Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > Roleplaying in General

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-08-2023, 09:39 AM   #1
RyanW
 
RyanW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Southeast NC
Default Weird setting questions

I'm working on a setting, and a consequence of one feature I've had in mind just struck me:

No domesticated mammals means no butter or cheese.

The setting is anthropomorphic animals with a renaissance tech level. To avoid complications of bovine people in a society that keeps bovine livestock (etc.), all of the anthropomorphic folks are mammals, and the "animals" are all reptilian/avian (cattle are replaced by camptosaurs, for example). But with only non-mammal livestock, you've got no dairy industry.

What substitutes would make sense? I assume vegetable oils and animal fats would be used most anywhere butter could be. What would replace wool? What other consequences am I missing? Is this even workable? Is cereal a soup?
__________________
RyanW
- Actually one normal sized guy in three tiny trenchcoats.
RyanW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2023, 10:14 AM   #2
Anaraxes
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: Weird setting questions

Wool: linen, cotton, hemp. Do silkworms count as domestic animals? Not mammalian, so probably acceptable. Reptile leather works for shoes and jackets in the modern world, but the camptosaurs will come in handy.

Was there some particular characteristic of wool fabric that you had in mind as needing replication by other means? I feel like my answer misses the point.

Butter is tasty, but culture could do without it. It's not like mac-n-cheese and gratins are good for you or necessary for health. Shortening and lard match the room-temperature solid storage with easy melting characteristic of butter. Vegetable oil, a bit of sugar, and water can produce the effects of milk in cooking -- other than flavor, but that comes down to what you're used to, and what's acceptable. (Long pig might be the tastiest meat ever for all I know, but very few people eat it.)

Cheese exists precisely because milk doesn't keep well. Raising infants could be managed with nursemaids until technology reaches the point of just synthesizing baby formula.

Considering the proportions of lactose-intolerant human adults in various populations, and the increase in that property with age, it's possible that the anthro-mammals have no desire for dairy as adults in the first place. Seems like a smaller setting assumption than assuming furries in the first place. Why not just fold that in? No dairy, no worries.
Anaraxes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2023, 10:24 AM   #3
DeadParrot
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Default Re: Weird setting questions

Most leather sources are mammal. So shoes, soles and such will be different. Same for belts. Also no leather armor. No fur industry or coon skin caps.

Cloth - you have cotton and hemp among other things. Also possible things like peacocks have been bred to produce and shed lots of those long feathers for use in garments. Poofy down filled coats might replace wool/fur garments for cold weather.

A lot of items are sourced from processed livestock. Think glue, lubricants, bone meal, medical chemicals, etc. Processed chicken might replace some but it will take a LOT of chickens. Or you could posit that ostriches/emus have replaced cattle.

You still have honey.

Transport will be different. No horse drawn carriages, chariots or cavalry.
DeadParrot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2023, 10:39 AM   #4
thrash
 
thrash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: traveller
Default Re: Weird setting questions

You might consider poking around on a vegan cooking website for ideas, since they use plant-based substitutes for dairy products (and eggs, for that matter).

The primary advantage of wool is the way it retains its thermal properties even when wet. Considering that we make wigs out of human hair and no one seems to have a problem with it, however, it may be that wool-producing therianthropes can get paid to have their wool shorn and collected for use by others.

You say no domestic mammals, but I infer that there are still wild mammals at an animal level of sapience (i.e., not therianthrope hunter-gatherers). Some leather, hoof, etc., deficiencies could be made up from hunted animals, though not as much as domesticated versions would provide.
thrash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2023, 11:33 AM   #5
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Weird setting questions

With no cheese, whatever are the mouse anthros going to eat?

While it can arguably be a bit on the squicky side, it's traditional for bovine anthros to naturally produce copious amounts of milk, no pregnancy needed, and that could serve at least a small dairy industry. Alternatively, mammals evolved from reptiles, and at some point there was probably some sort of reptile that produced milk. You could potentially have such creatures extant and domesticated in your setting. They might be more akin to platypuses, lacking nipples and instead "sweating" milk out of the relevant glands... which will probably make collection a bit more difficult and reduce yields, but would still allow for a dairy industry.

