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Great Contagion mass extinction + ?? = lots of megafauna diversity ?

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  • Great Contagion mass extinction + ?? = lots of megafauna diversity ?

    From http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...7#post1294697:
    Originally posted by Lioness
    To reflect the fact that the Great Contagion killed more than the KT Extinction Event all First Age and Shogunate Lunar spirit shapes are wrong. The species of their spirit animals are still in the same family but reresent the huge amount of lost biodiversity so serious errors have been made.

    Raksi is a flying monkey.
    Leviathan is an orcapus.
    Ma-Ha-Suchi isn't a chimera, that's propagnada to hide the existence of The Goats Who Ate Men a scourge of the First Age now mercifully extinct.
    The Great Contagion was a huge mass extinction, by Earthly standards. With the ruins and low-tech, human society looks post-apocalypse. But the Creation seems to have a lot of animal diversity - ecologically, it doesn’t feel like 800 years after a mass extinction.

    We know a huge number of animal, including megafauna, species survived the Contagion. My question is, can you help me figure out HOW?

    90% of all life died from the plague, including crucial food like grass, fruit trees, and prey animals.
    Then the survivors mostly starved to death, or were killed by Fae, or were eaten by starving humans.
    Then 40% of the world blew up.

    Megafauna, especially warm-blooded species, would be more vulnerable to this extinction than smaller creatures. Their populations are necessarily smaller to begin with, and they need large amounts of food. If most of the food they ate dies, warm-blooded creatures can’t wait for a month or more waiting for the food to come back. Surely, even yeddim need more food than a cold-blooded creature.

    But Creation still has more megafauna and giant dinosaur species than Earth did before the Ice Age mass extinction. Overall there seems to be a lot of animal diversity, at least comparable to Earth. And they’re all normal species, not Wyld mutants created by the Balorian Crusade. Huge, warm-blooded creatures like colossal-sized mammoths, Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, blue whales, sea-cows the size of blue whales, sauropods at least as big as blue whales, rhinos, elephants, multiple kinds of whales and armored dinosaurs... let alone smaller creatures.


    Gods could not protect their purviews from being destroyed, that’s why so many are now unemployed.
    Exalted couldn’t protect their human subjects, they wouldn’t bother trying to save wildlife.

    So, what allowed so many creatures to survive the extinction? Let’s brainstorm!


    She/Her. I am literal-minded and write literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to make a joke.
    My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
    Exalted-cWoD-ArM url mega-library. Exalted name-generators, Exalted and WTA stuff from me and others.

  • #2
    Gods pulling strings to keep their workplaces / pet projects alive.

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    • #3
      But it's been established, at least in 1E and 2E, that hundreds or thousands of gods lost their jobs and became paupers, in both Yu-Shan and Creation, because the thing they were the god of was destroyed by the Contagion or Balorian Crusade. I'm pretty sure that extinct species were explicitly included in that.

      The Celestial gods could have used Celestial Wine to save millions of lives... but they selfishly refused to even try, they just locked the gates and banned Wine export.


      I've tried to think of species in the Age of Sorrows that could have been created after the Balorian Crusade ended, by Wyld mutations that stabilized or by gods in the Bureau of Nature pulling strings to refill empty niches. But that doesn't seem to be enough to explain the diversity of large animals. Real mass extinctions usually destroy whole categories of animals, but it's hard for me to believe that all dinosaurs, or elephants, or rhinos, or yeddim, or all flightless birds were invented from scratch post-Contagion. I know cattle and horses weren't.
      Last edited by Erinys; 11-12-2021, 07:58 PM.


      She/Her. I am literal-minded and write literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to make a joke.
      My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
      Exalted-cWoD-ArM url mega-library. Exalted name-generators, Exalted and WTA stuff from me and others.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Erinys View Post
        But it's been established, at least in 1E and 2E, that hundreds or thousands of gods lost their jobs and became paupers, in both Yu-Shan and Creation, because the thing they were the god of was destroyed by the Contagion or Balorian Crusade. I'm pretty sure that extinct species were explicitly included in that.

        The Celestial gods could have used Celestial Wine to save millions of lives... but they selfishly refused to even try, they just locked the gates and banned Wine export.


        I've tried to think of species in the Age of Sorrows that could have been created after the Balorian Crusade ended, by Wyld mutations that stabilized or by gods in the Bureau of Nature pulling strings to refill empty niches. But that doesn't seem to be enough to explain the diversity of large animals. Real mass extinctions usually destroy whole categories of animals, but it's hard for me to believe that all dinosaurs, or elephants, or rhinos, or yeddim, or all flightless birds were invented from scratch post-Contagion. I know cattle and horses weren't.
        Many of them did lose their jobs, but it also makes sense that many of them actively tried to project their domains - no God wants to be left unemployed, after all. Sure, they slipped up a lot during the Contagion and the Crusade, but I like to think that the Bureau of Nature were very active in preserving what they could and that things would be a lot worse if not for them.


