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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    Any updates on how this is going?
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  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    Quote Originally Posted by Thinker View Post
    Any updates on how this is going?
    I unfortunately was involved in a car accident, and haven't been on in the last couple of days. Luckily I was unhurt, but I haven't been home since it happened because of lack of transportation (car was less fortunate). I should be getting my computer and some other possessions I've been having to deal with not having (namely food, clothes, ect). Soooo, I'll try and get on this maaaaaybe today. So far I've had some nice suggestions, but I wouldn't mind more!
    Scientific Name: Wombous apocolypticus | Diet: Apocolypse Pie | Cuddly: Yes

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  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    I unfortunately was involved in a car accident, and haven't been on in the last couple of days. Luckily I was unhurt, but I haven't been home since it happened because of lack of transportation (car was less fortunate). I should be getting my computer and some other possessions I've been having to deal with not having (namely food, clothes, ect). Soooo, I'll try and get on this maaaaaybe today. So far I've had some nice suggestions, but I wouldn't mind more!
    I'm sorry to hear that. I hope you can get back on your feet soon.
    "Only I may walk in the shadow between realms. Though I go mad, I do so to awaken those who came before and shall once more come again."

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  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    This might be relevant to your project:
    http://io9.com/5936427/the-evolution...by-a-scientist
    "Only I may walk in the shadow between realms. Though I go mad, I do so to awaken those who came before and shall once more come again."

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  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    That is exactly the same idea I've had. However, mines quite a bit farther down the rabbit hole than his chart. We agree on the fact that dragons started in the ocean, and some of his ideas are similar, but I don't have "long dragons" in my species at all, mainly because Chineese dragons work in less believable ways than european. They european at least has wings! I've also created plenty of original kinds of dragon, and classified them similarly to how his dragons are in terms of dna coding (having a best friend as a bio major has come in handy). I will say that sea serpents are the progenitor of the species, but I don't want to put up to much on the site. I'd like these ideas (though probably less original than I anticipate) to remain our of the internet cosmos for all to see.
    Scientific Name: Wombous apocolypticus | Diet: Apocolypse Pie | Cuddly: Yes

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  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    Well, what I'm getting at is I'm trying to make a setting where a large amount of dragons is sustainable. They're a sentient race with language and culture, and there are 11 clans, some that battle each other, so they keep each other in check. Some dragons are banished to other continents - the rest live and stay on one. Dragons are rare in the rest of the world because of this. But even so, in settings and in my world there are other things other places. Ogres fitting into an ecosystem, or harpies, or nagas. All of these hunt and eat and are "intelligent/super predators". I'm reverse engineering things to follow this, basically making the world ecosystem similar but different.
    On the issue of dragons having a sustainable population, have you thought of making them omnivores instead of just carnivores? Also, there is the act of male carnivores eating their young if the females are not able to stop them, or if there is not enough food at the time to support the additional mouths. On a similar topic, are you stripping the inherent magical properties of dragons in your world, or just some of their magic? Are you removing their shape-changing ability? Are you planing to make the dragons a playable race? What other tweaks have you made to them? All of these answers will effect what information/ creatures/ plants are relevant for people to help you with this endeavor.

    You can also have the dragons sleep for long periods of time (years, decades, or centuries) and then wake up hungry. Of course this then brings up the issue of them gorging themselves when they wake up, and they wouldn't be very social creatures.

    I think that urkthegurk and I are just trying to figure out your base-line to see how we can best help you (and others) in this thread. After reading through the thread, my first suggestion is to look at the 30+ monster manuals that have been published thus far and pick out the monsters/ animals that fit into your world, or the different parts of your world. I have home-brew monsters and animals, but I'm not sure how they would work for you if dragons are not their normal (by 3.5 standards at least) magical selves. In my campaign world, the dragons are actually a little more magical than by standard monster compendiums.

    One other thing to consider, if you are focusing on balancing the food chain for your world, are any of your players going to care that much about it? I have spent countless hours/ days on things that I thought were important for my worlds only to have the players blow by it for the next fight/ adventure/ treasure hoard. Usually they don't care how the dragons survive or accumulate the treasure, but that they can find and kill the dragon, take the hoard for themselves, and return victorious to town for their reward for bringing back the dragons head.

    I'll try to watch the tread to provide further help if desired. Also, I hope that everything turns out for the best with your car incident.

