1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

Underground Sugar?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Shreddies, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. Shreddies

    Shreddies Troubadour

    185
    66
    28
    Okay, I need someone to bounce an idea off of.

    I was running full tilt down the world-building rabbit hole and I ended up with a race of subterranean, vegetarian, ugly-cute chupacabras (with a penchant for stage-magic like wizardry) fending off dangerous and largely implacable monsters that can phase through the ground, but react to sugar the same way snails do, by melting. So the chupacabras (called Chupacabracadabras) always carry around small bags of sugar with them (along with their magic wands and top hats). The sugar is possibly mixed in with some spices, like cinnamon, to increase the potency. And . . .

    Long story short: I need some ideas for a subterranean supply of sugar, since I figure they've been using weaponized sugar for quite some time and had no exposure to the surface world until very recently.

    Should I just say it's like rock salt and be done with it? How would rock sugar work, do you think?
     
  2. stephenspower

    stephenspower Inkling

    486
    160
    43
    What if there's an anti-yeast that excretes sugar instead of digesting it?
     
    Shreddies likes this.
  3. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

    1,098
    273
    83
    Maybe have them get the sugar from the roots of the plants they eat like how you get cane sugar from sugarcane?
     
    Shreddies likes this.
  4. 2WayParadox

    2WayParadox Sage

    377
    45
    28
    Is there a reason it has too be sugar? You mention rock salt, that would be a fine way to go. Plus, salt is treated as a thing that wards of evil and bad luck in a number of cultures.

    Depending on what you've thought up as their food supply, you might want to think of spin-offs on sugar producing plants. Sugar cane needs a lot of sun, water and heat, so that might be difficult. But here in Belgium, sugar is won from sugar beets. Huge things that store pretty well. So they could grow a variant of that or they could trade it for the minerals they mine from their mountain.

    ANd one other thing, if they're trading for spices like cinnamon, then what's stopping them from trading sugar? Sugar was the number one global bulk trading good for a good long while. Any breakdown in trade relationships or supply could have disastrous consequences then.
     
    Shreddies likes this.
  5. evanator66

    evanator66 Minstrel

    58
    6
    8
    Pretty much all plants have glucose (blood sugar) in them. If it has to be sucrose (table sugar) then there could be a magic feeding underground plant. Or there could be naturally occurring sugar crystals in the rock (or a crystal sugar can be extracted from). If it can be any sort of sugar the cave people (not even gonna try at that name) could take whatever starch/grain they have and use special enzymes (from a cave creature) along with water to make it into glucose. See Enzymatic hydrolysis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia for more details on the process. See Glucose - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia for more information on glucose.
     
    Shreddies likes this.
  6. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

    2,049
    634
    113
    Sugar beets are a type of root that's full of sugars. They could harvest that.
     
    Shreddies likes this.
  7. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

    3,596
    1,498
    163
    yeah, I'm confused about the cinnamon too. I mean, if the animals react like snails, cinnamon would be...exceedingly painful I'd imagine to a creature that is ALL mucous membranes. A few years ago, I sold soap at an outdoor market and I had a wonderful one with cinnamon and rue oil, perfect for washing cooking smells like onion from your hands, but I warned everyone who bought it, "This is a kitchen sink soap only. Is is not a soap for in the shower." Cinnamon alone could probably keep the beasties in line!
     
    Shreddies likes this.
  8. Shreddies

    Shreddies Troubadour

    185
    66
    28
    Now that's interesting. I can picture them having vats or pools of the stuff with big sugar crystals growing in them.

    No real reason, I guess. I thought about having it as salt (because of the anti-evil properties you mentioned. And salt mines, of course), but sugar just struck me as more interesting since it seemed so benign at the time, supernaturally speaking.

    Yeah, that was the first thing that came to mind, actually. But it seemed so . . . normal? Or . . . I can't think of the right word at the moment. Granted I haven't even hammered out what they eat, so . . . I wonder if I could make sugar beets fantastical.