If the anthros find using products willingly-harvested from their fellows to be acceptable (there's a whole plotline in the webcomic Endtown regarding the inhabitants arguing over adopting such a practice), you can also have wool that is harvested from sheep/alpaca/etc anthros. Beef and mammalian leather probably aren't an option (although, again, Endtown has a plotline about that, albeit more pork-themed), but a Secondary Products Revolution where said products are from the people themselves isn't entirely out of the question (there have historically been cases of people doing just that, like fertilizer made from human feces - typically euphemized as "night soil" or similar).

Of course, there is also precedents for settings where anthros and their domesticated animal equivalents both exist without issue; I recall a humorous exchange in the webcomic DMFA where Dan is eating hamburgers in front of Lorenda, a bovine anthro, and she expresses shock and disgust... that he didn't even have the decency to offer her one.
__________________
GURPS Overhaul
Varyon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2023, 11:53 AM   #6
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Lawrence, KS
Default Re: Weird setting questions

Donald Kingsbury's novel Courtship Rite envisions human beings living on a distant planet where all the animal life is somewhat toxic, and the only earthly animals are humans and bees. They have elaborately ritualized customs for eating human flesh, both at funerals and during famines. And there's a passage about one of the women characters keeping her milk flowing and making it into cheese, though how exactly she produces cheese is not spelled out.
__________________
Bill Stoddard

I don't think we're in Oz any more.
whswhs is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2023, 01:03 PM   #7
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Weird setting questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Donald Kingsbury's novel Courtship Rite envisions human beings living on a distant planet where all the animal life is somewhat toxic, and the only earthly animals are humans and bees. They have elaborately ritualized customs for eating human flesh, both at funerals and during famines. And there's a passage about one of the women characters keeping her milk flowing and making it into cheese, though how exactly she produces cheese is not spelled out.
If cannibalism is acceptable, it may be possible to harvest something akin to rennet from dead infants rather than from slaughtered calves (although this will probably make cheese rather rare) (scratch that, I looked it up and it turns out humans don't produce chymosin). Failing that, there are some soft cheeses that don't require rennet, and there are also plant-based alternatives to rennet (typically called vegetable rennet or similar). If they didn't bring the appropriate bacterial cultures with them, it may still have been possible to source local bacteria that would work for them.

For this setting, if going the route of sourcing milk from other anthros, I'd imagine the only way to reliably get rennet would be from plant sources (otherwise, you're looking at a lot of dead calf anthros). If going the route of having some reptiles that "sweat" milk, you'd probably harvest the rennet from their young.
__________________
GURPS Overhaul
Varyon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2023, 02:24 PM   #8
RyanW
 
RyanW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Southeast NC
Default Re: Weird setting questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
Was there some particular characteristic of wool fabric that you had in mind as needing replication by other means? I feel like my answer misses the point.
Wool has some very useful properties for dealing with cold and damp conditions. Most other natural fibers lose their insulation quickly when wet. Maybe not unique or necessary, but if there's an alternative that can do the same, I'd be interested to know.
__________________
RyanW
- Actually one normal sized guy in three tiny trenchcoats.
RyanW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2023, 02:42 PM   #9
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Weird setting questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanW View Post
Wool has some very useful properties for dealing with cold and damp conditions. Most other natural fibers lose their insulation quickly when wet. Maybe not unique or necessary, but if there's an alternative that can do the same, I'd be interested to know.
I think you need synthetic materials to be able to match wool's ability to retain body heat while wet, although I think leather can be made fairly water-resistant (it's not as convenient for clothing as various cloth materials, but an appropriately-treated poncho made from camptosaurus hide would probably work decently well for staying dry at lower tech levels).

Of course, we also need to keep in mind that our subjects aren't humans, they're anthropomorphic mammals, so they already have fur of their own. Cold and damp may not be as problematic for them, although it may mean only certain species are likely to thrive in the colder climates if they don't have a replacement for wool.
__________________
GURPS Overhaul
Varyon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2023, 03:12 PM   #10
dcarson
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Default Re: Weird setting questions

Higher altitude area could be less settled. Low tech people survived by grazing animals producing milk from summer pastures which is made into cheese that you eat over the winter. Yes that's not the only source of calories but the high altitude pastures tend to be unusable for farming because of the short season and thin soil. So with those calories not available it's harder to survive.
dcarson is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:44 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.