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  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    Quote Originally Posted by Tantolian View Post
    On the issue of dragons having a sustainable population, have you thought of making them omnivores instead of just carnivores? Also, there is the act of male carnivores eating their young if the females are not able to stop them, or if there is not enough food at the time to support the additional mouths. On a similar topic, are you stripping the inherent magical properties of dragons in your world, or just some of their magic? Are you removing their shape-changing ability? Are you planing to make the dragons a playable race? What other tweaks have you made to them? All of these answers will effect what information/ creatures/ plants are relevant for people to help you with this endeavor.

    You can also have the dragons sleep for long periods of time (years, decades, or centuries) and then wake up hungry. Of course this then brings up the issue of them gorging themselves when they wake up, and they wouldn't be very social creatures.

    I think that urkthegurk and I are just trying to figure out your base-line to see how we can best help you (and others) in this thread. After reading through the thread, my first suggestion is to look at the 30+ monster manuals that have been published thus far and pick out the monsters/ animals that fit into your world, or the different parts of your world. I have home-brew monsters and animals, but I'm not sure how they would work for you if dragons are not their normal (by 3.5 standards at least) magical selves. In my campaign world, the dragons are actually a little more magical than by standard monster compendiums.

    One other thing to consider, if you are focusing on balancing the food chain for your world, are any of your players going to care that much about it? I have spent countless hours/ days on things that I thought were important for my worlds only to have the players blow by it for the next fight/ adventure/ treasure hoard. Usually they don't care how the dragons survive or accumulate the treasure, but that they can find and kill the dragon, take the hoard for themselves, and return victorious to town for their reward for bringing back the dragons head.

    I'll try to watch the tread to provide further help if desired. Also, I hope that everything turns out for the best with your car incident.

    ~ Tantolian
    First, thank you for the well wishes with my accident. I'm still trying to find a replacement for my totalled car, but I'm hopeful in being able to discover one, or necromance my old car some how. Car-Golem?

    I'd love the help! I guess I can attempt to be vague and precise at the same time. Here goes my best shot!

    Some, maybe many of the dragons in my world are omnivores, though some are particularly predators. Magical properties of dragons are all but non existant - some don't even have flying capabilities or wings! There are only two types of dragon that have a breath weapon and flying capabilities (as these are hard to genetically accomplish), the rest vary greatly between large lizard looking ones, to sea monsters, to something akin to a wyvern. One even has the capabilities of a flying squerriel. In a word, these aren't your typical dragons. The omnivore races are generally sentient and have cultures, though one or two are still wild creatures. They could be played as a race, perhaps. I've thrown out the ideas of chromatic and metalic. They're now classified by some thing that conatates their adapted enviornment. Dragons lay eggs and have long life spans, so I've controlled the populous a bit by extending the span of time the eggs take to hatch (24 months). Perhaps if I also slowed development? I don't really like the idea of sleeping long periods of time, but it could be possible for some dragons to hibernate in the winter, similar to how bears and some others act. The cultured ones would likely evolved into handling this different ways.

    A few other notes is that dragons are semi-cold blooded, which means they will need to monitor their heating/cooling. I've gone through some of the manuals, and some things I've gleened, but this world is so heavily homebrewed, I thought it would be better to go this route than adding generally more carnivores (from what I found in the monster manuals) and generally high magic creatures (things that would be harder to strip away magical qualities from). While I suppose non magical versions of some creatures lend to the fodder for dragons to munch on...the world builder in me goes, "Meh".

    For me, this world has been a project for 12 years, because it serves as a setting for a novel I'm working on, but I also use it for D & D often, because it forces me to write more history depending on where I set it. I'm often more inspired when I'm obligated to be. Also explaining things to other people helps think of new things too.

    Further, it might be nice to mention that most dragons aren't encountered very often. They're off on their own continent away from everyone else (think Australia) with only a few groups that have wandered from the continent one way or another, or in the societal setting, dragons that were banished for giving into their wild natures. These later dragons are the most common harassers, and since individuals or pairs, would be far more easier to sustain in the rest of the world, as they can eat pretty much sentients and wildlife alike. The main dragon continent is another problem entirely. It's swarming with dragons of different kinds, some more plentiful or easier to find than others. I recently had a party express the desire to visit this continent and explore this facinating continent, and after a few weeks of piddling, I figured I'd give it a shot on the forums.

    So...does this help?
    Scientific Name: Wombous apocolypticus | Diet: Apocolypse Pie | Cuddly: Yes

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  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    The population of APEX predators in generally very low. If you want a continent swarming with dragons, you probably need things that eat them. Maybe giant sandworm-type monsters, creatures that infest parts of the continent and are too high-CR for any PCs to conceivably confront.

