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After posting Protecting Medieval Villagers From Droppers, I realized that Droppers must be kept in check-hard in check.

Now, thanks to Classes, a Dropper's speed and agility can pretty easily be overcome-a Level 125 Ranger or Sharpshooter alone should be able to do the trick. However, their sheer numbers and voraciousness, plus their acid attacks, makes it clear they need predators to keep them in check. Nature is on my side here, since like salties (saltwater crocodiles) Droppers are basically unstoppable as adults but are vulnerable to predators as juveniles.

The question is, what predators? Droppers fly at 30 mph, they can fly in any direction (having the agility of a dragonfly), they have squirrel-like processing speed, they can spit powerful acid (albeit from their jaws, which are on the bottom of their bodies) and their many eyes leave them with almost no blind spots. Oh, and they have 1/2 inch thick shells of enamel since they're eggs the size of an elephant bird's (egg, that is).

The good news is, a Dropper is basically a Chomper with wings, so what works for Chompers could quite likely work for Droppers. Droppers also have the following weaknesses:

  1. Vertical Dependence-While Droppers are capable of flying horizontally, and therefore attacking prey from that angle, they really don't. First up, while the eyes on their jaws (which allow them to 'divenom' effectively) technically allow them to fly mouth first, they seem to have a pathological preference for vertical attacks, specifically diving or spitting straight down. (This may not be feasible from an evolutionary standpoint, since there is no real disadvantage to flying horizontally or diving at their target like a regular bird when the circumstances are right and with raven-level intelligence, Droppers should be able to figure out when that is.)

  2. Sleep-Droppers need to sleep, and they don't float when doing that. They hide in high-up and hard-to-access places, like the crooks of branches and knotholes or the eaves of buildings, or else float on bodies of (relatively still) water like lakes or the sea. However, an agile predator could not only get to them but take advantage of their third weakness...

  3. Eyes-Dropper eyes are always open, albeit covered by a layer of protective gel. I feel birds, ferrets, and even some insects could take out or eat into the eyes to get to its gelatinous innards, so this is definitely an exploitable vulnerability.

Now, I haven't even started with a Dropper's Enchantment, Levitation, which takes Newton's 3rd Law and applies it to gravity. Basically, a Levitating creature is pushing against gravity like it would the ground, standing and even running on it like an invisible floor. The natural height of this flotation is directly proportional to the creature's weight-a Levitating human will "stand" six feet above the ground, so if the creature is heavier than a human, they will "stand" lower, while a creature lighter than a human will "stand" higher.

This flotation works against whatever support is underneath the creature, so a bird in a tree will be "standing" above a tree branch. It also varies depending on how hard a creature is "pushing" against gravity, so a creature can "let go" and walk as normal if they want to. I also didn't mention Calcification; any creature that kills a Dropper will get Levitation, but if they eat a Dropper, they'll get Calcified as well. This makes insects seem a good option (since Calcification really shouldn't adversely affect them), but considering a Dropper's size, I doubt they can be a reliable predator.

So, my question is, What Would Serve As The Best Dropper Predator?

Specifications For Best Answer:

  1. The best answer will analyze a Dropper's weaknesses, strengths, and abilities and determine what traits their ideal (AKA "best") predator would need to have in order to succeed.

  2. The best answer will take the information in #1 and determine what predators (IRL or otherwise) would fit the bill. Other potential predators include Plops, Snappers, [Spikagi][4], Whackagi, and Anklebiters (described here), perhaps even Chompers or Torchblow!

Thank you for your help, this has been a perplexing problem of mine (since I haven't really thought of flying monsters for my story).

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  • $\begingroup$ What exactly is "calcification" in this context? $\endgroup$
    – The Daleks
    Apr 15 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ @TheDaleks: see the link for Chompers and you'll understand. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 15 at 19:33
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without the spells? Several eagles, also some other birds.

