Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the it-thingy
See Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon :P
tiinker, Tailor, hunter!!!, wwhaler
d0ct0r, L4WY3R, MUTANT, C)(I-EF
STRONGman, wEAKMAN, JoKeRmAn, Th8ef
 6914 Sabre's Edge, Mon, 4th Mar '13 1:39:32 AM from Her Majesty's Occult Service
Depends, I suppose. A training "waster", less likely; an unsharpened combat sword, more plausible. Perhaps if they fell onto it...?
I might be that one witch who decides to flood the barrier with dimethylmercury.
 6915 Marq FJA, Mon, 4th Mar '13 3:06:09 AM from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
Well, it depends on how precisely the thing works and which functions are handled by which pieces of it. What might make sense is that the vehicle's basic functionality is run by human tech, and the role of the unobtanium is self-repair/self-modification/integration/control. In this scenario, you could add other functionality via human tech, and depending on how the unobtainium is configured it could work.
The unobtanium in this case is more of a Power Source, actually. As in, several of the robot's powers are directly derived from the unobtanium's extraordinary properties (kind of like how all Orbital Frame technology in Zone of the Enders is completely dependent on the existence of the substance known as "Metatron").

Honestly, there are two possible paths here: one is to actually work out the basic workings of the machine, and what the black box does even if how it does it is Plot-powered, and then work from that basis. This is a lot of work and requires some personal engineering knowledge. The other is to rule that the entire thing is a black box and works or fails due to Plot. This might lead to breakage of suspension of disbelief, depending on how it's handled, but it's much less work and might be all you need.
The basic workings of the machine in question are more or less "mundane", actually; think of something like Motoko Kusanagi. It's the unobtainium and alien tech's inclusion into the system that ramps those mundane workings to vastly superior levels compared to their size and bulk (e.g. normally has the strength to bend ordinary metal bars, now has the Super Strength to tear open Humongous Mecha armor bare-handed), plus add a few more fantastic ones like Energy Absorption.
Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
 6916 Yomegami, Mon, 4th Mar '13 8:54:05 AM from out of nowhere Relationship Status: In denial
Sanely Insane
Were firearms standard-issue weapons in early 16th century Europe? I'm trying to decide if my male lead should be carrying around a sword or a gun.
This is why I have to be alone. But I don't have to be alone.... If everyone suffers with me...I won't be the only one...!
 6917 Septimus Heap, Mon, 4th Mar '13 9:14:54 AM from Zurich, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
A Wizard boy
By its end, muskets were standard equipment.

 6918 Sabre's Edge, Mon, 4th Mar '13 12:42:13 PM from Her Majesty's Occult Service
Arquebuses were fairly common by the early/mid-1500s, though the well-known image of the flintlock musket with bayonet fixed wouldn't be developed for nearly a century more. This was right in the era of pike and shot, when long pikes coexisted with full plate armor, longswords and two-handed swords, halberds and pollaxes, and, yes, early personal firearms.
I might be that one witch who decides to flood the barrier with dimethylmercury.
 6919 Last Hussar, Mon, 4th Mar '13 3:13:20 PM from the place is here.
The time is now,
Your looking at the period of 'the Italian wars' (1494-1559). There is still heavy realiance on pike and even crossbow. The foot would/could be armed with arquebus, but its not the sort of thing you carry around with you off campaign. Gentlemen would wear a sword. It really depends on the use of the gun in your plot- we are still at the highly unreliable period of black powder weapons - match locks etc.

Blunt swords - depends also on the sword type - a viking wouldn't stab with his sword, it is a cutting weapon. There have been stage deaths from prop swords breaking, and the crowd booing the victim, because Reality Is Unrealistic. Stabbing relies on enough force on the impact area - the smaller (sharper/pointier) the less force you need. More force overcomes the area. You can use a gun to put a candle through a wooden door. Also remember swords blunt reletively easily, as there is only so much you can do before the 19th century to harden steel, so your average sword isn't going to be razor sharp.
Do the job in front of you.
 6920 betterthanstrawberry, Mon, 4th Mar '13 4:07:12 PM from back in the atmosphere.
Dreaming out loud.
Most armies of the time were either feudal levies or mercenaries, so there's little of what we'd call "standard issue", but the closest thing would be the pikes, I think. The Swiss mercenaries, who relied on them exclusively, more or less lost relevance after their defeat in Marignano (1515) and after that European powers came to rely more on the German Landsknechte, who generally carried a lot more guns.Pikemen would make up most of the infantry for well over a century though. So... no, they weren't everywhere, but they weren't rare either.

Fore reference.

edited 4th Mar '13 4:08:44 PM by betterthanstrawberry

Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.
 6921 chihuahua 0, Mon, 4th Mar '13 4:51:11 PM from Standoff, USA Relationship Status: I'm in love with my car
Writer's Welcome Wagon
What are some famous, real-life examples of somebody being made a fool, or made irrational, out of love?

 6922 Marq FJA, Mon, 4th Mar '13 4:58:26 PM from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
So I have this six-man team of techno-ninjasnote  slash military-grade supersoldiers: Alex is The Leader and a Jack of All Stats; Bob is The Lancer and a Mighty Glacier with a fondness for heavy firepower; Charlie is The Big Guy and a Lightning Bruiser, though strictly a Close Range Combatant due to being a Blood Knight to balance it out; Daniel is The Smart Guy and a Squishy Wizard with Psychic Powers; Eric is The Face, a Fragile Speedster and The Sneaky Guy with an Invisibility Cloak and Artificial Spider Limbs-slash-Combat Tentacles; while Fiona is The Chick and a Glass Cannon Long-Range Fighter.

I intend to give each of those characters a Japanese-style "signature weapon" that would fit with their overall ninja theme while also being a piece of modern/futuristic technology; for example, Alex wields a vibroblade katana. Any suggestions for the other characters' weapons? Stock Ninja Weaponry is surprisingly not that helpful.

edited 4th Mar '13 4:58:48 PM by MarqFJA

Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
 6923 Last Hussar, Mon, 4th Mar '13 4:58:38 PM from the place is here.
The time is now,
[up][up]John Profumo - sorry its 1 am here, and 2 large whiskies mean you'll have to google rather than me give a link - but its a famous case in the UK.

edited 4th Mar '13 4:59:08 PM by LastHussar

Do the job in front of you.
 6924 Killer Clowns, Mon, 4th Mar '13 5:16:11 PM from the Midwest Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
Easily entertained
How likely/unlikely would it be for a strong, skilled, and physically imposing woman to find work as security for a nightclub?
[up] Very, very likely. Some night clubs deliberately employ female bouncers for the express purpose of handling rowdy female guests - much the same way airport security has female staff to deal with female passengers.

edited 4th Mar '13 5:31:55 PM by peasant

 
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