    Of course, it depends on your threshold for 'swarming.' How often would a prey animal encounter a hungry dragon? Seems like a better question than 'how many per square kilometer.'

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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    Quote Originally Posted by urkthegurk View Post
    The population of APEX predators in generally very low. If you want a continent swarming with dragons, you probably need things that eat them. Maybe giant sandworm-type monsters, creatures that infest parts of the continent and are too high-CR for any PCs to conceivably confront.

    Of course, it depends on your threshold for 'swarming.' How often would a prey animal encounter a hungry dragon? Seems like a better question than 'how many per square kilometer.'
    I was thinking some dragons hunted other dragons (different types) but I like the idea of instilling a predator for dragons. There would have to be only a few, otherwise we'd have the same problem we have with dragons with this new thing.
    Scientific Name: Wombous apocolypticus | Diet: Apocolypse Pie | Cuddly: Yes

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  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    What if they are actually demigods or minor godlings (divine rank 0-1), but as creatures of brutal mindlessness and hunger they mostly use this power to render vast reaches of the interior into trackless desert. They are kept back by mountains made of iron, and the conclave of ancient dragons that exists to smite any worms that dare to crawl upon the surface. They are worshipped only by the scattered tribes of half-hobgoblins, emaciated creatures that scrape out a dreary existence on the dust-filled plains. Their legends tell of a time when the mountains are rusted to their roots, like rotten teeth, and the great worms slither forth to gnaw the whole world for its marrow.

    An infestation of Rust Monsters plagues the mountains, and the native dragons devour them to keep them in check.

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    ....wow, dude, that's erm...ok. I think you just created half a setting...nice.

    I was gonna suggest you go microscopic for anything which kills dragons, highly specific viral infections, maybe a different strain for each dragon type...

    Seems a bit flat now.
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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    I like rust monsters. Its makes me giggle to think of dragons being afraid of them.

    Maybe a parasitic plant/fungus, like the dodder? A network of vines growing out of the skin of the dragon, killing it. Wikipedia says its related to morning glory, so maybe once its done it could bloom like one, and emit a really pleasant scent just to be extra creepy.

  13. - Top - End - #73
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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    Nice, let's run with it!
    The scent of the plant is irresistible to dragons, drawing young and inexperienced ones close enough for the spores to make contact. These spores resemble tiny diamonds, and although harmless to the majority of lifeforms (and actually coveted in their own right as rare jewellery), contact with a dragon blooded creature's skin starts a rapid germination process, infecting the subject. Since it's a plant-based parasitic infection, neither neutralise poison nor remove disease can get rid of it once infection starts. This usually takes many years to kill the host, although there is little pain until the final stages of infection.
    All I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by.

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  14. - Top - End - #74
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    I havent' been following this thread, it's too big for me, but I just popped in and the predators on dragons ideas are awesome. Personally I tend to prefer the idea of dragons being nigh-invincible and not ruling the world only because they don't want to...Argonessen and the Io's Blood Isles would both be right up my alley. Still, if you want to be a little more sciencey, these are neat ways of going about it. I especially like the idea of giving Divine Rank to worms, except that I submit that you instead make them Tardigrades. Those effers have Divine Rank 1 right here on Earth, just about.

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    Now I want to make a Warforged named Optimus Prime-Material-Plane.

  15. - Top - End - #75
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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    Dragons hunting other dragons is actually a good idea (depending on how genetically varied your dragons are) since apes, especially chimps, are known to hunt smaller primates for food.

    I like the idea of creature that preys on dragons. I don't think that creature should be larger than dragons though. I think they should be smaller, but more coordinated/swarm like. The creeps would do well for this. The dragons could prey on young creeps/scouting parties, while creep colonies tend to burrow into a dragons cave to do the same. Since the dragons largely live on an isolated continent, this sort of relationship would be fairly safe, even though it would be easy to disturb if, say, the dragon population took a dip for whatever reason. This would mean more creeps made it to adulthood, and more creeps preyed on dragon young, reducing the dragon population even further. The same could happen in reverse. This balance would be fairly delicate, and maybe the only thing keeping either population from spreading out of control.

    Viral infection is an interesting idea too. Since the dragons live on an isolated continent, they would have some unique aspects to their biology (such as their immune system). There could conceivably be a virus which is deadly to them, but almost harmless to most creatures on the other continents. Taking a cue from history, I had the idea that dragons may spread from their own continent and encroach on human territory. Humans researched dragons, discover and then exploited this viral weakness, killing/crippling many of them. The dragons, seeing their population decimated, react in blind fear and lay assault to human owned territory.

