October 8th, 2009


Bastard Sword: how to carry and other questions

I am trying to write a fantasy story. Let's say the setting is early XVI century. My character, extremely strong, reasonably tall man, is carrying bastard or hand-and-half sword. I read a lot on the subject, in Russian and in English, from Wikipedia to ARMA to books about weapons that are available in Russian net (our libraries don't really have many of those). The information is plenty, but I either can't find precisely what I need, or find lots of different opinions. The more I read the more confused I am! 

1. What is the longest possible blade for bastard sword, before it becomes something like two-handed one?
(I heard an opinion that it should be more than 90 cm and less than 120 cm  - agree/disagree?)

2. Currently I have the blade's length at 3.5 feet. Plus long handle for one or two hands. How does my character carry it?
(Lots of people make fun of "long sword is carried behind the back is swiftly drawn" mistake. I don't want to do that. But what are the alternatives? It just seems weird to carry sword that long the usual way. But maybe not. Another variation: two handed sword could be carried on the shoulder. Did they carry bastard swords this way or is this ridiculous? And what does a character do when they enter the room with sword in hand then?)

3. When fighting with bastard sword in one hand, what weapon you can have  in other hand? I've heard of dagger, can it be anything else, something like mace? Or it is either dagger or shield? If so, can a character carry buckler (small shield for hand) in the city or would it be ridiculous?

Help with any of these questions would be very very appreciated.
Girl with Owl

The Appearance Of A Corpse

What does a corpse look like after a hanging? I'd like to know what it looks like immediately after death, and then a few days afterward. Then maybe a week. I tried looking it up on Google, but all I found was links to Halloween costumes and not-especially-helpful drawings on people hanging from trees. I don't think the way a corpse looks differs very much from time period to time period, but if it helps the character in question dies in the year 2000, in England.

Thank you!
pumpkins by merton fanatic

ankle injuries

I have a guy who has injuries in a circle around his ankle, where prongs have dug in (I'd say the wounds could be 1/3 to 1/2 inch deep). He's basically been kept in a choke chain with sharpened prongs around his ankle. I checked some foot and ankle anatomy pages and I'm sure he'd have some muscle/tendon damage but I don't know specifically how that would affect mobility or if damage wound even be permanent. Would this prevent him from walking at all, if he's trying to get away once he's gotten loose, or could he muscle through it, do you think? I can handwave some of it, maybe, because he has healing abilities, but they're not instantaneous. 
back to the rice fields

Plant-based fabric and food sources in temperate swamps?

Setting: small, isolated village of hunter-gatherers situated near a large lake in a shallow, temperate freshwater swamp, which in turn is surrounded by (believed to be monster-infested) forest.

Time period: medieval-ish; it's a standard fantasy setting.

My problems: I can't figure out what their clothes would be made of, other than leather. They don't keep animals, except for chickens, so wool is right out. While I know what their jewelry looks like and what they would wear--kilts and loincloths--I cannot for the life of me figure out what fabric it would be made of.  I was thinking hemp fabric, because the stuff grows everywhere, but I'm not sure how suitable it would be for clothing or how well it would hold dye. Flax and cotton also crossed my mind, but from what I've read they seem to be more labor-intensive than I'd like.

I am also not sure what edible plants grow in swamps. Wikipedia and Google turned up some things, but I'd really like to find more: would some things be more likely to find than others? Would certain plants only grow under specific conditions? The plants I found so far that grow in muddy or swampy soil are: water spinach, wasabi, watercress, lotus, purslane, water pepper, bullrushes, cattails, quince, wild rice, water chestnut, water lettuce, figs, lemongrass and sassafras.

Search terms on Google, Wikipedia: hemp, hemp cloth, suitability of hemp as fabric, swamp plants, edible swamp plants, edible aquatic plants

It's fantasy, so I can fudge a few things here and there, but I'd really prefer not to pull too many things out of my ass.

Radio jargon/protocols for pilot shot down behind enemy lines

I'm doing some research for an RP character - an OC for a soft sci-fi fandom. They have giant robots, but the rest of their technology is pretty close to modern-day stuff (their military dudes are shown using two-way radios, driving jeeps/humvees, using conventional weapons like handguns and machine guns). When I intro my character to the game he's going to assume he's behind enemy lines and is going to attempt to radio for help.

