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In my book series, there is this planet called Ryu 108. Ryu 108 consists of two continents: Bjørnholm, which is heavily forested and bears a strong resemblance to southern Norway or southern Sweden, and Hrafnfjell, which is severely glaciated and volcanic, bearing a strong resemblance to Iceland. Both continents are inhabited by the 108er Kingdom, a planet-wide kingdom of what are essentially viking-age norsemen. However, a vast ocean separates the two continents, and in this ocean lurk hundreds of thousands of krakens.

Krakens are underwater beasts that resemble the giant squids of our world, except they are roughly triple the size of them in all dimensions. In addition to this, the suckers on kraken tentacles inject a poison into their prey that almost instantly renders them unconscious.

To make matters worse, dragons called Wyverns nest on small, rocky islands scattered throughout the sea. During the day, they are usually content to stay on land guarding their eggs, but at night, they raid the coastlines for prey to take back to their nests, much to the annoyance of mammoth and cattle ranchers near the coast. There are 5 different variants of wyvern: fire (which breathes fire), lightning (which breathes bolts of lightning), water (which breathes highly pressurized, boiling hot water and is the only wyvern that can swim and breathe underwater as well as on land), poison (which breathes gusts of poison gas), and ice (which breathes liquid nitrogen). While used to going onto land for meals, wyverns (especially water wyverns) have also been known to pluck people right off their longships and bring them back to their nests to consume. Wyverns can be anywhere from 30-40 feet long (with a 10-18-foot tail), have 2 legs and 2 wings, weigh 1,500-2,500 lbs, and have a top speed of around 70 mph.

Now here is my question: How would the 108er Kingdom deal with these creatures to maintain contact with and conduct trade with its other half across this treacherous sea?

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    $\begingroup$ You have made the seas so overwhelmingly dangerous that the simplest solution for the humans is to avoid the sea altogether and trade by land. I don't see how they would ever have discovered the other continent in the first place. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Jan 22 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ Would any of the creatures (kraken or water wyverns) be able to puncture or bend iron/steel? $\endgroup$ – Grant Garrison Jan 22 at 21:34
  • $\begingroup$ @GrantGarrison if the steel is any thicker than plate armor then wyverns' bites are not enough to puncture it. A kraken could BEND steel but if the steel is sufficiently thick and/or pliable, it could not break it. $\endgroup$ – The Weasel Sagas Jan 22 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ So ironclad ship/submarine? $\endgroup$ – Grant Garrison Jan 22 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ @GrantGarrison remember these are Viking-age norsemen. They do not have the industrial or technological capabilities to produce such ships. $\endgroup$ – The Weasel Sagas Jan 22 at 21:58
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Ballistas mounted on the decks of the ships:

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Just make sure they can fire up to hit dragons as well as down at the waterline to harpoon squids. These are very old weapons so it seems plausible to me that Vikings could make them. They are really just scaled-up crossbows.

Other Possibilites:

Biological warfare:

  • Any time someone dies of an infectious disease, put their body out where the dragons will find it. Hope that eventually a pathogen infects the dragons and becomes an epidemic in their population. You could try the same for the kraken but their biology is probably too different for a cross-species infection.

  • Poison the monster's food. This could work for either the squid or the dragons. Figure out what they eat, and poison it. You mentioned Dragons eat cattle. You could once in a while lace a cow corpse with arsenic and set it out for an unlucky dragon to find. Bonus points if they bring it back to the roost and feed it to their young.

Ecological Warfare:

  • Disrupt the food chain. Figure out what the monsters eat and then over-fish it. Without food the monsters die.

Tamed Dragons:

  • This would work really well if your world allows it. A tamed water-type dragon could fight the squids and the other dragons.
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There should be safe zones between Wyvern and Kraken infested areas. Both could be considered Apex hunters and would establish hunting grounds or zones which they roam. When the hunting grounds of Wyverns and Krakens overlap, it will lead to a conflict between the two since they are competing for the same food.

This will lead to safer regions a certain distance from Wyvern nests where krakens don't go because they might get attacked by Wyverns who are hunting in the area and Wyverns don't go because its just a little too far or risky to be worth it (or they get attacked back). Your vikings will find these routes by trial and error and eventually learn the signs of Kraken and Wyvern activity in the area, where they know they should wait it out, make a mad rush or turn back (e.g. If there are plenty of fish in the area they back off because its an active feeding ground and they risk being a target).

