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  1. - Top - End - #241
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    Well... I guess the harder/thicker skin also makes them tougher, so it probably worth its weight.

    Hmm... if the dragons were cold blooded, and had thick skin, could they "wash" themselves with fire breath to keep warm?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conners View Post
    Well... I guess the harder/thicker skin also makes them tougher, so it probably worth its weight.

    Hmm... if the dragons were cold blooded, and had thick skin, could they "wash" themselves with fire breath to keep warm?
    Yes. They could even heat the stone in the cave to warm themselves.
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  3. - Top - End - #243
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    Seriously, dragons are made of carbon nanotubes. XD

    Strength per weight is the highest thing out there, perfect for scales (in sheets) and for bones (in large fibres). Can do semiconductors and conductors too, so you could theoretically build computers out of it (brains?)

    Obviously, it is also basically immune to heat (conducts heat really really well, virtually impossible to destroy with heat)

  4. - Top - End - #244
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by jseah View Post
    Seriously, dragons are made of carbon nanotubes. XD

    Strength per weight is the highest thing out there, perfect for scales (in sheets) and for bones (in large fibres). Can do semiconductors and conductors too, so you could theoretically build computers out of it (brains?)

    Obviously, it is also basically immune to heat (conducts heat really really well, virtually impossible to destroy with heat)
    Nanotube skeleton with Aerogel skin and digestive tract? Extremely low weight and very high heat tolerance…
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  5. - Top - End - #245
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    Awesome! Something about this is making me smile .

    Now that the dragons are fairly invulnerable to heat... what sort of firepower is possible, for a biological creature? They need to have something they can produce (even if they need to eat something strange to do it) which can become a terrifying blaze. Dragon fire is always special, and hotter than fires you light with matches.

    If the dragons are capable of harming each other with fire, that'd seem fine to me.
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  6. - Top - End - #246
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    For my dragons: I had them store phosphorous (extracted via digestion, somehow?) in a special sac in their throat. "Breathing fire" is just spitting an aerosol of phosphorous particles that ignite upon contact with air. It also prevents the dragon from breathing fire over and over without pause—eventually the sac will empty and will have to fill back up over the course of a week or so.

    I doubt it's actually possible in real life, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by historiasdeosos View Post
    For my dragons: I had them store phosphorous (extracted via digestion, somehow?) in a special sac in their throat. "Breathing fire" is just spitting an aerosol of phosphorous particles that ignite upon contact with air. It also prevents the dragon from breathing fire over and over without pause—eventually the sac will empty and will have to fill back up over the course of a week or so.

    I doubt it's actually possible in real life, though.
    It wouldn't be. Then dragon as it expelled it would explode, since air would already be in the lung passage, throat and mouth. :( Poor dragon.


    @Connors - if you look at the reign of fire dragons, they made them work like bombadier beetles (check out those bad boys on wikipedia) - they have two sacs in their mouths that shoot out liquid. The liquids apart don't do anything. But when they combine they ignite. What ever option they have, make sure that their throat is closed off from the fire when they spray and the igniter outside of the throat, if it's truely a breath weapon. Otherwise it would cause internal combustion. *Pop*
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  8. - Top - End - #248
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    Wasn't there a scene about dragon chemistry in that really trippy 70s animated movie?

  9. - Top - End - #249
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    Bombardier beetles are awesome .

    But, the question is--what should be the fuel for the fire? Something that causes very powerful burning, certainly... It would need to be separated into two parts, one igniting the substance, of course (unless there's another method of fire breath).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conners View Post
    Bombardier beetles are awesome .

