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147

Growth / size The main argument against mountain-sized dragons is the square/cube law. As an animal increases in size in its linear dimensions, but retains roughly the same proportions, its surface area and strength increases proportional to the square of its length, but its mass increases proportional to the cube of its length. To give an example of ...


106

Ordinarily, you'd delegate. Farm out the mucky business of war to someone else, found one of these kingdoms of your own, get generals to rampage. But an exercise in nation building doesn't seem your style. Too much work, you won't get them all, and eventually someone will figure out how to kill you anyway. Have you considered planning for retirement? You'...


95

All of his other abilities are dwarfed by the "shapeshift into a human" option, which would make him an invaluable weapon for surprise attacks and assassinations. Even if his dragon form isn't tremendously powerful in combat, it doesn't need to be as long as the enemy isn't actually expecting a shapeshifter. Modern physical security is largely based around ...


94

You don't want harder steel, it breaks, you don't want softer steel, it bends, you want more control of the temperature of the steel at every stage so you can get the exact properties you want. Better is more control of the process. Dragon blood is just a non-flammable liquid with thermal conductivity similar to oils or water but unlike water and oils it ...


93

Dragons would run the FAA One day, you're flapping along, torching pigeons, and those runty little ground creatures that taste good with ketchup start making an awful racket. "Must be that Henry Ford again," you think to yourself. Humans these days and their internal combustion engines. Something sounds different this time. You look around and do a double ...


86

There is a possible way for a dragon to succeed for a while, but it depends on his communication skills. Humans would have to kill other humans. On every continent, the dragon would need to come in contact with nomadic tribes and make these tribes worship him. He would request massive gifts and sacrifices from his followers. In the process of serving the ...


82

The wind isn't such a bad excuse. Say there is a prevailing headwind, which for most of the path is faster than the average speed of the dragon. Dragons can fly one way but not the other. Your ships, however, have a keel and triangular sails. These two inventions together permit a ship to sail upwind, tacking back and forth. This revolutionized the ...


80

It is a common misconception (likely spread by crafty, older dragons) that only young dragons are tasty. Much like their avian relatives (related via the dinosaurs), mature dragons develop a depth and richness of flavor much prized among those fortunate enough to survive to the tasting step. Their flesh has toughened during those centuries of survival, ...


79

Logistic support Boring as hell, but that's the most realistic option. Most other uses are replaceable by other means. Why send a dragon on a special ops mission when highly trained operatives already exist that can do the job better and more quietly? If he's a private, then he's inexperienced, so he's potentially a liability in the field. Why use a dragon ...


66

From about 1933 onwards, a dragon on your side is no longer a win button as that year saw the deployment of the Flak 18 by German army. It first saw action in the Spanish Civil War a few years later. The Flak 18 would later improve into the Flak 36 and 37 used in WW2. This weapon was built on the requirements demonstrated in WW1 to be able to apply rapid ...


65

You make it a semi-religious order, or a military order. The 'Order of Slayers' is a prestigious order dedicated to studying, and combating, the dragon problem. Out of this order, very few can actually be 'dragon slayers', with the majority of the order being support staff, scientists/scholars, and so on. You make a series of strict rules and regulations ...


65

It's difficult to come up with an evolutionary pressure that would select for intelligence when most dragons will survive regardless. This is, of course, the key point. What do dragons do? Hunt the prey we hunt. Eat the cattle we herd. Like the stones we like. The more humans, the more opposition to dragons. We learnt to kill them. Even simple villager like ...


64

If you're a dragon, why are you gathering coins one at a time? If I'm a dragon, the biggest baddest dude on Middle Earth or Faerun or wherever, I'm not going to pick-pocket people. I'm not robbing local barons, I'm going to knock over a king's palace and take the Peacock Throne and the Crown Jewels. I'm not going after the loose change in the offering plate,...


58

Dragons can't swim. Your dragons can fly 1000 miles but they cannot see 1000 miles. Nothing can. On the ground you can see 10-15 miles. In a plane maybe you can see 150-200 miles. If a dragon sets out over water and it sees only water in front of it, it will turn around before it loses sight of the land behind it. A flying dragon wants to always have ...


55

I'm going to go with underground shelters being a major part of defense, like bomb shelters. Buildings would be made of thick stone. It mainly sounds like they would be a problem in the spring. So I don't know if underground only living would be worth it, but people might move most of their belongings down into the shelters toward the end of winter, ...


