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So, dragons here are smaller (somewhere at around the size of a shire horse), and more agile creatures, relying on their wits, speed and insane firepower. They are tougher than giant pterosaurs, and maybe even bears, still, they aren't invincible. You sorta have to do that if you want to create tension for a dragon protagonist without seriously nerfing them.

I know this overwhelming firepower is supposed to be a breath weapon, and that it has a secondary ability that destroys nano and micro machines on contact. Just to be clear, firepower should mean ability to destroy... mostly anything. So, special viruses/bacteria/toxins won't cut it.

Since being able to immolate even the high echelon of The Circus is the second most important factor for balancing dragons, I'd like to, know what's the strongest "weapon" a creature's body can produce, that meets the criteria?

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't understand this question, can you clarify? When you say criteria, are you referring to the ability to destroy 'nano and micro machines'? Also, do you want this to be firebreath, or is any form of breath weapon acceptable? $\endgroup$ – Halfthawed Jan 17 at 21:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Halfthawed Any breath weapon. I'd be happier if it produced flames, but effectiveness is more important. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Jan 17 at 21:13
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    $\begingroup$ Acid will destroy micro and nano machines. So maybe it could spit acid. $\endgroup$ – Peter Shor Jan 17 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ @PeterShor Not specific enough (what type of acid?). $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Jan 17 at 21:26
  • $\begingroup$ Whatever type is biologically possible. All the vertebrates on Earth has hydrochloric acid in their stomachs. Dragons produce more potent HCl than anything on Earth, and have a special mechanism for spitting it. It looks like you might need zirconium, tantalum, or glass nanobots to defeat them. $\endgroup$ – Peter Shor Jan 17 at 21:28
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Aqua Regia

The human stomach uses a combination of different acids to form gastric acid, otherwise known as stomach acid, which has a pH of between 1.5-3.5. Admittedly, pretty effective by itself when it comes to destroying stuff. But it's composed of a mixture of two salts and an acid, sodium chloride (NaCl), potassium chloride (KCl) and hydrochloric acid (HCl), of which hydrochloric acid is absolutely terrifying.

The way it functions in the stomach is by being mixed in with the rest of the gastric acid mixture to dilute it. But if you opted to condense it, say mix it with a mixture of 70% HCl by volume to 30% volume, you could expel it in a mist which would hideously damage and poison anything organic alongside completely destroying fragile electronics. (It'd be a danger to your dragon, naturally, but there are ways around that.) That's pretty bad, but we can do one better. Let's take the hydrochloric acid and mix it with some nitric acid, which is theoretically possible to be produced by organic processes, in a nice ration of 3:1 HCl to nitric acid.

This results in an acidic solution called Aqua Regia, Latin for 'King's Water', so called because it could melt through gold. (It also produces chlorine gas as a side effect.) Allow me to repeat that - this melts through gold (and platinum too!). Rare earth metals are kind of legendary for their indifference to acids, but Aqua Regia just eats clean through them. If you want a breath weapon that destroys delicate electronics, that's going to do the job.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sounds fun. So, how can my dragons get their paws on Teflon to cover their mouths with? $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Jan 17 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ On a second thought, flames and heat, in general, could speed the acid up... $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Jan 17 at 21:46
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    $\begingroup$ Can you handwave that part? "The dragons skin in and around the maw and throat was of a very resilient and thick nature that was capable of resisting it's own deadly poison. Leather from it was in very high demand and valuable." - What it is exactly? Life finds a way.. $\endgroup$ – lidar Jan 18 at 0:48
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    $\begingroup$ Perchloric Acid and Fluoroantimonic Acid would be much stronger still. There's no organism which produces these, but it is at least conceivable that a organism would be able to produce them; they are, after all, just organic compounds. $\endgroup$ – cowlinator Jan 18 at 3:30
  • $\begingroup$ Gold is not a rare earth element. You're looking for the term "noble metal." $\endgroup$ – Display Name Feb 7 at 20:24

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