        Raksi plays Peek-a-boo for keeps. ~ nalak42

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        • #5
          I agree that most gods would want to protect their domains (although apparently many Celestial gods weren't motivated enough to try... hm). Rather, I was under the impression that they tried and failed.

          Perhaps terrestrial gods of individual species were too weak to protect their charges, but some celestial gods of entire categories of life had enough oomph to do something? That would tend to result in a diversity of types of megafauna and other creatures (as in canon), but few species remaining within each type, at least until some god pulled strings to make new species develop.

          But then why weren't gods like Uvanavu able to save more humans?
          Last edited by Erinys; 11-14-2021, 12:38 AM.


          She/Her. I am literal-minded and write literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to make a joke.
          My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
          Exalted-cWoD-ArM url mega-library. Exalted name-generators, Exalted and WTA stuff from me and others.

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          • #6
            Note in 3e that the Contagion primairly killed animal and human life. This still would have effed up things about, but also note that since it seems to also have been kind of cross-species, it could have been that what actually went extinct is pretty "lumpy" since for example, humans seem to have eatent the 90%, but some things might have done a bit better than other things and such specieswisd, and not many might ahve gotten 100%, but sitll been critically endagered afterwards.

            As for how, could be just that humans were especially hit-hard. And also like...the setting is setup so they're there. Over-thinking it is kind of missing hte point of a ficitonal setting to have dinsoarus and mammoths.



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            • #7
              Kind of to expand, on Earth, mass extinction death rates are not about total number of indivduals who died, but species. So the Great Dying killed 90% of all species, but when that included like, lots of insects, and sea life, that actually means probably more total indivdiuals died than in the Great Contagion.

              Think of it this way. If a species (for argument, not rue) 10,000 indivdiuals, and there's 100,000 species, that's a billion individuals. (Note this is a lot less than an actual population, but hear it out).

              In a Great Contagion case, this would result in the loss of 900M individuals. It oculd be fairly distributed amongst things, or have varaince that actually if you roll enough, might actually result in a decent chunk of species living. If between 100% and 80% of things died, as ane xample, it could result in actually a fair number of survior species.

              Now if it is 90% of species ala the Great Dying, this means 100% of indivdiuals for 90% of species died. But that last 100M indivdiuals sitll be suffering huge losses. But in context of a Great Contagion, it would mean the survivor species are like...untouched. Which we know isn't the case with humans.

              This isn't to say a lot of ecosystems or populations weren't hurt. Some animals probably were pushed below critical mass of population. But it's worth noting that in context of Exalted at least, it's always been presetned as individual deaths, not species-count deaths. ANd those do create differences of the way teh Contagion populations could bounce back compared to similar events on Earth.


              And stuff.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Braininthejar View Post
                Gods pulling strings to keep their workplaces / pet projects alive.
                This

                Beasts of resplendent liquid should by all logic not have survived - but I'm sure that whatever god manages them in yu-shan had a lot of favors and whatnot from back in the first age by helping solars make ultra-heroin, so the god was able to keep its beasts and perhaps their mortal attendants healthy.


                Malfeas F'Tagn - go check out my epic MLP/Exalted crossover "The Scroll of Exalted ponies" @ Fimfiction

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                • #9
                  No, the purpose of this thread is NOT to shrug and say "a wizard/god/game designer did it" and walk away. I want to discuss and find worldbuilding and explanations that actually make sense in setting. If I didn't care about the answer, I wouldn't have started a discussion, seriously. If you don't care about the answer, please don't thread-crap.

                  For example, if celestial gods did it, how did they do it? No god had or has a Charm to cure the Contagion, AFAIK. Isolating populations did not work because it spread through the dragon lines. Are we talking about cabals smuggling large volumes of celestial wine into Creation to feed to animals and worshippers, without the celestial lions finding out? The even more difficult prospect of smuggling live (potentially infected) animals into Yu-Shan and not getting caught?




                  Beasts of Resplendent Liquid are apparently immortal and there are only 2-3 left alive. If they had to breed to maintain their population, they'd be extinct too.

                  Blaque, are you saying that in 3E plants were not killed by the Contagion? That certainly changes the "and then famine killed almost everyone else" problem.

                  I focus on megafauna because they are inherently more vulnerable to mass extinctions. If 75% or 90% or 99% of a Southeastern swamp mosquito die, there are still thousands or millions and they'll recover in a couple decades. If 75% of a species with a small population, spread out over a huge area, die, the survivors probably can't find a mate that isn't their sister. Or any mate.

                  Large warm-blooded predators are also very vulnerable. Like megafauna or even more so, their populations are small and very spread out. They also require a huge number of large animals to eat. If 90% of their prey, overall, die of contagion and become inedible/lethally poisoned carrion, most of those who survive the plague itself will starve to death or eat each other, die eating Contagion-killed carrion, or get killed trying to eat humans. The few who survive that will have an extremely hard time finding enough food to keep going, let alone finding a mate and feeding offspring.
                  Last edited by Erinys; 11-17-2021, 06:48 PM.