Yep, no mutated magic octopus or crazy animal amalgamation This time, just a group of birds. Your droppers can't see what's above them meaning anything that can fly and is capable of delivering high enough damage can wing. All the eagle needs to do is fly up, dive in its blind spot and wound its wings so it can't fly. After that your dropper becomes a glorified turtle and like a turtle they just need to carry them up to the sky, drop them and let gravity do the rest of the job. In fact, any flying animal strong enough to carry them to a high place and smart enough to understand they're mostly defenseless without wings can prey on them (if a crow and a monkey team up, the crow can wound a dropper wing while the monkey just needs to bash it in with a rock until it breaks. Even non flying animals can kill a dropper if they're smart enough and have a good throw, since all they need need to do is injure one of the dropper's wings, let it fall and either beat it with a rock or throw it off a cliff so their shells break.

With the magic? Pretty much nothing.

At this point the only detergent your droppers have is their spells, and I won't lie: there's no avoiding them. Calcification will kill the birds, and your flotation enchantment is literally a curse, because it will kill anything afflicted by it due to the invisible barrier it creates. Whether the animal cursed is a bird or an animal, here's why I say this:

1-starvation: the cursed animal essentially can't feed on anything that lies below the height they're fixed at. An eagle afflicted by this can't hunt rabbits, a chimpanzee afflicted by this can't eat a fruit on the ground or hunt any animal that goes below their established height, a human can only avoid starvation if other humans throw food at them. Essentially no animal whose food source can't be found in tall enough trees and in large enough quantities will likely starve.

2- dehydration. Safe for the case of some plants that form water pools in tall trees, water is usually a resource found only at relative ground level. If an eagle can't hunt a rabbit because its "new ground" is over 6 feet above, then it also will likely dehydrate before it can starve to death.

3-reproduction: now let's say that despite all adversities the animals managed to mate despite the other problems. Be it a newborn monkey, a human baby or a raptor egg, what do you think is the most likely thing to happen if it is dropped off from a height of around 6 feet? Unless we're talking about a baby giraffe, I'd say it won't cry after hitting the ground. And even if it does manage to survive the fall, the parents will be completely incapable of protecting it, since they can't go down to their level to ward off any would be predators. So unless we have members of the species which aren't cursed and are willing to protect said babies, I don't see anything that eats a dropper managing to survive or to pass on their genes, with the behavior of trying to predate on droppers likely getting wiped out along with the members of the species that tried it.

So yeah. The answer is essentially "nothing". Nothing really predates on droppers because the levitation curse alone makes it so most things that kill them and their descendants are essentially doomed to die, meaning the behavior is expected to be mostly wiped out from the gene pool. Even if the enchantment only affects flying animals while they're not flying still makes it extremely hard for them to reproduce successfully since even if they were to fly constantly, the mother bird will be relatively far from the chicks more often than not. Couple that with the initial drawbacks of the calcification Enchantment and you won't have anything without a death wish getting close to a dropper with hostile intentions anytime soon.

"but we need a predator for the droppers what will we do?" - well I only see 2 options:

Option 1- the [Screw that] enchantment: yep, that's the name, and it essentially negates any other magical effects. While the creature afflicted by this enchantment can't make use of any beneficial traits of certain enchantments, like what you'd see with something that gets the super version of the calcification enchantment after killing enough chompers, they also don't have to deal with any drawbacks associated with said enchantments. Put this beautiful enchantment in the mentioned predators essentially become fair game once again.

Option 2- yet another mutated magical Apex predator:

Meet the netherwing, the magical predator species which occupies the tittle of official dropper predator. They're large aerial predators slightly larger than a pteranodon and slightly heavier than an average human. They're known for 3 main traits:

1-they never land and are extremely capable fliers, giving birth to live young that can fly seconds after being born.

2-they're fast, can dive at high speeds and have a sharp beak easily able to slice off the wings of a dropper.