    One thing to consider is that apex predators are not usually the greatest consumers of food. For instance, lions may be one of the greatest predators in Africa, but hyenas actually consume far more food (about 50% of the total estimated consumption). One small but populous specie can easily out devour even the greatest predator.

  16. - Top - End - #76
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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    That's a wonderful idea to use the creeps toward this. I think that might work. I do like the predator of dragon approach, and think that as well as some war between kinds might be a great way to thin the ranks. In fact, it gives reason for sentience in the first place if the creeps have been round awhile.

    As far as disease, the dragons used to be all over the world, but after some events of questionable morality between some of the other races, the dragons decided to return to only living in their homelands, and leaving the rest of the world to their own devices. They now banish outcasts to the rest of the world.

    IDEA...i had a banishment process in terms of some dragons of sentient species would lose their ability to keep in check their wild and savage nature, and would be banished for this. Basically, criminals. I could perhaps go one step further and say that perhaps this is a disease and they are casting these dragons out due to a disease that causes this behavoir. Kinda like a dragon rabies thing. Dragons with Rabies.

    Thoughts?

    EDIT:

    Quote Originally Posted by urkthegurk View Post
    I like rust monsters. Its makes me giggle to think of dragons being afraid of them.

    Maybe a parasitic plant/fungus, like the dodder? A network of vines growing out of the skin of the dragon, killing it. Wikipedia says its related to morning glory, so maybe once its done it could bloom like one, and emit a really pleasant scent just to be extra creepy.
    Maybe something like this?

    That's my deviantart. Not much on it from recently, but I drew that a long time ago. If we go with this, there is at least one form of dragons that have adapted to the disease.
    Last edited by TheWombatOfDoom; 2012-09-10 at 11:34 AM.
    Scientific Name: Wombous apocolypticus | Diet: Apocolypse Pie | Cuddly: Yes

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  17. - Top - End - #77
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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    Quote Originally Posted by crayzz
    Dragons hunting other dragons is actually a good idea (depending on how genetically varied your dragons are) since apes, especially chimps, are known to hunt smaller primates for food.
    Indeed, considering the aeons of variance between the standard 3.5 dragon species, let alone this particular world's dragons, it's more than reasonable to assume the vast majority of dragon food-chains involve other dragons higher or lower on the same chain. This makes it easier to understand too, only the largest OR most ferocious/effective dragons actually need non-dragon predators...

    Quote Originally Posted by crayzz
    I like the idea of creature that preys on dragons. I don't think that creature should be larger than dragons though. I think they should be smaller, but more coordinated/swarm like. The creeps would do well for this. The dragons could prey on young creeps/scouting parties, while creep colonies tend to burrow into a dragons cave to do the same. Since the dragons largely live on an isolated continent, this sort of relationship would be fairly safe, even though it would be easy to disturb if, say, the dragon population took a dip for whatever reason. This would mean more creeps made it to adulthood, and more creeps preyed on dragon young, reducing the dragon population even further. The same could happen in reverse. This balance would be fairly delicate, and maybe the only thing keeping either population from spreading out of control.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom
    That's a wonderful idea to use the creeps toward this. I think that might work. I do like the predator of dragon approach, and think that as well as some war between kinds might be a great way to thin the ranks. In fact, it gives reason for sentience in the first place if the creeps have been round awhile.
    Aye, my Creeps are actually pretty good for this purpose (reminds me, must post up stats for the little buggers at some point!). I can imagine a hive feeding frenzy over a large dragon, the image is kinda scary and really rather cool all at once! Something to consider in addition to this would be loose alliances between certain hives and dragons, giving both a food chain connection AND a socio-political connection between the two species. Say a dragon wants his neighbour's hoard, and the pretty cliff-side view which his rival's cave sports. He makes contact with a local hive and 'sweet-talks' the queen into directing a feeding frenzy on the target dragon, with the promise of no trouble from the new dragon eating her children when he moves in. These relationships could go a long way towards stabilising the food chains on the continent, making for a slightly more robust ecosystem (always a good plan if you have players running about destroying your beautifully constructed settings!)

