I want a fantasy world where all buildings are like Baba-Yaga huts and run around on bird legs. And you have to breed and train them.

I have no idea what kind of setting would make this even remotely more practical that just building houses.

Ooh! I’d say some kind of world where the ground is… well, not very stable. My first thought was a swamp, but of course you can always fill those in. So instead, what about a place that’s just very geologically active? Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, tornados; sure, if you’re rich enough to move to the right place and very lucky you might be able to build a house and not have it destroyed in the first few years, but well, those places are mostly occupied already by kings and the like, and even then it takes luck.

Or, same idea: dragons! Burrowing dragons, specifically. Lots of them. That dig tunnels like moles, and well, you can see where the ground’s been/being disturbed and pushed up and move out of the way before your house falls down into the ground around it–but only if you can move. (The huts, I assume, have some sort of instinctive ability to avoid such dangers, but if you’re breeding them anyway giving them some degree of awareness makes sense.)

(And those legends about how the mountains are only dragon-hills, pushed up by the great old God of dragons in ancient times, and that he still digs deep beneath the surface, that it’s his digging which shakes the earth and his fire that explodes from volcanoes–well, that’s just legends. Probably.)

But now I want to know more about these breedable huts! I’m… picturing something like the catbus, but feathered/bird-based? Or maybe the huts are technically a structure built by colonies of ants/termites, which live beneath the human area and eat food we produce for them, and those are what are technically being bred… that seems less true to the original though.

Ooh, I like the unstable ground.

tbh mine were… very silly, in design, if true to the original, in that they were basically houses on legs. Not especially feathery or biological looking, but definitely acting alive. (What on earth does a house eat? Cement?)

Different types of houses, or even buildings, would be different breeds. If you’re breeding shops you want to breed for large windows. Bungalows are pretty popular.

I’m not sure whether apartments are bred by the block, or just like settling in piles. I’m going to go for the latter, it’s cute. Landlords probably have to herd them using… um… giant house dogs??? Maybe the supervisor’s flat is trained to round up all the others. Keep them in line.

Mansions are really big breeds. As are farmhouses, but farmhouses need to be big. Mansions are honestly kind of impractical.

Hmmm.  Cement, or I guess rocks/stones and whatever else goes into cement?  Dirt and water, if they build themselves out of mud; wood and plant matter, if they build themselves out of wood or paper.

…Now I’m imagining them as being more like colonies or even just individuals of those paperwasps, or snails.  Not moving like snails, of course, but producing a shell like snails, which over time evolved to become or we figured out how to modify into a house….

(I should maybe stop trying to figure out a reasonable evolution of magical living houses.)

Hahahah ohhhhh what happens if you crossbreed them?  Are there stray houses running around, awkward crossbreeds with the size of a regular house but the practical layout of a mansion that nobody wants, so they decorate themselves with bright colors like bowerbirds to tempt people to live in them?

You can totally get mongrel houses!

Um, this was more inspired by PK and I both househunting (in my case apartment hunting) than real practical considerations. So, weird houses are a definite thing that happens, and everyone’s like “okay, that’s a weird thing to breed a house for”.

There are probably personality considerations too… a house with a bad temperament would be like a haunted house. One that likes you would manage to feel cosy even if it was full of odd corners and bad design choices.

The snail thing kind of makes sense? Or like caddis flies (which don’t move at all, but you know what I mean). Maybe they’re like… a creature that spreads out through the walls, something very thin… it can produce electricity and secrete (clean!) water to attract humans to live in it.

Although I have the ridiculous idea of them reproducing by… you just find a giant egg in the cupboard under the stairs one day.

…*buries face in hands*  No, brain, do not start calling these “Harry houses” now….

Hm!  So the houses can pretty well control every part of themselves, then?  So they definitely want people living in them; they’re not unable to kick them out, or too limited in their awareness to really realize and have an opinion.  What do the houses get out of having people living in them, then?  Companionship?  Medical care?

(For a very thin creature: some sort of fungus, maybe?  Or lichen?)

Also: is finding an egg considered a sign that a kid in the house is supposed to get married soon?  And how many relationships have problems because the families get along, the young couple gets along, but the houses HATE each other and won’t go within five miles of each other no matter how they’re bribed?  (Is that considered a nuisance, or an omen?)

*laughing* Oh my.

I think the houses get medical care, mostly. Also, whatever they eat, humans probably feed them. (House food bill – still cheaper than electric bills?).

Especially domestic houses… okay, that phrase sounds really weird? But, houses living in built up areas where they need to be fed because the area would be overgrazed with all these houses otherwise.

Whereas houses in less built up areas probably roam around a lot more and find their own food.

(Fungus or slime mold doesn’t explain the feet… unless they build those too? Maybe the creature is the “cement” holding it all together. That would probably require a different means of reproduction…)

Maybe they’re actually just magic? Someone got fed up of their houses constantly sinking/falling over/whatever and decided to magically cross them with birds.

Hee! Traditionally you’d probably give baby houses to your children to raise as their house. These days, at least in cities, probably you sell it to someone with a plot of land to raise it on.

I don’t know how long houses take to grow up. Consider that it might be just as long as humans. You breed your house when your child is young and then they use it as a Wendy House until it (and they) both grow up.

…Pretty sure that someone was a spark.  But “because magic” would certainly make the most sense to me….

…I’m sorry my mind immediately jumped to the angst if a kid died young and the house intended for them was just… left.  Its human is missing, no one has a use or a place for it anymore, and it doesn’t know what happened or why it just knows it’s alone now.  Support groups trying to match houses whose kid died with kids whose house died?

But hmmmm you don’t want to breed a house for every kid, then you end up with families with two houses.  Unless marriage isn’t a thing in this culture?

Or if “owns a house/doesn’t own a house” has become a sort of… identity defining thing that you’re supposed to marry someone with the opposite trait, along with or instead of gender.  Presumably it’s the rich kids most likely to all have houses because their parents can afford to breed and raise them, so that’s an interesting way to do social mobility….  And of course you could just sell/buy a house, but at the same time, you can’t just sell your house that you raised and bonded with (and if you didn’t raise your house and just bought it, is it really yours?).

(Of course “houses are only bred for sons” is an option too, but that’s boring so I’m ignoring it.)

Ooh, that’s fun.

I’d been thinking modern/city = houses probably bred to sell, country/traditonal = houses bred for children, and with it being connected to land (if you’re breeding a house you’d better have enough land for it to live on once it’s grown.)

But that still works with what you’re suggesting! And I like “marry someone with a house” as a thing. I mean, if two people without houses want to marry they can probaby buy one (actually that was probably a big social thing? People being able to buy houses because people were breeding them to sell not just for their kids).

And if two people who both have houses want to marry they can maybe use one as a holiday home, although I bet houses don’t like only being used in summer! House sitting is probably a whole different thing. As is renting.

Ahahaha what if couples who don’t have a house just… make a career out of house sitting other couples’ vacation homes?  They get paid for living somewhere, maybe dealing with the house sulking for a few weeks before it eventually warms up to them (and then sulks again when they leave and the original owners come back, of course, although not quite as much).

…So houses are cats now, apparently.




November 2016

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