3-they have a long reach, having 2 powerful semiretractable tentacles over 6 feet long. These tentacles,doted with suckers and, being each as powerful as an elephant trunk and just as dexterous, can easily grab a hold of wingless droppers, allowing the creature to both get them in the ground and smash them against the walls of cliffs or high Rocky formations to crack their shells and access the nutritious insides. These tentacles also allow them to easily scoop off other creatures they feed on from the ground and tree branches, as well as birds flying at a less than 6 feet ahead of them.

These creatures can reach top speeds of roughly 100 km/h (~62 mph), but usually dive down on droppers to prevent unnecessary chases, surprising them from above. Their size and speed also allows them to dispatch quad droppers, poking their eyes with their tentacles to create a blind spot above them and holding their wings, damaging them one at a time until there's only one left, grounding the monster. After that they might either call for another netherwing so that both can carry it against a cliff and share the kill or simply attempt to drop it off a cliff or throw large stones on it until they die.

As for how they deal with the calcification Enchantment? Again, with good parenting. They'll watch over their young until they've eaten 12 creatures that grant the calcification Enchantment (yes they'll also attack chompers when they can, and will dispatch them much similarly), a period during which the frail child will remain anchored to the back of one of its parents using their tentacles (or rather around 6 feet above). After eating the required amount, they'll stay with the parents for a little longer until they leave to live their own lives.

Killing a netherwing grants you the [Enduring] Enchantment, which essentially makes the creature affected by the spell almost invulnerable to muscle fatigue, requiring only a few seconds of reduced activity to get back to action at full capacity.

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  • $\begingroup$ While I love your monster concept, I'll probably title it a Netherwing and give it a second set of arms instead of tentacles, that ok? Also, please note that Levitation can be dampened; an animal can float lower, even go to the ground, through conscious effort, same as how you can crouch down by lowering your legs. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 15 at 20:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias I don't mind, the reason I suggested tentacles is simply because I though 6-7 feet long tentacles would be stronger and easier to control and maintain closer to the body when compared to arms just as long. $\endgroup$ Apr 15 at 20:26
  • $\begingroup$ Good, I believe I'll go with the tentacles then. I also love the Enduring Enchantment, great idea! Thank you for sharing, I honestly really appreciate what it'll do for the Guards and Scouts of my world. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 15 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias No. Combat/Naughty tentacles, this is a rpg world, fanservice is a law of reality. $\endgroup$ Jun 8 at 13:59
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The flu

A creature with one entrance/exit for food, low to the ground when young and only acid against disease. Without further aid from a parent in what is edible or build immunity thanks to breast milk for example they are very vulnerable. Cholera, dysenterie and even the common flu can kill fledglings droppers. Only the strongest survive.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm sorry, but I don't understand what the flue is, let alone why it's a good predator for Droppers. Please explain. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 15 at 19:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias my apologies. I meant flu, the disease. It means you don't need large predators, but simply sickness and gastric distress. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Apr 15 at 19:54
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, that's genius! I really should have thought of that! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 15 at 19:54
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Droppers are their own predator.

Droppers are fiercely territorial and have no tolerance whatsoever of any incursions by their own kind. If one Dropper sights another a fight will ensue every time as even lesser Droppers consider themselves kings and queens of all they survey. Often these fights are to the death, with the victor then intermittently returning to fight the corpse of the loser. Fights that do not result in death are usually because the winner is itself too maimed to chase down the loser as it drags itself off to safety.

The one exception to the fierce hostility Droppers have to their own kind is during mating season. A female in season will tolerate the attention of a male Dropper. Not infrequently, a mated pair will together seek out and attack a third female Dropper and in this case the larger she is the better. A Chomper might also serve. Two on one means victory for the duo most of the time. They intend to eat her (the female eating most of the victim) for (Dropper genus specific) accumulated physical resources of her body that will be then be used to gestate juvenile Droppers. If the pair fails to find a female Dropper the female will usually instead eat her mate. And sometimes does anyway.

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  • $\begingroup$ What an interesting idea! The monster keeping itself in check....I thought of this for Snappers but not Droppers, it's honestly ingenious! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 15 at 22:11

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