- What sort of terminology would he use? How would he identify himself (rank+last name, a codename, serial number)? How would he identify the base he's trying to contact (and would it need to be a base, or could it also be an aircraft carrier or somesuch)? Is there a specific sort of phrasing he would use to say that he's behind enemy lines and needs to be extracted (would this be in some kind of code, for example)? If he can't get precise coordinates for his location, how would he convey this?

- What's the lowest rank required for a member of an air force to pilot a craft in combat situations? What would be a reasonable age for a person to attain this rank? Would the fact that the military is currently in the middle of a war and kind of scrabbling for personnel have any bearing on these factors? (Granted, since this is an anime fandom, and those are chock full of ridiculously young military personnel, I could probably BS this a little.)

- I am under the impression that pilots carry a side arm (probably a small semiautomatic pistol?) for situations like this - is this correct? I looked at Wikipedia's articles on side arms and service pistols, but they didn't clarify much.

- I'm toying with giving him some kind of injury (incurred during/after ejecting from his craft) that might slow him down a little without seriously hindering his movement. Suggestions for this would be nice, but I'm not married to the idea.

Resources used: checked out this comm's "usa: military" and "military: misc" tags and found this post about military radio transmissions, which helped out with some Google search terms; Googled "military radio codes," "air force radio codes," "military radio protocol" and similar; looked at Wikipedia's articles on the US Air Force, fighter pilots, and shot-down aviators. I know that some of the people in the latter category, such as Chuck Yeager and John McCain, have written books about their experiences in the military, but I have not had the opportunity to track them down (and am not sure they would contain the information I'm looking for anyway).

Thanks in advance.

Loft Remodeling/Refurbishing in NYC

My MC owns a loft in NYC. Along the way, he meets, dates and marries his neighbor who owns the neighboring loft. They want to combine the two units into one larger unit. This would involve essentially tearing down the wall between, and in the process doing some other remodeling/rehab on the large unit. Dividing the space into a number  of rooms, adding a bathroom or two, buidling an actual second floor office space loft, new floors, paint etc.

If it matters, the original building was an early 20th century factory building turned into lofts. So the existing walls themselves aren't original to the building  so not stone/brick.

What I can't seem to locate and hoping someone can help on is approx how long this remodel would take? And how much it would cost? Finishes and such would be high end and nice, but not excessive. Money, within reason, would not be an issue.
Aurora Borealis

Is this genetically realistic?

I am in the planning stage of a science fiction story.

In my story I have an alien species who was once in the very far past somewhat similar to humans (arms, legs etc.), but that changed drastically in time. They went from a 'normal' body structure to something similar to sentient jelly, i. e. they became sort of liquidous. They also became more and more dependent (and eventually forgot they weren't 'born' into these suits) on mechanical body suits [*] to enable them to interact with the world around them.

I tend to say my aliens are triploid, but I am not sure if that is the right word to describe it. They create their offspring not in male/female-pairs like most species do on Earth, but need the genetic material of three individuals to make one new being. They do not have anything resembling the female/male dimorphism that exists here; every individual is anatomically identical to them without being a hermaphroditic species.

So, does that make sense?

I googled (both in English and German) about ploidy (poli-, di-, tri-, haploidy) and what certain species have it; the way it does not sustain life in humans; and other combinations to get interesting results. I never had the more complex biology in school, so I'm not even sure I understood what I read right.

Thanks in advance.

[*] - The suits are made of nanites and sort of 'grown' with them. Before or very soon after their birth they are injected/coated with a fluid filled with millions of semi-sentient mini-robots which then start to build their armor around their wearers. (edit: 10/10/09 - 09.56h)
dramatic writing
  • mae_jay

Another "Need a nasty disease" post

I've been browsing the illnesses to order tag and haven't really come much closer to what I'm looking for.

What I need is some sort of terminal illness that could potentially drag out longer for some patients than others.

Ideally, I'd like something that might show up around childhood, and let the character have "good" days and "bad" days; preferably where the good outnumber the bad, or at least span long enough to let the character have a somewhat normal existence between showing symptoms.

Setting is modern Britain, probably around London or so.


ETA: It's never Lupus. Apparently it is! Thanks!
  • durina

Iolani Palace in Honolulu

 I tried google images and the palace's website, but found no conclusive answer and I don't know how else to answer this.  At the Iolani palace in Honolulu, where the wrought-iron gate lets visitors in from the sidewalk on S King Street, is there much foot traffic (tourists, etc.) or is there another entrance to the grounds which is more often used?  This scene is early April, roughly 2009.  I want my character in a landmarky place, crowded with tourists, but there for some other reason, or just passing by. (He is not a tourist).  Any suggestions?