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So, dragons are rather large (2 meters at the withers and have a nose-to-base-of-tail length of 5 meters) creatures.

enter image description here Pic related by: KatePfeilschiefter

They look something like pic related, albeit less spiky. As you can see, their most important organs are protected by scales, a sturdy rib cage (dragon bones here are only slightly weaker than carbon fiber in terms of tensile strength) and graphene-reinforced muscles (to decrease wear and tear)

Since the equipment required to deal serious wounds to a dragon is hard to transport without the dragon's protectors noticing, dragon slayers came up with a simpler solution:

They use bows and poisoned arrows that have just enough power to break through the dermis and reach the bloodstream.

The poison requires some time to act and it has the following properties:

  • Symptoms (direct and indirect):
    • Tiredness
    • Inability to focus
    • Shortness of breath
    • Inability to produce digestive acids (which are also used as the breath weapon)
    • High fever
    • Occasional sleep paralysis and fever dreams
  • Other info:
    • There is no true cure for the poison, but there are ways to alleviate the symptoms to a degree (ice packs, antifebriles and lots of soup) but the poison's effects will remain for at least a month and to upwards of two months.
    • The poison can't actually kill a dragon, malnutrition does that.

The basic idea is that this is an easy and quick way to put a dragon into a very vulnerable position; and if another one is nursing them back to health, then that one too, because nursing a sick DRAGON is a stamina-draining task. This gives the slayers a big window for planning the attack, though they still can't barge in as the window IS the time they'll attack, so it's easy to flip the table on them with an ambush.

Given the properties of the poison, how should it work? What should it attack within the dragon's system and how would it be able to last for at least a month?

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  • $\begingroup$ "dragon bones here are only slightly weaker than carbon fiber" - really? That bendy and flexible?!? I don't want to be a dragon anymore, it starts to sound too much of an overgrown tensile earthworm with wings (see fictiv.com/hwg/design/… ) $\endgroup$ – Adrian Colomitchi Feb 26 '20 at 14:46
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It is an infection.

It is problematic to deliver enough poison to incapacitate a big animal. More problematic to deliver enough that it keeps the animal incapacitated for months, but does not kill it. With an infection these things are easy: a mosquito can deliver enough dengue virus to do exactly what you describe to a human. The clue is the fever - a rare thing for a poison but typical for an immune response, which generally means an infection.

Your toxin is a virus or parasite, or a bacterium like the one that causes glanders (which was used in the 1900s as an anti-horse biological warfare agent). Your dragonslayers keep iguanas or cane toads or some animal which is a host for this virus, and passage it from one to the next, so keeping a ready supply.

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Make it similar to hormone release injections; multi-tipped weapon

My wife is currently going through hormone therapy (post menopausal) and has been given injections. These chemicals release Over time. She gets an injection with a single needle, but your dragon needs a combination of chemical effects, so I'd suggest a three pronged needle, perhaps shaped like a trident.

Presuming that your dragon's physical characteristics include a sort of thyroid governed and/or hormonal chemical processes, then injecting these poisons(chemicals/medicines) would be similar to the kinds of injections that my wife is getting.

Specialized arrow/spear tips

When wildlife managers or park rangers need to put a large animal to sleep to move them around, they use a special projectile in their rifle that has a sedative load that, when it hits the bear, lion, elephant, whathave you, injects the medicine and it eventually falls asleep. They can then move the animal safely.

In-world requirements for dragon poison:

  1. Crafting specialized tips for the piercing weapons
  2. Crafting the specialized cheimcals/poisons for a piercing injections.
  3. Hunger suppression; something like nicotine, but stronger. Speed (amphetimine) might be used as well, since most amphetimines I am familiar with also act as appetite suppressives, but I'd go with nicotine as the model to not counter act ...
  4. For lethargy: any sort of barbituate/tranquilizer.
  5. For the psychoactive component, something like LSD or psyloscibin (Mushrooms) extract.
  6. You'll want three tips on your weapon: one for the psychoactive component (the dreams); one for the hunger suppression; one for the sedative/lethargy inducing agent.

Time release problem for the dragon's system: it can't quite convince itself that it's hungry, it lacks the energy to go out and do anything, and it's losing sleep due to it's dreams being way out of whack.

You don't need to "induce" a fever; activating the immune system may counteract some of the above effects. But if you really want a fever, then either a microbe based fourth injection to infect the dragon (separate arrow, as it does not need a time release) or a virus (likewise with a separate application) ought to do the trick.

All that said, the chances are that with the above cocktail the dragon will begin to experience deyhdration. (Most speed tends to act as a diuretic; back when I smoked it seemed to me that a smoke in the morning helped me to get my bowels moving).


@ITAlex suggests in a comment to inject nothing by LSD/psyloscibin psychoactives. The induced disorientation provides a means whereby administering additional toxins will meet with less resistance ... it made me grin to consider this, but I still think that the time release mechanic is what you are looking for).

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    $\begingroup$ I personally vote on replacing the entire payload with nothing but LSD/psyloscibin. Try to protect that until it wears off! (and it makes additional poisons easier to apply) +1 $\endgroup$ – IT Alex Feb 26 '20 at 14:47
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You are almost there with a Nightshade-based poison.

Nightshades like Belladonna mess with your nervous system and have wide-ranging symptoms. They make you tired and lethargic, mess with your balance and will do a number on your digestive system. Sleep paralysis is not a normal symptom as far as I know but the "regular" hallucinations involved with Belladonna poisoning will take care of that.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice, Would a nightshade based poison work for a month? I always thought it was more acute symptoms. $\endgroup$ – IT Alex Feb 26 '20 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ Sounds like a COVID-19 infection with complications $\endgroup$ – Adrian Colomitchi Feb 26 '20 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ @ITAlex that is the only issue but could be solved with a slow-release delivery mechanism. $\endgroup$ – Borgh Feb 26 '20 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ @AdrianColomitchi well, there's a problem... $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Feb 26 '20 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Mephistopheles well, personally, I don't have drinking problem, I have a drinking solution $\endgroup$ – Adrian Colomitchi Feb 26 '20 at 15:49

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