    Well, I wanted them to be living very deep down (like, Underdark kind of deep), making trade with the surface either unlikely or very expensive. And the monsters are an ancient problem that they've learned to deal with, meaning their association with sugar is an ancient tradition, steeped in ritual, etc. Which could bring up some interesting conflict between Orthodox Sugaries and Progressives if they eventually establish trade routes to the surface for cheaper sugar and so on.

    The cinnamon bit was just -
    The reason I mentioned it was because I had 'sugar and spice and all things nice' stuck in my head, and honestly I hadn't thought about where they'd get it. Or about it's caustic nature (I'll have to keep that in mind). I just figured if their main defense against these monsters was sugar, then 'why not?' :D

    I sort of pictured the monsters being less like a slug and more like living rock things, or at least something that would be extremely difficult to deal with if they were using conventional weapons, like spears, swords and clubs. So they have to rely on the monsters' aversion to sugar. Or maybe sugar melts their armor, leaving them vulnerable to sharp pokey things.

    (Oh! Maybe they have to harvest sugar from violent subterranean plants in order to use it against the monsters! . . . Life underground is hardcore O_O )

    (Or maybe the monsters absorb sugar while passing through the ground and it slows them down. Then once they pick up enough sugar that they stop altogether the Chupacabras roast them over a fire and have a nice treat? Candied eldritch abominations. Yumm!)

    Thanks everyone! I can feel new ideas bubbling up already! :D
     
  9. 2WayParadox

    2WayParadox Sage

    377
    45
    28
    Well, if you want something different you could go with something that's more interesting, in terms of chemical properties. There's all kinds of stuff that dissolve or explode stuff. And since life underground is hard, the risks involved in throwing around all those dangerous chemicals add to the hardness.
     
  10. Terry Greer

    Terry Greer Sage

    317
    120
    43
    How about honey pot ants? Where the ants' abdomen swells up as a hoeney store.
    They're underground and honey is basically a sugar.
    Honeypot ant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    As eventor66 says - If you want a sugar then all you need is a way of digesting cellulose (e.g. wood) or a larger carbohydrate/starch (such as a potato) - because that's all a sugar is effectively. So, for example, a fungus could digest cellulose and make sugars in a special gland.
     
  11. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

    1,795
    653
    113
    Hi,

    I'd go with the sugar from plant roots. I can easily imagine some sort of tree having roots that go a hundred feet down. And you can harvest the sugar much the same way you harvest rubber - find - well a root in this case, scrape the bark off, stick a spigot in it and let the sugar sap drip down. Add to that if you want conflict, that they can only harvest the surgar from the shallower caves - the ones where more of the monsters live. You know the ones - the ones that hunt the sugar sucking prey!

    Cheers, Greg.
     
    Zāl Dastān and Shreddies like this.
  12. arbiter117

    arbiter117 Minstrel

    70
    19
    8
    Here's an idea: hydrothermal bacteria that consume water and carbon dioxide and excrete disaccharides (sugars). If your creatures live underground, there could be a lot of geothermal activity, hot springs, etc... that could drive thermosynthesis. But all of those words don't have to be in your story, unless you are doing a sic fi... anyway, that's the idea and the sugar crystals would collect on the banks of the underground rivers and steam vents.

    EDIT: Of course, plant roots are also a fantastic idea since starches and sugars are abundant in plants and it wouldn't take a lot to get what you want.
     
    Shreddies likes this.
  13. stephenspower

    stephenspower Inkling

    486
    160
    43
    Thermosynthesis: That is fkn genius. Beautiful sf. Sounds like it makes sense, which is all you need, especially how it gathers. And you can show it through the effects without having to go into the actual process.
     
  14. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

    3,530
    517
    113
    You could have a mold or moss that grows that tastes sweet.
     
    Shreddies likes this.
  15. Zāl Dastān

    Zāl Dastān Dreamer

    20
    6
    3
    Furthering Terry Greer, I was thinking that your Chupabracadabras (sp?) could domesticate a creature that travels to the surface and brings back the processed sugar like the ants do. Just a thought :)
     
    Shreddies likes this.
Loading...

Share This Page