So, Georgie, the paladin who's still unsure about going down the path of lawful stupid, decided not to kill the dragon. Now, this means they can finally use The Orb of Dragonkind for something after it was collecting dust on that shelf for centuries.

So, we have a dragon that has to follow their orders, but he's an indentured servant now, so they can't slaughter and butcher him. However, he still sheds regularly, which might be useful in some way.

Dragon scales get their strength from their microstructure (similar to limpet teeth and the clubs of mantis shrimps) and composition, which includes CNTs. They're round in shape, granular, and stay uniformly small across the body. The dragon sheds his skin in fairly large, but still numerous, flakes.

The plan is/was to create an armor with the same properties as the dragon's scales.

However, I doubt the shed scales or skin would retain their strength, or that they could be effectively worked into armor. What modification (If any are needed) would make it certainly possible?

Tech-level is towards late medieval.

  • $\begingroup$ I hardly see how scales can be work as good armor as most scales in the real world work as protection against radiation and those scales specially evolved to be tougher and protect from predators thend to have weak points. Few exceptions come to mind, like pandolins which were killed to wear their scales as armor, but the population who wore those armors didn't win many wars for some reasons... $\endgroup$
    – user75689
    Commented May 16, 2020 at 0:03
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Shed skin and shed scales are not the same thing. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented May 16, 2020 at 0:10
  • $\begingroup$ Uhmm can scales be stuck inside other metals? The same way gems are stuck in metal rings? This way if the scale fails, there's still a plate of metal underneath as protection. $\endgroup$
    – user75689
    Commented May 16, 2020 at 0:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Kyu Protection against radiation? Sauce, please! $\endgroup$ Commented May 16, 2020 at 0:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ reptileencounters.com.au/news/why-do-reptiles-have-scales $\endgroup$
    – user75689
    Commented May 16, 2020 at 0:21

1 Answer 1


Reptiles don't shed their skin because it became weaker, but because it is made of dead material which can't grow. The scales on a living dragon are as dead as the scales on a dead dragon or shed scales. Because reptile scales are made of the same material of hair, and hair is not alive.

So yeah, it would retain the strength.

But wait! You mentioned your paladin being stupid, that's perfect. The paladin doesn't know how reptile scales work so instead he melts them!

In the case of keratin you have two options, melt it with hydrogen peroxide which is actually found in nature or other acids. Or use heat, if you can arrange a laboratory you can melt anything ...Neanderthals were able to melt wood to make glue, I guess your hero is probably smarter than a Neanderthal.

Once the material is melted, you can just make clothing out of it, reinforce everything with metal wires, chain mails and plate.

It doesn't matter the micro structure because compressed solid keratin is always stronger than other forms. Density beats structure.


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