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How can I stop fruit salad chimeras from being created?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Erebus, Mar 21, 2020.

  1. Erebus

    Erebus Minstrel

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    A Chimera is a creature made up of two different animals that are fused together in a process known as polymerization. This spell can combine animals to create an entirely new animal which contains the best traits of both parent species (bat radar, dolphin intelligence, sharks ferocity, etc). There are many applications for a chimera. Instead of spending thousands of years breeding animals for desired traits, a summoner can simply combine the animals with the traits that they desire. They can also be used for their hides or meat, which have many uses. However, these creatures are sterile once combined, and must be custom built.

    The more I think about it, the more I see a problem with this, as the spell can lead to a number of bizarre creatures. A sharktopus (shark and octopus), or piranha-conda ( piranha and anaconda), a pigagle ( pig and eagle) and other random combinations can occur. Although hilarious, this cheapens the seriousness of the magic, making the whole thing seem like a bad SYFY movie. It would also force people to honor half remembered committments they promised they would make "when pigs fly".

    What mechanism can I introduce to limit the madness that would result from combining completely random creatures like this?
     
  2. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Inkling

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    Perhaps some creatures are just so far apart genetically that the chimerizing spell wouldn't 'take.' Or at least be less successful, the results being disappointing or unhealthy and short-lived. Whereas those relatively close on the family tree would take to the process without problems.
     
  3. Alex Reiden

    Alex Reiden Minstrel

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    Or, let there be silliness off page; just don't mention it in the book. If they don't fit the tone, mood, and setting of your work, readers it won't miss them.
     
  4. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    Most hybrid creatures in mythology combine symbolic significance of the animals. Like horses and eagles were considered the kings of domestic animals and birds in Greek mythology and so that’s why the Pegasus exists. Or lions, eagles and serpents to make the vanilla chimera which represent earthly, flying and aquatic/reptilian creatures.
    Perhaps some animals could be incompatible due to some spiritual or mystical reason like having souls or a spiritual essence that doesn’t mix. So you can’t mix a wolf and a rabbit or a snake and a mongoose because these animals are incompatible on a deep spiritual level.

    That could also make this whole process feel a little more mystical rather than making it just a crossbreeding evolutionary shortcut. A little more magic, a little less science kind of thing.

    One of my first stories had a hybrid wolf-shark-bear-gator and if I portrayed it as just that, it may have been silly but I really tried to tap into the symbolism of it being the ultimate apex predator which made it a lot more scary rather than silly. Granted: it was a unique supernatural creature but still. It’s less about what you portray and more how you portray it.
     
    OberonLordofSylva likes this.
  5. S J Lee

    S J Lee Sage

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    Do NOT let it be easy to create the chimeras... it's expensive / hard / takes time / not guaranteed to work / only gods can do it and they are all asleep now... That gets round the "but why didn't somebody...?" that intelligent readers will ask.

    I hated the Robert Jordan Balefire crap "if you do this reality will collapse" but the hero did it anyway and guess what, everything kept on going.... so we had a hero using weapons even the bad guys refused to use ...

    better to say "yes people WILL 'abuse' their powers, because people are not stupid..." more true to life....

    EG, I have copyrighted a story with a heroine who feels "danger" on a psychic level... although not sure exactly what / who is the source...

    THEN I ask myself "so, is she impossible to surprise?"

    After a lot of thought, I think, yes, but.... sometimes she gets the warning only in time to save herself... so, because she wants to protect her friends, she DOESNT just rely on the impulse

    One time, she needed to know if it was possible to swim out the other end of a flooded tunnel....no idea how far the water went... so stripped off and waded into the water and prepared to swim... as soon as she got the certain death warning, she could advise others that it was a long section of flooded tunnel, not a short one.... so her "danger sense" is now a "how far the tunnel is flooded detector"... yet maybe this isn't "cheating", but intelligence... or so I think...!
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020
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