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Dragons are well known for their breath weapons in fiction, and there are four main types of breath weapons in my world that I am trying to make more scientifically accurate. I am focusing mainly on crystal breath, used by crystal wyrms. This breath weapon is shot as a pressurized beam or stream and corrodes stone, coating it in crystal.

What biological processes could allow for this crystal breath? The other dragons with breath weapons generally spray a mist that causes the effect, except fire breath, which uses a liquid, so both have precedent within the dragon family. The crystal wyrms live in crystalline caves, which may help with how they produce the crystals in case that helps.

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  • $\begingroup$ Seems that you are asking about four different breath weapons, So really four different questions. Through may be three since petrify and crystalize are essentially creating the same outcome. $\endgroup$ Jul 8, 2022 at 22:42
  • $\begingroup$ We have a strict one question per post policy. Please edit your post to ask one and only one question. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Jul 8, 2022 at 23:19
  • $\begingroup$ can you invoke the POWER of MAGIC? Because that would be easiest and no less awesome. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Jul 8, 2022 at 23:31
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    $\begingroup$ What is the question? $\endgroup$
    – Atog
    Jul 9, 2022 at 1:26
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    $\begingroup$ We can't determine what is and isn't possible in your world, you're creating it, you get to decide what rules your world does and doesn't follow. If you want crystal breath weapons in your world to be possible, you can decide that they're possible. I'm unsure what you're expecting us to provide, that isn't our opinions, or commentary, both of which are off topic on this site. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Jul 9, 2022 at 1:35

3 Answers 3

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Stream of Molten Crystal

The crystal dragon is just a fire dragon with a big crystal in its belly. It superheats the crystal into a gas and shoots the beam of gas at whether.

The beam melts the target as it passes through. This heats the target and cools the beam. After the beam is cool enough it solidifies as a layer of crystal on the target.

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First let's imagine how fire breath would work. It's probably similar to a flamethrower. The dragon would have some bladder of fuel and ignite it on the way out. How does it get the fuel? Some metabolic process with a pinch of magic. That level of detail probably doesn't matter for the story. This seems like a general fantasy trope and doesn't need much explaining.

So, the crystal breath. It's not that different really. It couldn't pump crystals through an organ, but it could pump a substance that makes crystals, and crystalize it on the way out. I see two main options: a single substance freezing on the way out, or two substances mixing and forming a salt.

It could use its own stomach acid, or a derivative. Some gland in its throat converts a mist of it into a cloud of ice crystals. Its prey is sandblasted by the crystals, which melt into acid and start digesting it.

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If you want something that corrodes stuff and coats it with crystals, while also kind-of breathable (as in breathe-outable, definitely not one for breathing in!), there's silicon tetrachloride.

A clear, highly volatile liquid, SiCl4 will react readily with water, even just moisture in the air to form HCl (muriatic acid) and crystalline SiO2, a.k.a. silica sand.

It's relatively simple to synthesise, not so simple to store in a living body that has lots of water in it, but we're talking about dragons here.

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