                  She/Her. I am literal-minded and write literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to make a joke.
                  My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
                  Exalted-cWoD-ArM url mega-library. Exalted name-generators, Exalted and WTA stuff from me and others.

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                  • #10
                    I feel you're begging the question here by starting from the conclusion that there even was a mass extinction. I can't find any textual support for that by searching 3e PDFs for "extinct".

                    "Nine tenths of all people and animals perished." does not mean 100% of any one thing perished. It means 90% of the sum total of everything perished, and we're given no further information that might support that fatalities were distributed independently of, say, body mass. If you say megafauna should have gone extinct due to a sudden 90% fatality rate being an extinction-level crisis, you also have to show that megafauna were equally susceptible and had the same casualty rates - given their generally large resist disease pools that seems pretty unlikely.

                    My answer would be that the contagion caused very few extinctions, which is why biodiversity seems so comparable to our no-contagion world.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by vwllss trnt prncss View Post
                      I feel you're begging the question here by starting from the conclusion that there even was a mass extinction. I can't find any textual support for that by searching 3e PDFs for "extinct".

                      "Nine tenths of all people and animals perished." does not mean 100% of any one thing perished. It means 90% of the sum total of everything perished, and we're given no further information that might support that fatalities were distributed independently of, say, body mass. If you say megafauna should have gone extinct due to a sudden 90% fatality rate being an extinction-level crisis, you also have to show that megafauna were equally susceptible and had the same casualty rates - given their generally large resist disease pools that seems pretty unlikely.

                      My answer would be that the contagion caused very few extinctions, which is why biodiversity seems so comparable to our no-contagion world.
                      Basically my thought on it. If humans can bounce-back from that lost due to not going extinct, so did a lot of other things. If anything a few of the animal species humans were predating after the initial Contagion hit probably did remarkedly good, especailly if theyw ere big-but-fast-breeding sorts like say, horses.


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                      • #12
                        The private menageries of the gods in Yu-Shan might have served to provide safety for some seed populations. I am reasonably sure e.g. the god of birds has a garden filled with hundreds or thousands of songbirds trained to sing together. This might explain the relative diversity of megafauna, if they were considered more prestigious and so their gods more powerful and able to keep private dinosaur herds or whatnot on their palatial estates.

                        Also, while the plague might have spread through dragonlines, sufficiently sealed structures even in plagued-devastated region might have stayed sound. Dragon Kings in their stasis pods were fine, perhaps there were genesis facilities, wood manses, divine sanctums, or other such that also might have provided shelter.

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                        • #13
                          Many of the conclusions draw from the 2nd edition version of the Great Contagion which I've come to dislike as a setting element. If nature needs to miraculously bounce back from it then what was the point of it in the first place? Is this all just to give the Deathlords a narrative flex? Anyway, hopefully 3rd edition will give us better answers.


                          I’ve moved to Sword of Creation, thank you to everyone who helped made the Exalted community these past few years.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by vwllss trnt prncss View Post
                            I feel you're begging the question here by starting from the conclusion that there even was a mass extinction. I can't find any textual support for that by searching 3e PDFs for "extinct".
                            Because that is what happens when 90+% of a species dies instantly. This is very, very basic biology. This is why animals and plants are going extinct in the real world all the time. You can't kill them off until only 100 are left in the whole world and then expect them to survive.

                            When a species is so spread out and scarce that they cannot find mates, as I have explained twice now, the animals cannot find a mate. When non-parthenogenic animals cannot find a mate, they cannot reproduce. Vertebrates, in particular, are not normally parthenogenic. If a non-immortal animal species cannot reproduce, it goes extinct. That is what extinction is. Again, this is very basic biology. Unless you can prove to me that nothing in Creation reproduces sexually or even at all, that animals just spring fully-formed out of the ground like elementals because a wizard did it. Show me where the books say animals appear out of nowhere for no reason without reproducing, and I'll believe you.

                            Humanity survived because there were billions of them. The vast majority of non-insect creatures simply do not exist in the billions and would not have. That is the way an Earth-looking world works. Megafauna, as I have repeated many times, always exist in small numbers because they have to. Unless you can show me a book that states that before the Contagion, there were 10+ billion tyrannosaurs in Creation, and 1 trillion brontosaurs for them to eat.


                            This is a discussion about BIOLOGY and self-consistent worldbuilding. That is the purpose of this thread. Please stop thread-crapping. If you have nothing to contribute except to tell me I'm stupid and biology is stupid, please stop and leave me alone. Just stop shitting on my thread. If you think the topic and thread are so stupid, you don't have to post here.
                            Last edited by Erinys; 11-17-2021, 06:47 PM.


                            She/Her. I am literal-minded and write literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to make a joke.
                            My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
                            Exalted-cWoD-ArM url mega-library. Exalted name-generators, Exalted and WTA stuff from me and others.

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                            • #15
                              Incredibly hostile and threadcrapping your own thread. Take a one day ban and I'm closing this.


                              Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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