54

Bows are not as useful against dragons. The dragon’s fire breath gives it a superior ranged attack as well. A one-on-one ranged duel with dragon usually ends in the dragon's favor, save in the case of the most skilled bow man. Even massing a large body of archers is not the best. The dragon will either close the gap and enter melee combat with the poorly ...


49

Anything can be hit by lightning, as long as it can get in lightning's path, dragons included. Animals, in particular, are more conductive than dry air, so they provide an easier path for the lightning to travel though. The real question would not be whether they can be hit by lightning, but whether they can survive it. That depends on how the electricity ...


46

I'm going to assume you're not talking about something that is genetically engineered for this purpose (otherwise I think the answer is pretty straightforward). The closest analogue to your dragon would be a jet-powered, pressurized Cessna 172. You're going to have a few hurdles to overcome here. Environment A Cessna 172 has a normal service ceiling of ...


46

Some uses for non-flying Dragon Wings Fan a flame Stabilize the Dragon while chasing someone/thing down (run on two legs, grab with 2 claws, pump wings like how humans pump arms when running) Regulate Heat (too hot? spread out your wings, too cold? wrap your wings around you like a blanket, or even blanket your young) Provide shade to lesser beings ...


45

Dragons are heatproof, you have to serve them raw. We're talking dragon sashimi here. It has to be fresh young dragon, no more than a few hours dead. Not some tough old elder dragon. Finely sliced on a bed of white rice. (Please note: the question is now vastly different from the one this answer was written for which was about cooking and eating)


44

Same way a lighter works. See wikipedia. But to summarise, you might want to ask yourself why a lighter doesn't melt. It appears as though the flame is coming from the lighter, and yet the inside of the lighter is not burned. You can look at the mechanics and principles behind the way a lighter works and apply it to a biological creature. So the creature ...


43

Fight fire with fire. Remember, the fire-breathing dragon breathes fire for some reason. Even if the dragon doesn't realize that it breathes fire, the ability almost certainly evolved together with some particular set of behaviors. Most likely, this reason can be summed up as one or both of: Defense: Warding off another Offense: Attacking, to injure, drive ...


43

You did not provide the specs for your dragons, so I imagine their build would fit along the classical european, D&D chromatic dragon shapes and sizes. Let me tell you about Iguanodons. They were herbivorous dinosaurs, about this big (from Wikipedia commons): The reason I want to talk about these critters is their front paws. Iguanodons are known for ...


42

In general, when calculating caloric requirements for animals, we can apply what's known as Kleiber's law. Kleiber's law states that the food requirements of various animals scale by the mass of the animal to the $\frac{3}{4}$ power. This value is then multiplied by a constant that's dependent on the type of animal. To compute a dragon the size of Smaug's ...


41

Become a god, make your worshippers carry things for you. Dragons are clearly too important to do manual labor, let alone the menial transfer of wealth from one location to another. Step 1: Attack a city. Step 1A: Don't kill everyone. Step 2: Tell the rest they will live if they worship you Step 3: Make them into an army Step 4: Go conquer and ...


41

The scales are made of the same material as Limpets teeth. A team led by Asa Barber from the University of Portsmouth collected samples of the limpet Patella vulgata in Southampton, U.K. and found that their teeth contain a hard, iron-containing mineral called goethite, which forms in the animal as it grows. Furthermore, these thin, tightly-...


40

Intelligence evolved with size and fire-breathing, not separately What evolutionary pressure is there that has made a small primate develop intelligence to the point of having ethics of fairness? We do not know. But it has happened. The issue with your turkey question was not that turkeys would never develop intelligence, but that you wanted turkeys, and ...


39

From my experience with dwarf fortress, what you want to do is trap the dragon and use it as a source of FUN. Basically trap it and use it to terrorize prisoners and bad dwarfs. Lava The funnest way is to create a trap passage way. One roughly double the length of Glori and positioned so that if he wants to get access into the inner sanctum of your city, ...


38

Maybe the people of Szerika would choose to live in tents? Tents are easy to set up and pull down, they are assembled from smaller pieces, and they are made from materials (wood, rope, hides, cotton, ...) that is easy to transport because it is relatively light and not bulky. It is harder to imagine lots of multi-stories buildings made from tents, so I ...


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