    Quote Originally Posted by crayzz
    One thing to consider is that apex predators are not usually the greatest consumers of food. For instance, lions may be one of the greatest predators in Africa, but hyenas actually consume far more food (about 50% of the total estimated consumption). One small but populous specie can easily out devour even the greatest predator.
    This is very true, I'd expect the Creeps to account for a huge proportion of consumption on the continent, but a large amount of this is recycling of dead animal matter and rotting vegetation so I'm unsure as to how high up the 'fat list' my dear little critters would get.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom
    IDEA...i had a banishment process in terms of some dragons of sentient species would lose their ability to keep in check their wild and savage nature, and would be banished for this. Basically, criminals. I could perhaps go one step further and say that perhaps this is a disease and they are casting these dragons out due to a disease that causes this behavoir. Kinda like a dragon rabies thing. Dragons with Rabies.
    Oh HELLS yes! Would explain why a largely noble and aloof creature such as a dragon would stoop to stripping small farmsteads bare instead of just hunting the plains like any normal civilised living-pseudo-demigod...they've got hydrophobia!

    Was thinking about the parasite plant a little more, would it be feasible for one or two species of dragon to have developed symbiosis with this instead of just a natural resistance? Would give a really interesting avenue of development for a highly nature-oriented 'hippy dragon' type (kinda like the picture, which rox sox dude!). They would likely be more interested in the preservation of natural surroundings and ecosystems than the preservation of these pesky, short-lived 'civilisations' which keep popping up every few decades...silly mortals...tsk!
    All I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by.

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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    Quote Originally Posted by Veklim View Post
    Oh HELLS yes! Would explain why a largely noble and aloof creature such as a dragon would stoop to stripping small farmsteads bare instead of just hunting the plains like any normal civilised living-pseudo-demigod...they've got hydrophobia!

    Was thinking about the parasite plant a little more, would it be feasible for one or two species of dragon to have developed symbiosis with this instead of just a natural resistance? Would give a really interesting avenue of development for a highly nature-oriented 'hippy dragon' type (kinda like the picture, which rox sox dude!). They would likely be more interested in the preservation of natural surroundings and ecosystems than the preservation of these pesky, short-lived 'civilisations' which keep popping up every few decades...silly mortals...tsk!
    I basically have the exile dragons as the only experiences most people have had with dragons in a long time. giving way to legends about how they are horrible beasts that will attack anything within its territory. The most commonly sighted are the flying, fire-breathing ones because they're the most mobile. Basically putting a spin on a trope. This disease would be separate from....

    The parasite plant! The symbiote is pretty much exactly what you're describing. Vines and mossy looking, named the Earth Dragons. Think of them akin to the Mystics in 'The Dark Crystal'. Druidic Dragons...
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  19. - Top - End - #79
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    Gotta love it when a plan comes together!
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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    I loved the initial idea and the solutions to the dragon problem.

    My solution is a little different - what if dragons, possessing arcane powers, do not need to feed at all?

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    TheWombatOfDoom's Avatar

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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    Quote Originally Posted by Zireael View Post
    I loved the initial idea and the solutions to the dragon problem.

    My solution is a little different - what if dragons, possessing arcane powers, do not need to feed at all?
    Intriguing. So in your setting they "outgrow" the need to nourish themselves because they are connected to the primal forces of the arcane, or more that the arcane powers are enough to nourish them?

    This idea, while not one that fits my setting, is indeed a creative one!
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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    Well, in my setting, the more advanced the being is, the cleaner (less dirty) it is. So, dragons and elves, being the pinnacle of mortals /haven't decided yet which rank higher, probably dragons/ do not need to defecate. A logical continuation would be that dragons, being higher than elves, do not need to eat.

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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    Quote Originally Posted by Zireael View Post
    Well, in my setting, the more advanced the being is, the cleaner (less dirty) it is. So, dragons and elves, being the pinnacle of mortals /haven't decided yet which rank higher, probably dragons/ do not need to defecate. A logical continuation would be that dragons, being higher than elves, do not need to eat.
    I see! Higher forms of being. Nice. Magic works quite a bit differently in my setting, but that's a twist to things I've never heard of. So, is that similar to the vein that elves don't need to sleep, only taking that one step futher? And what about people playing elves as a race?
    Last edited by TheWombatOfDoom; 2012-10-01 at 01:43 PM.
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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    Things seem to have gotten away from me. I'm importing some of this to my world building thread. A many thanks to those who have helped me balance the food chain.

    On another note, has anyone used any of these creatures for any of their own settings?
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    Default Re: Balancing the Foodchain

    They are somewhat like mistletoe. However, their haustoria are bidirectional, and, although they usually drain water and nutrients from their hosts, they also put some back if doing so is necessary for their host's (and, by extension, their own) survival. They also have venus-flytrap-like... uhh... traps.

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