Another alternative is to armor your boat with sharp metal spikes/blades. When a Kraken or Wyvern attacks your ship, it will injure itself in the attack. Hopefully your spikes/blades are sharp enough to cause the Krakens or Wyverns significant pain (e.g. serrated blades or spikes with thorn like protrusions that are very hard to remove) and/or cripple them. This way, attacking your vikings will become associated with a slow and painful death causing the majority of Krakens and Wyverns to not attack humans unless it is for self defense or they are really desperate.

Combine the two and unless you are actively provoking them and straying into their territories, you should be fairly safe for the most part.

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First off, armoring your ships would be useless against that variety of wyvern types. No matter what you use, one or more of those damage types will still kill you. Instead speed and range will be the key factors. Assuming these dragon types are all basically giant fire-extinguishers of their respective elements their range is not all that impressive. Ships could be fitted with ballistas and or crews armed with heavy crossbows to try to shoot them down before they reach breath range.

The krakens are a bit tricker because they will likely attack with very little warning meaning if they catch your ship, you are in for a bad day. The best defense here is convoy tactics. If your ship is attacked, then your other ships in the fleet will flank the Kraken with those same heavy ranged weapons. Most likely, the attacked ship will be too badly damaged to go on, but the remaining ships can scoop up the crew keeping it to an acceptable loose.

Both Dragons and Krakins would likely learn quickly that convoys are just too dangerous to be worth the snack, but ships that get separated in a storm for example, would have a very low chance of ever seeing home again.

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  • $\begingroup$ If you make the ship so the Kraken wont want to mess with it, it may deter them. Many rows of shark teeth along the bottom. The kraken would not want to brush up against that. It would have to resort to reaching far out to pluck people off the deck, which squid do not hunt in that way, but an octopus may. To prevent that, having armored deck railing would provide an obstacle for the krakens tentacles. $\endgroup$ – sonvar Jan 22 at 22:47
  • $\begingroup$ I thought about that, but decided against it because while that might help vs krakens, the odds of your ship staying intact from either foe are slim and if your crew go overboard, lightweight debris that won't shred you increases your odds of survival until rescue. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Jan 23 at 2:52
  • $\begingroup$ Another answers the solution to the flying foe, long sharp spikes everywhere. Now about people going overboard, frankly, sucks to be them. The culture would probably not place that guys life as high as we may now a days. Plus, with the kraken swimming about, I think getting shredded by the hull debris is the least of your worries. However, these protections would be a deterrent, not a sure fire away to avert all attacks $\endgroup$ – sonvar Jan 23 at 3:07
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Sounds like a hard world to live in.

For the kraken, the best idea that comes to my mind would be to cover the ships with poisonous spikes. If the kraken tries to catch the ship, it would try to grasp it with its tentacles, but this way it would be stung and poisoned by the spikes.
Obviously it can work only if our viking friends can find a poison that is effective against on the krakens (and acts fast enough to kill or incapacitate the kraken before it has time to crush the ship).
Covering only the part above the waterline, the spikes wouldn't slow down the ship, while rising the walls around the bridge (or covering it with a robust net) could give the crew some protection from the tentacles.

About the wyverns, the ships could load some baits to distract them. Maybe if the vikings launch into the water a pig or some meat, the wyvern could prefer to fly away with the easy prey, rather than attack a ship that would attack it with arrows (they wouldn't kill it, but could be a nuisance enough to discourage an attack against the ship).
Obviously it works if you can safely assume to be attacked by no more than 2-3 wyvern in a travel... If a ship should expect 40 or 50 attacks by wyverns, it could load no cargo, only baits, and a commercial travel would be unfeasible.

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Armoured Triremes

Predators look for an easy meal. If the ship is covered in barbed spikes that break off and stay stuck in the attacker, the creatures will soon learn to leave the ships alone.

Sure the creatures will still be able to kill the crew but they can't get the bodies without getting hurt and/or killed which makes the hunt pointless.

It's the same as porcupines. They are slower and weaker than most predators but the predators know they can't hunt them without getting hurt.

The main risk to ships is juvenile creatures that haven't learnt life's valuable lessons yet.

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