    But, the question is--what should be the fuel for the fire? Something that causes very powerful burning, certainly... It would need to be separated into two parts, one igniting the substance, of course (unless there's another method of fire breath).
    There's plenty of chemicals you could use. I'll divert to someone with more knowledge of them to suggest them. Another thing you could do is have a "flint tooth" as my dragons have. They click it together as they "exhale" to ignite it. I'm not actually going to say how my dragons actually work though. It's not like the bombadier, though. I'm writing a novel with them so while I can help based on my research, I can't directly drop information I've concluded. I still haven't completely worked out flight either, just to let you know.
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  11. - Top - End - #251
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    Easiest thing for them to produce naturally would be methane, but something tells me that it would:
    A - Be difficult to get a stream of methane shooting out (fairly certain it's lighter than air, especially if the air is ten times denser than on Earth)
    B - Be more of an explosion than a stream of flame
    C - Have the same problem of igniting in the Dragon's throat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
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  12. - Top - End - #252
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ksheep View Post
    Easiest thing for them to produce naturally would be methane, but something tells me that it would:
    A - Be difficult to get a stream of methane shooting out (fairly certain it's lighter than air, especially if the air is ten times denser than on Earth)
    B - Be more of an explosion than a stream of flame
    C - Have the same problem of igniting in the Dragon's throat
    If it was in the mouth region, the dragon's tongue or even a flap could possibly close to keep air or chemicals from going down the throat and roasting the unprotected insides.

    Methane is a gas. Heavier than air though.
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  13. - Top - End - #253
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    Methane is a gas. Heavier than air though.
    No, methane has a density of 0.66 kg/m³, while air has a density of 1.2041 kg/m³ (at 20º C, with no humidity). Lower temperatures and higher humidity would increase density of air, and since we decided due to falling speed in D&D that air density in D&D is 10x that of Earth (see a dozen posts back), it's safe to say that methane is much less dense.

    EDIT: Relevant quote
    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    While leaks from a refrigerated liquid container are initially heavier than air due to the increased density of the cold gas, the gas at ambient temperature is lighter than air.
    Last edited by Ksheep; 2012-07-27 at 10:27 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
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  14. - Top - End - #254
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    Asking these questions with our level of air density in mind, just to avoid confusion.


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    Thank you for sharing your research, Wombat. I hope things go very well with your book.

    I'd also like to thank the rest of you. It's very admirable how people will spend time helping and teaching others with their expertise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conners View Post
    Asking these questions with our level of air density in mind, just to avoid confusion.


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    Thank you for sharing your research, Wombat. I hope things go very well with your book.

    I'd also like to thank the rest of you. It's very admirable how people will spend time helping and teaching others with their expertise.
    Oh yes, the density! Sorry, then yes, methane would be lighter, so long as air density didn't affect all the other elements as well, shifting everything up a notch.

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    And you're more than welcome. I often have problems i'm trying to resolve and its much easier when there's people who know what their talking about there to enlighten me.
    Last edited by TheWombatOfDoom; 2012-07-27 at 10:57 AM.
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  16. - Top - End - #256
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    I know that when i was younger, I'd imagined that dragon's "breath" to be methane mixed with phosphorous, ejected from a tube in the chin (so not a true breath weapon, it just looks like a breath weapon). i don't know how well that would work, though. it at least solves the problem of burning the throat/ blowing up the dragon, since ignition occurs outside the body.
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  17. - Top - End - #257
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    Oh yes, the density! Sorry, then yes, methane would be lighter, so long as air density didn't affect all the other elements as well, shifting everything up a notch.
    Sorry, I worded that badly. Meant RL density, not the DnD density mentioned earlier.


    Quote Originally Posted by lunar2
    I know that when i was younger, I'd imagined that dragon's "breath" to be methane mixed with phosphorous, ejected from a tube in the chin (so not a true breath weapon, it just looks like a breath weapon). i don't know how well that would work, though. it at least solves the problem of burning the throat/ blowing up the dragon, since ignition occurs outside the body.
    Hmm... is phosphorous and methane the best way to go, then?
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  18. - Top - End - #258
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conners View Post
    Hmm... is phosphorous and methane the best way to go, then?
    Possibly. Phosphorous can be obtained fairly easily (it was first isolated from urine, and bone ash was an early source for it). One would think that a dragon could obtain it from their food and store it in some quantity, for use in a breath weapon.

    The only problem, now that I think about it, is where it gets the methane. Normally, methane is obtained from plant decay (specifically, bacteria that break down the plants excrete methane). Now, methane is produced in the stomachs of certain mammals, but these are ruminants (four-stomached plant eaters), and again it is the bacteria that makes the methane. An easy way to get around this is to have the dragons omnivores, with separate digestive systems for plants and meat… but that would meant totally overturning some of the main characteristics of dragons (can't chew plant matter easily with sharp pointy teeth, among other problems).
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  19. - Top - End - #259
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    It wouldn't be. Then dragon as it expelled it would explode, since air would already be in the lung passage, throat and mouth. :( Poor dragon.
    Well, with the addendum that the dragon's mucous membranes be flame retardant in some way, of course. Otherwise that would be the shortest evolutionary track of all time.

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  20. - Top - End - #260
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ksheep View Post
    Possibly. Phosphorous can be obtained fairly easily (it was first isolated from urine, and bone ash was an early source for it). One would think that a dragon could obtain it from their food and store it in some quantity, for use in a breath weapon.

    The only problem, now that I think about it, is where it gets the methane. Normally, methane is obtained from plant decay (specifically, bacteria that break down the plants excrete methane). Now, methane is produced in the stomachs of certain mammals, but these are ruminants (four-stomached plant eaters), and again it is the bacteria that makes the methane. An easy way to get around this is to have the dragons omnivores, with separate digestive systems for plants and meat… but that would meant totally overturning some of the main characteristics of dragons (can't chew plant matter easily with sharp pointy teeth, among other problems).
    except DnD dragons are stated to be able to eat anything, even rocks, and extract nutrients from it. so they clearly do have an extremely complex digestive system. multiple stomachs for different food types wouldn't be out of the question.
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  21. - Top - End - #261
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    So, methane and phosphorous are quite plausible, then? Guess the only question left would be, "is there anything better?". I don't know much about what fire from a mixture of methane and phosphorous is like.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conners View Post
    So, methane and phosphorous are quite plausible, then? Guess the only question left would be, "is there anything better?". I don't know much about what fire from a mixture of methane and phosphorous is like.
    Well, methane is a natural gas, while phosphorus would be the ignition source. I'd say easiest way to get a feel for it would be take a propane torch and increase the gas flow 100 fold.
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    Wow.... that's really scary . Is it possible to still get red flame from it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conners View Post
    Wow.... that's really scary . Is it possible to still get red flame from it?
    By the looks of it, yes. Here's a pic of burning Methane hydrate, which is basically methane trapped inside a crystal structure of water, basically making flammable ice.
    Last edited by Ksheep; 2012-07-27 at 02:23 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
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    *It does.*

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    Thanks for that.


    Changing the subject again. What would it take to get an anachronistic setting? We see these a ton in games, fiction, etc.--but they never really have an explanation for why there is full plate yet no cannons, or why they're using Viking-age swords and shields tactics when they have such fine armour (generally, it's because the armour is made out of tinfoil, but that's beside the point).


    So far, a couple of the elements which cause diverse armour and weapons seem to be:

    A) Weak economy. Whether it be a lord, king, parliament, or soldier, if the economy is bad, few people will have the latest full-plate and Toledo steel swords..

    B) Doesn't seem necessary. Either the nation doesn't fight much, or the enemies they fight tend to be quite manageable with the tech they currently posses.


    Are there any other ways to get a setting with anachronistically diverse equipment?
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    Because fantasy world doesn't have to follow the same one of a kind cultural processes like Europe (with 'neighbor' civilizations that were involved in big melting pot of inventions and ideas).

    Look how differently Europe and South America looked like ~ 1550

    Gun powder is particularly 'easy' - culture have plate armor or similar stuff, but lack of interest in alchemy, lack of experiments with potassium nitrate (and lack of such) and other individual occurrences - and BOOM (hehe) no guns.

    using Viking-age swords and shields tactics when they have such fine armour (generally, it's because the armour is made out of tinfoil, but that's beside the point).
    Shield was still used very plenty by infantry in 15th century, even though it somehow felt out of use in 16th.... not quite "Viking age" but that's really detail.

    Tight shield formation still offers interesting options, particularly for poorly armored infantry, especially against opponent with many missile weapon.
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Conners View Post
    or why they're using Viking-age swords and shields tactics when they have such fine armour
    That's actually where all my interest for arms technology comes from. To put things together in a way that makes sense, you have to know why they were made and used the way they were. Some things can be combined and make sense, while others don't.

    Mounted infantry in the mountains works very well. Heavy cavalry does not.
    Greek hoplite armor and swords would also work in the jungle. Their shield and spears would not, because you can't fight in formation, which makes them completely useless.

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    Unlike what some rpgs might have you think technology is not a straight logical progression. While some things really need other tech to make them possible its not always a good case.

    Like the previous poster indicated the aztec and inca lacked steel weapons but were fairly advanced in other things like stone working and math far more so than say groups like the vandals who did have metal tools.

    Another good example from is stirrups there is nothing that would prevent a primitive culture from developing them but we don't see them in Europe until after the fall of the Roman Empire.

    Culture can also have a big issue Spartan culture prevented it from adopting or adapting to the changing military world. so they would still be using old fashion phalanxs when other groups were starting to experiment with combined arms forces.

    Of course magic and monsters could easily change how tools and tactics develop.
    Castles might never develop burrowing monster can undermine the walls or a caster can destroy it with an earthquake
    Last edited by awa; 2012-07-28 at 11:43 PM.

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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    @Yora: Yeah. Gamers are brainwashed to forget all those very important details. Even if your pike has great stats, it doesn't matter if you can't transport it to somewhere usable.


    @awa: Armour and metallurgy usually get better as time goes on. The exception is when people started to find armour unnecessary and started decreasing it.


    Would a description of this sort make plausible sense?
    Spoiler
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    The world is in a frequent state of war. Not only against contemporary rivals, harassing monsters sap the nations' strength. From this, the economy is at its limit on a regular basis.
    Due to the wide-spread necessity for defence, and the lack of wealth, people are happy to get whichever weapons and armour they can. Most make do with tools, make-shift pikes, staffs and daggers.

    When common men decide to purchase weapons or armour, they acquire the most affordable, which is by orcish make. There are tribes who subsist rather heavily on trade, making their poor quality equipment in large quantities, and selling it cheaply to human traders who in turn sell it at small price. Since these tribes are happy making a living off the sale of poor equipment, there is no attempt bettering their craft. A second source of these orcish arms, is conflicts which arise with other tribes*.

    From this and the poor economy, the demand for good weapons and armour is low, as is the monetary incentive for taking up the craft. It can be said that where there is no money, there is no advancement, which leads to slow the development of better forging methods, and so too better armour and metals.

    The other factor which removes the development of plate harness, is the presence of the dwarves. Full-plate was invented by them, in a dwarven settlement now famous for the best armour of the world. Happily, the dwarves sell their fine armour at exorbitant prices to the kings and high nobility of the continent. Munition armour is another invention, which they sell at a still-exorbitant rate to those unable to afford the articulated steel.

    Oddly, the dwarves only have a few settlements capable of making the romanticised plate armour and munition armour. Thus, its exposure to the world is limited, and expensive--it seen as a luxury for the richest warriors.
    The "*" is because I'm not sure if captured arms and armour would instead be melted down. Would quality of metal decide this?

    Of course that is fantasyish. Still, does it sound a plausible reason for society assuming, "Plate armour is something dwarves and wizards make. Normal men can't make such things"?
    Last edited by Conners; 2012-07-29 at 09:31 AM.
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  30. - Top - End - #270
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    yes something like metallurgy usually does improve over time im not certain i understand how that relates to my comments.

    I only said not every cultures develops technology at the same pace in the same order. and many weapons and tactics that are quite effective and were only developed late in the real world could develop with little supporting technology. A good example being the sirup which could just be a little leather strap no metal required, combine that with a bow that also doesn't require metal and you could have stone age mounted archers something even the Romans would have been unable to pull off.


    like a previous poster mentioned environment can make a big difference.
    a group like an amazon tribe would have get little benefit out of heavy plate armor. the combination of heat, needing to move on foot over rough terrain and the time required to put on the armor would make it highly impractical.

    edit one of the biggest ways to have diverse weapons and armor is just different cultures, different groups use different weapons and different tactics. look at the Muslims and christian in the crusades the romans and every one around them every group had it's own tactics, weapons and armors. im not certain you need to go to any length to explain why short slow subterranean master smiths are using different gear then nimble forest dwelling master archers.
    Last edited by awa; 2012-07-29 at 10:35 AM.

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